Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Three years of games slashing!!!

                Three years have slipped by and I’m almost as enthusiastic as I was in the first day. I still feel that urge to write things down every chance I get, I’m not sure if it’s part of a now internal discipline, a routine or it’s my continuous need to express my thoughts about gaming, maybe a little bit of all three. The creative process involved is unchanged, each time I go through the same battle between inspiration and self doubt with an end result that’s never good enough for me. But I feel there is an evolution, even if slight, an evolution which allows me to better transpose what I’m thinking on the virtual paper. I try not to dwell too often in such details, maybe because there’s such a thin line I call confidence and I don’t want to test its fragility or I’m too scared of gratification in any form.
                Three years have passed and the retrospective ain’t bad: hundreds of thousands of words, which for the most part I still stand by, comprising over 260 articles, most of which are mine (Wolfe has gotten lazy). A pretty good record that’s increasing with each week almost unimpaired by the burnouts that in the past would have put an end to such activities or the problems that have been plaguing my personal life. I guess that’s the result of doing something you like and as I write this I feel my face turning from its normal frowny expression into a smile. That’s right, I’m doing something I like and it feels somewhat good!
                I’ve been slashing through PC video games for all these years, maybe not with the intensity that I wanted, but I haven’t given up on my principles nor my critical view. And all this time TopSOUL stood in the shadows with his never-ending support helping set my writing on a better path. Wolfe has brought his contribution through picky reviews mostly about the RPGs he likes, while others have given their support through encouraging words and constructive criticism. And for all this I want to thank you and I hope you’ll stick around for the next chapter. But enough with getting emotional, I have articles to work on!

Happy Birthday The Game Slashers!!!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Screenshot of the Week #109: Family dinner!

                I love the universe building that can be done around a horror theme, it’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed playing Bloodborne so much lately. A game doesn’t have to be scary to a sense of unease and From Software’s game is a testimony to that. But what happens when there is a universe built the idea to induce fear? Resident Evil started this way, back in 96 when zombies weren’t such a common sight in video games. Capcom has expanded the story into a whole universe with games focused on building suspense and terrifying players either with cliché jump scares or through anxiety inducing survival elements that made things challenging and more satisfying. Over the time the concept was dropped in favor of action packed blockbusters featuring almost superhuman protagonists that could single-handedly save the world from the dangers of bioterrorism, until now.
                Resident Evil 7 puts an end to the 3rd person heritage that defined the series in favor of a first person approach designed to play into the game’s strengths, which includes VR. But it’s also a new beginning for the series horror thematic. Ethan Winters, the new protagonist is tracing his old girlfriend through the swamps of Louisiana to what looks like an abandoned mansion in which no sane person would enter. But determined by love, stupidity or the game’s plot he goes into exploring a house filled with horrors and creatures that defy the laws of nature. Alone, unarmed and generally unprepared for the situation, Ethan proves to be a resourceful guy sneaking his way past the psychopathic Baker family to uncover the truth and evidently find his ex-girlfriend, Mia. This is how pretty much 60% of this game goes, in the good old fashion Resident Evil, solving puzzles, scavenging for any resources you can find and counting the bullets before shooting at any abomination that blocks your way. The horror is finally back and it’s not done only through cliché jump scares or by abusing the mix of light, shadow and sound. The Baker’s are some scary ass undying psychopaths with a performance so memorable that’s worthy of horrors hall of fame. And even if things do get a little crazy towards the end, after all this is Resident Evil, the game has the most horror I tasted in probably more than a year.
                Resident Evil 7 is a somewhat short adventure, but does help the game keep up the intensity for as long as possible until the narrative derails towards 5 & 6 territory and the gameplay turns into a shooting practice. But I enjoyed this madhouse trip, so much that I might want to write more about it.
Sanity isn't home!


The Upcoming Adventure Games in 2017

I’m continuing my quest of showcasing some of the most interesting upcoming titles in 2017. I now got to adventures, a genre I was afraid it will die out, at least in the form I used to know it, but it still stands strong with a few titles that remind us of the old ways in the mass of narrative driven experiences.

