Minecraft Dungeons – Review

My Rating (ThePendrag0n): 6/10
Release Date: 26 May 2020
Price: $19.99 (or $29.99 for the Hero Pack and 2 upcoming DLC)
ESRB Rating: E
Developer: Mojang Studios and Double Eleven
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Official Website: https://www.minecraft.net/en-us/about-dungeons/
Genres: Hack’n’Slash/Dungeon Crawler
Platforms: Switch/PlayStation/Xbox/PC
Description:
An isometric action-RPG set in Minecraft’s world, built by Mojang using Unreal Engine 4. It’s partly inspired by Diablo 3 and other “classic dungeon crawlers,” and has a heavy emphasis on loot and combat. You’ll explore procedurally generated branching levels with up to three friends, smacking mobs, solving simple puzzles (think buttons and levers), and gearing up your characters. You’ll fight above and below ground across multiple biomes.

NOTE: If you are looking for building/crafting/etc. – don’t look here…

Pros:
1) Fairly standard, minor RPG fair. Level up equipment/weapons using enchantment points. Gain/find “artifacts” that can supply “followers” (wolf, llama, golem)
2) Lives up to the hack’n’slash/dungeon crawler moniker – think “Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance” with a Minecraft “skin” on it.
3) Controls are straight forward and easy to learn.
4) Three levels of difficulty (2 start off locked and are unlocked as you defeat each level of difficulty)
5) Secret “missions” – There are at least 2 “secret missions” that are known – I will post links to info on those in the comments.

Cons:
1) Story line is SLIM.
2) Game play is simplistic (at least to start – hopefully it will feel “deeper” with more DLC)
3) Not mod-able at this time

Comments:
Hopefully this is “just the start” for this game – and it will continue to evolve and become a bit “deeper” in story line and content.

The Secret Missions:
The Creepy Crypt Secret Mission
The Secret Cow Level

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Gloria Victis – Review


My Rating (TheVicious0ne):
6/10
Release Date: This game is in pre-alpha release
Price: 19.99
ESRB Rating: Not Yet Rated but will likely be M
Developer: http://blackeyegames.com/
Publisher: http://blackeyegames.com/
Official Website: https://www.gloriavictisgame.com/en
Genres: Action, MMORPG
Platforms: PC
Description:
A medieval MMORPG where Mount & Blade meets Planetside 2! Explore a breathtaking and atmospheric open world designed by lovers of the Witcher and Gothic series. Be part of a living society and become a soldier, knight, archer, assassin, swordmaster, berserker, huntsman, blacksmith, builder, merchant, farmer, healer, and more…the choice is yours!
Pros:
1. Conquer land, siege non-instanced towns and castles and build advantageous fortifications in the everlasting conflict of the realms. Fight for glory in one of three nations or claim a castle for your guild and rule your lands!
2. Deep and immersive Crafting system with farming, harvesting, mining, and wood cutting, tailoring, leatherworking, cooking, alchemy, armor smithing, weapon smithing, and engineering.
3. Non-Target Combat & Epic PVP- Engage in action-based, non-target combat where your skills and tactics matter! Show your warrior spirit and earn fame as an undefeatable duelist, eagle-eyed archer, or respected commander inspiring your allies in battle. Compete for territory in the open world, and fight to the death in tournaments, castle sieges, and epic wars where entire armies collide!
4. The Developers take pride in the fact that almost all of their content based, quality of life, and balance based updates are based on user feedback.
5. The community- The gamers who play this game have a lot of time and vested interest in helping new players and in working together to make this game as positive as possible.
Cons:
1. Controls can feel clunky at times, especially when using siege equipment
2. There is a distinct lack of a tutorial system at this time that makes you rely heavy on the community to learn how to play
3. Lack of servers currently. There are currently only 5 servers, based on what continent you live on. This will cause you to not be able to play on a server with a decent ping if there is a big event going on while you are trying to log in.

