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Category: Game Reviews (page 1 of 4)

FTLoTG – Splitgate: Arena Warfare Review

Review by, William Griston, For Love of the Game – Gigamax Games Contributor

Splitgate: Arena Warfare was created by an extremely small indie studio called 1047 Games and is the bastard lovechild of Halo and Portal. It is one of those games that you never knew you wanted and once you got it you cannot get enough.

The developers have a public discord server and frequently interact with the community and take suggestions to heart, for better or worse. With a ton of active users and moderators, their discord always has people willing to offer suggestions for improving your gameplay or even helping you troubleshoot issues with performance.

Free to play, but not pay to win

Splitgate is entirely free to play, just download it from steam and hop in.

Splitgate does have microtransactions in the form of aesthetics, which are at the time of this writing called disco balls which you trade in for SAW(Splitgate: Arena Warfare) Packs, essentially playing the same role Loot Boxes from Overwatch. There are plans to allow players to purchase specific armor pieces and various skins for weapons, armor, and portals.

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If you aren’t competitive, give it a pass

Definitely not for the faint of heart or the slow of reflexes, Splitgate offers intense and high-speed gameplay not seen all that often in the modern era. The gunplay is lifted directly from Halo, with all the weapons baring more than a striking resemblance to the ones from its progenitor. Halo always had a solid core for the gunplay, add in the portals from Portal and you have a recipe for a twitchy arena shooter with an extremely high skill ceiling. The biggest problem is that the game is exceedingly punishing of new players as they are both unfamiliar with the maps and not used to the addition of the portals to the usual FPS gunplay dynamic, enabling more familiar players to pop in behind them when they least expect it.

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The game modes are pretty standard for an arena FPS game(Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Strongholds, King Of The Hill, Oddball, SWAT), most of them have been lifted from Halo with some of their own versions of game types from other popular shooters thrown in. The developers have even seen fit to include Kill Confirmed from the Call of Duty franchise with their own spin on it called “Teabag Confirmed”. This silly game mode is a fun diversion from the stock standard Team Deathmatch fare. The objective of “Teabag Confirmed” is a case of “What’s on the tin, is in the tin”. The player literally has to Teabag the dog tags that an enemy player drops upon death to gain a point for your team, or Teabag a friendly set of dog tags to deny a point for the other team. It’s the kind of game where being the best at getting multikills may not actually help your team as you can still lose a game if no one is there to ‘bag the tags’, even if you manage to go twenty and zero.

It includes a plethora of maps, some of which I’m still learning offer a rather sizeable amount of content, and totally original maps being the best ones of the bunch(SAW Stadium is a personal favorite).  I’m sitting on around 10 hours played (I managed to hit rank 12 in Skirmish before the first reset in early June of 2019). I still have a long way to go before I consider myself a “master” of this game, but it’s a helluva a lot of fun and it scratches that competitive itch.

In Closing

I wholeheartedly encourage you and all of your friends to give the game a shot (IT’S FREE!). With the caveat being that until the player base increases you may be stuck waiting a while for the Matchmaking Queue to pop, but the option for customs gives you a way to skip the queue and jump straight into a game after game after game and play whatever game mode you so choose.

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You will need a fast finger and quick wits to survive in this game, as it is not newbie friendly.
The biggest snafu recently was the removal of the Social(casual) playlist and forcing everybody to play the ranked mode. Like any game with a ranked mode, it tends to be full of sweaty tryhards. They quickly reversed that decision, but the choice hurt the game as the queue times went from a minute or two to five or more, depending on the time of day. Obviously playing at prime time is your best bet, which for me as a west coaster is between 6pm and 9pm. Splitgate averages around a thousand players a day which is hurting the queue times for matchmaking as a whole, whether you are interested in Ranked or Social(the Casual playlist). This is quite frankly the biggest issue with the game right now. Luckily, it also has a custom server game browser with dedicated servers for the players to host their own games with the default rules or with customized rules(low gravity, high speed, etc), and the customs tend to fill up very fast.

Give it a shot, you might like it.

Join the official discord and join the community, tell them you heard about it on Gigamax, or you know, don’t.

