United Front Gaming http://unitedfrontgaming.com Outlast 2 /microsoft/post/outlast-2 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:00:00 Toby: The Secret Mine <p>Reviewed By: Ricardo Benitez<br />System: Xbox One (Also PC, Wii U, iOS, and Android)<br />Genre: Puzzle Platformer<br />Rated: E10+<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $9.99 <br />Release Date: 01/19/2017<br />Publisher: Headup Games<br />Developer: Luk&aacute;&scaron; Navr&aacute;til<br /><br />At first glance, Toby: The Secret Mine instantly reminds you of Limbo. The art style with its black and white tones, similar puzzling nature, and minimalistic approach to storytelling all hark back to that hit indie title. Unfortunately it doesn&rsquo;t quite reach the bar set by Playdead back in 2010&hellip;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/toby-screen.jpg" alt="toby-screen" /><br /><br /><em>"A peaceful way of life in a small mountain village is shattered. Someone has kidnapped most of its residents. A few brave souls tried to rescue their friends but none have returned.<br /><br />&hellip; Brave little Toby didn&rsquo;t want to just sit and wait to see what happens next, so he has set about on his own to solve the mystery. Entering the deep forest, he sees this may be an adventure bigger than him, but he won&rsquo;t stop. "</em><br /><br />Toby begins with these words sprawled across the screen. They provide a reason for you to go traversing this strange world. The goal of course being to rescue your friends from some dastardly fiend &ndash; this larger, silhouette of a character that Toby chases throughout the entire game &ndash; while avoiding the numerous traps/environmental hazards. This thin narrative is stretched across 21 handcrafted levels, all of which reinforce Lukas&rsquo; artistic touch; they feature a design and feel that a lot of developers working within this genre dream of creating. <br /><br />When it comes to the story, I wish there were more to it. I mean, with Limbo, it was all about the mystery of this little boy&rsquo;s plight. In Toby&rsquo;s case, we already know what&rsquo;s going on (for the most part anyways). I guess the fact that there was a little more at the start of the game lead me to expecting more from the plot? Regardless, the gameplay is what&rsquo;s most important. The speed at which Toby moves takes some getting used to. Same with the jumping, as he tends to go higher than what is needed to make reach certain platforms; combined with his quickened pace, his floaty jumps makes it easy to accidently sail past an intended landing area. All of this is at the developer&rsquo;s discretion. Long presses or taps of the jump button won&rsquo;t respectively increase or decrease the heights toby&rsquo;s jumps.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/toby-screen-2.jpg" alt="toby-screen-2" /><br /><br />As I moved through each level, I started to notice that I wasn&rsquo;t just having a problem controlling Toby. I also couldn&rsquo;t seem to land on certain ledges. Just looking at it in game, it would seem as if he could obviously reach a platform. But when making the jump, I&rsquo;d somehow catch the edge of the ledge before plummeting into the pit below. I had to maneuver in such a way that Toby&rsquo;s body wouldn&rsquo;t touch the ledge with anything but his feet (something that took several tries to get my head around). There were also some glitches hindering my progress. Most weren&rsquo;t too bad, though I did occasionally fall through the world and be forced to restart the entire level. <br /><br />This actually brings me to another issue, namely the options within the pause menu. There is no &ldquo;go back to checkpoint option&rdquo;. Only a restart to return to the main menu &ndash; basically when I got stuck via a glitch, I had to start over instead of loading a previous checkpoint. Thankfully the levels are short enough to dismiss any bouts of real frustration. Still, it can be a bit annoying to have to restart the same level more than once for something you had no hand in.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/toby-screen-3.jpg" alt="toby-screen-3" /><br /><br />The game isn't all glitches and floaty mechanics though. As I mentioned before, the artwork is high quality and reminiscent of earlier games of this type. Also the audio is spot on, from the buzzing of beehives to your footsteps when walking on different surfaces. Sound cues are sometimes ignored by indie games, but this one comes through with flying colors. The fact that Toby: The Secret Mine was developed by a one man team adds emphasis to the parts that were well received!<br /><br />Gameplay: 5<br />Floaty jumps and some glitches hinder what could be an entertaining experience, even with the noteworthy puzzles and excellent level design. <br /><br />Graphics: 9<br />At times subdued but very gorgeous. The Foreground is black and the background features a lush atmosphere.<br /><br />Sound: 10<br />Details that are sometimes taken for granted by other developers are in definitely on display here. <br /><br />Replay Value: 3<br />Without a grand mystery, an intriguing story, or levels that suffer from glitches, there really isn&rsquo;t a reason to return to Toby&rsquo;s world once the game is completed. <br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />6.8<br /><br /></p> /microsoft/post/toby:-the-secret-mine Mon, 6 Feb 2017 12:00:00 Rise & Shine <p>Reviewed By: Ricardo Benitez<br />System: Xbox One (also on PC)<br />Genre: Action<br />Rated: M<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $14.99<br />Release Date: 01/13/17<br />Publisher: Adult Swim Games<br />Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team<br />&nbsp;<br />I am currently facing one of the big bosses featured in Rise &amp; Shine. Roughly halfway through the game, I run into a myriad of bullets signifying a brick wall. As I dodge about, I try to usher my remote guided bullet to where it needs to go. Failing, I end up dying. Again and again; I&rsquo;m just not quick enough to juggle my armaments and land hits before being blown away. I'm upset. REALLY upset! Like throw my controller across the room and journey outside for a much needed breather. And yet, I&rsquo;m so driven to beat the game that I jump back in, guns blazing&hellip; <br /><br />Rise &amp; Shine is arcade shooter with puzzle platforming elements &ndash; a combination of two genres, offering up twice the challenge. It follows the exploits of Rise, the game&rsquo;s young protagonist, after his planet is assaulted by Nexgen Space Grunts. During their attack, he witnesses the death of the Legendary Warrior (who looks suspiciously like a certain Nintendo character that is involved in many Legends... eh? eh?!) and is given a magical, wise-cracking gun named Shine. Together, these two heroes take it to the grunts. Fun times!</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/rise-and-shine-screen.jpg" alt="rise-and-shine-screen" /><br /><br />As the game progresses, you&rsquo;ll blast an assortment of bad guys, dodge a multitude of projectiles, and platform your way through each level. New gameplay mechanics are introduced in the form of special bullets. Like the aforementioned guided bullet, used to solve puzzles as well as murder stupid difficult bosses. The idea is to switch between these different bullets, utilizing the right ammo for a given situation. That said, there is an art to the juggling; this isn't a run-n-gun type of game in the traditional sense. You must use the Left Trigger and Right Analog stick to aim, then right trigger to shoot. Bumper buttons are also utilized to switch between different types of bullets while the Left Stick is used to move Rise. It isn&rsquo;t a bad control scheme but it does take some getting used to. I would even venture to say I'm still not used to it. I have a problem with aiming in this game. I've logged around eight hours and I still miss. A lot!