Archive for the ‘Game Reviews’ Category

1607Well it’s been a while since I posted here, so hopefully this review shall suffice for that.  Developed by Young Horse Studios, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is definitely one of the most interesting games I have had the pleasure of coming across.    It is absolutely one of the silliest titles to reach the gaming community, yet underneath its ridiculously funny surface lies a rather deep and compelling message.  However, it is far from perfect.

In this game you play as every bodies favorite cephalopod/father, Octodad.  Octodad is simply your average joe, living in modern suburbia with his wife and kids, however there is one thing that separates him from your everyday-man.  He is an octopus, and as a result he holds the burden of disguising himself and hiding his identity from those around him, even his own family.  

This comedic premise is actually the very center of this game’s storyline, and a rather good one at that.  You go throughout the majority game performing the everyday mundane chores and other miscellaneous activities that an typical adult male would go through, except with ragdoll-like physics that come with being an octopus imitating a human being.  As a result, hilarity ensues.  Now this is a game where you can make the most of it.  It can either be tedious and frustrating or hysterical and silly depending on how you approach the gameplay.  If you go with the latter, you are left with a plethora of visual gags that will leave you chuckling.  On contrary, if you take it too seriously and try to wrestle with the controls too much, you’ll probably end up rather disappointed with the gameplay.  Also as a “normal human being” you must act one, and as a result if you do anything strange, like for example breaking the cart of bananas at the grocery store, in anybodies line of sight, their suspicion will go up.

The first half or so of the game revolves around doing said mundane tasks, and this is where the game thrives.  The simple act of making a cup of coffee becomes hilariously more difficult, and in the process you may end up inadvertently hitting one of your own kids.  However towards the end of the game, problems begin to occur.  The gameplay starts becoming more conventional rather than unique, where stealth missions and boss battles pop up, and both of which really detached me from the charm it had prior.  The problem with the conventional gameplay style is that it conflicts with Octodad’s rubber-like physics and as a result it creates a massive difficulty spike, leading to A LOT of deaths.  However, gameplay-wise these are honestly the only areas where it really screws itself over.

On a different note, the humor in this game is top-knotch.  Each character, minor or major, has something stupidly clever or charming to say, especially your wife and kids.  The visual gags and the humorous premise blend smoothly together, making it a humorous and charming experience from beginning to end.  The game manages to outdo many AAA titles in it’s reference-based humor in parts of the game, where it is refreshingly subtle rather than “in your face” like you will typically find in other games.  All I can really say to do the game justice, is that when it tries to be funny, it does an excellent job.

Unlike it’s predecessor, this game dives a bit into the backstory of Octodad, revealing how he met his lovely wife Scarlett, how he gained the suit that solidified his fool-proof disguise, and even how he earned the enemy that has been out for his life throughout the game.  Though it never really addresses how he got his kids, but instead just jokes about the surreality of it.  I guess it’s up to the fanfics to create the headcanon for that, but rest assured I won’t be there to see it.

In contrast, deep behind its blanket of cartoony humor, Octodad: Dadliest Catch actually displays a rather compelling message through its gameplay and storyline.  Octodad is simply trying to fit into the society around him, and goes to the extent of hiding his identity from everybody around him to pass as a human man.  This results in him gaining impostor syndrome, where he fears for the very day when those around him finds out who and what he truly is.  He does everything he does for his family, because he loves them more than anything else in this world, so everyday he puts on the masquerade of a human, in hopes that he may never lose them one day.  This is a rather compelling inner conflict, only directly addressed through Octodad’s body language and the subtext lying further beneath.  It’s a strange, yet fascinating phenomena that a game can have such a silly tone yet be so serious in its subtext.  In the end the theme of undying love, loyalty, and acceptance is brought forth to fix the problembrought by the inner conflict, making this subtext complete and compelling.  It is an absolute spectacle to behold.

Anyways, in short, I absolutely love this game.  It manages to do so much right by intentionally doing everything wrong, and it relishes in its own uniqueness.  That is why it’s ending levels were such disappointments, because they stepped away from what made this game so fun and hilarious in the beginning, and instead became frustratingly difficult in its mixed mess of conventional and unconventional gameplay.  However they are highly negligible in the end, because its accomplishments stand out far more than it’s short-comings.