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Satisfactory Review: A Factory Sandbox on an Alien Planet

Satisfactory is the factory building simulator concocted by the gents that brought us Goat Simulator….of all games. The gameplay loop is simple enough: mine valuable natural resources to build machines that help you mine for natural resources so you can design factories that expedite the mining of resources, ad infinitum. The joy is in the planning and exploration as you traverse lush alien planets in search of natural mineral deposits to exploit, developing small mining operations into enormous, mall-sized industrial machines to pump precious rocks and things from beneath the surface.

What To Expect

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There isn’t much explanation or narrative for what’s going on. A short animation plays at the start of the game offering a bit of information about who you are and what you do. You work for FICSIT, a massive, interplanetary corporation that apparently sends its employees – you – to distant, resource-rich alien planets to pump them empty of their minerals. You get the feeling that the people that pay your salary might just be the bad guys and you’re not much more than a cog in their well-oiled, planet-eating industrial machine. After landing with a dull thud on the planet’s surface (there’s a currently a choice of three planets with different biomes which you select before beginning a session), a brief tutorial offers a bit of guidance on the main mechanics of the game before leaving you to your own devices.

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Some elements of survival gameplay exist in Satisfactory, though they’re clearly secondary to the main mechanics of resource mining and machine building. Combat, in particular, feels floaty, with your hits lacking weight. The lack of visual and audio feedback makes battles unsatisfying and often difficult to determine if your attacks hit their mark. Aggressive creatures are clearly a balancing mechanic, acting as deterrence for new players hoping to immediately start farming the more valuable minerals from the get-go. Hopefully, plans are in the works to improve combat overall.

Descriptions of Satisfactory tend to reduce the game to a mere 3D re-imagining of Factorio. You spend much of the game either mining for resources or slapping together combinations of different processing and resource extracting machines to help you accelerate the mining of resources. Such comparisons, while warranted, are a bit unfair to Satisfactory. The additional dimension of play, the ability to add levels and height to your buildings, adds a refreshing verticality to the planning and construction processes, yet another aspect that must be considered in the chase for ultimate efficiency. The first-person perspective also introduces a visual sense of enormousness, of the world and of your constructions, that is notably missing when played from the top-down perspective of Factorio. I still often find myself in awe at the sheer size of some of my creations, metallic monsters of conveyor belts, smelters, and automated transport robots that consume massive swathes of the planet’s surface.

The Nitty Gritty

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The worlds you walk are gorgeously hand-crafted by Coffee Stain’s level designers, the team favoring carefully constructed environments to the generic creations that procedural generation algorithms tend to produce. This attention to detail can be found in the animations and texturing, as well, with a clean HUD and sharp, purposeful movements that communicate a polish and professionalism often missing in other early access titles. It certainly helps that the game, which runs on Unreal Engine 4, looks fantastic and runs smoothly.

The sandbox nature of Satisfactory makes it the kind of game that lends itself well to the share-everything Internet culture of Youtube and Twitch where talented individuals can showcase their planning and automation prowess to the world. This strategy worked for Minecraft – and, of course, Factorio – and Satisfactory seems to have been tailor-made to go down that route with built-in co-op play and the inherent potential for putting together some amazing factories several stories in height. The skybox is literally the limit. Even now in this early stage of development, players are sharing clips of some jaw-dropping technical achievements or proofs of efficient construction patterns. The community has already done some amazing things and it’s worth exploring the plethora of information available, if only just to sit mouth agape at some of the wonders born from the minds of others.

One unexpected side effect of making this game first-person is the issue of travel. Whereas in Factorio you only need to scroll your mouse to get from one side of the map to the other, attempting a similar feat in Satisfactory is guaranteed to be a significant investment of your time. You run at quite the brisk pace, but the utter size of the map is the challenge. This really becomes a problem a few hours in, after you’ve sunk your teeth into the game proper and begun putting together factories that are sometimes kilometers in length. Naturally, there are machines and transportation vehicles for automated ferrying of resources across long distances and even a jet pack to facilitate movement from floor-to-floor, but at some point, it feels like you can never move fast enough. I have my suspicions that this may not be entirely accidental; the slowness of movement certainly incentivizes co-op play, which is one of the primary selling points of Satisfactory. Having another person on your team can cut down travel and building time significantly.

