When I fist started up SUPERBEAT: XONiC I wasn't sure what to expect. I had the basic idea that it was a rhythm game that was the spiritual successor to the DJMax Series (A similar series also developed by Nurijoy) but I was pleased to see that it was both familiar and fresh in delivery.
In the first two hours of playing I was struck by two things. How easy it was to pick up and play and how varied the music is. KPop, JPop, Idol, Rock, Metal, House, etc. The soundtrack has it all. The game modes are kept simple and the quick tutorial is all you need to be able to just jump right into the game. There are two main game modes "Stage" (Main gameplay mode) and "World Tour" (A challenge mode). "Stage" is separated further into a 4-Track mode and 6-Track mode. 4-Track is the simple mode that most people will jump into (and most of what I played in those initial few hours) and it let's you get the feel for the game without having to be overwhelmed by notes flying at you. 6-Track is where you go when you want more of a challenge and it includes more notes and an increased rate of notes. I only went into World Tour once for this article and it is your standard challenge mode where you play certain tracks whilst completing pre-set objectives. It is here where you also unlock more of the game's content.
First impressions on gamplay are just a little more complicated. As far as rhythm games go this one is somewhat standard but adds in some nice elements that take advantage of the Vita's touch screen (more on that in the full review). While I mentioned the game is easy to pick up and play, there are points where the difficulty seems ramps up randomly in some songs though and makes it not quite as accessible as I feel it could have been. While this is especially true in the 6-Track mode there are also there in some songs in 4-Track that can be very challenging. This isn't really a bad thing, but since 4-Track is basically the only true easy mode it should be mentioned. Also the slide notes felt just a little too slippery to me. I found it hard to hold them at times even when they were the only note on the screen. I am not sure if this a fault of mine or the game, but it was consistent enough to be noted. On the plus side though, the controls are all spot on and tight even at the game's most intense moments. Also, since you can play either entirely on the touch screen, entirely with the controls, or a combination of both, it accommodates all possible play styles.
Well, with that said I have great feelings about this game and I can't wait to explore more tracks and the World Tour mode in its entirety. There's also lots to talk about like the art style and the deeper gameplay elements (such as the DJ Icon system) but I will keep those for a later date. Keep an eye on A-To-J Gaming for the full review in the coming weeks and be sure to check out SUPERBEAT: XONiC which releases on November 10!
SUPERBEAT XONiC can be pre-ordered at great video game outlets everywhere. More information can be found at: superbeatxonic.com
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be stranded on a snowy, forested mountain with some friends as somebody is trying to kill all of you? Well, if so, then this is probably the game for you. To begin, I’d like to make it clear that if you are squeamish, bothered by gore or extremely sensitive to horror, you probably want to avoid this particular adventure.
Until Dawn is similar in style to The Wolf Among Us and Heavy Rain, if you’ve played either of those. Strictly speaking, this is a cinematic guided adventure game. Expect a lot of quick-time events, walking around and making decisions. Gameplay beyond that is minimal, so if you’re looking for something with a little more in-depth gameplay, then this isn’t the place to be. With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s jump into the quality of the game!
The first thing I noticed, when jumping in, was how gorgeous the game was. Supermassive Games did a fantastic job of taking advantage of the PS4 hardware. There is much detail to the environment, the characters look good, the animations are usually spot-on, the lighting is perfect and to top it off there are a good number of particle effects (snow, for example) that really help to set the mood. While graphics shouldn’t necessarily be a selling point for a game, this type of game is all about setting up mood an ambiance. This means that graphics and sound are extremely important for that. The music really helps to set up the ambiance and the sound effects are really amazing. The game looks and sounds awesome, and this is a major reason why this game manages to so successfully pull the player in. It also helps that the voice acting is (mostly) top-notch, which really helps to develop these believable characters who you are stranded with.
In a game like this, the characters make or break the game. Luckily, the characters are actually really well written. Each character is fairly unique in the type of personality they present, so that making decisions for and with each character feels significant. Even though you may like or dislike some characters more than ever, the presentation is done in such a way that you feel bad no matter who dies. Oh and don’t you worry, everybody can die (and they can all survive as well).
