Vengeance Realized

Vengeance Realized; A God of War 3 Review

Article by Vesta Nyx

 

 

God of War picks up right were the last one left off; there is no time to breathe as you ride upon the shoulders of Gaia and her titian army while marching towards the base of Olympus. Zeus and his brothers are in disarray, not fully understanding the depth of the danger they are in, or the magnitude of the monster Zeus had created.   “The hands of Death could not defeat him, the sisters of Fate could not hold him, he will have his revenge!”

And he meant every word.

The story of Kratos is one you might call a cautionary tale of pride and ego gone wrong, a Greek tragedy if you will (pun intended) of a mighty Spartan that fell victim to his own ambitions, leading him to make a deal of servitude with Ares, the God of War. As we follow Kratos from God of War through God of War: Accession, we see in full understanding the depth of the price he had to pay for his power, acquired by means of betrayal and lies. What we are privy to as an audience to this downfall is the defining moment where Kratos is tricked into murdering his wife and daughter, an event that will haunt Kratos throughout his time in Greece. It is also a moment that would plant and feed the seeds of vengeance against the gods that he once respected, and set him on the bloody and treacherous path to forgiveness.

 

Gameplay

Right from the get go we see that the game play has vastly improved from the previous installments of the God of War series. There is a fluidity in movements and an ease of controls that wasn’t there before. One fix that I’ve noticed and kept in high praises was the cool-off time between the QTE prompts that would appear when the mini-bosses and main bosses were at the grappling points. The peak of this improvement can be seen with God of War: Accession.

Much to the player’s relief there was a lack of severely difficult and unnecessary puzzles and traps. This is a far cry from the first installment where you were running from flaming balls of death, fighting heavily armored zombies, robot minatours, and legions upon legions of bat-dog flying things, encountering hard to find sex scenes, and of course the bane of my existence- walking through condemned beams and running in f***ing circles…

My god. So. Many. Circles.

However, as I played through the series between PS1, PSP, PS3, and so on, I noticed that the gameplay was reaching further and further away from the platform gameplay and more towards a narrative-based action. There was only a taste of it during God of War 3- a taste that came to fruition through the fluid and smooth movements showcased in God of War Accession. From the looks of it, it’s a trend that will continue and improve in this year’s next installment

Audio and Visuals

Impressive.

I need not say more. As everyone knows, with each upgrade in a console system: the greater the graphics card, the greater the quality of the video game. For the time it was released the graphics of G.o.W 3 was amazing, the colors were vibrant and clear, and that horse-toothed, fish-eyed stare that plagued many PlayStation games was not as present in GoW 3 as it had been for previous installments.

That being said, with the remastered edition, all I can say is ‘Impressive.’ Impressive that the quality of the graphics remained the same, and in some ways, improved. From the gleam of the marble floors of the temples and the wet stones of the underworld, to the heat filled flares of Tartarus, even the graphics for the organs and gore that spilled on the floor and onto Kratos had either aged gracefully or had indeed been enhanced. Needless to say it is not without some flaws; the odd lip-sync when the gods were pleading for their lives, the out-of-place movements of the souls of the damned, and- a small pet peeve- the over-saturation of the dirt and pores of almost every main character… Almost.

Pros and Cons

With this installment, I can say with a clear mind that the pros had and still do outweigh the cons with this game and the series as a whole. The increased quality of the graphics, sound, and gameplay intertwined with the continuation of the story (and even a smooth and ambiguous segway into the next chapter of God of War- canonically speaking) was done masterfully and has withstood the test of time and gamer patience.

One con I came across in this game was the forced Rock Band tie-in within the temple of the flame of Olympus. To this day it is the bane of my existence and why I rarely, if EVER, play drums or guitar. Any other cons present were either too small to mention, not that distracting, or were improved upon in the prequel GoW Ascension. Even the second time around, what made me fall in love with this series and with the game as a standalone was recaptured once again.

