Tag Archive: action


7 deadly sins

“Your eyes can see through evil, your mouth utters the truth, your heart is filled with justice and your sword shall crush evil. To stand by what you believe is right till the end…isn’t that the most important thing for a knight?”

Wrath. Greed. Sloth. Lust. Gluttony. Envy. Pride. The Seven Deadly Sins in which so many people either fight against with all their might or simply accept freely with open arms. Whether it is seen as weakness or strength, the true intent often becomes the greatest demon of all.

When stars streak across the darkened sky forming a cross, it is said that a great calamity will soon fall upon Brittania – but to what end? Are the country’s exalted Holy Knights truly as honored and noble in their positions as people seem to believe? What of the legendary group of criminals, The Seven Deadly Sins, who once attempted to overthrow the kingdom ten years ago? When surrounded by enemies and deceit on all fronts, how does one choose the lesser evil?7 deadly posters

The anime Seven Deadly Sins or Nanatsu no Taizai follows the third princess, Elizabeth, as she flees her home in search of the great warriors once called the Seven Deadly Sins. The only problem being that no one has seen or heard of any of them in ten years – ever since they were accused of attempting to overthrow the kingdom and killing a Grand Master.

As luck would have it, Elizabeth ends up running into the former captain of the sins, Meliodas (the dragon sin of wrath) and after some untimely trouble and explaining that the Holy Knights have been corrupted and her plan in having the sins help, they end up traveling together in search of the others.7 deadly e and hawk

So begins the quest that takes Elizabeth, Meliodas and Hawk (the adorably heroic talking pig and scraps manager of the Boar Hat – Meliodas’ moving tavern) all over the land from the “haunted” white forest to a heavily fortified prison to a necropolis of the dead in search of the others. Of course, as if locating the other members and convincing them to come along wasn’t hard enough, numerous powerful Holy Knights show up to try and thwart their plans – their goals being to kill the sins, particularly Meliodas, and forcibly returning Elizabeth back to the castle. 7 deadly ban king

Seven Deadly Sins is an anime topped full of action, comedy and fantasy. It has an almost Full Metal Alchemist feel to it and keeps that spirit alive throughout its 24 episodes (and even has the sin name thing going). There’s also a fairly sizable nod to the original Dragon Age (whether intentional or not) that those who have experienced being a Grey Warden will almost instantly recognize once that point is reached. With  lovable and amusing characters, a fitting score, a story with far more depth, twists and turns and plenty of action – the episodes go by far too quick!

All of the main characters are so vibrant that there is never a dull moment to be had. They are so much more than just weapon wielders and pretty faces. They each have their own in depth stories, reasoning, races, abilities and personalities. From the happy go lucky kid who is captain of the sins for a reason to the most bubbly and adorable giant girl that ever existed – the cast simply never fails to impress.7deadly diane

It is a story of simple premise at start that gains momentum in leaps and bounds keeping shock and surprise around every corner. Characters that were hated will become loved while others backstab when least expected – it will play on emotions with the best of them! With no shortage of humor – and even tears on occasion – it is an anime that should not be missed.

Who would have thought teaming up with a bunch of criminals could bring on such an amazing adventure!?

“Even if you were to die, I would still fulfill the promise made with you.”

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Behold this beautiful living planet! A place unlike any other with an abundance of exotic wildlife and fauna nearly untouched by human population and advancement. There is, of course, the small detail that everything existing on this world has a strong penchant for death and dismemberment – but that’s all just part of the fun! Oh, and let’s not forget the slight problem of enormously overpowered monsters that inhabit the world and aim to make it their own. But enough idle chit chat! Go and enjoy the beauty that abounds under foot, overhead and all around. Keep your weapons loaded and your wits about you. Welcome to Shear, Hunters!

Most people who see the words 4v1 will instantly have numerous thoughts fly through their heads such as ‘There is no way that is fair!’, ‘Someone must think themselves elite as all get out to expect to win solo against 4 people’, ‘This sounds totally AWESOME!’ Well, the creators of the much adored Left 4 Dead series have brought about a new world for fans of cooperative and versus multiplayer to annihilate each other in with Evolve.

evolveInstead of the usual 4 person cooperative against AI or 4v4 matches, Evolve introduces an asymmetrical fps experience that works amazingly well where no matter which side is represented, they will have to use every ability and know how in order to outsmart, out-maneuver and overpower the enemy before they end up gazing longingly at the winners circle just out of reach. Currently, there are 12 possible hunters that can be chosen from to include 3 assault classes, 3 support classes, 3 medic classes, and 3 trapper classes. The beauty of it lies in that each of the hunters all have unique weapons and abilities which can aid their team in different ways (however they do all share the same class ability whether that be a shield, invisibility, regen field, or mobile arena). This allows for numerous combinations and strategy when it comes to completing the objective or destroying the monster for that particular match. The monsters have similar options, though seeing as they are solitary hunters, there are only 3 variances as of right now to include the Goliath, the Kraken and the Wraith – each with their own devastating attacks and abilities.