Everything that happens in Until Dawn is completely dependent on three things. The first thing has to do with decision making. Your conversations with each other and interactions play out during certain moments where you have to decide how to respond. You can actually make or break relationships between characters based on your responses. The second thing is with quick time events. Since this is a horror game, there will be many tense situations where you are running, surviving and fighting. During these times button prompts will appear on the screen which need to be pressed (sometimes you need to aim and shoot quickly or choose a path quickly). If these prompts are failed, or if you choose the ‘wrong’ option, then usually something really bad will happen. Either right away or in the near future. The final way is the most subtle and quite possibly the most important: collectibles. In this game, there are many collectibles to hunt down. The difference between this and most games is that the collectibles actually enable story progression. There are two types of collectibles. Totems give you quick foreshadowing videos that will warn you of danger, give you hints on positive decision making or show you how people can die. It’s a clever way of giving you a hint as to how some outcomes can be good or bad. The other type of collectible comes in the form of clues. There are various clues hidden around that will give you insight as to the past, the story behind the characters who die in the prologue, behind the mystery person who is trying to kill you and also about the overall setting. Keep in mind that every clue is actually important, so if you want to try and figure out what’s going on you need to pay attention to them. To top it off, from a gameplay perspective, these clues provide possibilities to save some characters from certain death. So there is an actual incentive to get 100% completion in this game, which is really refreshing. The reason I love this concept even more than normal, is that none of it is frustratingly challenging.
Those are the distinguishing features of this game, which is essentially like a choose-your-own adventure book of old. The story is actually quite nice as well. If you are clever, you can not only divine the identity of the killer early on (I did), but you can even divine the plot twist for the game as a whole (this one I did not). I’ll just say that there is much more to the story then just having a psychotic serial killer trying to pick off a group of teens stranded on a snowy mountain. The twist caught me off guard and I really loved it.
Until Dawn isn’t a very long game. It took me about 5.5 hours to complete my initial play through. The average seems to be about 7 hours. From a gameplay standpoint, that might be a bit short for the full price tag, but from a story telling standpoint it’s the sweet spot to develop a horror game without dragging on and without being too short to settle in.
The trophies are actually mostly simple, though it’ll require a minimum of two playthroughs to get the platinum (it took me three, due to a stupid error I made at the beginning of the game). When you beat the game, it gives you the option to replay any chapter in the story. The trick is, whatever decisions you made prior to that chapter stick. So if you made an error in the first chapter, you would essentially need to start a new game. The good thing is that all collectibles save across all chapters so you can jump back and forth as needed. The quirk is that the only way to have new decisions carry from whichever chapter you select, is to do a continuous play from that point. If you do Chapter 4, then jump ahead to Chapter 7 it’ll reset your choices to what your base save file has stored. I learned this the hard way. So if you need to make a decision change to carry through to the ending, then be sure to play continuously until the end.
Another quirk I had with the game was that there was originally no option to invert the controls. I’ve grown up with inverted Y-axis and not being able to make that choice was driving me crazy in the few sections where you need to aim weapons. When I got about halfway through, a patch was released that allowed you to change this option. This is great, but the problem is that the option is a bit buggy. When an aiming sequence initializes, it seems to default at non-inverted mode THEN convert to inverted mode. I noticed this because the first second or so is clearly not inverted then suddenly it will be. This isn’t too big of an issue, except for the rare time where it fails to actively convert the controls to inverted in a tense situation. This is a very clear programming oversight and feels like they used a very lazy solution to patch in the inversion option (being familiar with coding, I have some ideas as to what they may have done to enable this option). Another problem I had with the game was that sometimes, at the default brightness, it could be painfully dark. To the point that I literally couldn’t see anything. This is easily fixed by setting the brightness up a little, but it’s unfortunate that the default suggested brightness isn’t quite right (It’s not my TV either. I have it manually set up for optimal gaming, and have had no problems in any other games I’ve played on there, regardless of console or genre.). A final issue is with the controls of movement. The controls feel slightly sluggish at times. Couple that with slightly questionable collision detection (getting stuck on tiny rocks, for example) and the controls can be slightly frustrating at times. Luckily there are no situations in the game where manual movement is key to survival or decision making.
