United Front Gaming http://unitedfrontgaming.com 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 Nioh /pc/post/nioh Tue, 7 Nov 2017 12:00:00 UFG Goes Hands on With Fortnite! <p>Written By: Andre Thomas <br />Date: 10/16/2017<br /><br />When you have been followed a game like Fortnite for as long as I have, you know that review time is rather tough. Well&hellip;not review time; we don&rsquo;t review Early Access games due to them being &ldquo;unfinished&rdquo; and all. But yeah, sharing my thoughts on the game is challenging. On one hand, there is nothing easier to write about then a game that you have an affinity for. On the other, when you are supposed to be critical, it is imperative that you don&rsquo;t gloss over issues just because you like a game. Basically, I enjoyed my time playing Fortnite but it isn&rsquo;t all bullets and explosions!<br /><br />As the story goes, an extinction level event caused most of the Earth&rsquo;s population to disappeared one day. Large purple clouds span the globe and wicked storms make venturing outside a dangerous endeavor. Before long, zombie like beings called husks started descending from the clouds. Chaos and death followed. In order to fight back, the last remaining humans developed storm shields that cleared the skies, reducing the amount of husk attacks and allowing survivors to venture out to collect supplies&hellip;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/fortnite-screen.jpg" alt="fortnite-screen" /><br /><br />As days go by in-game, it&rsquo;s your job to build forts to protect the storm shields that are linked to your home base. This is done by going into nearby towns and tearing down structures/trees/vehicles for supplies. In the midst of collecting these items, you&rsquo;ll also have to perform different tasks &ndash; protecting generators, protecting an important NPC, protecting a weather ball, etc. Once you&rsquo;ve found the thing you need to protect, you&rsquo;ll need to build walls and set traps to keep the husks at bay. Not always an easy task given how smart some of your enemies can be; they won&rsquo;t just try to take down walls but also seek out the more exposed areas in your defenses. After a few missions, you&rsquo;ll be able to go back to your home base and attempt to install new storm shields in hopes of expanding the safe zone. This cycle continues as you make your way across the game&rsquo;s hub world. There&rsquo;s a bit more to it than just that but you get the drift. <br /><br />Before the recent late September update (more on that later), Fortnite was solely based on this PvE horde set up. It was certainly entertaining early on. Crafting tons of weapons, unlocking different classes of survivor, and battling increasing numbers of husks proved to be an addictive gameplay loop. That goes double for building structures. Part of the appeal came from how fast and easy it is to erect walls and such. Switching to build mode will bring up a transparent &ldquo;blueprint&rdquo; of whatever you&rsquo;re trying to build. A few modifications (place a window in the wall your about to create for instance) and a button press later sends materials flying into place in real time. Seconds later, my wall with is created with a window to snipe Husks from. It&rsquo;s possible to make houses/mazes laden with trap to stave off the monsters seeking to destroy whatever is inside your makeshift fort. <br /><br />After a while though, I started to realize that Fortnite was more concerned with burning through my resources than providing a good time. My friends and I spent hours grinding for these items so we can build some of the greatest forts we&rsquo;ve ever seen. Just like when I played Citadel: Forged with Fire (another Early Access title), this was a huge seller for me. I mean really&hellip;who hasn&rsquo;t wanted to create a fort, whether it be out of wood in the backyard or with pillows in your bedroom? The thing with Fortnite though, when playing with friends, the fruits of your labor aren&rsquo;t shared. You see, expanding your home base requires a lot of resources and time. These special missions aren&rsquo;t easy in the later levels; you&rsquo;re going to need help defending multiple storm shields. Players will use their supplies sustaining walls, traps to dispatch enemies, and weapons that degrade over time &ndash; guns, swords, etc. need to be replaced via crafting. This is all well and good until your friends realize that helping you leaves them helpless.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/fortnite-screen-3.jpg" alt="fortnite-screen-3" /><br /><br />This is because their bases will need to go through the same expanding process. And because they used their supplies helping you out, they&rsquo;ll have nothing to take home. This means another round of grinding for everyone as they gear up to expand their individual bases. The only way to cut out the time it takes gathering stuff is microtransactions. That&rsquo;s right! By purchasing a Lama (loot box) it&rsquo;s possible to get traps, weapons, and more without doing the extra work. Now to be fair, you will unlock survivors that&rsquo;ll boost your stats and help you protect. Still, the game goes from fun easy free to a chore-like experience (mostly) without purchasing digital content. <br /><br />I have to commend Epic/People Can Fly for changing the zombie horde-survival formula. Gone are the gloomy worlds and all-around seriousness we&rsquo;ve grown accustomed to. Instead, we get cartoony environments with bright, colorful aesthetics and bombastic gameplay mechanics. Laborious crafting loop and limited ammo vs whacky traps and air strikes. Neither are necessarily better than the other. It&rsquo;s just nice to have something different. It&rsquo;s refreshing, if you will. And I&rsquo;m not THAT upset about the push for microtransactions for a Free-to-Play game. The thing is though, Fortnite is currently in Early Access (it&rsquo;ll go F2P sometime next year). Having to pay for the game and deal with a gameplay loop that pushes buying loot boxes doesn&rsquo;t sit well with me. Though I&rsquo;ve enjoying my time smacking monsters with axes made from stop signs and building forts, I&rsquo;d have to recommend waiting until the game launches out of Early Access. Unless you don&rsquo;t mind a crazy grind midway through/have extra cash for Lamas.