Mortal Kombat X Review

Mortal Kombat X Review

Genre: Fighter

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on PS4/XBO & reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (every DC Comics game)/NetherRealm Studios (2011’s Mortal KombatInjustice)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Ed Boon, co-creator, remains the creative director

Alluring Element: Mortal Kombat on steroids, unleashing the tower of the PS4 with new characters and variable play

Check it out if you liked: Mortal Kombat series

Rated: M for Mature

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 9
Gameplay – 9
Animation – 8
Replay Value – 10
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 8
Variety – 9
Originality/Creativity – 10
Soundtrack – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9

Any time a new Mortal Kombat game comes out, a sense of overwhelming nostalgia and excitement fills gamer’s faces. It’s safe to say that the majority of MK‘s fan-base has been down since the beginning, and similar to Smash Bros. or Street Fighter fans, they will go out of their way to learn and perfect each new iteration. All the developers have to do is give the next new thing enough depth and variation to satisfy hardcore and casual gamers alike. Unlike Street Fighter, which has put out multiple iterations of the same game (Super SF IVSuper SF IV 3DUltra SF IV), Mortal Kombat has taken the Season Pass approach to keep players engaged. You could throw around the SF vs. MK battle all day long, and nobody would win. What is undeniable, is that while CAPCOM’s target has been a more inclusive audience, something to hand down to the next generation of gamers, it’s quite clear that Netherrealm is going for an adults-only experience. It’s like they still want their now grown up fanbase hiding the game from their parents AND their children.

Mortal Kombat X is disturbingly realistic, perfect for this generation of desensitized knuckleheads. The game is beautifully rendered; there is a realistic approach to the graphics, as opposed to the cartoonish look that 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot had. There is a much higher level of detail put in to not only the character models, but the environments which they fight in. The interactable stage objects from Injustice are back in a big way, and can make a big difference when players’ backs are against the wall. Another noticeable improvement visually is the lack of fanboy fantasy characters. You may remember the hidden Mileena costume from MK9? This time around, all the female characters are highly-detailed works of art, and have some of the best move sets in the game.

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Technically, the game plays very well. There is a hierarchy for each skill level of player when it comes to playing the game, but the subtleties are what really set apart the good from the great. Before I started really diving into MKX, phrases like “punishable attacks,” “footsies game,” and “zoning” were completely foreign to me, but they became necessary to learn and master in order to beat any of the online bullies that troll the network, looking to embarrass their opponents. While players with limited fighting know-how can enjoy the game by button-mashing, the good times are short-lived once you level up to a certain point; this means that once you put in enough time, you will be forced to play against opponents much more adept at the game than you. You can try to get into a room with some less-experienced players – if they let you – or you can spend hours in Practice Mode to evolve your Squirtle-like skills into Blastoise-caliber play.

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Online play is the main focus of Mortal Kombat X, and it’s been very good at building a community of players, but there is so much else to do when your crappy lagging connection ruins the fun online. Factions, which group you belong to, will grant you perks and quick Faction Kills upon progress. Performing daily tasks (ie – Perform 5 Uppercuts in one round, etc) and battling against “Invading” AI will add to the overall progress of your Faction, and give you Koins to spend in the Krypt. This time around, the Krypt is a labyrinth of unlockable items and puzzles to complete – or you can be a pansy and just pay $20 to unlock items like: music, brutalities, fatalities, concept art, and match modifiers.

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Brutalities add a whole new dimension to finishing moves.

My favorite part of the game has to be the amount of modifiers included in it. Returning is the Test Your Luck, slot machine type matches, but there is also Kustom Kombat, where you and a friend can choose which modifiers to use in a match. It can lead to a very interesting match. Also returning to the franchise are Brutalities, a way to finish off your opponent in quick, sometimes unexpected ways that are even more satisfying to pull off than Fatalities. Living Towers, a spin on the classic arcade mode, add a bit of variety to the gameplay, as well – and are always changing. Mortal Kombat X has succeeded the most in making this a game that is constantly engaging players. Playing by yourself is fun, but there is always a reason to keep playing, keep progressing, and keep getting better. Even mastering a character isn’t as easy as it used to be.

