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Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro vs Nintendo Switch: Which one is the best for your gaming needs Part Three: Nintendo Switch

From my experience with the Switch has been interesting. It’s a very comfortable device in the sense of its portability and functionality.  For gamers alike, this is like the smartphone or tablet but with HD level graphics with that Nintendo charm.

Nintendo crafted a very user-friendly console that caters both to console gamers and handheld gamers, with new owners successfully. For me personally, this is a very convenient console in the way of you don’t have to be glued to your TV to continue playing. And I love that aspect of it and the console itself doesn’t take up much room and it’s easily customisable due to its portability.

Nintendo went with a very minimalistic approach to the Switch from the hardware aspect as well as its hud interface which makes navigating its menus very easy and intuitive. The controller’s (Joycons) is very nimble when you un-attach them from the Switch especially if you’re like me who have big hands. It’s why I recommend getting the Switch Pro Controller which is very comfortable for us big hand users.

 

Games should be something everybody wants to play.

My games library on my Switch is very limited currently. These are the games I have which I’ll share my experiences with you.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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I don’t how, to begin with talking about this game. The Zelda franchise has always been a part of my childhood growing up and as I grew up the series also grew too. And in some ways, it still has that nostalgic heart at its core.

Nintendo created this game for its loyal fanbase and what I mean by that, is that this was made for gamers that don’t own any other console and have not played the type of game that Breath of the wild caters to. For me personally, when you’ve played and experienced a game like Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn which are similar experiences. In Zelda’s case, it is a unique one as it breaks away from its linear nature from its predecessors and jumps into the open world space.

This was the natural progression for Legend of Zelda as a franchise to delve into. Every single Zelda game I have played especially just before the first playthrough I always had that sense of excitement to jump into the world but for this, I had a sense of unease. I’ll explain further as I delved deeper into the game as time went by. My sister and my brother are avid fans more so than I and their sheer excitement for this game were high and really I was playing this game for them not necessarily for myself and that was a telling sign for me as a gamer and a fan of this series.

As a gamer, I enjoyed the open world nature and what Nintendo and crew pulled off, a living breathing Hyrule. As a fan, going through the game I had noticed that sense of curiosity and wonder was not strong in this Zelda game and I was perplexed by that. I understood the story that the game was going for and on the scale of it. I noticed I was doing things out of obligation rather than exploration and wanting to do it. I was playing the game by the numbers, doing only what was necessary. Completing the shrines, that are scattered all over Hyrule or finding the watchtowers. I could tell certain aspects of the game had taken inspiration from other games that have come out in the past decade which was used to great effect in Breath of the Wild.

The only time I had that same old Zelda excitement feeling was the Divine Beasts because of its linear nature of them. It reminded me of the old temples in Ocarina of Time or Windwaker(Which is my personal favourite from the series). That’s when it clicked for me, why I had this sense of unease playing the game. I don’t like that Breath of the Wild grew up. What I loved about the series as a whole that it had that sense of linearity in its approach, it didn’t expand and grab these elements in its gameplay that other games have done and have done it better and to great success.

I don’t want Legend of Zelda to grow up. And the fact it did, saddens me a great deal. What made it unique was those elements when you tackle those Divine Beasts and I wished the game was smaller. Go back to its roots because I admit this, Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is not made for me. This is for the next generation of fans and the loyal Nintendo and Zelda fans alike. I wanted that unique Nintendo experience that I can’t get anywhere but I noticed a lot of elements that other games that have come before it in this game and call me stuck in the past or old timer that needs to let go of the past but that how like my Zelda games because its a link to the past.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a solid game for newcomers and fans of the series and do highly recommend it for any Switch owners. Unfortunately for me, it’s not my Zelda and you know that’s okay. It doesn’t mean in no way I’m leaving the series, just I’ll be watching it from the sidelines and hoping Nintendo bring it back to its linear roots.

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Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro vs Nintendo Switch: Which one is the best for your gaming needs Part Two: Xbox One X

received_10155337566177636I’ve never owned an Xbox console before but over the years I’ve played a number of its exclusives that I greatly enjoyed. I’ve always kept my eye if I’ll ever get one for myself and the Xbox One X sold me to finally take the plunge. So I ended buying the Project Scorpio limited Editon Xbox One X as that it was its codename during its development which looks different to the standard model of the Xbox One X. Just the console’s design is very minimalistic which I love.

I’m not gonna spend too much time on the specs on this beast of a machine, just because it does everything better than the PS4 Pro with much better finesse on the hardware side it really shows the gap between the X and the Pro. Even the graphical fidelity on the Xbox One X I’ve noticed is much crisper and sharper than on the Pro. I played Rise of the Tomb Raider on both consoles and on the X you can clearly see the difference in performance and the graphical depth on Lara and the environments around her. One important factor to note that the Xbox One X has a 4K UHD Blu-Ray player while the Pro just has a standard Blu-Ray one.

 

The Xperience

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My personal gaming experience with the Xbox One X has been nothing but mindblowing and not just from the gaming experience. It’s also from Xbox’s Live services that it offers the best online services of the three major consoles. It offers Xbox Live Gold which has become a standard practice ever since the original Xbox days. Microsoft last year released a new service next to Xbox Live which is called Game Pass, and what Game Pass lets you do is no different what Netflix does with its videos on-demand service but for video games.