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City of Brass – Review

My Rating (APendrag0n3): 7/10

Release Date: 23 October 2018

Price: 19.99

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Developer: https://www.uppercut-games.com/

Publisher: https://www.uppercut-games.com/

Official Website: https://www.cityofbrassgame.com/

Genres: Action, Indie, First Person

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Switch

Modes: Single Player

Description:
First-Person Arabian Nights Rogue-Lite!
Become a daring thief in City of Brass, a first-person action adventure
from senior BioShock developers. Armed with scimitar and a versatile whip,
you’ll lash and slash, bait and trap your way to the heart of an opulent,
Arabian Nights-themed metropolis – or face certain death as time runs out.

Pros:
1. Great “time killer” – or as a “break” between other games
2. Better than average graphics for an Indie Game
3. Story line “informs” you as you go
4. Decent tutorial and good control over keybindings for controls
5. Looking for a mindless killing/puzzle solver? This is for you.
6. Can be found on sale often – on Steam, Epic Games, and Microsoft Store

Cons:
1. A whole LOT of “kill ’em all”
2. Not much on “replay value”

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Subnautica – Review

My Rating: 6/10

Release Date: 23 October 2018

Price: 59.99+

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Developer: https://unknownworlds.com/

Publisher: https://unknownworlds.com/

Official Website: https://unknownworlds.com/subnautica/

Genres: Open World, Survival, Adventure, First Person

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac

Modes: Single Player

Description:
Subnautica takes place in the late 22nd century, when humanity begins to colonize other star systems. A deep-space vessel constructed by the trans-gov Alterra, known as the Aurora, has been sent to a system at the outer reaches of known space on its maiden voyage. Its goals are to build a section of high-speed space travel infrastructure known as a Phasegate, and to search for a lost ship, called the Degasi, which crashed on planet 4546B many years ago. After the Aurora enters its orbit, it is physically waylaid by a mysterious force and crash-lands on the planet. Several crew members climb into lifepods and jettison from the Aurora during the descent, one of whom is the player character.

Pros:
1. Once you learn the controls – the game play is fairly smooth
2. Great “time killer” – or as a “break” between other games
3. While it has a “story line” – it is not “story locked”

Cons:
1: Is very “grindy” (Hunt Resources/Blueprints, build the thing, rinse, repeat)
2: No Tutorial of ANY kind (I had to go hunt down a YouTube tutorial to just get the basics)
3: Controls are not intuitive – though they are re-configurable
4: If you are not EXTREMELY careful – you die in the first few seconds of the game and then continue to die on every respawn – which forces you just to start over.
5: A very “slow moving” game

NOTES: I HIGHLY recommend “FREEDOM” mode for your first venture into this game – so you can “learn the ropes” and controls – BEFORE you have to worry about starving to death or dehydrating!

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The Outer Worlds – Review

TOW Logo

My Rating:
7.75/10
Release Date: 25 October 2019
Price: 59.99+
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Developer: https://www.obsidian.net/
Publisher: https://www.privatedivision.com/
Official Website: https://outerworlds.obsidian.net/en
Genres: First Person, Action, RPG
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, (Switch coming soon)
Modes: Single Player

Description:
The game is set in an alternate future that diverged in 1901, when U.S. President William McKinley is not assassinated by Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition. As a result, Theodore Roosevelt never succeeded him, allowing large business trusts to dominate society well into the future, where megacorporations have begun colonizing and terraforming alien planets. Originally bound for the furthest reaches of the galaxy, a colony ship’s faster-than-light travel goes astray, leaving it abandoned at the edge of colony space. The player character awakens on board from cryosleep only to find that most of the passengers are still in hibernation, and begins a journey to a nearby colony to investigate the true nature of the corporations. The game features several factions and a branching story that reacts to the player’s choices.

Pros:
1. The controls are fairly intuitive “by default” but configurable “to taste”
2. For anyone that has played the Fallout series – if you liked Fallout – you will enjoy this.
3. While being “story driven” – it is not “story locked”. Plenty of side quests and room to explore
4. For those familiar with Fallout’s combat “slo-mo” combat system – you will find similarity in The Outer World’s TDD (Tactical Time Dilation)
5. Once you gain possession of your first ship – you can re-spec your character on board the ship at any time
6. 4 Modes of Play – Story mode (Novice Mode) greatly reduces the “combat” aspect of the game

Cons:
1: Can be a bit “grindy”
2: Definitely a “re-spin” of the older Fallout style games

Notes: 8 Hours into this game – and I can say with some certainty – that I will be spending many more hours in it!