Aside from those (mostly) minor issues, the game plays extremely smoothly and is quite the nerve-wracking adventure. I haven’t had this much fun playing a new adventure game since I played Heavy Rain. If you’re into the adventure/horror genres, or you merely like a really well-written story, then I can’t recommend this game highly enough. This was a beautiful way for me to break in my new PS4, and I hope others will have similar exciting scenarios.
I have been playing Zelda games since Ocarina of Time, and have played and beaten every single one except for Zelda II and Spirit Tracks. With that being said, this game has a lot to live up to as far as I am concerned. This game doesn’t do a lot to stand apart, but it essentially puts everything together in such a glorious way, which helps it stand on its own as a great Zelda game. Why? Read on to find out.
It is difficult to go wrong with the Zelda formula. You go through dungeons and within, you collect keys and items until you get to the boss at which point you defeat him. There are of course things you must do to get to the dungeons as well. Fairly simple formula, right? Well there is more that makes this game so wonderful though. Let us begin with the story. At launch, this was the beginning of the series’ story (Though now, that title goes to Skyward Sword.). That meant it had a lot to explain, but instead of going the route of trying to lead into a later game, it in fact creates a new unique story that does a great job of pre-dating almost everything else. At first the story seems simple enough. A sorcerer wants ultimate power and you have to stop him. In fact it does not get much more complex than that overall. A fairly decent cast of characters all have unique stories associated with them and it is quite fun exploring this. Though most of the time these sequences are short, there are enough of them to keep things interesting. Beyond that, the story isn't mind boggling or anything, but it does get the job done just well enough to keep you entertained. The addition of the Minish does add a whole new level of depth though. Depth that is not seen in most other Zelda games, because it essentially adds a whole new race of beings into the mix as extremely important beings; the other games mostly play a little emphasis on each race but the focus is almost always on just Link. Without risking spoiling the game, just know that the story is basic, but it still has a decent amount of depth to it.
If you have played at least one other Zelda game, you will recognize quite a bit of what is going on as far as items go, but this game offers three brand new items along with a slightly upgraded older item. Even though the rest are nothing new, they’re fun because all items are important. Unlike some of the other games (like Ocarina of Time, for example), every item is not only used in problem solving, but almost every item has its uses in combat outside of boss battles as well. For example: the Shield can be used to block Octorok blasts, the Gust Jar can be used to draw in rocks and bushes that enemies may be hiding under and the Pegasus Boots can be used to dash safely through a Dark Nut so that you can attack him before he has the chance to turn around. While traveling and fighting, I went out of my way to make use of every item somewhere or the other, which is not something I did with all the other Zelda games. Not only that, most of the items are actually pretty fun to use.
The dungeons, though limited to 6 (including the final), are all made with the greatest care and are ripe full of creativity. They aren't necessarily the most challenging to get through, but they generally make you think 'oh wow that was a pretty cool way to use this item'. Each dungeon is well-made and memorable. They have great progression, and they each feels quite unique. The dungeons all lead up to very well done boss battles as well. Personally, I didn't like only one of those bosses, which is the first one. The first boss in most games is usually lackluster though, so that’s not a negative point for this experience. There is a decent selection of enemies do defeat as well, many of them being unique. There are two things that make this game absolutely great though. The first is the ability to shrink to Minish size (these small thumb-sized creatures). This adds a great deal of depth into the game and sometimes creates two separate worlds to explore. This ability is not merely there for progression either, it truly is a great element to the game, and honestly is one of the main things that makes this game different from the others. Of particular note are the extremely fun ways this ability is used against some of the bosses. The second is the Four Sword. If you are not aware, this game is actually a telling of the formation of the Four Sword. The Four Sword is a sword that allows the user to split himself/herself into 4 copies. This elements isn’t used often enough, but is used very well when it is used. There is more to this game though, and that is side quests.
