[PS Plus Reviews] July 2016- Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

To think that the Saints Row series couldn’t get any weirder.

Saints Row started off as a competent GTA clone, about gangsters in an open world doing crime and story missions. By the Saints Row The Third the namesake gangster group The Third Street Saints have now become celebrities and fought an international crime syndicate and a super high-tech private army, while Saints Row IV have them save the world from utter destruction, their boss- the protagonist- becomes President of the USA and fight off aliens in a Matrix-like construction of the world with super powers.

So for this lightweight spin-off, Saints lieutenants Johny Gat and Kinzie go to hell to save their boss, and have to find a way to get out of hell. Hence, the pun in the title.

With all the ludicrous set-ups aside, Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell is a solid short romp in the Saints Row universe, but it does not fundamentally bring something new and ridiculous to its gameplay. But if you’re a fan of the already ridiculous Saints Row IV, this is right up your alley.

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[PS Plus Reviews] July 2016- Furi

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

The Game Bakers may not be a well-known indie team, but they have made names in the mobile space with Combo Breaker, a solid beat-em-up for its platform, and several other mobile games working in conjunction with Activision and Capcom.

Furi is the French team’s first effort on consoles, currently a PS4 console exclusive, and PC with the aim of making a solid character action game, married it with bullet hell shoot-em-up (shmup) mechanics and only focuses on the boss fights. Essentially, Furi is a boss rush game, which sounds novel at first but other indie titles like Titan Souls and Jotun also share a similar space here.

But what makes Furi stands out is the vibrant aesthetic, brilliant soundtrack to fit the theme, and a complete dedication to making the fights tough but fair with a focus on mastering the limited tools given. Gameplay purists who love a challenge and speedrunners will find Furi a delight, but it has some rough edges that may turn off the more casual fans.

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Eid Mubarak, Selamat Hari Raya

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The fasting month of Ramadhan has just past, tomorrow is the day of celebration! (For Malaysia at least)

Happy holidays everyone. Stay safe, and have a good time with your family and friends.

I have been spending time doing some e-sports reporting. Expect to see some more opinions on Overwatch as well as the supposedly weekly editorials.

Like what you have been reading and want to guarantee me publishing something of a weekly basis? Help me out with a small tip (check that paypal button on the side) or any sort of feedback.

Thanks for all the support so far!

 

So.. Who Won E3 2016?

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Another year of E3, another year of big news and announcements of the latest upcoming games coming in the future. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is usually defined as the main event to showcase games to the press and now to the public, either as attendees or via online coverage of streams and videos.

The main eye-catcher of E3 now are on those press conferences, where publishers are setting up grand shows to hype the crowd- both the press and the general gamers – in spectacle.

With Square-Enix opting out from hosting a press conference event and instead share details of their games directly on the show floor, the remaining six in the contest of spectacle are, in order of their time slot, EA, Bethesda, Microsoft, the PC Gaming Show, Ubisoft, Sony and technically Nintendo. So let’s try and answer the arbitrary question of who won E3 as an excuse of highlighting the highs-and-lows of each press conference.

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The “Resident Evil 7 Isn’t Resident Evil” Argument

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E3 2016 is interesting. Despite its size slowly going down- folks attending the show has reported to have good mobile reception and wider walking space, something not seen during the peak of the events- the quality of games being shown, surprise announcements of new games and sequels kept the show being something exciting to those that are paying attention to it.

One of the ballsiest move was seen at Sony’s excellent E3 press conference, after announcing the Playstation VR’s price and release window, a VR game was shown.

Turns out that The Kitchen VR demo Capcom showed last year was actually going to be released on January next year. This creepy-looking first-person game’s name?

Resident Evil 7.

Some went screaming in joy, while most RE fans cry out:” This isn’t a Resident Evil game!”

This situation, of fans calling a certain entry of a game series not worthy of its name, has happened before. Let’s discuss the issues revolving around this conundrum

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Balancing The Imbalance Of Overwatch

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There’s one neat thing that Blizzard’s new shooter Overwatch did astonishingly well: the balance of the 21 heroes. The trick here is that they made all the heroes to be situationally powerful, sometimes to the point of people yelling OP and nerf, yet there are situations that these seemingly OP characters can get trumped, hard.

Interestingly, the balance of Overwatch comes from its imbalance. Something you won’t see in normal FPS games, where you would expect all the variations of playstyles to be viable on its own. But Overwatch focuses a lot on team play, team composition, and counter picking heroes that the imbalance is on purpose. Your individual heroes have its weaknesses and strengths where it shines most. A good team can complement each other by helping a certain hero shines more and mitigate the weaknesses it has.

But how do you balance a game about hero imbalance like Overwatch? Recently, Blizzard spoke about considering some nerfs for McCree. Although balancing issues were done a lot in the closed beta, now that the game is out some people just like it the way it is, while others still clamouring for Bastion nerfs, or even its outright removal.

But first, let’s talk about the beauty of the balancing.

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A Little Bit Of Polish Goes A Long Way

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The power of polish: How a concise, perfectly executed game with limited scope score well with critics and the average gamer.

Uncharted 4 has finally released and it is now lauded with many positive reviews (except for that one review on Metacritic) from critics and everyday gamers alike. Just look at the accolades poster they made for all the warm reception they are having.

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And they deserve it. While I have yet to touch the game (and trying hard to avoid spoilers) just from a few footage that was released as promotional material for both single player and multiplayer stuff, it is perfect. Not many critical flaws in gameplay were pointed out.

But then again, if you’ve played some of the previous games, you can see what essentially is a formulaic third-person action-adventure shooter with some platforming, set pieces and small  diversions here and there. It isn’t groundbreaking as say, Gears of War, that redefine how a cover system should work and the active reload system that added some dynamics to reloading a gun.

However, just look at the graphics and sound design. Look at how elegant the control feels. If played as how the developers intended, it just feels good.

That is the power of polish.

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