Gold Found on Youtube: Critikal

Many lets play channels exist on Youtube, but few are as funny as Critikal. Whether he does a commercial voice-over, or plays a horrible game, each new video is hilarious. In this particular video he plays an old Nintendo 64 game called Winback, but with a twist. Critikal is playing this game with a corrupter, and results in some ridiculous animations. This had me on the brink of tears. Caution: strong language is used.

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Rogue Legacy Review

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Amidst all the big AAA games and game franchises that came out in 2013, Cellar Door Games released a little indie title by the name of Rogue Legacy. This game hearkens back SNES stylized graphics and a difficulty that is out of this world. While it is not as rage-inducing as Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, Rogue Legacy is a challenge gamers should be proud to overcome.

So the premise of this retro title is that the hero (you) plunders and explores a castle that is randomly generated. The castle is broken up into four sections: the Castle, the Forest, the Maya, and the Darkness. Each area features their own boss and difficulty of enemies for that area. If the player dies at any point, the game quickly provides stats for everything you discovered (and slain) and provides a list of three heirs to choose from, all three with random classes and traits.

This is where the game has fun with itself. A noble paladin that is a dwarf and Alzheimer’s? Check. A Mage with dementia and vertigo? Check. An assassin with gigantism and colorblindness? Why not. The possibilities are nearly endless. As you progress through the game, you can build up your family castle to include more classes and stat boosts to help you out. All these upgrades are purchased with gold gathered from looting the dungeon you explore.

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Rogue Legacy handles the gameplay in the Metroidvania style of things. With a big sprawling map, players are encouraged to explore and discover new items, secrets, and enemies while enjoying classic side-scrolling action. The combat is reminiscent of Castlevania: the player always has the sword as your main weapon, and a spell that relies on a mana bar. Different classes will have distinct play-styles and abilities to take advantage of: Mages have bigger mana bars and deal more magic damage. Knaves have lowered stats but a high critical hit bonus, and Shinobi have boosted damage and speed at the cost of a weaker health bar. Everything has its uses.

Like being killed.

Like being killed.

As level design goes, this game deserves a heap of praise for making each trip into the dungeon a new experience, but that system also has its own set of issues. Many of the rooms will be reused, sometimes even right next to each other. Teleport chambers used to help move around the castle can be scarce or all crammed into one spot. Some rooms are impossible to pass entirely! While these are small issues,it becomes an annoyance as the game progresses.

Some rooms have many more spikes than this one

Some rooms have many more spikes than this one

Progress through the castle is tracked by a great golden closed door at the entrance to the dungeon with four missing seals; one seal to recover from each of the four bosses hidden throughout the game. While players can and will discover them out-of-order, there is a pretty clear progression path from the Castle, to the Forest, to the Maya, and then finally the Darkness areas. Only after these four are defeated can you fight the final boss. Each of the four bosses are challenging in their own right and can be difficult to defeat without preparation. Think along the lines of Dark Souls or Demon Souls; you don’t want to wander in unprepared(full health,mana, and appropriate class).

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Boss Fight!

After playing well over a dozen hours, I can say that this game is well worth the price of admission. Charming visuals, classic atmosphere, and difficult gameplay make this title a must-own for those seeking a challenging title or a retro game that’ll bring you back to the 16-bit era of gaming goodness. Rogue Legacy is a game that you can be proud for beating and something to keep on your gaming shelf for years to come. Now please excuse me, as I can hear New Game+ calling my name, and I’m up for the challenge.

.....Right?

…..Right?

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Gold Found on Youtube

Are you a fan of Dark Souls? Well this animated short shows the games from a new player’s perspective and veterans of the series should get a good laugh.

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Will the Elder Scrolls Online Flop?

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The juggernaut franchise The Elder Scrolls has been the go-to series for fantasy-RPG action. With big releases like 2011’s Skyrim and 2006’s Oblivion, developer Bethesda has its largest following ever. To follow through on that hype, parent company Zenimax has commissioned an MMO slated for release in 2014, this year.Many of the questions previously surrounding this title have since been answered regarding gameplay and story concerns, but one little fact has escaped the attention of some gamers: the inclusion of a subscription fee.

