Tag Archive: FPS


evolve title

 

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.

“Booker, are you afraid of God?”

“No, but I’m afraid of you.”

Bioshock-infinite-wallpaper-hd-2

There is always a lighthouse.  A man. A city.

From the depths of Rapture, Bioshock brought players into a world unlike any other; where choices and decisions not only affected the player but also the ultimate consequences to come. Now the tables have turned to a new time and a new city; to a place so Utopian yet so corrupt: the sky-high dwelling of Columbia.

The year is 1912 and American exceptionalism has reached its pinnacle. The city floats high above “the sodom below” basking in the picturesque glow and ideals of its founder and prophet, Zachary Comstock. Kept afloat by a mix of quantum levitation and blimps, Columbia not only rises above the rest of America physically, but sees itself in a higher spectrum all around.

Despite its isolation and independence, the steampunk paradise amidst the clouds has more dark secrets and atrocity than one might bioshock_infinite_46initially suspect. It is something of a floating battle ship armed with heavy artillary, zeppelins, airships, machine gun turrets and various other weaponry. It is a hostility that has seen the face of and impacted The Boxer Rebellion and even houses a fierce civil conflict within its own boundaries. Within this internal struggle lies two main forces: the city’s ruling class which prioritizes a specific religion and strict signs of racial purification and the Vox Populi (translating to ‘voice of the people’ in Latin), a revolutionary group intending to overthrow the powers in charge and gain equal rights for all citizens of Columbia.

It is here that the player controlled protagonist, Booker DeWitt, is sent to retrieve the girl, fulfill his mission and finally erase his debt.

On a turbulent and rainy night, a small boat carrying three passengers rows towards a solitary lighthouse. Allowing DeWitt to exit upon the dock, the two confounding rowers turn away with hardly an explanation between them. Entering the lighthouse, DeWitt finds its sole occupant brutally murdered with but a small note left for him and him alone: “Don’t disappoint us.” Climbing to the top of the lighthouse, DeWitt discovers a contraption that will take him on the final leg of his journey: to Columbia.

Arriving at a half submerged candlelit church and forcibly receiving a hasty baptism drowning, DeWitt is finally set loose upon the sights and sounds of Columbia. He then sets his aim on getting to Monument Island, a huge angelic statue rising through the middle of the city, where Elizabeth is being held captive.

Bioshock-Infinite-tin-man-600x337Once Elizabeth joins in on the escape, you will probably wonder where she has been all of your life. She becomes the best of npc allies almost instantly: telling you not to worry about her in battle, as she can fend for herself (which means ducking out of the line of fire, which also alerts you to when enemies are close at hand); additionally, Elizabeth will also pick up spare money, ammo, weapons, health kits and salts that she will toss to you mid-battle should the need arise as well as pick any locks along the way. One other unique ability that Elizabeth harnesses is the skill to open tears throughout the world. These tears can show a window to another time and place and can also bring useful objects to and from their current space time continuum.

Bioshock Infinite is a game where it is apparent to see the time and detail that went into its creation. From graphics to story to soundtrack, everything flows together in perfect harmony throughout so much of the game that it is no wonder it has received such high scores and reviews from numerous sources.

The graphics and visuals of Columbia make up for nearly the entire backdrop of the game and it is plain to see every beautiful painstaking detail that went into its mastery. Artistic flourishes and paintings line the streets, shops and buildings of Columbia in a mix of bright, steampunk design. From the initial setting of a happy, festival atmosphere to the defiled and burning streets of the lower commons, there is not a corner or crevice of the game left ignored. The skylines that run throughout the cloud city provide an even more unique element to the floating vessel, and not only bear a fast and necessary way of transportation but also add another versatile element to combat situations. Even though most of the time the action will be so great you only have time to look for the next cover or barrier between you and the onslaught of bullets, when you do have a moment to breathe, the setting is breathtaking and is worth taking in as often as possible.

Gameplay wise, Bioshock gives you an arsenal you should feel fairly accustomed with if you have played the previous installments. Abioshock-infinite-pc-ps3-xbox-360-screenshots-33 main gun (of which you can hold and switch between two at a time), a melee weapon in the form of the skyhook and a power called vigors, which vary and are discovered throughout the game. A sleek mastery of using all three elements will grant the player the best outcome through any gunfight be it from regular infantry opposition, motorized patriots with the likeness of America’s founding fathers, or handymen, the giant mechanized “Big Daddys” of Columbia. Vigors range from possessing machines and enemies to fight for you to calling a murder of crows to swarm, damage and distract your target; they can also be set to fire directly upon an enemy or set as a trap to be walked over. The skyhook and skylines running throughout Columbia do add a fun alternative at times as well as providing a quick and often necessary means of travel. Smooth controls throughout aid in quick reaction times and uninterrupted action even taking Elizabeth’s aid into account. The endless fights can becomes repetitive at times as you find a setup that works for you, but the introduction of new enemies will often prove different weapons or vigors more useful and various upgrades to them will change their outcomes as well. However, for the length of the game the battles almost always had some measure of challenge to them – the final fight in particular.

The soundtrack that accompanies the game is the perfect accompaniment to the often astounding visuals. From serene choral pieces to adrenaline inducing battle tones, the background sounds move you just as much as the action and story itself. The various reintroduced hits of the 1900s also come as a pleasant surprise whether they consist of a barbershop quarter rendition of “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys or “Girls just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper heard briefly through a tear in a famous musicians house. They easily add an element of surprise and surrealness amidst the idealistic retro-future American background. It is a soundtrack that can find success of its own accord and adds to, and never takes away from, the entirety of the game from start to finish.

bioshock boys of silenceDespite some of the controversy about the extreme violence in Bioshock Infinite, it is a necessary evil. Even the characters remark at one point, “what did you think would happen?” after a particularly brutal scene. The game is not about skirting around issues, but rather envelopes a plethora of extremes. Criticism exists in mass on the amount and level of violence used; but it is through that violence that not only pushes the story forward but also forces players to go through with it despite an innate feeling of how very wrong it is. It makes the players confront the violence head-on not only through general survival, but also in the decisions they make (to spare or kill a person) and through Elizabeth’s reactions to those decisions. There truly can be no morality in extremes.

Although Bioshock Infinite may not hold up to every expectation set by the original, it is a game that is thoroughly enjoyable and stays with you long after the final credits have finished. It will, without a doubt, make you think and question everything that you have seen and done; and it is no wonder it is one of the most talked about games in the industry at this time. Various difficulties, to include the extra challenging 1999 mode unlocked after first completion, as well as numerous achievements gives this title plenty of replay value; and that doesn’t even include the fact that once you have seen the story to its end, playing through again will show you the game in an almost entirely new light. It may still be early in the year, but it is easy to see this as a GOTY contestant. Whether you have been with the series since the original or are looking to see what all the excitement is about, playing through this title is a decision you will not likely regret.

A debt. A girl. A cage. A songbird.

Columbia awaits.

“The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist…”