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Reviews

Hidden Gems: When are we Going to Acknowledge How Great Freedom Fighters Was?


I will always remember Christmas of 2002. That is when I got a Nintendo Gamecube. It came packaged James Bond 007: Nightfire and two controllers. In my opinion, the Gamecube was way ahead of its time in a lot of ways. I had a lot of fun playing Nightfire and The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker over the next year. In 2003, I got a game for Christmas that I knew nothing about. That game was Freedom Fighters.

Developed by IO Interactive and published by EA, Freedom fighters was a third-person shooter action/strategy game. The shooter element of the gameplay is straight forward. However, there is a strategy element to the game where you recruit fighters and direct them to defend areas or attack enemies. The way you use these fighters can change make the difference between beating a level or not.

The plot follows an alternate history where the Soviet Union won WWII and positioned themselves to launch a full invasion of the United States in the modern day. You play as a plumber named Chris Stone who lives and works in New York. The Russians invade and you help to fight them as you rise up to become the “Freedom Phantom” who leads the resistance.

I’ll always remember sitting on the floor in front of the tv as I watched Chris deliver his awesome speech from the tv station. This outlines perfectly how advanced the voice acting and cinematics were for the time.

This is a game that is criminally underrated and should be talked about way more. The shooting gameplay is simple, but satisfying. The mechanics of recruiting a squad and commanding them is a really unique aspect of the game that is a lot of fun. You have to build charisma to be able to recruit npcs to fight for you. You build charisma by accomplishing feats that help the resistance.

Its satisfying to take back New York from the Soviets in the campaign. There are varying difficulties you can play on and they are all appropriate jumps in difficuly. The multiplayer is really unique as well. Rather than just a simple team deathmatch style game, you have to take bases and hold a central flag for longer than the other players. It is a really fun game mode that would be awesome in the current online gaming environment. Of course back then, it was local multiplayer. You may be able to make the argument that that made it more fun.

This was back when cheat codes in games were common. You could buy books that had all the cheats of games from that year. The cheats in this game were really fun to toy with after you had already poured hours into beating the main game.

The soundtrack to this game adds so much to the atmosphere. The music was composed by Jesper Kyd. Mixing communist style choral arrangements with industrial sounds, you get the perfect soundtrack to beat the foreign invaders out of your city.

Overall, this is a game that was really fun when it came out. And it is still really fun today. There was a PC re-release of the game last year. But if any game deserves a full ground-up remake, it is this game. The gameplay would translate really well to todays industry. And there is a lot of potential for added game modes.

If you have never played Freedom Fighters, you need to pick it up!


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News

Elden Ring Shows New Gameplay


Earlier today FromSoftware, who previously developed Dark Souls and Bloodbourne, showed off some new footage of their will-be smash hit, Elden Ring. Watch the trailer here:

Based on what we have seen so far, this game will definitely live up to the hype that it’s generating. Graphically it retains that FromSoftware aesthetic while managing to look visually ethereal… Is that a good way of putting it? Anyway… the world looks beautiful and looks to be packed with more fantasy elements.

The gameplay looks incredibly fluid. Even more so than FromSoftware’s predecessors. This game looks like it will allow a little more versatility to the attacks, allowing attacking from the air and horseback. And there looks to be more of a allowance for stealth gameplay. On top of that, there will be a greater focus on magic and player builds. This will give variety and greater utility in the items you pick up. Players will have fun being able to approach and defeat enemies in a variety of ways.

They have kept invasions as a part of online gameplay. But it will also be possible to play cooperatively with other players online. One of things shown in the gameplay trailer is a co-op boss fight that looks AWESOME. Some of the NPCs shown are more traditional RPG characters while some of them are more unique and whimsical. I think this will be a really unique gameplay experience and I can’t wait to pick it up!

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News

Take Two Cancels Massive Game

Rockstar’s parent company, Take Two Interactive, just cancelled a game that $53 million had already been dumped into. They revealed this information in an earnings call earlier today. This isn’t the first time we have seen a big project like this cancelled, but $53 million is a lot of money any way you slice it.

The game was in development from studio Hangar 13 who developed Mafia 3. The project had the working title ‘Volt’ and was a third person action game that featured super heroes. So it probably was not the Bully 2 or Mafia 4 that people were speculating.

