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Grow Up Review

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You might remember Grow Home from Ubisoft Reflections, a sweet, low-poly themed game which came out in 2015. Those that played the game gave it rave reviews, hailing its simplistic yet charming graphics and liberating gameplay as highly refreshing.

Grow Up is the hyped sequel to the original developmental exploration platformer. Ubisoft Reflections have taken the title and core principles of the ‘Grow’ franchise to the next level, as they have blown the scale open with this next instalment.

A New Unforeseen Setting

The story in this game follows our silly little red robot BUD, and his guiding MOM system, and their galactic botanical voyage for new interplanetary flora and fauna specimens. We start the game on board their large ship, which is hurtling through space towards some unknown destination.

Unfortunately, a rocky interruption hits an otherwise pleasant voyage, and BUD is once more dashed down into an alien world, his ship and MOM obliterated into pieces, which BUD must now strive to recollect and piece back together.

He won’t do it alone, however, as through the help of a new satellite-looking friend called POD, who provides BUD with a host of new capabilities, BUD’s job is going to now seem a whole lot more hopeful. You are going to love what POD brings to the table!

New Year, New BUD

The Independent

With the augmentations of POD, BUD now can do far more than he could in the previous title. He now has the ability to scan various plant life forms around the sprawling map, allowing him to then throw their seeds for much utilitarian value.

Much of Grow Up’s fun is scouring the planet for new interesting plants, sometimes having to figure out the more enigmatic species’ uses through wild experimentation. Either way, most plants will greatly aid in BUD’s traversal and elevation through this multi-tiered climbing adventure.

Planetary Entertainment

As mentioned before, Ubisoft Reflections have massively expanded their production level with this new game, to include a whole planet for BUD to now explore and ascend through. Again, your ultimate task is climbing up, but this time past the skies and atmosphere, all the way to the moon!

Here your MOM waits for you in ruins, awaiting your successful return with all of her and the ship’s components, in order to best piece together everything and for the expedition to get back on track after this explosive detour.

All of this is still far down the line, however, as you have much exploration to fill out, as there is a whole planet and everything in between to map out! Just the surface alone provides hours of progressive entertainment and diversity, with all manner of pleasingly designed flora, fauna, and geography to appreciate.

Getting Sky High with New Toys

Through the aid of POD, BUD is now far more advanced than his previous installation in Grow Home. A few of his new abilities – which you need to collect as you proceed further through the world – include being able to curl up into a ball and roll around, having air brakes to stop yourself from being dashed against rocks after plummeting half a kilometer through the air, and of course the trusty jetpack.

Streamlining your newfound seeding flora friends with this technology is essential for conquering the increased levels of platform elevation seen in Grow Up. You indeed have a greater distance to climb this time, and you are going to have to gather as many seeds and abilities as possible to successfully mount these orbital heights.

Remember those tinkling crystals from Grow Home? You are going to have to ensure that you keep collecting dozens of these precious power sources as you proceed through the game. These pretty crystals will once more improve the power levels of your technology, giving you more battery life and improved capability of gadgets like the jetpack, giving sorely needed boosts to your navigational capacity.

Conclusion

Whether you treat Grow Up as a pleasant break in between more hardcore titles, or your gaming career revolves around discovering beautiful gems such as this absolute treat of a game, Grow Up is indeed an invaluable experience in a video game industry in which there is so much violent and explicit drudgery.

Sometimes you do not need an involving and complex story, or convincingly motivated characters, you just need an awkward little robot stumbling through some wonderfully minimalistic scenery.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Review

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG as it is commonly known) is something which exploded the battle royale genre back into mass popularity. All of a sudden, it seemed like everyone was hopping on board this dark horse sensation, and for good reason. There is only one final objective in this game: come out on top.

Despite its rocky server and optimization beginnings, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is, by early 2018, running very smoothly, and has now managed to balance its calibrations to a level where anyone with a decently-powered gaming PC or an Xbox One can join in the chaos.

There are two mobile versions of PUBG which became recently available for iOS and Android.

What is the Point of PUBG?

Those who have yet to add another purchase to the over 30 million sales and join the over 3 million strong concurrent player base may still be wondering just what this game is all about. Simply put, it is a battle royale, with the standard 100-player mode taking place on an island somewhere off the coast of Eastern Europe, or a South American desertous country.

In the standard mode, you can play solo, as a duo with a friend or random person, or have a team of three or four players. The more inventive game modes will change team dynamics around quite interestingly, but more on that later.

The game starts with all ~100 players flying in over the designated play area, which is encroached by a giant white circle, which will begin shrinking minutes after the players pick their landing spots and touch down.