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New to the game are the character variations; each character has three different “versions” that accentuate certain special abilities and combos for that character. It can be annoying to certain players that depend on a breadth of moves for characters, but it helps even up the match-ups a bit, adding a new level of strategy. Variations aside, the fresh faces in the character selection screen are not just there for novelty. Each of the eight new characters (not including the three new ones in the Kombat Pack) brings something new and unique to the table; they aren’t just there as novelty to fill up space. The game’s clever idea of progressing the storyline forward in time 25 years. The game becomes a more fluid addition to a franchise, and not simply an updated version of the same game. This allows the creators to create, evolve, kill off or completely change characters in the name of continuity.

Concept art for Takeda, unlocked in the Krypt.
Concept art for Takeda, unlocked in the Krypt.

Mortal Kombat X will immediately be recognizable to long-time fans of the franchise. There are so many new odds and ends to learn about both how the game plays and content to keep players engaged that the replayability on this is basically “until you break your controller in anger.” Sure, the game’s poor matching system online can make for some flat-out un-fun experiences, but you either learn to improve your skills or enjoy the game in other ways, killing your friends in new, grotesque ways that have become a benchmark in video game history. If MKX could find a way to become a more well-rounded game, not so geared towards elitist players (not to mention the gore porn), then it may have one of the longest lifespans of the entire franchise.

All media credited to Warner Bros. Entertainment and Netherrealm Studios

Best of 2014: Video Games

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

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Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

This year’s nominations are…

Best Console Game

  • Far Cry 4
  • LEGO Batman 3
  • Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes
  • Shadow of Mordor
  • Watch Dogs

Results here.

Best DLC/Network Game

  • inFamous: First Light
  • PixelJunk Shooters
  • Strider
  • TMNT: Out of the Shadows (PS3)
  • Watch Dogs: Bad Blood

Results here.

Onto: Best of 2014 – Collectibles

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Review

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Review

Genre: Open world exploration, Multi-player Co-op,

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on PS4/X-Box One, PS3/XB360, Vita/3DS, WiiU, iOS, Mac/PC & reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Warnes Bros Interactive Entertainment (Mortal Kombat franchise, Batman: Arkham series, Scribblenauts franchise)/Traveller’s Tales (LEGO… everything)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Troy Baker (The Joker in Arkham Origins, Delsin Rowe in inFamous: Second Son), Travis Willingham (Reggie Rowe in inFamous: Second Son), Nolan North (Deadpool in Deadpool, Cole McGrath in inFamous, Pagan Min in Far Cry 4), tons of celebrity guest spots like: Kevin Smith (Clerks), Adam West, Conan O’Brien, Gilbert Gottfried, Geoff Johns and Stephen Amell (DLC coming soon)

Alluring Element: The winning formula of a LEGO game, this time expanded to include the scope of the entire DCU

Check it out if you liked: LEGO BatmanLEGO anything

Rated: RP/E

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Gameplay – 8
Animation – 9
Replay Value – 9
Entertainment Value – 9
Captivity – 7
Variety – 6
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack – 8
Overall awesomeness – 7

When it comes to games that the whole family can enjoy, there’s nothing quite on the level of LEGO games. From Star WarsHarry Potter and Lord of the Rings to the recently-released Marvel title, there isn’t any fandom that Telltate won’t touch. Where the franchise has succeeded is in its ability to bridge adults and children together. While the games and their mechanics are fairly simple – two attack buttons, a jump button and two character/costume changes, there is an undeniable level of complexity to the completion of the highly detailed levels. There are tons of characters to unlock, and with a ludicrous amount of goodies to uncover, you’ll find yourself smushing your child in the face to push them out of the way and complete the game 100%. Unlike traditional kids game, there is an added effort in trying to appease to the hardcore fan-base. If you are trying to brainwash your kid into getting into comic books, or you yourself enjoys a thorough Easter Egg hunt, this is the game for you. If you don’t git into either category, though, you might be hard-pressed to find a reason to drop cash on this game. It’s the type of game that really depends on who you play with, or the type of gamer you are altogether. LEGO games are ideal for the treasure-hunting, methodical players who take their time and enjoy unearthing all the well-thought secrets that go into the game. If replaying a game five times over doesn’t appeal to you, then the price of admission isn’t really justifiable. Luckily, as somebody who is still just levels into Diablo III with his loving wife, I am all about 100% completion on my games.