The main game itself is very short, and probably won't take you more than 6-8 hours to complete. The side quests easily double that time to about 12-16 hours. There are these stones called Kinstones that you fuse with various characters to activate events (for example: a chest with rupees may appear or a salesman may get an idea for a new product). Getting the Kinstones generally is not too hard, it is figuring out who to fuse with that can make things interesting, and sometimes figuring out how to access what you activated. This actually often goes hand-in-hand with Heart Piece hunting as well, which can be quite a feat in itself. There are also 10 optional Sword techniques you can search for and learn in the game (including the much loved Hurricane Blade attack, here dubbed Great Spin Attack). Still want more? There are also Mysterious Shells that can be used to buy figurines in a lottery-like system (similar to Trophies from Super Smash Bros.), with a total of 136. These are of enemies, characters and events in the game and provide a short description. Lastly, 4 of your 12 items have upgrades you can search for (5 if you count your wallet). In the end, this game plays beautifully. It could have just used a lengthier main quest and a more interesting story.
The graphics take the Wind Waker style and convert it to GBA graphics, and it fits perfectly for this game. All the enemies look great, the environments are varied and detailed and the animations are nicely done. This is quite possibly the best music in a Zelda game. Even though it re-uses themes from various games in the series, it has enough unique tunes to make it substantial. Each area has a great and unique track that sounds perfect for the mood, and none of them are a bore to listen to. The sound effects are all fairly well done, though Link's sounds may get slightly annoying sometimes. Overall this does a great job of making your ears feel at ease (or tense depending on the situation in-game).
If you play extremely slowly, then you’re looking at a total of about 20 hours to attain a 100% completion. More likely you will spend about 15 hours on it though. That is too short considering it took me about 12 hours just to get through A Link to the Past's main adventure the first time. On the other hand, because this game is short, it makes it more bearable to play through with various personal challenges (such as a 3-heart play through). Due to the length, I can almost guarantee you that you will come back to this again more than once.
Despite the emphasized length issue, the game is an extremely satisfying adventure. This is the type of game that will appeal to people who like RPG, Action and Adventure games. If you own a platform that this game is playable on, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s a much ignored gem within the Zelda series, and also one of my favorites.
Blaster fire all around. Surrounded by corpses. I looked to the right and watched Luke get gunned down by a plethora of Snowtroopers. I looked to the left and saw Vader slicing down soldier after soldier, their bodies flying in the air like ragdolls.
Fifteen seconds remained until the AT-AT would be in range of our shield generator.
In a last ditch effort, we managed to call one last Y-Wing assault to disable the walker temporarily. I saw my partner flying overhead in a snowspeeder in a vain attempt at stopping the walker. The Y-Wings quickly disabled the walker, which still had about three-quarters of its armor intact. Over the comm, I hear my partner struggling to figure out how to use the tow cable on his speeder to bring down the walker.
Eight seconds remained.
My friend crashed right into the walker, fatally wounding it. All the remaining rebel troops focused all fire on the walker.
Three seconds remained.
BOOM. The walker went up in flames. The Rebels won against impossible odds. Loud cheers over the comm channels. VICTORY.
These are the sort of moments I experienced with my friend, as we played through the beta together for a while. We managed to spend some time in all three modes that were available in the beta for Star Wars Battlefront. I went into the beta expecting a complete mess and a very dull game. I changed my opinion quickly upon jumping into the game. To begin with, the game is actually beautiful. The ugly gameplay videos I had seen did not do the game justice at all. Not only is the game absolutely gorgeous, but there is an active backdrop that really pulls you into the mood (starships in dogfights, crashing Star Destroyers, etc.). There is a lot of detail to the landscape as well as the weapons, and the animations are pretty solid as well. The thing that pulls you into the experience the most, though, are the sounds. The unmistakable Star Wars feel is present in the sound and music design, flawlessly, I might add.
I began by playing around in Drop Pod mode (Sullust was the only available map.) first. In this mode, a drop pod falls onto the battlefield and you have to fight for control of the pod as the Empire or Rebel Alliance. This works similarly to King of the Hill, except that the pods are physical objects that drop onto the battlefield randomly in a set of pre-designated spots. Once the pod is captured, it drops some items for use. The first team to reach 5 captures, wins the game (or whoever has the most once the time is up). This mode is extremely fast paced and jarring. This is the kind of mode that’s going to pull in the Call of Duty player. It’s simple and quick to pick up, and extremely satisfying.
