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For Love of the Game: Sea of Thieves Review

For Love of the Game: Sea of Thieves Review

Review by, William Griston – Gigamax Games Contributor 

Rare always managed to excite my imagination, starting with their entries in the Donkey Kong Franchise on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and the Highly Underrated(amongst people who haven’t played it, that is) Conker’s Bad Fur Day on the Nintendo 64. When Microsoft acquired Rare from Nintendo in the early 2000s, I was pretty disheartened. I had expected the monolithic Microsoft to utterly destroy the Rare I knew. I am sure many of you have experienced the same palpable dread from time to time when it comes to this hobby.  With Bethesda’s acquisition of id Software, those fears were proven immature with the eventual release of Doom(2016). Easily one of the best shooters I’ve played in the last decade.

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After a faltering start on both the Original Xbox and the Xbox 360, those misgivings were finally assuaged with Sea of Thieves. Sea of Thieves is a return to form for the legendary Rare. the world is brimming with soul, passion, and character. Often criticised for its’ lack of content, the much-maligned Sea of Thieves quickly endeared itself to me. I wasn’t a “day one” player like much of the initial player base, but I did get into the game shortly after it was released(about a week), and was quite enamored with the world that Rare managed to craft.

From The Beginning

Sea of Thieves offers a rather large oceanic sandbox with a plethora of well designed and unique islands to explore by yourself or with a cadre of like-minded scoundrels of the sea.

The game opens up inside a fairly nondescript tavern with a bevy of pirates for you to choose as your avatar, you can lock specific models and generate more if you so choose. After choosing your pirate, you’re greeted with a screen giving you the option of playing on a Galleon(3-4 Player Vessel) or a Sloop(1-2 Player Vessel).

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The names of the various islands and outposts have a pirate-y feel to them(Keel Haul Fort, Shark Fin Camp, Skull Keep, Tri-Rock Isle). The dearth of Ocean to explore is both a blessing and a curse, with a tailwind you can cross the map in short order. With a headwind, you’re in for a slow trek across what seems to be an endless sea pocked with little bits of adventure. The RNG factor of the Wind led my crew and me to name our vessel “The Br(e)aking Wind” because you’re never too old for fart jokes.

The weakest part of the game is definitely the PVE(Player vs Environment) aspect of the game, as you’re limited to four different kinds of radiant quests given to you from one of three factions.

The Gold Hoarders, The Merchant Alliance, and finally The Order of Souls.

I am partial to the Gold Hoarders quest line, which has the stereotypical pirate’s map with an X marks the spot mechanic as well as cryptic poems of the riddle maps which start of with something like “Crescent has riches vast, from forgotten stories in the past.”

Next is the Merchant Alliance Quests, which are in essence timed fetch quests.

Go collect 300 chickens and go to this island before a fixed amount of time has passed. I found these quests to be pretty mundane if we’re being honest.

Finally, we have the Order of Souls quests, which give you a single quest or a series of quests to find and eliminate a crew of skeletons and claim the skull of the Captain.

The faction quests are akin to the quests that you are given in Skyrim, in that they generally target islands in fairly close proximity to each other, and if you pray to RNGesus, your vessel.

Where Sea of Thieves Shines

Where the game truly shines is the PVP(Player Versus Player) aspect, assuming you can find a crew of individuals with the few things required for success in Sea of Thieves: A working mic,  ears, and a couple thumbs. Sarcasm aside, with a properly crewed and run Galleon, you can rule the seas with nary a vessel to challenge your prowess. I have had the most fun trying to hit the other vessels with a Gunpowder Barrel, or simply firing myself over in a Cannon and attempting to wreak as much havoc as I can while my shipmates send a barrage of lead. The cacophony of cannons playing a boisterous dirge for the soon to be doomed ship. Something my crew and I try to do is start off our play with a Skull fort, after which we try not to visit an outpost until someone has to log off, we find that having a belly full of loot makes the PVP that much more exciting.

You play a bit harder when you have something to lose.

The meat and potatoes of the game is definitely the sailing aspect, and you are going to be doing a lot of it. Steering the vessel is done on the poop deck with the wheel, which will turn one or two full revolutions left or right depending on whether or not you’re on a Sloop or a Galleon

On each side of the ship, there are controls to raise, lower, and rotate the sails. Which controls operate which sail are pretty obvious even to a neophyte. The main key to traversing the seas is catching the wind as much as possible, otherwise, you are in for a long voyage.

