Review

Review: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Game: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Developer: Yacht Club Games

Publisher: Yacht Club Games

Platform(s): PC, Mac, 3DS, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)

Release Date: Spring 2017

Price: Free! (kinda)

When the original Shovel Knight was released back in 2013, it garnered a whole lot of attention because of its style. For those unfamiliar with Shovel Knight, the “style” I’m referring to would be the similarities, both in look and gameplay mechanics that Shovel Knight has to platformers of the 8-bit era like Megaman, and Super Mario Brothers.

When Yacht Club first launched the Kickstarter campaign for Shovel Knight which it hit in no time, the many stretch goals promised various campaigns for the Knights that the protagonist would face on his adventure. The first of which was Plague Knight. That campaign, in particular, fell flat for me, the mechanics behind playing as the alchemist Knight were diffrent but not inherently good. I was hesitant to try Specter of Torment because of this, but it is without a doubt worth it. It’s no Shovel Knight 2, but it is pretty damn good.17352455_1479007362111619_5275987195738371040_n

The story of Specter of Torment takes place prior to the events of Shovel Knight. As Specter Knight, the player will travel to new variations of familiar levels to fight and gather together the members of The Order of No Quater. The evil alliance of knights that our shovel-wielding hero will one day defeat. At diffrent points in Specter Knight’s adventure flashback sequences recall how Specter Knight became the ghostly knight and fell into the service of the Enchantress.

Much like Plague Knight, Specter Knight plays in his own unique ways. He can use his scythe not only as a weapon but as a mean to traverse the environment, propelling himself forward by slashing throw certain objects in the environment like lanterns, as well as enemies. He can also run up most walls for shorter distances. This mechanic most reminded me of Ninja Gaiden for the SNES. Specter Knight is also confirmed as a cool dude based on his ability to grind on rails in multiple levels using his scythe.17342641_1479006895444999_8598406556186564440_n

For those that have played either Shovel Knight or its first Plague of Shadows DLC, the first big change you might notice is the lack of an overworld map. Specter of Torment does not feature the Mario 3 style map leading you to each Knights domain. Instead of this Specter Knight simply chooses which Knight he will face next and is transported via a magic mirror, the whole level select screen feels a lot more Megaman inspired in this regard. In between levels you’ll be transported back to the Enchantress’ tower where you can buy new armor, health or darkness upgrades you may have missed in a level. A special vendor will also sell you new trinkets which give abilities like ranged attacks and self-healing in exchange for red skulls rather than treasure. There are ten of these skulls to be found in each level.

Specter of Torment adds some new gameplay elements to an already great game. It’s available now for free to anyone who owns the base game. If you’ve just picked up a Nintendo Switch, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is available for $25 and includes both Specter of Torment and Plague of Shadows. While Specter Knight’s adventure isn’t quite the sequel fans might be wanting it is well put together, fun experience. I’d recommend it to any fans of the 8-bit era, even if they haven’t played Shovel Knight before.

Score: 8 out of 10

 

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Top 5

Top 5: Marvel Characters We Want In Marvel Vs. Capcom 4

I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now. It would seem Marvel Vs. Capcom 4 is real and may be announced as early as this weekend’s PSX event. What you may not have heard is that Marvel wants all X-men and Marvel characters that fall under Fox’s movie rights umbrella out to make way for characters in Marvel’s cinematic universe.

Characters like Rocket Racoon and Dr.Strange will know doubt make a return, but you can kiss Wolverine, Magneto, and Dr. Doom goodbye. For this top 5 we’ll take a look at characters that could take the place of Marvel’s Mutants.

It’s worth noting I won’t be listing any characters that have been in previous MVC games, let’s just assume they’re a given.

5. Star-Lord 

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Chris Pratt’s portrayal of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, the charismatic leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy seems like a no brainer. Slapping Pratt’s likeness onto something is a selling point in of itself and Star-Lord’s dual energy pistol wielding could feel similar to Deadpool’s play since he’s more than likely getting the ax.

4.Black Panther

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Black Panther made his cinematic debut in Captain America Civil War and Chadwick Boseman is set to reprise the role in a 2018 solo film. It only makes sense to familiarize the public with the character a bit more, and his feral claw attacks would make a great replacement for Wolverine.

3. Black Bolt

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For comic book fans, Black Bolt is a familiar name. He’s part of the Inhuman royal family possesses enhanced strength and agility as well as a unique sonic scream ability. More important, however, than his combat prowess is the reasons for Marvel to get the character out in the public eye. They’ve recently announced an Inhumans Tv show, as well as a movie somewhere down the line, and no Inhuman is more noteworthy than Black Bolt.