The subscription is like $10 a month and basically, you can choose from current games or Xbox 360 and even Original Xbox games which you simply download and install and play away until finished and then pick another game in its growing library. And not only that you can play brand new games that are released going forward on day one and you don’t have to fork out $60-$100 for a brand new game as long as you have your subscription with Game Pass you are good as gold. Just recently Sea of Thieves was released and I didn’t buy the game I simply downloaded it on launch day and was playing with my mates instantly. This is a game changer for the industry going forward and I’m quite excited for it!

 

Games. I need lots of Games.

In no particular order, these are my top three games that are exclusive to Xbox that should be in your library.

Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)

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That’s a screenshot from one of my races on Hotwheels Island using the in-game photo-mode. Yes, Hotwheels Island. This game is like the racing kid’s dream. Forza Horizon series is a spinoff from the Forza Motorsport main-line series which this is more arcadey than it’s realistic simulator brother. Funny thing that there is another service I want to mention that Microsoft has with its games is Play Anywhere. I actually bought Forza Horizon 3 on PC way before I even owned an Xbox and when my friend mentioned to me that if I had an Xbox I could play the game on there without buying it again. Or I could play against my friends who have the game on PC while I’m using my Xbox or vice versa. This service only works with Microsoft Studios games only.

As for the game itself. There were two reasons why I bought this game and one of those reasons is this game was based in Australia in it’s setting. As an Aussie gamer, Australia doesn’t get represented that much in mainstream video games. So that alone I was excited to see how fully realised the world was. The other reason was how good this game looked. Yes, the PC version will always be the superior version but the Xbox One X version comes pretty damn close.

I highly recommend to get the Ultimate Edition version which I bought on sale which includes all the DLC’s and Expansions including Hot Wheels Island and using the actual Hot Wheel cars that as a kid I use to have and now you can drive them in a fully realised Hot wheels world, its bloody fun as hell!

 

Quantum Break

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Quantum Break is one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve had ever, period. All I knew going into it was that it was a blend of live action show with the game and even by that brief summary I didn’t fully understand what that meant until I started playing it.

Quantum Break is a Sci-Fi action adventure game that deals with time travel and the main character Jack Joyce who is portrayed by Shawn Ashmore. The Time Manipulation abilities you gain through the game are the most thought-provoking ways of how you approach each area and the enemies you face off against. It’s fast and it totally feels like a slow-motion ballet of mayhem as you freeze time around a specific enemy while you pump him with bullets in slow-motion and then speed up time and see those bullets shred the enemy while you’ve moved onto the next group.

The story is centred on Jack Joyce, granted time manipulation powers after a failed time-machine experiment, as he comes into conflict with former friend Paul Serene over how to deal with an apocalyptic “End of Time”. And the experience that blurs the line between television and gaming. With Quantum Break, Remedy Games delivers an action-packed, fast-paced game in which you bend and shape time in order to survive. How you play the game shapes a personalized version of the television show. Watching the show gives you strategies and insights that will impact the way you play the game and helps you discover unique content within the game.

 

We are droppin’ into Hell, troopers! Time to grow a pair!

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It’s pretty much self-explanatory. This a must-have in any Xbox Owner’s library. The collection consists of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4, which were originally released on earlier Xbox platforms. Each game in the release received a graphical upgrade, with Halo 2 receiving a high-definition redesign of its audio and visuals that are exclusive to the collection. The game includes access to the live-action series Halo: Nightfall and they have also Halo 3: ODST.

I played the original’s when they were released at their respective times and playing these remastered versions of the game just brought all those memories back and playing Co-Op with your friends through the story and multiplayer is as still strong. And I never got to play the newer additions in the series, this was a good chance to play them on the Xbox One X.

There’s so much content in this collection and at a cheap price. I highly recommend it if you love FPS games and Sci-Fi combined.

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Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro vs Nintendo Switch: Which one is the best for your gaming needs Part One: PS4 Pro

Let me preface this, I own all current generation consoles which for me is the first and probably the last time I’ll own three consoles at any given time. So this is will be my personal experiences with each console and what they have to offer and what may suit you if you are on the fence or unsure which one to purchase.

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I’ll be starting with the PlayStation 4 Pro as I have had the console the longest since it’s release and also did own the original PS4 beforehand too. I’ll touch on the difference between those two consoles further in.

With the PS4 Pro is the high-end of the console market, it’s still within affordable means. The PS4 Pro, in all honesty, should have been the console Sony launched with from day one. Yes, it’s a bit of a price bump from the base model but it wouldn’t have been much of an issue for gamers and non-gamers alike in the long run.

Let’s start with the basics, PS4 Pro has a 1 Terabyte Harddrive, it allows to be played on 4K Tv’s which has a higher dynamic range(HDR) with the depth of colours and how it is presented. With the PS4 Pro if you want the most of it, highly recommend in having a TV with HDR alongside with the 4K resolution because there is a huge difference in graphics fidelity if you are a tech geek.

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If you are an owner of a PlayStation VR, you will benefit with the PS4 Pro because of the extra power it boasts compared to the standard PS4 which at times can’t handle the power that the VR requires to play things out smoothly. Keep that in mind if you are going to jump into VR gaming. I do have a PSVR and I’ll add this to it if you are a person who gets motion sickness than the VR is not for you. And at best for some reason, I can never play it longer than an hour at a time, it’s not made for long periods of time rather in moderation and there aren’t many full games that have hours of gameplay which is a plus.