Before even deciding which hunter or monster is to be played, there is the choice of map and objective which can greatly alter the outcome of the match if not taken into account. Evolve is so much more than simply the hunters and monsters going after each other for the kill. The heart and soul of the game lies in its Evacuation mode – a 5 map alternating circuit where the outcome of each match has the potential for beneficial or detrimental effects going forward for the winning and losing side, finally leading up to a finale where the fate of the planet is decided. Additionally, each map mode can be played on its own or rotating. There is hunt mode – where hunters track the monster throughout a decently large map and aim to kill it before it kills them; Nest – where hunters aim to destroy monster eggs before the monster hatches or kills the hunters in the process; Rescue – where survivors scattered and injured throughout the map must be revived and escorted to the dropship to safety before the monster kills them first; and Defend – where the monster (and its powerful minions) aim to destroy generators and ultimately the power ship as the hunters work to thwart its destruction.

Within each match there are also additional things to keep in mind besides hunters and monster killing each other evolve huntersand trying to complete the main objective. Hunters must be wary of the environment as well as each other as wildlife can easily incapacitate a hunter whether it is by elite albino creature or by man eating plant. Monsters have the additional tactic of up-keeping the games namesake and evolving by consuming fallen wildlife throughout Shear to reach the coveted and extremely volatile stage 3 monster.

The variances in maps, matches, monsters and hunters lead the game to having over 800 thousand possibilities with no two matches every being quite the same. But wait, there is even more! Each hunter can be leveled up in their unique weapons to become even more powerful and useful to the team; where monsters can do just the same to reach that ever desired Elite status of mastery. An overall leveling system unlocking hunter and monster perks as well as badges and other accolades are also tracked; and lets not forget the bragging rights on how high each class or monster is ranked on the leaderboards.

Looking past the concepts that make up Evolve, its core makeup is pretty solid in itself. Gameplay wise, the controls are smooth and fluid whether it is using the jetpack to traverse cliffs or get a birds eye view of the terrain to switching weapons and aiding teammates in need. Running, jumping and jetpack evasions all but scratch the surface as even the great size of the monsters is attributed in their great leaps and span over the land. Visually the graphics are beautiful from the plants and creatures found on Shear to the harmful effects of acidic gas flooding from destroyed power plants and airships flying overhead. The only problem is taking a second to actually enjoy the beauty all around as you careen across the landscape in hot pursuit of death itself. Evolve is truly a solid gaming experience all around no matter if you prefer playing solo with extremely intelligent AI bots or with friends and strangers through multiplayer rounds.

evolve wraithNow let’s take a moment to explore the more controversial side of Evolve: the reviews! If you look around the Internet, likely you will come across a huge array of reviews having outstanding scores to dismal ones. How could this be possible? Well, there are two sides here – those based on gameplay experience and those based on sales experience. The gameplay experience reviews will likely be the higher of the two in regards to the actual gameplay, graphics, sound, replay-ability, controls, and ingenuity (basically, everything the developers worked hard to implement into the game); the sales experience reviews will be the lower tier, most not even giving the actual game much chance because of disagreement with involvement from a monetary standpoint. What is frustrating is that for those gamers on the fence about trying this game, it leaves them little help in what to think when enough negative reviews may make a large enough impact to scare them away from trying a game they might actually truly enjoy.

So why the money issues when it comes to Evolve? Well, it mostly boils down to the $60 price tag, day one dlc, a season pass and pre-order bonuses. I will honestly say that I can see their point, but I wholeheartedly disagree with where they are coming from. Here are some thoughts on it –

The price tag: yes, it is the full price that most new games retail at. Take into account the amount of time, effort and resources the developers put into creating a game such as this and it does add up. If it is too much, simply wait for the price to go down – it will.

The day one DLC: I agree, it is frustrating to see at times. Why put out a game when there is still additional contentevolve creature that should be implemented into it originally and force gamers to pay extra for something that could have simply been launched from the start? I get it. However, the day one DLC complaints are really not an issue at all because of one simple thing: what could be bought had zero impact or advantage to playing the game. If buying weapon and character skins is really that big of a deal, well then just don’t buy them – they certainly won’t make you play better and is just for those who like to stand out from the crowd a little bit (something that most players will likely not even notice amidst everything else going on).

The season pass: Most games these days are coming out with them, however it comes down to each individual game if paying the extra for all additional content is truly worth the price. Take Borderlands 2 for example, is the season pass worth it? Most definitely! What about a season pass for a game that simply offers a couple extra maps and weapons? Well, maybe not so much. Evolve’s season pass is hard to pinpoint right now as nothing additional has come out for it yet. More monsters and hunters have been announced and speculated and perhaps even additional maps or game modes, but we will just have to wait and see what lies in store.