<br /><br />A lot of my missed shots can be attributed to all of the dashing and jumping I had to do while contending with the controls. With so many enemies converging on my small patch of cover, it grew difficult to switch between different ammo and dodge around &ndash; forget about aiming. This of course can lead to a frustrating experience with later levels practically besiege by enemy bullets. That&rsquo;s not to say that I wasn&rsquo;t entertained. Completing tough battles brings about such a sense of accomplishment that I can't put the controller down. I mean, just like in any other game I enjoyed toppling bosses. But some of these guys were so tough that just surviving was a feat; I cherished the challenge if you will. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/rise-and-shine-screen-3.jpg" alt="rise-and-shine-screen-3" /><br /><br />Taking a step away from the gameplay, Rise &amp; Shine&rsquo;s colorful aesthetics are absolutely stellar. So much is hidden in the backgrounds and the animation is the best I've seen in a long while; even better than the awesome Rayman Origins/Legends. If it wasn't for the barrage bullets covering the screen and the constant threat of death, I would say to take time and smell the roses. There is just so much going on visually, it&rsquo;s a shame that most of it is missed due to the action.&nbsp; The soundtrack was also great as it effectively drew me into the action. Without missing a beat, the score would swell and I&rsquo;d be up to my eyeballs in explosions.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/rise-and-shine-screen-2.jpg" alt="rise-and-shine-screen-2" /><br /><br />Be prepared to die. A lot. At first is will be due to getting used to the controls. Then because of the bullet-hell encounters. You must have fortitude to continue through. I've rage quit a few times&hellip; occasionally crying into a pillow for few hours. But I always returned. I don&rsquo;t know if I&rsquo;m a gaming masochist or an adrenaline junky. Either way, I was mostly entertained!<br /><br />Gameplay: 9<br />The platforming is great and responsive, however shooting feels a bit loose for the accuracy needed. That said, it is fun once you&rsquo;ve accepted how difficult it is to complete. <br />&nbsp;<br />Graphics: 10<br />The beautiful hand drawn stylized artwork, both background and sprites are the best I've seen in years.<br />&nbsp;<br />Sound: 9<br />The music helps to get the adrenaline pumping!<br />&nbsp;<br />Replay Value: 6<br />Would most gamers come back after finishing the game? Probably not. That said, those of us who stick it out to the end aren&rsquo;t the average gamer anyways. We&rsquo;d do another tour&hellip;as long as our controllers are still intact&hellip;<br />&nbsp;<br />Final Score:<br />&nbsp;<br />8.5<br /><br /></p> /microsoft/post/rise---shine Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:00:00 Path of Exile is Coming to Xbox One! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 01/19/17<br /><br />Grinding Gear Games recently announced that their hit online ARPG, Path of Exile, is coming to the Xbox One later this year. Finally, console gamers can take a crack at the award-winning Free-to-play title! <br /><br />Like most good ports, this version will include all five of the previous expansions. It&rsquo;s also include the new content coming to the PC (via the 3.0.0 expansion) as well as the long-awaited Act V. Basically, what this means is a whole lot of content for gamers to playthrough.<br /><br /><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/D7GGf4-1O-E" width="854" height="480"></iframe><br /><br /><em>"For three years, PC players have enjoyed Path of Exile's visceral combat, deep character customization and addictive item hunt,"</em> said Chris Wilson, <br />co-founder of Grinding Gear Games. <em>"We have spent over a year adapting Path of Exile specifically to the Xbox One, creating an experience equivalent to playing with mouse and keyboard on PC." </em><br /><br />While it&rsquo;s great that PoE is making it&rsquo;s console debut, I&rsquo;m a little concerned by the exclusion of local cooperative options. At least, that&rsquo;s the vibe I get from the trailer. With Diablo 3 being such a hit on consoles, which offers couch co-op, it seems like a misstep not to include it here. That said, being a f2p title, updates are always on the way. <br /><br />Path of Exile is coming exclusively to the Xbox One later this year. Feel free to check back here as we continue to cover all things gaming! <br /><br /></p> /microsoft/post/path-of-exile-is-coming-to-xbox-one Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:00:00 PlatinumGames Responds to Scalebound Cancellation! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 01/11/17<br /><br />Microsoft&rsquo;s announcement of Scalebound&rsquo;s cancellation has caused a stir with fans. Outside looking in, the game appeared to be coming along nicely. I mean, the past E3 demo looked cool!<br /><br />While we don&rsquo;t know why Microsoft shut down development on the game, we might have gotten a clue as to what happened via PlatinumGames&rsquo; <a class="external" href="https://www.platinumgames.com/official-blog/article/9223">Official Blog</a>. Here the developer states how they are sorry that Microsoft Studios announced the cancellation of Scalebound &ndash; as in, it was Microsoft&rsquo;s decision, not ours? They also state that they are disappointed things didn&rsquo;t work out given how they were looking forward to completing the game (paraphrasing).</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/scalebound-screen-2.jpg" alt="scalebound-screen-2" /><br /><br />Of course, this doesn&rsquo;t prove much of anything; I&rsquo;m sure Microsoft is just as bummed by the cancelation as Platinum. Maybe PlatinumGames needed more time and Microsoft refused to play ball. Or maybe Platinum missed important milestones needed to secure further funding. One thing is for sure, MS has been canceling games left and right (remember <a class="external" href="http://unitedfrontgaming.com/microsoft/post/3313/microsoft-announces-lionhead-press-play-closures-">Fable Legends</a>?), most of which looked promising; not like the Phantom Dust remake that only existed publically as a teaser trailer at E3. Hopefully, other interesting titles won&rsquo;t meet the same fate. I really want to play Sea of Thieves&hellip;<br /><br /></p> /microsoft/post/platinumgames-responds-to-scalebound-cancellation- Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:00:00 Dishonored 2 <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />System: Xbox One (Also on PS4, PC) <br />Genre: Action/Stealth<br />Rated: M<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $59.99<br />Release Date: 11/11/2016<br />Publisher: Bethesda<br />Developer: Arkane Studios<br /><br />There is a very good chance that I am the only person who doesn&rsquo;t believe a sequel needs to be better than its original work of art. I feel that, as long as things progress in a way that allows for meaningful growth amongst the main characters, then everything is ok. Of course, that&rsquo;s not to say I don&rsquo;t enjoy a good upping of the ante. It just means that creating more of the same doesn&rsquo;t automatically equal a failed attempt at something great.