Final Thoughts

Graphically, Sea of Thieves has the best looking and most realistic water effects I’ve ever seen in a video game. The character models are cartoony and have that stylised Rare feel to them, as do much of the Islands, vessels, and buildings themselves. Assuming you’re on a PC, even on the lowest graphical settings, you’ll have a gorgeous well-designed game to play.

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If you’re looking for a sandbox pirate game with enough content to keep you going for at least a week or two at a casual pace, and you enjoy PVP interactions, you’ll love Sea of Thieves.

If a set goal with a clear road of advancement is more your speed, I’d give Sea of Thieves a pass.

Regardless, I’ll be continuing my journey.

See you on the Seas, Y’arr. This article was based upon the PC/Microsoft Store version of Sea of Thieves, and may not be applicable to the Xbox One Version in any way shape or form.

Review by: William Griston, games way more than he should, but still not enough.

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God of War PS4 Review – Kratos Never Looked So Good

If you were a fan of the first three God of War games or the various side stories that were released on the PSP/Vita, the latest entry in the series is a huge departure from what you’ve played before. God of War on the PS4 takes some huge risks that are all ended up being wildly successful. They highlight what a positive change bringing more maturity to a well-known game/character can do for a long-running IP. While many may be turned off by the brutal difficulty the beginning hours of the game may hold, it is important to stick with it and get comfortable with the new mechanics. With an open world, side quests, and actual character development, this is God of War like you’ve never seen it before.

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God of War Like Never Before

Fans of the series will immediately notice that the first ten minutes does more to develop Kratos as a character than any game before it. The game opens with Kratos teaching his son, Atreus, the basics of wilderness survival,  showing a side of the protagonist that many didn’t believe existed. Instead of just murdering every being in sight, age has brought some restraint to our hero, allowing the game to take an introspective look at how murdering every Greek God weighs on his conscience and how he tries to hide from his demons. That’s not to say Kratos is an open book, in fact, he’s quite the opposite, only revealing his deepest thoughts when speaking to his son and when thrown into moments that shake our previously unshaken hero to his core. God of War is absolutely packed full of these kinds of intense moments.

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This game is packed to the brim with monstrous battles. Players will not need to go far to fight their next massive foe or group of enemies. A lot of this is thanks to the new side quest system that is full of unique adventures that are as fleshed out as the optional quests in The Witcher 3. Not only do the side quests offer visual splendor, but they deliver a deeper look into the relationship between Kratos and his son, Atreus. While Kratos may seem more vulnerable emotionally, that does not make him any less of a savage.  When pitted against some of the ugliest/scariest monsters Norse mythology has to offer, the Kratos the world has grown to know and love comes out.

The New Combat System

Combat has taken a huge turn in this entry. With every swing,  dodge, and block being deliberate and a keen eye necessary to watch the move of every enemy on screen, it’s unlike anything a God of War fan has experienced. Instead of relying on the hack and slash nature of the previous titles, the new game takes a few cues from Dark Souls and puts an emphasis on proper timing, blocking, and dodging.

Every enemy now has a combat level and if pitted against an enemy above a players gear level, the fight will be next to impossible. Even enemies that are at your gear level pose a serious threat and unprepared gamers will quickly learn not to underestimate even the grunts of the fantasy army. Kratos still uses his host of unique finishing moves that will make even the most vetted God of War fans cringe as enemies literally get torn to pieces.

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As previously mentioned, gear score is a huge part of moving forward. Completing side quests, exploring, and killing strong enemies will pay out in unique material drops that can be taken to the smithy and be crafted into new armor and weapon upgrades to increase Kratos overall level. RPG fans will recognize the color-coded equipment system with white being common and orange being top tier. Unique items have interesting perks attached to them that add spectacular bonuses to Kratos while in combat. There are even a few different armor sets for Atreus even though he doesn’t have a real health bar. Instead, his equipment makes him better in the different support roles he plays.