Yep, after the initial purchase of $60 (regardless of platform), gamers will have to follow up with steady payments of $15 dollars monthly to continue playing the game. To MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) regulars, this may seem routine, but will the millions of console gamers support and purchase a title that will require continuous payment?

After I found this out for myself, I said “No way,” as that amount of $15 does indeed add up over time. Why couldn’t Zenimax have pursued the same pricing as Guild Wars 2, which included only the one-time purchase? With players on next-gen consoles already paying for Xbox Live or Playstation Plus, forumgoers on Bethesda’s own website are troubled by the subscription’s presence.

So what’s your take on the pricing of The Elder Scrolls Online? Do you think the $60 + $15 monthly will be worth the price of admission? or will you save the cash for other titles? Leave your comments down below.

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New Series:Gold Found on Youtube

After seeing so many great content creators produce great videos on Youtube, I’ve decided to try and showcase some of my favorites. This week I’ve found Reynold Sanity’s channel which produces Sane Critique, a fun, yet very informative video series on the Total War franchise. While there is some vulgar language and references, I can’t help but laugh and nod in agreement with his points. Perhaps someday Creative Assembly will meet his standards one day.

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Steam Machines Too Complicated for Consumers?

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During CES 2014, Valve revealed 13 different Steam Machines from various manufacturers. From top-of-the-line machine builds, to valid competitors to Xbox One and Playstation 4, Steam Machines are a varied bunch. After reviewing the specs on each of the machines, most of them seem to be rebranded pre-built PC towers,with IBuyPower, Cyberpower, and Alienware’s console-esque products being the exception.

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During the announcement of Steam Machines, I had been under the impression that the various builds would be simplified into: good, great, and best as the classification types. What they are pushing instead falls into the same trap as selling gaming PC’s is in now: it’s overly complicated. With so many variations on the actual specs of these machines, I have to wonder if any console gamers will actually know how to tell which machine will be best price for their money. The fact that most of these machines are as expensive, or even more expensive than an Xbox One ($499 and up) may repel consumers. 

I fear that without proper messaging, Steam Machines may fall flat as they are more expensive, more complicated, and more varied than any of their competitor’s offerings. While I do have high hopes for Valve, this first unveiling has me more worried than excited. Are you pumped about Valve’s new machines? Or are you put off by the release of 13 different console replacements? Post your comments below.

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Top 5 Indie Games of 2013

While indeed most games we as gamers play are made with bigger budgets, studios, and dedicated teams, today I’m paying my respects to the little guys and gals out there who have made some fine games.

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5. Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures

In the stylings of old NES/Super NES, this trip back to the past brings all the frustrations possible: Cryptic level design, annoying traps, and unfair bosses. Each stage is mostly an archetype of a particular game genre, or review that James Rolfe had done as the Nerd, like the level Assholevania. While this game is mind-numbingly difficult, it does offer good entertainment value, with many in-jokes, easter eggs, and nods to other games. If you’re a glutton for punishment, or simply a big fan of the review series, I’d say pick it up.

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4. Antichamber

Antichamber is a great puzzle game in the same vein as Portal was. Antichamber does feature many unique mechanics not found anywhere else. Bridges can materialize around you, optical illusions can hide or illuminate different paths, and the level design will blow your mind. The simple act of going up or down some stairs can turn into an endless climb, but simply turning around will reveal the way back has changed entirely. After a short while, they do introduce the “Cube Gun” (yes I’m sticking with that) and throughout the game will see it undergo some upgrades the let you solve more and more puzzles. This little adventure is charming and keeps your brain stirring for more creative solutions. I’d recommend this title to fans of Portal, or any gamers who want a challenge of unique non-linear level design.

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3. Papers, Please

This is a game that I found hard to describe genre-wise, but luckily, the creators have got us covered. A “Dystopian Document Thriller,” Papers Please stands tall in its own little corner of the gaming community. With very oppressive visuals, I couldn’t help but think of George Orwell’s 1984 type of society. So the gist of this game is that you have been selected to run an entry booth on the border of fictional country Artstoska. As the rules and regulations stack up, you’re there to permit valid entry into your country. With a small margin of error, you are encouraged to work at your quickest pace, as your family relies on your meager wage for heat, food, and rent. As more people come through your booth, a few events do unfold, and you might feel obligated to help certain individuals, which you certainly can, at the cost of deducted wages. While not revolutionary, this title is charming, and had me playing for hours. If your looking for a small piece of entertainment, you may get a laugh or two, but for the most part is a very somber story.