 

With that being said, it should come as no surprise that I give this game a solid 5/5 rating. It is warranted and earned by a game series solidified for the traits mentioned in this article. Tune in next time where we take a trip to the tall evergreens of Nordic Mythology to catch up with Kratos and Atreus in the next Chapter simply called God Of War. Though I cannot delve into the game just yet, explaining the mythos, stores, and creatures shown to us so far will be an adventure in itself.

Until then keep gaming and raging.

Mighty Morphing Batman: A Batman Ninja Review

Trailers for Batman Ninja had started spreading early 2018 for the movie produced by Warner Bros. studio. Kazuki Nakashima and Takashi Okazaki were contacted for the story and character design respectively.*  With each having success in previous outings and making landmark pieces in anime, it seemed like a great experience waiting to happen. Perhaps it is for the Japanese version, but I’m reviewing the English version since I’m interested in how well they can localize such a fusion of American pop culture and the style of anime.


Visuals

The visuals are amazing, as to be expected from Afro Samurai’s Takeshi Okazaki.  With beautiful animation and visually eye-catching designs, the colors work well against the cell shading resulting in some very good and sometimes interesting moments.  None of the designs stray far enough from their character origins to be unrecognizable, (save Jason Todd) but still remind you what time period the story is in.

Consistency does come as somewhat of an issue with the film however. There are points of exposition or an attempt at an emotional scene where the animation takes a sharp direction or becomes more like an adventure role playing game. Some of the action scenes seem reeled in a bit with a few even having a random color background instead of keeping the viewer in the moment of the battle.

Maybe it’s just not possible to have that much action going on at once and move as smoothly, but it did become distracting in some of the later scenes.


Plot

The movie really comes down to Gorilla Grodd vs the Batman Family with Joker coming in to steal the spotlight to… rule everything? Or… cause immeasurable chaos to inspire senseless anarchy?  In all honesty, the Joker and Harley Quinn are here to be the most insane and goofy characters they can be, within PG-13 limits.  It makes you wonder if they just added some other characters to have a full Voltron-sized team of five for the villains. After all, there were many underused characters in this feature. There are even two enemies who do more in exposition than on screen, represented by either short animations or still shots.

Characterization is very odd, in the sense that it does follow the premise of most of these characters, but not in a way that makes sense on how they are known to behave. The way every character acts would make more sense if this were an alternate timeline where all these characters already naturally existed in Feudal Japan. The plot would make more sense as well.

Disappointingly, the plot as provided makes Batman seem like he forgot how to be Batman while being time displaced.


Audio

The music itself may be polarizing. Good music in its own right, but how it was applied in the movie makes it feel like a different movie altogether at times.  The characters had fairly generic voices for their respective characters in other recent media of each respective character.  The delivery isn’t always emotionally moving, and often comes off as a flat reading, making some scenes fall flat, despite still having great visuals.


Final Critique and Thoughts

This film felt scattered and so jammed full of anime cliches and tropes. Think of it as an anime movie with the parody of One Punch Man, the emotional depth of a Pokemon movie, all dressed up in Batman’s intellectual property. There were a lot of ideas in this movie that I think could have worked under different settings and explanations. Instead, most of the movie feels like it stumbles along making changes without payoff, pretending there’s been a completed character arc when there is none, and under utilizing the full cast.

Bane has regressed to a mute strong man in the form of a sumo wrestler, and Poison Ivy just wears bits of Samurai inspired armor, because… it’ll help the environment somehow?  Some of their characterizations have been given some liberties which is fine. And the premise of a Bat-family that includes Damien Wayne as Robin makes the idea of Batman learning how to fight his criminals without all his tech and trust his team more appealing.

In the end everyone seems a bit campier, and there is some silliness to a lot of the premise. All this is to say that it’s just isn’t a good film. The visuals are splendid. And while the voice acting was passable, these weren’t enough to overlook the poor characterization, changes in animation that distracted more than enhance the film, and overall plot. It might be good for a single viewing just out of curiosity but there are plenty of other, more cohesive pieces you could go watch.

