Category Archives: game reviews

Shovel Knight: Simple is Better

Take a look at this picture. LOOK AT IT.

That. Is the face of a brilliant game.

So! Thought it may not look it, Shovel Knight came out about a week ago, and I have been playing it non-stop. Recently I have found myself frustrated with modern gaming’s obsession with impressive graphics, and returned to my roots in platform gaming, hoping that I could find those game design elements I miss so much. Shovel Knight does just that. The story is pretty straight forward, and adorably silly. You play as the main character, Shovel Knight. SK together with his once fearsome partner Shield Knight were a great duo of knights, and fought evil together. They were also in love with each other, your usual relationship shtick there. He fails to save her or something like that, and she dies in action. I’m not much for the wishy washy stuff, but this fascinated me, as it was combining a serious motif with what appeared to be a completely ridiculous game. But as it turns out, they actually make fantastic use of this element. And not in your traditional dialogue driven sense. Just to offer up one example, in between levels, Shovel Knight goes to a bonfire to rest and sleep. While he dreams, you, the player, experience the bonus stage. The bonus stage consists of Shovel Knight dreaming. And in this dream, you are fighting a non stop onslaught of bad guys while Shield Knight falls from the sky, and you are supposed to try and catch her. You get more points for killing more baddies, and a whole bunch of bonus points if you catch her. But dear god, the first time you play that bonus level, it is unbelievably heart wrenching for what seems to be such a silly game. The constant spawning of bad guys makes it incredibly difficult to catch Shield Knight as she falls, and you really experience what Shovel must’ve gone through when he failed to save her. I found this to be very impressive.

But enough ranting, let me move onto the gameplay! Shovel Knight features your standard platform gameplay. You start on the left, and move on to the right, reaching new screens and new screens until you reach the end of a level. Throughout the level there are 6 check points, and if you die during the level, you will go back to the most recent checkpoint you have passed. You can move with the directional buttons, you can jump, and you can press a button to attack with a shovel. You can also press up+attack button to use whatever magical item you have selected. So, we only have 4 buttons here to be pushed. In the beginning of the game, you are NOT told what button does what. You hold the controller, and figure it out. Within 30 seconds of starting the game, I knew how it worked. However, there is one more thing you can do that isn’t as simple as pressing a button. If you jump in the air and press down, Shovel Knight points his shovel down while he is jumping. If you hit into an enemy with this “shovel jump” as I am calling it, you will bounce off the enemy, and bounce much higher than you would if it were a regular jump. You know what that means? Yes! Your combat is being actively combined with your movement!

So, this is a big deal in platform games, because it adds depth to your combat as well as your exploration. You can even bounce off an enemy and keep landing on other ones, using one jump to kill several baddies. This is surprisingly addictive because it always leaves a question for you when you clear a screen. Did I do that right? Did I just waste a whole bunch of magic? Oh man, I totally could have bounced across all of them and not gotten hit! I’ll just go back and try again. As the player, you are left always questioning your methods, and always looking for ways to improve your own approach towards a given scenario.

Moving on, the level design in shovel knight has really blown me away so far. There is generally two paths you can take on a given screen. Sort of like the high road and the low road. You can go straight forward, fight a couple of enemies, and get to the next screen– or you can take the more difficult route, which often means trying to bounce off an enemy to reach a ledge, and then jump up the ledge to collect a bonus treasure.

The bonus treasure isn’t so important. Yes, it helps to have more money that you can use to purchase extra health, magic weapons, and such. But that isn’t why the player chooses the high road. The player chooses the high road because it is a challenge! This entire game uses its simplistic control scheme and brilliant level design to intrigue the player and challenge them at every turn. Another example of this is the system of checkpoints I mentioned earlier. When you reach and activate a checkpoint, you have two options. You can pass it and use the checkpoint as intended, or you can BREAK the checkpoint and risk losing your progress through the level if you die! Of course, you are rewarded with a nice sum of money, and if you break every checkpoint in the game you get a fancy achievement. But this is another case in which the player is being challenged, and then he has to decide whether or not he will step up.