2. Vision

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For those not up on your Marvel films, Vision was introduced in Avengers Age of Ultron. The Android is powered by the mind gem one of the infinity stones used to power Thanos Infinity Gauntlet, and if that was confusing to you, then I guess you don’t read a whole lot of comics. Vision’s move set could easily be forged into a replacement for Magneto who’s a fan favorite.

1.Miles Morales (Spider-man)

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So this last one may be a bit of a stretch, and I know Spider-man has already appeared in Marvel Vs. Capcom but I have Miles in mind as a whole diffrent character.I’m not just looking for a skin of Mile’s Spider-man suit. He should play like a faster younger Spidey, with a higher skill ceiling than Peter Parker for veteran players, and sure, that would prevent someone like me who sucks at fighting games from playing, but I’m looking out for you guys.

 

 

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Review

Review: Recore

Game: Recore

Developer(s): Comcept, Armature Studios

Publisher(s): Microsoft Studios

Release date: September 13th, 2016

MSRP: $39.99

Another Project that had the name of Keiji Inafune attached, Recore, is a third-person action platformer that feels right out of the PS2 era. Recore establishes a brilliant and exciting SciFi universe and introduces some smart mechanics before ultimately falling flat. What seemingly could have been a great new IP for Microsoft seems to draw to a close before it’s given a chance to reach its full potential.

Recore follows the story of Joule Adams and her three robot companions. The robots or “Corebots” as they are dubbed are composed of a colored personality core around a robotic frame. The game focuses on upgrading your three Corebots via equipment blueprints you can craft back at Joule’s base the sand crawler, the purpose of the upgrades is to aid in combat, as well as puzzle solving. Joule herself is equipped with an energy rifle with four different ammo types white, red, blue, and yellow. You can swap ammo types on the fly, if an enemy bots color matched your ammo color you’ll do more damage, likewise if one of your corebots colors matches an enemy he’ll also deal additional damage.  Joule is also equipped with a grappling hook she can use to remove cores from weakened corebots in order to upgrade stats such as attack, energy, and defense on your companions. maxresdefault

Recore features a semi-open world which can change shape and structure based off sandstorms that occur throughout the game. Joule traverses on foot or with her jet boots and dash ability, as well as her Corebots abilities. For example, the spider frame allows Joule to travel along certain tracks or climb certain walls. The game features several main story dungeons as well as some side dungeons to discover for those willing to explore. The primary goal is to find “Prismatic Cores” a unique core type that can be found as dungeon rewards or by solving puzzles in the open world. Think stars in Mario 64, not finding enough can hold you up big time late game.

The game takes place in the distant future( roughly 200 years) on the planet of Far Eden. Sometimes during the 2020’s Earth was stricken by a disease know as the “Dust Devil Plague.” Due to the disease, the Earth was beginning to become uninhabitable, so an organization known as Mandate launched an expedition to colonize the planet of Far Eden. Corebots were sent to build the first facility and begin terraforming the planet. The first wave of colonists were put into cryo-sleep. When Joule wakes up from cryo-sleep early and sees corrupted Corebots and the terraforming process off schedule, it’s up to her to figure out what went wrong.recore-e3-2016-01

It’s worth noting that Recore is the first Xbox play anywhere game. For those that don’t know all first party, Microsoft games will now be cross-platform for Windows PC and Xbox One. What this means is if you buy a copy for the console you also have a PC copy and can easily cross-save. To this end, I was able to compare the two versions easily. Even on a lower end PC, I would highly recommend playing that version. Frames often dipped on the Xbox One and visuals were far superior on PC ( I’m running a 970). One other notable performance issue is the load times. Sometimes almost two full minutes to load into a dungeon is enough to stop some from playing.

Recores biggest disservice, however, is how rushed it feels. Comcept and Armature did an excellent job crafting an interesting world full of characters with style and charm that grinds to a hault just when it feels ready to open up. I was able to get to the final dungeon in about six hours before I was forced into a grind heavy monotony. The amount of Prism cores required to enter the final dungeon will almost certainly force you into rescavenging the open world. Also each level you move up in said dungeon requires even more cores. If you were completely put off by that WindWaker end game, then this isn’t for you. Some simple design elements are also overly frustrating. Joule can only bring two of her corebot companions with her at a time. Some dungeons require the abilities of a particular corebot frame to complete, only the side dungeons, however, inform you of this before entering. I can’t count the number of times I entered a dungeon only to realize I needed the gorilla frame about half way through.recore-review-screen-3

Recore is a game with some charm and great ideas. It grabbed me in its early hours only to burn out later on. It feels like a long lost relic from the PlayStation 2 era, filled with fantastic concepts that get overshadowed by inexcusable design flaws. It unfortunatly looks like what could’ve been a great new IP for Microsfot was rushed to market and not given the care it truly deserved. You can pick up Recore for Xbox One and Windows PC now.

