Sean Robinson

 

Well, It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

A few articles here and there, but not that consistent content you were used to. It’s not that we didn’t want to produce content for you all to enjoy. It’s that we couldn’t. Between Myself, Our Editor, and Our Web Developer. 2017 has been less than extraordinary. For reasons left best defined as “personal loss”, the team went into a bit of a purgatory state. Yes, we are a small team, but we all depend on each other to get things done. We do this because we love gaming, television, and film. However, when life throws curve balls at you, sometimes they are hard to avoid. We apologize to the faithful followers who haven’t had the chance to devour some content in a while. We ensured that in the time we were away, we were able to cover E3 and a few big topics but it wasn’t nearly enough and we are sorry.

So here is what’s in the works!

Actual Reviews – yes, they are back.
Our team is currently working on a few Top 10 Lists – Sure there are websites that already do that, but who cares! We have opinions too!
News posting -Bare with us, this one will take a bit.
Podcast – YES, you read that right! We have recorded 15 so far, and we would love for you to listen! In fact, going forward, we will post each new episode for you all to enjoy.

From all of us, we are happy to be back and ready to give you the best content we have to date!

Thank you for all of your support and game on!

-Sean

 

 

Every year we get to anxiously wait for game developers to announce what they are bringing to the table for the upcoming season in gaming. EA ( Electronic Arts) started off the show with a rather underwhelming presentation. Pacing the show with their typical annual titles, a sequel to Starwars Battlefront and Bioware’s newest title Anthem. EA once again proved that they really don’t have to be revolutionary or creative as people will always buy their games.  I mean honestly, I won’t deny adding two of these titles to my growing preorder list.

Here is a list of each title announced at today’s conference!

 

A Way Out 

 

Anthem 

 

Star Wars: Battlefront 2

 

Need for Speed: Payback

 

FIFA 18

 

FIFA 18: The Journey 

 

NBA LIVE: 18

 

DLC:Battlefield 1: In the Name of the Tsar

 

Madden 18 – The Longshot 

 

It was 2009 when the the first installment of the Halo Wars series came to us via Xbox 360 and many fans of the series have been craving another installment or two ever since.

So here we are eight years later, getting ready to help Captain Cutter lead your team against the newly introduced Alien faction named ‘The Banished’. With 343 Industries now at the helm, Halo Wars 2 has the potential to be considered an early contender for Xbox game of the year.

Breaking down Halo Wars 2 has been a little bit of a challenge for me, as all I have wanted to do lately is sit down and replay the levels that I scored poorly on. However, you came here for a review and I’m going to give you one. So let’s set the scene, Halo Wars 2 happens in the year 2559, which happens to be 28 years after the events of the first war and shortly after the events of Halo 5: Guardians . Since then, the members aboard the UNSC ship Spirit of Fire has been floating around in cryosleep, until they are awakened for duty. After receiving a distress beacon from a nearby planet, the team rediscovers Isabel, the ship’s logistics artificial intelligence. She will aid you in your quest to take on the Banished.

Halo Wars 2 offers a vast collection of gameplay modes including Skirmish, Multiplayer, Campaign, and its newest game mode blitz.  Now, fans of the Halo series will be excited for the PvP multiplayer as it still carries a whimsical, high energy battle style which we have all come to love. Skirmish is both fast and exciting while offering both solo and co-op attempts at beating A.I opponents. The campaign is fairly straight forward, offering you a good balance between the many scenarios you would face in the multiplayer and an in-depth story with far too many cut scenes.

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Blitz, on the other hand, was the biggest surprise of the game. Here I was, clicking on what I thought was going to be another rush-the-objective style game, only to find that it’s actually way more in depth. Halo Wars 2, like many other popular game franchises has added a card based game. While I can hear you groaning from over here, just hear me out. The game concept is simple, control all three objectives the longest and win the game. The hook is that you get a small starting team of three combatants and no base to build more troops if your team dies in combat. Enter the aforementioned cards. These cards allow you to spend your in game energy points to purchase combatants throughout battle. The cards you pick for battle are available to you as long as you want, and each time you start at game you have the ability to modify your deck. Each player can only bring a maximum of ten cards into each game and as far as I can tell, there is no value limit. Card packs can be both purchased and earned throughout game play and some cards belong to different leaders. While this does limit your ability to make an incredibly overpowered deck, it forces the players to attempt different play styles. Now while I was only able to play this mode a few times, I noticed that your units will level up when you receive duplicate cards and bringing in a good balance of cards to battle is key.

Speaking of balance, Halo Wars 2 operates under a well constructed rock-paper-scissors combat system. This meaning each type of character in the game can easily beat one type of enemy and lose to another. Typically the three types are soldiers, ground vehicles, and air support. Early on in the game, I got frustrated when I failed to pick up on the fact that my choppers were being taken out by soldiers and I had to quickly change both my unit production and strategy.