Now, on my first run through (still working on it) I have chosen to take the challenge at every point that it is offered, but what if I didn’t? If I were to progress through the game taking the easy road every time, I would still have a blast. But I would also be left with extra value at the end of the game. After having beaten it, if I wanted to go through again with a new challenge, I could then choose to not use any checkpoints. This ability to set your own pace as a player is invaluable, and unavailable in most games outside of your typical “easy, normal, or hard” selection at the beginning.

Shovel Knight is a fantastic game that doesn’t need to rely on fancy graphics or technology. Do not be deceived by big gaming companies. Go indie. Play some kick ass games that are actually well developed.

Shovel Knight is available for PC and Wii U.  Go buy it!

The Ubsurd Difficulty of FTL

It’s not very often that I decide to play indie games. As a gamer I had wrongfully believed that the best games were the ones that had amazing graphics, great storylines, addictive play, etc. I could never believe that an indie developer could get to that level of nirvana. Before I really got into PC gaming I solely used my computer for League of Legends and Minecraft (which I do not count as an indie game). I was an adamant console gamer, always glued to my TV and xbox360. I won’t be ashamed to say my first foray into PC gaming was because of someone I was trying (and failed) to impress. This girl had just purchased the Humble Indie Bundle and was raving about how great it is to give back to the community. I decided to take a look at the games that the pack was offering at the time. I thought the games looked alright, so I decided to donate and get the games (I donated more than she did). It was here that I first experienced the gameplay of FTL.

FTL, short for Faster than Light is a real time strategy game based in other space. Developed by Justin Ma and Matthew Davis, this game follows your ship’s quests through the stars. The overall storyline is simple. You play as the crew of a single Federation spacecraft that needs to deliver secret rebel information to the Federation Headquarters. Your journey is hurried by the rebel fleet slowly chasing your ship on your journey. Based on this plot alone, this game wouldn’t have warranted more than one play through. However, FTL’s strengths do not lie in the simple story, but the journey itself.

While on the run from rebel fleet, your ship and crew undergo encounters with over 100 different random events. These events can range through distress signals, fuel stations, rebel attacks, derelict ships and many others. It is in these events that makes Faster Than Light truly unique, you could play through this game multiple times without ever encountering the same story and events. The random encounters don’t always occur in the same way, if something works the first time, doesn’t mean it would work the second time. In the beginning of the game you only have one choice of ship and layout, which determines the style of play, but as you continue to play the game you can unlock more ships with more unique options. For instance, your first ship is the Kestrel, a human based cruiser, which is relatively balanced. The Engi ship, unlocked when you enter the fifth sector, focuses on drone warfare, and disabling other ship systems. Unlike other games, Faster Than Light does not unlock all the ships upon completion of the game, the ships can only be unlocked through the random events, most of them taking more than one special event. For example, the crystal ship requires you to, in one play through, hit three different random events, all needing a specific crew member and to be in the correct sector. This game mechanic gives FTL an unbelievable amount of replay value. I still have not unlocked all the ships and will occasionally frustrate myself with attempting to.

A few months before I had actually purchased the game, I had saw a coworker playing FTL at work. From what I saw at the time, it seemed to be a pointless game, just a typical small time exploration game. I was not impressed with what I saw and still ignorant of PC gaming but, seeing as how I had purchased the pack, I decided to give it a try. My initial reaction of the tutorial section led me to the same conclusion that I had come to a few months ago, it was a typically boring game. Being a completionist, I figured that I would beat the game and be done with it. That proved to be a lot more difficult than I could ever imagine.

FTL is one of the most difficult games that I have ever played. This game, utilizes its random events and encounters to disrupt your journey in finishing the game. My first play through resulted in death before sector three, it was then that I realized the unique save feature of the game. Faster Than Light does not allow you to save your journey as you go along, but it does allow you to save and continue later. This mechanic coupled with the random events, makes the game extremely difficult and frustrating. Completing this game requires a precise combination of luck, random events, and skill; actually completing the game will serve as an impressive trophy in your achievements case.

