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Review #51 (10/2/17)

So, I just beat Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix on Critical Mode as part of the 1.5+2.5 collection on the PS4.
Where to begin?

The story starts out nearly one year after the events of the predecessor where you play as a seemingly new character named Roxas, a glum yet occasionally chipper resident of Twilight Town where he spends the rest of his days hanging out with his friends, doing odd jobs, dealing with bullies, and encountering grey jumpsuit-looking monsters that have some apparent connection to the hapless soul.
Then, the plot happens.
A LOT of the plot begins after the first few hours of the game. And after that, you resume your journey as Sora, Donald, and Goofy as you all go out of your ways to defeat Heartless, secure the worlds again, deal with the new "Nobody" monsters, and ultimately find Riku and the King.
Until even MORE plot happens, and it gets more complicated from there.

Thankfully, the gameplay is what shines the most throughout the entire game.
Combat is smooth and fast from the start and only gets better the further you get into the story. You'll start out with basic combos and spells, but soon, you'll be introduced to the new "Forms" that have their own abilities (With one of the Forms allowing you to play as "Old Sora" with his older set of special abilities), a few of which Sora can inherit for himself when leveled up, new abilities that offer new "crowd control" ground combos, new air combos, and Limits, provided you have the AP to equip them all. By the end of the game, you'll be zipping across the battlefield and decimating enemies in mere seconds.

Unfortunately, I can't say I was fond of the way MP worked here or found the new spells very useful.
MP is now one long bar that recharges over time. The recharge time can be sped up by collecting MP bubbles again or having the right abilities, but I'd prefer if you had more than one bar or if the act of hitting enemies by default could recharge the bar.
I stuck with the workhorse spells: Blizzard, Fire, Thunder, and Cure. Magnet and Reflect likely have their places, but not ones I ever needed them for. And actually, Fire was less useful after the beginning of the game when you begin to encounter tougher/agile enemies that cannot get regularly staggered by your standard attacks.

Summons return, allowing you to spawn one of four Disney characters into battle.
Chicken Little, Genie, Stitch, and Peter Pan.
Chicken Little draws enemies in or can utilize an FPS Mode Limit to shoot eggs or firecrackers at enemies.
Genie can take on one of your Drive Forms and use special attacks for each one when pressed to do so.
Stitch can parry most enemies attacks with his blasters to stop you from taking damage, but he can also use his Ukulele to stun enemies mid-air and drop tons of small HP balls as well as use a Limit to destroy enemies on the field.
Peter Pan fights alongside you with his own combos and Limit, but can also heal you with Tinker Bell if your HP gets to Zero.
Personally, Stitch is my favorite. He became invaluable in later battles for staggering tougher foes. Plus, he's like, a blue koala alien with plasma pistols and a ukulele. How could I not like him?

Triangle Commands allow Sora to perform extraordinary feats in battle that may give him an edge against particularly tough enemies and bosses. Basically, they're quick-time events, but you can spam Triangle as many times as you want and you'll still win against them.

I have no idea why Soft Reset is unavailable, though. It made restarting at the Menu Screen much quicker than going to the Save circles or dying.

New cutscenes and bosses that weren't in the original game are now available for one's viewing or masochistic pleasures. Some new cutscenes seem to tie into other past/future scenarios well enough, but the returning Organization bosses? These folks are seriously harder to fight than the final boss, without a doubt. They look like they require lots of skill, patience and quick reflexes to defeat.
Not that I ever managed to.

As for soundtracks, I really like the ones relating to the original worlds more than the tracks pertaining to the Disney worlds.
"Sanctuary" is a beautiful piece of work.
The ones that you hear while playing as Roxas are pretty good.
The ones in the Cave of Remembrance in Hollow Bastion and in the last world are decent, too.

The visuals are nice. Characters have unique designs from each other to make them stand out and are pretty animated when expressing body language.
However, that's more when they aren't delegated to the "stock" animations with their mouths and faces moving in low resolution or using the same body animations each time. A few animations seem more outward than what a character actually sounds like (A few flailing arms despite a character sounding calm or restrained), or dialogue might not always sync with what someone says during non-text cutscenes.

The environments fit their worlds well enough, but...they seem to be missing something.
A few worlds have specific sections of large empty spaces with little else besides sparse enemy encounters.
Not only that, but the level of area interaction you can have with the levels themselves seem minimal at best.
And the few environments you can interact with are mainly restricted to combat actions via Triangle Commands. Halloween Town and its Christmas Town section, for example.
Everything else is more like a "set piece" than actually interactive environments.
There are no Trinity spots here, so everything gained in the environment is from a defeated enemy or a chest. Or one of those flying puzzle pieces that give you items if you complete them in the Collection section of the Journal.