Mission mode was the next thing I tackled (on Tatooine). This mode launches waves of Imperials at you in increasing difficulties as you try and survive with a partner. The beta only allowed for the first 5 (of 15, if I’m not mistaken) waves before ending the match. Sometimes, the waves will involve defending a drop pod to access important equipment. Vehicles will appear as well, such as the AT-ST that is in the beta. This is the kind of mode that will pull in the Gears of War Horde Mode type of player.
The final mode I tackled was the Walker Assault. This is essentially the Battle of Hoth from Empire Strikes Back. This was easily my favorite mode. This reminded me a lot of Battlefield 2142, in the sense that you are working toward an ultimate object that will result in and epic win (or loss). As the Imperials, you need to defend your AT-AT walkers at all costs, as they slowly push toward the Rebel’s shield generator. As the Rebels, you need to constantly try and hold data uplink stations. Each time a timer tick happens, you set a Y-Wing into your queue. There are three assault opportunities throughout the match, at which time these queued up Y-Wings will disable the walkers for a short time. The more Y-Wings you have, the longer this time will be. When the walkers are disabled, the rebels need to assault the walkers with everything they have to try and destroy them. While I’ve read a lot about other players complaining about how overpowered the Empire is, I’d like to point out that I won 7 of the 8 matches I played as the Rebels. All it takes is a little bit of coordination and understanding of how the mode works in order to win.
The map is fairly large. The initial assault happens in open snow, the second part happens within the rebel base (about half within, and half without) and the final assault happens within a set of snow trenches. Throughout the map there are infantry and vehicle turrets set up by the rebels that can be used by both sides and can be destroyed as well (Though usually used by the rebels. Due to the direction they face and their placement, they aren’t easily accessible by the imperials until the next assault, at which time they are useless.). Both sides also have access to vehicles. The Imperials can use AT-STs, TIE Fighters, TIE Interceptors and also they can control the attacks of the AT-ATs temporarily. The rebels have access to A-Wings (highly maneuverable, low defenses), X-Wings (high defenses, but slower than A-Wings) and snowspeeders (Relatively slow and not very maneuverable, but can be used to single-handedly bring down the AT-ATs when they are disabled using the tow cables. Not an easy feat.). As far as heroes, the Imperials have access to Darth Vader (who is relatively slow, but has great defense and can cut down troops with ease) and the Rebels have access to Luke Skywalker (faster and more agile than Vader, but more vulnerable). I never got to use the heroes much, because I would get gunned down immediately, but I did have a lot of fun with all the vehicles.
While the Empire looked to have the advantage, I felt like both sides were reasonably balanced. Most matched I played were pretty close, and were an absolute blast. The vehicles and special weapons are item pickups that you can use in the map, rather than physical objects on the battlefield. As you level up, you get these ‘cards’ which you can add to your ‘hand’ of three. These cards make up your loadout (along with your selected primary weapon). You can have things such as Thermal Detonators, one-shot sniper rifles or jetpacks. All of these have unlimited ‘ammo’, but they have a cooldown every time you use them. There weren’t too many customization options available in the beta, but if the full game expands on this with a lot more options, then it could create a very personalized experience without the need to have overly complex loadouts as with Battlefield.
I had the pleasure of playing the beta on all three available platforms. The PC is hands down the most gorgeous, and is my ultimate platform of choice. It provides the most accurate control scheme. The down side is that in order to take full advantage, you’ll need a fairly hefty computer and if you prefer to play with a controller, you’ll be left at an advantage due to the higher precision of the keyboard and mouse players. The PlayStation 4 version holds its own fairly well. Despite being at a 900p resolution (PC can push up to 4k), it still looks fairly detailed, runs smooth and handles well. I had no problems playing the game with the Dual Shock 4, which happens to be my least favorite controller of this generation. That’s saying something. Finally, we have the Xbox One. This version is definitely the weakest link. Running at a low, last-generation 720p, the game is noticeably blurry and less detailed. The effects and texture detail are a little lacking as well. It was quite jarring, to be quite honest. Visuals aside, the game still handled great, and ran smoothly as well. If given a choice, I’d highly recommend getting the game for the PS4 or PC, but if you choose the Xbox One don’t worry, you’ll still get a fun game.