<br /><br />Dishonored 2 takes place fifteen years after the events of the first game. Emily Kaldwin has been restored to the throne in Dunwall and her father, Corvo Attano, acts as her bodyguard and mentor. For the most part, life has been good to these two. Emily is doing her best to act as a proper Empress despite loathing the politics that comes with such a position. She&rsquo;d much rather spend time amongst the people like an ordinary person or continue her secret training with her father. Corvo, on the other hand, is content with his station as it&rsquo;s the easiest way to protect Emily from would-be assassins. Even though they aren&rsquo;t living in dire straits like before, recent events have proved a bit concerning. Someone calling themselves the &ldquo;Crown Killer&rdquo; has been murdering anyone who speaks out against the Empress. This of course has lead people to believe that Emily has put a price on the heads of her detractors&hellip;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/dishonored-2-review-screen.jpg" alt="dishonored-2-review-screen" /><br /><br />Things really take a turn for the worse during a ceremony to honor Emily&rsquo;s mother, Jessamine. As things were about to get underway, a witch named Delilah Copperspoon* crashes the party. She tells everyone that she is Jessamine&rsquo;s half-sister and true heir to the throne, right before staging a coup with some of Emily&rsquo;s guards. Her loyal forces drop like flies after succumbing to stabs in the back. Even Corvo fails to put up a decent fight. In mere moments, Emily&rsquo;s world is again turned upside down. What happens next differs slightly depending on which character is chosen to lead the narrative. I picked Emily, which resulted in me being knocked unconscious as Corvo is turned to stone.<br /><br />Obviously, our hero of choice is forced to flee Dunwall; with the royal guard cutting down anyone aligned with Emily and subjects who think she caused the deaths of political rivals, there&rsquo;s no safe haven in the city. Thankfully, an old friend of Corvo just happened to be visiting that day. Using the skills learned from her father, Emily makes her way to this friend&rsquo;s boat before heading to the city of Karnaca. The good news: Emily is somewhat safe. The bad news: Karnaca is just as corrupt as Dunwall used to be.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/dishonored-2-review-screen-4.jpg" alt="dishonored-2-review-screen-4" /><br /><br />From here, the plot unfolds like it did in the first game. The player will have to deal with Delilah&rsquo;s co-conspirators &ndash; either by using lethal force or some other, morally sound way &ndash; before heading back to Dunwall. Upon doing so, they&rsquo;ll slowly learn how things came to be as they are now. Secret meetings, dark experiments, black magic &ndash; these surface level encounters do a decent job of explaining what&rsquo;s going on. That said, players who delve deeper to really understand the motives of each character will be rewarded with some of the most interesting lore this side of a Tolkien novel. Arkane Studios should be commended on their efforts to make Dishonored&rsquo;s world a living, breathing, yet horrible place for gamers to visit.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br />While most of the plot presented is acceptable, I have some reservations when it comes to how Emily/Corvo&rsquo;s immediate troubles were handled. The issue with following the previous game&rsquo;s formula is that this isn&rsquo;t the previous game. Corvo was locked away for six months after being accused of killing Jessamine. When he&rsquo;s finally freed by a loyalist group, he learns that the political landscape has changed. Certain people have come into power which affected the wellbeing of those living in Dunwall, including that of a young Emily. His motive for revenge wasn&rsquo;t just to get back at those who framed him but also to clear the way for his daughter to take the throne; if any of these people where left in a position of power, they could pose a threat to her like they did her mother. So it made sense for Corvo to go after these particular people before ultimately challenging the current rulers of Dunwall. <br /><br />This set up doesn&rsquo;t work a second time around. Sure, there are people in high places who wanted to place Delilah on the throne. But to go after them instead of Delilah initially felt like a waste of time. For one, very little time had passed since the coup. Anyone who had ascended to a seat of power wouldn&rsquo;t have been able to establish a strong grip on the position. Not everyone was loyal to Delilah as those outside of her circle barely knew who she was. Taking down her friends in Karnaca wouldn&rsquo;t move Dunwall&rsquo;s political needle in anyway. And even if it did, our heroes don&rsquo;t take advantage of these situations. The best example I could give is how Emily handles the Crown Killer. After finding proof that she had nothing to do with those murders, she goes back to hunting the other people on her list. At no time did she use that information to prove her innocence.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/dishonored-2-review-screen-3.jpg" alt="dishonored-2-review-screen-3" /><br /><br />The other thing that made this set up bothersome was the weak cast of characters. I counted a total of three adversaries that actually had an interesting persona. Most seem to be just there as a place holder, their past giving&rsquo;s being more intriguing than the person I&rsquo;m actually hunting; a Duke who the game says is vile is shown to be rather tame upon meeting. By comparison,&nbsp; when I learned more about Delilah&rsquo;s background, I was all the more disappointed. There is so much to her story, that when I put her next to these blank slates, I felt robbed. Robbed of a noteworthy enemy, a charismatic rouge, or a greedy scoundrel. The archetypes are there, they just aren&rsquo;t fully utilized.<br /><br />There are some standout encounters here and there though, especially in the last third of the game when the truth really starts to manifest. One thing I have to note is how the story changes based on your actions. Just like in the first game, if you kill everyone in sight, you&rsquo;ll increase the world&rsquo;s chaos. Taking a non-lethal approach will of course do the opposite. Things change depending on the overall level of chaos. Dialogue between characters will change, people will become more or less hostile, and there will be more bloodfly infestations (more on them later). If you&rsquo;re looking for a positive outcome and a safer environment, low chaos is the way to go. As a game mechanic, I still feel like I did when I reviewed the first Dishonored. <em>Although an increasingly dark and sinister environment is an interesting story element, it almost negatively impacted the gameplay; heightened chaos meant much greater difficulty.</em> Basically, the game subtly pushes you to be good while promoting a &ldquo;do it your way&rdquo; approach. It would have been nice to have the option of being bad or good without impacting the difficulty overall.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/dishonored-2-review-screen-5.jpg" alt="dishonored-2-review-screen-5" /><br /><br />With all the different choices it&rsquo;s possible that a better explanation of the events was present. Maybe the lack of relevance for much of the early parts of my first playthrough was based on my choices as Emily. Then again, I didn&rsquo;t see much difference when I played as Corvo (I didn&rsquo;t complete the game with him like I did Emily though). Besides providing reasons to start a new campaign, the open story did give reason to add interesting gameplay elements. Or rather, Arkane was looking to bolster the options seen in the last game and provided a multifaceted story to help in that regard. Either way, there&rsquo;s a lot to like here despite who you play as. <br /><br />Emily doesn&rsquo;t start off with the best powers. Her &ldquo;Far Reach&rdquo; ability, while similar to Corvo&rsquo;s &ldquo;Blink&rdquo;, isn&rsquo;t as good thanks to the fact that guards can see her pulling herself across a room; Corvo actually teleports, making his movements harder to track.