Final Thoughts 

God of War doesn’t feel like a sequel, it feels like a perfect restructuring of a series that was quickly growing old and tired in its ideas. This game is essential for any PS4 owner and could easily be a frontrunner for game of the year. The developer took a huge risk in fundamentally changing nearly every aspect of the game but ultimately, it is exactly what the series needed. Hopefully, other reboots will learn from the success of this game and strive to reach the same level of quality.

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The Invisible Hours Review: Movies and Gaming Collide

Game: The Invisible Hours
Developer:
Tequila Works
Publisher: GameTrust/Tequila Works
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR
Genre: Spherical Narrative
Players: Single-player

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Background

Tequila Works was absolutely successful in delivering a unique experience with The Invisible Hours. Now available for non-VR, the flat-screen version of the game is still able to remain immersive and unbelievably exciting. The second Tesla’s body was discovered, the intricate story begins to unfold in a spectacular way. This noir is truly an experience to remember.

Watch the Review Preview on YouTube!

Following this game since its release on VR, the only thing to hold me back from actually picking up The Invisible Hours was the thought of getting sucked into a game and needing to play it on PlayStation VR all the way through. This piece of tech is awesome but it can get a bit cumbersome when gaming for hours with this hunk of plastic on your head.

Now that Tequila Works was releasing their flat-screen version, I was extremely excited to get my hands on a copy. I’m not a big noir fan, and honestly, a conversation heavy game with little to no action or incredible cinematics doesn’t often catch my attention. However, there was something a bit different about The Invisible Hours.

The Cinematic Experience Begins

Following the footsteps of Nikola Tesla and getting to the bottom of his gruesome murder felt like the right combination to catch my interest. Tequila Works sent over a review copy and I couldn’t wait to get started. They marketed The Invisible Hours as a “Spherical Narrative” something that just seemed to be clever marketing language to catch gamers attention. But it actually turned out to be so much more than that.

The spherical nature became clear in the first hour of the game. It is built, unlike anything I’ve ever played before. A story unfolding and the player doesn’t have any direct impact on the events taking place. Instead, the main character isn’t really the main character. Gamers control what seems to be a “fly on the wall” kind of entity that has the ability to fast-forward, rewind, and stop time. This primary mechanic is the gem that truly makes this game shine, taking the gamer on a circular journey back and forth to get to the bottom of this mystery. 

It All Starts Coming Together

Taking place on Nikola Tesla’s private island, the playable character appears without much backstory. The only option is to start walking up the winding steps in front of you. With a large body of water behind you and a sheer cliff face to your right, the steps guide you up to a large gate bearing the letters, “NT”.

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A crying woman that pays no attention to your presence and a gigantic mansion are the only things of immediate interest after reaching the top of the steps. Leaving the crying woman alone, feeling slightly offended she didn’t pay any attention to me, it was time to explore the mansion. This is when the body of the famous inventor is first discovered and things start to heat up.

As the drama unfolds, tensions flare and conversations start breaking out. From the moment Tesla’s body is discovered, the game truly comes alive. What seemed like an empty mansion soon started filling with characters from all walks of life. Famous historical inventors, actors, along with people that history would have never mentioned all begin to appear from seemingly nowhere. Each of the characters plays a vital role in the stories development. All have a unique perspective on the situation that’s unfolding all around them as well as develop intricate back stories that only become clear as time goes on.

The Invisible Hours Stands Out

The feature that makes The Invisible Hours stand out and what created such a unique experience is the time control feature. Being able to rewind, fast-forward, and stop time along with the fact that your playable character is completely invisible allows Tequila Works to create that cinematic feel while still allowing gamers to have some kind of control.

As characters appear, you can follow them with the rewind function to see where they came from in the mansion and what they were up to. You can even rewind to the point before everyone was notified of the murder and fast forward to after the large group breaks up and see what they are doing in their room when they think they’re alone. It gets a bit creepy, but all throughout the game, it feels like a playable movie so it’s really not as weird as it sounds.

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Each character had an unbelievably in-depth backstory, their complex emotions that The Invisible Hours is able to portray while they were alone with their thoughts is enthralling. Hanging on every word while also anxiously waiting for their monologues to end so I could go back and follow someone else around.