Final Verdict: th

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a great game, and can be found on Steam for $15 and is available on PC and Mac , and later it will be available on console.  If you love silly, cartoony games, then this is a must-buy.

~FrogFinest

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Well if this is going to be my first review here, I might as well make it a good one.  The Sonic the Hedgehog series is a very bumpy tale, having plenty of ups, downs, and everything in between.  However, recently with some of it’s latest games, Generations and Colors, it seems that Sonic Team has been on a smooth track for the better.  With their most recent implementation, Sonic: Lost World, the consistency of their success is brought even further into question, so it is my job today to explain to you my feelings about the game.

Story:  For the many who have played games from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, it’s pretty clear that the story is not a huge focus for the developers.  Even in it’s more successful games, the stories have proven to be nothing special or unmemorable at best.  Sonic: Lost World changes this trend up by implementing a large variety of cutscenes that drive the story in different directions, rather than prove it to be stagnant and/or linear.  This is actually very well appreciated because it makes a strong use of previously bland characters, such as Dr. Robotnik (Eggman) and Tails, while still staying on focus.

However, the newest set of the antagonists, not so rightfully named “The Deadly Six” (Zavok, Zazz, Zeena, Master Zik, Zomom, and Zor) aren’t nearly as welcomed of an addition.  Each of them follow a specific archetype, and stick to it until the very end hardly changing once so ever.  Their dialogue is painfully predictable as a result, deteriorating whatever charm they had to begin with.

What probably caught me most off-guard about this game was the overall writing.  The main characters: Sonic, Tails, and Dr. Robotnik are all excellently written and made complex.  This drove the story in so many different directions and allowed characters (most notably Sonic) to express character development, something which hasn’t been done well in God knows how long. Dr. Robotnik’s dialogue was hilariously brutal at some parts and he was generally an extremely likable character in this game.  Tails was a minor character throughout all of this, though he still played a major role in the progression of the story as well as had some quirky and charming dialogue moments.

Gameplay:  Now this was a big talking point in many of the rather mixed reviews it has received.  Sonic: Lost World uses a completely new gameplay style that focusses primarily on skilled platforming rather than getting from one place to another at the blink of an eye, and as a result it became a hit-or-miss for many who tried to play it like the latter.  Personally, I love the new gameplay style.  It’s overall very smooth and fun, allowing you to take in the beautiful and creative environment, as well as allowing you to experiment with the many different ways you can complete a level.  And that’s another thing, it’s level design allows for you to clear through the same area in a large variety of ways that creates a strong sense of replay-ability for many of the levels.

With this new renovation, there are also some new implementations into the gameplay.  The game has parkour mechanics, that actually act as lifesavers at times and as ways to get to new parts of the same level.  This game also reintroduces the Wisps from Sonic Colors, and the mechanics around them are creatively used, albeit clunky at times with the WiiU’s control scheme.  And finally a new kick feature has been introduced where you can kick an enemy and send them flying towards other enemies.  Some bots require you to use this attack in order to get past them, but it is not exclusive to them.  Overall, the new implementations are a very warm welcome to the game.

However, it does have it’s flaws.  It’s gameplay structure is slightly contradictory.  This increased emphasis on platforming makes it rather difficult towards the end of the game, but the problem here is that you do not earn a life for every 100 rings you collect, so you will typically find yourself getting “game overs” on the trial-and-error based levels.  However, the most notable flaw is the “Deadly” Six themselves.  Throughout the game each Zeti acts as a boss, and rather pathetic ones at that. Some of them are beatable within less than a minute while others run a pattern that never changes once so ever.  So yes, the boss battles are total jokes and major disappointments for the hype the game received.

Consensus:  In conclusion, this is a fantastic game.  The story is very entertaining, the levels are fun and extremely creative, and the gameplay is challenging and innovative.  This game certainly lived up to it’s hype, despite having some notable problems, and has plenty of replay-ability in my book.  Despite disappointing in some areas, the flaws are overall neglectable by being overshadowed by everything else this game had to offer.