Tying Things Up

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Satisfactory is a game that encourages experimentation and exploration. The real beauty of the game is in the potential for combining these simple, straightforward components into complex and intricate operations, rewarding dedication and, most of all, patience. The patience to travel from one end of your factory to the other, or to test and test and test again different machine configurations to maximize potential output or to build looming artificial constructs that kiss the clouds. Most of us will never find the patience or have the imaginative capacity to push the game to its limits, but there’s still a fun and well fleshed-out game for regular players. Its early access status has not held it back one bit, and even now in this early stage of development, Satisfactory is an enjoyable, challenging game with a polish and completeness that belies its early access status.

Special thanks to OffGamers for the guest blog submission! Read more by OffGamers!

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5 Best Sega Dreamcast Games Of All-Time

Sega Dreamcast was ahead of its time, changing gaming into something better. It was launched 16 months before Sony PlayStation II and 3 years before Xbox. Sadly, this console failed to reach its full potential and was forgotten by most players. However, some still adore its games and they can play them on PC, using emulators and ROMS from Gamulator. We found 5 games in particular that are truly stunning, even today.

1. Crazy Taxi

Millions adored this game in arcades back in 1999. It was ported to Sega Dreamcast in 2000 and many gamers switched over to this platform. In the game, you will drive a taxi. Your mission is to make money while transporting passengers to specific destinations across the map. The map was similar for arcade and Dreamcast devices, but the one for Sega was much bigger.

Players were able to reach bonuses by performing stunts while driving, barreling through across all kinds of terrain, enjoying its fast-paced gameplay. There was also a timed option to increase the game’s difficulty.

2. Soulcalibur

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Soulcalibur is considered to be one of the best fighting games of all times, not just one of the best for Sega Dreamcast. Players used all kinds of weapons and complicated moves to defeat their opponents and were able to play the game in mission, time attack and survival modes. The game also offers new 3D techniques which were ahead of the time.

3. Rez

Rez is one of the best games due to strange gameplay which was and still is one of a kind. In the game you are in the shoes of a hacker who travels across a super network, destroying viruses and malware. But, the best part is the music. As soon as you destroy a virus, the music will change and you can get all kinds of notes while destroying your opponents. This isn’t all.

The main objective in the game is to defeat all opponents and prevent Eden, artificial intelligence from taking control of the network. The game is a unique combination of shooting and music.

4. Sonic Adventure

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The game is so popular that we don’t have even to explain it. In this sequel, you were able to play in Hero or Dark story mode and switch between them at any given moment. The graphics were also significantly better than most players could have imagined.

5. Resident Evil: Code Veronica

This is the 4th sequel of the game and it’s focused on Claire Redfield who is looking for her brother, Chris.  Gamers enjoyed the 3D world and the superior story. In addition, the camera was able to track the main character much better than ever before which was one of the biggest advantages of the game.

Gamers also loved the transition between the scenes which saw significant improvement when compared to the previous sequels. For most fans, this is the ultimate sequel and one of the best of all times.

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These 5 games are popular among all players of Sega Dreamcast. Choose your favorite and start playing. You will understand why this console was ahead of its time and why it is considered as special, even today.

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The New Things We Love In Pokemon Let’s Go

With the Pokemon Let’s Go games releasing about a month ago, we have had time to analyze the changes to the series. While the changes for these titles are pretty massive, the core gameplay of the Pokemon series still shines through. To celebrate the massive success of these titles we have made up a list of changes that we fell in love with. With beautiful graphics and redesigned assets, these games pull in fans both new and old. These changes help make Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee the Kanto remakes we have been desperately hoping for.

Chaining Pokémon Gets Insane

A totally new feature to the series is chaining catches. Once you catch a Pokemon it starts a chain. The more you catch of the same Pokemon the higher the chain gets. Chains make rarer Pokemon show up, including evolutions you wouldn’t normally see wandering around.

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You can also use chains for mass leveling. The experience you can get from a chain can even rival that of what you would get running through the Elite Four with your team multiple times. Things get even crazier if you use lures to make Pokemon pop up faster. The only way to break a chain once it starts is by catching another Pokemon or having a Pokemon run away.

Catching Shinies is Easier

Catching shinies is one of the most tedious parts of the video game. To get a shiny it takes hours of searching, resetting your game, and hatching eggs. Let’s Go has made this easier by adding in the shiny charm and making chains raise the chance of encountering a shiny.

