RE: Looter Shooters

So a few days ago I ran a poll to see what game in the so-called “Looter Shooter” genre people might think I’d enjoy. It turns out that following my logic, some people recommended Warframe even, a game I’ve already spent some time in but still look at all of the content available as a little daunting. I was surprised to see more people vote for Anthem than anything else, but we are talking about a very small sample size. In the end, my decision was made with my wallet’s welfare in mind: I picked up Forsaken for $20. I should be able to blow through what’s between where I am and the new content fairly quick.

I appreciate the feedback though. Haven’t seen that many comments on a post in a long time!

Ironically enough, we were treated to the announcement of Borderlands 3, a game that I had included in the poll (only got a single vote though) as more of a joke than anything. It does look pretty good though… here’s the trailer in case you missed it:

In a way it does look like more of the same, but it did look it had some pretty slick stuff going on at the same time. I hope there is enough variance to the world, classes/mechanics and storyline that it feels like a proper sequel and not just another pre-sequel. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one for sure, and make a decision about its purchase depending on the details. In the meantime, I’m in for more Destiny 2.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season Episode 4

Skybound Games has finally released the very last episode of Clementine’s saga. An epilogue of sorts, it picks up right in the thick of things, as the last episode culminated in the exploding ship and uncertainty about everyone’s well being. Well except for James. He was definitely dead. I felt that this episode was the most rushed or perhaps the least well thought out. It felt shorter than other episodes, and felt like whoever wrote it wasn’t as invested in the game or the property. There was a clear end, and a nice twist that I didn’t see coming, but it felt a little hollow. I wasn’t left feeling like it was a clear end for the series… but I suppose I’ve felt that way when good TV shows end as well.

It appears that my choices were in line with most other players. All four of the major choices in the episode weren’t the most difficult decisions to make (nothing gut wrenching here), but it appears that more than half of players agreed with my choices. Since the finale was only released a couple of days ago, those results could be spoilers, but I won’t go into specifics. Let’s just say I didn’t feel like the choices had much weight to them, and the way things ended I just felt sort of blah about. I really wanted to like it, but I suppose it’s okay to only be disappointed with one episode of a four season game series. Clementine’s story has come to a close, and I’m satisfied to have completed this years-long journey.

There were more screenshots I could have shared, but they were very much spoilers, showing who died and how relationships between Clementine and other characters have changed. I did however include the above two shots that showed what my Clementine taught AJ throughout the season. Some of it is pretty inside, so you’d probably have to play the game yourself to understand them, but many are basic enough. I think my AJ will grow to be a decent human being, and that means I’ve done my job. I could easily see another season being doable, especially being able to perhaps kill off Clementine and then pick up playing as an older AJ. I don’t see why they don’t go down this route, but perhaps they have other Walking Dead stories to tell, or maybe another decent IP could be done in this style. I suppose time will tell what Skybound decides to do next.

What Looter Shooter Would You Play?

It’s payday. I’m just about done with Resident Evil 2, and that means I’m itching to get into something new.

I considered jumping into something in the backlog, but nothing is jumping out at me. So, for your consideration, a poll:

I already have Destiny 2 along with the first two DLC packs, but I haven’t picked up Forsaken yet. I could grab that and blow through everything.

Or there’s Anthem. I still think it looks great but all of the reviews tell me I should wait for a while and see how it is down the road.

On the flip side, there’s The Division 2. I only played the first briefly, but this one is getting stellar reviews. I think I might enjoy it.

The last pick is Borderlands 3, only because there’s supposed to be information coming out on it this year. However, it’s not out so it was kind of a sarcastic option.

I guess I could have thrown Devil May Cry 5 in there as well, but I was sticking to a theme. I just thought I’d see where people were at and what they’d recommend.

Thanks for the help.

Battlerite Royale Leaves Early Access

After a quick, five month run in Early Access on Steam, Battlerite Royale has hit it’s full free-to-play 1.0 release. I learned of the game prior to picking up a copy, though the purchase price unlocked all champions and gave some founder bonuses, so I’m not peeved about the free-to-play full release. I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve had with the game already, and wrote some impressions on it back in November when I first got started. This isn’t exactly just throwing the game out into world though, as this 1.0 update brought with it some significant changes.

You can read the full patch notes here, but I’m going to take a moment to go over some of my thoughts having played for a few hours post release.

The first thing I noticed that had changed was bits of the UI. There were some new details added, but also introduced is the concept of a “season” which seems to be popular with online multiplayer games as of late. Most lobby based PvP games have something like this where you earn rewards by playing, but if you buy a special pass for a monetary fee you’ll unlock even more skins and things and typically these items are “exclusive” to that season — this creates more desire in some players I’d assume. This season ties in with a new star leveling and season leveling system, which you’ll see more of below:

Quests are of the same “Kill 4 Players or Break 100 Loot Orbs” variety, but newly added are season quests. Complete these and get stars. Get ten stars and move up a season level which corresponds with the battle pass and extra goodies. Basically it comes down to just playing the game and you’ll earn some stuff one way or the other, but there’s an option to throw some money at the game to earn extra rewards. There are also a couple of packs you can outright buy that provide new skins and mounts. Alternatively you can earn in-game currency and buy chests which will get you some skins and avatars and mounts, etc. It’s a typical free-to-play model and I don’t really see a need to spend money to have fun.