Sonic Team has yet again, made a memorable and well-crafted game.  The future is looking bright for the blue blur.

Grade: B+

~FrogFinest

Game Review- Battlefield 4

Posted: November 16, 2013 in Game Reviews

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Battlefield has always been a series that I found to be fascinating, everything about it screamed “just another FPS!”, this is of course how it looks like. However, there are a few crucial factors about a Battlefield game that separate it from the title of “just another FPS”, and that’s its massive maps, and vehicle based combat.
Battlefield 4 is not exception to this rule, ever since battlefield bad company, the game had fantastic destruction to go alongside the great vehicle warfare. Although this game isn’t something revolutionary and new, it still improves on almost everything Battlefield 3 included, and it’s the better game for it.

Campaign: The campaign is fairly unremarkable… it spans just about 4-6 hours, and that in itself is weak. However, unlike the god-awful battlefield 3 campaign, this one strives to tell a more personal story about a squad of soldiers. This was a great choice by whoever wrote the story, as I by the end I could remember all the characters names, and even like a lot of them.

Its story isn’t half-bad either, something that’s both exhilarating and touching in some areas. And I can’t say there was a single moment in the game where I was downright bored. I feel that around six hours is an understandable length for an “on the rails” shooter like this one.

I can’t continue without mentioning how spectacularly beautiful the game is. I can easily say it’s the best looking game ever to be released, and the frostbite 3 engine is a technical masterpiece. It not only improves the textures of the ground, buildings, and even weapons tenfold over Battlefield 3, but it also makes the lighting and shading impressive.

Although you are placed head first into a “map”, during the single-player, the game still gives you enough room to explore and approach the target the way you want to. It utilizes the destruction much better than Battlefield 3 did.

Multiplayer: This is what we have all been waiting for, the multiplayer is the TRUE reason to buy a game like this. And it does not disappoint in the slightest.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not revolutionary or a far cry away from Battlefield 3. But every single little tweak that it adds, every single little perk and pickup makes the gameplay experience THAT much better.

The levelution system that they added was simply music to my ears. I have to say, apart from the massive game-changing events that you can trigger, like sky-scrapers collapsing, or dam’s breaking and flooding the map, my favorite bits of levelution are the smaller changes. For example, you can switch off the lights, making true “in-the-dark” combat that you can utilize to sneak up and kill your enemy. This is the biggest, and most welcome change.

It isn’t the only one either, the game comes with a plethora of new and old weapons. Each one feeling slightly different than the last. Also, the customization system has been improved as well, making you able to add more attachments to your weapon. On top of all of this, they added a smoother UI to the PC version of the game, making navigating the screen easier.

All of this accompanied by a solid “battlelog” system that they implemented in battlefield 3, the game is more than just an upgrade, it’s a pleasure. As soon as you enter the game you will feel the similar feeling you felt when you first played battlefield 3, however, that feeling will triple when you see the massive buildings collapsing as the destruction gets bumped up five notches.

The multiplayer is something that I will be playing for months to come as I fight my way to the highest rank, having a blast the entire way through.

Consensus:

                Overall, the entire product is solid, the campaign, although short and a bit unremarkable, offers enough visuals to sustain you for the time being. However, the multiplayer is once again the gem of the series, blending almost photo-realistic visuals with 64-player vehicular combat with such fluidity and precision you cannot help but snicker and laugh at the failed Call of Duty title that launched this year.

This is a great title, from a great company, with a great life-cycle. All I can say, in this time of great joy, is see you on the battlefield.

Grade: B+ 

Game Review- Call of Duty: Ghosts

Posted: November 15, 2013 in Game Reviews

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                I’m not one to have these rapid-fire reviews, for gaming anyway. Especially when a game has this massive expansive multiplayer that takes you hours upon hours to get accustomed to. So, it’s been just about a week and a half since I got “Ghosts” and after I beat the campaign, and played unlocked everything in multiplayer, I find myself ready to do a full on review. So let’s start off with the campaign.

Campaign: A call of Duty campaign has never been something I adored, all the “Modern Warfare” campaigns felt so benign and cliché, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the word “Bro!” popped up every so often to disrupt the endless explosions and shooting.