</p> <h1>Battle Royale</h1> <h1><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/fortnite-br-art.jpg" alt="fortnite-br-art" /></h1> <p>I had to separate this mode from the rest of the game because that&rsquo;s what Epic has done. The fact that Fortnite Battle Royale is free, unlike the main game, makes it seem like a completely separate title. That doesn&rsquo;t mean it isn&rsquo;t fun though! <br /><br />It&rsquo;s nearly impossible to not talk about how Battle Royale was heavily influenced by the popular PlayerUnknown&rsquo;s Battlegrounds (PUBG). What makes this mode great is how much they don&rsquo;t try to avoid showing their love for PUBG. I think way too many people get <a class="external" href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/blog/post/3905/bluehole-addresses-pubg-fortnite-concerns-">caught up in their emotions</a> when they see a developer duplicate popular features from another title &ndash; similar to how PUBG has evolved elements seen in H1Z1 &ndash; but putting their own spin on it. In this case, that spin is the ability to create structures and use traps. After you and 99 other players airdrop from the party bus, you are then left to sneak around buildings to not only find weapons, but also dismantle houses for materials you can later use to craft. Being shot at by a sniper? Build a wall to allow yourself time to heal. Don&rsquo;t have any long-range weapons? Build a trap, lure an opponent into it, then take their stuff.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/fortnite-br-screen-3.jpg" alt="fortnite-br-screen-3" /><br /><br />Because Fortnite Battle Royale is still being worked on, there&rsquo;s no loot or cosmetics to earn yet. So, as of right now, it&rsquo;s a purely &ldquo;for fun&rdquo; game mode. Which is probably being said loosely because we all know that nobody is playing this game as if it is a party game, even in squad play. The intense struggle to outlive 99 other players can be entertaining just like in PUBG, but I can see a lot of people sticking with the PvE option. Or at least they would have if it wasn&rsquo;t offered for free; I assume most people wouldn&rsquo;t pay for a stressful experience. With that said, I believe Fortnite Battle Royale (like the main game) can offer gamers a good time. It&rsquo;s a bit rough around the edges in terms of options send in games like PUBG, but those things will be address in the coming weeks/months. If you&rsquo;re looking for this type of experience but of a less serious nature, I&rsquo;d give Battle Royale a shot. <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/ufg-goes-hands-on-with-fortnite Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:00:00 Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite <p>Reviewed By: Jaime Mejias Jr.<br />System: PC (Also on PS4, Xbox One) <br />Genre: Fighting<br />Rated: T<br />Players: 1-2 (2-8 Online)<br />Cost: $59.99<br />Release Date: 09/19/2017<br />Publisher: Capcom<br />Developer: Capcom<br /><br />Many thought the Marvel vs. Capcom series was dead. Not dead as in no one wanted to play MvC:3, but dead as in Capcom&rsquo;s done. Then, during PSX, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was announced &ndash; the initial hype was out of this world. Once people saw the trailer though, things changed a little&hellip;<br /><br />Let&rsquo;s be frank, Infinite didn&rsquo;t look good. Gone was the colorful comic book vibe from MvC3. In its place were these pseudo realistic visuals that were ok in some respects (Iron Man) and horrible in others (Chun-Li&rsquo;s face). If that wasn&rsquo;t bad enough, Capcom also decided to go back to the 2v2 format. No three man/woman squads, no assists &ndash; they removed most of the elements/series mainstays since MvC 2. Basically, even though fans were anticipating a great fighting game, there were some rumblings about these changes.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-screen-4.jpg" alt="marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-screen-4" /><br /><br />Thankfully, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite isn&rsquo;t as bad as it looked. There are still some visual hiccups. The UI/menus are bland, the character select screen was uninteresting, and some of the more human-like characters look odd. The actual gameplay is solid though. There&rsquo;s a certain freedom given to players via the changes to the formula. Tags are quick and fluid, only hindered by a small window of time to reduce spamming. That said, it&rsquo;s possible to start a combo, tag your partner for a few follow up hits and a super move, before jumping back in with the original character. The 2v2 format harks back to the original Marvel vs. Capcom in concept but adds a new wrinkle in the six Infinity Stones. These powerful gems sort of act as assist characters, each one granting two extra abilities &ndash; a surge which acts as an extra attack and a storm, which offers a powered-up state &ndash; during a fight. For instance, the Space stone&rsquo;s surge pulls opponents towards you, allowing you to extend combos with hits that would normally be out of reach. Its storm will force enemies into a small box for a few seconds, restricting their movements just enough to tip the fight in your favor (if you can capitalize on the moment). <br /><br />Combining the tag system for dynamic combos with the match altering Infinity Stones, makes for some exhilarating matches. When I experimented with the mechanics, the idea of what could be done at any given time drew me in. I would find myself thinking &ldquo;oh, this move causes an extra ground bounce? I wonder if this other character has something similar. Hmmm&hellip;I should be able to extend this combo using this Stone&rdquo; and so on. The combo potential is crazy once you get the hand of how everything works. That said, those of you who are newer need not worry about being blasted all about the screen nonstop&hellip;at least not at first. This is because none of the Infinity Stones seem broken or abusable at the moment. Different systems, like the Infinity meter that needs to be built up to at least half way before a storm can be used, help to keep things fair. The biggest change though is the ability to break combos. It&rsquo;s possible to call in your second character while your first is being battered in hopes of interrupting. While it&rsquo;s not your traditional combo breaker, it is a welcome addition given how lengthy some combos can be. Just be careful when calling in help as both of your characters could end up getting assaulted.