Lastly, the pre-order bonuses: How this is even an argument baffles me, and yet I have seen it mentioned. In today’s retail world, pre-orders are what guarantee sales for companies and in return they often offer free exclusive content to those purchasing the game. Taking advantage of this benefit is not only held by a particular group of people – anyone can do so simply by pre-purchasing or putting a small amount down on the game before its release date. That said, the bonuses for doing so are non-game changing: skins, extra characters, a map or maybe a weapon. Most games coming out have pre-order bonuses linked to them, and whether people decide to take advantage of it or not is purely up to them.

evolve goliathSo take what you will from media and user reviews and decide for yourself what is truly worth your hard earned time and money. Not every AAA title with great reviews is loved by all and not every low scoring game is a complete waste of time. Play what you want and then make your own opinion of it. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what the game is so long as you are having fun with friends.

Regardless of it all, Evolve is a solid multiplayer experience for next gen consoles and pc that already has accumulated over 100 years time in gameplay since its launch a couple weeks ago. Whether it is fighting and dying with friends and strangers or showing off solo superiority, there is much awaiting on Shear for all.

It is out there. Waiting. Fighting. Hunting. Dying.

Evolving.

The Gods Among Us ~ Noragami

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“Even if things are painful and tough, people should appreciate what it means to be alive at all.”

A lost cat, a strange encounter and a bus. This is how it all started for Hiyori Iki as she walked with her friends on what could have been any ordinary day. As the three friends stop to look at a small ‘lost cat’ poster of Milord, they joke of Hiyori’s closet martial arts obsession and shake their heads as she completely zones out into her own little world. It is then, as they pass by a beautiful stranger with dark hair and piercing blue eyes, that everything changes. Her friends don’t bat an eye at his passing, but Hiyori notices him and turns to watch as he calls for Milord at the top of his lungs. At sight of the small feline across the street, the young man jumps into oncoming traffic only to be knocked out of the way by Hiyori trying to save his life. Oh, what a day!

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After awaking in the hospital, Hiyori finds the young man in her room and he introduces himself as Yato, a minor god. It turns out, Yato is so minor that not only is his name hardly recognized but he doesn’t even have his own shrine and he works minor jobs (such as saving lost cats) in order to earn money and gain a reputation to match his large ego and dreams. The next time their paths cross, Yato points out that Hiyori is a little bit different since they saved each other at the accident: Hiyori has become a hanyou, a half phantom that on occasion will separate from her own body and walk among the realm of the far shore – the realm of phantoms and gods.

noragami Bisha

From that point on, Hiyori becomes entangled in the lives of the gods – beings that exist alongside humans, although most people do not have the ability to even notice them unless the gods allow it. While many gods remain at their shrines, others go out and seek to eliminate phantoms that have crossed onto the near shore, the realm that humans inhabit. These gods fight with weapons called Regalia – spirits who are found and named by the gods after their death and take on a weapon form to work in tandem with their masters. Yato names a new regalia Yukine, a young troubled youth who wishes only to be alive like everyone else and causes much pain to his new master through his reckless actions.  The three encounter other gods in the area as well as their Regalia which bring friendship, loyalty, vengeance and betrayal – with none more mysterious than the disowned and renounced Regalia, Nora.

noragami nora

Noragami (meaning ‘stray god’) is a supernatural/action/comedy manga and anime that was recently aired running 12 episodes. Providing an entertaining premise and story mixed with a beautiful art style, the episodes keep audiences interested throughout their entirety. While the story line itself could easily be more in depth, the way different aspects and elements are strung together create a riveting and synonymous tale from beginning to end. For the length of the series it is very well done and gives an entertainment value that many fail to do quite so well. As the three somewhat unwilling strangers survive trials and grow ever closer, they all learn much about themselves and each other – even when the darkest of pasts come to light.

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Despite harrowing circumstances, people can sometimes change each other for the better. Friendships are bonded, loyalties remain, and even gods of war and calamity can find light in their irrefutable darkness.

The Devil’s Own ~ Blue Exorcist

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The forest looked down on her with gentle smiling leaves as her feet sank into the freshly fallen snow at each step. This place was only to be a temporary assignment but it somehow became the only place she cared to be. It was all a misunderstanding anyways. Humans and demons could learn to coexist and understand each other, she was sure of it. Perhaps one day that world without separation and hate would become reality…

It had been 15 years since Father Shiro Fujimoto had taken in twin boys to raise as his own. The monastery they grew up in was the only home they ever knew, but the boys could not have possibly been any different from each other. Yukio Okumura was always smart, calculated and studious; even though he was the younger sibling he always sought to be able to protect his older brother and those that he cared for. The elder brother, Rin, on the other hand was always a wild card; somewhat of a rebel and slacker yet always attempting to do things with the best of intentions – even if putting his own life at risk. The brothers always seemed to be a little bit different in some aspects, but it remained a deeply hidden secret until one fatal night when their lives would change forever.

blue exorcist groupWhen demons begin to overtake Assiah, the human world, Father Fujimoto has no choice but to finally reveal to Rin that he is the true Son of Satan and give him Kurikara, the demon sword that had sealed away his powers up until this point. When the gate to the demon realm Gehenna opens and Fujimoto is possessed by none other than Satan himself, he sacrifices himself in front of Rin’s eyes in order to save him. From that point on Rin vows to destroy Satan and eventually ends up enrolling in the elite True Cross Academy high school.