When you are dealing with massive AAA titles, $53 million is not nearly as much as the full budget would’ve been with some titles costing over $400 million. It sounds like this project had experienced a number of problems and adding the pandemic on top of that it had left it a bloated mess. This probably caused Take Two to just view it as a sunk cost, not worth continuing to invest in.

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News

Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV Postponed


Coming as no huge surprise, Blizzard has more bad news for us as they announce that Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 will now be released later than expected.

The pandemic has really slowed down production not just for video games, but for all industries. We have seen countless movie releases pushed back and the global supply chain crisis has many products out of stock around the world. In recent years, we have seen a lot of games pushed back.

But to me this specific news doesn’t really come as a surprise. Blizzard has had a long string of controversies. The most recent being the studio facing a wide range of sexual harassment allegations and lawsuits. This has led to the studio being scrutinized by the public and key employees leaving in the midst of the game development process. Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 both lost their directors after news broke of the allegations.

There was no target date mentioned for the release of these games. So it is best to assume we probably won’t see Diablo IV or Overwatch 2 until 2023 at least.

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News

Leaked Photos of HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ Series


HBO announced last year that they were taking on production of a series based the popular The Last of Us game developed by Naughty Dog. The game was released in 2013 and now 8 years later, we get to see it adapted to the big screen.

Starring Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey and Gabriel Luna, the story follows the character Joel who is tasked with taking a young girl named Ellie across multiple states. Oh yeah, and this takes place 20 years after a massive fungal infection outbreak that more-or-less turns the infected into zombies. Having to dodge infected and violent organizations, Joel has to do what he can to help stop the spread and maybe reverse the outbreak.

The game details how the spread of this virus has to do with fungal growth. And the infected people look more and more like fungus at as the infection takes hold of their brain. In these leaked pictures, you can see the actors standing amidst fungal growth. The game is packed full of intense action and horror elements so I’m sure we will see both of those things present in the show.

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News

PS Plus November 2021 Games Revealed


For the month of November 2021, the free games that are included with the PS Plus subscription have been revealed. There was a leak posted on the French website Dealabs that has now been confirmed to be accurate.

There are total of 6 games that have been announced:

  • Knockout City (PS4 & PS5)
  • First Class Trouble (PS4 & PS5)
  • Kingdom of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (PS4)
  • The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners (PSVR)
  • The Persistence (PSVR)
  • Until You Fall (PSVR)

Knockout City (PS4 & PS5)

The first game on the list is Knockout City, which was originally released by EA in May 2021. This is a multiplayer dodgeball game with fast and fun gameplay. The players knockout their enemies with different types of balls that have differwnt powers. The clever gameplay mechanics make this a unique experience. This is definitely worth checking out while you can grab it as part of the PS Plus subscription.

First Class Trouble (PS4 & PS5)

First Class Trouble is a multiplayer party game that involves 6 players. While aboard a space cruiser, the players decide who among them is actually a human-like AI. 4 of the players will need to use deduction to decide who they can trust.

Kingdom of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (PS4)

Kingdom of Amular: Re-Reckoning is a remaster of a game from 2012 that originally released on XBOX 360, PS3, and PC. It is an Action RPG where you play as “The Fateless One” who sets out to solve the mystery of his own death. This is a vast game with plenty of fun RPG elements if thats your thing!

The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners (PSVR)

This is a virtual reality survival/horror game based in the ruins of New Orleans. You fight off zombies and scavenge for materials to craft with. This is probably one of the more immersive games on PSVR. If you can, definitely check it out.

The Persistence (PSVR)

The Persistence is a survival/horror game set in 2521, aboard a failing deep space colony starship. You upgrade your character and your inventory as you descend deeper and deeper into the ship to fix its systems. Along the way you will fight and avoid aggressive clones of the past crew that infest the ship.

Until You Fall (PSVR)

Until You Fall is a VR sword fighting experience where you fight many types of enemies. The gameplay allows you to develop your own style as you defeat twisted humanoids and monsters. It is fun to use different strategies to cut down your enemies. This is a solid addition to the PSVR if you don’t have it yet.

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News

Sony State of Play – October 2021 Highlights


Today Sony aired their anticipated State of Play announcement and update event. The general response seems to be that people are a little disappointed in the announcements. This was all third party games, so no Sony AAA titles were announced. Among the announcements there were a few highlights.