Score: 5 out of 10

 

 

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Top 5

Top Five: AI Characters In Games

Well, here we are again. What started as a time killer has become something I somehow enjoy. That’s right were putting together another one of these godforsaken lists. Movies like Terminator have taught us all that inevitably humans desire to make highly powerful artificial intelligence will ultimately result in our destruction. From heroic robots like the Blue Bomber to more malevolent machines like System Shock’s Shodan, robots have a huge presence in video games. So, without further ado, let’s get into my top five AI characters in games.

5.Cortana(Halo Series)maxresdefault1

Who could forget Cortana? Our AI companion plugged into the Master Chief’s head at the start of Halo Combat Evolved and has been with us ever since. A character who often goes under appreciated let’s face it Chief’s stubborn soldier of fortune attitude doesn’t go very far on its own. Let’s try and remember that Cortana was so popular that she became Microsoft’s answer to Siri, and try to forget all the creepy flirtation between her and Chief in Halo 4. Cortana is number five.

4.Robo(Chrono Trigger)Robo

Robo holds a special place for me as a big JRPG fan. Robo laid dormant after the apocalypse in AD 1999; he was repaired by Lucca in AD 2300. After this he joins Lucca, Chrono and the rest of the party. Although Robo is incapable of using magic, he can mimic some magical abilities using his tech. Through several side quests, Robo can discover his past which makes for some of the best storytelling in Chrono Trigger, as well as JRPG’s in general. Robo is number four.

 

 

 

 

3.D0g(Half-Life series)Dog_Alyx_BME

Ah sweet D0g, he really is mans best freind. D0g is the massive robot owned by Alyx Vance in the Half-Life series. D0g’s character is brillant in combining a hulking mech with the love and loyalty of a canine. Although his time with the protagonist is short you find yourself thinking of him hours later. Back in 2008 D0g was recieved as one of the best robot and sidekick character in video games. For that he gets number three.

2.Mega ManPrint

That’s right, it’s the Blue Bomber himself. Originally created to be a lab assistant for Dr. Light, the robot known as Rock should’ve had a peaceful existense. Unfortunatly Dr. Light’s lab assitant Dr. Wily programmed all of lights other robots for evil so Mega Man was turned into a combat unit. The rest is history, that power stealing little blue bot is number two.

1.GLaDOS (Portal) 1maxresdefault2

GlaDOS or Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System is the main antagonist of Portal. When Portal begins GLaDOS is the only voice in the darkness, the only one to trust. Your relationship gets a little shaky when the AI villian leads you into live turret fire but it’s probably the hole trying to burn you alive thing that makes Chell rethink things. I don’t even need to put any quotes here because everyone knows that it’s the writing behind GLaDOS that puts that evil AI in at number one.

Honorable mention: Wheatly (Portal 2)

With only five spots I couldn’t justify ranking multiple characters from the same series, however, Wheatly deserves an honorable mention at the very least. The team behind Portal showed their talent for writing yet again with the little British AI orb. Wheatly is so profoundly dumb that once he has access to all of GLaDOS power over the Apreture Science facility he immediatly goes mad with power. Wheatly’s tale is a tragic one though. We see in his final scene, floating in space not only was he a true villian but he relizes that and even feels bad about it. Wheatly may not have trumped GLaDOS but he’s still a memorable AI.

Thanks, as always for dropping by to read. Follow me, I’ll have more news, reviews, and even the occasional top five!

 

 

 

 

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Top 5

Top 5: Video Game Swords

Ah, crap, here we are again. I’m sitting on a few games and won’t be review ready for a few more days. In the meantime, I thought I could satiate the masses with some more of this buzz feed bullshit. That’s right it’s time for another top 5.

So swords are pretty neat. Just a big hunk of pointy metal, in the real world they’re typically pretty boring. In video games, however, they’re over the top monstrosities of death. So let’s get into my top 5 swords in video games.

5. Z-Saber ( Megaman X):

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The Z-Saber is a lightsaber like energy sword used by Zero in the Megaman X series. As far as swords typically go the whole “energy sword” thing has been done to death, but we can give Zero some credit for doing it while it was still cool. It’s not so much the design of the weapon itself but the way it has become such an iconic part of the character that puts the Z-Saber in at number five.

