The Legend Of Zelda Orchestra on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Post by Patrick

That’s a 74 piece orchestra.

zlda


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Space Bar

Post by Mark

spacebar

via @RellyAB


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Star Wars Battlefront

Post by Patrick

Star Wars BF

Earlier this week EA and DICE opened the beta for Star Wars Battlefront to everyone who owns a PC, Xbox or PS4. I got to spend some time with it and at first I wasn’t sure what to think of it. It doesn’t help that the beta is pretty limited in what it has to offer. There are only two levels for competitive multiplayer and one level for single-player/co-op. It’s obvious that the developers are trying to make this game as accessible as possible, it’s aimed towards a casual audience and to the fans of the franchise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. It really depends on what the full game ends up offering its players. If the other game modes and maps are lackluster than this is going to be the kind of game that people play a lot of at first and gradually stop playing entirely after a month or two. But if the game modes and content are exciting and fun, then I think players will forgive the fact that it doesn’t take a lot of skill to be good at Battlefront.

It’s hard to judge the entire game on the beta, but if we were there are a couple of things that worry me. Largely the spawn points in the level based on Sullust were terrible and reminded me more about Call of Duty than it did Battlefield, which has a pretty decent spawn system. In Hoth you can end up being spawned right by, or behind an enemy and either get an easy kill or be killed which makes for a frustrating time. Another issue I have is that the different weapons we had access to didn’t really make a difference in a persons ability. Most of the time kills are based on who shoots first, no matter what weapon they have. Once you are under fire, you’re limited in what you can do to avoid getting killed, unless you’ve unlocked the jetpack which allows you to jump long distances. But you want the jetpack? You’ve got to play the game for quite some time to level up and to eventually unlock it (among other, better equipment).

Overall I enjoyed my brief time with Battlefront and I’ll be buying at launch. The game is beautiful, the menus are sleek, the music and sound effects incredible. The entire presentation of the game is just wonderful and spot-on. But then again, I’m a big fan of Star Wars. Battlefront won’t convert anyone into a Star Wars fan, but it’ll keep the fans of the franchise entertained. People who dislike or just don’t care for Star Wars will end up avoiding this game because there aren’t any interesting, new or innovative game-play features or mechanics. Most likely that won’t even matter because there are a lot of fans of the franchise that want to play a Star Wars game. Ultimately, this will be the kind of game I play when I take breaks from a game I spend a lot of time in, like Fallout 4 which will be released a week before Battlefront. I won’t be surprised if a lot of other people will be doing the same.


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Kuwaiti Boy Band

Post by Mark

Fawaz Bahman and Mohammed Almansour are both Kuwaiti musicians and they recently did a cover for Maroon 5’s track Sugar. Not a fan of the music but their voices seems pretty good. They also have an original track which they had released back in January. [YouTube]

boyband


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Jackass Reunion: 15 Years Later

Post by Mark

Bam’s parents are the coolest. Check out the rest of their reunion clips on [YouTube]

jackass


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Abuse of public animal

Post by Mark

racoon

I couldn’t stop laughing after reading that.


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Is the New iPhone 6s Waterproof?

Post by Mark

Looks like it is. [YouTube]

iphone6s


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The Jungle Book

Post by Mark

Looks stunning. [YouTube]

junglebook


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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review

Post by Patrick

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN_20150901005600

Trying to write about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is tricky because it’s such a massive game. I love a lot of things about the game, but there are also a lot of things that bother me about it. It’s a love/hate relationship.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an open world, stealth action game. It’s possible to play this game without having played the previous Metal Gear games, but you’ll obviously find some parts of the story confusing. Luckily there are a lot of Youtube videos that do a decent job explaining everything someone new to the franchise would need to know.

I’ll be avoiding specific story spoilers

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN_20150910112251

I’m going to get right to it. Every Metal Gear Solid game has had their share of special moments. The Metal Gear Solid franchise is known for its cast of memorable villains and variety of interesting boss fights. MGSV isn’t very memorable in that regard. In the 65+ hours I’ve played, it had less than a handful of those moments. Gone are the cutscenes and in are the cassette tapes. Cutscenes in previous games were lengthy (especially in MGS4) but I believe cassette tapes are a step back. The game development had budget issues, so maybe this was a way to cut back and save some money? Either way, listening to cassette tapes can be annoying. One of Kojima’s inspirations for MGSV were tv shows, so credits appear before every mission revealing the cast of characters that will show up in that particular mission. So there isn’t an element of surprise when the games villain suddenly appears because you already knew he was going to be there. So story twists and narratives are kept to a minimum. A big aspect of the game is Mother Base. You can visit your base in-between missions but the problem is Mother Base is pretty horribly integrated into the game. There is no reason to go back to Mother Base except for a bunch of dumb target-practice related side-quests and to activate some cutscenes. It’s a dull place. On top of that the menus for Mother Base (where you can micromanage your troops and equipment crafting) are confusing and convoluted. Lastly (and if you follow me on Twitter this comes as no surprise) I find Quiet (a deadly sniper with paranormal powers) to be a dumb character. It’s a shame because she had the potential to be memorable. Instead Kojima designed a character purely for the sex appeal, to be eye candy. This wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but Kojima stressed that there would be a good reason to why she was barely dressed. The reason turned out to be stupid. It doesn’t help that while you’re in the helicopter in-between missions, Quiet is in the background “stretching” and sticking her butt in your face (not joking). While in cutscenes camera angles tend to focus on her chest, so it’s hard to ignore her.