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Halo Wars 2 also provides franchise fans both nostalgia and familiarity when it comes to both game and sound design. From the gritty feeling of watching a cut-scene aboard a UNSC ship to the vibrant and colourful in game animations, there is very little to complain about when it comes to this aesthetically pleasing title. World design is both fluid and smart giving players options for both defending their own bases, while also strategically attacking their opponents. This paired with the exceptional sound design, Halo Wars 2 will be an enjoyable experience for any player that wants to escape reality for a few hours.

Another key component to any good game, including RTS titles, is how reactive and natural controlling the game feels. Without fail, I found myself reaching for a mouse all while forgetting I had a controller in my hand. This faded quickly though, as the gameplay style really concentrates on your abilities to comfortably play the game. This is a refreshing change from other console based RTS titles, as after a few hours I didn’t even remotely miss using a mouse. This was done by putting smart hotkeys on the d-pad, utilizing the bumpers and triggers for menu options, and of course using A and B for action controls. I really wish I had a complaint about the control scheme, but I don’t.

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Value wise, Halo Wars 2 comes in hot with the need to continue to play. I mean, I’ve had access to this game for nearly a week and all I do is play it. My squad hasn’t seen me online since I’ve started playing because it’s just too addictive. The campaign alone offers a continued need to beat personal scores, while the multiplayer continues to pit you against both friends and online enemies. With Halo Wars 2, coming out with both a standard and an ultimate edition for Xbox One, it’s safe to assume that there will be many goodies along the way, including DLC and of course purchasable card packs through the Microsoft store. I would highly recommend springing for the ultimate edition as it comes with extra cards and really makes the beginning of your blitz experience more enjoyable.

 

All and all, what else can be said about a game that offers an enjoyable campaign and a vast multiplayer experience that will keep you coming back for more? Try it for yourself and attempt to write an article about this game while you so badly just want to go back to playing. Now, If you’ll excuse me, I have some banished bases to take out!

 

This review is based on a Ultimate version of Halo Wars 2 was provided to NXTGEM by the publisher.

 

 

The Verdict

Gameplay: 9

Great Story, Even Greater Online Experience

Presentation: 8.5

Pretty Colours

Value: 8.5

Unlimited amount of multi-player fun

Overall Score

8.5Great
*Overall score is not an average.

 

Do you like fast cars? Do you like choice? Do you like Australia? Do you like no-consequence, peddle-to-the-metal racing?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, have we found the game for you. Enter Forza Horizon 3, the octane filled open world designed for you to explore the land and dominate the track.

So where does a wildly successful franchise take its third installment? Australia of course; the perfect setting for the ever growing Horizon Festival scene. Now, for those who aren’t familiar with the franchise, the Horizon Festival is typically a car and music festival that you race your way through, trying to make your way to the top of any and all leaderboards. While Forza Horizon 3 doesn’t deviate too far from the formula that makes the franchise so special, they do make one major alteration: giving the user full control and choice. Instead of the traditional gameplay style, Playground Studios changed it up and made you the festival boss. At first, I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical with the change. I rather enjoyed picking a car based on the racing series I had entered, souping it up, and moving on to the next area. However, this grew on me rather quickly as I now had the opportunity to choose everything from race type to which radio stations I wanted to sign to my festival.

Starting with car customization, in true Horizon fashion, it’s not always about what’s on the inside that counts but more so what’s on the outside. All options, from vehicle skins to simple vehicle modifications are always at your disposal; making the exterior of your ride reflective of your personality. However, on a more disappointing note, it’s nearly impossible to make your vehicle faster by simply swapping out parts under the hood. While I can appreciate that Forza Horizon 3 is the arcade style brother of the popular Forza racing simulator. I can’t help but wonder if this was a miss that could cost them players. I mean, you are racing with some of the world’s fastest and most expensive cars, why not make them faster?

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As for gameplay customization, here is where Horizon switches gears and makes the most of the situation they have created. Enter the blueprint, your full access, no limit, rule making tool that literally lets you control how the game is played. Let’s say you hit a new level and the game offers you a choice from four random cars and you reluctantly pick a car to show up with for the next racing series. On the way, you decide that you don’t like your new ride and you don’t feel like racing with it. Worry not, as you can either follow along with the races the game has provided for you or you can make the call as festival boss and change the race entirely. You read that right, you can now make that unappealing race into whatever you want. So do you want it to be a 5 km supercar sprint in the rain? Or would you rather have a three lap, off-road race at night? The choice is all yours and I can tell you from experience it’s always worth it! This choice isn’t just limited to the cars you drive or race style you prefer; it goes even deeper. As the festival boss you have control over what areas of Australia you would like to build up and populate for your festival.

