Rainbow Six: Siege Impressions (PC)

It’s okay. R6S_Screenshot_2_196930

Here’s the deal: some of the elements are REALLY cool, like the window breaking, garage door breaching, and everything of that variety. But it’s the same animation set every time you do it, and when you’re doing it at least three times a match every match in a multiplayer only game, it gets old.

Rappelling up and down the sides of buildings is another awesome thing. So much better than Battlefield Hardline‘s piss-poor attempt at providing a good cops versus robbers vibe. This entire game essentially feels like what Hardline wanted to be, if it wasn’t stuck to the Battlefield name.

But here’s the sad truth of the matter: there’s just not enough present. Even for a beta, what I played offered so many different classes that I should’ve felt overwhelmed with variety, especially since they let us go through three different maps. If Ubisoft surprises us all and includes a gazillion different destructible maps and even more classes, maybe then it’d be worth $60. But as it stands? You do the exact same thing on all the maps, which is blow up the outside of the house, run in like an asshole and get shot, or do the reverse of that if you’re on the other side.

Also, speaking of the destruction, it’s nowhere near the scale shown in the E3 demos. In those videos we were seeing fucking granules of wood getting picked apart by bullet fire. Here, if you hit a wall, a large, predetermined chunk of it will just disappear. It’s far less intense and detail-fueled than the staged demos, which bums me out. Also, the graphics are nowhere near as good, but at this point that’s simply the Ubisoft guarantee.

In conclusion: it’s a good time if you want a bad-ass home invasion game, but I can’t imagine it ever being worth over $40. And, funnily enough, Amazon seems to agree as just recently it put a pre-order deal for the game at $36, months before release. So yeah, pinch your pennies on this one.

Evolve Big Alpha Thoughts

Having been a part of the original alpha back in August, I went into this one with expectations. While some issues have been fixed, others remain glaringly obvious.evolve_-_goliathvmarkov_fire
Almost all of the issues revolve around the monster and the character playing as it, so let’s talk about what’s wrong. Firstly, when you attack a hunter, there is no way for you to see which class you are attacking. It would make fights SO MUCH BETTER if you could see the little class symbol above their names, so you know who to tactically pick off.

Second issue with the monster: his leveling scale is still shit like it was back in August. It’s marginally better, being slightly easier to survive at level one, but it’s still not good. Back in August, this is how every match went: most teams would insta-kill the monster at level one. If he made it to two, he would still be insta-killed. If he made it to three, the hunters might as well give up on the spot as the power shift was completely unbalanced. Now, survival is slightly more feasible at level one, a bit underwhelming at level two, and pretty fair at level three. In short, levels one and two need a bit more fine tuning, which could be accomplished by a simple tweak: require less feeding bars for monster evolution. That simple. Maybe just two or three animals’ less would do.

In terms of things that are good, I am absolutely loving the new hunter characters. As support was my favorite class back in August, I instantly went to work on unlocking the new character for this alpha. Bucket, the new support robot character, is awesome. He is the perfect step forward from the original support character, Hank, providing a different skill set that achieves the same amount of overall effectiveness through very different avenues of play. Bucket has these awesome little turrets he can deploy, a UAV head, and a sick laser-targeted missile launcher. I’ve also played alongside the new trapper character, and he seems pretty good too.2K_EVOLVE_E3_Character_Bucket2
The new monster, Kraken, seemed overpowered at first but as I encountered players who knew his patterns, he ended up suffering from the weaknesses addressed above. While Kraken seems to fair marginally better than Goliath against the hunters in almost every match, the monster player still suffers from too many weaknesses to make playing that entire half of the experience viable fun.

Alien: Isolation First Impressions

Having only experienced two hours of Alien: Isolation with no plans to rush through it, I feel that now is the opportune time to give my early opinions on it while they’re still relevant.
alien-isolation-screenshots-7-alien-isolation-tips-to-help-you-survive-the-xenomorphAlien: Isolation does something that no other horror game does, making you feel both safe and completely exposed simultaneously. The feeling of safety comes from the rock solid controls and overall mechanics of the game, making you feel secure in your movements and actions. On the other hand, the nerve-wracking exposed-feeling is almost always around because there’s a Xenomorph on your trail for a good chunk of the game. But you’ve heard this all in the pre-release press blurbs and advertising stuff, so I’m here to say a few things that haven’t already been hammered to death via gaming website propaganda.