The battle for survival then begins in earnest, often as soon as your feet touch the ground. You can always expect the more popular areas to become immediate warzones. One must then begin scrambling for weapons and ammunition, protective gear, and healing aids, all the time dispatching enemy players and keeping an eye on the two shrinking circles.

A Frantic Rush for Safety

Alongside all of the other explosive shenanigans is the constant threat of the shrinking white and blue circles on the map. The former circle is your safe zone, while the latter one represents the cone of blue plasma wall which will constantly hone in towards the white circle’s edges.

Managing your looting, while searching for vehicles with which to speed to safety (or your own objectives), fighting enemies and being constantly aware of their presence, as well as keeping an eye on the countdown to the next white circle’s position, as well as when the blue circle is going to shrink, makes for a very exhilarating and highly pressured gaming experience.

Choosing your Play Style

It is this high level of intensity and speedy decision-making which makes PUBG such a delight. That being said, plenty of players will approach the game in the complete opposite manner, opting for the less populated areas and silently sneaking their way to the end game, where the last dozen or so enemies play cat and mouse in a now very small habitable area.

You essentially need to find your own personal meta. Of course, there are plenty of highly popular strategies and approaches, but this game is supremely situational and dynamic, despite there only being two maps and one set of main rules.

Events on the Weekends

That being said, variety has become a big concern and focus among the game’s developers. Every weekend you can expect a new ‘Event Mode’, which can be absolutely anything.

My favorite one so far was one in which three opposing teams of 10, a total of thirty, duked it out in what was essentially a PUBG Team Deathmatch mode, with the first team to 100 kills winning the game. These events really do help to keep the gameplay novel and progressive.

Conclusion – A Highly Addictive Experience

Fresh content aside, this game is infinitely enjoyable in its vanilla form, as each new game brings a whole new adventure for players to work their way through. You can never expect how a match is going to pan out.

Whether you come out on top or not should not always be your primary concern, it is about you and your friends having an absolute blast, while fostering jolly cooperation. Just remember never to get too upset or stressed when things don’t go your way, which is easier said than done, as your heart rate elevates tremendously when you become one of the last ten players alive.

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4 Anime Titles we Need New Games For

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Anime games truly vary in their quality. While some absolutely assure the industry and its consumers that this is a worthy translation, others make us wonder if creating playable adaptations of hit series and films is such a great idea.

Either way, there are endless possibilities, and endless content, and any anime fan can name countless manga and anime that would make for a sensational video game, at least in their minds.

Anime games are certainly rather tricky to nail, or at least they were before this new generation of hardware and software permitted unbelievable levels of cel shaded animation and design, as seen with recent titles such as Dragon Ball FighterZ and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk.

With these developments in mind, we can indeed hope to see a newfound interest from the world of gamers the world over in successful and solidly designed anime games.

Fullmetal Alchemist

The incredibly riveting and impactful adventure of the Elric brothers would undoubtedly make for an epic game, with a perfect blend of hand-to-hand combat which flows into alchemic spellwork, both offensive, defensive, and utilitarian.

The game’s engine could facilitate a very creative and accessible manipulation of the environment if executed correctly, as fans of the series know that much of alchemy’s effectiveness relies on its user’s ingenuity when it comes to altering their surroundings with effectiveness.

Luckily the story, characters, and progression seen in Fullmetal Alchemist is incredible as it is. It really does hand the would be developers a fantastic tale to flesh out with awesome gameplay and mechanics.

One Punch Man

The ridiculously hilarious yet massively explosive action seen in One Punch Man would make nothing short of an astoundingly amusing game if handled correctly. Filling the shiny red boots of one of anime’s most unexplainably powerful heroes is something a lot of people dream about, minus the bald part.

Saitama has infinite strength, speed, and resistance, and so to properly capture the essence of the game, he would basically need to breeze through your standard and conventional attacks of enemies in order to remain faithful to the franchise’s ethos.

Developers would have to instead come up with novel ways in which Saitama’s enemies attempt to hinder is progress, or rather, Saitama would have to be worked up to a stage of ‘seriousness’ where he is willing to actually finish a fight with a single punch.

Ghost in the Shell

The last Ghost in the Shell game (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online) did not do as well as its developers over at Nexon had hoped. Being a rather basic and underwhelming squad shooter, the game felt far more like a generic online shooting game than something really special loyal to the franchise’s magnificent presence.

A single-player title needs to be released, which faithfully captures the full spirit of this cult film, its sequels, and series. It does not need to be based on any particular generation of Ghost in the Shell, so long as a well-realized and accurate realization of its main characters and world is achieved.