 

Reference(s):

Kotaku First look*

Raging Bethesda

bethesda-e3-2018Bethesda, one of the most well-known gaming companies in 2018 has come to E3 for their fourth showcase.  If E3 were a game of poker among these game developers, then Bethesda just showed their hand, and it seems like a high-end full house.  Starting the night off with an opening from Andrew W.K performing Ready to Die while leading into the RAGE 2 demonstration.


 

Rage 2

The sequel to their 2011 release, Rage 2 seems to be offering the same formula with a few new auditions giving a large selection of ammo, weapons, and vehicle combat.  There seems to be more story if the lack luster opening narration is to indicate anything other than setting the mood of the gameplay.

 

Elder Side Scrolling

Following Rage 2’s display, the audience found themselves  swept into news about Elder Scrolls; specifically Elder Scrolls Legends.  The App based card game centered around the lore of the series. Elder Scrolls Legends will be coming to the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Switch after being available on mobile for a year.  The announcement did not end with a port plug, but a complete overhaul of the graphics and content with the port as well.

 

The Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online was the next to be presented with it’s updates.  More DLC coming including their new dungeon expansion and further lore building DLC with an Argonian center.  Showing a bit of what has come before, then previewing the new before closing their video.

 

Doom has Risen

This was the first real shocker of the night. Doom already seems to have a sequel in the works.  The smash hit from 2016, bring back the crucial elements of the original to an updated world of gaming and pushing it further by providing a memorable narrative with minimal dialog.  Having only seen Doom VR as a following title, it was uncertain if we would see more Doom related content for a while, let alone a sequel. Yet we get just that, a strong presentation of a world gone to Hell and one solid stomp of a very commanding boot ready to resume some demon slaying duties.  

Aside from the usual hyping the game up with a traditional “bigger and better” pitch, not much else can be confirmed other than there may be some part of the game that takes place on Earth and that there will be harder enemies and more ways to kill them.

 

The Revival

A historic title, Quake Champions is introduced by Joshua Boyle talking up the history of the franchise while showing off that Bethesda formula of keeping the good and upgrading the better. That formula is at play here, with all the changes going on with First Person Shooters this will be interesting to see if Quake’s return stands as another turning point for the genre.

 

Prey

Another hit, prey returns with the news of a free update happening that night, which will include Story Mode, New Game+, and Survival Mode for the hardcore of the group.  Then launching into their spot for their DLC: Moon Crash. This DLC boasts the ability to provide unique runs every time for the player. To add to those announcements there is a new game mode available where it is one human player vs five mimc players in Typhon Hunter.  A very exciting announcement for the series.

 

Wolfenstein

Two parts to this announcement from Machine Games:

  1. Wolfenstein II is coming to the Switch
  2. It’s getting a sequel

Just more good news all around, but to add to it we are seeing the addition of co-op and having the story follow BJ’s twin daughters, picking up his mantle in 1980’s Paris.  The design looks great, and if they can improve on Wolfenstein II? A tall order but a welcome surprise if it is handled innovatively.

A VR game is coming out as well called Wolfenstein Cyber Pilot where you play the role of a hacker that controls robots to kill nazis.  That’s the description we got almost verbatim.

 

Todd Howard

 

Quite possibly the high point for energy as far as presenters went.  Starting things off with a pseudo-parody of porting Skyrim: Very Special Edition to Alexa with Keegan-Michael Key.  This is actually available now.   

After getting a rousing set of applause, before talking about what everyone was waiting for, Fall Out 76 click here for the trailer.  We are given confirmation on some of the rumours floating around, it is set in West Virginia, there will be green trees, and it is going to require an online connection to play.  Although it is promised to just be a few dozen in the area the player would be participating in.

There also seems to be a focus on building, and being able to move it wherever you want to.   Through a little narrative, and then using demo clips along side of the good old Vault Tec instructional videos  to present the landscape, and highlight the idea of PvP and being able to launch Nukes on the map. There will be a Break-it-Early-Test-Application later this year, and you can sign up through Bethesda’s website, with the full game having it’s release date announced for November 14, 2018.  Also coming with a Power Armor edition that includes a glow in the dark map, a wearable Power Armor helmet with headlamp, voice modulator, and more.

