United Front Gaming http://unitedfrontgaming.com We Happy Few <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr<br />System: PC (Also on PS4, Xbox One)<br />Genre: Action Adventure/Survival<br />Rated: M<br />Players: 1 <br />Cost: $59.99<br />Release Date: 08/10/2018<br />Publisher: Gearbox <br />Developer: Compulsion Games<br /><br />We Happy Few takes place in an alternate past &ndash; one where Germany captured Great Britain during WWII &ndash; on an island town called Wellington Wells. To rid their town of its oppressors, Wells&rsquo; citizens agreed to do something terrible. So much so, that their government decided to develop a drug called Joy to suppress everyone&rsquo;s memories. Fast forward years later and this retro-futuristic town has become a dystopia; an island held captive by an oppressive governing body and the remnants of its past actions. The town&rsquo;s inhabitants are forced into a state of complacency thanks to the Joy. Forgoing an obnoxiously cheerful disposition results in suspicion, as those found joyless are deemed downers and are typically forced fed the drug, ran out of town, or murdered. <br /><br />If I had to describe We Happy Few&rsquo;s premise, I&rsquo;d say it was a mash-up of The Stepford Wives (the 1980&rsquo;s made-for-tv version) and A Clockwork Orange. People are being drugged out of their minds, hallucinating flowers and rainbows, in hopes of hiding from reality. Going so far as to wear face coverings that are reminiscent of the comedy theatrical mask. However pleasant they pretend to be, they&rsquo;ll quickly become violent at the mere sight of someone deemed unpleasant. This is where our first protagonist, Arthur Hastings comes in. After coming off his Joy induced high, he was considered a downer and promptly ran out of town. He ends up in one of the outer districts amongst other homeless people&hellip;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/we-happy-few-screen-8.jpg" alt="we-happy-few-screen-8" /><br /><br />Players will take control of three different characters over the span of the game, each one trying to escape the island. Arthur, being the first playable character, acts as an introduction to the game&rsquo;s world. Here we learn that We Happy Few is one-part action adventure and one-part survival game. The player will need to complete missions as Arthur slowly works his way through his part of the campaign. In between missions, he&rsquo;s required to drink, eat and sleep like a normal human. This was a bit of an issue in the game&rsquo;s Early Access build; these nagging physical requirements would constantly pull players away from the story at the most inconvenient times. Thankfully, Compulsion toned these mechanics down some. Not sleeping or eating, for instance, no longer results in death. Instead, they&rsquo;ll lower the amount of stamina Arthur has, making it harder to fight off and/or flee from Wellington&rsquo;s crazed citizens.<br /><br />Other survival mechanics come into play over time. Crafting a suitable weapon is just as important as acquiring medicinal items to deal with an illness or wound. The thing that makes these mechanics interesting is We Happy Few&rsquo;s narrative spin. In order to blend in with the people inhabiting the immediate area, one would have to craft the proper attire. In the case of the outer districts, a torn and ragged suit was most appropriate; the people there didn&rsquo;t like &ldquo;fancy&rdquo; city folks reminding them that they were poor. The opposite holds true when visiting the more affluent parts of the island. Then there is Joy. Most of the story takes place in the heart of Wellington Wells. Acting different (running, jumping, fighting, doing anything annoying) would attract the wrong kind of attention. And once people notice Arthur&rsquo;s off his Joy, he&rsquo;ll have to run for his life. Or, pop a Joy.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/we-happy-few-screen-9.jpg" alt="we-happy-few-screen-9" /><br /><br />The problem with using Joy is two-fold. While it does allow the player to pass as a normal citizen, taking too much will cause Arthur to lose his memory again (plunging all of his stats). The other issue comes from abstaining. As soon as the drug wears off, Arthur will temporally suffer from withdrawal. Not only will he draw ire from anyone he encounters while in this state, he&rsquo;ll also be slightly weaker. It&rsquo;s a tough spot to be in. If that wasn&rsquo;t bad enough, there are special gates/machines that seek out downers, making the choice to not take Joy that much harder. Imagine needing to get through a rough part of town. You take some Joy to pass through a few check points, slide by some Bobbies (police). Only then do you realize that the person you need to visit in order to complete a quest is still far off. With your Joy levels steadily declining, do you risk making a run for it or keep walking in hopes of no one noticing the early effects of withdrawal? Either way, you&rsquo;re sure to get creepy stares from those around you. &nbsp;<br /><br />Sally Boyle and Ollie Starkey, the other protagonists, have their own issues to content with. Because of this, the game changes to better reflect their struggles. Take Ollie, the army vet/recluse. He must eat and sleep just like the other two characters. He also needs to balance his blood sugar. If it gets too high, he&rsquo;ll start to lose health. If it gets to low, he&rsquo;ll start randomly yelling at NPCs. Slowly dying is never a good thing. But having to worry about offending people who become violent when someone doesn&rsquo;t look happy, spells doom for someone looking to keep a low profile. Crafting the proper medication (or in some cases, eating the right foods) will help in keeping Ollie balanced. Of course, things won&rsquo;t always go as planned. With Arthur, he had the luxury of running away or hiding. Ollie can&rsquo;t run for long distances and isn&rsquo;t very great at stealth. He can throw a mean punch though; with this character, We Happy Few goes from being mostly a stealth based game to one where brawls happen on a regular basis.