Admitted by the preceptor himself, True Cross Academy has a hidden curriculum that only certain dedicated students even have knowledge of called the Cram School: a school for exorcists. It is there that exorcists in training learn not only to combat demons and protect the world from a danger most people do not even see, but they also hone the exact methods in which they will repel the evil and learn to work as a team. Some exorcists become Tamers with summoned pets to do their will while other may choose to become an Aria and defeat demons through reading scripture. There are other categories as well that aspiring exorcists may enlist themselves as, but none so highly ranked as the Paladin. Rin soon finds himself among a small yet colorful cast of students and faculty that will take them up the ranks of becoming exorcists and closer to their goal of abolishing Satan. Of course, nothing ever goes quite so smoothly planned and as Rin attempts to keep his demonic looks and powers concealed, plenty of trials and trouble test the students up until their final showdown with the demon king himself.

Blue Exorcist is an action/supernatural manga and anime following the story of the brothers – in particular, Rin. Throughout the 26 blue exorcist rin and shiemiepisodes of the first season, the main story remains ever in tact while still including many side stories and character backgrounds that truly draw the audience in. From the goal oriented justice seeking Suguro, to the abandoned demon familiar Kuro who is quickly won over by Rin, to the gentle and quiet Shiemi who ends up becoming one of the strongest characters overall – the cast truly transforms into a solid unit of friends and allies by going through so many difficult trials together. With humor, emotion, and plenty of action throughout each episode it is one that will easily keep attention throughout the series.

Humans and demons have been at war for as long as texts have been written and stories have been told. Perhaps it only takes one person to change that fate for the future.

There are always dreams to be realized.

Lives to be lived.

 

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…Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary…

Every story has a purpose.

Think of those classic tales most everyone has heard and loved since childhood: Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel or the Princess and the Frog (to name only a few). Each story not only held entertainment value but also had lessons and warnings hidden deep within their pages. Many of these stories were actually written much crueler in their original form and some may be surprised to learn that the princess did not kiss the frog but rather threw it against the wall and that the wicked queen in Snow White was forced to dance in red hot iron shoes at their wedding until she fell dead. Not every fable and fairy tale gets that Happily Ever After, oftentimes all that the audience is left with is surprise.

As the previous four chapters of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us have played out: Fabletown is ripping apart at its seams as a dark mastermind and those working under his watchful gaze begin murdering their own and capitalizing on other fables misfortunes. The fifth and final chapter of the series based on Bill Willingham’s comic book series Fables brings players to the pinnacle of the action as Sheriff Bigby Wolf (The Big Bad Wolf) finally meets with those of the inner crime circle and discovers the truth a midst a complicated tangle of lies.

Some might say that the previous episodes of the title did not incorporate enough actual action sequences – well, the final episode makes up for that in leaps and bounds. From hand to hand combat to street chase scenes to taking on more enemies than can be counted in one room, the action is at nearly a constant making use of quick reflexes, aiming and controls. Don’t worry though, when the pace slows down the player isn’t simply left with idle chit chat; what they are left with is making critical and weighted timed decisions and ensuring that justice is given its due. Needless to say, it is two hours of gameplay that seem to take only minutes whilst careening towards the games grand finale.

Telltale Games certainly has had it high and low points throughout the series, but they did not hold back when it came to bringing this story to conclusion. Even after the height of the action and story has ebbed, they leave the player with one final scene which gives some measure of explanation and fills in the gaps while, in turn, also making the player question every decision they ever made. There are many theories on what the true ending to The Wolf Among Us means, but sometimes, figuring them out firsthand is the greatest reward.

So now that the story has met its end (for now), the time to play this title couldn’t be more perfect; or for those who have been keeping up as the episodes are released, perhaps another play through to truly piece the puzzle together may be in order. So discover the darker side of Fabletown and those that dwell within, glimpse the violent crime mystery from a different perspective…see how big and bad the wolf truly is.

You’re not as bad as everyone says you are.

I hope you find what you’re looking for.

I’ll see you around…wolf.

 

E3 2014 ~ So Far…

E3-2014

It looks awesome!

It is an event that gamers throughout the world as well as those within the industry look forward to each year.  It is an event where thousands view the conference from their homes via live streaming while others traverse the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center brushing shoulders with big name developers and playing demos of games that seem barely more than a wandering thought for most; it is a time in which all eyes focus towards one finite point. And as always, oh what a show it has been so far.

Monday marked day zero of the 4 day conference showcasing Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony and all they have in store within the coming future.