Another big part of the new patch was the release of three more champions to choose from. Strangely enough, they are all ranged characters, and that has thrown the distribution of melee/ranged characters off a bit, but I’m sure there are more champions being ported over from Battlerite, along with brand new creations coming down the pipe. I tried all three and enjoyed both Oldur and Taya quite a bit. Pearl seems too support oriented to be viable solo, and it appears that there is still only the option to duo and you have to have someone on your friend’s list to even invite them. I’d imagine that an auto fill for duos or a group queue should be something in development, but I haven’t read anything about that specifically yet.

The map has been revamped a bit, and you can see one of the brand new zones above, and the ice sure is slippery. This is the north end of the map, they also added a new trader’s market zone at the south end and the extra space seems to help you avoid those early skirmishes allowing you to gear up a bit before fighting. There were other tweaks such as the movement speed of characters across the board, and more specific champion adjustments that you can check out on the patch notes I linked to above. Overall I think it was a successful early access run and that the game feels like it’s in a good spot. Outside of adding more characters/skins and perhaps continuing to expand the map, I would only suggest the matchmaking for duos and perhaps a group of 4-5 queue.

If you haven’t checked the game out yet, now’s the time — it doesn’t get any cheaper than free!

Thoughts on Apex Legends

Respawn Entertainment, creators of the awesome Titanfall series, has now thrown their hat into the Battle Royale ring, like many other studios before it. The budding genre is already becoming over saturated, but some gems peek out from the chaff from time to time, and I believe Apex Legends is set to do just that.

I’ve played a handful of Battle Royale games and have found only a couple of them to be to my liking. Apex Legends ticks a few boxes for me that others have not. I prefer the forced first person perspective (which was also a plus in Black Ops IIII) because in any third person shooter, you can utilize the camera angle in relationship to your avatar to see around corners in a way that wouldn’t be physically possible in real life. Being a sort of spin off of the survival genre, Battle Royale succeeds when you are forced into this camera position and need to utilize your senses to outlast the other players in the round. I also enjoy the team-play aspect of groups of three. There are only three classes of legends in the game, so you can make a balanced team with only three players. The voice chat works, but it also is entirely unnecessary. The “jumpmaster” feature is also great for keeping your team heading to the same place on the map and not being picked off elsewhere.

The map feels large, but you can still traverse much of it fairly quickly. There are no vehicles, so everything is done on foot — thankfully there isn’t stamina to worry about. The weapon and gear selection feels adequate and the gunplay is excellent. I do miss the double-jumping and wallrunning of Titanfall along with the ability to call down and pilot mechs, but I understand why they didn’t go that route. I’m hopeful for an additional game-mode that will allow the use of mechs sometime in the future but it doesn’t seem likely. Still, there are a variety of skills to use via the different legends, so it still feels varied enough.

Typical of most Battle Royale games, you’ll have rounds where you are one of the first teams eliminated, and other games you’ll be the last ones standing. My second match ever when this good, as I was playing Gibraltar and our team was the first to the circle of safety so we set an ambush. Gibraltar’s ultimate ability calls down an air strike, so when I saw the enemy team coming I dropped it on them and managed to take they whole team out in one go. Since then I’ve managed to be in the top ten several times but haven’t won another round. Rumor has it that there are plans for solo/duo queues coming soon, but actually think the team co-op is a better approach. Even playing with randoms it has been a good time.

The game looks great and runs smooth. I think it’s a blast. At least Respawn seems to have done their homework, as they’ve taken some of the better ideas from the competition and included their top-notch FPS gameplay to the mix while avoiding some of the over-the-top design choices. When loading up for the first time you’ll have access to six legends, with two being unlockables. There is a micro transaction storefront, but no power is being sold — just fluff skins for Legends and weapons. You can buy in-game currency to speed up your unlocks or to outright buy skins, or you can just unlock them with scrap parts eventually. I still don’t have enough in-game currency to unlock a new legend, but it doesn’t seem like it will take that long to get there. Honestly it’s probably worth throwing a few bucks at the company just to make sure the game doesn’t disappear, but I’d rather buy a “unlock all legends now and in the future” package than skins ala Quake Champions or SMITE.

No matter the case, the game is out now, and is Free to Play. I personally don’t have Origin installed so I downloaded Apex Legends on my Playstation 4. If you’re a PC player you’ll have to get this via Origin. It probably looks even nicer there. I’d give it a whirl if you enjoy the Battle Royale genre or need a new FPS in your life.