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/we-happy-few-screen-10.jpg" alt="we-happy-few-screen-10" /><br /><br />The survival-based gameplay is great at first. Safely traversing We Happy Few&rsquo;s open world was challenging. Using stealth &ndash; sneaking around, hiding in trash cans, choking out enemies, etc. &ndash; I was able to circumvent most obstacles in my path. Along the way, I made sure to collect every piece of junk I could find for crafting purposes. This strategy paid off. It wasn&rsquo;t long before the game forced me to utilize my tools. A lockpick to open a door. A crafted drug that mimicked Joy (with none of the side of effects). A portable record player used to distract guards. I ended up using most of my collected items while completing each mission. To further bolster my efforts, I also unlocked a series of perks. Points are rewarded after finishing a quest line, which in turn, are used to upgrade each character. Stronger attacks, health improvements, quieter movements, better stamina. All of these things became useful at the right moments by either presenting a way out of trouble or offering a means of protecting myself. <br /><br />Being able to overcome the oppressive circumstances felt good. Things started to change about mid-way through Arthur&rsquo;s arc though. This is because most of We Happy Few&rsquo;s missions are nothing more than tedious fetch quests, each one more convoluted than the last. They&rsquo;d often send you from point A to B to C, only to make you trek all the way back to A (with an item) before reaching D. At one-point Arthur exclaimed how he&rsquo;d wasted his time helping someone for little to no gain &ndash; a sentiment I rightfully shared. Worse still was how these fetch quests tried to reinforce the survival angle. It&rsquo;s one thing to make the going tough, allowing the player to rethink his or her approach to a problem. It&rsquo;s another to lock a quest item behind a door that can only be opened by a lockpick. No keycard. No gullible NPC. Just a lockpick. And because I had used all my bobby pins in search of potential loot, I didn&rsquo;t have one during this key part of the campaign. Which meant, I had to scour the surrounding neighborhood in hopes of finding one in the trash, in a cabinet, or someone&rsquo;s dresser drawer. My progress came to an abrupt stop.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/we-happy-few-screen-11.jpg" alt="we-happy-few-screen-11" /><br /><br />Fast traveling doesn&rsquo;t help to negate all of the walking you&rsquo;ll have to do to complete these quests. Back and forth between districts. It became rather tiresome. The same goes for Sally and Ollie&rsquo;s arcs; they&rsquo;re only available to play in succession once Arthur&rsquo;s arc is completed. It was more of the same, just slightly tweaked to suit the strengths and weakness of each character. Add in a few annoying bugs, like dropped dialogue or faulty missions that need to be replayed due to NPCs getting stuck in the environment, and you can see why I grew weary hours in. <br /><br />It seemed like Compulsion just wanted to pad the experience. That or they couldn&rsquo;t come up with enough interesting things for the player to indulge in. Whatever the case, they were able to somewhat save We Happy Few by crafting a decent story. Figuring out what happened to these three characters through recovered notes, dialogue, and flashbacks is worth suffering through the later parts of the game. The twists and turns were compelling as well. Because the bulk of the story is centered on Arthur, he&rsquo;ll eventually run into Sally and Ollie. These moments play out differently based on each person&rsquo;s perspective. The theme here is our memory, which reinforces the game&rsquo;s overall narrative. Sometimes, we only remember what we want to remember... <br /><br />With its great premise, impeccable writing, focused (at times) gameplay, and wild sense of style &ndash; this amalgamation of genres/ideas should&rsquo;ve been on a fast track to some sort of end-of-the-year award. Or at the very least, a game with themes worth discussing long after it&rsquo;s been uninstalled. Unfortunately, We Happy Few doesn&rsquo;t quite reach the lofty heights set by Compulsion.<br /><br />Gameplay: 5<br />There is a lot to like here, especially concerning the well-crafted story. The tedious missions, constant backtracking and bugs nearly ruined the experience though.<br /><br />Graphics: 7<br />I love the art style. The repeated elements (it&rsquo;s possible to see five of the same NPC all huddled inches away from each other) and visual bugs plague the screen though. <br /><br />Sound: 9<br />Both the voice acting and haunting musical score are great.