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GOD of War Review.

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There has been a massive trend in the video game industry for a while now of reinventing, rebooting, and revamping major franchises. It seems almost every direct sequel or new story in an already well-established world today is being released with a whole new wardrobe.

God of War has indeed been taken to the tailors, with this latest chapter in the barbaric saga changing a lot of what you know about the franchise, its anti-hero, and the world he lives in – one which he is constantly at odds with.

Despite all of the changes having being made, one thing remains the same, and that is Kratos’ inability to achieve anything close to peaceful involvement with his environment, be it in the hot sands of Greece, or the icy forests of Scandinavia.

This time around, however, it is not through his own volition that everything takes a turn for the bloodsoaked. Kratos would rather be something as close to a family man as he can be. Unfortunately, this Greek alien is not welcome in the frozen shores of Midgard.

A Mythological Reimagining

For reasons unknown, Kratos has somehow ended up living deep in the forests of Midgard, in the realms of Norse mythology, where he is surrounded by all manner of Nordic creatures and deities.

Knowing Kratos’ track record with anything celestial, you can expect him to come to blows with the spiritual authorities very soon. Unlike previous games, however, Kratos will not be doing it alone…

The ash-covered brute will be accompanied this time by his lovable son, Atreus, who balances out Kratos’ humorlessly grim approach to life with his youthful vitality and innocence. Needless to say, being the son of the most hardcore deicidal maniac on the planet is only one side of the struggle, the other being helping him battle it out against Northern European religion.

A More Grounded Kratos

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Kratos is older, and despite still relying on brute force to solve most confrontations, has become much wiser and in control. Initially, it seems that he has finally mastered his previously volatile fury, as he continues to reprimand his budding killer of a son when his passions run amok.

That is not to say that his brutality has been curbed in any way, and his Spartan Rage still burns brightly when charged sufficiently, he just seems to have matured to a point where he can wield his martial zeal, rather than be possessed by it.

It is not only his temperament which has become more down-to-earth, Kratos now fights mostly on the ground. You can no longer even jump in the sense that tapping X will leap you into the air, and so those gravity-defying combos are out of the picture, and your alacritous Blades of Athena have been replaced with a hefty axe.

Instead of the fixed cameras we had in previous God of War titles, this one has opted for an over-the-shoulder approach, as if some documentary maker is stalking Kratos. The whole game has now been remodelled for a far more intimate, in-your-face dynamic.

Monstrous Competition

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While Kratos may have wanted nothing more than to teach his son the ways of life in relative peace, trouble soon comes knocking on his front door in the form of a perturbed agent of Odin. From here on out, Kratos and his son will be cleaving their way through the majority of the Scandinavian pantheon, and all of its servants.

While Kratos may be a veteran in tearing monsters and gods limb from limb, his sapling of a son goes from hunting his first deer to taking on titans of lore in a very short amount of time. It is an unforgiving transition for one so young and sweet, and we cannot help but feel for the poor little guy.

That being said, he is Kratos’ son, and we can expect him to progressively grow into a fine warrior, and it is indeed not long at all before Atreus proves himself as capable in a scuffle with all manner of fiends.

Conclusion

It is sometimes difficult to adjust to a new set up when one of your favorite franchises has been remodelled. This God of War does not present such a challenge, and you will very quickly ease into this compelling, absorbing, and mightily enjoyable tale of fatherhood and maturation.  

It is not only the most splendid-looking game on the PS4, it may even be the best released so far. Whether you agree with such a sentiment or not, you cannot deny that God of War has pushed the PS4’s content to marvelous heights.

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Frostpunk Review

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Imagine if you woke up one day to terrifyingly unusual icy weather. Leading climate change scientists suddenly announce that a freak ice age is on its way, and that the world is going to be utterly devastated.

It is the ultimate nightmare for the environmentally paranoid. This is the premise of Frostpunk, only instead of an apocalyptic ice age hitting modern or future humanity, it is alternate history which has to deal with climatic horror. A handful of 19th century English steampunks are the final survivors of this frozen end to life on earth.

Steampunks become Frostpunks – A New Hope

It is not all completely over for sophisticated organisms on this now shivering planetary surface. Luckily, the British Empire was at the peak of steampunk industrial prominence before annihilation arrived. Its leading scientists and engineers prepared for a desperate struggle for Her Majesty’s humanity by constructing titanic generators.

These towering marvels of ingenuity would provide the coal-powered heat and energy needed for the erection of makeshift civilization. This is where you come in, as the elected leader of one of several newly-established budding cities.

As you can imagine, resisting a world hellbent on extinguishing its denizens is no easy task, and it is going to take all of your ingenuity – as well as morally ambiguous decision making – to turn desperation into flourishment.

Social Justice for All

Although Frostpunk is about ensuring that your continually growing settlement’s most basic needs are being taken care of, it is also a game where each individual has needs which go beyond that of bare-bones survival.

Each person has to be fed, housed, and kept warm. But each individual also has a host of extra-mural needs following a day at the coal mine. These include entertainment, inspiration, and a sense of purpose.

A New Age of Urban Planning Simulation

This is what separates Frostpunk from other city-building survival games, you have to take care of people’s minds as well as their bodies. This is done by keeping track of the ‘Hope’ and ‘Discontent’ meters, which ascend and descend based not only on how physically comfortable your people are, but how happy they are with their little society’s existential progression.

This social aspect of the game is a geniusly dynamic one, which you must personally tailor according to what you feel is just or practical. Do you need children to work in harsh conditions, or would you rather have them be safely educated?

Such decisions are struck on a daily basis, as you are allowed to sign a new law every 24 hours, which radically readjusts the progression of your city and its population. Medical care, entertainment, labor rights, religion and policing are all in your hands to shape.

From Ruins to Riches

Although you will begin this game with a handful of cold and tired people scooping handfuls of coal to feed the heat-bringing sentinel generator, the peak of civilized enjoyment comes with successfully navigating your settlement from a primitive informal settlement to a flourishing metropolis.

You will have a growing number of engineers at your disposal, who will research new technologies for every level of civil advancement. The weather is only going to get steadily worse, and surviving an environment conspiring to blow humanity away requires a steady rate of scientific discovery.

Soon you will not only be concerned for your own people’s welfare, but that of others beyond your city. There are plenty of other people trudging through ice in search for a smidgen of warmth and safety, and you will have to send out teams of scouts to rescue them.

These brave explorers are not only tasked with securing a larger workforce and resources, but also discovering just what went wrong with our little planet.

Conclusion – Melting the Ice on the Truth

It isn’t enough that mankind should defy the inevitability of catastrophic weather change, we need to find out just why we were struck with such snowy devastation in the first place. This is the final task in an already impressively demanding mission statement.

Frostpunk is indeed a highly stressful and demanding game, but it is without a doubt one of the most rewarding and satisfying strategy games seen in recent history. If you ever dream of leading humanity through climate armageddon, now is your chance.

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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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