For the players

It’s all about the games. The games I’ll talk about are my top three that any PS4 owner must have in their library.

Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4): C6RVI6SVMAAq6aw

This game is breathtakingly beautiful. From the different environments encompassing this world is gorgeous and there have been times I would stand still and watch the herds of animals going about doing their own thing. Or a couple of Watchers attacking a Thunderjaw, which felt like a National Geographic moment just needed the voice of David Attenborough to complete it. And I loved the fact they put Photo-Mode in the game. I’m pretty sure 50% of my game time was taking photos anywhere I could. The above image is one of those photo-mode shots I took.

The game’s soundtrack was beautiful which added to what was going on around you. It really had this epic operatic vibe that really sucks you in the environment or a story beat your experiencing. If you need that open-world action RPG game you can’t go wrong with this game. The story, characters and the world are of the highest quality and I hope there is more because the lore that you discover throughout the game and its history, there is a foundation to build upon.

God of War (PS4):

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Just recently completed God of War. I had never played the previous games even though I do own the remastered collection on PS3, I just never got around to playing them properly. This one seemed like a departure from its predecessors in terms of tone, gameplay and the story being told.

This game takes place after the previous games and it’s just Kratos and Atreus. What Santa Monica Studios did was nothing short of an epic adventure between Father and Son using Norse Mythology as it’s backdrop. This is a father and son story at its heart while all these fantastical things that they experience throughout the game.

The first thing you’ll notice is the visuals. This game is the epitome in terms of visual story-telling there is in this current generation of consoles. If you have a PS4 Pro with a 4K TV then you’re going to have a hard time picking up your jaw from the floor as you explore Norway and its occupants who reside in it.

If you have never played any of the God of War games like me, then you’ll fit right in because of the story and the characters are so engaging that you’ll lose track of time as you delve deeper. The music with its orchestral scope adds to the tensest of moments as well as the downtime between these larger than life experiences. And this game has by far one of the better antagonists you’ll come across. There are definite nods who are the fans of the series in the game too. I highly recommend this game for any new owner of PS4. This is a Game of the Year 2018 contender.

Persona 5 (PS4): Persona-5

From the opening intro with the anime style intro and the theme song for the game. Hooked me straight into it before I hit the menu screen. From the opening intro for the game once you load it up, plays out like an anime series in this lavish cut-scene and then switches to game-play. Everything feels familiar if you’ve played a lot of JRPG’s, Atlus did what I call the “Blizzard move” take the best parts from other games in the genre and blend it all together in this perfect amalgamation.

There are games out there where you finish the story between 30-40 hrs and side missions add another few hours on-top. This game’s story is 100 hrs plus it was no mean feat but the story was so engaging all the way through and the side missions were just as engaging because there are a day and night cycle but also a calendar cycle. Without spoiling it there is a calendar cycle system that adds a sense of urgency to the missions, even the story ones which is great because it requires you to be focused 100% of the time.

As I’m writing this I’m listening to the fantastic soundtrack from the game. This has one of the catchiest beats and songs I’ve ever listened to in a game period. I still hum the tunes to this day even though I’ve finished the game a while ago now. From combat mechanics to the puzzles and I have to say this game has the most bizarre Boss battles ever. They are disgustingly fun and requires strategy with each approach.

What carried me throughout this game is the cast of characters you meet and form the Phantom Thieves that you lead. This game feels like playing a live anime series as you go through to solving murder mysteries, government corruption and this whole “Upside Down” world that you have to explore and solve its mysteries. This game has it all. For me, this is my Game of the Year of 2017. I highly recommend it for any PS4 owner and any lover of RPG’s in general and also for any newcomers to the genre. This game will also steal your heart!

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Part Two: Which Pirate Life Will You Choose?

 

Skull and Bones

 

As Sea of Thievmaxresdefaultes was all about the life of being a Pirate. Skull and Bones from Ubisoft is about the life being a Pirate Captain of the seas. Skull and Bones is being developed by Ubisoft Singapore and is slated for 3rd/4th Quarter of this year. Skull and Bones is a tactical action game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. There is not much information regarding the game currently. Hopefully, in the coming months, Ubisoft Singapore will start to reveal more of the core game and it’s mysterious single player campaign.

 

I am the sea.

Players will be taking on the role of a Pirate Captain, which will be fully customisable and will be given the choice to sail the Indian Ocean by themselves or set off into the single-player campaign, if those choices are not enough then you can find five players to team-up with or engage against them in Disputed Waters.

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Wind positioning is everything in Skull and Bones that can be used to gain the upper-hand in combat. Players can collect additional ships throughout the game, such as sloops-of-war, frigates and brigantines. You can charge into on-coming ships and board it. The damage you take is indicated by a health bar as you take damage in your engagements. The main aspect of the multiplayer is the mode called Loot Hunt, where two groups of players are challenged in hunting for treasure with the fastest team gaining the most riches. Each ship’s crow’s nest is scalable for use as a lookout point, and the use of spyglasses can be availed of as well. Microtransactions will be an added feature but at this point, no details were revealed on what that may be from Ubisoft.