That brings me to my final point. Besides getting stuck in the environment once (I got stuck in a rock on Sullust.), I didn’t run into any huge bugs or glitches while playing. Sometimes I saw some collision problems or hit detection issues, but these were mostly minor. For a beta, it ran relatively smooth and was fun.
Despite the relative lack of features in comparison with the series as a whole, the game is extremely fun and looks to be full of a decent amount of things to do. If they iron out the (mostly) minor kinks, and deliver on the content (and perhaps more) that they promised, then this could turn out to be one of the most fun Star Wars games we’ve had in a while. I’ve got my copy pre-ordered, do you?
Official Site: http://starwars.ea.com/starwars/battlefront
I'm going to begin by saying that I am pretty bored and uninterested in this whole craze with the zombie genre. I never was very interested in it and still am not. I normally avoid zombie focused games, in fact. When I first played this, I had never played a Dead Rising game previously. This game certainly didn't help change my mind about zombies, but I sure did have a whole lot of fun with it.
The concept behind the game is simple enough: There is a zombie outbreak in Los Perdidos and you need to figure out how to get out, with the help of some other survivors. While there is a little more to the story, which does actually tie in to the rest of the series (with a special appearance from a character from another game), it's mostly pretty simple and straightforward. It does have its share of negative undertones expressed towards America, hidden subtly under a plethora of vulgar and nonsensical dialogue and game play. Despite this interesting satire, the story is still ultimately simple and drab. Interestingly enough, the main characters are boring; it's all the companions and villains you meet that really adds meat to the character of this game. I will warn you ahead of time that the bulk of the humor of this game revolves around vulgarity, so if you aren't into that kind of humor then you may be better off avoiding this game. This humor carries over to the well-varied and extremely fun boss battles as well (minus the disappointing final boss). Besides the bosses, the voice acting was actually hit or miss. There were some instances where I was laughing really loud, and there were some instances where I didn't care what was being said because there was no feeling in the dialogue. The music was unforgettable as well. There were no pieces that stood out to me.
There are three things that stood out as being exceptional in this game for me. The first concerns the combo weapons. You can pick up most any object in the game and use it as a weapon. To make things even more interesting, you can combine various weapons and objects together to make even more interesting and fun weapons. The same concept applies to vehicles. This is one of the most exciting things about the game, and assures that you always have something unique at your fingertips. It also gets rid of the major problem with zombie games: limited ammo. Your character is a resourceful individual which translates into fun and limitless weapons!
The second is the rewarding exploration. There are all sorts of things hidden around the world. There are propaganda speakers you can destroy, tragic moments to find and Frank West statues to collect. These are used to level up your character, but at least there is a little variety in the types of collectibles and they provide some actual use in the game. On top of that, there are blueprints all over the place which show you new combos you can make. There are also PP trials which are fun challenges that also help you level up your character. The city in this game is about as big as the city in the first Infamous. It isn't huge, but it isn't exactly tiny either. These collectibles aren't impossible to find and you can get upgrades that show you when a collectible is nearby, so you don't have to worry about being frustrated. There are some that require some clever thinking to reach though, and that is a welcome challenge.
The third? ZOMBIES! The game does not look exceptional. It looks like a slight improvement over the Xbox 360. In order to make up for last-gen graphics (don't get me wrong, the game DOES look good, and is very well-detailed...it merely didn't blow me away), the processing power foes through the roof. The number of zombies that are shown on screen is phenomenal. Considering I almost never had a frame rate drop, this really impressed me. It really helps drive home the fear of being killed when you are surrounded by 300-400 zombies that are simultaneously trying to eat your brains.