Graphically the Faster than Light is extremely well designed, utilizing simple bit animations to give the game life. Although there isn’t any impressive cut scenes or realistic animation, considering the fact that the game was developed by a team of two, the graphical achievements are pretty impressive. The graphics of the FTL does add to the gameplay in giving players a sense of foreboding and urgency. For instance the rebel fleet crawls along the stars, giving a graphical red hued coverage over where the rebel fleet is. The map also displays where the fleet will be next, thus forcing players to be more economical with their travels. The soundtrack is a relaxing mix of midi tones and electronic beats. The music changes with each sector, some giving the player a rushed sense and others allowing them to relax with low BPMs. The game soundtrack was nominated for IGN’s Best Overall Music and Best PC Sound of 2012. FTL also received the distinction of being one of Kotaku’s Best Video Game Music in 2012.

Overall what truly excels in Faster Than Light, is the unique play-throughs that occur each time you start up the game. You could play the game more than once and still end up with different results each time. I unfortunately have not beat the game legitimately (I copied save files), and look forward to the day that I can unlock all the ships and beat the game for good.

Overall: 8.5

  • Graphics: 8
  • Sound: 8
  • Gameplay: 9
  • Storyline: 9

Words With Friends

Claudio Sinchi

‘Words With Friends’

Words with friends is an exiting new game, to me that is. At first I hesitated downloading it because I prefer to only have usefull apps and content on my iphone.

but, I after my sister forcefully downloaded it for me, I was actually greatfull! needless to say, it’s the only game on my Iphone. But what makes WWF so good, that even a sophisticated business like myself can enjoy you ask? well ill tell you.

 

Let’s begin with the price, which is it’s selling point, so to speak. It sells for ninety-nine cents, but you can download the free ‘lite’ version, like I have, before you fork over your hard earned pennies. It’s available on both apple and Android operating systems, as well as for tablets! have this game on both, my Ipad and iPhone because, as I mentioned before, its highly addictive. And it’s not only me, even Alec Baldwin is obsessed with it. He tweeted, after being kicked of an A&A plane:

“Flight attendant on American [Airlines] reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving.”

But what makes this app so addictive and entertaining, that famous actors would rather miss their flight than turn WWF off?

Essentially, WWF is a digital socialized version of the popular board game, Scrabble.  It packs both the entertainment and the competitiveness of the board game, but with many more exciting features. To begin, you need to create an account. You may connect using your Facebook profile or your e-mail address. Once you’ve done that, you can challenge your friends, as well as your ‘friends’. The same goes for your email. Also, if you don’t want to play with friends, you can challenge a complete stranger. This works via the ‘smart match’ feature. This feature determines your skill level and finds someone of the same level for you to play with. WWF allows you to play up to twenty different games at a time, which is an amazing feature, because you’re not restricted to only a game, waiting  for your opponent to make a move, you have the freedom to play multiple games, keeping you even busier and more entertained.

 

Moving into the actual gameplay, anything goes. Well, sort of. You see, unlike the board game, WWf doesn’t care or force you to consider words twice before laying them down. It gives you an infinite amount of chances to make a word, and even when you do make a word, it asks you to think twice before submitting it. So your basically winging it, hoping something is accepted. You must always start from the center, on the ‘plus’ tile, every other word that follows must be attached to previously played words. The winner of the game is the person with the most points. That means you must strategize so as to combine more than one bonus tile. Another way to victory is if you, by some miracle, form a word out of all the seven letters given. A strategy that I have begun to you is, forcing your opponent to the outside of the board, during which your overall objective is to obtain a Triple Word Square, which triples your points. However, don’t feel like this is a do or die game. It has many handy features that could be used to anyone’s advantage.

For example, the ‘Pass’ feature allows you to skip your turn if you’re ‘lost for words’ so to speak. It also has a ‘shuffle’ feature, which prevents you from straining your eyes, and brain for that matter mentally rearranging the letters, instead you can shuffle them with just the tap of the screen. And if after shuffling your letters you still can’t create a word, then you can use the ‘swap’ feature, which allows you to choose which letters you want to swap out for new ones.