&nbsp; Once it&rsquo;s upgraded though, Far Reach proves more useful. It goes from pulling Emily around to pickpocketing important items from NPCs at a distance. It even allows her to grab enemies and fling them back towards her to either kill or subdue. Then there was &ldquo;Domino&rdquo;, a spell that connects multiple enemies together so that whatever happens to one happens to them all. Using both abilities in tandem made clearing densely guarded areas an easy feat. I&rsquo;d link a couple of guards together, pulling one over to me for a choke hold, which resulted in room full of unconscious soldiers. <br /><br />These supernatural powers made way for some serious watercooler moments. Though, the shining star in my eyes had to be the hand to hand combat options. New to Dishonored 2 is the ability grab an enemy after a parried attack. From here you can put them in a choke hold and knock them out. What this means is that, if you&rsquo;re seen by an enemy and are forced to fight them, you don&rsquo;t have to kill them. Every stealth-based game that promotes non-lethal options going forward needs to have a mechanic like this or they&rsquo;ll fail their audience. Period!&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/dishonored-2-screen-3.jpg" alt="dishonored-2-screen-3" /> &nbsp;<br />Beyond the action, I found Karnaca to be just as fun to explore as Dunwall was. Due to city position on the coast, a lot of its power comes from windmills. The strong winds often caused storms, blanketing the area with dust which alternated between helping or hindering my ability to sneak about. Some buildings have been condemned due to bloodfly infestations. These deadly bugs lay eggs in dead bodies, increasing their numbers whenever a foolish person tries to loot these decrepit places. For the player, however, these places could be valuable areas to explore. The lack of security makes them a great choice for circumventing guard posts and walls of light &ndash; gates that block access to more secure locations. Just as long as you don&rsquo;t make any sudden moves or get too close to a hive, drawing the ire of the bugs. <br /><br />The dusty streets of Karnaca allowed for multiple routes to and from a mission&rsquo;s location. Once there, you were greeted with more history &ndash; some noteworthy events may have taken place there years prior, coloring how the place is currently used. Like The Clockwork Mansion, which is easily one of the more fascinating levels featured here. Pulling certain levers throughout the mansion will cause your immediate soundings to literally transform. Stairs will fold and collapse into the floor, walls will rotate away, and large fixtures will slide across the room to make way for something else. None of this is done via a cinematic either. You can walk into these spaces, descending or ascending along with the movable parts of the room. These transformations are needed to solve puzzles but just from a visual perspective, it was quite fascinating.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/Dishonored-2-gif.gif" alt="Dishonored-2-gif" /><br /><br />Speaking of how things look, Dishonored 2 is a bit of a mixed bag visually. On one hand the stylized characters and environments are lovely. I especially like the soft, pastel like colors that border dangerously close to being muted. On the other hand, the game seems to have difficult time dealing with the finer details. Textures will often bleed onto objects as you approach them. Look away for a second and then back and you&rsquo;ll notice they&rsquo;re missing again. In some places, these details wouldn&rsquo;t load in at all. What I found most odd was the prioritization of certain &ldquo;objects&rdquo; over others.&nbsp; The ocean never lost its luster, looking like a moving oil painting. Emily&rsquo;s hands however looked rough for most of the game; not rough like she&rsquo;s had a difficult life but rough in terms of the anti-aliasing. Something you saw all the time was somehow inferior to something you only saw on the way to a mission. <br /><br />All and all, Dishonored 2 is a good game. The gameplay is just as engaging as before, the additions to certain mechanics fuels this aspect. It does have some rough edges though. Not so much in how it shares the original game&rsquo;s DNA &ndash; that I&rsquo;m totally fine with. It&rsquo;s in how the story is written, which narratives are initially emphasized, and how many memorable characters are present. It&rsquo;s true that Emily&rsquo;s character developed over the course of the game, but a lot of her growth was tied to the level of chaos instead of any meaningful encounters with other characters. What resulted was a plot that felt a little lopsided at times. And while I wouldn&rsquo;t go as far as saying that this sequel wasn&rsquo;t needed (I was mostly entertained), it didn&rsquo;t sell me on its relevance&hellip;not completely. <br /><br />Gameplay: 8<br />The entertaining stealth mechanics help to provide an enjoyable experience. Plot wise, the game could have been much better though.<br /><br />Graphics: 7<br />The stylized world and pastel colors really work well together. Too bad the finer details were lost during production. <br /><br />Sound: 10<br />The voice work and music were great. <br /><br />Replay Value: 8<br />Emily and Corvo&rsquo;s journeys are different enough to warrant a second playthrough. The chaos system and different story threads also help in this regard. <br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />8.2<br /><em><br />*Delilah Copperspoon was actually introduced in the <a class="external" href="http://unitedfrontgaming.com/post/1939/dishonored:-the-brigmore-witches">Brigmore Witches</a> DLC for the original Dishonored. You don&rsquo;t have to play that expansion to understand what&rsquo;s going on, currently. It does help, however, to clear up a few things about her past. </em><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></p> /microsoft/post/dishonored-2 Sun, 4 Dec 2016 12:00:00 Darksiders: Warmastered Edition <p>Reviewed By: Ricardo Benitez<br />System: Xbox One (Also on PS4, Wii U, PC)<br />Genre: Action/Adventure<br />Rated: M<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $19.99<br />Release Date: 11/22/2016<br />Publisher: THQ Nordic<br />Developer: Vigil Games/Kaiko<br /><br />Seemingly returning from the land of forgotten games, Darksiders is back. After Darksiders II: The Deathinitive Edition, I always wondered if the powers that be would go back and give a bit of remastered love to the original Darksiders. Wish granted &ndash; Darksiders has been Warmastered&hellip;er&hellip;remastered? <br /><br />Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is of course, better than the original that was released six years ago. Not so much in the gameplay department as the controls and such remain untouched. The visuals have been revamped though. Sharper textures and other graphical aids make the game pop. The developers have also, most notably, upped the framerate and resolution to 60fps and 1080p with 4K support (something PS4 Pro/PC users should be happy about). It is absolutely mind blowing to play this with such a buttery smooth framerate; seriously, wait until you ride War&rsquo;s fiery steed. It is truly an awe inspiring sight.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/darksiders-warmastered-screen.jpg" alt="darksiders-warmastered-screen" /><br /><br />Taking a step back for those who haven&rsquo;t had the pleasure of playing the original game, Darksiders follows the exploits of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Certain steps need to be taken in order to kick off the end of the world. The Horsemen are there to make sure these requirements are met at the right time. Unfortunately, the apocalypse starts prematurely. Making matters worse, War is blamed for the downfall of man; starting things up early destroyed the balance that was kept between the armies of Heaven and Hell. Because of this, the demons were able to triumph over the angles and humans alike. In order to clear his name, War will need to battle his way through the ruins of Earth in search of the true culprits. <br /><br />The premise is as exciting as the gameplay &ndash; when asked how to describe Darksiders, I always say it&rsquo;s a mix between God of War and The Legend of Zelda. Large open areas lead to &ldquo;dungeons&rdquo; filed with puzzles. New equipment allows access to areas previously outside of War&rsquo;s reach. Action packed fights and large boss characters are sprinkled throughout. Basically, it&rsquo;s a good time waiting to happen. There are some sticking points that were carried over from the original game. While they haven&rsquo;t aged well, the game is still really entertaining. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/darksiders-warmastered-screen-2.jpg" alt="darksiders-warmastered-screen-2" /><br /><br />Going back to what was enhanced, namely the graphics. The game really does look good. Not as good as AAA games released nowadays, but much better than before. I love that the upgrades didn&rsquo;t harm the art style. And I have yet to see the frame rate drop below 60*. Everything else, from the music to the voice acting is still great. With everyone going gaga over the next biggest baddest military shooter or long awaited action RPG, I&rsquo;m sure most will overlook this title. Personally, I&rsquo;ve already recommended this version to friends looking for something different. An inexpensive thrill that&rsquo;s sure to fill an action adventure void we seem to be suffering from.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/darksiders-warmastered-screen-3.jpg" alt="darksiders-warmastered-screen-3" /><br /><br />THQ Nordic and gang excel at showing the other companies how a remaster should be handled; with appropriate loving care and respect to both the developer and the fans. It does what all remasters should set out to do. Enhance without destroying the source material!<br /><br />Gameplay: 9<br />Just as fun as it was over six years ago!<br /><br />Graphics: 9<br />Looks like Darksiders, but prettier. The bump in resolution and framerate is an absolute dream.<br /><br />Sound: 10<br />Orchestral swells and superb acting by Mark Hamill and Phil Lamarr take this to a whole new apocalyptic level. <br /><br />Replay Value: 10<br />The remastering makes this 10 hour campaign worth playing through again and again.<br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />9.5</p> <p><em>*The Wii U version is 30fps, not 60.</em></p> /microsoft/post/darksiders:-warmastered-edition Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:00:00 Hitman Episode 6: Hokkaido <p>Reviewed By: Andre Thomas<br />System: Xbox One (Also on PS4, PC) <br />Genre: Stealth<br />Rated: M<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $9.99 ($60 for full season) <br />Release Date: 10/31/2016<br />Publisher: Square Enix<br />Developer: IO Interactive<br /><br />We have finally come to the bittersweet end of the first episodic Hitman title. Being that we&rsquo;ve ventured all over the world as Agent 47, this allows for a bit of closure. Thankfully, it&rsquo;s also much more than that; Square Enix has a history of making sure that their games&rsquo; final missions are worth the entire game&rsquo;s play through. This fact rings true with Hitman as our trip to Japan doesn&rsquo;t end in disappointment!</p> <p><em>This review is solely based on episode 6 of the current episodic Hitman title. So if you wish to hear more in depth about gameplay or how this installment fits into the series, you can use the link <a href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/post/3328/hitman-episode-1:-paris">here</a> to take you back to my review of episode 1.</em><br /><br />Our backdrop for the final mission is a private hospital located in Hokkaido, Japan. This mission, unlike our past exploits, just requires us to take down two targets before leaving the facility. There&rsquo;s no need to acquire further information or intercept a person besides our targets. It&rsquo;s rather odd, though it makes sense given the plot. Our main target is Soders, a defected agent who went to our rivals in exchange for a heart transplant &ndash; because of his condition (Situs Inversus), he&rsquo;ll need a rare right sided heart. His plan is to give up information about the ICA once he&rsquo;s had the operation. There&rsquo;s no need for extra info considering out much of a threat he poses with the agency.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/hitman-ep-6-screen-3.jpg" alt="hitman-ep-6-screen-3" /><br /><br />Having to take down two targets in a place full of rich, sick, and dying people shouldn&rsquo;t be that difficult, right? I learned really quickly that it wasn&rsquo;t as cut and dry as I thought. The first big difference is you cannot take any weapons into the mission with you. We are used to having Agent 47&rsquo;s quintessential items like his fiber wire, a silenced pistol, etc. This forces us to make do with whatever's available within the environment. And though there aren&rsquo;t a lot in way of extra needed information, finding both targets can prove challenging. Both are heavily guarded, providing only brief windows of time to attack them when they&rsquo;re alone. Like most stealth games, things become a bit easier once you&rsquo;ve learned everyone&rsquo;s repetitive movements. I spent about 20-30 minutes just following my targets before I even could find a weapon to kill them with. It is imperative to sneak around into other rooms so that you can find whatever disguises you can because there a little opportunities for you to be able to gain one. This makes this mission the most strategic one to date and had me hoping that the future season will offer more like this one. &nbsp;<br /><br />While I sure it would be difficult to make things completely realistic &ndash; like having a target do random things at different times &ndash; I still wish that the AI would better respond to my agent 47&rsquo;s awkwardness.&nbsp; For example, at one point I ease dropped on two characters who were talking in a snow covered Japanese garden. They clearly don&rsquo;t want anyone to overhear their conversation given the nature of the conversation, yet they don&rsquo;t mind the random bald dude in a robe and cowboy hat standing in the cold without adequate clothing. I mean, how much harm could he be, right?&nbsp; Not to mention, the beautifully rendered snow effects make the robe on agent 47 stand out like a sore thumb and yet, nobody stops talking about secret stuff. It&rsquo;s a wonder that it took a hacker to steal secret files from this organization when NPC&rsquo;s will blurt out info in front 47 just because he&rsquo;s wearing a similar hat as their security detail. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/hitman-ep-6-screen-2.jpg" alt="hitman-ep-6-screen-2" /><br /><br />That complaint aside, I am already clambering at the bits to get a hold of the second season of Hitman. There&rsquo;s just something about being Agent 47. I can&rsquo;t wait to see the new places we&rsquo;ll travel to. Hokkaido closed the game out well and is one of the most detailed of all the missions here. Not my favorite of the episodes but still one of the most challenging to date (IO just needs to work on providing smarter enemies). Now the waiting game begins until we can suit up and hunt down our next targets. Enjoy your vacation, agents!<br /><br />Gameplay: 8<br />A nice finished to Hitman&rsquo;s first season!<br /><br />Graphics: 10 <br />Awesome visuals (per usual)!<br /><br />Sound: 9<br />There weren&rsquo;t much in the way of explosive gameplay. That said, the voice work is still great. <br /><br />Replay Value: 10<br />With multiple ways to finish the mission as well as the challenge provided via the environment itself, there&rsquo;s no reason to complete it only once. <br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />9.3<br /><br />The Entire Series Averaged Score:<br /><br />9.2<br /><br /><em><strong>Editor's Note:</strong> Feel free to read our thoughts about the other episodes <a class="external" href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/blog/post/2994/hitman">here</a>!