This was the first game I played that used the Smart Glass feature rather than just providing a details page. The app essentially functions as your in-game phone. You can access a map, obtain unique side quests, keep track of quests, get hints and even call down air strikes using the phone. It's not revolutionary, but it was a fun supplement to the game. Unfortunately, if you play the game co-op, only the host player can use Smart Glass. This meant that my co-op partner was never able to see what this feature could provide, since I always hosted.
I also tried playing around with the Kinect features, which were cute, but not entirely responsive. You could call out to zombies to get their attention and you could navigate some menus with your voice. None of these features worked reliably enough for me to consistently keep this option turned on.
Speaking of co-op, I highly recommend every person play this game with a friend. The game would not nearly have been as fun if I did not have a friend to play with. This actually leads me to some of my complaints about the game. Progress isn't always recorded correctly for the co-op player. Remember, I ONLY played this game in co-op, never by myself. That being said, many of the collectibles that we acquired didn't record for him, but they all did for me. Another issue is that even though it saves his character and story progression, every time he joined my game he'd be stuck with no weapons. This is a little frustrating because normally you keep whatever you had when you saved the game. I would have all these great weapons when we would start up a session and he'd have to start from scratch every time. Other than that though, the co-op was an absolute blast. Especially when experimenting with all the silly outfits you can wear in the game.
There are some noticeable glitches that could be very irritating. The most important one to mention is that the game tends to close at random times. I thought it was my Xbox One malfunctioning at first, but of all the games I own, this is the only one where this happens. It will go to the home screen and exit the game by itself sometimes. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough to be irritating. In our whole 45 hour play through of the game, it happened to us 4 times. Another issue is with quests. Some of the Smart Glass quests require you wait until you get contacted by a certain character after you finish previous quests. There were a few times where I wouldn't get contacted until we finished the chapter. We also had one quest that required we take a lady to different spots. While she kept following us, halfway through the quest it wasn't registering us as taking her to these spots even though we were all there. As a result we weren't able to complete this quest AND a survivor died because we couldn't do anything about it. This prevented us from getting 100%. I sincerely hope this isn't a common problem because if we play it again and are prevented from getting 100% because the game is broken...well let's say our level of frustration will be pretty high.
The imposed time limit in the game was another flaw as well. It did very well thematically in Dead Rising 1, but felt a little forced in Dead Rising 3. It really limited our ability to explore. Considering how much larger this game is than the original, forcing a time limit really belittles the open-world aspect of the game. I assume this was done to encourage multiple play throughs. Nightmare mode helps encourage this though, so why do they need to punish those of us who just want to relax and take our time with a fun open-world game.
Ultimately, this doesn’t feel like a triple-A title and is not a killer app. That being said, this is still a very enjoyable game and was a good launch title that helped us see some of the potential of the system. Not necessarily graphically but when it comes to processing power and game play.
Note: I played this game exclusively on the Xbox One. While I own it on the PC, I haven’t booted it up yet, so this review is based strictly on the Xbox One version. I also don’t have any of the DLC, so this review is bases on the base game, alone.
~ Teepu (Bowser05)
On October 20th, Windows 10 users will finally be able to use their Xbox One controllers without the need to plug in a micro-USB cable. Any accessories that plug into the controller will also be accessible while using the new wireless adapter. This is especially beneficial to gamers who have an extensive living room set up using their computer instead of a gaming console. The features and uses of the controller will not be any different from plugging it in, including the ability to stream your Xbox One games to your computer.
Most new game releases are fully compatible with Xbox One controllers, and will even adapt to match the controller. For example, Dragon Age: Inquisition will present a completely different user interface in order to match a more controller friendly play-style.
Keep in mind that the adapter will only work on Windows 10. If you are still using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, then you will need to download the drivers from here:
Windows 10 is currently a free upgrade for all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users.
The Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows releases on October 20, 2015 at a price point of $24.99. While there is no definite confirmation, it will presumably be carried in most major retailers, local and online.