Less than 30 minutes in game time went by and I already put hours into the game. Every minute that passed in game felt like it caused a chain reaction, sending me off on a wild hunt for clues, collectibles, bits of conversation, and story. It is strangely exhilarating, especially being someone who usually finds themselves losing interest in dialog heavy games.

Overview and Wrapup 

The only real complaint about the game is the fact that you had to wait for the rewind and fast-forward mechanic to wind up in order for it to go faster. It would start off slow and gradually increase in speed. This is a bit annoying since it played such an important role throughout the game. It would have been nice to have the option to have control of how fast time rewound or moved forward, instantly.

Overall the game is an interesting introduction to the Spherical Narrative genre. Tequila Works did a great job bringing this VR game to flat-screen as well. The story is fascinating and kept my attention every second I was playing. I didn’t want to miss a word and at one point I advanced to chapter 2 but didn’t want to move forward because I didn’t have a chance to follow someone back to their room and see what they were up to. It was nice that Tequila Works included a quicker way to time travel through the start menu so I was able to jump right back to the beginning of the game. 

There are a lot of secrets hiding in Nikola Tesla’s mysterious mansion and the journey to uncover the truth about his death is filled with mind-blowing realizations and tense interactions. Tequila Works did a fantastic job putting this story together. I’m excited to go back and see what other secrets The Invisible Hours has in store.

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Really, What’s Up With Final Fantasy: A New Empire

So Really, What’s Up With Final Fantasy: A New Empire

You’ve probably seen those strange ads for the mobile game Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. This strange ‘free’ app looks like any other free to play mobile game but with one major exception, it’s based on the most recent Final Fantasy game. Noctis, Prompto, Gladiolus, Iignis, they’re all there but it still feels like an intellectual property lawsuit waiting to happen rather than an actual Square Enix game. But yes, this game and all of its elements are legitimately licensed from SQUARE ENIX HOLDINGS CO., LTD. according to their official website.

Seriously, What’s Up With This Game?

A fan reached out asking us to give our impression on this game and we’re here to deliver.

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This is a game that would normally fly under the radar for Gigamax Games but there were a few things about it that did catch our eye. The marketing on those aforementioned social platforms stood out, maybe not for the best reasons but it did have our intention. The graphics (on the ads) and action looked impressive for a mobile game. However, as gamers know all too well this is a common marketing ploy. Video game developers have lied in the past when it comes to their marketing, No Mans Sky comes to mind. However, this seemed to be on an entirely different level.

FFXV: A New Empire promised exciting quests, action, and combat when in reality it is just another “age of empires” tower defense style mobile game. Yes, it does use the Final Fantasy universe but things are so much different.

Even with the Final Fantasy inspiration, this game is nearly identical to all the other tower defense, base builder, free to play mobile games on the market today. There are a lot of different things to do but there’s very little substance when it comes to the content.

“Questing” They Call It

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The questing system is extremely shallow. The only thing a player has to do to complete a quest is click “start” and wait for the timer to tick down. Fighting other bases and monsters is dull as well. The tiny sprite that represents a character slowly walks through the overworld, swings its sword and walks back to the base. There was only time Noctis is ever actually seen fighting and that was in the ‘Proving Grounds’. Noctus runs toward an enemy and each slash of his sword uses 50 Ether. Ether is not easily found and it costs an incredible amount of ‘Loyalty’ to purchase more.

With the lack of exciting content, there is one thing that this game does very well, entice the player to purchase the in-game materials and currency. There are so many things to do, even if they’re shallow, there’s a lot of different bases to upgrade, bosses to fight, in-game items to purchase but free players are extremely limited. To continuously play, the only real option is to pay.

Time Goes On But The Game Stands Still

After a while playing, there was the inevitable point where you are stuck waiting for resources to generate and a building to finish completing. The only New Empire, ffxv, mobile game, gigamax, gaming newssaving grace would be free to play mini-games that gamers could play while waiting around. However, there were actually multiple mini-games to choose from. This could have been the ultimate “Is this actually a great mobile game I would have missed out on?”

Clicking on the first one brings the player to a classic tower defense game. You build turrets that defend a wave-like onslaught of enmities, protecting the walls of your empire. This was exciting, having the chance to play fun games while resources accumulate or buildings to upgrade could have been great! However, players only have one attempt and then they are locked out with a 24:00 timer. Gamers only get 1 chance to play a single mini-game per day. There are 4 mini-games to try and a 24-hour timer shared between them. This means it will literally take four days to try each of the mini-games and you only have one attempt.