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You can also see the Pokemon walking around the environment, this saves you time by letting you only willingly encounter the Pokemon you are interested in. The Shiny charm makes your odds go from 1 in 4,096 to 1 in 1,365 and chaining makes the odds go up to 1 in 315. Combining the methods makes your chance go up to 1 in 273 with the odds capping when you chain exactly 31 Pokemon. While this won't make catching a shiny a breeze, Let’s Go gives you a far better chance than any other title in the past.

They Kept Away From HM Slaves

If you have played the original Blue, Yellow, or Red versions of Pokemon, then you had an HM slave. HM slaves are a Pokemon you select to put a permanent terrible move set on just to progress through the game.

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In the first Pokemon games this included moves such as rock smash, flash, and cut. These moves were weak in attack power and made you have a near useless Pokemon taking up one of your six slots. Let’s Go teaches HM’s to your Pikachu who is permanently with you. HM’s are no longer count as Pokemon moves, but instead, they are used only outside of battle and happen automatically when you press A on an area where a special move is needed to progress.

Realistic Proportions

While Pokemon is a fantasy game, the fans are hardcore about the portrayal of the in-game monsters they love. These games do a perfect job at realistically portraying the size of your Pokemon partners.

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Even going so far as to have Onix’s head cut off inside of some homes you visit. Bigger Pokemon such as Persian are also rideable. Each individual Pokemon is size-adjusted when out of the Pokeball to give you a better feel for the proportions of each different monster in the game. This makes us curious to see how the team would handle the portraying the massive Pokemon Wailord.

The Gyms Are Redone

Let’s face it, the gyms in Gen. 1 were pretty limited thanks to both developer budget and the graphical limitations of the original Gameboy. While some gyms like Vermillion cities trash can puzzle where a little bit more interesting, by today's standards things were bland.

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To spice things up, the gyms have been completely re-dun and the puzzles you face to get to the gym leaders have been touched up. This gives the game a fresh twist for those who have played the originals or the remakes for the Game Boy Advance.

Trading Is More Prominent

To be honest, trading with NPC’s in most Pokemon games was a joke, unless you really are into getting common Pokemon you could catch elsewhere.

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Let’s Go actually breathes more life into trading by placing trainers around the map that have hordes of Alola Pokemon. Best of all, no matter how many times you trade them, they never seem to run out. If you prefer nostalgia though don't worry, there are still some pretty horrible “trades” left in the game that can score you a Magikarp for just 500 pokedollars.

Gym Leaders Aren’t Cardboard

Outside of the comics and anime series gym leaders are pretty flat characters. While this was worked on after the first games, even the Fire Red and Leaf Green reboots didn’t breathe too much life into the characters.

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While the leaders don’t have their own story arcs, you can now find them wandering around areas of the map. Gym leaders now pop-up in other towns and have pre-recorded events. You even encounter Brock later in the game who is sad that leader Erika turned him down. These little interactions just give a little bit more life to the world and are a delight for old time fans.

Pikachu and Eevee Aren’t Required

Both Pikachu and Eevee can’t be evolved and that’s completely fine since they don’t need to stay in my party. In fact, removing these Pokemon from the party doesn’t really affect much.

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They still hang out on your shoulder/hat and anytime an obstacle pop-ups they will happily remove it. Unlike in Pokemon Yellow though you can’t trade off or get rid of your starter. This means that no matter what you do neither Pikachu or Eevee will ever leave your side or free up space in your box. On the bright side, they are made to be stronger than a normal Pikachu or Eevee making them pretty useful in battle if trained up.

Special thanks to OffGamers for the guest blog submission! Read more by OffGamers!

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Battle Beaver Custom Controller Review

A video game controller is the most important tool in a serious gamers collection. It is the portal into other worlds that allows players to traverse fantastical realms and share the experiences with friends. That’s why it’s essential for everyone that loves video games to have the right tool for the job and the custom controller company, Battle Beaver, is committed to providing exactly what people want on their device. We recently purchased a new PS4 controller through their website and decided to see how this small business holds up against some of the bigger competition.