&nbsp; &nbsp;</em><br /><br /><br /></p> /microsoft/post/hitman-episode-6:-hokkaido Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:00:00 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr<br />System: Xbox One (Also on PS4, PC)<br />Genre: FPS<br />Rated: M<br />Players: 1-2 (2-18 online)<br />Cost: $59.99<br />Release Date: 11/04/2016<br />Publisher: Activision<br />Developer: Infinity Ward<br /><br />Infinity Ward forever changed the way shooters are played when they released Modern Warfare back in 2007. Ditching the wars of old for a modern take was a risk that has been paying off ever since; it&rsquo;s the reason multiplayer-focused shooters have bombastic campaigns and why killstreaks are much more than just a succession of kills. Now that same studio, though significantly different than it was nine years ago, seems posed to once again reinvent the CoD franchise. Or at the very least, try something new&hellip; <br /><br />Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare takes place in the distant future, where sentient AI and space travel are considered old hat. Oddly enough, these technological advancements hadn&rsquo;t superseded that of moral decency; the world isn&rsquo;t suffering from post-industrial ruin. Life is good. That&rsquo;s not to say that there aren&rsquo;t any troubling developments of course. Due to the lack of natural resources, the people of Earth needed to look elsewhere to acquire raw materials. This lead to formation of the United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA), an organization made up of the world&rsquo;s governments with the sole purpose of establishing colonies throughout the solar system. The idea was sound: have people mine other planets and send what they found back to Earth.&nbsp; Unfortunately, a select group of colonists (who I believe were out in the void a little too long) rebelled against the UNSA.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-6.jpg" alt="call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-6" /><br /><br />The game begins years after this group, now called the Settlement Defense Front (SDF), had seceded from the UNSA. For the most part, the SDF and Earth&rsquo;s forces had maintained a &ldquo;cold war&rdquo; situation. That is until a Special Forces team is killed while investigating a possible SDF attack on a research facility. The game&rsquo;s protagonist, commander Nick Reyes of UNSA forces, warns that the SDF&rsquo;s actions are a declaration of war. Of course, no one heeds his warnings and life goes on without incident. A short time later however, during a celebration where the entire UNSA fleet gathers in Geneva, the SDF launched a full scale attack. Thousands of lives were lost in the ensuing chaos and the majority of the UNSA fleet was destroyed; only two major Warships were able to survive the attack. One of which, the Retribution, had lost its commanding officers during the battle. And since Reyes was the highest ranking officer on the ship at the time, he becomes its new captain&hellip;<br /><br />Call of Duty has been known for its action packed campaigns for some time now. From storming the beaches of Normandy to defending a ruined White House from foreign invaders, they&rsquo;ve always seemed to provide a heroic thrill ride of an experience. Even the quieter segments offered up water cooler moments &ndash; &ldquo;All Ghillied Up&rdquo; is still one of the best stealth missions of any shooter. Infinite Warfare provides the same explosive set pieces and immersive gameplay fans have come to expect. This can be seen during the attack on Geneva. Large towers rain down debris as rockets collide with them. A tidal wave is produced thanks to a ship crashing into Lake Geneva, sending boats careening onto the streets nearest the water. Dust covered citizens can be seen stumbling about as they try to flee the SDF&rsquo;s robotic soldiers. All of this is happening as Reyes&rsquo; squad fights their way through alleyways and fire scorched store fronts. It&rsquo;s chaotic in all the right ways!</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-4.jpg" alt="call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-4" /><br /><br />Infinity Ward added a twist to the normal shooter proceedings with the inclusion of space battles. Now before you scoff at the idea of flying a spaceship in a CoD game, just hear me out. These portions actually fit in with the rest of the game. For one, going from a firefight on the ground to blasting ships among the stars is seamless. I&rsquo;m talking zero load time from the Earth to orbit after Reyes jumps into his Jet. Less loading, of course, forgoes an immersion breaking experience and keeps the player in the fight. Another reason they work well is because the fighter jets handle extremely well. Thanks to helping hands behind the scenes, it&rsquo;s easy to lock onto a target and follow them as they zigzag around asteroids without ramming into things. Heck, as long as the ship doesn&rsquo;t constantly slam into stuff, the forgiving health system will keep it from exploding. The last reason has to do with the fact that Reyes doesn&rsquo;t always stay in his jet while in space. Players will often find themselves exiting the cockpit to engage in zero-gravity firefights before boarding a rival warship. Again, the transitions feature no load times. <br /><br />While I found the space battles to be entertaining, Infinity Ward wisely limited their presence. They knew that not everyone was going to like that sort of thing, so they placed them in side-missions. The good news here, besides them being completely optional, is that the side-missions actually affect the story content. Not so much in a plot-altering way, but in a more incentivized fashion. Weapon unlocks, upgrades, perks and more can be obtained when completing these missions. Most are designed well, some even feature unique scenarios. A certain stealth mission that tasks you with sniping enemies while hiding behind floating debris may defy logic but it offers up a hell of a good time!</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-8.jpg" alt="call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-8" /><br /><br />Infinite Warfare&rsquo;s campaign is full of thrilling moments and crazy environments. I&rsquo;m talking about fighting robots on an asteroid headed toward a sun with a murderous day/night cycle; every minute or so the sun would rise and scorch anything caught out in the open. It&rsquo;s also full of endearing characters. Reyes&rsquo; robot pal E3N or &ldquo;Ethan&rdquo; provides some of the most heartfelt moments found in any Call of Duty game. What sours the campaign a bit for me is the absence of a meaningful story. Though the actually running and gunning is fun, the missions slowly devolve into a means to an end. There&rsquo;s no rhyme or reason to the fighting beyond needing to stop an enemy. I mean, why are the SDF so fanatically charged against the Earth? Based on the way they talk, you&rsquo;d think we did something horrible to them. But the why is never expounded upon.<br /><br />There are multiple most wanted characters, that when dispatched during missions, help to cripple the SDF. For the most part they are just extra NPC&rsquo;s though. They don&rsquo;t command a presence, pose a serious threat &ndash; most of them don&rsquo;t even speak. They are just there to be killed (or not given the nature of each mission). Other than being told they are important, there is nothing interesting about them. They&rsquo;re just there to check off of a list, which is how the narrative is treated. Even the game&rsquo;s main antagonist is criminally underused. Infinity Ward got Game of Thrones&rsquo; Kit Harington to voice the SDF&rsquo;s leader, Salen Kotch, for what I assume was an attempt to score some hype via a celebrity guest. Why else would they pay to Jon Sn&hellip;er&hellip;Kit to voice a character that isn&rsquo;t really needed?