<br /><br />Replay Value: 4<br />I can understand wanting to replay each act to learn everything there is to know about these characters. An endless mode is also on the way. That said, I&rsquo;m hesitant to revisit Wellington Wells. <br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />6.3<br /><br /><strong>Honorable Mention:</strong> We Happy Few is one of the few (heh) games where the leveling system actually complements the gameplay. Instead of offering abilities that one would expect a protagonist to have at the start of their journey based on the narrative &ndash; like a decent stamina bar, the ability to craft, proper aiming mechanics, etc. &ndash; We Happy Few provides perks that reinforces whatever roll you&rsquo;re trying to play. Arthur is already great stealth-based character, so unlocking perks in that category are only there to make him even better; he isn&rsquo;t a shell of a character, being upgraded just to rise to a basic level of competency. Every ability, regardless of your playstyle, is useful. That is a rare feat. <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/we-happy-few Wed, 15 Aug 2018 12:00:00 Latest Sky Noon Update Features New Ice Map! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br /><br />Lunar Rooster is releasing a large update for Sky Noon later this month. It&rsquo;ll feature a new mode, gameplay controls (like the ability to turn off friendly fire), and a new ice-themed map among other things!<br /><br />The biggest addition has got to be the new &ldquo;Pinnacle&rdquo; map. With slippery ice physics making it easier to be blow/pushed off of a platform, players will need to be on their toes if they hope to avoid a quick death. There are also new duel specific maps (coming curtesy of this new mode aptly titled Duel) where players will join in 1v1 fights.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/sky-noon-screen-5.jpg" alt="sky-noon-screen-5" /><br /><br />The new update will arrive on August 15th, marking a good time to join in on the fun &ndash; we thought Sky Noon was a <a class="external" href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/pc/post/3981/ufg-goes-hands-on-with-sky-noon">blast</a> even in its Early Access stage. Whatever you do, keep it locked here for more gaming news! <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/latest-sky-noon-update-features-new-ice-map Thu, 9 Aug 2018 12:00:00 UFG Goes Hands on With Icons: Combat Arena! <p>Written By: Andre Thomas<br /><br />It can be difficult to break into a popular video game genre. Once a major title takes up residence in our collective minds as the &ldquo;best&rdquo; possible product, it takes a lot to evict them; outside of PUBG, nothing really competes with Fortnite right now. That&rsquo;s not to say that it&rsquo;s impossible to steal away some of the market though. Provided the newer title offers a unique spin or some defining feature that propels it to the forefront&hellip;<br /><br />This brings me to Wavedash Games and their newly released Early Access title, Icons: Combat Arena. This free-to-play platform fighter features the subgenre&rsquo;s more popular elements &ndash; knocking opponents off out platforms/beyond the edges of the screen, a percentage gage in place of a life bar, powerful &ldquo;smash&rdquo; attacks, etc. &ndash; as well as an interesting cast of characters. Seen as less of a party game and more of a focused, 1v1 fighter, Icons feels similar to games like Brawlout; there are no items (as of yet) and the match options that currently limit the player count*. It&rsquo;s a game that promotes skilled play over luck, gimmicks and so on. And for the most part, it works.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/icons-combat-arena-screen-3.jpg" alt="icons-combat-arena-screen-3" /><br /><br />Before moving on, let&rsquo;s take care of the elephant in the room, shall we? Yes, Icons: Combat Arena is a platform fighter that isn&rsquo;t Super Smash Bros. That fact alone shouldn&rsquo;t determine whether or not it&rsquo;s worth playing; WaveDash isn&rsquo;t trying to necessarily compete with that gargantuan title. Instead, they&rsquo;re trying to offer another option. Something that can be enjoyed regardless of how players feel about Mario and the gang. Mmmk? Mmmk!&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/icons-combat-arena-screen-2.jpg" alt="icons-combat-arena-screen-2" /><br /><br />Icons plays similarly to other platform fighters, with a control scheme that&rsquo;s nearly identical to every other title in the subgenre. They aren&rsquo;t as responsive as they should be though. With every button press, there is a slight delay between the input and onscreen action. At first, I thought it was lag; playing against other UFG staffers online offered up that synopsis. Unfortunately, the same lag was present in the training mode. This made completing combos, dodging projectiles, and connecting strong attacks more difficult then they needed to be. It&rsquo;s still playable of course. Even fun at times. It just takes some getting used to. <br /><br />Wavedash does a great job of diversifying in Icons&rsquo; roster (both in character type and move sets). It felt good to land a tricky shot as the gun toting Raymer or to grab and slam someone onto the ground after launching them into the air as the galactic wrestler Xana. Some of the characters are familiar &ndash; the bounty hunter Kidd plays just like Star Fox &ndash; while others are rather unique. For instance, the duo Afi &amp; Galu seemed to be Icons&rsquo; answer to the Ice Climbers. What separates them from Nintendo&rsquo;s pair is how they share one lifeforce, requiring the player to tag between the two at the right moments to be effective. Familiar or not, all of the characters are fun to use. And I especially love how Wavedash incorporated different cultures &ndash; the icons seem to be more than just aliens/anthropomorphic characters duking it out on random stages.