Out of the box Forza Horizon 3 is more than just a deep and customizable racing game. It’s a cavalcade of stunning graphics and well-balanced sound engineering. The Forza game series is known for it’s impeccable details when it comes to some of the most exquisite automobiles our generation has seen and this new installment is no exception. Playground Studios really went all in when it came to creating the setting for this game. Never have I spent this much time looking around in a game just to see what I can not only find, but enjoy. From the stunning coastline to the sandy hills of the outback, no roadway seems out of place. The weather and time of day add both a challenge and an alternate view of roads often traveled, while the smallest, most intricate details help define the hundreds of character models lining the streets in the forms of racing fans and buildings.

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Forza Horizon 3 doesn’t just stop after being visually pleasing, the sounds of the game really take it to the next level. Listening to the noises made from each vehicle you play with, it’s evident that they wanted to get each and every sound right. Right from a high revving engine to a downshift through a tunnel, you have the most realistic sounds coming at you. As a complement to these sound effects, the somewhat underwhelming soundtrack from Horizon 2 has been expanded dramatically. It’s transformed from the typical Horizon pulse and bass radio station we have all grown accustomed to. Throughout the game, you will get the chance to unlock radio stations and sign them to your festival for all to enjoy. Genres include a mix of dance, rock, EDM, classical, and punk. While this feature just shows off another way to customize the game, it also gives us a chance once again to go even DEEPER into the customization. At the launch of Forza Horizon 3 you will be treated to a 15 day free trial to Microsoft’s Groove Music services. This service allows you to compile playlists and bring them right into the game. If you don’t want to take the time to set up Groove Music but still want to enjoy it’s vast library of content, it loops through a playlist of Top 40 hits that can be accessed at your leisure.

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Finally, we are going to look at the game’s overall value. I mean, that’s what you came here for right? You want to know if the third edition of the franchise is going to be worth it and the simple answer is yes. Never have I ever complained about the expansive amount of things to do in an open world racing game and I won’t start today.  From ongoing championships to online play, your backside will be comfortably seated on your sofa for quite awhile as you race your way through the world of Forza Horizon 3. In true form to its predecessors, the launch title will offer two versions; both a standard and more expansive ultimate edition. Both of these versions offer hundreds of cars, cosmetic designs, and various amounts of DLC. However, if history dictates anything, we could be looking at a long line of car packs and vehicle customizations to be available for purchase using the game’s microtransaction system. It also wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see another Fast and the Furious expansion heading our way when Fast 8 races into theaters in 2017.

 

While I have covered a few racing games over the past few years, I can confidently say as an Xbox One owner, you want and need Forza Horizon 3 in your collection. Don’t own an Xbox? This is one title that can easily change your mind. It’s fast, fun, and easy to pick up. Like others before it in the franchise, Forza Horizon 3 boasts ample amounts replay value while you get the chance to race around in some of the world’s fastest cars, consequence free.

 

 

The Verdict

Gameplay: 9

Smooth, Fast and Fun

Presentation: 9.5

Stunningly beautiful, sounds like you’re at the races

Value: 9

Microtransactions aside, more than enough content for hundreds of hours of fun

Overall Score

9.2Amazing
*Overall score is not an average.


Around this time, every year, I find myself counting down to another football season. Part of  the process of my personal countdown is picking up the newest edition of Madden and every year I make the same mistake. I go to the store and pick up a copy of Madden (insert year here), only to be met with the sense of mediocrity time and time again. Modes I once liked disappear, features I once enjoyed have been modified, and the primary focus of the game is almost always drawn towards microtransactions.

Let’s begin digging into a franchise that practically prints money and doesn’t have to change, even though it should. Starting off, Madden 17, is much like its predecessors in the series. We start off with a glamorous opening segment, where we see our beloved cover athlete destroy his competition. In the case of Madden 17, we see cover athlete Rob Gronkowski overpower the New York Jets secondary and score some quick touchdowns. Original right? Next, we see a Madden Moment unfold in front of our eyes. The setting is the L.A Rams and the Washington Redskins facing off in an NFC wild-card match-up. Usually, these before-the-game style moments are designed to be used as mini tutorials, allowing EA to show off new elements of the game. In this case, we get to see our defense block a field goal attempt and set us up to take the number one pick Jared Goff of the NFL’s newly relocated L.A Rams on a two-minute drill, which you are guaranteed to be successful. Again, sound familiar?