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Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy – Review

My Rating: 9/10
Release Date: 30 June, 2017
Price: 39.99 (varies by location)
ESRB Rating: E (Everybody)
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Activision
Official Website: https://www.crashbandicoot.com/
Genres: Platform
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Modes: Single-Player
***
Description: 
Your favorite marsupial, Crash Bandicoot®, is back and he’s enhanced, entranced & ready-to-dance! Now you can experience Crash Bandicoot like never before in fully-remastered HD graphical glory. Take on the epic challenges and adventures of the three games that started it all, Crash Bandicoot®, Crash Bandicoot® 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot®: Warped.

Crash Bandicoot
Dr. Neo Cortex has a plan to take over the world, and he wants to create genetically engineered animals to do his bidding. To create his minions, Cortex kidnaps as many animals as he can; Crash Bandicoot’s girlfriend just happens to be one of his victims. Take control of Crash as he runs, jumps, and spins through 30 levels of intense action on three different Australian islands. Only you can help Crash save the animals, save his girlfriend, and foil Dr. Cortex’s plot.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
The evil Dr. Neo Cortex is back…out this time to save the world? And he’s asking for help from his arch nemesis, Crash Bandicoot? Is this just a conniving plan to lure Crash into Cortex’s next dastardly experiment? Can Crash win again or will he join Cortex’s mindless zoo? Bigger free-roaming 3-D environments, all-new animations and a whole host of colorful characters – watch as our hero Crash, ice-skates, rodeo-rides a polar bear and jet-packs through zero-gravity in the continuing adventures of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back – This time he ain’t joking!

Crash Bandicoot Warped
Oh yeah…he’s back…AND he’s ready! It’s a Whole New Time-Traveling Adventure! All new-style gameplay action – scuba dive, ride a motorcycle, a baby T-Rex, and go free-roaming airborne in a plane! Play as Coco! Gallop along the Great Wall of China on a tiger, go extreme on a jet-ski and other high-flying surprises! Prove your skills with the new Super-charge Body Slam, Super Slide, Double Jump, Death-Tornado Spin and a Laser-Guided Bazooka. All new enemies include a new Big Boss, Uka Uka, N. Tropy, a menacing Dingodile and of course, the return of some favorites like N. Gin and Tiny. More Action. More Fun. More Puzzles and Secret Levels. And you didn’t think it could get any better!
***
Pros:
1. All 3 games for 1 low price making it an affordable investment.
2. Family-Friendly game play that everyone can enjoy. Even my 2.5 year old figured out the controls and enjoys running around!
3. The nostalgia of playing through the levels again from 1996-1998 is real. I found myself remembering hidden passages and mechanics from my childhood.
4. While they remastered old levels it still feels new with some great enhancements to game play. You won’t feel like you can just sail through on your memory alone!
5. Includes the never before released, originally unfinished, Stormy Ascension Level in the original Crash Game.
6. The first ever new level (in 20 years!) the Future Tense Level is also included.

Cons: 
1. Gameplay can be monotonous if you aren’t driven by childhood nostalgia like I was.
2. The game is definitely more difficult than it used to be. They updated the controls which require a lot more finesse than it did 20 years ago. This is especially true in the first game and can be a point of great frustration if you aren’t looking to grind into a game about a cartoon bandicoot

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Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Review

My Rating:
8.75/10
Release Date: 15 March 2019 (The Old Man’s b-day)
Price: 59.99+
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Developer: Massive Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Official Website: https://tomclancy-thedivision.ubisoft.com/game/en-us/home
Genres: third-person shooter, RPG shooter
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Modes: Multiplayer

Description:
“Washington D.C. is on the brink of collapse. Lawlessness and instability threaten our society, and rumours of a coup in the Capitol are only amplifying the chaos. All active Division agents are desperately needed to save the city before it’s too late.