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All that in mind, I still want to enjoy the game as I endogenously play through it, and LEGO Batman 3 is noticeably less entertaining than the game that came before it. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes was great in the sense that the story (stopping Lex and Joker from taking over the world) was so dynamic that WB actually re-purposed the cut scenes into a full-length animated movie that was released separately on DVD. LEGO Batman 3, however, did not impress me – and my standards are pretty low as far as LEGO-inspired entertainment goes. The plot, which was some kind of convoluted version of Geoff John’s Brainiac and Green Lantern: Blackest Night, took Batman and Co. around the galaxy to… actually, I have no idea what the purpose was, I just knew that early on, I figured out that I had to travel to each Lantern planet and do stuff before defeating Brainiac with feelings. Yes, the thing that Batman hates more than Robin’s Superman pajamas. It’s a large scope to tackle, and this being a next-gen game, it was expected that we would see an expanded DCU, but I can’t help but feel like time would have been better spent coming up with a more creative way to incorporate different characters into the game. Instead of just boasting a cast of over 150 characters (it will take a WHILE to unlock them all), it would have been nice to actually give each of them a little more attention instead of just skin swaps. Really, only the core cast of Batman, Robin, Cyborg, Lex Luthor and The Joker have multiple uses.

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That being said, the fine-tuned attention to detail is as impressive as it is heartwarming. The Danny Elfman-inspired Bat-tunes are still there, and the custom sound bytes add a bit of flavor to each character’s situation. For example, when entering the character selection screen, hovering over certain characters spawn their very own Batman theme song – Na na na na na na na na, CYBORG! Can you guess which hero this one belongs to: Na na na na na na na na, MEEE! Also, along with Superman’s John Williams theme during flight, Wonder Woman also has her classic Linda Carter theme play while she flies. All the way to down to the most obscure characters in the DC Universe , the sheer amount of geek packed into one game is extraordinary, and will keep dedicated fans combing through each level with increased vigor to unlock all their secrets. You can even mix and match parts and powers to create your own weird-looking LEGO superhero. On the other side of the coin, the allure of having Conan O’Brien, the friendly janitor, tour you around the Justice League Watchtower or saving a pleading Adam West is really fun the first time, but can get severely grating after they repeatedly chime in with the same monologue until you run away screaming or mute the television.

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With all the high performance games out there, expectations for a LEGO game can be a little skewed. Make no mistake, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is just as much fun as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, but just like those games, need to be enjoyed by the right person. You can choose to spend hours teaching your kids about each hero’s powers (or learning them yourself), or you can go all Orange Lantern on this bad boy and reap all the buried treasure within the levels. The gameplay won’t blow you away, but it’s as complex as it needs to be, and makes the game accessible for all ages of gamers. The story isn’t all that spectacular, but at the very least, it is a love letter to DC fans; you can really tell that Traveller’s Tales put a lot of thought and research into this game, making it one of the most thoughtful Batman experiences I’ve had in a video game.

 

 

All media credited to Sony Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions

So Far this Week… April 9, 2014

If you saw this week’s episode of Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you know that s*** just got real! Tying into the fallout of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (review here), S.H.I.E.L.D. has just gotten shaken up in a big way. Even better is news that Nick Fury and Maria Hill will be showing up in the television series. #HAILHYDRA

Bit by bit, we are getting a better look at Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This week begets character posters of each turtle holding their respective weapon(s). Story be damned, this movie is going to look awesome.

This rumor is too juicy not to tell: Captain Mal/Hammer himself, Nathan Fillion, might have a cameo in the upcoming space epic, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Wreck-it-Ralph fans can anticipate a return to the arcades, as Disney is currently in development for a sequel.

Hogwarts is coming to California! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is a mini-park inside Universal Studios Florida, will be joining the California park in 2016. A round of Butterbeer for all my friends, please.

Also in theme park news, Universal Studios will be getting a Fast and the Furious attraction. This franchise will never run out of ways to make money off of itself.

Professional wrestling Hall of Fame inductee (just three days into induction) Ultimate Warrior has passed away. Check out some of his in-ring highlights if you didn’t know who he was.

Looks like they found work for an old Wookie! Peter Mayhew is set to reprise his role as Chewbacca in Star Wars: Episode VII.

The next edition of Super Smash Bros. will also come out on the 3DS and feature an online mode; it will also feature Charizard. Between this and Scribblenauts: Unmasked, we’re one nudge away from owning a Nintendo system.

DC Comics will be relaunching two of their super teams in Suicide Squad and Teen Titans this summer. I’m pretty stoked to see Deathstroke and Black Manta on a team together, and it’s great to see Raven and Beast Boy finally back on the Teen Titans squad.