 

Why is the rum always gone!

Skull and Bones’s 5-v-5 naval combat will be one of it’s defining multiplayer features. The main controls for moving your vessel is quite similar to Black Flag’s – one button to hoist and trim your sails, that will let you gain more wind power and move with speed through the sea. Use the wind for a quick speed boost and use another button to slow the ship down, trying to avoid heading down to Davy Jones’s Locker.

Camera controls determine which of your ship’s arsenal you will want to use, launching the chase cannons in front of you when you’re in hot pursuit of enemy vessels, or move the camera to the left or right to launch your port and starboard broadside barrages as you pass by ships.

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Loot Hunt is one of the PvP modes, which requires your tactical mind of a Pirate Captain focused as it is more involved than plundering merchant trade ships. You begin by choosing your class of ship which in the demo that was showcased at last year’s E3, there were three available which were the mid-size Brigantine, that has a large ram on its bow, the Sloop-of-War which is the lightweight out of the three ships and finally the massive Frigate, which it’s hull was armour-plated and held an array of powerful broadside cannons.

 

The Dutchman must have a Captain.

In the demo showed off a lightweight Sloop, as it was attacking a bunch of merchant ships while his teammate quickly went in to collect their spoils of war. While they were plundering their loot the enemy team of players were in the range of their guns. Which caused the team to split apart to avoid the barrage coming their way. The team managed to take down the enemy team one by one looting them as they go. There are much more complex tactics involved for the player to learn and experiment that could be put to use by more experienced crews.

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Another mode in Skulls and Bones is Skirmish mode, the main goal is to be the team with the most loot by the time a fleet of Pirate Hunters arrive in the battle, which requires for you to make a hasty retreat.

The demo that was shown was only one component of a much larger game. With its Quasi-RPG experience which features PvE encounters that you take on solo or with friends, as well as a social component that has yet to be revealed what that is. Keep in mind Skull and Bones is focused on ship-to-ship warfare, as well as capturing ships, purchased, or built so you won’t be stepping off your Pirate ship unlike Sea of Thieves’ offering.

 

 

 

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Part One: Which Pirate Life Will You Choose?

It was E3 2015, Microsoft first announced Sea of Thieves and the following year revealed gameplay for this pirate-themed action-adventure cooperative multiplayer game played from a first-person perspective, which is being developed by Rare for PC and Xbox One.

Last year’s E3, Ubisoft first revealed Skull and Bones which is a tactical action game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. This is the first game being developed by Ubisoft Singapore which they based the game’s concept on the naval battles of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The game is being released on PC, Xbox One and PS4.

I will provide info on both games which are scheduled to come out this year, with Sea of Thieves being released this month on March 20. And Skull and Bones are being slated for 3rd or 4th Quarter later this year. Since Sea of Thieves is being released really soon I will start with that game and what’s being on offer. This is Part One of Two.

Sea of Thieves

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With Sea of Thieves upon us, I wanted to dive into the premise of the game and what it has to offer that may tickle your fancy.

For one since it is being made in-house at Microsoft Studios which makes the game a part of Microsoft’s Xbox Play Anywhere cross-buy program, meaning that purchasers of a digital copy can play the game on both platforms. Additionally, the game will also be available to play at no cost to Xbox Game Pass subscribers at the game’s release, as with all forthcoming Microsoft Studios titles.

The game allows a group of players to travel and explore an open world via a pirate ship and assume different roles such as steering, hoisting sails, navigation, firing cannons and other tasks. Players will embark on quests, collect loot and engage in combat with other players. Sea of Thieves is a shared game world, which means groups of players will encounter each other regularly throughout their adventures. The game has a cartoonish art style and an exaggerated physics engine that allow players to perform stunts, like being shot out of ship cannons. There are three main factions or Trade Companies (As they are called in-game) at launch with plans to add more during its life-cycle according to Rare. Voyages are Sea of Thieves version of quests which will have different types of adventures that you will embark on.

 

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The first of these Trade Companies is Gold Hoarders. Their focus is on hunting for treasures that will be marked with X-marks-the-spots on the map and problem-solving challenges interwoven. And you can sell these rare artifacts around the world.

The Order of Souls is the next Trade Company you can join. These secretive group will pay pirates to hunt pirate captains on bounty hunts. Bring their skulls back and you will be rewarded handsomely by the Trade Company.

And lastly is the Merchant Alliance. You’ll be tasked with scouting for supplies (like gunpowder, chickens and pigs) across the seas. The only downside is you have a timer to beat to bring in these supplies on time so keep an eye on your in-game pocket watch.

 

Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest…

 

The game works best with a group of friends as Rare stated that you can go solo it’ll be a harder experience if you are not careful. Communication is key among you’re playing in groups, the larger galleons are sailed by a crew of four, which are better equipped with multiple cannons and sails but also can take hits better against enemy attacks. Loading up Sea of Thieves by “The Infinite Pirate Generator” as Rare put it. There are eight pre-created pirates of various shapes, sizes, genders and appearances. If nothing works for you then can regenerate another eight characters over and over again until you find the one you like.