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach

In the latest installment of Five Nights at Freddy’s, you play as a little boy named Gregory who has to escape Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex after being trapped there overnight. Like the other games in the series, this is a survival horror game and you will have to use your wits to avoid the animatronics. This is one of the trailers that stuck out to me from todays ‘State of Play’.

Star Ocean The Divine Force

This year marks 25 years since the first installment of the Star Ocean series was released. The new installment, Star Ocean The Divine Force looks to have some serious depth based on the trailer. Players choices will affect events and outcomes in the game. There will be a solid list of characters to choose from and this game will have fast and intense action.

Death’s Door

Death’s Door by developer Acid Nerve is heading to Playstation consoles (and Switch) on November 23rd. Death’s Door is definitely one of the better indie games released this year and it will be a welcome addition to the consoles lineup. This game has been compared to the Zelda series. It is an action-adventure game where you play as a Crow who reaps souls for the ‘Reaping Commission Headquarters’ in the afterlife. It has a very unique art direction and offers simplicity that makes it easy to pick up and play.

This State of Play event didn’t blow up away gamers, but I am excited to check out a few of these titles.


Categories
Game Discussion

Unpopular Opinion: Low Poly Graphics are Awesome

Nostalgia

Low poly graphics are graphics that have a low polygon count. These are graphics that are reminiscent of the N64/PS1 generation. Whenever I say that I genuinely like the look of low poly graphics, people immediately accuse me of just being a victim of nostalgia. I guess enjoying a game that you played years ago and then picking it up and enjoying it again means that you are blinded by nostalgia goggles.

Yeah, I’ll admit that having good memories of playing a game can make a game seem better. It can be fun to try to recreate those memories that you previously captured. However, I’m not really talking about a specific game. I’m talking about the graphics style in general. I love the simplicity of the low polygon count character models and textures.

Art Style

In the current year, there are tons of games with mind blowing graphics. Now it is reasonable to make a game that has super realistic visuals. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that visually blew my mind when it came out. We are getting to the point where photo-realistic graphics are probably not far off.

With that said, one of the things that I love about games on the N64 is that photo-realistic games were not a possibility. These limitations on the developer made them get really creative with how games looked. I love the colorful and surreal worlds that these games take place in. Of course, in the modern day there are games that don’t look like the real world, but this was a necessity for almost every game in previous generations.

I absolutely love the art style and direction of games like Super Mario 64, Rayman 2, and the N64 Zelda games. As much as I love games with realistic graphics, I also like to sit down and suspend reality when I play a game. I want to step into the cartoony worlds.

Gameplay

When developers had to get creative with the art style in games, a lot of the time they had to reuse a lot of in game textures and models and it the end it saved a lot of time in the development process. I like when developers spend more time focused on the mechanics of the game and how to actually make it fun instead of spending so much time on making realistic looking games.

I think its important for game to have a focused direction for the art style of the game, but I think the gameplay is far more important than the graphics being perfect. I have played a lot of big triple-A titles that looked beautiful, but just aren’t that fun. I have also played a lot of indie games that didn’t look like anything special, but were really fun.

Modern Low Poly Games

There has been a big resurgence in games that use 16-bit graphics. Among indie developers, retro style platformers have been really popular over the last few years. I am hoping that the next step is for late-90s/early-2000s low poly graphics to come back. There is already a few examples of this.

Here are some modern games that make great use of this graphical style:

Macbat 64:

From the same developer as Macbat 64, here is Toree 3D:

Here is an N64 inspired horror game called Earl’s Day Off:

I recommend downloading and checking out all three of these games. They are all really fun and really different experiences. We need to give indie developers our support so that we can see more games like this in the future.

Categories
News

Playstation is Losing More Exclusives – God of War (2018) is Coming to PC

The beloved franchise “God of War” has long time been a Playstation exclusive. Now the 2018 award winner is being ported to PC. The Steam page is already live where preorders are being accepted. The game will be available to play on January 14, 2022.

Before God of War it was Death Stranding and Horizon Zero Dawn that made their way to PC. On one hand, it is great that more players can experience these games. On the other hand, one of the big arguments for getting a Playstation over Xbox is that there are great exclusives. With these exclusives moving to PC, will Playstation lose potential customers?

God of War (2018) will have ultra-wide support and we can expect better visuals from the game on PC.

I am excited to see what craziness the modding community will stir up!