<br /><br />Speaking of the stages, it would have been nice to see more detailed arenas. As of right now, some of them are great while others seem basic in design. Sure, the focus is mainly on the fighters. But without any distinguishing features, there&rsquo;s no reason to choose one stage over another in most cases. And while the game looks good, as of right now, it&rsquo;ll struggle to compete with the games with better environments. Why? Because of how similar these games can be; any reason to go back to an older title needs to be addressed. It doesn&rsquo;t help that Icons doesn&rsquo;t have a known roster (Smash Bros.), weapons (Brawlhalla), or visually striking arenas with varied platform placement (Brawlout). We already mentioned how its combat is mired by laggy controls. Icons needs to stand out is my point, and the arenas themselves could help in that regard.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/icons-combat-arena-screen.jpg" alt="icons-combat-arena-screen" /><br /><br />Being a free-to-play game, there had to be some sort of microtransaction or DLC available for purchase. In Icons case, players can purchase a pro account which nets them all current and future characters. They&rsquo;ll also be able to purchase customization items like skins, taunts, holograms (sprays in shooters) and even the platform they load in on/respawn with after death. Sadly, there&rsquo;s no direct way to purchase them; you&rsquo;ll have to roll the dice with loot crates called Portal Packs. None of these items affect the gameplay and most of them can be unlocked by playing the game though. I personally liked the idea of being able to change how my character looks beyond a recolor, something Wavedash is betting on. It just would have been nice to be able to pick and choose what I wanted to unlock directly**.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/icons-combat-arena-screen-4.jpg" alt="icons-combat-arena-screen-4" /><br /><br />Icons: Combat Arena is obviously a work in progress. The good news is that Wavedash is doing a good job patching, changing, and fixing things. Some of my qualms have been addressed already. Some aren&rsquo;t that big of a priority; small things like odd sound effects are lower on the totem poll. Newer elements like some sort of final attack, since it&rsquo;s so heavily focused on 1v1 bouts, would help gameplay wise. The ability to try out and buy characters directly will help monetarily, given how the industry has fared with loot crates as of late. Whatever the case, I am looking forward to this game&rsquo;s growth. As it stands, Icons is a game worth keeping an eye on. <br /><br /><em>*Wavedash has announced that new 4v4 and 2v2 modes are in the works.<br />**There have been some changes to the Portal Packs. For one, now players will get tokens that will allow them to pick which character they want to unlock. It&rsquo;s still random (you might not get a token) but there is some player choice involved. Not only that, but players can now win these boxes just by playing Quick Match. </em><br /><br /></p> /pc/post/ufg-goes-hands-on-with-icons:-combat-arena- Tue, 7 Aug 2018 12:00:00 UFG Goes Hands on With Sky Noon! <p>Written By: Andre Thomas<br />Date: 06/26/2018<br /><br />Every gamer has that limbo period after E3 in which every game you have now feels outdated. It&rsquo;s only natural. All of the exciting reveals, new IP&rsquo;s and highly anticipated sequels make it difficult to enjoy the currently available titles; at least for me, for a time.&nbsp; So, you can imagine how I felt when we got a preview code for Sky Noon, an indie title recently released into Early Access. Even though I was eager to try it out (it&rsquo;s premise was interesting), in the back of my mind I was all &ldquo;this isn&rsquo;t one of the cool and shiny new games announced during a press conference&rdquo;. That quickly changed after literally minutes in game. Not only is it unlike anything I&rsquo;ve ever played, Sky Noon is also poised to be the next big PC shooter!<br /><br />Sky Noon, developed by Lunar Rooster, has deceivably simple concept. The objective isn&rsquo;t to deplete an enemy&rsquo;s life bar, like in other shooters. Instead, you&rsquo;re supposed to push them off platforms &agrave; la Super Smash Bros. &ndash; except, you know, in first person using guns and such. You see, the game takes place in a crazy wild west universe where gunslingers and cartel battle on raised landmasses using compressed air weapons. Players will join either side before being catapulted onto these floating platforms set amongst the clouds. Equipped with an air gun, grappling hook, lasso and a special ability that ranges from explosives to traversal items like a teleporter &ndash; matches resemble classic arcade shooters before evolving into a beautifully chaotic dance.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/sky-noon-screen.jpg" alt="sky-noon-screen" /><br /><br />I say dance because of how the pushing and pulling works. The grappling hook, for instance, is your best ally in game. Everyone will be swinging around the map like Spider-Man to get the drop on someone, to dodge attacks or grapple back onto the map after being pushed. What makes it great though is how it helps to build up speed &ndash; the added momentum combining with your weapon&rsquo;s air pressure &ndash; to push opponents further away. With practice it&rsquo;s possible to &ldquo;smash&rdquo; a recovering opponent off the map while chasing them through the air. It can be really difficult to do at times, but man is it satisfying seeing that shot hit its mark and watching an enemy fall into nothingness. Other items also lean themselves to the pushing and pulling. The lasso can be used to pull items and enemies toward you, snagging a better gun before they do or helping to line up the perfect shot. Explosives can be used to blow enemies away/off platforms while jet packs help to