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-screen-5.jpg" alt="marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-screen-5" /><br /><br />Unlike Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite released as a complete game. Right out of the gate you&rsquo;ll get both Story and Arcade modes as well as the fighting game standards: VS, Training, Mission (combo trials) and so on. The story mode, while a nice gesture, will be hit or miss for most people. Capcom tried to take the NetherRealm Studios approach in offering an &ldquo;reason&rdquo; for these assorted heroes to square off. Personally, I think Capcom missed the mark here. The title&rsquo;s villain Ultron Sigma, the result of merging Ultron and Sigma into one person, isn&rsquo;t very creative or very unique. He does wage war within the Marvel and Capcom worlds, set up some cool action segments, and is all around powerful. But he doesn&rsquo;t really drive the narrative because he is interesting. He&rsquo;s a means to an end. <br /><br />The same goes for the other characters. Their B-movie dialog might make you chuckle every now and then. Most of the time though, you&rsquo;ll just be going through the motions. Fighting in battles that hold very little weight even though the fate of two worlds is at stake. That&rsquo;s not to say that the stories found in other fighters are riveting experiences. It just that more could have been done here. I mean, you have Iron Man, Rocket Racoon, Frank West, and Mega Man X all in one game. The plot could have been absolutely nuts as opposed to mostly forgettable.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-screen-6.jpg" alt="marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-screen-6" /><br /><br />Most of the cast are returning characters from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 with a few first timers thrown in for fun. Most, if not all fit in rather well. Unfortunately, there are no X-Men for assorted, unsubstantiated reasons. And yes, I know about the silly claim that some &ldquo;modern&rdquo; Marvel fans don&rsquo;t know who the X-Men are. Seriously? As if they haven&rsquo;t been in recent films (and let&rsquo;s not point out how Captain Marvel hasn&rsquo;t had her big screen debut yet). Moving on&hellip;it&rsquo;s nice to see characters like Gamora make an appearance. <br /><br />Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a game that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of visuals, and narrative. But, it does excel in the most important department of any fighting game, the combat. The amount of creativity available via the new tag system and Stones will keep veterans and new players occupied for some time. The roster issue shouldn&rsquo;t be a problem for long either; the new additions are great and Capcom did announce some epic DLC characters. Feel how you want about them announcing such things before the game launched, I&rsquo;m pretty excited for Black Panther. And who knows, we may see some X-Men make a return. As if Capcom isn&rsquo;t going to reveal a newer version of Infinite in the near future&hellip; <br /><br />Gameplay: 10 <br />The mechanics are going to stick. The most creative MvC in the series, combo wise, is a title worth being proud of.</p> <p>Graphics: 6 <br />Presentation and just some of the character models leave a lot to be desired. <br /><br />Sound: 5 <br />Unmemorable music with subpar voice acting is not a good combination<br /><br />Replay Value: 9<br />The story mode is good for one playthrough, at least to unlock the stages. The real value comes from fighting other players locally and online. <br /><br />Final Score:</p> <p><br />7.5<br />&nbsp;<br /><br />&nbsp;<br />&nbsp; <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/marvel-vs--capcom:-infinite Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:00:00 SteamWorld Dig 2 <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />System: PC (Also on Switch, PS4, PS Vita)<br />Genre: Platformer/Adventure<br />Rated: E<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $19.99<br />Release Date: 09/26/2017<br />Publisher: Image &amp; Form<br />Developer: Image &amp; Form<br /><br /><a class="external" href="http://unitedfrontgaming.com/post/2222/steamworld-dig">SteamWorld Dig</a> was one of the better games released in 2014 and Image &amp; Form&rsquo;s follow up to it offers more of the same. Addictive gameplay mechanics (some of which were inspired by Metroid/Castlevania),&nbsp; a charming world that encourages exploring, tricky puzzles, colorful characters, and deadly enemies that are all besieged by a great soundtrack. Yeah, SteamWorld Dig 2 is easily one of the better games released this year.