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It wouldn’t be a Madden game without familiarity, however, when it comes to gameplay, I’ll be the first to admit that some of the changes made were more than welcome. Gameplay was much more fluent, as realistic movements became a heavy focus for the development team. Users now have the ability to have playing prompts appear above their avatar as they run down the field, allowing unique options and control for the circumstances. An example of this feature being used at its full potential is with a team like the New England Patriots. In a first down situation, the team would use their star running back, giving you a more versatile and quicker attack to an opposing team’s defensive line. Flip that to a third down or short yardage situation where they would use a much stronger, brute force type running back, allowing the user to plow through an opposing line with ease. This made running plays both fun and strategic as users now have a reason to have more than one running back on their team.

EA wasn’t done there, they also did another major overhaul on receivers. Players of the franchise should remember how last year’s game allowed players to make ridiculous, circus-like catches with anyone on the field. This infuriated many users in the online community as many users were figuring out ways to exploit this feature by using players with higher speed rankings; even if they weren’t high-level players. Fear no more, as of now only players with “highlight making” abilities with an high catcher rating are able to make these catches.

Flipping our attention to defense, EA has once again worked incredibly hard on making the task of defense, less of a chore and more of an experience when it comes to playing Madden by implementing a similar timing system that is used in the NHL games for blocking shots. Players now have the improved ability to dive for balls; both while defending players and trying to block kicks. I’d like to consider myself an avid player of the franchise and I personally have only seen one kick block in the last two years. Over the course of the first five hours playing Madden 17, I saw seven field goal blocks. SEVEN (yes, you read that right). While it has become a focus in the gameplay mechanics, even in ALL PRO and ALL MADDEN this element was far too easy. Hopefully, after some patches and updates it will get a little bit harder.  

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Speaking of updates, the all new kicking system is by far my favourite addition to the game. By going from the stick kicking mechanic to a three-button system, Madden now challenges players to use timing to their advantage as they have to battle both wind and a kicking window to blast the ball through the uprights. Punting and kickoffs were both affected by the changes as well. While trying to complete a kickoff the player is now responsible for fully aiming the kick while also judging the power. One advantage to this is that the frequency of a ball flying through the end zone has been greatly reduced, however, this has also severely underpowered the squib kick, rendering it useless.

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Where Madden 17 excels year after year is the presentation of the game. Once again I sat in front of my monitor in awe. The sheer beauty and detail that goes into this franchise time and time again is what keeps me coming back. From the moment you start the game, you will immediately notice that there have been changes to the game’s main menu. While some users are quick to comment on Madden’s “windows” style menu interface, its elegance, and flow are provide the quick access into the game that users are looking for.

When looking deeper into the game, both the Madden Ultimate Team mode and Franchise modes underwent major facelifts. Starting with MUT, you can tell that streamlined gameplay was the on the minds of the developers. The menus have become easier to navigate, online auctions are the easiest they have ever been, and setting lineups is super quick and intuitive. Not once did I feel like I wasn’t fielding the best team available. MUT continues to deliver an experience where you can only field the best team possible based on the rate you earn coins. While playing games is a great way to grind and increase your coin total, MUT also still relies on the user’s thirst to get better, faster while using their wallet as opposed to skill. Franchise mode has probably become one of the most entertaining modes in recent memory. This mode gives users freedom of choice for everything team related. Every decision counts as you make your way through each season. Users have the ability to manipulate everything from weekly practice choices to the cost of team merchandise in this fully immersive game mode. One feature that really made things interesting was the ability to play the game using the “play the moment” simulator. This mode allowed you to jump into games by deciding the moments you want to play. Not feeling so confident on defense? No problem, wait until the offense hits the field for a two-minute drill and hop into the action. I found this playstyle really fun when I wanted to get in a quick game or two while toying around with the chemistry of my team.

Madden 17 also brought back the very popular draft champions mode, allowing users to draft 15 players in a fantasy styled setting. Making each pick is important, as they could influence which type of player pops up in a later round. I drafted three teams to see if I could uncover a pattern and learned the hard way that nothing is the same in this mode. If you see that 90 rated WR you might want to take him as you may not see him again. However, if you do take him you may just miss out on a high-level RB since you have altered the how the game will generate players. In three attempts to draft the perfect team, I managed to draft pretty well considering the game changed so frequently.

Lastly, when talking about presentation it’s hard to ignore the fact that Phil Simms and Jim Nantz have been replaced by the likes of Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis. These guys have made the commentary both fresh and fun. Paired with the all quotes live feature, Madden 17 promises to always have fresh content being uploaded to their servers. Essentially quotes live will bring real world events into the game that are being recorded weekly. An example of this is the commentators talking about how the Baltimore Ravens stopped a preseason game to show the fans a race of Olympian Michael Phelps going for gold. An event which only happened a few weeks ago.