Don’t worry though, if you feel you can’t contrive a word with your letters, you can pass. But be forewarned, you can only pass three times, after which you will forfeit the game.

But perhaps what makes the game addictive is its ‘chat’ feature. This feature allows you to simultaneously make a move, while also intimidating or trash talking your opponent.

I personally love to intimidate my opponent because, like everyone, I want to win!

The one and only con that I encountered while playing the game, is that some words which we normally consider grammatically correct, or part of our every day vocabulary, arent considered valid words in the game. Even some’urban words’ or slang. however, I prefer that urban and slang be kept out either way, though I would appreciate some more flexability and additions to the vocabulary index.

To sum it all up: the game is a ‘socialized scrabble’: fun, addictive, entertaining, and helpful. The fact that you can simultaneously play with over twenty people makes it addictive. You could have a never ending amount of moves to make. Though the game in its self is entertaining, the chat feature magnifies it. I personally trash talk my little cousins and nephews, making bets on who will win, setting time limits per word, and even just convincing them to quit, which sounds mean and all, but when your as incredibly competitive as I am, this is normal behavior! However, the chat feature could also be used to to socialize with strangers and let certain things off your chest. Which is incredibally beneficial for people with socail anxiety or incredibaly shy persons. Perhaps using WWF and its chat feature, these people can improve their social skills and better ‘fit in’ with society. Finally, WWF is helpful because of the aformentioned personality development opportunities, but also because it helps children, and even adults of all ages better their vocabulary. My nephews are perfect examples of this benefit. They would spend hours at a time, dicitonary and thesaurus at hand looking for words to beat me at this game. and it is because of the addicition this game brings forth that my nephews have gained lexical richness, and are now using words two to three grade levels beyond them! Take it from me, download the game, you won’t regret it, give it a try, you have nothing to lose!

Halo 4: New Developer, Same Love

Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, James Bond. All of these are great movie series, each with their own devoted fan base. When I think of these groundbreaking, generational movie series I also think of a series of a different kind, a video game series, Halo. Halo has been a fixture in gaming for the past 14 years. Becoming a multi-billion dollar franchise in the process. In my opinion, making the Xbox into an elite console, and giving birth to competitive gaming as we know it.

I fell in love with Halo when I was young, playing Halo: Combat Evolved on my cousin’s Xbox, Halo 2 at my friend’s house during all-nighters, Halo 3 after school, and Halo 4 in my college dorm. I grew up with Halo, and as I matured so did the game. Halo has managed to change and adapt over the years, while still sticking to the roots that made it the evolutionary game that it was and still is.

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I loved every single Halo game that I have played. But if I had to pick one, Halo 3 would be my go to. Not only was the campaign magnificent, but the multiplayer brought me and friends countless hours of pure excitement. I sincerely thank all who helped create these game, as they have given me some great experiences over the years. I first was going to review Halo 3, but after a long thought I decided that I was too bias too give a fair criticism. Therefore, I chose to review the next chapter of the Halo series, and I’m not referring to Halo: ODST or Halo: Reach, but to Halo 4. Although ODST and Reach were great in their own respective ways.

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Halo 4 was not developed by the legendary Bungie, but by 343 Industries. Bungie decided to set their child free, and seek other ventures. Although there were key Bungie members that came over to 343, I had a few concerns with a new company picking up my beloved game. Concerns, which were eventually forgotten.

Story

This is the most important aspect of any Halo game to me, I’m a campaign guy anyway but when it comes to Halo, I’m a straight up FANATIC. I grew up with Master Chief, and it was important to me to see him retain his icon status. Although at times I was a little lost keeping up with all the new characters in Halo 4, after soaking in all the new information, I thoroughly enjoyed the new direction 343 was taking Halo. The Prometheans, The Didact, both brought a refreshing feel to the series, I’m not saying that the covenant were getting old, just a little familiar. I loved the entire campaign, it reminded me a lot of my go to Halo 3. 343 kept me glued to my seat all the way to the end, only to want even more. The inclusion of Spartan ops really gave the campaign more longevity, which to me was great, as Campaign is one of my favorite game modes. I can never get enough story, maybe that’s why I’m an English Major.