<br /><br />Picking up where the last game left off, SteamWorld Dig 2 centers on a stream-driven robot named Dorothy. Things have been peaceful for the inhabitants of Tumbleton. With the mines made safe by Rusty (the first game&rsquo;s protagonist) they could seemingly thrive off the precious jewels found below. Since then though, Rusty hasn&rsquo;t been seen; rumors have it that he went off mining in a different area and never came back. This prompts Dorothy to seek him out. Her search takes her to an old mining town and upon inquiring about Rusty, she finds out that someone who resembled him did journey into the mine. Unfortunately, given the slew of recent earthquakes, the mine is much too dangerous for any would-be explorer&hellip;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/steamworld-dig-2-screen-3.jpg" alt="steamworld-dig-2-screen-3" /><br /><br />The game&rsquo;s plot isn&rsquo;t the most complex, but unraveling the mystery surrounding Rusty&rsquo;s disappearance does prove to be entertaining. The real pull comes from the familiar gameplay loop. Players will venture into the mines, searching for clues. While down there, they&rsquo;ll dig into the soil using Dorothy&rsquo;s pickax, exposing new locations and alternate routes. A dwindling light source and inadequate gear demand frequent trips back to the surface. The precious stones collected along the way help to alleviate these problems; stronger pickaxes, better armor, more hearts &ndash; these upgrades and more are purchased using money gained from trading ores and such. Every so often, a major upgrade will come via large machines hidden in caves deep below ground. Once acquired, these needed abilities make it possible to access previously blocked off areas and hard to reach secrets. <br /><br />All of these things were present in the first SteamWorld Dig. Most of them have been refined to offer a better experience though. For instance, upgraded gear can now be augmented with different perks using hard to find cogs. Dorothy&rsquo;s armor perks can allow her to deflect projectiles, bump enemies away upon contact, and negate some instances of damage (among other things). Each of these passive abilities would require a different number of cogs to be slotted. None of them are permanent once applied (the cogs can be inserted/removed at will), which lets the player pick and choose what&rsquo;s most important at any given time. Ideally, one would want to acquire them all given how some are basic upgrades from the first game. That said, because they are made optional, it&rsquo;s possible to pick better enhancements sooner than the game expects you to. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/steamworld-dig-2-screen-5.jpg" alt="steamworld-dig-2-screen-5" /><br /><br />There is also a bigger emphasis on the world this time around. Not only in terms of size (the map is huge) but also on the placement of enemies and such. It feels as if Image &amp; Form chose to forgo the procedurally generated elements &ndash; there is still some of that in the location of resources but that&rsquo;s about it. The choice to have more stagnant level designs actually enhanced the environments by providing platforming segments that are imaginative in scope. Getting across a lake of lava using a grappling hook while dodging exploding bats is as entertaining as it was difficult. One section was designed using survival horror tropes. It came complete with eerie music, stormy weather, and a few chase sequences with multiple indestructible enemies. <br /><br />The creativity extends to the platforming puzzles as well. The trickiest ones are found in the caves. All of them have prizes like cogs and/or collectables that are gated away by pressure based switches, crumbling structures, or shifty minecarts. They range in difficulty, from &ldquo;oh, that wasn&rsquo;t so bad&rdquo; to the &ldquo;good grief, that was frustrating&rdquo;, but in a good way! The main campaign was neglected for hours at a time as I tried my best to solve every puzzle I ran into.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/steamworld-dig-2-screen-2.jpg" alt="steamworld-dig-2-screen-2" /><br /><br />SteamWorld Dig 2 certainly benefited from more of the same. More items, enemies (they gave us three bosses this time), locations, and so on. There is a point, however, where I think things should have been scaled back. The plot calls for Dorothy to find and destroy machines in hopes of staving off some disaster. The thing is, each one is in a far-off corner of the map. Even with heavy exploration, most will be way out of reach by time you get to that point; because the game sends you to specific locations, there&rsquo;s no reason to venture near the areas where the machines are early on. This adds a few needless hours to the campaign, forcing the player to grind towards each machine. To be fair, there are quick travel points to help you get around. Still, this part felt like padding. It made sense from a narrative standpoint but was ultimately a tedious endeavor. <br /><br />Image &amp; Form outdid themselves. SteamWorld Dig 2 is a nearly perfect sequel. I really enjoyed my time spelunking with Dorothy. I also liked how the story connects the Dig games to <a class="external" href="http://unitedfrontgaming.com/post/3215/steamworld-heist">SteamWorld Heist</a> &ndash; another awesome title. Basically, SteamWorld Dig 2 is one of Image&rsquo;s best games yet! <br /><br />Gameplay: 9<br />SteamWorld Dig 2 is more of the same but in a good way. There is a bit of padding late in the game, but it doesn&rsquo;t mar the experience.<br /><br />Graphics: 10<br />I love the colorful, charming world and interestingly designed characters. <br /><br />Sound: 10<br />The music and sound effects are great. <br /><br />Replay Value: 9<br />The base gameplay is super entertaining. What&rsquo;s interesting though is that Image added extra content for players that&nbsp; complete100% the main game (find all of the collectibles, max Dorothy&rsquo;s levels, etc.). <br /><br />Final Score:<br /><br />9.5<br /><br /></p> /pc/post/steamworld-dig-2 Mon, 2 Oct 2017 12:00:00 Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 3: More Than a Feeling <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: 08/22/2017<br />Publisher: Telltale Games<br />Developer: Telltale Games<br /><br />Part of Telltale&rsquo;s charm is their ability to turn a slightly above average plot into something grand. Most start out strong, but by the halfway point, I usually start worrying; the twists and turns become more predictable over time. More often than not though, my fears are proven unwarranted. <br /><br />&ldquo;More Than a Feeling&rdquo;, the aptly titled third episode of Tellale&rsquo;s Guardians of the Galaxy, picks up moments after Star-Lord and Gamora were engulfed by the bright light on Emnios. Moving through the ether, they&rsquo;re both forced to relive painful memories. Star-Lord experiences another childhood moment with his deceased mother while Gamora succumbs to an assassin&rsquo;s blade &ndash; the latter of which nearly gets Star-Lord killed. Once their hallucinations run their course, the Guardians are guided towards a large temple. Gamora raises concerns about how their memories are seemingly being used against them. In hopes of finding answers about the Eternity Forge and Star-Lord&rsquo;s mother, they enter anyways.