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Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Assassin’s Creed Origins story discussion.

(Spoilers ahead)

Hello readers,

 

Star Wars Battlefront 2’s campaign story was made available today so I took some time to watch through the game movie (it is not public release but I’m guessing the channel had permission to release it so I watched it). After finishing the story I figured I’d combine it with the AC Origins discussion I promised a while back as I was working on that and finished it sometime last week – starting things off we have AC Origins.

 

Origins takes us back to the roots of the Assassin’s Creed universe; we are at the very beginning of both the Templar Order (just: “The Order” back then) and the Brotherhood of Assassins – we see Egypt during a time when Rome was the big boy in the sandbox and Egypt is facing turmoil thanks to internal strife and threats from beyond its borders.

 

The characters (a couple) lose their son and go on a path of revenge – when they reach the end they discover that The Order operates in other places in the world and that they have to split up to deal with the threat thus forming the Assassins to counter – you guessed it – The Order. Along the way you work for Cleopatra, you find out Caesar is an Order member, and lots of killing is involved.

 

The story gives the gamer a look into the Assassin’s Order past, but apart from that there isn’t much else to look forward towards. Sure there are tombs of ancient Egyptian monarchs to explore and what not, but the universe feels like an open world with a linear story and nothing else to see off the beaten path; that said all I did was watch the game movie so what do I know, right? The story is satisfactory – you can watch it in the link below:

 

Next we have Battlefront 2 – I have been waiting for this day since it was announced earlier this year. Starting things off we have our Imperial protagonist of which I did read the Battlefront 2 Inferno Squad book to get a better understanding of who she was and what was going on (listened to the audiobook rather, and it was narrated by the same voice actress as the game’s protagonist). However shortly after a series of setbacks we discover that the Empire is purging loyal worlds to set an example of who is still in charge and our protagonist defects to the New Republic and then fights the war from that perspective right up to the final victory on Jakku. Along the way we meet some colourful characters, the protagonist tries to save her dad but is unsuccessful (he decides to die on the bridge of his Star Destroyer like the good Imperial he was) and the story was overall a fun ride (Albeit short, sadly).

 

The story was touted as purely an Imperial story, and while it isn’t entirely the case we get something that is more than just: “this story is Imps good, Rebs bad” but rather how loyalties change depending on the circumstances. Indeed the main character and her teammate defect while her close friend and former squad member remains loyal to the Empire, eventually moving on to become part of the First Order; this was a nice touch and while some might get upset that the story wasn’t a full on “remain loyal to Empire and be part of First Order,” it was a good story nonetheless. Definitely worth a look, the link to the full story will be located below:

 

 

This concludes the combo review of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Battlefront 2 – thanks for reading everyone and we shall see you next time.

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Wolfenstein 2 and Call of Duty World War 2 story combo.

(There are spoilers below – you have been warned.)

 

Alright folks we are finally in November and thus far we have Assassin’s Creed Origins, Wolfenstein 2 The New Colossus, and Call of Duty World War 2 – I will cover AC Origins at a later date as it requires more time to watch through the game movie.

 

Wolfenstein 2 was a joy to watch; the villain from the previous game returns, and now you are in America sparking a revolution. The story is outlandish and fun, with moments that make the dark universe in which the game takes place a bit easier to digest so to speak. The resistance loses one of their own, our boy BJ takes on a new body after a nasty run in with the occupation, and the game ends with resistance sparking up – we all need a good ending here and there. The link to the full game movie is just below: next up is Call of Duty World War 2.

 

The story of CoD WW2 felt like an old book being re-written over and over again; US Army in Normandy in 1944 and it goes into Germany in ’45. Presently there are a ton of games, movies, books and so on that cover that part of the war where the US Army was competent, well put together and winning the war like it was nothing – why did they not put some time into North Africa, or even the Pacific theater? Sure I get it the story was meant to focus in on the European campaign and show the reality of war; you see comrades freeze in Belgium during the winter of 1944, you see a fellow soldier get captured and later on you rescue him and witness the horrors of work camps, concentration camps and so on, but the story felt forced and it was familiar enough to be a bit of a let down.