9/10

Graphics

I always thought Halo 3 had gorgeous graphics, though after playing through Halo 4 and looking back. The improvements are extremely noticeable. The details on character’s faces are the most life like representation I have seen in a Halo game. the graphical difference between the three main forces are extremely enjoyable in contrast. The human weapons and vehicles look mechanic, the covenant’s smooth and shiny, and the promethean’s a great mix of both. I thought 343 did a wonderful job in this regard, possibly one of the strongest aspects of the game.

10/10

Soundtrack

Where do I even start, Halo has brought some of the most moving, epic, soundtracks in the History of video games, movies, musicals, plays, you name it. The bar was set extremely high for the new team at 343. I’m glad I can say that they reached it, the soundtrack was as beautiful as any previous installement. The score was heavy when it needed to be heavy, and light when it needed to be light. Rising action was complimented by heart pumping audio, and calm discoveries of new terrain was paired with fantastical scores. Halo is known for it’s award winning soundtracks, although it was not as great as games’ past, it was still great. Halo 4’s soundtrack was very Halo-like.

8/10

Gameplay

I am going to focus solely on the Multiplayer side of gameplay, as I feel although there were some changes in gameplay they were not significant enough change in the campaign to warrant concern. Halo 4’s multiplayer was very daring, going a little of the path and leaving in armor abilities. Although I am not a huge fan of Armor Abilities (too much like COD in my opinion) I did enjoy them. The multiplayer still had that classic Halo feel, but was still different. It felt, faster, like a mix of Halo 2 and Halo 3. I really enjoyed the multiplayer, though I didn’t play it nearly as much as Halo 3. I think that is due to the fact of a smaller community, I realize the Halo community has shrunk over the years. The die hards and gamers are still there, but I don’t think Halo has the iconic pull it once had when I was little. And that’s fine, I mean people still play Mario all the time. I think if Halo 4 had the same audience that Halo 2 or 3 had, the multiplayer would have been just as successful as those two.

7/10

Recap

Campaign: 9/10

Graphics: 10/10

Soundtrack: 8/10

Gameplay: 7/10

halo4

I won’t lie to you, I truly thought that Halo 4 was going to be better. I understand that it was 343’s first time taking on the franchise alone, but I still was not fully satisfied with the final product. It almost felt like it was the opening no-name comedian for the main performer, like Louis C.K., but he never comes on stage. So, you just paid to see some unknown developing comedian, but it’s all good because he was super funny. He wasn’t Louis C.K., but he was super funny and maybe someday he’ll be the opening act.

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Still following me?

In conclusion, I greatly enjoyed 343’s first attempt at a Halo game. It gave me something to look forward to as 343 has future Halo games planned, including Halo 5: Guardians in Fall 2015. Halo 4 is a great opening act for the main acts of Halo 5, Halo 6, Halo 7, 8, 9….15.

Overall Review

8.5/10

Game Review: Farm Heroes Saga

 

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I chose something a little different for my game review: Farm Heroes Saga. It was released a little over a year ago and is accessible on phones and computers for free. In contrast to the other games that I play, I play this one on my iPhone. One of the advantages of this it that I can play it in the waiting room of a doctor or dentist’s office or in a train, or anywhere else for that matter.

The object of the game is to get rid of all the crops in the farm before you run out of lives. The crops can be beets, green apples, etc and other symbols are included in the game as well: sun and water for example. As you win each level, different elements appear: flowers, eggs that break and hatch chicks. All these have to go through a process to reach their goal.

 

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As in Candy Crush, this game that was also developed by KING, has some levels that are real hurdles before you can proceed. The creators seem to be able to invent more and more levels so that the game never ends, which means that you keep on playing.

There are also different elements that can help you with the game, extra points, extra moves, elimination of a crop, bulldozing of a whole line of crops. You just need to know when and where to use these boosters. So, the game is basically like a puzzle and also calls for logic and strategy. Strategy because on some levels you really have to know what crops to get rid of by placing 3 or more together. At some point in the game, a crop can be veiled and cannot be eliminated which makes things more complicated.