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/guardians-of-the-galaxy-ep-3-screen-3.jpg" alt="guardians-of-the-galaxy-ep-3-screen-3" /><br /><br />From here on out, things take an interesting turn. It isn&rsquo;t a spoiler to say that we do in fact learn a great deal about the Forge and its connection to the Guardians. The why&rsquo;s and how aren&rsquo;t as ambitious as I&rsquo;d hoped. The mystery that hovered above the overarching plot was solved somewhat, anticlimactically. That said, the ramifications of newly discovered information drove home what this series has always been about. Family. The conflicting views on what that word means and how one should or shouldn&rsquo;t honor a family member&rsquo;s wishes, brings about some tense moments. <br /><br />Unfortunately, a lot of the tension this episode generates is cut down by the story&rsquo;s humor. Telltale wants to keep things from becoming too serious. Which, given how the Guardians have been treated in other media, makes sense. This band of misfits aren&rsquo;t isn&rsquo;t exactly a happy-go-lucky group. Their stories don&rsquo;t gravitate towards the darker corners of comic-dom either. This is normally a strong point; I really enjoyed the humor here. I just think that some of the timing was a bit off, depending on what choices the player makes along the way.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/guardians-of-the-galaxy-ep-3-screen-2.jpg" alt="guardians-of-the-galaxy-ep-3-screen-2" /><br /><br />All and all, &ldquo;More Than a Feeling&rdquo; is a great episode. It raises the stakes in interesting ways, possibly driving further the wedge that&rsquo;s been growing between our heroes. Classic characters make their debut/return and there&rsquo;s plenty of action. The episode isn&rsquo;t as heartfelt as the one before it, some of which is robbed by humorous happenings. It still provides the same quality as the first two episodes. Telltale has another winner on their hands! <br /><br />Gameplay: 9<br />Things are still progressing well. I think some of the timing was off in terms of humor and the more, mysterious story beats didn&rsquo;t live up to the anticipation. Other than that, it was great! <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: 6<br />There are a few reasons to go back through this episode. Most will wait to see how their choices pan out as the season progresses through.<br /><br />Final Score:<br /><br />8.8<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!</em><br />&nbsp;<br /><br /></p> /pc/post/guardians-of-the-galaxy-episode-3:-more-than-a-feeling Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:00:00 Last Day of June <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />System: PC (Also on PS4) <br />Genre: Adventure<br />Rated: E<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $19.99 <br />Release Date: 08/31/2017<br />Publisher: 505 Games<br />Developer: Ovosonico<br /><br />Evoking a strong emotional response from players is a tricky thing to accomplish in gaming. Sure, on a basic human level, witnessing something unpleasant in-game typically generates feelings of sadness. But if there is no real connection between the onscreen characters and the person behind the controls, a game&rsquo;s most harrowing events can be rendered insignificant. &nbsp;<br /><br />Of course, that doesn&rsquo;t mean we shouldn&rsquo;t champion a developer for trying to make players feel something. Video games can elicit more than just the basic emotions that govern what we&rsquo;d consider entertaining; thrilling combat segments and so on. This is why I&rsquo;m a bit torn on Ovosonico&rsquo;s Last Day of June. Their ability to craft a deep and meaningful narrative is on par with some of the best in the business. Unfortunately, the overall impact of their story is diluted by certain design choices.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/last-day-of-june-screen-3.jpg" alt="last-day-of-june-screen-3" /><br /><br />Last Day of June goes for the heart strings early on &ndash; a seemingly nice outing turns tragic as a couple makes their way home from a lake. Carl, the husband or boyfriend, is later seen mourning the loss of his partner June. What happens next sets the stage for the rest of the game. Somehow, Carl is granted the ability to rewind time and can change events by manipulating the memories of the people living in his home town. He feels that if he can change what happened before the accident, he can save June. From there Carl (and the player) enter into a &ldquo;Groundhog Day&rdquo; situation in which we relive the same day over and over again&hellip;<br /><br />Though Carl stuck in this time loop, you aren&rsquo;t necessarily stuck playing as Carl. In order to &ldquo;fix&rdquo; what happened to June, you&rsquo;ll need to take control of multiple townsfolk at different points throughout the day. The idea is to change what each person does in respect to our main couple. A little boy playing with a ball might accidently run out into the street after it. By changing where he spends his afternoon, he&rsquo;s less likely to be in the path of an oncoming car. The catch is that changing his whereabouts may also affect the other characters. If he isn&rsquo;t there at a given time, then someone might take his place. Interestingly, the changes in the environment made by a character remain changed, regardless of when they occur within the span of the day. So, say if I opened a door using a character&rsquo;s key late in the day, then go back in time before that person came around, that door will still be open for other characters to use.