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Visually, the game pleases the masses as each year games get better graphics. The players look good and, as said before, move in a much more fluent way. The overhead display has been cleaned up and has included an ingame ticker to give you the feel of any NFL Sunday. It was slightly surreal to be lining up for a snap and seeing that the Broncos had just scored a touchdown and are up five on your division rival.

The value of the game is exactly what you would expect it is. If you are a fan of the franchise, you’re going to buy Madden 17, simple as that. I know it and EA knows it. While the game can and will give you hours upon hours of fun; whether it be playing with your buddies locally or jumping online to prove your supremacy to the Madden community. The game comes with everything you need out of the box to enjoy another year of Madden gaming. For those who want to spend their money on the game, the microtransactions are there for you to help improve your team and drive up auction prices for everyday users.

While Madden 17 is another addition to the wildly popular franchise, it’s hard not to compare this addition against those in the past. With improvements made to the overall gameplay and control, this year’s edition hit the mark. However, with no new modes introduced and the game being simplified and streamlined to increase playability, Madden 17 definitely took a step backward when it came to original and new content. Overall the game is presented with a fresher look and newer feel to make you forget that the game is practically a roster update. With this being said, as a franchise fan, I get the game for what it is and not what it could be. A mediocre game with a high replay value.

 

This review is based on a copy of Madden 17 for the Xbox One.

 

 

The Verdict

Gameplay: 7.5

Same game, more fluent running control

Presentation: 8.5

Enhanced look, sounds great. Flashy presentation

Value: 8

With three vast modes, there is always something to play

Overall Score

8.1Great
*Overall score is not an average.

While everyone seemingly woke up to both a new day and month. Gamers, specifically Nintendo crazed fans woke up with anticipation as the latest news was about to break for some of the company’s upcoming titles.

Pokemmon Sun moon

 

Pokémon Sun & Moon

Probably Nintendo’s most anticipated release this year will come out via the 3DS. Pokémon Sun & Moon are boasting beautiful graphics and of course many new Pokémon. We also get to see new animations with your new favourite starters; the grass quill Pokémon Rowlet, the fire cat Pokémon Litten and of course the sea lion Pokémon Popplio. Additionally, we are treated to seeing some of the new regionally adapted Pokémon with some animation, opposed to the still images that have been floating around. Now if you are like me and still struggle with new elements to battle, this next part may intimidate you. Sun & Moon have both introduced the battle mechanic “ Z Moves” which is a powerful attack that is used by both Pokémon and trainer to deliver a devastating blow to your opponent. The type of “z-move” that can be used depends on which type of z-crystal is given to each Pokémon. This no doubt increases the strategy element when going into battle. Finally, there is an early purchase bonus valid until January 1st, 2017 and it’s Munchlax, the pre-evolved state of Snorlax.

Available November 18th, 2016

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Super Mario Maker 3DS

Pretty self-explanatory really, the wildly popular game for the Wii U has been ported to the 3DS. Now, it looks and feels just like the original version with some added bonuses. Upon Launch Nintendo has already pre-loaded 100 original levels to play right out of the box. You can play and enjoy levels created via the Wii U version as well. Do you like online play? Of course you do, this is where Super Mario Maker on the 3DS can and will shine. Courses you make can be shared via the local wireless and streetpass functions. This will allow players to develop a more intimate and local playing community.

Available December 2nd, 2016

 

Mario Party – Star Rush

Sounds frantic!
Immediately we are introduced to the newest mode in Mario Party, the Toad Scramble. Players can now move simultaneously as players can all roll dice and work towards getting to bosses at the same time. Getting there first doesn’t mean you will win the game. Once other players catch up they can join in the fun and try and win. 7 modes will be available to party with your friends and favourite characters. The game will also feature amiibo integration, allowing you to use amiibo from the Super Mario series. As an added bonus, if you download the free Mario Party Star Rush player guest addition from the e-shop, you will be able to play 4 player multiplayer using one full version of the game and having no limitations!

Available: November 4th, 2016

 

Animal Crossing New Leaf

Adding an update to the 2013 release. Introducing amiibo support and additional new features allowing you to expand your town’s horizons.

I’m sure many fans of the series will love the added content.

Available: December 2016

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Streetpass: Mii Plaza ( Updates)

Nintendo finally released an update to everyone’s favourite mini-game collection in hopes to make the game quicker and smoother. Introducing quick pass, which allows you to streamline the sometimes daunting task of letting all passers-by Mii’s to enter your plaza. Greeting messages have been simplified and loading times promise to be quicker. Let’s just hope this applies to puzzle pieces too!