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Battle Beavers mission statement is “Here at Battle Beaver Customs, we focus on improving our customer's gaming experience through custom gaming controllers, DIY parts, and instructional videos.” To stay in-line with this goal, they offer a variety of upgrades for gamers to experience their video games in new and interesting ways including; Tension upgrades, custom logos on home buttons, smart triggers, rear buttons, custom thumbsticks, and an assortment of colors.

The only upgrade we found necessary was rear buttons mapped to X and O to help give us an edge in shooting games. We wouldn’t ever have to remove our thumb from the right joystick while jumping or crouching again. What stood out about Battle Beaver, which also helps set them apart from other big name custom controllers, is that their rear triggers are not paddles, but instead a round button as you’d see on the front of the controller. This is an amazing difference for players that hold the controller with a tight grip and struggle with the sensitivity of the standard rear paddle.

Battle Beaver is definitely a small business and every email customers receive after ordering their controller makes sure they’re aware that a lot of work goes into manufacturing these devices. The company also lets you know that every purchase is greatly appreciated and all of their work is done painstakingly by hand. Unfortunately, quality takes time. The order was placed on August 8th and didn’t arrive until September 10th. While this may seem like a long time for a controller that cost around $110.00, the craftsmanship that goes into the controller is clear.

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The only issue we had with the Battle Beaver controller is that the right stick began to stick after a couple days of playing, but the issue seemingly resolved itself after a little more time. While this could have become a much greater problem on an expensive new piece of technology, the company will gladly fix the controller if you email them about the issue and explain exactly what happened.

We love our Battle Beaver custom controller and will definitely utilize them if we need any other devices. Our favorite part about this small business is their dedication to providing a quality product and their understanding that these tools are important to the people using them. For more information on Battle Beaver or to order your own custom controller visit their website and see if they’re the right fit for you!

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INSIDE Review: For Love of the Game

INSIDE Review: For Love of the Game

Review by, William Griston, For Love of the Game – Gigamax Games Contributor

INSIDE is the spiritual successor to Playdead’s previous game, LIMBO, and it wears that mantle well. INSIDE was released on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One in 2016 by Playdead. This game is a “trial and death” game much like what Playdead had labeled LIMBO. Thematically both games are dark, but most of LIMBO’s grit comes from the ambiance, whereas INSIDE’s melancholy is tied to the themes that it presents.

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At its’ base, INSIDE is a side-scrolling 2.5D puzzle game with the story being told through set pieces that you encounter on your journey through the remarkably detailed world. While it’s not as difficult as its’ predecessor, INSIDE has a few new mechanics that keep things fresh.

Much like the previous game LIMBO, INSIDE starts off with a small boy running through a forest. After a short trek through the bush, you burst out into a clearing, where you learn that your character is trying to evade some NPCs(Non-Player Characters) armed with flashlights and tranquilizer guns.

INSIDE Gets Dark

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As you venture further and further into the game, the NPCs get more aggressive. The world itself takes a dystopian twist, each death functioning as a checkpoint as you stumble blindly through Playdead’s wonderfully crafted and terrifying world. You’ll find yourself holding your breath as you attempt to evade NPCs, pulling your hair as you try to figure out the path you’re supposed to take and a surge of joy when you finally solve an especially difficult puzzle. Much like LIMBO, there’s also a modicum of macabre humor to be found within the venue that Playdead has granted us. The sad state of the protagonist’s world is told through both the extremely creative set pieces as well as the beautiful art style. You will die, a lot.

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INSIDE’s graphics are not as rudimentary as the previous game. LIMBO was a black silhouette on a black landscape, INSIDE’s world is one of color, still draped in an atmospheric shadow and somber grays. The oppressive landscape serving as a terrifying backdrop to the gameplay, the story of the wheres and whyfors playing out in the background and sometimes in the foreground as you attempt to surmount the plethora of nefarious puzzles that have been placed in your path.

INSIDE is great, but LIMBO is better

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While INSIDE is a great game, I think LIMBO is the much stronger title out of the two.

If we’re being totally honest, I feel like INSIDE would probably feel more original if I hadn’t touched LIMBO first.

In the end, I’d say that if you like platformers and Puzzle games: Pick up both LIMBO and INSIDE. If you have to choose between the two, I’d get LIMBO because the puzzles feel less labored than they do in INSIDE. I just did not get as much from INSIDE as I did LIMBO, it’s still a great game, it’s just not as fantastic as the previous outing by Playdead.