alleviate some of the stress involved with scrambling to get back onto the map. &nbsp;<br /><br />So far, Sky Noon offers four modes of play. There&rsquo;s the normal ilk (Team Deathmatch, King of the Ring, etc.) as well as an original mode called Cart. In Cart mode, two teams compete over a single mine cart full of treasure; they&rsquo;ll have to push the cart along a track towards their base using their weapons and items. This creates a push-of-war situation where the teams are pushing in opposite directions in hopes of moving the cart. Dealing with rivals before going for the cart is sound. The lasso can help save ammo by pulling it instead of pushing. Using the gripping hook to build momentum before hitting the cart, to push it further along, also helps. The biggest concern though is the direction changing targets scattered around the map. These targets, once hit, will change the carts direction on the track, making it either go towards or away from your base. So not only do you have to deal with the opposing team while pushing the cart along, but you also have to hit targets to make sure you&rsquo;re going in the right direction.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/sky-noon-screen-4.jpg" alt="sky-noon-screen-4" /><br /><br />Sky Noon is entertaining regardless of mode. That said, with it being an Early Access title, there aren&rsquo;t a lot of servers to play on or people to play with. There are also connectivity issues and such hindering the good times. None of it is too concerning at the moment; EA titles are works in progress and hopefully enough players will hear about Sky Noon to produce a decently sized community. What I would like to see though is more customization options. Right now, you can only choose to be male or female and what clothing items they wear (once unlocked). It would be great to be able to change our skin color, hair, alter facial features and so on. I understand that the game is played from a first-person view, but I don&rsquo;t want to be a clone among clones. Is it impossible for Lunar Rooster to add options allowing me to play as a &lsquo;brotha&rsquo; or &lsquo;sista&rsquo; in the floating wild west? Nope. I&rsquo;m sure they&rsquo;ve considered such things given how tiring it can be to grind for the clothing items that everyone will wear once they hit similar levels.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/sky-noon-screen-3.jpg" alt="sky-noon-screen-3" /><br /><br />I am really excited to see how Sky Noon evolves going forward. With more maps, modes and customization options/unlockables, it has the potential to really take off in a realm of its own. Not to mention, at $15 (it&rsquo;s currently on sale for $13.49) and the modest PC requirements, the entry level is low; I can see players flocking to this game once the word gets out. Then again, Steam has become so saturated with games (quality be damned) that it may be hard for Sky Noon to stand out. Here&rsquo;s hoping that&rsquo;s not the case because I am officially addicted/in need of more players to push off of things! <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/ufg-goes-hands-on-with-sky-noon Tue, 26 Jun 2018 12:00:00 Sky Noon /pc/post/sky-noon Tue, 26 Jun 2018 12:00:00 Jurassic World Evolution /pc/post/jurassic-world-evolution Tue, 12 Jun 2018 12:00:00 Extinction <p>Reviewed By: Andre Thomas<br />System: PC (Also on Xbox One, PS4)<br />Genre: Action <br />Rated: M<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $59.99<br />Release Date: 04/10/2018<br />Publisher: Maximum Games<br />Developer: Iron Galaxy<br /><br />There is always a place in my gaming library for an anime inspired title. High speed action, big villains, over-the-top&hellip;everything &ndash; they just seem ideal for video games. That said, most of them fall short of delivering an engaging experience. They&rsquo;ll offer some excitement of course; just being able to play as your favorite characters is enough for some fans. Unfortunately for Iron Galaxy, Extinction doesn&rsquo;t have that base to build upon&hellip;<br /><br />In Extinction you play as Avil, the last Sentinel. Sworn to protect the world from the evil Ravenii &ndash; giant ogre-like monsters that are hell bent on humanity&rsquo;s destruction &ndash; Avil&rsquo;s the only one capable of dispatching these brutes. And&hellip;that&rsquo;s pretty much it, premise wise. Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, there&rsquo;s a story here that apes Attack on Titan (right down to the Ravenii&rsquo;s weak points being the back of their necks) but it isn&rsquo;t as inspired. There aren&rsquo;t any memorable characters or noteworthy dilemmas beyond the approaching giants. What remains an overly repetitive hack and slash romp around a city full of squishable humans.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/extinction-screen-3.jpg" alt="extinction-screen-3" /><br /><br />Levels play out in a few different ways. Sometimes you&rsquo;ll need to rescue citizen using large crystal teleporters before smaller Ravenii kill them. Other times you&rsquo;ll have to kill a certain number of enemies to clear a stage. Most of the time, you&rsquo;ll be dealing with the giants. Failure comes via death (either yours or a set number of humans) or the destruction of property. The action is fast. You&rsquo;ll dart for place to place, going toe to giant toe as you try to save the city. When things are working well, this sort of thing can be fun. And tackling each giant presents a unique challenge. Some can be killed quite easily (once you&rsquo;ve climbed onto their backs). Others must have their armor removed or limbs cut off before you can move in for the kill. Again, that&rsquo;s when things are working as they should. <br /><br />There are times when Extinction won&rsquo;t recognize your attacks; it can take a while to remove a Ravenii&rsquo;s armor when it&rsquo;s &ldquo;sweet spot&rdquo; floats in and out of a desired hit box for instance. The only way to fix the issue was to wait until the armor restored itself so the game could&hellip;I don&rsquo;t know, recalibrate the area that needed to be attacked. Fighting the giants was made more difficult by an unruly camera. Thanks to the Ravenii&rsquo;s size and the how tight the camera pulls in when darting around their bodies, it&rsquo;s easy for an arm or a leg to obstruct your view. With one hit kills and an overzealous targeting system, not being able to see often resulted in a quick death.