The Official Xbox Site: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/accessories/controllers/windows-10-wireless-adapter/
I remember as a child when I first picked up Banjo-Kazooie and was blown away by its simple yet intuitive gameplay and its unique approach to bringing platforming to 3D. Being a platformer on the Nintendo 64, it had to contend with Super Mario 64. With its own unique flavor, it ended up holding its own. Years later, after a lot of drama, which ended with Rare leaving Nintendo, they finally release this game again on Xbox Live Arcade. I was extremely excited to say the least. Luckily, this game still is amazing thanks to it being accessible, fun and still quite unique even today.
The game starts off simply enough: the kidnapping of Banjo the bear’s sister. You set out on an adventure to find and stop the evil witch Gruntilda with the help of Banjo’s best friend Kazooie. Gruntilda merely wants to turn Banjo’s sister ugly and herself beautiful. It is a very simple story, but the gameplay is top notch.
It throws you in by giving you a whole tutorial level (which you can choose to skip). It will teach you the basic moves and how to use them, while giving you the opportunity to use those moves to upgrade your health right from the get go. You then venture into the lair of the witch and into the first world. Your goal is simple for the most part. You want to collect jigsaw pieces in order to unlock more worlds and collect musical notes in order to unlock access to more of the lair. Of course, acquiring these pieces is what is makes the game exciting. Each world is unique and has its own flavor of fun to add. Luckily, practically every world has at least one new move to teach you which helps distinguish each world as its own unique entity from a gameplay standpoint. There are other cool collectibles to acquire as well. As you complete each world, you then get back to the over world (Gruntilda's Lair) in order to figure out how to get to the next world. It isn't as straightforward as that though. There are secrets to be found within the over world as well, not to mention that once you get past the first couple worlds or so, you can then tackle the game however you want in any order. Granted you might have a little work to do in order to get to some places and some jiggies you won't be able to get because they may require a move in a level you skipped, but the freedom is still nice. Outside of open-world games, this type of freedom is oftentimes lacking these days due to the push for casual gamers, and thus forcing linearity.
The game controls beautifully too, with all the N64 controls mapped fairly successfully to the Xbox 360’s controller. However, the camera still only has one step movements as if it were using the C-Buttons from the N64 controller. This can lead to some really jerky camera movements that can be jarring at times, but overall it plays fine.
The game looks great too. Granted, compared to graphics now things are quite blocky, but it has been updated a little for widescreen display. Since it is now made for HD, it is a little more smooth and clear than the N64 version. Compared to the majority of other Xbox Live Arcade games at release, it looks fantastic. The game sounds fantastic too. It contains much of Rare's wonderful compositional work. A lot of the tunes are silly, but they fit the mood. They are extremely catchy and it’s unlikely you will get tired of listening to them at all. The sound effects are also wacky and silly, which is very fitting to the nature and style of the game. The sound effects are meant to put a smile on your face, and likely will.
Unfortunately though, the game isn't too replayable. Once you do a 100% run the only reason you will want to come back is to replay some of the fun levels or try to beat your times on a handful of the timed events or the Jigsaw Puzzles at the beginning of the game. The game doesn’t need it, but not having multiplayer also takes away from the replayability. The achievements in this game are also extremely easy. As long as you are playing for a 100% run you will get them all, except one. One of them requires you to complete a bunch of Jigsaw Puzzles in a nigh impossible time. The first couple are easy enough, but as you go on the puzzle pieces get flipped and mixed up a lot, and the time requirement stays at really fast time. For those of you achievement hunters out there, this one should be pretty simple to accomplish overall.
In the end, this was one of the most charming games released for the Nintendo 64, and it remains charming to this day with its re-release on the Xbox 360. To make things better, unlocking everything in this game will give you the opportunity to unlock stuff in Banjo's third console game: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.
If you are an Xbox One player, then keep in mind this game will be playable on the Xbox One if you purchased it on the Xbox 360 as soon as the backward compatibility patch releases (tentatively) next month. If you purchase Rare Replay for the Xbox One, this will be one of the games you will be able to play out of the box (Be warned, the game is not on the disc. You will still need to download it to play.).
The quirky characters, fun boss battles, loads of collectibles, great music, and fantastic gameplay will definitely make this a great purchase for those of you craving a more complete game than most that are available on Xbox Live Arcade. You won't be disappointed with this gem.
~ Teepu (Bowser05)