Pros:
1. Massive Entertainment took the lessons learned from The Division and implemented most of the best liked features from the original – the right way.
2. Specialization adds a new layer of customization to the game – that is also hot swappable. You can tailor your loadouts for the Specialization you feel like playing.
3. The storyline is long and immersive. The story makes you care about the characters and the people of Washington DC.
4. Gear and weapon customization is balanced and fairly self explanatory, especially for those who played the first game – while also accessible for new players to the series.
5. Pick how you play. 3 options for game play; PvE, PvP, or Co-op.
6. Clans reward teaming up with your friends and working together.
7. Endgame that is both story driven and fun! The Division 2 offers end game content from day 1 – and it doesn’t feel rushed or half done.
8. The game has a very dynamic (and ever changing) map due to circumstance. Gives a player plenty to do, without feeling grindy.

Cons:
1: Special ammo cannot be saved, it must be used as you pick it up
2: There have been a few issues with the connectivity to the game

Notes: With about 40 hours played, I have really enjoyed this game and the challenge of saving DC. Massive Entertainment has done an outstanding job following up the success of The Division 1 and continuing to give players a reason to keep coming back.

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Black Desert Online – Review

Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online

By: #MCGYaBoiBoots

My Rating:
8/10
Release Date: March 4 2019
Price: $30-$99
ESRB Rating: NR
Developer: Pearl Abyss
Official Website: https://www.blackdesertonline.com/
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Modes: Massive Multiplayer Online RPG

Description: “The Beginning of a Journey/Jordine and the Secret Guards”

“Goma Naru is central city of Trading. Back when ships from Valencia would anchor in Naru, children would greet the merchants and fireworks would light the skies. Goma Naru was a thriving city of sailors and merchants and mercenaries. Little did they know what had just arrived into the harbor.

Could any of these people know about the Elision Stone? It is the mythical stone of the ancient civilization, which had long been hidden due to the dark power, but uncovered by a cult and brought to Goma Naru by ship.

A mysterious black shadowy smoke rose up over the horizon and headed straight for that merchants ship. The Elision Stone exploded in a cataclysmic event, destroying all of the city and everyone in it, wiping it from the face of the world.

In the end there was no one left and that day was long forgotten.”

Pros:

1: A very extensive player system. Crafting, gathering, Hunting. There is always something to do.

2: Every character brings a new angle to the fight – leaving room for the game to be played in different ways on each playthrough.

3. “An open world to explore” – which means very few loading screens. This leads to very little downtime while waiting to load and continue your adventures.

4. Graphics are amazing and very appealing. Makes you want to go and explore, and see what the world truly has to offer.

6.The market system is so immense that there’s always something for everybody at cheap prices.

Cons:

1. It’s another sandbox MMO. Not as point-and-click as most – but it’s still there.

2. The learning curve is drastic when trying to figure things out as a new player.

3. Monsters no longer drop silver when grinding making it harder to maintain a steady money flow. However, aggressive mobs will drop bars.

4. There is a lack of PVE content for players, leaving those that love a story line in the dark.

5. There are no dungeon crawls – making money and grinding the only way to get better gear.

Notes:

Overall, I have enjoyed Black Desert online. The immense and colorful world has made it nearly impossible to put my controller down. I’m still “learning as I go” but the community is actually very helpful when you ask questions.

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APEX – Review

Apex Logo

Apex Legends

My Rating:
7.5/10
Release Date: 4 February 2019
Price: Free
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Official Website: https://www.ea.com/games/apex-legends
Genres: first-person shooter, Battle royale
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Modes: Multiplayer

Description:
“A WORLD WHERE ANYTHING GOES
The Frontier War is over. After hundreds of years of conflict between the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation and the Militia founded to fight them, the far-off region of space known as the Frontier can finally know peace.

But liberation can come at a cost: when the IMC and the Militia departed, they took everything of value and left the Frontier worlds in disarray. With no way to support themselves, the people of the Frontier had no choice but to leave their homes. The brave relocated to the Outlands.