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/extinction-screen-5.jpg" alt="extinction-screen-5" /><br /><br />That&rsquo;s not to say that Extinction is void of value. Like I said, there were moments where I really enjoyed all of the slashing and such. Toppling a giant after a frustrating fight always made me feel great. Like I just bodied a titan in an anime &ndash; I still scream obscenities every time I kill a Ravenii. Things never elevated beyond these brief moments of triumph though. Levels blend together after a while, there&rsquo;s no sense of discovery or exploration (the world is rather dull, despite the premise) and the fighting grows tiresome. Ultimately, Extinction is a forgettable experience. When I completed the final horde, I legit looked at my screen and was like &ldquo;Oh, well I guess that&rsquo;s over&rdquo;. Which is a shame given what (I assume) Iron Galaxy was trying to do&hellip;<br /><br />Gameplay: 7<br />Extinction can be entertaining. Overly repetitive gameplay, a lackluster story, and multiple bugs hinder the experience.<br />&nbsp; <br />Graphics: 7<br />Things look pretty good on PC. That is, when the camera isn&rsquo;t pulled too close, clipping objects and obscuring your view. <br /><br />Sound: 6<br />The music and sound effects are decent. <br />&nbsp;<br />Replay Value: 2<br />I don&rsquo;t see myself replaying Extinction, DLC or not. <br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />5.5<br /><br /></p> /pc/post/extinction Wed, 9 May 2018 12:00:00 The Swords of Ditto <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr<br />System: PC (Also on PS4)<br />Genre: Action RPG<br />Rated: E10+<br />Players: 1-2 <br />Cost: $19.99<br />Release Date: 04/24/2017<br />Publisher: Devolver Digital<br />Developer: Onebitbeyond<br /><br />When I <a class="external" href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/microsoft/post/3907/songbringer">reviewed</a> Songbringer back in August of last year, I said that &ldquo;nostalgia has a weird way of tricking fans into liking something&rdquo;. For me, most of that game&rsquo;s appeal came from its similarities to The Legend of Zelda. I thought I would react to Onebitbeyond&rsquo;s The Swords of Ditto in a similar fashion. That it would be well received solely because of how it reminded me of past titles. After spending a lengthy time battling monsters and solving puzzles, I found my prediction to be a little short sighted... <br /><br />This action RPG depicts a never-ending war between an evil sorceress named Mormo and the bearers of a mystical sword called Ditto. At some point, Mormo was able to use her dark magic to seize control of a charming little island. Her minions roamed the countryside uncontested while the more peaceful inhabitants were pushed to the edges of civilization. To challenge her reign, a nameless hero was granted the Sword of Ditto. Using its power, the hero were able to banish Mormo, ushering in a time of peace; the absence of her dark magic forced the monsters to retreat into the shadows. While this was a great victory , her banishment wasn&rsquo;t permanent. A century later, Mormo would again attempt to rule the land, prompting another hero to wield the Sword of Ditto.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/the-swords-of-ditto-screen-2.jpg" alt="the-swords-of-ditto-screen-2" /><br /><br />The game begins with the latest hero being approached by a spirit guide (who resembles a giant beetle). This odd character informs them that they&rsquo;ve been chosen to wield the sword and save the world from Mormo. Acting as a tutorial of sorts, the hero will fight their way up her tower only to be killed moments into the confrontation. This plunges the world into darkness. One hundred years later, another nameless protagonist is approached by the spirit guide. Only this time he or she is given four days to prepare for the coming battle. From here it&rsquo;s up to the player to decide where to go and what to do. <br /><br />The basic mechanics are familiar. Players will battle monsters, search through dungeons, and solve puzzles using recently acquired weapons/tools. All of this is viewed from a top down perspective, complete with the transitioning landscapes that reveal new areas when the player reaches the edge of the screen. That much alone provides decent entertainment. To add some flavor to the proceedings, Onebitbeyond introduces a few rouge-like elements. One of which being the time restraint; with only four days to prepare, its impossible to complete every major objective before the &ldquo;final&rdquo; showdown. For instance, it would be ideal for players to seek out Mormo&rsquo;s Anchors &ndash; two large, stone relics that boost her strength &ndash; as destroying them will make defeating her that much easier. This requires the player to locate and explore mini-dungeons in search of toys (special tools) before heading to a larger dungeon housing an anchor.