There are outpost shops you can spend your gold on heaps of cosmetic items to make you look the pirate you have always dreamed of. There are micro-transactions in the game, according to Rare say it isn’t a loot box system nor it will be any kind of pay-to-win advantages. Rare plans to sell virtual pets, that way you will know what you are paying for.

Players during the Beta tests discovered two types of treasure chests that have different effects. The Chest of a Thousand Grogs will make the player drunk instantly, and the Chest of Sorrow will periodically cry and fill your ship with water if you don’t jump ship quickly. Some players discovered have reported by playing your concertina and instruments have calmed the Chest of Sorrow’s tears.  Very sneaky players have used the Chest of a Thousand Grogs to ambush drunken enemies. If anything you can also sell the chests to the Gold Hoarders for more gold compared to other normal chests in the game.

You need to start believing in ghost stories, you’re in one!

The Skeleton Forts that appear in the Sea of Thieves marketing, the skull cloud with Progression-Video_1.1.243_compressedglowing green eyes, is one of the game’s gameplay systems. During your travels you may come across a giant skull cloud will appear above a skeleton fort which lets all pirates sailing know that a raid is happening. You can choose to work together or fight each other through waves of enemies. If you make it through, the captain will present itself and challenge players to a battle.  If you manage to take the captain down, the cloud disappears and a key will drop to the fort’s vault. Open the vault and the other crews are free to sabotage, Rare has said that there will be more loot than a single crew can carry. How the raids play out is entirely up to you: Will you parley with other crews? Or a good old-fashioned all-out war for the loot. Or you can do a runner with the key and come back later when the coast is clear?

Now bring me that horizon…

You gotta love those data-miners, have discovered that there are classes of skeletons that will be in the final game. They found codes for bone, metal, plant, and shadow skeletons during the alphas, beta tests.
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For you hardcore gamers you are all about the endgame content. That moniker that’s all over the marketing for the game “Become Pirate Legend” is the first of the endgame content. As your reputation grows in the game with the various factions, you’ll be approached by a mysterious group who you want to impress. Once you’ve proven your worth to them, you’ll get an invite to The Tavern of Legends. This hidden lair is hidden somewhere in Sea of Thieves and players in the beta couldn’t find it or its secrets within.

Become Legend

If you happen to make it, within the tavern the Pirate Lord will sell you legendary voyages. The cool thing about that is you can share these legendary voyages with any other pirates regardless of rank. According to Rare, they estimate the first Pirate Legends to arrive within the hideout a couple of weeks after launch, you’ll begin to see some cool unique cosmetic items and high-ranking titles sailing throughout the high seas of Sea of Thieves.

Savvy?

The first major post-launch update, Rare has revealed that another endgame achievement to accomplish is becoming a Legendary Captain. This Tavern of Legends second tier of the endgame content will make the Tavern of Legends your personal hideout, as you will be able to automatically spawn when you sign into the game. The ship you see sailing in the background of the cave will become yours to sail and customise. So when you are sailing around the world this Legendary ship will sail from underneath the hideout’s waterfall, you’ll know a Legendary Captain is on the seas.
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2017 A Year in Review (Game of the Year Edition)

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Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4):

It seemed a lifetime ago I finished playing this game and mind you I haven’t played the Frozen Wilds yet! I know, I know. I’ll get to it soon, I promise. Back to this game and how much fun I had with it and going on this journey with Aloy and being in wonder like her once you step out into the world of Horizon Zero Dawn.

This game is breathtakingly beautiful. From the different environments encompassing this world is gorgeous and there have been times I would stand still and watch the herds of animals going about doing their own thing. Or a couple of Watchers attacking a Thunderjaw, which felt like a National Geographic moment just needed the voice of David Attenborough to complete it. And I loved the fact they put Photo-Mode in the game. I’m pretty sure 50% of my game time was taking photos anywhere I could. The above image is one of those photo-mode shots I took.

The game’s soundtrack was beautiful which added to what was going on around you. It really had this epic operatic vibe that really sucks you in the environment or a story beat your experiencing. If you need that open-world action RPG game you can’t go wrong with this game. The story, characters and the world are of the highest quality and I hope there is more because the lore that you discover throughout the game and its history, there is a foundation to build upon.

 

Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4)

C8fMdHaV0AEw2owA new team. A new story. A new galaxy. Everything about this game was new yet familiar. There was a lot of expectation with this title and I wish there wasn’t. I’ve been a fan since the first Mass Effect’s release a decade ago. With that in mind, I had to put aside those expectations when I first loaded this game up.

One thing Bioware does well is introducing new worlds, especially in their Mass Effect games. I had that sense of everything is old is new feeling throughout the game. You can’t help but draw comparisons to the Original Trilogy. Andromeda’s strongest suit was the world building of setting up a new galaxy and the lore surrounding it. They took the best parts from the previous games and gave it a new spin to play around with which is great for us longtime fans. Newcomers to Mass Effect would enjoy this sci-fi RPG and won’t get lost in its story.

And of course, it’s not Mass Effect without the characters you bring with you on this big mission you were given. Which goes back to that smaller band of brothers like the original game which was great. Even the new species they introduce into the lore which one of your crew members is one of them. Learning about their way of life which is fascinating at the very least. Just wish there is was real stakes in the games with its characters but there was none it would have added an element of urgency to your decision making but there was no payoff at the end, unfortunately.