</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-7.jpg" alt="call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-7" /><br /><br />Though the plot didn&rsquo;t really resonate with me as a whole, I don&rsquo;t feel like it was a waste of time. That said, most will look toward the multiplayer offerings given that&rsquo;s where the majority of their time will be spent. Like the campaign though, it is bit of a mixed bag. The classic match types (Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint and so on) are as entertaining as you&rsquo;d expect. The new modes offer exciting variants on the normal match types. In Reinforce, two teams will fight over three control points. Whichever team manages to capture and hold all three will win the match. The catch is that there are limited spawns. Once they run out, the only way to resurrect a teammate is by capturing a zone. This creates a fun, tug-of-war like experience to what&rsquo;s essentially Domination. <br /><br />New toys are sprinkled into the multiplayer mix to spice up the moment to moment gunplay. Some of which are more &ldquo;space aged&rdquo; than others; guns that can literally transform into other guns and energy weapons stand alongside the normal rifles and pistols we&rsquo;re used to. Certain abilities from Black Ops III make their return in more refined forms (robot hacking, wall-running, the use of drones, etc.) adding to the available arsenal. Regardless of your tastes though, there&rsquo;s plenty to like here. I especially enjoy using the spider-like seeker grenades. Their ability to track and leap onto panicking enemies is just as amusing to see as their usefulness. &nbsp;<br /><br />Now that we got the pro&rsquo;s out of the way, let&rsquo;s talk about the cons. For some reason Infinite Warfare seems to have been created for the most diehard CoD fans. This is due, in part, to all of the options being thrusted at new players. Like the previous CoD, there are different classes (called Combat Rigs in this game) each with their own special ability. Unlike the last game however, they also have special perks to further differentiate themselves. Then there are custom weapons that can be earned or crafted. These weapons will have extra perks that either make them more deadly or help to bolster a particular loadout. Layer in all of the normal weapons, perks, abilities, and killstreaks and you have a ton of stuff to keep up with.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/CoD-Infinite-Warfar-gif.gif" alt="CoD-Infinite-Warfar-gif" /><br /><br />As a seasoned CoD player, I too had trouble figuring out what kept me from winning a given encounter. Was it because my opponent stacked a custom weapon&rsquo;s perk for quick reloads with Dexterity, the loadout perk that does the same? Most likely it was because he was using the Synaptic Rig&rsquo;s Rewind ability, allowing them to go back in time and replenished health/ammo like Tracer from Overwatch. When you consider all of the perks, special abilities, counter-abilities, you can start to see how things can get confusing for someone who hasn&rsquo;t invested a significant amount of time in the past four titles. Again, I struggled here and there, not knowing exactly how someone had killed me after I&rsquo;d gotten the drop on them. <br /><br />That&rsquo;s not to say I didn&rsquo;t enjoy myself. The game is still fun, even with the futuristic elements; I found that I did better when I didn&rsquo;t try to keep up with the players who insisted on wallrunning everywhere. It just isn&rsquo;t newbie friendly. Vets will utilize every option available, widening the skill gab beyond quick reflexes and the ability to aim. The hit Zombies mode is the exact opposite though. While it&rsquo;s still difficult to progress through multiple waves, the edge has been taken off thanks to a few tweaks. The main change has to do with how the game treats a death. Before, when a friend went down during a wave, he or she would have to sit out until it was cleared. Here, when you&rsquo;re character dies, you&rsquo;ll be taken to an arcade where you can play games for &ldquo;soul points&rdquo;. Win enough points before your other teammates bite the dust and you can be resurrected to fight alongside them. Of course, there&rsquo;s a limit on how many times you can respawn. Still, it&rsquo;s much more forgiving in nature and gives players something to do other than spectate until the round is over.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-9.jpg" alt="call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-9" /><br /><br />Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare isn&rsquo;t what Modern Warfare was. It won&rsquo;t revolutionize the genre, the campaign isn&rsquo;t memorable, and the multiplayer options, while entertaining, will frustrate new players. The fans that balked at the futuristic elements will of course have plenty to complain about. While all of that is true, Infinite Warfare isn&rsquo;t the train wreck that gamers thought it would be. Infinity Ward worked hard to elevate the series (or at the very least tried something new) and it shows. Zero load times once in game, imaginative environments, creative action segments, fun-to-use weapons, space battles, 80&rsquo;s themed zombie mode featuring David Hasselhoff &ndash; there&rsquo;s a lot to like here. Hopefully, they can grow from this. Learning from what worked and what didn&rsquo;t. They have three years after all! <br /><br />Gameplay: 8<br />Infinity Ward has redeemed themselves after the mess that was <a href="http://unitedfrontgaming.com/post/2050/call-of-duty:-ghosts">Ghosts</a>. Unfortunately, the forgettable campaign and bloated multiplayer elements harm what could have been an amazing title! <br /><br />Graphics: 10<br />The game looks awesome. Hands down!<br /><br />Sound: 9<br />The voice work is fine (mostly because of Ethan) and the sound effects provide the appropriate bangs and booms. &nbsp;<br /><br />Replay Value: 8<br />If you can get into the competitive multiplayer, it can be really fun. Zombies is always worth checking out! <br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />8.8<br /><br /><strong>A Look Back&hellip;</strong><br /><br />So, yeah. The review copy we got came packaged with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. It features the full campaign, ten of its most popular multiplayer maps, high-definition graphics with enhanced textures and high-dynamic lighting, and upgrades in the sound department. After spending a decent amount of time reliving this classic, I&rsquo;m surprised to say that it stands the test of time. Even though I&rsquo;ve played through the campaign multiple times, it&rsquo;s still provides an engaging experience.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-3.jpg" alt="call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-screen-3" /><br /><br />The multiplayer offerings aren&rsquo;t as robust as we&rsquo;ve come to expect, but that&rsquo;s ok. Being an older title, MW inadvertently proves that less is more, especially when compared to Infinite Warfare&rsquo;s competitive modes.&nbsp; When it comes to the enhanced sound effects, it was hard to really hear a difference. You&rsquo;ll probably have to play both games side by side to really get a sense of how things have changed. That&rsquo;s not the case when it comes to the graphics though. Visually, it looks better than it ever did; while it certainly show&rsquo;s its age, I can&rsquo;t see myself going back to the older version now. <br /><br />The long and short of it, regardless of how you felt about Activision&rsquo;s decision to bundle the games together, MW Remastered is a no brainer for CoD fans! <br /><br />Gameplay: 9<br />Nearly as fun as it was way back when&hellip; <br /><br />Graphics: 7<br />Though it&rsquo;s a bit dated, it isn&rsquo;t too hard on the eyes. <br /><br />Sound: 8<br />I honestly didn&rsquo;t hear much of a difference between the original game and this one. To be fair, I haven&rsquo;t played the original game in years so&hellip;<br /><br />Replay Value: 10<br />The multiplayer is refreshing in its simplicity. <br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />8.5<br /><br />&nbsp; <br /><br /><br />&nbsp;<br /></p> /microsoft/post/call-of-duty:-infinite-warfare Wed, 23 Nov 2016 12:00:00 Fallout 4's Nuka World - is it Worth It? <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 10/31/16<br /><br />As the lone survivor of Vault 111, we&rsquo;ve had our fair share of adventures. We went from warring with secret organizations to battling giant monsters dwelling in a radioactive fog. Twiddling our thumbs in between the frequent encounters with raiders wasn&rsquo;t an option; there were other activities that were worth looking into.