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/last-day-of-june-screen-2.jpg" alt="last-day-of-june-screen-2" /><br /><br />Obviously, I&rsquo;m trying to be vague for a reason. Solving the puzzles surrounding each character&rsquo;s activities during that day reveals more of the plot. Being too specific here could taint someone&rsquo;s experience. What I can say is that not all of the backtracking works in the game&rsquo;s favor. For one, it was hard to be really invested in the main couple. I didn&rsquo;t know much about them before things went bad. There are background events that help to establish a connection in between levels but these are undone by the game&rsquo;s repetitive nature; any impact of June&rsquo;s death was lost because I was constantly witnessing the accident. <br /><br />This emotionally disruptive repetition also bleeds into the puzzle solving. Because certain characters are needed to open closed paths, in order to get the right order of events, I had to play through the same scenarios multiple times. This of course was by design; some puzzles required a failed trial before being allowed to move forward. This meant after watching some of the same cutscenes over and over,&nbsp; I became more concerned with what I was doing than what it meant for the surviving characters, further severing any emotional connection I could have with them. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/last-day-of-june-screen.jpg" alt="last-day-of-june-screen" /><br /><br />Ovosonico&rsquo;s attempt at a heartfelt story is something to be admired. Their efforts can be seen in the all but voiceless cast. Even though each character is void of eyes and speech (they make sounds, but no tangible words), they are all perfectly capable of conveying how they&rsquo;re feeling at any given moment. The debilitating sorrow felt after losing a loved one, the pain of unrequited love, a few fleeting moments of joy amid tragedy &ndash; all these emotions are made palpable by a charming group of characters. They help to push their individual narratives as well as the overarching plot along in convincing ways. <br /><br />While this is all well and good, I do wish the more gamey aspects were designed better. My time wasn&rsquo;t wasted as Last Day of June is certainly worth experiencing. The plot would have elicited more of an emotional response if there was less repetition though. Because of this, over time I became less concerned with the ramifications of my actions and the major story threads failed to invoke any meaningful emotions. <br /><br />Gameplay: 8<br />The story has heart. That said, it&rsquo;s overall impact is impeded by repetitive puzzle design. <br /><br />Graphics: 9<br />The stop-motion/acrylic painting-like visuals are pretty cool. <br /><br />Sound: 9<br />The soundtrack is great. <br /><br />Replay Value: 2<br />There isn&rsquo;t much reason to replay the campaign, beyond a few hidden memories. <br /><br />Final Score:<br /><br />7<br /><br /></p> /pc/post/last-day-of-june Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:00:00 Last Day of June /pc/post/last-day-of-june Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:00:00 Arrow Heads <p>Reviewed By: Andre Thomas<br />System: PC <br />Genre: Action<br />Rated: N/A<br />Players: 1-4 (2-4 Online)<br />Cost: $14.99 <br />Release Date: 09/21/2017<br />Publisher: OddBird<br />Developer: OddBird&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br />We are in a generation of gaming that is being dominated by indie developers. Not so much in terms of revenue &ndash; the GTA&rsquo;s and CoD&rsquo;s are clearly running the show there &ndash; but in terms of creativity and overall fun. Independent developers are responsible for some of the best games to be released in recent years. So, when got review codes for Arrow Heads I was more than willing to jump into the fray. <br /><br />Arrow Heads is a 2 to 4 player arena-type party shooter that puts bow and arrows into the hands birds. Similar to games like Towerfall were a single shot can kill, the game puts players in small arenas with deadly traps that alter the playing field. Powerups that grant everything from rocket arrows to tesla coils that emits electric arcs between each other, fall from the sky in random intervals. Players will dash about in hopes of dodging arrows, only pausing to briefly aim and shoot. It&rsquo;s simple set up that started out rather entertaining.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/arrow-heads-screen.jpg" alt="arrow-heads-screen" /><br /><br />The goal obviously is to be the last bird standing. This creates tension as matches go from a 4 player arrow fest to a nerve-wracking one on one bout; once you get down to the final two, both players will often put on their best Oliver Queen impressions. This was great for a while. As other UFG writers joined me online, we had a blast sending arrows across Arrow Heads&rsquo; small maps. This was great for a while. Unfortunately, as we came across the same maps and used the same few powerups dozens of times, the fun started to wane. I don&rsquo;t want to give the impression that I just outright stopped having fun or didn&rsquo;t like Arrow Heads, because that&rsquo;s far from true. But the more I played it, the more I felt like it was missing something. <br /><br />Maybe it was who I was playing with; because we were given access before Arrow Heads was released, we only played amongst ourselves. Maybe it was because there weren&rsquo;t that many maps or items to really change up the gameplay. Or maybe the base gameplay wasn&rsquo;t as addictive as I thought it was early on. It was seemingly fine on paper. A multiplayer game is perfect for online/offline shenanigans with friends. That said, Arrow Heads didn&rsquo;t hold my attention as long as say a SpeedRunners or Gang Beasts (I still don&rsquo;t know exactly why that game is fun, outside of its wacky sentiments) did.