Final Thoughts

At the beginning they give you an incredible amount of resources and leveling up the citadel is a breeze. This honeymoon stage ends abruptly and they make it abundantly clear that in-game purchases are easy to complete and readily available. It’s unfortunate that the Final Fantasy brand is associated with this kind of game. The beautiful thing about Final Fantasy is the abundance of content a game purchase offers. Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is the opposite. The shallow and lackluster content teases people along to get hooked and then once they level their buildings to about level 8, resource requirements for an upgrade increase exponentially. The only way to continuously play this game is to buy the in-game currency, however, if you’re a very patient person and don’t mind putting the game down for long periods of time, it’s a great distraction for a short period of time.

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Destiny 2: Was It Worth The Hype?

Destiny 2: Was It Worth The Hype?

Many players had a strange relationship with the first Destiny. Bungie told people to expect a 10-year game that will continuously grow and improve as time went on. However, this was far from the truth. The original Destiny left a bad taste in many gamers mouths, feeling as though it was disrespecting the players time and just adding enough content to string people along. Some loved the game, but there is no doubt that the game, at its core, was seriously flawed but now all eyes are on Destiny 2.

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The Worry Was Real

This left gamers worried if Destiny 2 had the potential to save the franchise. When people found out all of their hard earned rewards would be stripped away and then be forced to start from scratch, it wasn’t the best introduction. But to the surprise of many Destiny 2 and the developers at Bungie took the community’s criticism of the first game to heart and it shows in a big way.

Destiny 2 – Nightfall Strike [Gigamax PowerHour]

One of the main issues with original Destiny was the lack of rewards and the countless hours spent on repetitive grinding to receive any piece of worthwhile gear. This was far beyond the expected grind in this kind of ‘open’ exploration game. Bungie seemed to put all their chips in the exquisite gunplay and ignore a fully fleshed out campaign or any substance when it came to the grind. Running around a small map searching for chests that spawn in the same location on a timer is not an exciting gaming experience.

Destiny 2 May Have Done It

Destiny 2 is a monumental improvement over the original. Even though players have to start from scratch, the intro of the game provides a nice flashback of their time in the original. Milestones are remembered with a slideshow once a player starts the game, showing off their greatest achievements and even lists the players that were in the group when completed. This short but sweet ode to your original Destiny fireteams was the right kind of send off for the misstep that was Destiny.

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Even those that truly enjoyed the original Destiny have said it felt as though it was just one big beta for Destiny 2. Bungie did it right with this latest installment. Each planet has a more robust environment giving the sensation of being alive, more so than anything the original ever offered. The amount of story, strikes, and content offered at launch puts the original to shame and is an incredible indicator of things to come. The story evoked emotions and NPC’s have relatable personalities. With Bungie stating that they will be adding content much more regularly, one can only imagine where it will go from here. 

Overall Bungie redeemed themselves with Destiny 2. This latest title truly shows that the developers listened to their audience and put some real thought into the new game.  It feels as though this is just the beginning for one of the most highly anticipated shooters in history. If Destiny was able to reach impressive heights with lackluster content, there’s no telling how far the second game can go.

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Theseus Review: Avoid More Than the Minotaur

Theseus Review: Avoid More Than the Minotaur

Whenever a new PlayStation VR title releases, a sense of excitement follows. I begin to wonder what world I’ll get to take an active part in and experience through my very own eyes. Needless to say, when Theseus was first announced I was excited to avoid the infamous Minotaur in the labyrinth he calls a home while fighting creatures that dare to live in his kingdom. Admittedly, the 3rd person camera made me a bit wary of the title, but it was a perspective I had not yet experienced in VR and when done right could be a unique setup. Unfortunately, my concerns rang true, Theseus is a short and dull experience that ends long before you even have the chance to enjoy it and a price point that is far above justifiable doesn’t help either.