This game could emulate something similar to what we have seen in the Deus Ex game series. A stealthy, technology-driven shooter in which Motoko Kusanagi and her elite crew of cyber agents deal with a series of highly involving and nefariously sprawling cases, all requiring a streamlined collection of sneaking, shooting, and cybernetically augmented capabilities.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

The highly controversial yet epic franchise involving a young teenage boy and his struggles against marauding titanic aliens is something which truly deserves a modern video game realization.

Stomping about in one of the towering biomechs – the Units – would be an absolute joy, especially in a fully destructible environment. Recreating the jaw-dropping battles seen in the series and films would be insanely satisfying, but so would a whole new story with a different set of monstrous extraterrestrials.

The story and characters are obviously something which fans would be very adamant that developers get right, and so whether the developers planned on recreating the original story, or making a new one with the same characters, they need to be brought to life in a faithful manner to Hideaki Anon’s original icons.

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Some of the Most Memorable RPG Epics of the Late 2010s .

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Love them or hate them, RPGs make up a massive sector of the gaming industry and community, and only seem to be growing in power and popularity as the genre steadily progresses from something that was previously rather inaccessible to more casual gamers, to something which anyone can play and love.

Everyone will have their own favorite RPGs which have come out between 2016 and 2018, but this article will focus on the most popular, successful, and overall excellent titles which swallowed players whole for the time they spent with them.

The Witcher III

This action/adventure title is probably the most pertinent example of the RPG genre’s surge in popularity, and it soon became one of the most successful titles in gaming overall. Over one and a half million people ordered The Witcher III before it even came out, selling almost 68,000 copies in its staggering first week of release.

The Witcher was certainly one of the leading Western RPG franchises before its third installment, but this latest chapter in Geralt of Rivia’s odyssey brought a new level of wonder and finesse relatively unseen in any earlier RPG game.

Its gorgeously realized world of vibrantly colored forests choking with foreboding creatures, its multifaceted cities sprawling with all manner of characters, and its progressive and multi-directional story provided players with an almost infinite level of enjoyment, not to mention the several DLCs released, which were almost like new full titles in themselves.

Persona 5

On the almost complete opposite end of the RPG design spectrum is Persona 5, whose phenomenal sales in both Japan and the rest of the world lead to the franchise overall becoming the 13th best selling Japanese roleplaying game of all time.

Many Westerners’ idea of a stereotypical JRPG would generally revolve around something like the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest epics. They may not know that one of the country’s most well-loved franchises involves 21st century teenagers jumping between their ordinary lives, and a warped unconscious one.

Persona 5 also did a massive service to the JRPG world by bringing its more seemingly obscure side to the limelight. The Persona series is indeed a fantastic one, with its myriad of real-life activities, storylines and progressions in the physical world, and the mirrored and intimately connected metaphysical one.

The dynamic seen in Persona 5 leads to a wholesome level of progression across various different levels which coupled with a story which blossoms according to this organic growth, leads to something truly addictive and consuming.

Final Fantasy XV

The revolutionary, modernized installation of the JRPG world’s figurehead franchise sold around one million copies in Japan alone, Square Enix shipping 5 million copies worldwide within 24 hours, this fantastic performance saving the financially floundering franchise.

Despite a production period lasting around a decade, Final Fantasy XV was released to an almost unanimously positive reception, if not the phenomenal acclaim its much older titles used to receive.

Still, the action/adventure revamp of this series, which has almost always relied on turn-based or tactical strategy mechanics, led to an alacritously exhilarating adventure. With some highly likeable and well-developed main characters, and a titanically epic story, Noctis and his entourage brought another tear-jerking drama worthy of the Final Fantasy title.

The PC version, which was released earlier this year, has allowed Microsoft Windows users with a good enough PC to also join in on the Square Enix epic for a greater level of graphical and frame rate might.

Dark Souls III

Certainly one of the most popular franchises among hardcore RPG fanatics around the world, the ultra-punishing Dark Souls franchise also brought something far more accessible and accepting with its third instalment for the average player to enjoy, Bandai Namco having shipped three million copies worldwide by May 2016.

This game continued the series’ punishing difficulty, albeit with a slightly toned down pacing to allow those who do not enjoy dying dozens of times without making much progress a real chance to enjoy this otherwise crushing world.

Coupled with 2015’s Bloodborne, FromSoftware have provided the modern gamer with two of the most thrilling and rewarding titles, which certainly do not require you to spend as much time getting to grips with as the first and second Dark Souls titles.

 

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