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Surviving Mars Review – For Love of the Game

Review by, William Griston, For Love of the Game – Gigamax Games Contributor

Surviving Mars was created by the Bulgarian Haemimont Games and published by Paradox Interactive from Sweden. It was released on Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 15, 2018. The game follows in the footsteps of Cities: Skylines (Another Paradox game) and SimCity (Maxis).

Not quite what I was expecting

After spending almost a hundred hours on the indie company Magruda Works’ Planetbase, another game that’s eerily similar to what Haemimont and Paradox have offered with Surviving Mars, to say I was excited for the game would be an understatement. I pre-ordered Surviving Mars, I never pre-order games anymore. I have been burned one too many times, this game was not any different. While Surviving Mars had originally piqued my interest because the game looked like it was Planetbase++, that is, Planetbase with more substance.

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What I got was a flashy game with very little substance. Which honestly should not have surprised me considering that it was published by Paradox, the kings of DLC. Paradox has a habit of releasing half-assed games and then making them better over time with DLC (See: Hearts of Iron IV, Crusader Kings II). Don’t get me wrong, I like Paradox games (I’ve played the shit out of both Hearts of Iron IV and Stellaris, as well as dabbling with the extremely complicated Crusader Kings II), I just I don’t like their business model.

Various Shades of Boring, with a side of Ho-Hum

Gameplay wise, you will spend a few hours collecting materials and then building windmills and solar panels so you can generate air and water and drop your first dome. After that, you call in your first batch of colonists which aren’t enough to staff all of your structures. Later on, when the games design to allows you to recruit more colonists it will automatically assign people to the jobs, but they are not assigned correctly. It assigns Engineers to the Farms, and Botanists to the hospital, and so on. This leads to a lot of tedious micromanagement with you attempting to track down individual colonists and telling them what building to work on.

For some inexplicable reason, the colonists sometimes ignore those commands and go back to the job they were working before, even though you’ve eliminated that shift which leads to even more tedious micromanagement. There honestly isn’t a lot to Surviving Mars. It’s basically SimCity/Cities: Skylines on Mars with a stricter ruleset. Graphically, the game isn’t really all that spectacular, either. Granted, the setting is Mars, which means that the terrain is various shades of red and brown.

Hot Garbage

In the end, I would honestly pick up Planetbase instead it is half the price of Surviving Mars. Even with the wonky AI in Planetbase, I had more fun within the first 3 hours than I did with the eight I put into Surviving Marts. I hate to trash on a game, but, Surviving Mars was a disappointment.

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On The Eighth Day, Iguana Created Turok…

For Love of the Game: Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

Review by, William Griston – Gigamax Games Contributor

Originally released on the Nintendo 64 in 1997, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was one of the first FPS games designed explicitly with a console in mind. While it did receive a port to the PC, it was not as well received as the N64 version. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was crafted by the now defunct Iguana Entertainment and subsequently published by the now equally defunct Acclaim Entertainment. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was given new life on the PC in December of 2015 and on Xbox One in March of 2018 by Nightdive Studios

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Nightdive has succeeded in bringing a beloved game from many of our childhoods into the modern era. They seem to have a penchant for bringing old games from defunct studios back from the dead, and I feel that we all owe them for this great service. Keep fighting the good fight Nightdive.

The Setting

Taking on the role of Tal’Set as the current Turok(in the later games of the original series, you play the role of Joshua Fireseed). All Turoks function as protectors of the barrier between the Lost Lands and Earth as well as participating in an unending struggle to stem the tide of the nefarious Campaigner’s bid to rule the multiverse. Based upon a comic book series that ran from the mid-‘50s to the early ‘80s, the Turok games are one of the few game series to feature a Native American protagonist. It’s the only one to feature a pure-blood one, which is somewhat surprising given the rich lore in their culture. I would love to play through a game similar to the setting/events in the movie Apocalypto as an example. Pre-European conquest Tomb Raider? Yes, please.

The Gameplay

While the gameplay is fairly rudimentary by modern standards, that is, you point guns at bad guys and press fire until they die. Strafing in circles is your best strategy for almost every enemy in the game with few exceptions. You can also attempt to make your foes attack each other, a feat that is much easier with the ranged enemies than it is with the melee based enemies. The caveat here is that like enemies will not attack each other, except for humanoids armed with guns. That is, Raptors won’t fight Raptors, Pur-Lin won’t fight Pur-Line.