One moment early on in the game (forty minutes in or so), you’re traveling with a companion, who, during a cut-scene, gets impaled by the Alien’s tail. This is pretty standard fair, as in horror games almost always the protagonist’s companion gets killed at some point. So, after that boring intro-to-the-alien cut-scene, you are then tasked with running to a shuttle transport. Obviously, now that you know the Alien is lurking around things are more tense, especially with the added dramatic piano tremors. But what made me nearly piss myself is the fact that if, when the train pulls into the station, you wait more than five seconds to move to the next area, the Alien will come charging towards you (and you have nowhere to run at that point so…). That is an optional scare, the scariest kind of all. Most will go through the game and never experience that, being all the happier for it. The fact that during the cliche hunter introduction sequence you actually run the risk of being hunted against all video game norms makes Alien: Isolation a bundle of surprises. alien_isolation_6-100371845-origEven standard encounters with the Alien are near-piss inducing, as when you see him carving up humans on the other side of the room and you realize the only way to advance is by going over there and accessing an elevator out in the open, it’s one of the most heart-thump inducing experiences in gaming. Overall, if I wrack up the courage to play more than the two-plus hours of Alien: Isolation that I soldiered through, I have no doubt that the game will give me more memorable moments to shit myself over. And in that respect, I can already name it the best horror game I’ve ever played. No cliches, no safe assumptions, just one intimidating AI Alien with no rules.

Top 5 Reasons Destiny is the Worst Game Ever

Before we kick this off, let me say that “Worst Game Ever” is a sarcastic title, just so that I can keep this article in league with my other “Worst Game Ever” write-up for Assassin’s Creed 3.  BUT, I do make these to point out glaring flaws and stupid aspects of the game that everyone is overlooking. With that out of the way, let’s see why Destiny is on track to suck later this year!download

5.) It’s a watered-down Halo. Bungie really doesn’t know how to do anything else. Want a handful of Halo assets palette-swapped and on the PS4? Then I guess this is the lowest common denominator game for you!

4.) It’s a watered-down Borderlands. Can you collect shit? Yessir! Is there any real addictive nature to upgrading weapons, adjusting stats, and the usual RPG jargon? No.

3.) Boatloads of exclusive content. Sony’s getting exclusive content, Gamestop’s getting exclusive content, and Microsoft gets shafted by their former lovers at Bungie. I honestly couldn’t care less about who gets what, but it’s a disgusting practice that pisses me off every time it comes up.

2.) Cross-Gen malarkey. When a game crosses gens, you have idiots on the “next gen” side claiming that the game is watered down in order to accommodate the previous gen. When, in actuality, it is the previous gen’s game slightly bolstered to look incrementally prettier on the more current consoles. Diminishing returns, anyone?

1.)  The hype is unreal. The majority of people playing the beta say “it’s okay, has potential, not all that entertaining”. People are sizing this thing up to be the second coming of Christ, when in all honesty it looks like it’s gonna be another Watch_Dogs, albeit with less controversy and corporate politics. Ride that hype train all you want, but I guarantee when regular people get their hands on the retail versions of Destiny, the train will come to a screeching halt.

Battlefield Hardline (PC) Closed Beta Impressions

If there’s ever been a full-retail game that feels like a glorified expansion pack, it’s this one.battlefield_hardline.0_cinema_640.0

Hardline is a fun time, but the beta lets you experience pretty much every fresh inclusion of the game minus the inevitable new maps. The new gadgets such as the taser are relatively useless as finding an opportune moment to use them is extremely rare, and tools such as the grappling hook require extremely close range to use. In short, you’ll be playing this like Battlefield 4.

Speaking of Battlefield 4, this is pretty much a cops and robbers-stylized version of that game. The levolution is still present, the weapons and classes are near identical and the game play is almost copy-and-pasted; not a horrible thing as Battlefield 4 (on the PC, at least) is currently a great, relatively bug-free experience, but Hardline clearly won’t have enough to justify a sixty dollar price tag. It’s Payday meets Battlefield which, like I’ve already stressed, would make for a great twenty dollar expansion. However, anyone with any sort of prudence wouldn’t put a single dollar down towards this game at its retail price.

With all that negativity said and done, I had a ball riding around with sirens blaring, picking off criminals and hauling back fat bags of cash to our SWAT van (and vise versa from the crooks’ perspective). That’s Blood Money mode, where you battle for control of cash in a capture the flag-like manner. It’s fun. Heist is more simplistic, boiling down to team death match with some odd protect-the-VIP elements thrown in. Less fun and less people know what they’re doing.

All in all, Hardline is looking to be the Gears of War: Judgement of the Battlefield franchise. Not a horrible game, but not a worthy title in its own respect. I guess we’ll have to stay tuned ’til October to find out.