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/the-swords-of-ditto-screen-5.jpg" alt="the-swords-of-ditto-screen-5" /><br /><br />Though the locations will be marked on the map, it&rsquo;ll still take some time to traverse the maze-like environments to reach the dungeons. Heck, just getting into them can eat up minutes as most require the Sword of Ditto to reach a certain level before the doors will open. The only way to raise its level is by defeating monsters. Side-quests that grant money to buy items or stickers that provide buffs can help in this endeavor. Completing them will take time though. It is possible to fast travel but the interdimensional bus stations, though well placed, aren&rsquo;t always close to a point of interest. What&rsquo;ll probably happen is that time will run out, forcing the player to face Mormo prematurely. They&rsquo;ll then die and plunge the planet into darkness for a hundred years. At least, that&rsquo;s what happened to me. <br /><br />If you haven&rsquo;t guessed, death is permanent. One wrong move and it&rsquo;s another century of turmoil. The game will continue of course, but with another hero. The world around you will have changed to reflect what happen prior. Success brings about a long-lasting peace. New NPC&rsquo;s will show up, houses will be built beyond the main town and more. Failure results in the opposite; dilapidated buildings, gloomy residents, less side-quests. Regardless of how well you do though, you will always make progress. Some of that progress will be personal; you&rsquo;ll learn how to deal with certain enemies or how to better solve puzzles. This will eventually lead to new discoveries; like a &ldquo;secret&rdquo; character who can turn back time in exchange for gems. All of it is by design. The currency needed to rewind time only becomes available after you&rsquo;ve spent some time adventuring. New foes will seemingly appear only after you&rsquo;ve killed a certain number of the weaker enemies.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/the-swords-of-ditto-screen-4.jpg" alt="the-swords-of-ditto-screen-4" /><br /><br />The other way you&rsquo;ll progress with each victory and defeat is through the Sword of Ditto. This is because it retains the experience earned by the previous heroes. This doesn&rsquo;t necessarily make fights easier because of how the leveling works after death &ndash; if you start a new game at level 6, the enemies will be at level 7. That said, it does offer new perks. In early playthroughs, you&rsquo;ll only be able to equip a few stickers to certain parts of your body for example. After hitting a certain level, more slots will be made available. I also noticed other changes like a larger pool of health and less difficulty finding loot. <br /><br />As it stands, The Swords of Ditto is rather fun. My only concern was with a misplaced mechanic. Every time you enter a dungeon, a random modifier will change the game&rsquo;s rules. This ranges from allowing physical attacks to do more damage to disabling your stickers. The problem is that this mechanic ruins the otherwise promoted, progressive gameplay. When the rules are changed in your favor, it effectively removes the challenge. On the other hand, when the rules are against you, it voids carefully laid plans. I had a really good run right before writing this review. Both of the anchors had been destroyed, I rewound time in order to find and equip decent stickers and I had plenty of healing items. It was time to face Mormo. Unfortunately, as soon as I stepped into her tower (which acts like a dungeon) I was told that all of my stickers were disabled and that the enemies&rsquo; abilities would be stronger than usual. That was the first time where I felt that the game was being unfair. I worked hard to be fully prepared for this fight &ndash; like the game told me to do &ndash; only for it not to count in the end. I mean, I was still able to defeat her. I just didn&rsquo;t enjoy doing it; I would have rather the challenge come from a difficult fight, forcing me to burn through my items while utilizing my stickers.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/the-swords-of-ditto-screen.jpg" alt="the-swords-of-ditto-screen" /><br /><br />Beyond that, I believe Onebitbeyond did a decent job of balancing The Sword of Ditto&rsquo;s assorted gameplay mechanics. The similarities to The Legend of Zelda are certainly welcome; I enjoyed the simple combat and clever puzzles. The dungeon crawling was made more fun given the drop-in/out cooperative play and whacky toys; vinyl records that ricochet off walls and what I can only describe as King Kong&rsquo;s foot, to name a couple interesting ones. That said, it&rsquo;s the gradual unravelling of Ditto&rsquo;s world that the most intriguing. There are many secrets (including the reason Mormo doesn&rsquo;t stay banished), hidden characters, lore and more that is revealed the further down the rabbit hole you go. The result is a modest, yet engaging experience that gets better over time. <br /><br />Gameplay: 8<br />The Swords of Ditto is an engaging, action RPG that&rsquo;s reminiscent of classic titles like The Legend of Zelda. It features a hodgepodge of elements, that only falters when it comes to the game&rsquo;s dungeons.<br /><br />Graphics: 10<br />I love the charming, cartoon like aesthetics. <br /><br />Sound: 9<br />The music adds to the charm. <br /><br />Replay Value: 8<br />The game is all about replaying, as success or failure brings about a new hero and map to explore. It&rsquo;ll take time before players discover how to fully banish Mormo for good. &nbsp;<br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />8.8<br /><br /><br /></p> /pc/post/the-swords-of-ditto Wed, 25 Apr 2018 12:00:00 11 bit Releases New Frostpunk Trailer! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 02/28/2018<br /><br />11 bit has released a new development video for their upcoming title, Frostpunk. The focus was on how players can rule over their constituents; either they can be a dictator and rule through fear or be a noble ruler who listens to the people. <br /><br />In Frostpunk, you play as a ruler over a steam-powered city in a froze wasteland. You&rsquo;ll oversea the city&rsquo;s development while managing the ebb and flow of resources, which in turn affects the people living there. If things are going bad, for example, a rift between groups of people can form. Fighting could break out. From here, you&rsquo;ll have to decide on how to quell the violence via oppression or some form diplomacy. Given how nuanced 11 bit&rsquo;s games have been in the past, I&rsquo;m sure things will be more complicated than these two paths seem initially. <br /><br /><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pFId6lm2MZo" width="854" height="480"></iframe><br /><br />Frostpunk will be available on Steam, GOG, Humble Store, etc. for $29.99. There&rsquo;s been no word on a release date outside of 2018 and soon. We'll be sure to let you know when that "soon" turns into a hard date though. <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/11-bit-releases-new-frostpunk-trailer Wed, 28 Feb 2018 12:00:00 Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 4: Who Needs You <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />System: PC (Also on Xbox One, PS4, iOS, Android) <br />Genre: Adventure<br />Rated: T<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $24.99 (Full Season)<br />Release Date: 10/10/2017<br />Publisher: Telltale Games<br />Developer: Telltale Games<br /><br />We&rsquo;ve made it to the point of no return. It&rsquo;s the episode where Telltale usually places the most harrowing of experiences for the protagonists; they (we) are made to suffer before, seemingly succumbing to a looming threat. The same holds true for the Guardians. The exception: their main plight is self-inflicted. <br /><br />&ldquo;Who Needs You&rdquo; deals with the aftermath of Star-Lord&rsquo;s previous choices. Namely in what to do with the Eternity Forge after gaining entrance to a long-lost temple. If you remember, the team was split on what should be done. Some saw it as a means of reviving fallen loved ones. In their eyes, it was a tool to be cherished. Others, felt that its power posed a risk to the rest of the universe. Naturally they sought its destruction. The final decision was left up to Star-Lord. Which of course sucked &ndash; regardless of what was decided, some of his friends will have felt betrayed.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/guardians-of-the-galaxy-ep-4-screen-2.jpg" alt="guardians-of-the-galaxy-ep-4-screen-2" /><br /><br />The situation quickly deteriorates and before you know it, our group is plummeting into the lower depths of the temple. Their morale is at an all time low as they literally hit rock bottom. Looking for a way to escape, they make their way through the caverns, all while trading jabs at each other. Guilt swells up in Gamora, hate in Rocket, regret in Drax &ndash; all of it overwhelms Mantis. And that&rsquo;s before they are swallowed by a giant monster. Yes, this is the Guardians at their worst. <br /><br />This episode is full of emotionally charged moments. Most of which lead to some profound revelation that highlighted various characteristics of each team member. Similar to Rocket and Gamora&rsquo;s journey up until this point, the focus lingered on Drax&rsquo;s past before moving back to current events. And thanks to some great writing, I was given reasons to care about his hang-ups (outside of the fact that he&rsquo;s a member of the team) on a more personal level. Basically, there was strong character growth here.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/guardians-of-the-galaxy-ep-4-screen.jpg" alt="guardians-of-the-galaxy-ep-4-screen" /><br /><br />The humor that permeates this entire series was better utilized in this episode. Tense moments weren&rsquo;t cut short just to get out an ill-timed joke. The doom and gloom will probably confuse fans who enjoyed the sillier side of the Guardians that&rsquo;s currently being portrayed in movies and such. For me though, &ldquo;Who Needs You&rdquo; is better because of this tonal shift. The despair adds weight to an otherwise lighthearted story; we all know that the Guardians will prevail against their foes in the final. What makes their eventual triumph better is the mere thought that they may fail, even if we know that won&rsquo;t happen. &nbsp;<br /><br />Gameplay: 10<br />This episode was great, given the new balance between tense moments and humor. <br /><br />Graphics: 10<br />GotG is still one of the best looking Telltale games.<br /><br />Sound: 10<br />Dialogue, sound effects, and music &ndash; all were great in their own right.<br /><br />Replay Value: 7<br />There are a few diverging choices that could encourage replaying this episode. That said, most will want to wait till the season is complete before changing things. <br /><br />Final Score:<br /><br />9.3<br /><br /><em>Editor&rsquo;s Note: Click <a href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/blog/post/3864/guardians-of-the-galaxy">here</a> to see how the other episodes fared!<br /></em><br /><br /></p> /pc/post/guardians-of-the-galaxy-episode-4:-who-needs-you Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:00:00