We continue with Todd informing the crowd about Fallout Shelter coming to the PS4 and to the Switch, but also the announcement of their newest mobile contribution in Elder Scrolls Blades.  Seemingly, a less mobile version of an Elder Scrolls game, and the visual presentation makes it seem like another paper-rock-scissors battle game. It is very impressive graphically for a phone, however it was very limited in precise information.  This game will also have a VR version that plays with players on any device. Elder Scrolls Blades will be available later this fall, and you can pre-register to get the game when it comes out, this can be done through Bethesda’s website or through the Google Play/Apple stores.  

Todd’s presentation ends with no more news for 2018 but slightly further ahead, with a very brief tease of their original science-fiction space themed I.P. that is Starfield.  The presentation lulled the audience into a warm sense of wonder, just to have violent curiosity thrust at them through what seems like a tear in space and time tearing through the fantastic image before the viewer.  

Then to make this presentation truly memorial, Elder Scrolls VI is confirmed to be in the works.  With the crowd going wild, the presentation comes to a close for the night.


 

What does the presentation mean?

It means that Bethesda has been busy, most people probably only expected one or two of the titles that were mentioned, but to get a new Quake, Doom, Fallout, and Elder Scrolls updates everywhere? It would be hard to find much fault with being excited.  

It is Bethesda, and generally they make some great games so there really shouldn’t be much to worry about, and yet here we are.

The Presentation was good overall. Lots to be excited about, and there was plenty of humor and nice sneak peaks.  However, some portions of the presentation felt longer than they needed to be, and the focus seemed to be more on App based games than that of PC, Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo.  When we got to see a bit of Doom, Wolfenstein, and Starfield felt so small in comparison to the attention Rage 2 or Elder Scrolls: Blades received.

Fallout 76 being the stand-out exception of possibly feeling like there was too little.  We may have received too much and too little information at the same time. With the direction being presented, it is still very vague as to how Fallout 76 is going to pan out. On one hand it could be amazing, if they can balance a Fallout experience of exploration and fighting with other players forming a story could be a masterpiece. With what has been presented, it leaves worry about the game becoming Minecraft with built-in Nukes, or devolving into a post apocalyptic Battle Royale game. Despite the wants and worries of the presentation, Bethesda delivered on what was expected and gave the fans more, hopefully it’s more of what will work. And if you liked that check out @tehlunchboxpub on twitter for more E3 news.

Sable: Beautiful Exploration Game

Sable deviates from the average modern fighting game. Instead, this Indie game is an open-world desert exploration game, as explained by the core development team. This is a game about solitude and exploration.

A girl leaves her home to explore the world and learns about its culture and history. Sable; the main character of the game, explores this desert ridden with monumental architecture and fallen space ships.

According to Greg Kythreotis, their art style is heavily influenced by French and Belgian comics, as well as Japanese animation and Studio Ghibli. Paired with Japanese Breakfast’s soundtrack, this game looks extremely promising.

As of this moment, there is no confirmed release date but it’s looking like this game will be releasing sometime in 2019. To learn more about this game check out their website. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest news @tehlunchboxpub!

MANEATER: Gulf Coast Vacation Except Shark

Image result for man eater game

Have you ever wanted to live life as a shark and eat every living thing on the Gulf Coast?

Me neither, but this game definitely peaked my interest. Blindside created this single player action RPG where you play as a giant Bull Shark and terrorize tourists by ripping through them one limb at a time.

This exciting game allows you to customize your personal man-eating shark and gives you the ability to allocate points to your shark skill-tree. It has a full single player campaign and everything!

If you are interested in learning more about Maneater, check out their website! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest news @tehlunchboxpub!

Five Years Kingdom Hearts… Five Years

Kingdom-Hearts-3-LogoAfter Five years of waiting since the first teaser was released, Square Enix finally has an official date for the highly anticipated third installment.