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You are given access to a veritable cornucopia of weapons with to dispatch the various flora and fauna of the Lost Lands. Most of them are stock standard FPS fare but there are few standout weapons like the Particle Accelerator, easily one of the most unique weapons in the game, hell, in any FPS game that I have played. The Particle Accelerator charges up before automatically discharging, or you can unleash a torrent of directed plasma in front of you and most enemies hit by it will be burned to a crisp before finally exploding flinging giblets every which way.

The final weapon, the Chronoscepter is only available if you find all of the missing pieces scattered across the levels. The Chronoscepter goes boom in the most satisfying of ways, at least for the era that the game came from, for modern games, it’s rather lackluster even with the updated particle effects from Nightdive Studios’ remaster. I think the only major issue I have with the weaponry is how weak the shotguns are, especially on the higher difficulties.

The vast majority of the enemies you will face in Turok are humanoids, but there is a sprinkling of non-humanoids such as the goliath Pur-Lin(Giant Ape-like creatures, that look like angry mutant frogs) and dinosaurs such as Raptors. There’s even a small handful of bosses (Four total). The amount of dinos you face is rather minuscule considering the suffix of the game is “Dinosaur Hunter”, but I guess “Turok: Hunts Dinosaurs Sometimes” isn’t as catchy.

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The enemies are not the only threat you’ll face on your trek through the multitude of interconnected worlds. There are a bevy of hazards sprinkled liberally throughout each level from the mundane and primitive stake traps (Long branches with sharpened stakes attached to them that swing out horizontally), flesh-eating plants that fire spikes at you, and the occasional falling rock, all of which serve to bring life to a mostly empty world.

Inexplicably, there are a series of jump puzzles across a few levels in Turok. Whose idea was it to put platforming into an FPS game? They deserve far more scorn than I can muster, maybe even more scorn than the entirety of gamedom can muster (that’s a lot of scorn for those keeping track).

Exploring The Lost Lands

On your quest to collect all the pieces of the Chronoscepter and defeat the Campaigner will find you venturing through a massive and ancient temple complex. Delve into the claustrophobic depths of a mazelike catacomb, run across bridges through a village high in the trees, trudge through a wasteland filled with fields of lava, and finally the assault the Campaigner’s fortress which is a labyrinth of steel corridors. Every level has a few secret portals that pop up from time to time, given away by the telltale throbbing hum.    

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The journey starts out in the lush* jungles on the outskirts of Lost Lands, which functions as a hub for the game itself. After collecting the first few keys, you’ll find yourself in a giant cave with slightly raised stone floor with a series of stepping stones marked with glyphs that correspond to a specific key for a specific portal on the cave floor leading to an archway that become active portals to each sub-world of the Lost Lands once you insert the needed keys into the corresponding mounting affixed on the central platform.

*There are trees, some vine covered walls, as well as few monkeys, boars, and deer.

Caveat Emptor(Let The Buyer Beware)

This is an old game, that means much of Turok’s content was limited by design choices of the original team (Iguana Entertainment) due to the technological constraints of the system it was created for in the first place (The Nintendo 64). The AI is pretty abysmal, the textures are low res, and the models are janky. The fog was initially used as a stop-gap to keep the framerate at a playable level, but it was put to good use by adding some much-needed atmosphere.

If were not for the fog, you would not be treated to seeing the monolithic structures that poke out of the mists at you as you approach them, nor would you have to tangle with dinosaurs charging at you from unexpected places. Even with Nightdive Studios stellar job bringing this game back from the abyss, there’s only so much polish you can put on a turd. I enjoyed my trip through memory lane, while I am honestly not sure how much of a factor nostalgia was, I expect it did play a rather large role in my enjoyment of the game so there may be some positive bias in my thoughts to the game as a whole.

Play Turok: Dinosaur Hunter if you want to see what helped influence the acceptance of the console FPS. Games like Turok, Goldeneye, and Perfect Dark all laid the foundation for games like Halo and Destiny.

If you want the flashiest of graphics with the gibbiest of gibs, I would just play the new Doom.