A remote cluster of planets on the fringes of the Frontier, the Outlands are untouched by war and teeming with resources and opportunity. But life is cheap here, and danger lurks around every corner. Its pioneers, explorers, and outlaws used to spend their lives locked in an endless power struggle – now, they settle their differences in the Apex Games, a bloodsport where Legends from all corners of the Frontier compete for money, fame, and glory.”

Pros:

1: ‘Reviving’ in this title are two fold. ‘Reviving while down’ gets your teammates quickly back into the fight. BUT – if you cannot get to them right away – due to dodging bullets and dropping bodies – then you can grab their badge, high tail it to a ‘revive point’, and get them on the next dropship back into the fight.

2: Having role based classes, every character brings a new angle to the fight.

Cons:
1: Yet another battle royal game thrown into the mix of an over-saturated market.
2: Currently has no solo or duo modes
3: Weapons leave a lot to be desired. It requires a lot of ammo to kill a person.
4: The armor system is, also, lacking. Example: you can have a full set of purple and you can still get killed by a person that has all white armor and sometimes no armor on.
5: You can’t run and heal. You have to walk. If you start to run while healing it cancels the healing process. Takes way too long to heal.

Notes:

Overall, I have enjoyed Apex. It is a refreshing addition to the battle royal genre. If you play with a group of friends, getting ‘wins’ is fairly easy. However, playing with a group of random players will be a bit of a rough time. Hours of good fun are to be had with Apex.

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Fallout 76 – Review

Fallout 76 Screenshot

 

Our Rating:
Console: 5.5/10
PC: 5.5/10
Release Date: 14 November 2018
Price: $59.99 – $79.99
ESRB Rating: M (Mature) 17+
Developer: Bethesda Game Studio
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Official Website: https://fallout.bethesda.net/
Genres: First-person/Third Person, Survival, Online, Multiplayer, Open World, RPG
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Description: 
The online prequel to the Fallout series – where every surviving human is a real person. Work together, or not, to survive. Under the threat of nuclear annihilation, you’ll experience the largest, most dynamic world ever created in the legendary Fallout universe.

Reclamation Day, 2102. Twenty-five years after the bombs fall, you and your fellow Vault Dwellers – chosen from the nation’s best and brightest – emerge into post-nuclear America (Applachia, West Virginia). Play solo or join together as you explore, quest, build, and triumph against the wasteland’s greatest threats.

Pros:
1: Multiplayer – with “private servers” expected “shortly”
2: Huge Open World (four times the size of Fallout 4)
3: Revised “SPECIAL” progression system
4: Users can form Teams with their friends to accomplish goals/quests
5: (PC Version) – Mods/Modding will be available “soon”
6: Main quest plus MANY side quests, “daily” quests, and “events”
7: The Bethesda team has been working diligently to give frequent patches to the game to try and fix what players are reporting

Cons:
1: Multiplayer – until such time as the private servers are available, EXPECT “griefing”
2: It can feel “grindy” when running “solo” and trying to build up/accomplish things
3: Not a game I would recommend to someone that hasn’t already played some of the Fallout series – the learning curve can be “steep”
4: “In-game Purchases” – I can see this becoming a cheesy way for Bethesda to bilk players for real world dollars.
5: Very repeatable scenarios that make the game crash.  One of the main quests – “Personal Matters” – is completely broken and prevents players from being able to finish it.

Info/Notes (Pendragon): I have played several hours on both the PC and Xbox versions of the game. Game play, thus far, has been fairly similar – though I like the keyboard/mouse of the PC version over the “controller only” of the Xbox version. It just lends itself to more “control” of my game play. That could “just be me” however – as I am an “old school gamer”. As for the recent “bad press” that this game seems to be drawing – all I can say is I have no issue spending HOURS playing this game. Are there still some glitches? Yes. But, I imagine, folks will be hard pressed to name a newly released game that doesn’t have those at initial release. Bethesda has been “on top” of things – releases maintenance updates regularly since “go live” and I expect that trend to continue.

Side Note: This review took considerable time in being formulated – as many of the Admins wished to weigh in on this particular game.

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