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Microsoft presented a succinct showing of numerous exclusive and large titles that would exhibit all that the XBox One is truly capable of. Glimpsing the first images of huge names such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, Witcher 3 gameplay footage, Tom Clancy Thehalo_5_guardians-672x372 Division, Forza, and Sunset Overdrive; that alone would have been enough to keep gamers glued onto the coming horizon. Add in a few unexpected twists such as Phantom Dust, an original Xbox remake; much loved Crackdown; new title Scalebound; and of course numerous smaller titles such as Project Spark, Ori and the Dark Forest and handfuls of other Indie games that hold just as much impact and there is little more that could be asked for. Lastly, who could forget to mention the news surrounding the Halo series – Masterchief collection coming out end of year containing all the previous Halo games leading up to the much anticipated Halo 5: Guardians. Microsoft ended their conference stating that they make the Xbox for the gamers and that every gamer helps “shape the future” of the beloved brand and system.

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EA took the stage next bringing with them an entourage of sporting titles and other big names. Opening with Star Wars Battlefront and the greatly anticipated Dragon Age Inquisition (accompanied by a live musical performance) set the stage for what was to DAInquisitionGoGamercome. The new Sims 4 captured much attention with their “smarter Sims, weirder stories” demo which outlined the limitless possibilities players will have. Additionally, EA brought forth gameplay and footage of the new UFC game, NHL 15, PGA Tour (“Golf without limit”), Madden 15 and Fifa 15 to round out their sports venues. Criterion Games went behind the scenes of their newest work which, while unnamed, promises to showcase every mode of transportation and extreme adventure known to man. MOBA Dawngate and Mirror’s Edge also gained some press time. The finale of EA’s conference came with not only long minutes of gameplay for Battlefield Hardline (set on the streets, cops and criminals) but also announced the start of the live beta opening with 64 PS4s in room and directions on how to register both PS4 and PC to those at the conference and at home.

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Next on the lineup came Ubisoft, which in my opinion gave one of the most entertaining shows thus far (pre-show rules given by none other than a group of Rabbids, of course). Opening the stage with the first 5 minutes of footage from Far Cry 4, it started the show on a grand scale and kept on climbing. Just Dance 2015 followed introducing not only new gameplay footage and music but also a new way of playing the game altogether – with a smart phone. Using technology most everyone has paired with the Just Dance App allows anywhere from one to thousands of people to play together – anyone, anytime, anywhere – and of course this was demonstrated with about 30 people on stage, in the balcony and in the aisles of the conference room. Tom Clancy The Divisionac unity graced the screen next with more visual footage to aid the gameplay viewed earlier by Microsoft. As a zombie apocalypse survival shooter without the zombies, its line of “tragedy is invisible” really struck home after viewing this side of the presentation. Racing across the world and a tournament of teams accompanied more information on The Crew with an announced beta of July 23 and a November 11 release date. Next up on their list of heavy hitters came Assassin’s Creed Unity, not only giving an intense preview of the game and just what exactly it means when it says ‘unity’ but also showing an entire missions worth of live gameplay. AC Unity is set to release October 28. On another level entirely, to help gamers enjoy a bit of fitness a new game called Shape Up was introduced as well making fitness activities into a competition (and what gamer can turn down a competition, anyway?). From the talented creators of Child of Light, Valiant Hearts The Great War tore at the crowd and viewer’s heartstrings as it showed a glimpse into the story of 4 separate military personnel all accompanied by their faithful canine. For their grand finale, Ubisoft unveiled something that nobody saw coming. Showing unnamed gameplay as a co-op team of 4 attempts to infiltrate a house and recapture a hostage with tactical prowess, good aim and perma-death, audiences watched in awe as Rainbow Six: Siege was unveiled and truly almost stole the entire show.

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Sony ended day zero of E3 with a somewhat overly long but well done conference. As anyone who watched the conference can say, there is no doubt that Sony ever tires of stating how they bring things to gamers first and they bring it better. Destiny opened their show as well as announcing a glacier white PS4 bundle that will be available at game launch. Following this came numerous game previews and announcements to include The Order 1886 footage, Entwined, Infamous DLC, Little Big Planet 3, Bloodborne, Far Cry Destiny4 (with the ability to play co-op even if friends do not own the game), Dead Island 2, Diablo III (with last of us zombies included – hello clickers! :eek:), Battlefield Hardline, Disney Infinity 2, Majicka 2, Remastered classic Grim Fandango, Let it die, Abzu (from some of the same creators as Journey), and No Man’s Sky. A huge list of games all with great potential as well as great exclusives for playing them on PS4. Additional hardware was also shown such as Project Morpheus, the supposed future of gaming incorporating the Playstation camera. Also discussed was PSN as a whole as well as free to play games. Information was also given on Playstation Now and its hundreds of titles available on any device and even a Sony TV with a dualshock 3 controller (July 31 open beta PS4). Playstation TV will also be available later this year for a $99 price tag or a $130 bundle. Following this technology interlude it returned to what players really wanted to see: Mortal Kombat X gameplay, PS+ promotions, A new show based on a graphic novel called Powers, Ratchet & Clank movie and remastered game, Last of Us remastered, Metal Gear Solid 5 Phantom Pain footage, Grand Theft Auto V for PS4 announcement, Batman Arkham Knight gameplay and a glimpse at Uncharted 4. Phew. It was a long two hour conference for Sony, but they certainly delivered.