One thing that games does that the original’s never did was the protagonist that you create and play as because whereas in previous games you play as Commander Shephard as either male/female but it was a singular character. In this, you play siblings Sara and Scott Ryder for spoiler reasons I won’t get into the specifics but you get to pick one or the other and the other will be a part of the story as you play through it which is a very nice addition. This Mass Effect is a family drama at its core which provides some really cool character moments in the game.

All in all this game is a fun adventure for both old and new fans. It has multiplayer which I had fun with the time I gave it. Very similar to Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer if you’re into that style. I wished that Bioware continued with more games in the Andromeda universe but sadly this will be a stand-alone game as clearly there was set-up for more to be told and explored. Thank you for taking me back to the Mass Effect Universe one more time Bioware, hopefully not the last!

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4)

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In a lot of ways, this game was no “DLC” or even an expansion. This felt like a full-fledged Uncharted game with all the action and thrills you would find in an Uncharted game. I wasn’t expecting Naughty Dog to go full blown with this spin-off adventure when it was first announced. I’m glad that they went guns-blazing with Lost Legacy following Chloe who was absent from Uncharted 4, which I thought she would appear in as it was the final Uncharted game with Nathan Drake but they were cooking something else in the background with this game.

Naughty Dog has a knack for pushing the PlayStation to its limits graphically. This game is no different, I feel they pushed it even further here than they did in Uncharted 4 and that is no mean feat! Even in the opening section where you are in India, you are hit with a kaleidoscope of colours when you’re exploring the bazaars and the sound design is another element to that hearing all the chatter both in the foreground and background. It really adds that extra layer to the overall experience as you explore India in all its glory.

Everyone kept talking about the Madagascar level in Uncharted 4 where the game introduced an open-world feel to Uncharted for the first time and in the Lost Legacy they take it a step further to that true open-world experience once you start getting into the meat of the story and expanding how exploration works in Uncharted. You’re given side-missions to do in whatever order you want or not do them, it’s up to you at the end which was a nice change from the norm.

Exploration has been always a part of the Uncharted experience but here in Lost Legacy takes the front seat and it’s beautifully done. Between gun-fights and action set-pieces there is enough quiet to take in the views and the weather system adds that element of unpredictability as it can affect gameplay in different ways. I’ll say this much the mud physics in this game is second to none.

What I love about this Uncharted game is the banter between Chloe and Nadine Ross who was one of the antagonists in Uncharted 4. To have her paired with Nadine was gonna produce some golden moments. I wasn’t disappointed with them being at each other’s throats or being a team. The dynamics of their growing respect throughout the game was great and at a particular moment even poignant as you begin to see what makes Chloe’s mind tick.

This is a fantastic package and the multiplayer is back here too. It’s just as chaotic and fun as ever which allows you to play against people who have copies of Uncharted 4 as it all is on the same servers. Highly recommend for any PlayStation 4 owner.

 

Persona 5 (PS4)

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This is the game I’m most excited to talk about with you all. For the longest time this year, Horizon Zero Dawn was my Game of the Year until this came along and stole my heart. I had no idea what this game was about or what to expect. I’ve played previous Persona games in the past but they never seem to hook me as this did and to completion.

From the opening intro with the anime style intro and the theme song for the game. Hooked me straight into it before I hit the menu screen. From the opening intro for the game once you load it up, plays out like an anime series in this lavish cut-scene and then switches to game-play. Everything feels familiar if you’ve played a lot of JRPG’s, Atlus did what I call the “Blizzard move” take the best parts from other games in the genre and blend it all together in this perfect amalgamation.

There are games out there where you finish the story between 30-40 hrs and side missions add another few hours on-top. This game’s story is 100 hrs plus it was no mean feat but the story was so engaging all the way through and the side missions were just as engaging because there are a day and night cycle but also a date cycle. Without spoiling it there is a calendar cycle system that adds a sense of urgency to the missions, even the story ones which is great because it requires you to be focused 100% of the time.

As I’m writing this I’m listening to the fantastic soundtrack from the game. This has one of the catchiest beats and songs I’ve ever listened to in a game period. I still hum the tunes to this day even though I’ve finished the game a while ago now. From combat mechanics to the puzzles and I have to say this game has the most bizarre Boss battles ever. They are disgustingly fun and requires strategy with each approach.

What carried me throughout this game is the cast of characters you meet and form the Phantom Thieves that you lead. This game feels like playing a live anime series as you go through to solving murder mysteries, government corruption and this whole “Upside Down” world that you have to explore and solve its mysteries. This game has it all. For me, this is my Game of the Year of 2017. I highly recommend it for any PS4 owner and any lover of RPG’s in general and also for any newcomers to the genre. This game will also steal your heart!

Gypo Gamer signing out.

GG 2017!!

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Stranger Things are Happening in Life is Strange (Review)

 

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I was raw with emotion after finishing the finale of the five-episode saga. The decision I made, in the end, left me in awe and revealed how much of myself I had invested in Max Caulfield’s journey. A few days have passed since finishing the game and gathering my thoughts on the whole experience. For me, the game was less about the ending and more about the journey; for me, this game was never really about Max, but rather, Chloe, from start to finish. Max is the player character, whose primary role is to prevent danger to Chloe. However, the player experiences different aspects of her life – at different points and even in different realities.