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The Journey into the Labyrinth

Theseus revolves around the characters journey into the labyrinth to escape the limbo he has been cast into. There’s spiders, a minotaur, and one helpful ghost, but that’s it. The game’s lack of NPC’s wouldn’t be so concerning if it did more with the ones it had created. In the short time I explored the maze I fought a cumulative 16-20 generic spider enemies, followed the ghost to the objective, and defeated the minotaur without swinging my sword at him. Also, if my description of the story seems somewhat lackluster it’s only because if I said anymore, the hour and a half long story would be ruined. While there is nothing wrong with a short game, charging $20 for the experience is a ripoff.

The third person perspective is a cool take on VR that could be used to set up some cool scenes. Unfortunately, Theseus’ take on the idea caused an uneasy feeling in my stomach and made little sense in a game that was about tight corridors and fighting spiders. Although it wasn’t the developers direction, the game would have benefitted from a first person perspective.

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Gameplay and Mechanics 

The gameplay involves climbing up walls, climbing down walls, walking down halls, running down halls, and lazily swinging at spiders. The combat was so dull at some point I tried to just walk to the next objective until an invisible wall impeded my progress that would only disappear when the enemies were defeated. Fighting involves swinging a torch with triangle and swinging a sword with square with no other control choices available, movement and strategy also felt very limited. While the game may take place in a labyrinth at no point was I ever left questioning which way to go. Pro-Tip, a game about a maze should never be a linear experience.

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Final Overview

Theseus is a collection of ideas that could have been really cool if executed properly. The graphics were great and the character design was creepy in a good way, but ultimately the game fell short in too many areas to justify it’s unusually high price point. If you are looking for a new VR title to pick up, Theseus should probably not be on your list.

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SUPERHOT VR: Gigamax Review

SUPERHOT VR: Gigamax Review

SUPERHOT was one of the most popular indie games of 2016 and I’m we’re excited to say that adding VR to its formula is a perfect fit. Developed and published by the Superhot Team, the game has an interesting history that shows how video game development has changed in the past decade. Initially part of the 7 Day Video Game Challenge in 2013, where developers had 7 days to program functional prototypes for games. While the game didn’t win the challenge, it made the Steam Greenlight program and was almost immediately approved. With its insane meta narrative and intense gameplay, SUPERHOT VR is the perfect addition for any PSVR owner.

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Be A Baddass

If you’ve played SUPERHOT before, not much has changed except for the addition of VR but this inclusion fundamentally changes the players’ experience. For those that haven’t played, SUPERHOT is an FPS unlike any other tasking players with taking out groups of enemies in a minimalist environment. The one big difference between this game and other shooters is that time will only move when the player moves, which gives the opportunity to dodge bullets and alter their current actions. In VR, dodging said bullets actually involves the player moving their head and manipulating their body to avoid the projectiles. A game has never made me feel more badass as I spawned into the white room, picked up a bottle to my left, smashed it against the advancing knife wielding enemies face, grabbed its knife from the air, threw it at an advancing gunman, grabbed its gun and shot a second advancing gunman, all while dodging gunfire.

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Things Take A Wild Turn

The plot is as insane as the gameplay offering the player a meta narrative where the game addresses the player directly. The story starts off without much explanation, spawning in a white room the game slowly introduces the mechanics and lets the protagonist get used to the controls. Things take a wild turn when the game has you turn the gun on yourself and pull the trigger. That’s when the player realizes that they are in a simulation… Inside a simulation. Throughout the game, it seems that you are infiltrating a strange virtual base filled with red faceless enemies and guns, which leads to one of the strangest endings in any video game but I won’t spoil that here.

SUPERHOT VR is an awesome addition to a relatively lackluster list of PSVR titles that are available now. If you own this hardware I strongly recommend getting this game. One thing to note before buying is that you will need plenty of space in order to reach for various weapons and dodge all the bullets that are heading your way. Make sure you have a decent play zone or it will lead to a very frustrating time (as I initially found out before relocating). Gigamax will be streaming SUPERHOT VR on Twitch next week so be sure to come back for more details!

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Injustice 2 | Gigamax Review

Injustice 2 | Gigamax Review

Injustice 2 is a unique fighting game with familiar controls that manages to mix three popular video game tropes successfully. NetherRealm studios, the developers behind the Mortal Kombat series, have taken the Injustice series to new heights in this latest entry and with 9 DLC fighters on the way, the package will only get better. A robust and fluid fighting game with an intriguing story and a sprinkle of RPG elements equals an amazing experience for fans of fighting games and the DC Universe.