 

The reason why I brought up North Africa was because I finished an Audiobook earlier last week that discussed about the campaign from 1942 to 1943 – it was an eye-opening story. First the US Army really fell on its face in that campaign, and had to learn fast in order to fight the Axis forces in that theater; it was a heavy price in both blood and material – not something that makes people feel super and great in a game and thus I can understand the reason why the developers chose Europe in 1944 to 1945. Still, we should explore more of the less-discussed theaters as I think gamers are mature enough to see the other side of war – the glory that was the Allies and their victory in Europe in 45 and later in the pacific some months later was achieved at a cost; Burma, North Africa, Italy – the price of victory wasn’t cheap. Anyways folks the link to the game movie for Call of Duty WW2 is located below.

 

This concludes the story combo – I regret not having the time to dive further into each game but I figured you would enjoy the story by watching it rather than by reading about it on some blog (humor intended). With that folks I wish you well and we shall see you next time.

Gears of War 4.

There might be a gap in my memory; I recall saying that I would not consider Gears 4 if it did not have the Retro Lancer as a weapon you can use in the loadout menu – whether or not I said that I cannot remember. Fast forward to last week and there I was playing Gears of War 4 with the Retro Lancer in Horde mode: I think I made a good call reversing my decision to avoid this game.

Gears of War 4 is the latest Gears game, and it feels alive – alive as in there is a large active community and you will always find fresh items in-game like weapon skins and maps to enjoy as the as the game ages. Now returning to the Retro Lancer issue, I play Horde mode online more often than multiplayer – I dislike the shotgun only nonsense that goes on as the shotgun is the only effective weapon in multiplayer when everyone is popping about from cover to cover firing off shells at one another. Now the Retro Lancer is available to a couple classes in Horde mode, and what made me switch over to Gears 4 after sinking almost six years into Gears of War 3 was the fact that classes were not locked to specific characters unlike Gears of War Judgement. Similar to Gears of War 3, you pick the character you want to play and that is it – the classes are where the skills and weapons are organized, not the characters.

 

Thus I picked the Scout class because of the increased melee damage and the Retro Lancer and shotgun combo made me feel all warm inside – being able to choose a character from the COG list also helped. Now about two weeks in and I can honestly say that I really like this new Gears game. Foot steps this time around sound a bit more believable; previous gears games had a heavy metallic “shook, shook, shook” noise to them when you jogged and sprinted (you don’t really walk in-game, not unless you push very lightly on the controls). This time around the sound of jogging and sprinting is more akin to boots slamming down hard on pavement – something that adds to the immersion when playing.

 

Characters and weapon skins are unlocked via cards you collect from credits you earn in-game, and you can further earn scrap to make characters by destroying cards you do not want and saving up the scrap to further unlock specific characters and/or cards – you can also buy card packs with real money if that is your cup of tea. There is also an E-sports scene in Gears 4, though I don’t compete so I could not tell you how that scene is and whether or not it is worth the effort.

 

Now the real meat of the game is the Horde mode for me – campaign was alright but Horde mode is where all the fun lies. This time around you are given a fabricator – a box that can construct whatever defenses you need and can be moved once it is set up. This new feature in Horde mode means instead of setting up a base, you can set up a defensive position and place as many turrets, barricades, decoys, and weapon lockers you want all over the place provided you can collect all the power drops that come from dead enemies. This new feature is nice; it allows players to use the environment to set up their defenses and choose an optimal spot to place the fabricator – a welcome change from Gears 3 that limited you to pre-set defensive positions once a base was established and all you could do was upgrade the defenses – if you needed more defenses or space you had to set up a new base.

 

Gears of War 4 turned out to be a surprise for me; being dis-satisfied with Battlefield 1 and disappointed with Titanfall 2, Gears 4 being a familiar yet new experience was a welcome change. Going forward I might focus in on a specific sub-set of games to purchase – saves me time and money and helps me avoid misery. Now that is not to say I am regretting my purchase of the Titanfall 2/Battlefield 1 duel pack, but I am unhappy with how the games have evolved as of late – the whole issue of delayed bullet time in Battlefield 1 and the fact that Titanfall 2 feels boring and stale made me re-think my interest in First Person Shooters altogether. Doom was alright, and Far Cry 4 turned out to be okay in small bursts but left me disinterested in finishing the game. Here’s to a successful Gears 4 – more combat, more close quarters action, and more bayonet charges – thanks for reading everyone.