 

4. Rebellion ( Devil May Cry):

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In the Devil May Cry series, Dante wields a massive Claymore by the name of Rebellion. All though it looks pretty standard save for the skulls and what not, this magical blade is Dante’s only keepsake from his father, Sparda. The Sword was otherwise ordinary until Dante’s blood awakened its magic potential. This magic demon blade is number four.

3. Brotherhood (Final Fantasy 10)

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Final Fantasy 10’s protagonist Tidus, lucks into a pretty badass blade by the name of Brotherhood.Given to him by his pal Wakka the night before the party sets out from Besaid village. It was originally a gift for Wakka’s brother, Chappu. Chappu died before ever using it. Beyond it’s back story, the look of Brotherhood is what sets it apart. Originally designed to show off the graphical capabilities of the PS2, the blade appears to be made of pure water; you can even see bubbles rising to the surface in combat. For moving back story and visual WOW, Brotherhood wins number three.

 

 2. Crissaegrim (Castlevania Symphony Of The Night):

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We all know the old story, Father and son kill Dracula, Father uses remains of an ancient weapon to forge a blade of pure death. After Alucard and Simon had defeated Dracula, Alucard returned to his old tomb; There he found the remains of his father’s old weapon, the Vampire Killer. By combing these remains with that of Glaciem and Igneas, the elemental swords of the underworld. The blade kept traits from all three, From vampire killer, it gained the ability to paralyze enemies, from Glaciem it acquired the icy  capability to drain the life, and from Igneas, a fiery touch that can melt any armor. If that all sounds badass that’s because it is, Crissaegrim is number two.

1.The Master Sword ( The Legend of Zelda):

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You knew it was coming and sure I can admit, there are swords more visually stunning and far more powerful than that of the Master Sword. I dare you to name a more iconic one, though. The blade of evil’s bane is number one, not because it’s flashy or all ending but because it’s one of those few pieces of video game history that even those who don’t play video games may know about. Now if only we could make them realize that Zelda is a girl. The number one video game sword of all time is Link’s trusty MAster Sword, the blade of evils bane.

Thanks for reading, follow me for more nonsense articals as well as news and reviews.

 

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Review

Review: Mighty No. 9 Falls Flat

Game: Might No. 9

Developers: Comcept, Inti Creates

Publisher: Deep Silver

Platforms:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • OS X
  • Linux
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4(reviewed)
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One
  • Wii U
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • Shield Portable

The new project from Megaman legend Keiji Inafune is no stranger to controversy. It’s been plagued with bad publicity since it’s Kickstarter launch back in 2013. That aside after multiple delays and an ad campaign that was seemingly targeting edgy 90’s kids it’s finally out, so how does it stack up?

You play as Beck, a bright-eyed little blue robot boy. The comparisons to Megaman are plentiful out of the gate; that’s no shock, though. Instead of Dr. Light, we have Dr. White. No Rock and Roll but Beck and Call. The character design isn’t exactly great. This super anime art style wasn’t exactly appealing to me, to begin with, combined with muddy textures and some in level lighting effects that just don’t look right, I can’t help but think this game looks bad even by 2013 standards.

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The premise is simple, go from level to level taking down the other eight malfunctioning mighty numbers. You know a Megaman game. It plays like the classic in most respects as well. Eight levels to pick from, each grants Beck a new ability and get’s you one step closer to an inevitable face-off with Dr.Black. Beck even has a dash ability taken directly from Megaman-X. It’s this dash that brings a new element to the gameplay. Once an enemy is weak enough, Beck can dash through them absorbing them and giving himself stat boosts to damage, speed or armor. Some of these points even charge up a health item that works like an E tank from Megaman.

The character design seems particularly uninspired. This is partly because I never felt the need to use an unlocked weapon. I briefly used Mighty No. two’s Cryosphere, beyond that, however, I brute forced my way through the most of the game using Becks primary buster gun. Level design also feels a bit bland. Becks dash ability has no cooldown which makes some otherwise more challenging platforming sections trivial.

The final verdict is simple. Mighty No. 9 is not the worst game in the world. Unfortunately, it’s a game held to the standard of calling itself a successor to Megaman. In many ways, Mighty No. 9 tries just a bit too hard to be that. The blue bomber Beck is not. It has hints of classic Megaman gameplay and for a big fan, it may still be worth your time, maybe just wait for a sale price. Until then, if you want to scratch that old-school Megaman itch try Shovel Knight or the Legacy Collection.

Score: 5 out of 10

 

 

 

 

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