I would say “SPOILER Alert,” but this news is literally all over the internet – even CNN is talking about it. The death of Archie Andrews is coming. I’m not gonna touch this one…

The legendary Roots crew, known by many as Jimmy Fallon’s band, has released a single from their upcoming album, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, called “When the People Cheer.” The album is due out in a month, and you can find a streaming version of the single at okayplayer.com.

If you needed another reason to hate EA, the reigning worst company in America, look no further than the fact that they were sitting on a Darth Maul game, supposedly inspired by the Batman: Arkham series. Now that Disney has the rights to the franchise, that game is shelved permanently – just like 1313 before it. Seriously, f*** those guys.

On the other hand, EA’s next UFC installment will feature the Dragon, Bruce Lee, in all his glory as a playable character.

inFamous: Second Son Review

inFamous: Second Son Review

Genre: TPS (Third-Person Shooter), Open world exploration, super-powers

Released for/Reviewed on: Released & reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment (all the Playstation exclusives)/Sucker Punch Productions (inFamous 1 & 2Sly Cooper)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Troy Baker (Joel in The Last of Us, The Joker in Arkham Origins, Ocelot in MGS5, Batman in LEGO Batman 2)

Alluring Element: Super powers in an open world with the freedom to choose how to use them

Check it out if you liked: inFamous series, Prototype

Rated: 16+

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 9
Replay Value – 8
Entertainment Value – 9
Captivity – 9
Variety – 8
Originality/Creativity – 10
Soundtrack – 9
Overall awesomeness – 9

inFamous has been slated as the PS4’s first killer game of this generation, and it did not disappoint. The visuals on this game are so far only rivaled by other big name games like Metal Gear Solid and maybe Titanfall. What is truly impressive is that they were able to keep this level of detail and graphics so high despite the large and intricate world they have created. The game is set in Seattle – and it is spot on. The dreary weather, Puget Sound, the ridiculous amount of seagulls and hipsters carrying coffee cups – it’s all there and gorgeously textured.

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The premise of the game itself is pretty standard if you have played either of the previous inFamous games – or any type of open world game that involves free-roaming with powers (such as the old Spider-Man or Prince of Persia titles). The game picks up seven years after the events of inFamous 2 and with a majority of the conduits wiped out; the remaining conduits have been labeled as bio-terrorists. This is where are story begins – with leading man, Delsin Rowe. During a prison transport gone wrong Delsin finds out that he is a conduit with the ability to absorb powers from other conduits. The government agency in charge of controlling conduits (D.U.P.)shows up and wreaks havoc on the town while endangering the lives of the town. Without giving too much away, Delsin is forced to go after the head of this government agency in order to steal powers that will help him save his town.

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After some introductory story and gaining a few new powers, the player is given the ability to roam through the city freely while dispensing justice or chaos. There is plenty to do throughout the city and some of the side missions take full advantage of the new capabilities of the DualShock 4 controller. The tagging side missions utilize the features the most as you have to manipulate the controller in many different ways to complete the artwork. The touch screen in the middle is used for absorbing more energy as well as some QTE’s. It is actually a nice inclusion since the system has mainly released ports of games that haven’t made any attempt to include these features. Note: If you’re really into the graffiti missions, there was a PS2 game released in the early 2000’s called Marc Ecko’s Getting Up. where you build your way up to becoming a world famous tagger.

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Free-roaming and combat are pretty standard fare and as are the upgrade trees to both. Throughout the game, the player absorbs new powers that give new combat and travel abilities. I won’t ruin what any of them are, but suffice it to say it is just as much fun acquiring these powers as it is using them. This game does an amazing job of continuously making you feel more and more powerful. Each power has its own strengths and weaknesses and although each upgrade tree is pretty standard, they offers plenty of room for early customization to fit the gaming style of the player (ie – stealth, power-house, run and gun, etc). The melee system is a bit weak, but I think I spent 99% of my time aiming for headshots, anyway, so it didn’t bother me one bit.