At some point in the game, you need to obtain water from wells for the crops and the drops of water will only emerge after you have done a series of other matches.

The music in the background is pleasant, even if it is very repetitive. Every time you match your crops to get rid of them, there is a noise like a beep coming from an animal. The colors of this game are extremely varied which makes it easy and fun to look at, and easy to match. Every level needs you  to obtain a certain number of points for each crop to obtain that level. If it is the water well, that can be pretty challenging.

As in other KING games, you are given an opportunity to buy lives if you run out of them- but I have never done this. Also, as in other KING games, friends can send you lives and extra moves, and you can do the same for them. This is where the social aspect of the game comes in, as we have read about in Nardi and McGonigal. The game can also be connected to Facebook and will put you in contact with Facebook friends who play this game or a list of people on Facebook who you could invite to play this game. You can also go public as in many video games online and compete with complete strangers, but I do not do this. I choose not to link this to Facebook or to people I don’t know.

The game opens up on a very Disney-esque landscape. It is extremely colorful and cute, with a long winding road that has the different levels equally spaced. In this landscape, we have ducks, chickens, wheelbarrows, farm houses, windmills, trees, different animals in their pens, and as you proceed to higher levels, you need 3 friends to help you continue the game.

Another element in the game is “Defeating Rancid the Raccoon”. There is a special technique to do this as well. And as you proceed up the winding road in different levels, the animals start to get more serious. They are not farm animals anymore, but Zebras, Elephants, Lions, and Giraffes, and even Dinosaurs. Things get a little wilder and different. The farm is on an Island or in the midst of snow, or even within a circus.

 

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The game takes you then to more exotic countries with Chinese Dragons, Indian Temples, and Castles with moats. The pyramids and the sphinx appear, and where the game now ends, is a top of a mountain with a sky full of clouds.

This is a very innocent game, but lots of fun and very relaxing if you want to take a break from something. It has a lot to offer because of the goals and strategy that you need in order succeed. Lets not forget that each level limits you to a certain amount of moves, so timing is essential and while you are working on the game, you have to keep your eye on the left corner to see how many moves you have left.

I would think that every day  there is someone out there who is designing a game like Farm Heroes Saga- Candy Crush is probably is probably the most popular of them all- and that these games probably bring in a lot of money because of the opportunity to but more lives. It is not because I don’t them that there aren’t people out there who are so eager to continue level after level  that they probably spend the money. I would be curious to know the percentage of people who actually pay.

I would recommend this game to anybody who wants a fun, relaxing break from a more strenuous activity. It’s fun, it’s light, its not terribly demanding, but beware- it can get complicated and it can certainly be “addictive” if you really are ambitious and want to beat levels as in any other game. The whole atmosphere is non- threatening and totally different to any of the violent or threatening or more serious games out there.  It is like in a way like seeing a funny cartoon instead of a serious movie. This all confirms that video games are a media like any other.

I would grade this game an 8.5/10.