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/arrow-heads-screen-2.jpg" alt="arrow-heads-screen-2" /><br /><br />There is an offline Arcade mode. Due to the lack of an online presence, I spent a decent amount of time with my wife playing the Arcade mode. Here, players are forced to fight waves of cuddly, yet deadly teddy bears. It was good for a laugh or two. No matter how many waves of enemies came my way though, I couldn&rsquo;t stop thinking about how boring things were becoming. As it stands, the Arcade mode lacked the chaos that ensued when playing against other players. Like any other game of this ilk, it&rsquo;s more engaging to battle friends than NPCs. And while I&rsquo;m sure having the option of allowing people to join online would have helped keep things exciting, it wouldn&rsquo;t have trumped the main mode of play.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/arrow-heads-screen-3.jpg" alt="arrow-heads-screen-3" /><br /><br />Arrow Heads is easy to pick up and play, is tailor made for parties/group gatherings. It even sports nice, cartoony graphics. Most people will enjoy it, especially in those first few hours. Beyond that, I don&rsquo;t know. For the life of me, I can&rsquo;t seem to pinpoint where the disconnect comes from. I mean, I can guess &ndash; with the limited maps and items, vacant lobbies and an offline only Arcade mode. The main thing I discovered was that I didn&rsquo;t want to play much longer than what our review warranted. I can&rsquo;t say that it is a bad game though. OddBird created something interesting. We need more games that focuses on players just hanging out with one another. Nothing super competitive. A game where just about anyone can get in and have a good time. Arrow Heads wasn&rsquo;t that game for me. But that shouldn&rsquo;t deter you from at least giving it a try!<br /><br />Gameplay: 7<br />Arrow Heads was really fun at first. However, after spending hours shooting arrows at each other, we opted to play something else. <br /><br />Graphics: 7<br />The cartoony visuals are nice.<br /><br />Sound: 7<br />I mostly enjoyed the music.<br /><br />Replay Value: 6<br />The game, unfortunately, didn&rsquo;t hold my attention.<br />&nbsp;<br />Final Score:<br /><br />6.8<br /><strong><br />Editor&rsquo;s Note:</strong> <em>We waited to post our review so we could try the online portion after the game launched. However, due to the low number of people currently playing at any given time, we didn&rsquo;t see a significant difference to what we experienced prior. </em><br /><br /></p> /pc/post/arrow-heads Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:00:00 Absolver <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />System: PC (Also on PS4) <br />Genre: Action RPG/Fighting<br />Rated: T<br />Players: 1 (2-Many Online)<br />Cost: $29.99<br />Release Date: 08/29/2017<br />Publisher: Devolver Digital <br />Developer: Sloclap<br /><br />It&rsquo;s crazy how our expectations can impact our experiences. Preconceived notions can even taint a physical product &ndash; a good film or game can seem mediocre if we go in expecting more than what was promised. The inverse happens as well. Which is why it&rsquo;s wise to temper our expectations. Be reasonable as that&rsquo;s the only way to not be let down. Unless of course, we were fed some insincere information from the start&hellip; <br /><br />Say what you want about titles like No Man&rsquo;s Sky. Most are passionately developed by people who love video games. That said, it can be tough to defend them outright given how much is promised up front. This is especially true with Hello Games&rsquo; founder, Sean Murray, as he can be seen on video talking about aspects of No Man&rsquo;s Sky that weren&rsquo;t included in its initial release. While it&rsquo;s true that gamers heaped &ldquo;hype&rdquo; onto the game from the beginning, a lot of the fault hangs over Hello Games&rsquo; collective heads. They helped in ruining what could have been an decent experience for many players. I&rsquo;m afraid that this sort of thing is going to happen with Sloclap&rsquo;s first title, Absolver. Although not on the same scale, mind you &ndash; the confusion here doesn&rsquo;t come from months of speculation, snazzy trailers and bad interviews. At least, not entirely. This is because Sloclap&rsquo;s (and maybe Devolver&rsquo;s) descriptions are vague enough to allow for multiple interpretations, possibly leading to misconceptions about the game.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/absolver-review-screen-2.jpg" alt="absolver-review-screen-2" /><br /><br />Absolver is an online multiplayer combat game set in the fallen Adal Empire.Players will take up a sacred vow to become Absolvers (think Jedi) who are tasked with maintaining stability in the world. Before they can do that though, they&rsquo;ll need to explore a rich and dynamic world as Prospects. PvP and PvE options are highlighted &ndash; players can put their skills to the test against one another or team up to tackle the dungeon mines of Adal in hopes of acquiring rare loot.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br />Sounds good, right? I paraphrased some of the descriptions I saw in press releases, the game&rsquo;s official site, Steam, etcetera. The problem though is that a lot of these &ldquo;details&rdquo; are misleading. Take Adel for instance. This fallen kingdom is made up of four small maps that adjoin at their edges, forming a larger circular area. Some are interesting in design, though all are mostly barren spaces sans the rival Prospects and enemy NPCs. They offer a place to run around in as you complete a lengthy tutorial, but they aren&rsquo;t dynamic environments (only the time of day changes) and they don&rsquo;t provide much in terms of exploration. There&rsquo;s a bullet point for narrative but the plot is nonexistent. And no, the unique &ldquo;stories&rdquo; that happen when you encounter other players don&rsquo;t count. There are also no dungeons to speak of* or special PvE areas where players can work together to get rare loot.