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As far as complaints go, I don’t have too many negative things to say – but my biggest gripe would have to be with the way they implemented the switching of powers. You are only able to use one power at a time and have to absorb the energy for the type of power you would like to use at one of the power stations around the city. Finding these power stations is very simple because the whole city is littered with them and they are labeled on the map as well. I personally would have preferred individual power bars that we were able to switch to on-the-fly. This may have made the character more powerful but they could have easily compensated with increased difficulty. My only other gripe with the powers was that the final power you spent the entire time trying to acquire felt like it wasn’t given the same amount of attention compared to the other ones. It isn’t completely developed and you are only given the opportunity to use it on the final boss and end game content. It’s a minor complaint, but I still think that with the lack of multiplayer content, this should have been give more attention. There is the possibility that future DLC can correct both of these complaints as well as add new powers for people to play with.

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The last complaint that I have would be with the length of the story. While it was a solid (albeit simple) and engaging story, I did feel that by just going through the story it was a bit on the short side. It’s not nearly as short as the previously reviewed MGS: Ground Zeroes, but it will only clock you in at around five hours to complete the story and grab all the collectibles, roughly half of what it took for the first two games. Granted, the game is intended to be played twice for both the good and evil choices; once you have done that and completed all the side quests, there is very little left to do until possible future content is released. This is where the compensation comes in: Paper Trail! Paper Trail is one of the most innovative additions to a game I’ve seen. After all is said and done, there are special missions that you actually have to go online and do some detective work to complete. Once you solve the clues online, you unlock missions in the game. I’m not sure how it will work going forward – there are only a couple missions currently unlocked – but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones that were there.

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inFamous: Second Son is not a perfect game, but it is a noticeable improvement of last-gen games – especially the previous two inFamous games, which set the bar very high for PS3. The addition of versatile conduit powers really let you customize the game in terms of how you play it. The side-quests, even though they are short and repetitive, add a new dimension to the game that made the older ones monotonous; coupled with Paper Trail make for some great fun after the story is complete. Most importantly, Delsin Rowe is a hero (or villain) gamers can really relate to. He’s just a normal kid with powers, not the prodigy that Cole McGrath was. His personality also makes players invest more in his cause. I get Delsin in a way I could never understand Cole. Minor complaints aside, this is an amazing game that everyone who owns a PS4 should consider picking up. For anyone wondering what the future console generation was going to look like need look no further than this game. This is but a starting point for what the future of this gaming generation is capable of and the future looks amazing.

All media credited to Sony Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions

Dark Souls 2 Review

Dark Souls 2 Review

Genre: Action RPG, Open world exploration

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on Playstation 3, X-Box 360 and soon-to-be PC (April 25th), reviewed on PS3

Publisher/Developer: Namco Bandai Games (Tekken, lots of Japanese ported games)/From Software (Souls saga, Tenchu series)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Nobody that stood out to us

Alluring Element: True Next-Gen visuals combined with genre leading stealth and action gameplay

Check it out if you liked: MGS series, Splinter Cell series, having two thumbs connected to a brain

Rated: M

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 8
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 7
Replay Value – 10
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 9
Variety – 9
Originality/Creativity – 8
Soundtrack – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9

The Souls video-game series have been known to cause the destruction of many a-controller since their release a few years back, and Dark Souls 2 is no different. Dark Souls 2 is set in the same universe as the first one but isn’t supposed to be directly related to it in any way. If you don’t really take the time to search it out, however, you won’t be finding much of a story anyways. There are plenty of websites and wikis dedicated to the collection and retelling of the Souls series lore. All you really need to know is that you are an undead who is afflicted with a curse that – only by killing tons of undead enemies and bosses – can you hope to cure it. Fortunately, the game focuses entirely on the gameplay so searching out the story can only help to enhance your experience.

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The real meat of the game is in the ridiculously hard enemies and even more grueling bosses. Add to that the ability to customize you characters stats to play any way you want and the game has almost infinite replayability. The basic builds are still present but this time around the finishing stat-cap will be higher this time around which will open up all sorts of interesting combinations. You can be a massive hammer-wielding mage or a katana-slashing monk with any type of variation in-between. The gameplay itself hasn’t changed too much since the first Dark Souls but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The controls have been more refined and a few things like an actual jump button and a power stance have been added. Tack on more equipment from the previous list and you have a pretty full game to play around with as you please. Once you have found the build that you like, you are able to put it to the test in one of the many co-op or PvP type game modes. There is nothing more fun in this game than the thrill of pitting your character against someone else.