                So when I heard Infinity Ward (or whatever they are now) said they will be creating this “unique and touching” campaign experience. I was of course… underwhelmed. I tend to not get excited for video games as much as I used to. The entire engine looks shoddy, and even the campaigns choreography is less of a technical marvel, and more of a technical snoozefest. Nothing they do in this campaign is unique or exciting, most of it is just sub-par voice acting with a cliché story.

                The dog… oh how much you have been hyped! Was this hype worth it though? NOPE! We get to see the dog a few times, but mostly in the starting missions, and then he just disappears from the game for a while. So… that was sort of dumb!

                The games campaign is pretty unremarkable, it lacks whatever the modern warfare campaign had, and seriously lacks whatever the black ops campaigns had. I want to get it straight that the black ops (and black ops II) campaigns were surprisingly fantastic, in my opinion. The voice acting was gorgeous, the set pieces were spectacular (especially in the second one) and the stories were actually fascinating and very well written.

                So in the end, the campaign does its job in giving you an overlong shoot-em-up experience with little flare or visual finesse.

 

Extinction mode: Extinction is a mode Infinity Ward slapped onto this latest Call of Duty to combat the rabid “Zombies” fanbase that Treyarch created. Let me just say, I was never a huge Zombies fan, however, I loved the whole “upgrading” and “mystery box” system enough to play with my friends.

                In Extinction mode, they ditch all of that and set you on a linear path. It is once again, quite unremarkable and boring. However, I must say that the aliens look good enough, and they have this odd movement pattern that is somewhat refreshing to the zombies “roar and run” tactic of attack.

                I really can’t write too much about Extinction, it is drab, it doesn’t have much life to it. And after about ten or so games, I felt like I was bored out of my mind and just went back to the multiplayer.

 

Multiplayer: Here is where the “Ghosts” experience truly fails. I was never really excited for “Ghosts”, in fact, my expectations were just for the game to be somewhat interesting, with new guns, and new attachments.

                To my surprise, they have none of that. This multiplayer experience is absolutely dreadful. Not because it runs badly or anything either, it runs fine. It’s just the most hackneyed and lazy multiplayer I’ve played in years.

                I was a big fan of Black ops II, and perhaps my expectations were STILL too high. However, in my humble opinion, this is just heresy. The graphics were downgraded to an unbearable low, especially on the consoles where the game looks like the call of duty: Modern warfare Beta with a horridly ugly grey tint that covers every single map you play on.

                Each call of duty, while not completely unique and new, still managed to add new weapons and attachments and at least somewhat of a new enough experience to keep me entertained for a few months. But, if I’m honest, this was shocking to see. Instead of adding more weapons, more attachments, more customization. They added LESS!

                I cannot customize my weapon as much as I could in black ops 2, also, they removed that amazing Score-streak system in place for Modern warfare 3’s half-asses Point-streak system. The character customization is boring and not worth your time, and the entire concept of building your squad is dreadful as well. It hardly adds anything new to the experience, to the point where the game feels like an overly simplistic wreck that still manages to confuse me.

                They made every map large, for Call of Duty standards, so it takes a decent amount of walking around to even find an enemy. Every weapon has a shockingly similar shot sound to the weapons in modern warfare 3. It just seems like they truly failed at making this multiplayer experience anything but downright boring.

               

                Overall, the game looks bad, the multiplayer adds hardly anything worth noting. And every single feature that they said was new, ended up disappointing me to no end. The perk system was garbage and overdone, the soldier customization was horrible, and even the gunplay was worse than battlefield’s (a vehicle oriented game).

                The campaign was a clichéd “bro-fest” of childish explosions and bad dialogue. And the extinction mode felt too forced and one-timed that I didn’t feel entertained while playing it.

                In the end, this game does the bare minimum in a time where Call of Duty needed to assert itself. Next generation is being released, and this recent entry lagged behind the rest of the games, even more than I expected. Infinity ward, you have failed to provide anything but the barest of the bare, the most boring and dreadful multiplayer experience call of duty has put out in a while. And if I were to add one thing that I enjoyed about this game, it was the ability to finally set my controller down after I unlocked all of the pathetic amount of weapons in this disappointing game.

 

Grade: D