Another round of Gwent!!!

Right Gwent – good game! Now to be more detailed, the game is similar to the mini-game found in Witcher 3 but some of the leader cards have changed and the game will feel familiar to those of you who have played Hearthstone. Gwent, being a stand-alone title now, must have these features in order to attract players to the game rather than turn them off completely if it was released as just a copy-paste of Gwent from Witcher 3.

Now I have the game for both PC and Xbox One – the game, as it stands, is a free open beta and judging from the FAQ the business model going forward is to have it release as a Free-to-play with card pack sales for the game. Now playing on PC you get a free range of motion in that you can just mouse directly over whatever you want and click on it per se, whereas the Xbox version you need to go step by step (ie: up past the siege, ranged, and melee rows of your side before viewing the cards of the enemy that are on the field in their respective rows) in order to scroll over a card you wish to view. After sinking in some time into the game I can safely say that playing with a mouse is a lot more interesting than a controller when it comes to Gwent – user experience may vary.

 

The game’s interface is also different from the Witcher 3 version, and the weather effects have changed since Witcher 3. However with all that said, ultimately Gwent is still Gwent and anyone who has played Gwent in the Witcher 3 will feel right at home with this game. Run through the tutorial to get a good handle on the game, and then off to the races you go.

 

A note before I end this post for today, Gwent on PC will require you to register with GoG – the digital distribution site for CD Projekt Red; Xbox has no additional registration. Thanks for reading folks, and we shall see you next time.

Injustice 2 story arc review (spoilers).

Okay so I admit I did watch the first Injustice game movie per se, and was not overly impressed with it. Basically Superman goes all North Korea on the world to impose peace and Batman leads a resistance to fight against his tyranny. Long story short based on the second game’s story arc Batman wins and Superman goes to jail. Fast forward to the present game and Brainiac is the evil invader; this time Batman has the help of some former villains and he goes about attempting to re-establish stability and freedom while Superman’s die-hard supporters hide in the shadows.

Batman supporters include former enemies, and they side with the Superman faction to fight Brainiac. Superman is released and they go about fighting Brainiac – several battles take place before they finally unlock some magic to take down Brainiac’s shields on his ship and they invade his vessel to defeat him. After Brainiac is defeated the two sides meet up on board and the backstabbing begins.

 

Essentially the story can end in two areas – either Batman wins and imprisons Superman and the world has freedom again (and Supergirl joins the new Justice League formed by Batman) or Superman wins and basically programs Batman to be his follower, and offers Supergirl the same option – join him or be programmed to join him (he takes over Brainiac’s tech and uses it to: “convince” others to join his cause).

 

After two hours of game movie time it appears that the campaign is heavily scripted, and while you are given choices to choose who to fight with the majority of the experience is cinematic in nature meaning you are watching more than you are playing per se. Being a fighting game the cinematic experience is there to set up each fight where you lay down the hurt on the enemy forces before moving onto the next few pages of the book per se.

 

Great character design: all characters look well made and there is not a pixel that is out of place. Environments are also unique and despite not being a fan of fighting games I am tempted to pick this one up – more so to fight than to actually go through the campaign. The story feels odd for me; being a fan of Wonder Woman and Batman it pains me to see them on opposite sides, but that is how the story goes. Essentially the Justice League has broken into two parts: Superman and his followers who believe in a totalitarian-style regime where order is enforced, or Batman and his followers who believe in free will and choice – that freedom, while imperfect, is important above all else. A lot of Batman’s followers who were not former Superman followers believe in his cause for he believes in redemption and voluntary association – Superman just makes it mandatory for people to be associated with the regime or they will be faced with lethal force.