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Mario Kart 8

As my sister, friend and I were watching television upstairs, we heard an uproar of hollering and laughter coming from the basement below us. We decided to check it out to find my brother and six other friends playing Mario Kart. The first Mario Kart I had ever played was on the Gamecube console, which I did not believe we even had working anymore. My brother instantly corrected me saying that it was on the Wii U console.
This game is Mario Kart 8, the most recent installment for the Mario Kartgames from Nintendo. The first released Mario Kart is from 1992, coming third in the best-selling game for the Super Nintendo. Each new release of Mario Kart has a new characteristic. The series has come a long way since the first 1992 game that started off with only eight players to choose from and allowing only two players for the multiplayer. There are a slew of new racers added to the roster in the most recent game in the series, including the return of all 7 Koopalings, the devious minions of Bowser. In addition, other baby versions of popular returning racers have been introduced as well, such as baby Peach, Daisy and Rosalina, further increasing the large amount of tiny kart drivers. Yet, perhaps the most unique iteration of an alternate take on a returning character comes in the form of Pink Gold Peach, a racer who makes her first ever debut in any Mario game right here on Mario Kart 8’s many circuits.
In my opinion, the best part of the game is the ability to play with four players. With certain games such as the Playstation and Super Nintendo, you could only use two controllers. For the Wii U that allows four players, we had ten people that we split up into four groups (two teams had an extra person). After every game, we would switch people out so everyone had the chance to play. The only downfall with the battle option for multiplayer is that the balloon challenge is very limited in comparison to past Mario Kart games. Since there is only one location for the balloon race for the multiplayer challenge, it tends to become tiresome and uninteresting after some time. Even though Mario Kart is only four players, it is actually more fun to have more people playing than the game allows.
Once everyone has grabbed a controller, they can choose a character. For most of the males in the room, they happened to choose the most popular characters within the Nintendo franchise of Mario, which are Donkey Kong, Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Bowser. I decided to play with Yoshi, another classic character. I feel that the game is better with more characters to choose from. It allows you the ability to review the performance of each character for their strengths and weakness. Some of these would consist of speed and weight. The heaver in weight the character is, the better they are at hitting people off the road. The smaller the person is, the more agile and swift they are, increasing their handling and traction while on the road. Once everyone has pressed the “A” button, all four players are ready to proceed to choosing their kart, wheels and the glider. When choosing these items, the idea is to pick the one that has a high acceleration, traction, handling, and weight. This is something that is important to keep in mind for racing because you want to have a good speed, handling for higher turn radius, and traction to stay on the road. This is beneficial in the game because it allows all the players to have different advantages as well as disadvantages while playing so that so the game remains entertaining.
Not only this, but the different locations and “power-ups” that come from the cubed boxes with a question mark placed on the road allow for different outcomes every time. For example, if someone is falling behind, they will have a better advantage with the power-ups since they will receive speed boosters or other objects that are a major disadvantage to everyone else on the road. These objects make the game more fun because just as the question mark stands for, each time is a mystery. This is helpful for when you do play multiplayer. While people, such as my brother, have more knowledge than someone as me, they have more advantage on the road. The best part of the game is when someone, such as me, happens to beat my brother who is more knowledgeable than I in playing the game. This balance makes it diverse and thrilling. It is what makes all ten people crammed into the back section of a basement in front of the television holler and laugh. This unique ability for players to vary in lead or losing positions is what keeps the game intriguing. People begin to tease and trash talk their friends, and also, acquaintances begin to converse, making new friends. The major pro to this game is bringing different people together and allowing everyone to engage with one another, having a good time.
The multiplayer is my favorite aspect of the game, but playing single player has its perks as well. When you first start the game, there are empty spots in characters, karts, and locations that you have to earn by winning battles. These battles are played by the machine. You can choose the level of intensity that you would like to perform on, which increases the difficulty and strengths of the other characters. Once you complete all four courses within any of the eight cups and finish in first place, you are rewarded with a new item. This encourages the player to continue playing in order to gain all of these rewards. This leads to another pro in the game. For the first time in the history of the Mario Kart franchise, DLC will become available to download later this summer, further adding variety to an already unique and diverse game. This is beneficial to people who have already finished all of the levels, succeeding in unlocking all of the rewards. It continues to hold their interest and allows them to engage in something new.
So far, the new installment on the new console has reached the expectations in my eyes. Mario Kart continues on in different consoles because it continues to hold the reputation and attention of all the diehard fans. Although it had a strong variety of different things, it could have added more, especially in the balloon battle, which downgraded a bit. Nintendo did not redefine the game, but reestablished it. That is to say, this game remains the “king of kart racers” for videogames over other franchises. Nintendo knows what players want even if most of the game stays the same through different consoles.

I thought this is interesting in showing all of the different Mario Kart games throughout the years.

This article below from CNN titled, “Can ‘Mario Kart 8’ save the Wii U?” is something any Mario Kart fans may find intriguing as well, showing the benefits of having Mario games released to be used onto the new Wii U console, helping the system to sell.
http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/05/tech/gaming-gadgets/mario-kart-8-wii-u/

Call of Duty: Ghosts

“It’s been 10 years.  You start to forget the things you should remember and you can’t stop remembering the things you should forget.  We’ve always had the power…not anymore.  All we have is each other.  Were ghosts, fighting for something that can’t be killed…ghosts haunt”.