Max has the ability to travel through time, but as with many other and the repercussions from messing with time in not only trying to figure out in prevent an event that is introduced in the opening episode but also there are other threads in the story that have their own arcs that permeate throughout the whole game. I’m going to treat all the episodes as one game instead of individually as they were released as I bought the game after all the episodes were released so my experience was different compared to some I know who bought the episodes over its release. This game really sucked me into its world because of the three-dimensional characters that inhabit this world of Arcadia Bay.

The emotional journey this game ebbs and flows through in and out as you rewind time and see the effects of your decisions sometimes its instant or sometimes it may happen down the track. The cause and effect mechanic really is the where the crux of the game lies and it’s done to great effect in Life is Strange. It really makes your choices matter and with meaning, in different ways, it really is the modern take on Groundhog Day. The way the story plays out through Max’s eyes reminds me a lot of the way Mad Max films are told which is from the outside looking in rather than Max being the centre of the story just a vessel for the story being told from another’s perspective in this case which is Chloe. I’ll have to give props to Ashley Burch who voices her with such earthy undertones and with a tinge of angst but conveying the undertone of hope that is buried underneath the emotional pain and Ashley completely owns it and made me believe in her through her journey in Life is Strange.

There is so much I could say about this game but for me personally it’s definitely in my list of emotionally driven games that made me feel my choices throughout especially with the eclectic cast of characters surrounding you. And also noting is the music. The soundtrack is the perfect blend of calm with a sombre undertone which reminded me of the Last of Us soundtrack it had that beautiful soft calmness when it needed to be as all as that pulled back chaotic undertone in the most heart-pounding of moments in the game. And taking photos throughout the game which is part of the story is great trying to find the picture perfect moment to fill up your diary is a nice touch. All I can say is you gotta experience this game and see for yourself how strange life can be when you start to change its plans which is the beautiful irony of this game.

 

 

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Welcome to the Wasteland – Mad Max Review (PS4)

 

I’ve journeyed into the Wastelands and have survived it – barely, but in a good way. While I attempt to finish Assassin’s Creed Origins, here’s another open world game that I did finish.

Like Max himself, you are thrown into the Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland, with nothing but your shotgun. You must build a car, your Magnum Opus, since your Interceptor was taken and you were left for dead in the desert.

And I have to say that my expectations were succeeded. I wanted to not only be playing as Max, but also be living and breathing in the Wasteland; this game performed.

You are really made to feel as if you are living – as if surviving for scraps in order to Mad Maxreclaim your prized vehicle and, ultimately, Max’s self-identity. You encounter a companion early in the game – essentially your guide and mechanic throughout the game. What Avalanche has created here is the perfect Mad Max sandbox.

Firstly, let’s talk about the environment. By the Force the Wasteland is a gorgeous environment. Each new area you enter has its own distinct characteristics – great in many ways. Every area is distinctly different, with each possessing its own set of challenges. And using photo mode is fantastic.

There is one common rinse and repeat while exploring each territory held by a warlord/leader – taking back control from Scrotus, the main antagonist. The system here was reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, wherein you are taking out the Templar towers in each part of the city, whilst slowly progressing through the map. You must earn the trust of the leaders in order to gain new resources to not only customise your car but also to improve Max himself.

The combat system in this game is solid. It’s quite similar to the Arkham games or Shadow of Mordor, but the one thing I feel they could have done was give more oomph to the hits that Max dishes out to the enemies. That’s one thing I really enjoyed from the Batman combat system – the impact from each hit. Other than that the combat system is good.

The enemy units are varied and each require their own strategy for defeat. During overwhelming moments, you can bring out your shotgun out and start blowing the enemy to pieces. The boss fight encounters are one of the weakest parts of the game, because they are all very similar. Not much strategy is required to take them out – they all have the same repertoire except the last boss fight. That was a highlight for me. I just wish all the previous boss fights were like the final one.

The other big positive factor in this game is the driving. Your car is not only your home but also your weapon and companion in surviving the desert wasteland. Completing tasks and collecting and gathering resources will further to unlock and upgrade your Magnum Opus – from upgrading the engines to adding explosive harpoons in taking out enemy convoys, or even various war parties that roam the roads. The vehicular combat in this game is second to none. It’s one of my favourite parts of the game because if you recently seen Mad Max: Fury Road, you experience those kinds of flavours in this game and then some. It’s fantastic. I’m a racing car gamer and I felt right at home with driving around this world and having random encounters with the varied enemy vehicles.

As you go deeper into enemy territory and upgrade your car, the enemy car units also become stronger and more well-armoured and the car battles add another layer of strategy. This is especially apparent when going after the convoys that rule certain sections of each territory. After successfully defeating them, you earn their hood ornament as your trophy and can place it on your car. When enemy units roam the roads, some will go after you and others will turn tail and run because you and your car’s reputation grow. It really makes you feel like you are a true badass and the enemy will fear you because of your deeds throughout the wasteland.

And before I wrap this up, one important note I want to add is that the voice acting is solid. They nailed the Aussie accent, which is nice for me, being an Australian myself. It’s good that they maintained the style of George Miller’s world with the voice acting with all the characters.