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Heroes and Villains Save The World

This time around the story steps back from the dark nature of the last one. Instead Injustice 2 follows the stereotypical heroes joining villains to stop a greater threat. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means the story doesn’t reach the emotional levels of the first game. It also gives the player plenty of opportunity to experiment different fighting styles with both the heroes and villains of DC’s Universe. The campaign is written like a DC love letter filled with awesome fight sequences, creative dialogue and more action than a Bruce Willis movie.

Injustice 2 makes the player feel just as powerful as the diverse range of super powered fighters. Whether choosing a god like Swamp Thing or a petty thief like Catwoman, the game makes sure every fighter feels unique and fun to use. Fights are fast and landing a successful combo is as satisfying as ever. The dynamic environments also feel better and faster when compared to the previous entry. NetherRealm also increased the walking speed of all the characters so there is not as much downtime during the fights. They have also increased the amount of opportunities a player has to break out of potentially round ending combos, making fights more fair and chaotic.

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Loot Everywhere

One of the most interesting new additions to Injustice 2 is the loot system that is sure to drag in RPG fans. After each fight, players are given a couple of items that at first will be relatively useless. Investing some time in the game will net fighters some great gear that will even change the overall appearance of each  warrior. Unique costumes for some characters also make an appearance that not only change appearance, but swap the voice acting as well. For example, Green Lantern has a unique costume that turns him into the Jon Stewart iteration which many 90’s kids will remember from the Justice League cartoon.

Unfortunately, players will not be able to play cooperatively but team guilds are available to join. Once a fighter is in a guild they’ll earn specific guild based experience that offers a chance at unique loot. Players can also score loot by spending real world money on source crystals. As of now the only thing tied to the currency are shaders but it will eventually be used for more premier skins.

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Overall Impression

Injustice 2 is a fantastic fighter that manages to engage players in fast, fun, fluid combat all while paying homage to some of DC’s most iconic heroes and villains. Fighting friends feels great and getting loot for fighting your friends feels even better. As of now, the only issue with online is a little lag during fights but it certainly wasn’t game breaking. If you’re a fan of comic books or fighting games we definitely recommend picking up Injustice 2.

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Yooka-Laylee by Playtonic Games: Review

Yooka-Laylee by Playtonic Games: Review

It is hard to express how much I love Yooka-Laylee but stand by while I give it a go. This platformer is an affordable foray into a beautiful universe with plenty of challenge and collectibles. The $40 price tag offers even more incentive to try it out. Each world provides players with a new experience, all while keeping players entertained with clever dialogue and interesting characters. To top off this nostalgic gut punch, Playtonic Games included a delightful soundtrack that will make Banjo-Kazooie veterans flashback to their N64 days.

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To address the elephant in the room, yes Yooka-Laylee does feel nearly identical to Banjo-Kazooie. This is mainly because the developers working at Playtonic Games are industry veterans that were the brains behind the bear and the bird most gamers remember. These similarities are not a bad thing though, in fact they add to the allure of the game. The controls are fluid, Yooka runs and jumps with grace just like Banjo. Jumping from platform to platform feels great and the only thing that ever got in the way was an occasional camera glitch.

Powers and Abilities

Fluidity is essential due to the pallet of skills at your heroes disposal. Throughout the adventure both Yooka and Laylee will learn tons of moves used for moving, flying and fighting their way to victory. From the start players are limited in terms of skills, only having access to run and jump. After a minor introduction, attack is unlocked and the game opens up. Players are then introduced to the move acquisition system. Instead of just being handed moves, a smooth talking snake will trade abilities for quills. Although the price seems steep, quills are in no short supply as they are one of the more prevalent collectables.

Yooka-Laylee is a collect-a-thon that just keeps giving. Players have a constant stream of various quills, pagies, ghost writers, tonics and various other objects necessary for reaching the end of the game. Not all of these items are easy to obtain as many are hidden behind various puzzles and fights which Yooka must take care of first. These puzzles aren’t always easy, some require quick reflexes and clever problem solving. One of the more challenging problems require players to answer a series of 10 questions that are necessary for progression. These questions seem easy at first, but as the list goes on very specific questions are asked, such as “how many hours have you been playing the game.” By the way, these were all asked by a talking duck in a rolling fish tank.