Strange paradox going on here; choose liberty or choose order – one still has order but there is a strict code and redemption is possible, while the other is peace and stability but with the ever-present feeling of violence just around the corner if you do not obey the rules to the letter. Different trains of thought; great setting for the game but I think I will stick with Superman being reasonable rather than: “you guys are dumb so let me go all North Korea on you and you get to live in peace – live in peace or I will jail and execute you for failing to live in peace.” This time around Injustice feels right, and definitely the second game shows improvements over the first – this might just be my first fighting game in decades.

 

The usual rules apply here folks: the game movie will be located below for your convenience, feel free to check out my Patreon page if you are interested in supporting this blog, don’t forget to check in on Fridays for the Xbox livestream, and thanks for reading!

 

Patreon Page:

https://www.patreon.com/thoughtsandtopics

Livestream channel:

https://beam.pro/Sgt_Montego

 

 

Helldivers: state of the game in 2017, and news on the livestream schedule.

Hello folks!

 

Figured I’d make a single article containing two items this time around – it will be mostly a review of the current state of the online community for the game Helldivers on Steam (Sorry Playstation fans, I do not know what the health of the online community is like on those systems as I do not own a playstation 3 or 4 or Vita) with an update on the situation regarding the livestreaming schedule that is upcoming.

Helldivers; essentially it is a top-down shooter by Arrowhead games (the folks who made Magicka) and it is a Starship Trooper’s themed shooter. This game is chaotic and fun at the same time; friendly fire is always on, and as such all weapons you use must be aimed properly lest you blow up your own teammates and leave you standing alone against a horde of enemy AI. Now this far into the life cycle of the game (the game launched on Steam 7 December 2015) the community online is alive and well. Whether it is day or night there will always be a match going on of various difficulties and as long as you know how to play and work well with your team things will go smoothly.

 

During the afternoons – I find – is when the game is the most active. Plenty of folks tend to play in the afternoon for various reasons, and since we get no information as to the players’ location one has to assume that East coast and West Coast are just thrown in together and players play on a mega server. Playing with mouse and keyboard is of no trouble, and I often find that it is more accurate to aim with a mouse than a joystick so keep that in mind when choosing your hardware (I am uncertain if a controller option is available on PC but look into it should you wish to play using said hardware).

 

Helldivers folks, still alive and healthy 2 years into the game – pick it up on Steam and fight for the Federation (no really, they even named the government: “the Federation” after Starship Troopers)!

 

Alright now to the livestream schedule, thus far it is still a work-in-progress but it seems that I will be streaming in the mid-afternoons to early evening Pacific Standard/Daylight Time on the weekdays. Now these streams are not guaranteed, but this is the best time slot to be streaming on my end so I will make use of this. Feel free to drop by and view the stream – link is in the tabs at the top of the screen under Livestream Link(s) (Beta) as well as below – thanks for reading folks and we shall catch you next time.

Livestream:
https://beam.pro/Sgt_Montego

Helldivers on Steam:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/394510/HELLDIVERS/

Borderlands 2: the state of the game in 2017.

Hello folks,

 

Thought I might do a piece on the state of the game Borderlands 2 in the year 2017 – some folks like to play old games, and why not help them figure out things while you are at it? Diving right into it the game still has people playing online co-op: the multiplayer base is separated by a matchmaker that sets you up with the games that are closest to your level. One reason, I think, this happens is to avoid players jumping into level 61 games and being absolutely murdered when they join in.

 

The most common games I find are ones that are levels 29 and below; seldom do you find games above this level – I have no information to answer the question as to why this occurs. Level 24 tends to produce quite a few public games, with level 14 also producing a similar amount of of public games for players to join in.

 

Being this far into the game’s life cycle there will be times where you are playing in triple digit ping games – best thing to do is adjust your gameplay and hope your connection is somewhat stable enough to handle high ping. Generally I can get the game to run and get a couple of hours in with the title, though sometimes the ping is too high for me to even play so I end up leaving after rubber-banding all over the walls.

 

Borderlands 2 is still alive and healthy for players to enjoy. The game is even healthy enough to be featured on Steam’s stats in the top 20 of games with concurrent players. Feel free to re-install the game or pick it up on a Steam sale if you lack a copy – still alive, still strong.

 

P.S. Bear in mind that this “review” is for the PC version; consoles I do not have a copy of the game nor do I plan on purchasing it at the present.