All in all, Mad Max is one hell of a ride. It is a slow burn but once you’ve established yourself in this sandbox, there is nothing ahead but the road to glory! And there are some Easter eggs from the films especially the moment you hear the words “Two men enter, one man leaves” chanted by a crowd.

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Overwatch: ¡Apagando las luces! (Review)

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It was a couple of BlizzCon’s ago that I recall Overwatch being revealed for the for the first time. I was not initially blown away by this, but rather, surprised. Blizzard had just entered the FPS realm; this alone intrigued me.

I had watched the trailers and the animated short films. I still wasn’t as excited as some of my friends, or even the general populace of gamers, were. It was not until the open beta that the game clicked into place for me. Up until then, a team-based shooter from Blizzard, which held a lot of similarities to Team Fortress, was something of a question mark for me.

Then the game was released. Everything changed.

Team-based shooters have always been a part of my gaming experiences, dating right back to the original Counter-Strike. I bought Overwatch on PS4. (I know, “PC master race”, “it’s better on PC”, etc. etc.) I do have the PC version of the game as well, but I prefer the PS4 for different reasons.

When I started Overwatch, I was going solo. None of my friends at the time had bought it so I was grinding to level 25 alone to unlock the competitive mode. Competitive mode was another beast in itself. My first main character was Mercy for the majority of the first season. Then I started playing Reaper and a few other characters along the way.

For the first 5 and a half seasons I was solo queuing. I didn’t really have a consistent group of players that I meshed well with. The latter part of Season 5 is when I encountered a group of players that, for one, loved the game, but also made me laugh with antics that we encountered with the random players in our competitive games.

My love for Overwatch also comes from Blizzard’s world building and the lore that enriches it. I’m a lore buff and constantly want to know the stories behind the characters and the world that they live in. I’ve been playing Blizzard games since Warcraft 3 and it’s the rich story that they create is what hooks me in all their games. I managed to attend the World Cup 2017 Qualifiers here in Sydney where I saw my home team perform and continue onto the World Cup Finals at BlizzCon. My fandom has taken over and I’ve recently bought the Art of Overwatch and the Anthology Comic Series, which are based on the characters’ origins (I highly recommend buying them).

Every season of Overwatch has brought something new, whether it be changes to the meta or new characters or new maps. Overwatch at times feels like an MMO in disguise with its mechanical elements spread throughout the game. I can’t place my finger on what exactly why Overwatch has me logging on every day and playing it for hours on end but I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.

Not every game is perfect, and Overwatch is no different. For the most part I’ve had really good experiences overall. I’ve come across some very colourful players over the 6 seasons of the game. Every match is different so the experiences with my Overwatch buddies is always fun even if we’ve given up being competitive by the end of it. The current Overwatch is vastly different compared to when it first launched. It will be very interesting to see its trajectory within the next few years with more improvements, or albeit with a sequel.

Who knows? I guess only time will tell, if the heroes of Overwatch never die.

P.S: I just want to thank Paris Vakarian Paris’s Blog of Awesomeness (Go check her blog out!) as through being a fan of her work which inspired me to write out my love for gaming. Thank you for being you and what you bring to us gamers especially in Australia where gaming is still growing and providing an avenue for others to be informed.

Surviving Until Dawn

Until Dawn is a interactive drama survival horror game that I really never knew was coming out until a few days beforehand as one of the actors in the game on his Instagram posted a pic of himself from in-game and I was like colour me intrigued. So I did a little digging before its release and noticed this game was originally made for the PS3 as a PS Move game but was redeveloped for the PS4.

And I have to say is good thing it did switch to the PS4 as now the PS4 library of games are starting to build and this game is a good starting point for any PS4 owner to have in their collection.

The game takes place in a remote mountain getaway retreat among eight friends as you control each of these characters throughout the game making choices in the game’s main mechanic called the “Butterfly Effect” where choices you make immediately will change the course of the story and even characters fates. The game developers whether intentional or not, grabbed a few notes from the Telltale Games playbook of how choices will come back with rewards or consequences later in the game but it applies a different spin on that moral compass.

This won’t be an in-depth review or anything just my feelings on my experience of the game overall. Until Dawn uses every horror “cliche” in the book but what it does is that it knows this and plays a wink to the player throughout the game then adds some new flavours on top of that giving it a different taste through its storytelling and the environments and the score helps accentuates the heightened state of the tension building from the start of the game. There is a point in the game where it switches to high gear and the game moves at a very fast pace to the end of the game.

The latter half of the game it felt rushed to some degrees that could be my only negative is the game length. There is a character you encounter at the “breaks” between the chapters which has no resolution which to me was the most intriguing part of the game but the character just vanishes towards the end and that was it, they could of really delved more into that particular character my interactions with him was the most fun.

I clocked just about 10 hours by the time the credits rolled around. Stick around during the credits as it shows the various endings on who survived the game. I’m playing through it again and seeing the choices I didn’t make playout. One aspect of the game I really loved was the bonus content you unlock over the course of the game which are small videos of the making of the game, giving you an insight on how the game came together from the creators to the actors and composer.

It’s a really well put together package I enjoy in the episodic breaks in the game where I would watch a video of the game making aspect and then jump back into the game. There is a high replayability factor in this game which is great. The overall package from its presentation, its graphical fidelity, music and the icy environment the game is set in makes Until Dawn a worthy part of your PS4 collection.