I am not going to say that I am an avid video game player, but I do like to pay the video games that spark my interests.  When I do play video games, I like to play something that will have me thinking about ditching my plans for the day and I want my dreams to be filled with different ways that I can tackle the next level.  I am not the biggest fan of the First Person Shooter (I’ll wait for the booing to end).  I would rather play old fashion style video games.  The main reason is because I can actually see what might be coming on the other side of the screen rather than being surprised and wind up losing one of the lives that I might have.  With this being said, I was a little skeptical about playing Call of Duty:  Ghosts.  I have always heard the many great things that have been said about the Call of Duty series so I decided to give it a try.

This game was released for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U.  I had the opportunity to play this game on my friend’s PlayStation 4.  I was a little surprised that he handed me the PlayStation 4 controller instead of his Xbox One Controller.   To make a long story short, he has his entire home audio system connected to Xbox, so I was sure that I would be playing this game on the Xbox.  Side note:  I am a PlayStation baby, so I would prefer PlayStation over any other game console at any given time.  He told me that he actually liked to play this game on his PlayStation 4 became he feels as if it is much better for playing games than the Xbox.  So after my friend gave me the run down on the much needed lesson in the difference of game consoles, he gave me the controller and left me to fend for myself.

Now imagine World War III.  YOU DON’T’T WANT TO IMAGINE IT!  Any why is this?  Because there would be chaos and so much dismay in the world that no average person would be able to handle.  This would be a horrible thing to even envision.  The developers are Infinity Ward have an extensive imagination because no one would ever want to be placed in this predicament.  Ten years after a devastating mass event, the nation’s borders and the balance of global power have been redrawn forever. The United States is no longer a super power.  The economy and government are in ruins, the country’s once-mighty military struggles to save themselves from a complete dismantlement. As what’s left of the nation’s Special Operations forces, a mysterious group known only as “Ghosts” leads the fight back against a newly emerged, technologically-superior global power.  I would give the storyline 10 out of 10.  This is because the developers were brave enough to dig so deep and actually come out with a plot that could possible happen in the future.  This alone intrigued my interests and made me want to keep continuing to play the game.  In addition to the characters, I like how Call of Duty:  Ghosts incorporated a family theme into the mix.  With other war games, theirs is usually the “lone ranger” who lost his family and is fighting with every ounce of energy that he has left because he has nothing else to live for and would rather die fighting.  Captain Elias Walker and his two sons Logan and “Hesh” Walker have one another to live for and fight to keep each other alive after this doomsday because “A man that truly loves his country doesn’t just give his life…he gives his sons”.
From the start I was taken aback by the graphics.  They were so surreal.  Instead of knowing that I am waiting for the game to start, I actually thought that I was watching a movie that I mistook my controller for popcorn at the movies.  The pixels were amazing and these also kept my interest in playing the game rather than wanting to give up so easily.  However, I just graduated from the “pressing all of the buttons at once phase” so playing the game was a little difficult for me at first.  My friend and I played this game on a Saturday afternoon when we both did not have anything to do.  I spent a lot of time playing this game.  As I continued to play the game, I started to realized that it Call of Duty:  Ghosts fit into the other Call of Duty games that processed it.  I did not think much of it them, but when I got done playing with the game, I wondered if any of the future Call of Duty games would be like this one.  My chances say that they would be.   Now because of this, I would not play this game again.  Maybe if I am bored and really do not have any other thing else to do with my life.  But what is the point of playing it again, there is going to be another Call of Duty coming out in the future and it would probably end up having the same storyline or something quite similar.

Overall I did enjoy playing this game.  I do not get to play a lot of multi-player games.   So when I am provided with the opportunity, I jump at the first chance.  I would give this overall rating of this game 8.5 out of 10.  For someone who does not play video games all of the time, the little things such as the graphics caught my interest.  If I was an expert at gaming, I might have more to say and would probably critique every little thing.