The Walking Dead: A new frontier
Release Date: On-going episodes

                Does this game need any introduction? Set in the universe of The Walking Dead comic-books, Telltale’s game with the same name entered Season 3 in December. This time around the story doesn’t follow Clementine, instead the new protagonist, Javier, meets the resourceful girl on his quest to find the family that was taken away from him.
Choices that might have real consequences, or not, an emotional story in a disturbing universe and the appearance of the legendary comic-book character, Jesus, are things that the Season 3 of The Walking Dead has in store. The first 2 episodes are already available with more to be released over the course of this year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Upcoming Action Games in 2017

                Action games tend to mix the most gameplay elements from other genres and it’s only natural that they represent the strongest roster of the year. New beginnings and returning franchises mark an action packed 2017, let’s have a look:

Resident Evil 7
Release Date: 24 January

                The Resident Evil series is not rebooted, but it is taken into a different direction. While the two Revelations games and the remakes have brought the series to a more balanced gameplay, the main titles have gone off the rail with a more action oriented approach. Resident Evil 7 returns to the roots of the series using Outlast and the famous PT demo as inspiration for its new first person horror. Set after the events of Resident Evil 6, we will take the role of a new protagonist trapped in a farmhouse haunted by the weird Baker family and other horrific creatures. While the first-person gameplay is going to be a hit or miss with the diehard fans of the series, the focus on survival horror and puzzles instead of combat should ease up the transition. Capcom has confirmed the game ties up with the whole Resident Evil universe and even familiar characters might be met and I’m quite curious to see how this turns out.
Resident Evil 7 is a strong year opening and for those wondering how the new changes work, there is a demo available on Steam.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Upcoming Strategy Games in 2017

                I’m continuing the series of upcoming games in 2017 with strategies, a genre still staying strong despite the popularity lost by RTS in the past few years.

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach
Release Date: January 19

                Sanctus Reach is a Turn Base Strategy from Straylight Entertainment opening up a year filled with the endless war of Warhammer 40,000 universe.
                The players will lead the army of Space Wolves into battle against the expanding threat of the Orks fighting in two singleplayer campaigns to protect the world of Alaric Prime. The gameplay resembles the tabletop in army creation using points system for units which afterwards can be deployed in strategic areas of the map to fight in a good old turn based fashion. The twist is a progression system for each unit that carries on from one battle to the next.
The graphics and animation aren’t really impressive and the variety of units is limited by the two races, but the campaigns with over 40 missions, skirmish matches, multiplayer and a map generator sum a good amount of content to enjoy the mightiest Space Wolves.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Screenshot of the Week #108: Legendary Swagger!

                The fifth PvP season of Guild Wars 2 has been tougher than any other season before. The game is transitioning to a new ranked system and problems are unavoidable. Stomping games, weird setups and other matchmaking problems have been testing my patience, but I’ve pulled through and achieved my ultimate goal: The Ascension. This legendary backpack has one of the most impressive artistic designs I’ve seen and has caught my attention from day one. I dedicated countless hours trying to complete the required achievements and gather all the expensive materials that go into making this backpack. But I’ve succeeded and after a year's long work I feel the need to show off. My characters got some more swagger now!
Watching over Lion's Arch!


Friday, January 13, 2017

The Upcoming Shooters in 2017

                A new year means new games and a series of articles is in order to talk about what 2017 has in store for the PC gamers. I’m going to start with shooters as it is the least represented genre but well concentrated in a group of interesting games.
As usual, these articles include the most expected games and those I find promising, but not all the games confirmed for 2017.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Screenshot of the Week #107: Salty fashion!

                I’m kicking off the New Year by playing a game I missed the last year. I didn’t pick Salt and Sanctuary because platforming tends to frustrate the living hell out of me. But while the Metroidvania exploration kept me away for months, the Soul-esque combat kept calling me in. So, naturally, I gave in to the temptation.
                It was a hell of a ride to escape the monsters riddled island and only my OCDish ambition got me through some of the rough moments, but I did it! Salt and Sanctuary is pretty much at the crossroads between Metroidvania and Dark Souls, taking the best of both in a sidescrolling action adventure filled with platforming and tough fights. The game does an amazing job at accommodating the Souls combat system into a sidescrolling perspective, but the camera’s limitation can be felt in the difficulty. Salt and Sanctuary is a fun and challenging game, yet not a fair one. The 2D has its limits and while the extreme verticalization coupled with the navigation abilities provides options, sometimes isn’t enough. The boss fights tend to surface these problems the most. Being cornered can be problematic and it doesn’t help that bosses tend to chain deadly abilities in the most infuriating way possible. Still, the game can be good fun when not getting stomped by a screen full of lightning spheres. There is a ton of content to explore and a lot of replay value. The itemization is pretty in depth and the large skill tree expands the power of each class and play style in a more balanced way than Dark Souls games ever did.
                Salt and Sanctuary is clearly a product born out of the heritage left behind by the Dark Souls series, focusing on challenge and gameplay, but without forgetting the importance of stylish weapons and armors!
Come to me, I mean no harm!