This review was written based off of the PC remaster of the game that was released in 2015 by Nightdive Studios and may not be applicable to the Xbox One version of the game.
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For Love of the Game: Superhot Review

Superhot is the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years.

Review by, William Griston – Gigamax Games Contributor 

Designed by the Superhot Team from Poland, Superhot was initially created for 7DFPS in 2013 before being worked into a more fleshed out game by the aforementioned

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Superhot has you enter a matrix-like grey-scaled world where the only bits of color are the endless hordes of Red dudes. The gameplay is centered around controlling the passage of time with key presses (or the lack thereof), time still flows even if you are not pressing any buttons or looking around, albeit at a pace even a snail would find painfully slow. Essentially, you will feel like you are playing through a John Woo movie. This is a game where you can literally dodge bullets. You can even, if you so choose, play the game like a stock-standard FPS game by pressing your movement keys constantly keeping the flow of time active rather than relatively inert. Superhot is easily the most stylised shooter that I have ever played, every level is black and white, all the Bad Dudes are Red, and your Dude is Black. All of the various Dudes are made of a crystalline substance that chips, cracks, and eventually shatters when hit by various objects ranging from baseball bats to pool balls, monitors, bottles, to bullets.

An Interesting Start

The game starts you off staring at a reasonable facsimile of MS-DOS.

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There is a surprising array of options for a game like this (Or any game in recent memory, really), some of them quirky (my favorite is the Chat Room), and a couple “games within a game” one of which is very self-referential. There is also a few easter eggs that are only accessible once you have completed the main game. The tree chopping mini-game is pretty charming.

I could honestly see that Superhot was a labor of love for the Superhot Team, and I can really appreciate the effort that they have put into it.

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The campaign is roughly two hours long, without spoiling anything important (Is there a way to spoil a two-year-old game?). The campaign starts you off with a text conversation with a friend, who after extolling the virtues of the same, sends you a copy.

Memorable and Engaging

I found Superhot’s campaign to be pretty engaging as a whole, or at least engaging enough that I played through it in a single sitting, even if Superhot is somewhat predictable.

There are a few really memorable set pieces as you progress through the game, which I want to talk about, but I would rather not tarnish the experience for those of you who have yet to play through Superhot.

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The Endless Mode moniker is a case of “What’s on the tin, is what’s in the tin.”, and is unlocked after completing the main game. The Endless Mode gives you the ability to play through a selection of stages you played through on the main game, albeit with endless waves of Red Dudes coming at you from every angle until you are taken out and repeat the process. Killing a fixed number of Red Dudes on a given stage unlocks further permutations of that stage, such as Time Attack, or “Katana Only” challenges, the number is cumulative so you don’t have to worry about doing it in one go, as I had initially thought was required.  I think my only complaint is that there’s too much focus on the gunplay in the Endless mode as a whole, you’ll see ARs and Shotguns in the second and third waves rather than a gradual introduction of better-armed opponents. It’d be fun for it to be primarily melee with the occasional pistol wielding Red Dude for the first 5-10 waves. I bet there’s a mod out there that accomplishes just that.

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Simple Is Beautiful 

Although simplistic, the graphics are able to convey the world that they wanted to show you in a manner that fits the narrative of the game. There are reasonable facsimiles of real-world objects (Cars, Bar Counters, Pool Tables, Toilet Stalls). There are Red Dudes, and various items that you can pick up and throw, use to beat or shoot the Red Dudes until they shatter. The Katana is a personal favorite, cleaving Red Dudes in twain and the way that the Katana sticks into the ground after you throw it is oddly satisfying.

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If you want to try a shooter that is as unique as it is stylistic, give it a shot.

If you are leery about trying it, grab it on a Steam sale.

Now For a Joke

A joke made by one of the streamers I watch on the regular made is that there is a hidden challenge mode in trying to beat the game before you can return it on Steam. I enjoyed the game enough that I did not return it, and have sunk a few hours into the Endless Mode.

Really, if you enjoy shooters in any fashion you should give the game a shot. I feel like you will not be disappointed. I know I was not, I just wish I had played the game when it was new rather than waiting a couple of years due to unfounded misgivings. Superhot is one of those games that really makes me love indie game developers.

The Author has not played the VR version of Superhot, as such this review is not applicable to that version of the game. Find the Superhot VR review from Gigamax Games!

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