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Finally, the start of Day One began with Nintendo’s pre-recorded conference and they brought exactly what people were looking for. Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U showed more depth into Mii fighting styles and techniques (to include brawler, fighter andYoshisWoolyWorld gunner as well as over 36 mixed abilities) and also gave the first view of something called Amiibo – a way of bringing toys to life (much like Disney Infinity or Skylanders). These small figures of Mario, Link, Pikachu and many more can be used to bring powerful, yet unique, characters into certain games such as Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart (among many more to come) simply by hovering the figurine over a corner of the Wii U Gamepad. The adorable Yoshi’s Woolly World was looked into as well showing the initial idea process of it to actual game play as well as a look into a new game featuring Toad called Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. A game that most everyone held their breath in anticipation for was word of  a new Zelda game for Wii U and although only a small amount of footage was seen, the promise of a truly open world and the beauty and mystery that has always surrounded the Zelda universe surely made every fan smile. Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as well as Bayonetta 2 were given some previews as well as Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Small interviews and footage were also shown for the upcoming Hyrule Warriors (confirming Link, Zelda, Impa and Midna as playable characters), Mario Maker (an amusing new twist on creating and playing Mario levels either in classic or more updated form) and a new ink shooter battle game called Splatoon.

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All in all, E3 2014 has been huge and there is no way to crown just one conference as the best. With major cross platform titles to exclusive franchises to unique and quirky adventures, there is something for every type of gamer no matter what system they may own or prefer (if not all of them). As E3 continues for the next two days there are still bounds of news, trailers, booths and demos to see whether it is on site at the convention center or from the comfort of home. So enjoy one of the biggest events in the gaming industry, let anticipation reach an entirely new level and know that at the end of the day, everyone is leaving as a winner!

“A person who cannot give up anything, can change nothing.”

Attack on titan wall

One hundred years ago humanity was thrust into a one-sided conflict against incredible giant humanoid Titans; a devastation that would result in a majority of the population being wiped out – without remorse, without reason. Since then, peace has been found within the safe and well defensive confines of three ginormous walls: Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and the center-most Wall Sina. During this time, many people have lived their lives happily without ever laying eyes on a Titan; but peace can only last for so long uninterrupted…

In the year 845, the outermost wall containing the Shiganshina district would experience this terror once again and numerous citizens and military personnel would invariably lose their lives and lay witness to a massacre and evacuation that would not soon be forgotten.

Within this area called home to so many, three youth connected by difficult experiences and dreams of the outside world go about attack on titan legionstheir day as if it is any other. Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman make their way home while completing chores and stop to see the return of the brave but war-torn Survey Corps; one of three branches of the military that go beyond the walls in hopes of quelling the Titan onslaught and gathering intel – though usually at the cost of many lives. As people insult and disgrace the men and women as they return home, Eren is enraged, hoping to one day join their ranks and help gain humanities freedom. Along the way they also run into a close friend named Armin Arlert, a sweet and intelligent young man who would do anything for his friends.

It is after a brief visit home that all hell breaks lose upon Shiganshina as a giant Colossus Titan appears as well as another variant known as an Armored Titan break through Wall Maria and let lose an onslaught of Titans onto humanities doorstep. Peace has ended and blood swiftly begins to flow down the streets of destruction and terror. As military personnel try their best to defeat the 3 to 15 meter tall titans overtaking the city and evacuate as many citizens as possible via boat to the inner walls; the three youth make their way to safety but it is not without tragedy or heartbreak. As refugees to the inner Wall Rose, Eren vows to join the cadet ranks and enter the fight personally to kill any and all Titans that have torn his life asunder. At this proclamation, Mikasa and Armin also agree to enlist in order to help protect Eren as well as accomplish their own motives.

attack-on-titan titanThe next 5 years follows the three through harsh military training: vigorous regiments, classes, hand to hand combat and mastering the core weapon used to down their most formidable foe – 3D Vertical Maneuvering Equipment. This equipment sits at the belt and is comprised of a storage vessel for blades on each side connected with a trigger hilt which not only houses the sharp swords for use but also triggers the maneuver part of the gear. The maneuvering allows the user to be versatile in air combat via gas supply by extending two separate hookshot-esque lines into walls, building, trees and Titans – and is invariably the only method that allows reach to the Titans true weak point: a death stroke to the back of the neck. Most other attacks will simply allow the Titan to regenerate injuries and lost limbs within a short amount of time.

Attack on Titan, or Shingeki no Kyojin, is a 25 episode anime that follows humanities fight for survival against the fearsome Titans. Staying close to Eren, Mikasa and Armin, as well as the other cadets in their graduating class, they are thrust headfirst into battle and bloodshed, unknown circumstances and enemies and even distrust within their own ranks. As they watch elite members of the guard fall time and again, they must somehow find the strength to carry on with their mission…no matter what the cost.

attack on titanIt is an action intense, dramatic anime that will keep attention throughout. With a decent amount of character growth within the first season, it brings forth many different elements and truly accentuates the fact that there is rarely an easy or correct decision. A good leader must be willing to risk everything to gain results, and this is truly the mindset that becomes impossible to ignore. Although many of the ‘shocking’ moments and realizations can be estimated beforehand, it does not take away the intensity and want to keep watching. There should be some warning though as it does contain a large amount of graphic content from horrific and bloody deaths to the harsh language one would expect to accompany such atmosphere. The anime ends with just as many questions as it begins with, if not more; but that leaves plenty of room for the oncoming second season to pick up with.