Mii Plaza Premium is also expanding the amount of people that can be waiting at your gate. Once updated you can have up to 100 people waiting outside your plaza in hopes to share puzzle pieces and help with mini games. Speaking of which, streetpass will be adding five new mini-games and to top it off, the e-shop will allow you to download one of either Slot Car Rivals or Market Crashers absolutely free.

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Tank Troopers

A simplistic looking tank vs tank game with a little twist. Choosing your tank operator determines which special ability you can have in battle. Having the special ability to freeze an opponent, make them blind using paint or use an electric shock to render them useless. Tank troopers looks like fun play. Having the ability to play online in a 6 person tank battle doesn’t hurt either.

Available: Winter 2016

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#Nindies

Nintendo is attempting to do a spotlight launch for its upcoming indie titles. Available each Thursday this September for an introductory price, Nintendo will also be running a contest over the next two weeks for your chances to win all 5 titles absolutely free.

You can start off today by purchasing your copy of Axiom Verge. Remember to use the hashtag #nindies

 

Hyrule Warriors Legends ( 3rd DLC )

Getting a quick glimpse at what’s to come in the franchise leaves use with little questions in regards to where the game can go. As we are in awe of some of the latest features, we thought we would let you just watch the trailer.

Available: Today

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Dragon quest VIII:  Return of the Cursed King

Slated to drop in 2017, this remaster is making it’s way to the 3DS soon and it looks incredible. Hoping to gain momentum on nostalgia alone, this former top 100 game will once again undoubtedly make its way into our hearts!

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Sonic Boom : Fire and Ice

Based off the series Sonic Boom, players are entering another fast paced, player swapping world, where the elements of fire and ice are a factor. This adrenaline-filled Sonic game and its characters will speed their way onto way to your 3DS later this month. The North American Launch edition also comes with a 3 episode Sonic Boom DVD.

Available: September 27th

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Poochy & Yoshi’s Wooly World 3DS

New features and every single stage from the Wii U, sign me up! Being a fan of all things Yoshi, this may sound a little biased. But what a fantastically beautiful game with added poochy mini games! It gets better! Nintendo is also releasing a poochy amiibo to go with the game’s release.

Additionally, with the help of the animation studio Dwarf. Get ready for an animated mini-series starring our two favourite wool characters! Keep an eye out for them!

Available: February 3rd, 2017

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Mario Sports – Superstars

You guessed it, another Mario sports game. This one includes the sports Soccer, Baseball, Horse racing and with two Mario classics Golf and Tennis.

Each sport will offer single-player tournaments and online play. But that’s not all, at first you would think this is a watered down mini game compilation. Nope, developers made sure that each and every mode had both real rules and strategies, paired in some Mario-style power-ups of course.

Available: Spring 2017

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Pikmin ( name not announced )  

Pikmin will be getting its first 2D side-scrolling adventure, available on the 3DS. Join captain Olimar on his latest adventure as he travels through puzzle filled worlds with his allied Pikmin. Created with speed in mind, Pikmin latest adventure will be designed to push players to the limit as you strategically make your way around worlds.

Although unnamed at this point, we do know that Pikmin will be released in 2017

So there you have it, another Nintendo Direct has come and gone. What was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!

Nine minutes was all that I needed to fall completely in love with the latest installment of this open world racer. Now with that being said, the demo provided to us at X16CA was as both exciting as diverse. When you sit down to play the Horizon 3 demo it is comprised of three segments and each is containing a key element to the Forza experience. The game starts off with you selecting a luxury car, checking out its sweet details and hitting the roads of Australia. Now parts one and two felt very similar to Horizon’s iconic road trips, lot’s of driving and no real racing.

Forza Horizon 3 Chopper Buggy

Part one was on the open road, frantically passing other racers while heading towards the target destination. Part two seemingly interjects itself into the demo experience as you now have taken over a 4×4, hellbent on getting to the destination by ripping through some of Australia’s toughest terrain. Finally, we reach the destination which just happens to be an elaborate special event.

Forza Horizon 3 Forzavista Engine

True to Horizon’s extravagant fashion, this event has you racing a Jeep dangling from the bottom of a helicopter. While I’m trying to not get caught up on the events that occurred during the demo. I can’t forget how stunning the game looked. From the smallest details on each vehicle to the crystal clear water, the game was truly beautiful. If visuals aren’t enough, the game handled crisp and fluid. While this is the fourth installment of the Forza IP on the Xbox One, we have come to expect a very responsive and clear cut control scheme and once again the game doesn’t disappoint. From the force feedback in the controller’s triggers to the games need for precise movements of the left stick, Forza Horizon 3 feels more realistic than ever; even if it’s meant to be the more arcade style brother of the popular simulator.

 

 

Check back with us closer to Horizon’s release for a full review.
Forza Horizon 3 is slated to hit stores September 27th!

