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.

Far Cry 5: welcome to small town America with a hint of fanatics.

Right well the reveal trailer for Far Cry 5 just came barrelling out of the gates and what we see here is…weird. The game is set in the United States in small town America and right off the bat we are greeted by religious fanatics who take over a small town and begin forcefully converting people under the guise of: “helping them to salvation.”

The trailer also seems to show a pastor, what appears to be a bar owner, and some other folks who resist – with deadly force – the fanatics who have come armed to the teeth and are taking over the town. Apart from that the trailer did not reveal much, but from what the IGN commentators spoke of you play as a sheriff who goes into this town and gets cut off from the outside world – from there you have to deal with the problems and bring back order to the small town. Right there I am already interested as I see people who could be key characters to the plot who are not the bad guys and who are not helpless and in need of rescue; they are clearly armed (even the pastor who is seen in one scene sitting on the front entrance of his church with a shotgun) and are unafraid to shoot to kill. Sure I understand the idea that the player is the hero of the story, but I would like to see NPCs who are in the world actually stand on their own two feet – this sort of design gives off the impression that bystanders are utterly helpless and you are the only one who can make things right.

Interesting setting; I feel as though the creators wanted to explore the idea of religious fanaticism as prior games explored lawless islands, and dictatorships in far away lands. Now we are set right here in North America in the United States and we are greeted with religious fanatics who resemble people that have retreated from mainstream America to live in a rural setting and begin to take over a small town in hopes of surviving a coming disaster. Now the theme will stir up some controversy but I think it might prove fruitful as a path to lead into a discussion on fanaticism and the dangers of it. Then again I am being optimistic; a game is a game and the important aspect of a game is to have fun. Following a similar trend is strategy games and so on that tackle warfare: actual warfare is either really boring or really dangerous whereas in games a player is given the chance to experience the soldier fantasy.

 

Far Cry 5 could prove interesting, but I am still slowly working my way through Far Cry 3 and 4; the games are good in short bursts but I doubt I can dive into it as I did the Witcher 3 – it just does not feel too immersive. Thanks for reading folks; just a heads up I have updated the schedule for Friday streams as it will now be held specifically around 3:30pm PDT to 5:30pm PDT – the stream may end early, or something important may spark up and force me to not stream for the day. Regardless at least there will be a time slot for people to tune in should they wish to watch some gameplay with no commentary: have a good day folks and I shall see you next time.

 

Stream link:

https://beam.pro/Sgt_Montego

 

Trailer link:

They better not mess this up.

Destiny 2 had its reveal event today, and it was what you would expect out of a reveal event – lots of flashy video footage and passionate talk with some gameplay thrown in just to make people feel at ease about pre-ordering the game (I still think pre-ordering an unreleased product is insane and not advised). Taking away from what we saw at the event it basically boils down to this: they want to emphasize the story more, and the game will feel the same to veteran Destiny players who currently own the first game.

The event then goes on to feature some keynote speakers, and show off some features that many people found were missing from the first Destiny game (seeing a trend here anyone?). Being a witness to how badly done Destiny 1 was I am very skeptical about the items the developers claim to be delivering this time around. Indeed I worry that the game will fall flat on its face again as well-crafted “gameplay” moments and CGI cutscenes for the trailers do little to re-ignite my confidence in the game series that promised the world to us the first time around but ended up delivering a cubicle with no chair and a crappy 1998 PC with Windows 95 – a real disappointment.

 

The usual routine applies here folks; link to the video is below – it’s an hour long so please do not watch this at work lest you be fired for spending an hour on something when there was work to be done. Thanks for reading folks – take care.

 

Patreon Page:

https://www.patreon.com/thoughtsandtopics

 

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

 

 

Wouldn’t it be great for a re-master of this game?

Unreal Championship 2, a re-master of the game with updated graphics. This title came out back in 2005 for the Xbox, and since then it has only ever seen modern systems via backwards compatibility with the 360 – Xbox One, to date, has no way of playing this old title.

The game was unique in that it was built from the ground up to be an Xbox experience. The title itself was the first to feature melee weapons like swords and staffs and players could switch from first to third person while using firearms and fight in third person only with melee weapons. The game was fast-paced, and it had a unique cast of characters and a somewhat okay story arc.

 

A re-master of this game would be an excellent move, one that would spark a renewed interest in – what I like to call – a classic title for the Xbox line of consoles. This game, even offline, was a joy to play and I often liked reading into the stories of the characters that lived in said universe. Having the game set in a sci-fi version of Earth where everything is Egyptian-themed was also a unique experience; the colours, the cities, and the landscapes and so on were different from the older Unreal Championship game where it was essentially a copy of the PC Unreal Tournament’s maps.

 

However if a re-master is not possible due to time limitations and so on, why not make it so that this old game is also playable on the Xbox One? Thus far backwards compatibility has been a huge success – why not expand it to include some Xbox games that were initially backwards compatible on the 360? Being an old game does not make it undesirable, so why not make it available to gamers of today’s console generation?

 

Ideas for people to ponder over – ultimately I do not work for Epic Games so it is completely out of my hands as to whether or not they will pursue this road. Here is hoping for a re-master, but if not I still have my 360 so I will find a copy at some local shop and play it from time to time – no sleep lost in this area. Thanks for reading folks, and take care.

Livestream schedule correction.

Hello dear readers!

 

Thus far the whole: “I will stream regularly Monday to Friday on a sort of unfixed schedule” has not gone as planned. Indeed I am finding that I only have Fridays available to Stream from my Xbox; thus I have concluded that I will have to work from that day and see if I can keep that schedule and move up from there.

 

The livestream schedule will now be Fridays from Mid-afternoons to early evening. Feel free to check out the link below and to bookmark it for Friday livestreams.

 

Until next time dear readers, take care.

 

Stream link:

https://beam.pro/Sgt_Montego