At one point in the series a character states that, “It takes great courage to go against the tide. I respect that.” In difficult times it can be easy to simply cower in fear and run with the crowd, but it is those who stand up to fear that show their true strengths when it really counts – and it is those that make all the difference.

“They are the prey and we are the hunters!”

 

wolf ep 3

Many people dream of living a fairy tale; whimsically dreaming of a fantastical place, magical powers and an idealistic love story. What if those fairy tales already exist around us, without anyone even knowing or suspecting? In Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us, the characters from many beloved fairy tales and stories are living in a 1980s set of New York City – or at least trying their best to. However, it is an entirely new story for these fabled characters this time around; it is a story of social class struggle, corruption, crime, and much like everyone else in the world, a will to survive.

In the newly released episode 3 of the 5 chapter series, Telltale brings back the urgency and story progression that captivated players throughout its first installment. While the previous episode still provided difficult decision making and character development, many were left disappointed at its short length and lack of truly moving the story forward as much as desired. Well, episode 3 fixes that bringing forth an array of even more difficult decisions, a host of new characters joining the cast, and a strong sense of having too much to do and not enough time to do it in. They will remember that.

wolf choicesAs players remain in the shoes of Sheriff Bigby Wolf, they deal with the repercussions the previous episode left off with. With one of their old world relics still broken and un-repairable, it leaves Bigby and Snow White with no choice but to investigate what leads they have the old fashioned way: on foot. With naught but a time and a description, they narrow the leads down to three separate locations; however, the player will only have enough time for one,  maybe two, as the clock continues to tick surreptitiously down to the hour at hand.

The decisions the player faces this round have leveled up in their own regard and the consequences weigh even heavier beyond simply seeing that “X will remember you said that.” People will be hurt and evidence destroyed while you stay true to your choices, yet the reward is well worth the struggle. By the end of the episode the player will not only experience one of the most action intense and formidable encounters, but will also see the curtain drawn back slightly on who is truly behind everything; all the while creating yet more confusing questions and leaving even more anticipation for the upcoming episode 4.

What Telltale seemed to have shined with in episode 1 and lost luster with during episode 2, seems to be back in full force and episodewolf snow shocked 3 is truly both a painful and enjoyable experience filled with intrigue, urgency and even surprise. The developers excel in their story telling devices and prowess and not only live up to their high expectations but even find time to include some minor, yet outstanding fun to their own method that players will notably remember and smile at.

In the end, A Crooked Mile brings out that illustrious shine that makes this series so enthralling. Sparking a desire for multiple playthroughs whether to unlock additional fables missed or to simply see the other side of your not-so-timely made decisions gives even additional length to the 90 minute episode. So, will you delve back into the grisly backdrop of Fabletown and step closer to everything that is tearing the world apart by its seams?

The decision is yours.

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…Still Here…

What can a life truly defined as? Is it our actions; our words; or simply how we intertwine our own lives with that of others? There is not an action or reaction done that does not impact who we all become as a person; and it is those very dealings that shape us down to our core.

Quantic Dream, the developers who brought Heavy Rain into existence, have delved into a realm that not only encompasses human emotion and action, but also intertwines that which many do not comprehend or see: the paranormal. In PS3 exclusive Beyond Two Souls, players take on the part of two beings: Jodie and the entity that has been connected to her since birth, Aiden.

beyond two souls 2All she ever wanted was to be like other girls, but Jodie has known nothing of normal her entire life. Her connection to Aiden and the infoworld granted her living nightmares both while sleeping and awake. Although connected to Aiden directly, Jodie has no actual control over his actions, and he tends to do as he pleases be it causing trouble or lending aid; though he always employs the role of guardian and protector for Jodie.

While players may be confused at the start as to what is going on, the non-linear storytelling gives all the necessary information as needed and slowly pieces together Jodie and Aiden’s life, triumphs and failings to create a full, dramatic picture. From a tormented childhood to covert operations within the CIA to wanted fugitive, Jodie is an incredible young woman trying to figure out who she is and learn how to actually live the life she has been given.