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My main complaint with the game isn’t so much in the game itself as it is the hardware that From Software chose to run it on. This is a very ambitious project and, unfortunately, it has only proven to show the age of the previous-gen consoles. Even the PS3 has some frame rate dips in some of the busier places and the graphics can take a major dip in certain places. There are rumors that it will be ported to next gen but there hasn’t been anything to substantiate those rumors yet. The other main gripe I have with this game is that the difficulty compared to other games feels off. While it is noticeably more difficult, it feels like some of the bosses are only arbitrarily harder because they will put three on the screen instead of one. It does make it more strategic for co-op play-through, but I don’t feel like it takes away from the enjoyment of the single player experience.

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The good thing is there will always be someone to help you out due to the very dedicated community that plays this game – and while there are plenty of scumbags playing, I can attest to having met many friendly people that are more than willing to help people learn the game and enjoy it even more. While this game isn’t for everyone, I strongly urge that everyone at least give it a try once. If you don’t start with this one, the first Dark Souls and Demon Souls are both under $20 and give you a great idea of what to expect with Dark Souls 2.

 

All media credited to From Software and Namco Bandai Games

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes Review

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes Review

Genre: TPS (Third-Person Shooter), Open world exploration, Espionage

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on Playstation & X-Box (both gens), reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Konami/Hideo Kojima

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Kiefer Sutherland (24) as Big Boss, Troy Baker (Delsin Rowe in inFamous: Second Son)

Alluring Element: True Next-Gen visuals combined with genre leading stealth and action gameplay

Check it out if you liked: MGS series, Splinter Cell series, having two thumbs connected to a brain

Rated: M

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 8
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 10
Replay Value – 9
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 10
Variety – 7
Originality/Creativity – 8
Soundtrack – 9
Overall awesomeness – 10

Hideo Kojima is one of the most important video game directors of our time and his Kojima productions is one of the last Japanese companies to consistently create major selling and highly rated AAA titles. Ground Zeroes is the prologue to the highly anticipated sequel, Phantom Pain. This was done as a way to give players a taste of the new stealth and gameplay mechanics due to the long wait for Phantom Pain. This game also showcases the new style of storytelling that Kojima would like to utilize in the next installment.

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The game picks up where Peace Walker left off. If you haven’t played that it isn’t surprising seeing as how it was a canon sequel on the PSP platform; however, it has been given the HD treatment and added to the PS3’s HD Collection and the Metal Gear Legacy collection, both of which are under 40 bones. The story is pretty simple: infiltrate the prison and recover two people. While the main story is pretty short, you can beat it in two hours even while playing in a slow pace, the game opens up a handful of side missions once it is complete. These main missions take place during the day and are used to showcase the daytime graphics of the Fox Engine being used.

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I played on PS4 and most of the reviews tend to say it has the best graphics as well. That being said, this is one of the most gorgeous games I have ever seen. I don’t really know what else to say; the rain looks absolutely stunning, with the way it interacts with everything from the buildings to the mud, it’s just beautiful. The gameplay has changed quite a bit, with Big Boss seeing many improvements to his repertoire. The movement is more fluid this time around with his transition to different stances being flawless. He is given a few new moves and some have been added from Peace Walker, the multi-CQC takedown being one of them. He is also given a diving button that allows him to dive behind cover and remain prone if he is close to getting spotted.

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The stealth mechanics overall have been changed; there are no more cones of vision or even a radar, for that matter. He now has an iDroid that displays the map, proving that Apple was ubiquitous even in the 1970’s. If for some reason you are actually spotted,  Big Boss now has the ability to enter “Reflex Mode,” which slows down time, allowing him to silence a guard before he is able to call for help or alert anyone. This is meant to be used as a crutch and can be turned off in the menu option at any time but is definitely fun to use when just running around exploring the island.

You, sir, are screwed.
You, sir, are screwed.

My only real complaint with this game is it is too short. I am a major Metal Gear fan, so much so that both of my gamer tags involve Solid Snake in some facet and right when I was getting in my groove and enjoying things, it was all over. The ever-present need to know what is going to happen next wasn’t satiated in any way whatsoever. This only served to whet the appetite and since the next installment won’t be released until next year, at the earliest, I am left feeling hungrier than when I began playing. There are still side missions to play but they really only serve as a way to add more to an already minimalistic package. They are plenty of fun, but I would have preferred just extending the story instead. All that being said, I still feel that this is worth the price of admission at 30 dollars. No true Metal Gear fan should miss this game.

All media credited to Konami and Kojima Productions