Environments and Characters

The delightful cast of characters is one of the many driving forces Yooka-Laylee uses to keep players attentions. A constant feeling of anticipation is felt when traveling into the many worlds, brought on by new faces and self aware dialogue. The antagonist of the game comes in the form of an arrogant bee known as Capital B. Puns, plays on words and destroying the 4th wall are what the game does best. The snarky dialogue between the two heroes is endearing and while Capital B’s dialogue will never match the wit of Gruntilda (the antagonist from Banjo-Kazooie) he still has some funny lines that take a jab at corporate culture. Characters also make the iconic goofy mumbling noises made famous by Playtonic Games previous franchise.

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These characters are spread throughout a variety of gorgeous environments accessed by jumping into magical story books that have been stolen by Capital B. Players start on a busted up pirate ship that Yooka and Laylee call a home and move onto the main hub world known as the Hivory Towers. This is where you’ll find the world bending books, starting with the jungle level, Tribalstack Tropics. Players will move onto various other whimsical areas such as a frozen tundra and a flashy casino. Although there are only 5 zones, they each have two versions that require players to expand the world in order to grab all the collectables. When expanded, the books contain new challenges to take on and introduce more characters to meet.

An arcade like multiplayer is included as well. It lets friends compete against each other in various mini game activities. These are fun diversions from the story but ultimately they feel a little forced but ultimately don’t detract from the excellence that is the campaign.

Overview

Yooka-Laylee is a truly wonderful experience that is a must buy for anyone who enjoyed Banjo-Kazooie or any retro platformer. This indie game is a Kickstarter success story that shows the true power of the platform and independent developers. Hopefully it inspires more small time game developers to go against the grain and develop outside industry norms.

Gigamax Games is dedicated to giving our fans a look at all the latest games and industry updates. Make sure to stay tuned for more early previews and reviews and if you’d like to see some gameplay of Yooka-Laylee make sure to check out our sneak peek let’s play below.

Yooka-Laylee – Early Preview with Gigamax Games

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For Honor Review – Let The Battle Begin with Gigamax Games

For Honor

For Honor

For Honor was built up to be the next big revolution in virtual melee combat. With a creative control scheme and a fresh new concept, For Honor largely succeeds in its mission. Intense fights, cinematic action and plenty of characters to choose from make this game the fun experience many were waiting for. For Honor’s bread and butter is the variety of multiplayer modes available for taking on both human and A.I. rivals. But that isn’t the only option for cutting down enemies, the game also contains a sizable campaign mode that ended up being a pleasant surprise

The story mode is made up of three separate paths that follow the wars constantly raging between the game’s factions. Players start as the knights, a group of honor bound warriors that plan to bring peace to the lands. The game then transition control over to the vikings, who are in desperate need of a leader. Finally, the third act follows the samurai as they fight off invading forces. The campaign offers insight into the many playable heroes and teaches all the intricacies of combat.

For Honor

The Combat

Fighting enemies feels great, whether that be the cannon fodder or the mighty hero characters. Those familiar with the Dark Souls series will feel at home with the emphasis on stamina management and parrying. For Honor’s major innovation to combat is the ability to guard and strike on specific sides with one click. Combat is easy to learn but mastering it is a whole other battle. Clashing swords feels great and well made sound effects enhance the overall experience.

Carrying fighting skills picked up in the campaign over to the multiplayer is exciting as well. While slaying A.I. bots is rewarding, executing a fellow human after a long back and forth is one of the best online experiences to date. Multiplayer is divided into four modes; dominion (capture the point), duel (1v1), brawl (2v2) and death match (elimination). Each of these modes is entertaining and offers a different challenge in terms of combat expertise. After completing some matches, players will be able to buy new equipment, cosmetics and characters after earning enough of the in-game currency.

For Honor

Overall For Honor is a great experience we would recommend to anyone itching for a new multiplayer to dive into. While the campaign is fun, the competitive battles online are at the forefront. Ubisoft outdid themselves on this one and we hope that they continue supporting this game just as Blizzard is doing with Overwatch. Remember to check out our variety of content on For Honor, included below is our let’s play of the beta that came out before release!

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