 

 

Pokémon Go, the new craze that has swept over the world. Chances are if you aren’t playing it, you’re talking or hearing about it. We discussed in our last article the challenges facing the player of the game, now let’s talk about the public and the issues and opinions that have been surfacing. I would love to say that since players began chasing pocket monsters there have been no issues with the general public. However, on many counts, I’d be incredibly wrong. Since the game has been released, there have been multiple news reports stating players are going to great lengths to “catch ‘em all”. From trying to enter an Australian police station to a stampede of people shutting down a road alongside Central Park in New York City, many players are showing that they have little common sense when it comes to how to act in public while playing the game.

 

Public outcry has become an increasingly louder issue in some areas more than others; (I’m talking about you, Toronto). In a community filled with aspiring Pokémon trainers, there is just one growing problem. According to many, one of the best places to play the  Jack Layton Ferry Terminal located on Toronto’s waterfront. While this sounds like an ideal location to play the game, due it’s closely grouped Pokéstops, it’s becoming heavily congested, litter filled, and visually unappealing for many local residents. In only a few weeks time, Toronto city officials have begun to drum up solutions to clean up the beloved city landmark. Steps have included contacting Niantic and having them remove some of the Pokéstops from the area in hopes to reduce foot traffic, setting up fencing around the park,  and encouraging players to play in those separate areas instead of congesting the area for ferry riders.

jlft

 

While some players respect the area and properly dispose of their garbage, there’s always a few who will ruin it for others; those seemingly incapable of cleaning up after themselves. Sure enough, when city workers cleaned these parks and locations they experienced consecutively filthier than normal  conditions because of the increased number of people who were too lazy to take a coffee cup or water bottle to the garbage can. These workers reported their experiences to their bosses and of course it got escalated to the point that the city officials got involved. Many players, namely the ones who actually clean up after themselves, were the first ones who rose to the occasion and were willing to help clean up the park to try and preserve the Pokéstop hub and the ability to keep playing there. While we will always have people who want to help and play the game respectfully. There are many players who just continue leaving trash and feel entitled to play the game; the impact of which is irrelevant to them. While asking around the city for thoughts on the recent ruling to fence off the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal I heard one comment more than a handful of times, “ Why are these workers complaining? It’s their job to clean up garbage”, while another common response was, “As taxpayers, we should protest!”. Seriously? What are people possibly going to gain from protesting? The city won’t back down from protecting its landmarks and parks. The only thing a protest will do is draw more negative attention to a game that has brought so many people together, risking more public backlash.

 

/Blogto

 

The Pokémon Go community is rather impressive and growing rapidly by the day. Even if the game is broken in some areas, it needs passionate players to keep it competitive and improving, while our communities also need us as a group to play responsibly and safely. I know not everyone is at fault for the mess left at the ferry terminal or the other negative news stories that seem to be popping up daily, most likely you didn’t run into traffic because a wild Pokémon appeared. Maybe you were the guy who picked up after a few people before you left a park or you were the girl who made sure the driver in her car wasn’t playing while driving everyone home. While it is a game for everyone to enjoy, the game is only as fun as we all make it. We’ve learned time and time again, in society sometimes it just takes one person to ruin it for everyone.

 

Don’t be that person, stop complaining, and enjoy all things Pokémon.

Every once in awhile a new craze will come over society. Usually,taking once productive people and consuming their thoughts and every spare moment. For the summer of 2016, it’s Pokémon go.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have either played or heard of Niantic Inc.’s latest mobile game. You may have also heard about all of the trouble the game is causing for players and the public alike. In this first article  let’s talk about the issues facing the players themselves. While Pokémon Go may be setting records for app store downloads, the game is a bug riddled mess that continues to frustrate the ever growing player population. Although bugs are inevitable in almost any game of this scale, some of the ones that are occurring are just too hard to ignore. Such as the 500+ weedles and caterpie I have encountered in the past month, the diversity of Pokémon in certain areas is incredibly flawed.

 

weedle

 

On another note, players who have had the game downloaded from the very beginning will remember the footprint tracker; a staple to early gameplay and Pokémon locating.  The game featured a radar to help players in their search of some of the most elusive pocket monsters. The problem is, shortly after the game was released, the tracker stopped working and with no explanation, was removed from the game a few weeks later. Players immediately turned to the internet, where they were able to find a web-based app called PokéVision. While PokéVision had a good run, unfortunately, broke Niantic’s terms of service by using their API to grab the location of all spawning Pokémon and displaying them on a local map. Some players, inevitably, took advantage and started using PokéVision paired with GPS spoofing software to find rare Pokémon from the comfort of their own homes; allowing them to easily access locations and follow spawning Pokémon instantly. Niantic, along with many players, has deemed this as a form of cheating and the company had PokéVision banned from accessing their servers.