Kingdom Hearts 3 will release early next year on January 29th for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. January 25th will be the release date for it in Japan. The original release date was supposed to be scheduled for this year but was delayed. Below is a statement issued by Franchise director Tetsuya Nomura via twitter regarding the delay.

 “We’ve announced the release day for KINGDOM HEARTS III ahead of E3 at the KINGDOM HEARTS Orchestra -World Tour-. I’m sorry that we’re asking for a little more time than initially planned. Please look forward to other information, including a few trailers at E3. Thank you,”

As many of you know Disney’s Frozen has been incorporated into the Kingdom Hearts world along with the inclusion of a Simba summon. If you haven’t caught the trailer you can check it out below.

They made sure to release plenty more during the conference including the return of  Organization XIII member Xigbar, as well as further story hints. Not to mention a brief appearance by Remi from Ratatouille.

In more extended looks (seen above) we got bits of the Toy Story and Hercules worlds as well. There was also confirmation of a ($230 dollar) collectors edition so get it when you can once it drops in the coming year. And for more on E3 check out our twitter @tehlunchboxpub.

Mavericks: Proving Grounds – You vs. 999 Players

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One of the first games the PC Gaming Show starts off with is Mavericks Proving Grounds, which hops onto the hype train of battle royale-esque games that have been coming out as of late. One of the few things that make this game stand out is the fact that 999 other players will be fighting to the death for the number one spot!

Like PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS–PUBG for short–the round starts off as the player leaps from heights and lands on the map to collect loot and slay their fellow opponents.

James Thompson, also known as the CEO of Automaton Games, says that this game is a last man standing type of game and it’s all about death. He says that the environment caters to helping the player annihilate adversaries.

Sign up for their beta testing before June 17th at mavericks.gg/closed-beta and you can follow them on Twitter @playmavericks. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest news @tehlunchboxpub!

Fallout 76 Trailer

Bethesda is best known for creating stunning and vast worlds in their games, and Fallout is no exception. A few weeks ago, Bethesda had released an image of their classic, “Please Stand By” in bright colors. Fans had suspected that it could possibly be a remake of Fallout 3 or  New Vegas however, that wasn’t the case.

Bethesda had released a teaser trailer for Fallout 76, in the trailer we were taken to a familiar scenery inside a vault shelter with party decorations in the main dining room, with  vault dweller wearing a jumpsuit with the number “76” on the back.

At Microsoft’s E3 2018 Press Conference, Todd Howard, director of Bethesda Game Studios, arrived on stage and revealed a new trailer for Fallout 76.

 

Good stuff here and it will be interesting to see how it plays out when it arrives November 14, 2018. And check us out on twitter @tehlunchboxpub for all your E3 updates.

Halo Infinite Trailer

Microsoft started off strong by showcasing a trailer for Halo Infinite, as the trailer showcased a vast landscape, beautiful scenery, and a vast wildlife. While nearing the end of the trailer, we see a group of soldiers, it’s possible to be marine soldiers, walking through some fields.

Then, the trailer pans to show Master Chief holding his helmet, then putting it on as he inserts Cortana, or some other form of A.I. into his helmet.

While not much else was shown in the trailer with no new information presented, fans should expect Master Chief to make a return in this new game.

Halo Infinite is being developed by 343 Industries and will be released on windows 10 and Xbox One. No announcement yet on a release date. Make sure to follow us on twitter for the latest news @tehlunchboxpub

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Trailer

FromSoftware brings to life a brand new hack and slash game, with vicious battles, and no doubt a lot of dying. Working along side publisher Activision, FromSoftware is bringing to life a new game set in a samurai -style setting with a dark souls feel to it in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

FromSoftware showcased not only the hack and slash functions of the game, but also how your now skeleton left hand can assit the player in combat and how to manuver through the world. For example, the trailer shows the player revealing an axe just before charging in to take out one of the bosses minions, or using it as a grapping hook to get onto a platform. For a better look take a look at the trailer below.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is set to be released early 2019 on Playstation 4, PC, and Xbox One. And for all your news updates from E3, check out @tehlunchboxpub on twitter.