Archive for the ‘GamerZone’ Category

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t initially excited to play Final Fantasy XV. As a longtime fan of the Final Fantasy series who has played and completed every single core title and many of the secondary titles since its inception, I felt almost obligated to play this side story-turned main title. Final Fantasy XV was originally introduced as Final Fantasy XIII Versus as a part of the XIII universe along with Final Fantasy Agito XIII (later re-branded as Type-0). After 10 years of production the long-awaited FFXIII title was finally launched as Final Fantasy XV, now a primary title of the Final Fantasy Franchise.

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(image courtesy of Square Enix)

Prior to FFXV’s release, Square Enix provided the fans with an initial demo, a revamped version of said demo, and a second demo. With each demo release the games battle system was changed and tweaked to accommodate the demands of the players and subsequently was the catalyst for piquing my interest in the game. Let’s see how the newest edition of Square Enix‘s flagship title stacks up to the expectations of this Final Fantasy veteran!

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Greetings Fellow Nerds!
Welcome to the newly-revamped GamerZone column, a monthly installment where we will be showcasing and reviewing many different great games out there! For the relauinch, we’ve got a bit of a bonus (as in, yes, there will be TWO this first month!) with a special retro-review of Telltale Games’ Back to the Future: The Game by our newest staff writer, Mr. Todd A. Davis. Enjoy and stay tuned for more later this month! Take it away, Todd!

I’m fairly new to the whole video-game-review thing, but I’ll give it my best. Thank you in advance for your patience. I’ll try to make it worth your while.

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(image courtesy of Telltale Games)

Like every child of the 80’s, who am I kidding? Like everyone, EVER, I love the Back to the Future franchise. (I believe US Immigration issues box sets with new citizenships.) So when they announced in 2011 that there was a new game coming out, I was like, “This is gonna be heavy!”

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As I started my research for this piece, I realized something VERY quickly. There are a lot of RPGs out there and as I read deeper, it occurred to me that technically speaking, EVERY video game is (in a way) a role playing game. You assume control of a character and use them to collect items they need to alter your normal actions in order to complete a task…more or less. Be it a mushroom that makes you grow twice your normal size or a spell that you cast to do all the ass-kicking for you while you finish your homework (I wasn’t the only one, was I?), nearly every digital gaming experience can, in some form or another, be classified as an RPG.

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Okay, maybe not Tetris, settle down. So that’s definitely an over simplification, but nonetheless makes an impossibly large list to choose from. Knowing that, stereotypically, RPGs are widely recognized as either medieval or futuristic fantasy based adventures; I thought this might be too exclusive a definition. Therefore, I tried to break it down into franchises that focused on different aspects of gameplay, as well as the revolutionary franchises that set the standard for games we have today. That being said, this is my personal list and should not be held to any sort of standard as the end-all, be-all of “best of” lists.

So let’s get to it…
Todd’s Top 10 Role Playing Video Game Franchises/Series’
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Welcome to No Man’s Sky, the largest game universe ever created!

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So what is No Man’s Sky you ask? It’s a first person ‘shooter style’ game built upon predominately exploration and survival that is so massive that, according to it’s creators, would take you roughly 5 billion years to explore every inch of the game. Let’s see how this monster of seemingly infinite game play hours stacks up!

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Studio Wildcard has finally brought gamers something that they’ve been asking about for years. A survival dinosaur MMORPG that entangles hunting, taming, and breeding primeval creatures. Although still in its beta stage, ARK: Survival Evolved is planned to be fully released June of this year.

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(image courtesy of STEAM)

The name of the world is ARK, a collection of islands over a vast map that leaves plenty of room for exploring and building bases. There is a three to one land-water ratio which gives the players a perfect proportion of land and sea. Currently the game has over thirty prehistoric creatures, however the creators have announced that they plan to have over a hundred for the game’s final release. The game is available for PC (Steam), Xbox One, and PS4. I currently play the Xbox One version.

But how does ARK actually stack up?  Read on to find out! 

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2k Sports returns alongside developer Yukes with WWE 2K16, its latest effort into the complicated world of pro wrestling, and its major leagues: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

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Wrestling fandom is a very odd beast, perhaps even the oddest of all fandoms. At least most of the time, for most people, you either love it or hate it, and as someone once said: “for those that get it, no explanation is needed; for those that don’t, no explanation will do.” But I’m not here to debate the fandom, I’m here to review the latest game… so let’s get to it!

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Probably the single most anticipated video game release of 2015, Fallout 4 –  the latest in the insanely popular post-apocalyptic RPG series from Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks is officially here.

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(image courtesy of Bethesda Softworks)

Following its Game of the Year winning predecessors Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, a massive fan following, and more hype than has been seen from any game in quite some time, it’s probably the biggest understatement one could make in saying that Fallout 4 had a lot to live up to. But did it? Let’s get right down to it and find out!
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Although not a new game by any stretch of the imagination, Tomb Raider is something of a timeless title in the realm of gaming. This particular incarnation of Tomb Raider (which is the fourth TR title, and first in the new continuity) was originally released in 2013 for PS3, Xbox 360, Windows, and OSX to much acclaim from critics and gamers alike.
So when the new-gen consoles came out, it was only fitting to re-release such a game and see what all can be done with it. That’s where 2015’s Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition comes in.

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Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. return with their fourth (main) installment in the highly popular “Batman: Arkham” series. But how did the game stack up against its predecessors? Read on to find out!

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(image courtesy of Rocksteady Games/Warner Bros.)

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Paizo Publishing returns with PATHFINDER: UNCHAINED, a new alternate rules set to the PATHFINDER RPG. out now everywhere TTRPGs are sold.

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(image courtesy of Paizo Publishing)

Before we begin, Full Disclosure: I love alternate rules sets. I’m a GM, and a systems guy. Not only do alternate rules give a GM new options for running their games, they also give systems guys and gals insights into what problems inspired the designers to make new decisions on their game system, and by virtue of this, why they made their original decisions. These books are great for breaking down system designs and identifying exactly where problems occur, so I can avoid those problems when I design a new system myself. Maybe a few of you would like to take a look through these books in your collection again in this light.

That being said, I’m not going to bore the majority of you by discussing ad nauseam Pathfinder’s merits and flaws (okay, maybe a little). It’s a book of new options, so let’s talk about whether those options are worth shelling out hard cash. First, let’s make one thing clear: alternate rules books are not just for GMs, they are for players, too. I don’t understand why I find such a consensus to the contrary when I see these books discussed online. Yes, they are nothing but rules. Yes, the GM is the adjudicator of the rules. But the new options presented in these books are almost always directly dealing with the player experience. As such, while they are about new ways of running the game, the players are just as invested in what rules are used. Players should use these books the same way they use any player resource outside the core rules: find what they want, and ask the GM’s permission to use it.

I would love to give my opinion on every option presented in Pathfinder Unchained, but there are a lot, and some are pretty involved. We’ll just discuss the highlights by chapter:
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