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/absolver-review-screen.jpg" alt="absolver-review-screen" /><br /><br />It may seem like I&rsquo;m reading into things. No one specifically said that we&rsquo;d get a lengthy plot or large open world to dive into. At the same time, all of those phrases used to describe the game start to paint a certain picture that just isn&rsquo;t there. It doesn&rsquo;t help that Sloclaps Creative Lead, Pierre Tarno, likened Absolver to Dark Souls in an <a class="external" href="http://fextralife.com/absolver-interview-with-sloclap-details-on-story-pve-pvp-and-more/">interview</a> last year &ndash; aside from running into tough opponents while roaming a mysterious land, there&rsquo;s nothing Dark Souls-ish here. <br /><br />As it turns out, Absolver is an online fighter with some extra baggage. At the start, you&rsquo;ll hunt down special Prospects and mini-bosses throughout Adel. Once defeated, you&rsquo;ll be allowed to fight an Absolver named Risryn. Best her in combat and you&rsquo;ll be promoted to Absolver. After that you can continue running around Adel and fighting the low-level Prospects and random players you bump into. Or you can jump into a competitive PvP mode, complete with matchmaking. This is recommended as Adel holds nothing for Absolvers besides rematches with the boss characters, which are only possible after you&rsquo;ve ranked up online. And&hellip;that&rsquo;s it. No bells and whistles. No grand story. There aren&rsquo;t even any interesting characters worth talking about. Just a giant tutorial that sets up the real game.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/absolver-review-screen-4.jpg" alt="absolver-review-screen-4" /><br /><br />The good news is that Absolver&rsquo;s combat is exceptional in design. It&rsquo;s similar to For Honor in that you have multiple stances that allow for different moves. Attacks flow into one another, moving you in and out of different stances in real time. Certain transitional attacks allow you to skip to a preferred stance, switching up what attacks are performed during combos. Combat decks are layered on top of these stances. As you battle enemies, you&rsquo;ll learn new attacks and abilities, which can be added to a deck/placed according to their corresponding stances. It sounds more confusing than it is. Ultimately though, this system makes it possible to attack and defended with a level of control not often seen in video games. <br /><br />It&rsquo;s possible to jump over a sweep or duck under a punch as it comes. A dodge is realistic in nature and momentum can be used to your advantage. Stamina is a big facture, requiring players to think strategically when it comes to attacking and blocking. Properly timed button presses will allow players to attack longer were as flailing about will cause them to tire, leaving them open to attacks; you can&rsquo;t block if you&rsquo;re out of stamina. This creates a steep divide between button mashers and those who learn the inner workings of combat. Fights between skilled players almost look choreographed.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/absolver-review-screen-5.jpg" alt="absolver-review-screen-5" /><br /><br />The 1v1 bouts can are exhilarating to say the least. It&rsquo;s a shame that I still found myself growing bored with Absolver. I didn&rsquo;t really care about my character with the lack of a compelling story. I mean, Street Fighter doesn&rsquo;t have the greatest plot but the characters have interesting backgrounds/personas. I tried getting into the cosmetic side of things but was met with resistance. Everything you wear contributes to your weight, where lighter items allow for harder hitting attacks for certain classes but less overall protection. So, when utilizing the Stagger style, I had to decide if wearing a cool mask I found is worth forgoing some power. <br /><br />Speaking of styles, there are only four available to learn. You can mix and match learned moves from each one along with secondary options (like combat decks for weapons). It didn&rsquo;t take long to start see repeat moves regardless of who I faced though. The matchmaking is rough. It isn&rsquo;t fun fighting a level 60 player when you&rsquo;re still in your twenties. Even if I could counter all of their moves, the difference in stamina made it hard to compete; it isn&rsquo;t excatly correlated with character rank, but higher leveled players would have made sure to add points to this stat. Higher level players also had way more attack options to customize their decks with. Because you can only learn moves by blocking or countering when in fights, learning new attacks to even the odds is a slow process. To be fair, I was only able to play with other journalists and Youtubers. So, it&rsquo;s possible that the matchmaking will fix itself once more people are playing. That doesn&rsquo;t save you from the people roaming about the different maps though, as anyone can start attacking you while out in the field.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/absolver-review-screen-3.jpg" alt="absolver-review-screen-3" /><br /><br />I don&rsquo;t think Absolver is a bad game. I just imagined more. And honestly, it seems like Sloclap did too. It feels like there should be more. Maybe I missed something. Some secret NPC that fills in the blanks or an interesting boss that requires multiple players to dispatch. All I know is that I searched just about every inch of Adel. The only viable options after the weak story are the ranked PvP matches and regurgitated boss fights. The fighting is rather entertaining so I&rsquo;m sure many will be pleased with what&rsquo;s here. Personally, I&rsquo;m a bit disappointed. <br /><br />Gameplay: 7<br />The combat is Absolver&rsquo;s saving grace. I&rsquo;m not sure if that&rsquo;s all it needs to be successful though.<br /><br />Graphics: 8<br />I like the clay-like aesthetics. &nbsp;<br /><br />Sound: 7<br />The music is ok at times. Though a lot of the attacks sound weak, like I&rsquo;m punching pillows.<br /><br />Replay Value: 3<br />Some will enjoy the competitive mode. I grew bored rather quickly. <br /><br />Final Score:<br /><br />6.3 &nbsp;<br /><br />*<em>The dungeons are supposed to come post-launch. That was announced before the game released. However, that information hasn&rsquo;t been updated on the game&rsquo;s official site. Reading the descriptions there makes it seem like Absolver would launch with dungeons ready to be explored.&nbsp;&nbsp; </em>&nbsp;<br /><br /></p> /pc/post/absolver Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:00:00