 

pokevison

 

 

So where are we now? Well, there still have been no real improvements to the footprint or tracking feature at this time, although Niantic is now trying to resolve the issue and changes are apparently in progress. Seems okay right? To anyone who plays the game casually or has something better to do with their lives than farm 133 Magikarp, this is more than acceptable, but for the players who were spoiled and took advantage of systems that were created to illegally enhance their progress, they are still furious. Player uproar has come out in full force, as people contacted both Google and Apple for refunds on in-app purchases, citing that purchases were made before the developer changed the game. Claims continued by stating the game was “unplayable” and that after said changes, in-game purchases became obsolete. Pokémon consistently ran away from being captured too quickly and became nearly impossible to track.

 

footprint

Truth is, the game is still very much playable and despite many incidences and glitches in just the first month of it’s release, Pokémon Go has done things no app or game has done before. There will always be people who find something to complain about and yes right now it may take more effort to track down Pokémon and it may take longer for players to complete their pokedexs or get that coveted high-level Dragonite, but isn’t that part of the fun of the game? 

Keep an eye out for part two of our Pokémon Go editorial series, where we look at the effects Pokémon go has had on the public.

 

 

Everyone likes a good book to screen adaptation, however there isn’t a lot of love for some of our favorite game franchises hitting the big screen.

This week, in honor of the 15th anniversary of Final Fantasy: The Spirits within,  we look back at some of our favorite game to film titles!

 

10: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ( 2010 )

While an old game to many, I still remember sitting in a dark basement until the early hours of the morning playing this Ubisoft classic on my old gamecube.  The film adaptation starred Jake Gyllenhaal who portrayed Dastan, A young fugitive prince who must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.

 

9: Doom ( 2005 )

While this film wasn’t the greatest, it makes the list simply for nostalgic purposes. I mean, it has been forever since playing one of the most memorable FPS games of our time. It seems like yesterday I was typing the iconic “IDKFA” cheat code.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a Space Marine that is sent to investigate strange events at a research facility on Mars but finds himself and his team at the mercy of genetically enhanced killing machines.

 

8: Max Payne (2008)

Remember how cool it was to watch the Matrix? Remember how much cooler that ability became to get slow motion kills? Enter Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Coming together to solve a series of murders in New York City are a police detective whose family was slain as part of a conspiracy and an assassin out to avenge her sister’s death. The duo will be hunted by the police, the mob, and a ruthless corporation.

 

7: Angry Birds (2016)

Simply put, the mobile game that has taken the world by storm took our hearts in early 2016!

 

6: Pixels (2015)

I know what you are thinking. This is not a movie about one specific game. You’re 100% right. However, while making this list this film was hard to ignore. While it wasn’t the highest rated film actor Adam Sandler and company could produce, the film took so many of us back to a simpler time where arcade games were all the rage. If you can look past the cheesy story, you can see the likes of PACMAN, Q-bert, and that barrel throwing ape that we know as Donkey Kong.

 

5: Need for Speed (2014)

In this by name only adaptation of one of the most popular game franchises of all time. Arron Paul stars as Tobey Marshall, a fresh out of prison racer looking seeking revenge on the one who put him in prison. This high octane, adrenaline filled film is one not to be missed by fans of the franchise.

 

4: Warcraft

While technology has changed since some of the earlier titles on the list, one thing hasn’t… the amount of draw a simple video game turned film can produce. This one follows an Orc horde invading the planet Azeroth  using a magic portal.  A few human heroes and dissenting Orcs must attempt to stop the true evil behind this war.

 

3: Street Fighter (1994)

When nostalgia strikes, it strikes hard with our next pick. From classic arcade to early home consoles, Street Fighter sits very near and dear to many. If only Hollywood at the time had the perfect action star for the role. Enter Jean-Claude Van Damme or as we know him, Col. William Guile as he leads an army of soldiers into the country of Shadaloo to find traces to lead him to General M. Bison, who has captured many people including three missing soldiers.

2: Mortal Kombat (1995)

(Hears theme song in head) Who remembers sitting in front of your televisions after school arguing about who can be sub zero? Maybe it’s me, but even today when I see something wobbling I have instinct to yell FINISH HIM! You know where this is going…

 

1: Super Mario Bros (1993)

We saved the best for last and with good reason. We follow brothers Mario Mario and Luigi Mario as they take an unexpected journey to an alternate dimension ruled by evolved dinosaurs and covered in fungus. While the film was never worthy of an Oscar, we couldn’t pick a better film to end this list. A film that really lead the way for video game to film cross overs!