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But even with all those negatives, MGSV has a lot of positives. Previous games in the franchise were strictly stealth games, MGSV has opened that formula up a bit and you can go into a base guns blazing. Depending on your objectives some missions will punish a non-stealthy approach, you won’t automatically fail the mission, but it will make it much harder. Kojima created a great sandbox experience that features a ton of flexibility. Everyone will have a different experience based on how they play the game and on how the game reacts to their actions. For example in one mission my objective was to find a specific target and catch him before he left the mission area on helicopter. As I was doing it the first time around, I barely caught up with him before he was able to escape. When I tried the mission again, I got to the base before him and saw the helicopter crash while trying to land in-between some trees. This caused the target to hide in a tent while his guards investigated the surrounding area for enemies. Making it easy for me to sneak in behind the general and capturing him. The fact that the game has AI that can make mistakes like that and adapt to a situation like that is amazing.

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN_20150907233446

Afghanistan and Africa feature huge maps and even though they’re quite empty, they’re pretty to look at. Technically this game is a marvel. It’s locked at 60fps and runs smoothly with no framerate issues. MGSV also features the best dog side-kick I’ve ever come across in a video game. Dogs in games tend to be dumb or just unnecessary. D-Dog on the other hand is incredible. The only downside is he makes the game kind of easy. If you bring him along on missions he’ll be able to pin-point every enemy and every hostage in your surrounding area, even if they’re in a building. Quiet can make the game really easy too. She can scout a base be able to pin-point enemies as well, the difference being that she can only pinpoint the ones that are visible to her. The advantage Quiet has over D-Dog is the ability to snipe enemies. The problem is enemies start to adapt to your play-style so you can’t milk one tactic over and over again. If you snipe or use Quiet to snipe, enemies will eventually start wearing helmets and body armor. They’ll have scouts patrol areas around bases and have their own snipers looking out for you. If you do most of your missions at night, guards will start wearing night-vision goggles. You use a lot of sleeping gas and smoke grenades? They’ll start wearing gas masks. The game features a crafting system that unlocks more equipment as you recruit better soldiers for Mother Base.

METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN_20150905212110

There are aspects of this game that could have been polished more and (like the story) that feel unfinished. The world, the freedom you have as a player and the amount of content in the game are aspects of this game that are just amazing. Is it the best game in the series? In terms of story, not at all, but in terms of gameplay? Definitely.

Score:


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Playstation Plus Games for September

Post by Patrick

Grow Home

GrowHome_Launch_01_192711

Grow Home is an interesting game that looks like an HD version of a Playstation 1 game. You control a robot (named B.U.D.) exploring an open world and your goal is to grow and harvest something called a Star Plant, which looks like a giant beanstalk. To grow the Star Plant you have to find crystals that are scattered across the environment by climbing mountains and exploring your surroundings. The controls feel clunky and strange at first because you have to use L1 to grab with B.U.D.’s left hand and R1 to grab with his right hand, to climb you alternate pressing the triggers. The game features a great sense of scale and verticality that most big budget games fail to achieve. If you can get used to the controls, there’s a fun, relaxing game in Grow Home. It has little replay value, but it’s good while it lasts.

Super Time Force Ultra

STFU1

Super Time Force Ultra is a fun, fast paced 2D shooter action game. Think of it as a mix between Mega Man and Metal Slug, but more colorful and featuring some pretty wacky characters. The Super Time Force squad feature a bunch of different characters and each using a specific weapon. Each gun has its pros and cons. For instance the sniper rifle can shoot through walls, but has a slow rate of fire. The games gimmick is that every level has a time-limit and your squad is able to control time. So if you die in a level, you can rewind time and redo the part. The stage select screen looks a lot like Mega Mans, but instead of choosing what boss you’ll be fighting, you get to choose what time period to go too. The game also features a big cast of characters you can unlock, each with their own unique weapon. Super Time Force has become one of my favorite indie games, I think the ability to control time is an interesting gimmick and creates some tense moments, I really enjoy the silly sense of humor and I like the time travel aspect.

Telsagrad

teslagrad

So I’ve saved the best for last. I’ve known about Teslagrad since it was announced and released for the Wii U last year but I never got around to purchasing it because there were just too many other games to play. Teslagrad is a puzzle/platformer with a mix of metroidvania elements. You control an orphan who escapes the kings guard into an abandoned castle. The game mechanics revolve around magnetism and electricity. One of the biggest issues I have with the game is the difficulty curve. You could solve a puzzle easily in one room and when you move into the next, the difficulty will spike up and get incredibly challenging. There isn’t that gradual buildup in difficulty, it goes from easy to hard and back to easy. Luckily, the checkpoint system is very forgiving in the game. Whenever you enter a new room, the game saves. So when you fail, the game doesn’t pull you back too far and there aren’t any loading screens so it takes a second to load back up. The narrative is there but it’s kept at a minimum, so the focus is exploring, finding secrets and solving puzzles. If I were to compare this game to anything I suppose it would be Ori and the Blind Forest. So if you enjoyed that game, you should definitely check out Teslagrad.


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