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2.Rogue Legacy

This title is a lot of fun. Rogue Legacy is a side scrolling “rogue-like” in which you are to explore a dangerous castle and defeat various bosses. The big draw for this game is how it handles death, and the level design. So every time you die in  Rogue Legacy, that character bites the dust and you get to pick between 3 different descendants to once again, raid the castle. Between your choices however, each of these new characters can have many traits such as dwarfism, colorblindness, OCD, or IBS. Anothert thing to make each character unique, is that there are many different classes in the game with many traits distinct to each class, so each character feels fresh, and kept me on my toes during my time with the game. Now for actual gameplay, it is simple to grasp, but the game will throw some ridiculous situations your way, and the difficulty, oh the difficulty.

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This game is along the lines of AVGN type of frustration at times, but does encourage players to keep going. Each trip through the castle is new and inventive, as it changes each time you switch characters (or can stay the same for a fee). Rogue Legacy is fun, challenging, and compelling.

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1. The Stanley Parable

As far as games go, Stanley Parable sits in an odd genre. The closest I could describe it would be to say it is a choose your own adventure in a video game. In The Stanley Parable, you take control of the titular Stanley and after a brief introduction, you take control in an abandoned office with only the narrator to keep you company. To this game’s credit, it is worth the price of admission alone to hear the hilarious dialogue from the narrator. Half of the time I was playing, I would try something just to see if he would comment on it, and to my surprise he most certainly does. Visiting the broom closet and break rooms proved to be hilarious as I stood around with the narrator becoming flustered at my disobedience and staying in arguably the most unimportant rooms in the game.

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Following a particular path in this game will lead you into one of the very many endings built into the game. As the narrator puts in a closing comment, you are put right back in the beginning again, with another opportunity to try a different path. While there’s admittedly not much to the game, maybe a few hours of content, I still think anyone who can run it on Steam should check it out. It is a unique experience not found anywhere else, and a good showpiece to any friends that come over.

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Top Five Games to Play During Winter

5.ImageDon’t Starve is a relatively new indie survival game that came out this year. Players of Minecraft or Terraria will be somewhat familiar with the concepts of gathering and crafting the items needed to survive. When night falls, a campfire is essential to survive all of the monsters in the dark. Campfires are also necessary during the winter season to avoid freezing to death. What else could get people in a wonderful and wintery mood than maliciously destroying the landscape in a desperate struggle to survive?

4. 

ImageIf burning through the countryside isn’t your cup of tea, then why not try out Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games? Both of these iconic figures competing against each other in everyone’s favorite sports. This game can be a fun distraction and good sports themed alternative to Mario Party for your friends or family to play. While the motion controls do become tiresome after awhile, this series is a welcome alternative than watching the Olympics.

3. 

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So after a few cold and blustery experiences, Far Cry 3 is a wonderful vacation away from the snow and ice. This game features many tropical islands to explore and many pirates to eliminate. The environments are beautifully rendered, and will truly have you feeling as if you has taken a thrill-seeking vacation. Just try to forget about having to hunt and violently skin animals to improve your gear.

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Gross.

2.

ImageThe recent smash-hit by Rockstar is undoubtedly one of the best games to play this winter. With the opening taking place in North Yankton (parody of Canada), the chilly and wintery opening is soon replaced with the luxurious Vinewood hills and desolate Sandy Shores. While players will spend the majority of their time in San Andreas, the brief trips up north will remind you just how nice a trip to Rockstar’s state would be.

1.

ImageBethesda’s Skyrim is their crowning achievement in The Elder Scrolls franchise. The northern land of the Nords is dominated by snowy mountains and icy caves. Frozen tundras also populate the landscape. The only areas free from the grasp of winter are the southern lands by the city of Riften, where the trees appear to be in eternal autumn. Nothing is as immersive as the first snowstorm you get caught in. You can almost feel the snowflakes surrounding you, and nothing captures the spirit of winter any better.