&nbsp; Crafting robots, setting up trade routes between settlements, installing a generator in your newly erected vault &ndash; life in the Commonwealth was anything but dull&hellip;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/fallout-4-nuka-world-screen-6.jpg" alt="fallout-4-nuka-world-screen-6" /> &nbsp;<br />So the anticipation for Nuka World, the sixth and final add-on for Fallout 4, was pretty up there. I mean, the end of this long and harrowing journey was in sight (if you were using the same created character that is). Just how would Bethesda close things out for our protagonist? Will there be a major reveal that tied all of the individual stories together? Or will it be another a separate adventure, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure? At the very least, it would be a rather entertaining romp through a fascinating environment&hellip;right? <br /><br />Things start off interesting enough. After receiving a broadcast from the Nuka-World Amusement Park, you&rsquo;ll head over to the transit center to see what&rsquo;s going on. Once there you&rsquo;ll be greeted by a man claiming to have been robbed and beaten by a group of raiders. To really sell his story, he&rsquo;ll throw in a captured wife and child. The idea is to con travelers into taking the transit to the amusement park so they can be put through the Gauntlet, a game where people have to trek through a maze-like environment lined with booby-traps. If they make it through the maze, they&rsquo;ll then face the park&rsquo;s Overboss in a rigged fight to the death. Thankfully, on this occasion, you&rsquo;ll have a little help facing this opponent.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/fallout-4-nuka-world-screen-4.jpg" alt="fallout-4-nuka-world-screen-4" /><br /><br />Because you were able to take out the Overboss, you&rsquo;ll end up taking his role as the leader of the park&rsquo;s three factions. These gangs &ndash; The Disciples, The Operators, and The Pack &ndash; had seized control of the main few areas from a group of settlers. Their previous leader was content with playing games instead of clearing out the rest of the park, forcing the gangs live in close quarters. Lacking the ability to share (because they&rsquo;re raiders), it was only a matter of time before they turned on each other. Being the new Overboss, it becomes your job to make the larger sections of the park safe to live in, granting everyone the much needed space to stretch their legs. <br /><br />Nuka World is an exciting place to visit. This is good news given how difficult it can be to clear out each area. Like any large amusement park, each section has its own theme and associated attractions. The Galactic Zone, for instance, focuses on technology &ndash; Vault-Tech: Among the Stars is like a &ldquo;home of tomorrow&rdquo; exhibit that shows what a vault might look like if it was designed to function on other planets. Dry Rock Gulch goes in the opposite direction. It features a Wild West theme with robotic cowboys, minecart rides, and so on. Each environment also comes with its own set of enemies. Giant ants and Bloodworms (think Tremors) have infested Dry Rock Gulch while the Galactic Zone is held hostage by homicidal robots.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/fallout-4-nuka-world-screen-3.jpg" alt="fallout-4-nuka-world-screen-3" /><br /><br />Regardless of what area you choose to cleanse first, be prepared for a difficult fight. The recommended level for Nuka World is 30. I went in at 37 and could barely survive the onslaught of enemies. Even at level 40, I found myself fleeing from battle in order to rethink my approach. That&rsquo;s not to say I wasn&rsquo;t enjoying the struggle. The bombastic shootouts and face crushing melee battles in a variety of weird environments made Nuka World a blast to play through. Unfortunately, I can&rsquo;t say the same for the narrative aspects. <br /><br />One of the major elements of any Fallout game was its moral ambiguity. This is especially true with Fallout 4, where multiple factions can be seen as the &ldquo;heroes&rdquo; of the story depending on how things unfold. Picking which way to go is always a tough choice. That&rsquo;s not the case here. Nuka World is skewed towards being a raider, so much so that completing the main quest line will change your stance in the commonwealth; once the gangs have staked their claim to the majority of the park, your next assignment is to go out and take over the settlements scattered across the wastes. This isn&rsquo;t an issue if you tended to be a more negative player. It is an issue if you took time to build up these settlements. I&rsquo;m a fan of destroying my LEGO towers and the occasional sandcastle, but I&rsquo;ve spent many a night developing these places into livable areas for peaceful survivors. The last thing I&rsquo;d want to do is to betray them. <br /><br />Ok, so maybe you don&rsquo;t care about the settlements the same way I do. Being the leader of the largest raider gang does have its appeal. That said, it would have been nice if the good ending was worth accomplishing outside of just being rewarded with &ldquo;the feels&rdquo;. Being bad will unlock new perks and extra stat points on existing abilities. The only thing you get for being good is another settlement. You see, one of the things that the three gangs could agree on was the enslavement of the remaining settlers. They fashioned them with explosive collars and forced them to provide needed resources. Liberating them will add Nuka World to your list of settlements/safe places to crash. That&rsquo;s about it. What&rsquo;s worse is that if you choose to liberate them early on, you&rsquo;ll &ldquo;fail&rdquo; the main story quests, vastly reducing the play time.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/fallout-4-nuka-world-screen-5.jpg" alt="fallout-4-nuka-world-screen-5" /><br /><br />I don&rsquo;t understand why Bethesda would choose to make this such a one sided affair. Outside of picking two of the three gangs to side with (the third one will feel slighted and turn on you) or rescuing the slaves, there isn&rsquo;t much to think about. There aren&rsquo;t any conflicting philosophies to ponder over. Worst still, being good actually hurts your chances of growth &ndash; new perks and tons of XP are taken off the table. I don&rsquo;t remember there being a time when one of the choices given to players would yield so little rewards. So much so, that it pushes most players down a particular path as opposed to letting them decide on their own. <br /><br />Bottom line, Nuka World is worth experiencing. The missions are fun and there&rsquo;s plenty of new loot to wade through. I really liked the Nuka based weapons and power armor. Depending on what character you&rsquo;ve been building up until this point though, you may find that you don&rsquo;t like the choices presented to you. At the very least you&rsquo;ll miss the more intricate plots this series is known for. I know I did!</p> <p><em>Go <a class="external" href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/blog/post/2951/fallout-4">here</a> to check out our coverage of all the DLC played thus far (including our review of Fallout 4)!</em>&nbsp;</p> /microsoft/post/fallout-4s-nuka-world---is-it-worth-it- Mon, 31 Oct 2016 12:00:00