The game play of Beyond Two Souls certainly has its good and bad aspects. To many, it is considered more an interactive drama than an actual game; and there is really no denying that. Unlike Heavy Rain, there are far less quick action sequences and they no longer rely on awkward button presses and combinations; instead, when actions are needed during fights or intense situations, the movement ceases briefly to slow motion and allows players to dodge, counter, jump and attack by moving the joystick in the appropriate direction in time. This is not to say that these actions should simply be ignored, but it does eliminate a hard failing or repeat if a move is missed. Jodie may not come out of a fight flawlessly, and the players reaction time to events may alter the outcomes to follow. All in all, while this may not drastically affect the story as a whole, what it does do is enhance the characters development – which is what truly connects the player to the story and makes it their own.beyond two souls aiden view

When in control of Jodie’s entity, Aiden, players have a slight different control scheme to accustom themselves with. No longer bound by gravity or walls, Aiden can go and view places that Jodie currently cannot; however, he can only move so far away from Jodie before his ethereal leash reaches its limits. As Aiden, the player becomes more than simply a lookout as to what dangers and obstacles surround and can even perform certain abilities to aid Jodie by moving or causing noise for distraction, repelling infoworld creatures, healing wounds, strangling enemies unconscious or even possession. Although Aiden may be a difficult soul to deal with at times, his presence is imperative to everything Jodie is and will become.

Beyond Two Souls delivers a story rich in character development that examines human failings in various manors. Jodie, Aiden and the people she closely connects to make the story come to life and make the player truly care about what is happening. Excellent voice acting by Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe certainly are some of the best assets that could have been employed for this project.

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If the worst things to say about this game are the amount of cinematic sequences and some melodramatics at times, then there is hope. The game isn’t about stylish combos or building battle strategies; it is telling a story, and an amazing one at that. Quantic Dream present something that not every game can accomplish: a deep emotional connection. The truly heart wrenching moments, bursts of jubilation and revenge are as real as if you are doing them yourself at times. It is really something special to experience.

…An experience walking the footsteps of an amazing young woman and her extraordinary life.

“A force of good is not so easily extinguished”

Dust-Review

There are very few people in life who ever know, full heartedly from the start, that they are destined to be heroes. Even when the time does come, knowing what to do and having the ability to carry it out can be two entirely different feats; but that is all simply part of the journey.

In the indie game Dust: An Elysian Tail by independent designer Dean Dodrill and published by Microsoft Studios, you begin your adventure as an unknown swordsman named Dust. Having no previous memories or knowledge of who you are or once were, you are soon teamed up with your weapon and companion for your upcoming journey: The Blade of Ahrah, an ancient mythical talking sword and Fidget, the sword’s guardian nimbat.

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Along the way, Dust seeks to remember his past while following the advice of Ahrah and helping the citizens of Falana negate the oppression and bloodshed caused by General Gaius and his army. As waters run dry, towns are demolished, and an ancient race known as the Moonbloods draw nearer to extinction, time is of the essence whether Dust is completely aware of his mission or not. However, with every new area as well as with every new friend and foe he encounters, Dust begins to learn of himself; duly accomplishing everything he sets out to do.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a side scrolling action RPG filled with quick action combat, a vibrant cast of characters and a beautiful hand painted backdrop. Action wise, Dust slays his enemies via numerous sword combos and timed use of his dust storm ability which can also be enhanced by Fidget’s magic projectiles in unison. As the story progresses and new areas are discovered, Dust will also learn a myriad of abilities to increase his effectiveness – abilities that will not only allow you to continue forward, but to also travel back to previous areas later on in the game and explore even further into their depths.

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The core of the story itself is in many ways the generic save-the-world-from-evil plot except that many aspects involving who Dust truly is and how these events came to pass all result in an intriguing twist of events.  The main characters all bring their own unique quirks to the foray as well: Ahrah remains the ever thoughtful voice of reason, having all the answers but only revealing them in due time while giving meaningful advice to Dust and Fidget as needed; In stark contrast, Fidget  offers much of the comic relief through the tale as well as her combat endeavors; While Dust stays in a subdued cloud of angst and confusion while maintaining confidence in his skill and upholding his sense of humor throughout.

When facing a new enemy, Ahrah tells Dust to "remember what he has learned," and this is Fidget's response:

When facing a new enemy, Ahrah tells Dust to “remember what he has learned,” and this is Fidget’s response:

The game is truly an enjoyable experience that offers various difficulties as well as numerous battle challenge arenas to be discovered and mastered during gameplay. However, as in most titles, it does have its flaws. The boss encounters are probably one of the biggest disappointments as they do not offer near the difficulty you would expect from them. It has also been said that many of the RPG elements could have been more involved, though they are still present and should be utilized to the greatest of your ability to ensure success and make life easier all at the same time.

What makes this title stand out just that much more is that it was created by one solitary person over the course of three and a half years. A feat not often seen or accomplished to this extent and in many opinions has gone above and beyond what full teams have not managed to do.

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In the end, Dust: An Elysian Tail is definitely worth playing. Depending on the difficulty and completion it will likely take less than 20 hours to finish; but it holds a great amount of content for its price as well as an artistry and ingenuity that is often hard to come by.

So venture to Falana; be awed by Ahrah, amused by Fidget, and discover who Dust is and was…all while accomplishing everything you are meant to do…whether you realize it or not.

“I remember everything. AND IT CHANGES NOTHING!”

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(Additionally, feel free to check out my Twitch channel as I livestream my next playthrough of Dust: An Elysian Tail!)