 

 

 

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Issues With the Next-Gen Systems

Today, I’m going to go over all of the 8th generation gaming consoles (minus the Steam Machines, they are not out yet). While Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s machines are a welcome bump up in power, each console has its fair share of issues, so let’s start in the order they were released.

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Wii U

Nintendo’s Wii U came as a surprise last year, and has seen mixed responses. While the tablet controller is equal parst gimmicky and handy. Nintendo’s advertising has been almost non-existent, even a year later, almost nobody knows what the Wii U is. Just like last generation, third-party support is slim for Nintendo, bordering on none. EA has stated it has no plans for releases for the console, and companies like Bethesda and Ubisoft are even backing down.With the same tried and true franchises at the helm, it is clear this machine was built for Nintendo games, and not much else.

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Playstation 4

Sony’s next-gen console has seen large amounts of success, selling large figures, and stunning gamers with impressive visuals. As always, many improvements could be made, but chief among them is the lack of games. Sony blew their figurative load early with The Last of Us,Beyond Two Souls, and the latest Gran Turismo 6 as releases for the PS3. While the opinions on GT6 and Beyond Two Souls range frommixed to good, The Last of Us has received universal acclaim, and would have been a good system seller. Sony obviously should have made these as launch titles for their new system, as their current offerings include exclusives like Knack (panned by audiences) and Killzone: Shadow Fall (slightly above average reviews). Honestly, Sony’s machine lacks any real killer apps to drive sales. Unless your a gaming enthusiast, I’d say to wait for more of their impressive exclusives.

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Xbox One

Microsoft has had a terrible reputation through the gaming community, as they have introduced, and then repealed, extensive DRM policies. The Xbox One has proven to be less powerful than their main competitor Sony, and also has a higher price tag. The inclusion of Kinect 2.0 in every box is an intentional move so more Kinect enabled features can be used in games and interfaces, but many gamers and families do not like the intrusiveness of an always-on camera. While Microsoft’s offerings at launch are slightly better, the third party games are running at a reduced resolution, or slightly lowered details in the graphics department.

So while each machine does have their own merits, as of now, buying a PS4 or Xbox One will leave many gamers without many titles in their next-gen libraries. Consumers buying a Wii U will find third-party support lacking and graphics not as intense as its next-gen brethren.

Xbox Photo courtesy of ViperSnake

Thank you all for reading this post, and stay tuned for future content, including my 12 lists for Christmas, starting on the 13th!

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The Wolf Among Us (Impressions)

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Recently, I picked up The Wolf Among Us in the autumn Steam sale that was held. I had never played a Telltale game before, and with their recent smash hit The Walking Dead winning many game of the year awards, I felt like this would be a safe purchase. After playing through the first episode, I must admit I am very impressed.

The Wolf Among Us is based on the Fables series of comics where all of our treasured fable characters are now living in the real world through guises known as glamour. Our main character is Bigby Wolf, also known as the Big Bad Wolf of Little Red Riding Hood fame. Bigby is the sheriff of the fable community, keeping everyone in line and shipping any non-human guised fables to The Farm. Bigby is an extremely likable character: he’s incredibly quick witted, tough, and charismatic (all depending on your choices). The supporting cast is just as great, Snow White reminded me of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite and she was a wonderful foil to the intimidating Bigby. The investigating was at it best when she comes along.

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Now something that had always held me back from Telltale’s games is the lack of gameplay, true enough, Th Wolf Among Us does continue their trend of “movie” games. There are a lot more cinematics than there is gameplay and the gameplay that is there, is all quicktime events. What makes this game great though is the investigative segments and the dialogue.

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The narrative in this game follows a murder investigation and involves a lot of clue gathering. The dialogue segments are also entertaining, the characters are well-written and responses always witty and sly. The game is also set up like a television series, with the story spread across 5 different episodes. As of right now, only the first episode “Faith” is available, but with the promise of more on the way, I must say, Telltale may have another game of the year on their hands.

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