And I'll be honest, I disliked what they did with some of the Disney worlds.
The Olympus Coliseum was replaced with the horrid Underdrome. Horrid, because it doesn't give you any XP for defeating enemies.
Atlantica, instead of forcing you to utilize a limited control scheme to traverse the world and fight underwater enemies, has no actual combat whatsoever. Instead, you have "rhythm-based" scenes where you press the corresponding buttons on the screen to beat the chapters and witness likely watered-down and dull representations of the original Disney film.
Agrabah became boring because of its lack of environment interaction. Barely many objects to interact with, barely any necessary platforming, and no swimming.
The Pride Lands was a bit of a chore to play through, too. It had its somewhat different control scheme and big section of empty space with little to nothing in it. You hit enemies fast, but with little satisfying impact compared to combat outside of that world.
100 Acre Wood was almost the most pointless world to play in. You play through a handful of mostly uninteresting mini games to finish each torn page. If it weren't for the item boxes, keyblade that converts Munny to Drive Orbs, or Cure spell upgrade for completing the final page, it would be a completely pointless venture within itself.
Actually, in terms of story, lots of Disney worlds are mostly dull, condensed versions of the sources based on them. The returning voice actors did their best, but they couldn't make their worlds or scripts any more interesting than they were.

I give it an 8.4 out of 10.
Well, here's a surprise. I expected I would give this game a much higher score for how much I liked about the gameplay and soundtracks. It's a great game with lots of gameplay content, without a doubt. But not all of the content is great or very fun to play.


(Misc.)
One of the little things I didn't like about KH 2: FM HD is that they changed Roxas' more intense combat yells from the original KH 2 to sound exactly like Ventus' combat yells from BBS.
Which makes no sense to me because they're completely different characters in both personality and voice that are only similar in appearance.
Or that, when interacted with, side characters no longer have 2-3 unique pieces of dialogue upon each interaction, especially when choosing the "No" option in certain text dialogues.
Another thing is that bosses require finishing combos or a hit spell to defeat, instead getting their HP to Zero.

Dang it. I miss Aero and Gravity.
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Review #50 (9/11/17)

So, I just beat Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix on Proud Mode as part of the PS4's 1.5+2.5 collection.
And before anything, I have to say: If you have any interest in playing at least one game from this franchise, get the PS4 collection.
It plays better, performs better, and loads and saves game data faster (Even the Controller-Input Reset function is quicker) than the PS3 collections.

Basics first: You play as a teenage boy named Sora separated from his world and friends by practically heartless monsters. His initial objective is to find his friends, Riku and Kairi, but upon meeting other Final Fantasy characters with questionable voice acting and Disney characters with odd archetypes in retrospect (Goofy as a knight that takes a lot of physical abuse isn't that far fetched, but Donald as a mage just sounds like a bad idea all around), he learns that he, along with Donald and Goofy, must close something called "Keyholes" each world has to stop the Heartless from consuming them and close the Door to Darkness.
I think.

It's...a bit complicated, but it's probably the simplest game in the franchise in terms of story.
Which is okay, anyways. If you try to break it down, it's essentially a tale of a boy and his non-human wacky friends trying to save all the worlds and dealing with a number of obstacles along the way, with a few twists and turns that are either really predictable, or make less sense if you try to bring rationality into it.
Because it's less of a realistic story and more of a fairy tale, from beginning to end.

Gameplay's a mixture of frantic and methodical hack n' slashing, with some spaceship shooting on the side.
You wield a giant keyblade that can be modified with different effects via keychains to chance appearances, do more damage, add more magic power, increase or decrease keyblade length, add/lose critical hit chances, and so on.
You eventually gain several spells to help you in battle. Some are basic offensive spells, like Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and Cure. Some require more advanced usage, like Gravity, Stop, and Aero.
Especially the latter spells that use up more MP, since one does a lot of damage but is slower to connect than the others, one freezes common Heartless to allow you to put in lots of combos on them, and another reduces the damage you take from enemies.
You can also get XP bonuses for using certain spells against specific Heartless that are weak to them.
Eventually, you can "Summon" characters from other worlds to fight beside you. My favorite was Bambi, not only for how cute he is, but because he gives you lots of MP bubbles while he's summoned.

Characters can hold a number of items and accessories. Items can be used to heal you or restore spent magic points. Accessories, like keychains, add different, mostly beneficial effects to a character's stats and resistances.
Increase HP, AP, Strength, Defense, magic defense, and such.
Party characters can be customized to perform certain attacks in battle constantly, frequently, or occasionally. While Sora can only hotkey spells via L1+Square, Triangle, or X.

Each character gains abilities as they level up or meet certain in-game requirements.
Donald will gain abilities more related to magic, and Goofy will gain abilities relevant to shields attacks.
Sora is unique in that the abilities he gains the quickest will be dependent on which path he chooses in the beginning of the game.
Choose the Sword, and he gets more abilities involving combos and hard-hitting attacks.
Choose the Shield, and he'll gain defense stats and abilities faster, as well as be able to hold and use extra items during battle.
Choose the Staff, and...Well, I've never chosen the Staff for Sora, so I can't tell you.
Although, I've heard you gain two extra MP bars on the Staff that you wouldn't be able to get with the other two, and that the more MP bars you have, the more damage you do with offensive spells.

To travel to other worlds, you use something called a "Gummi Ship". You start out with a pre-made one named after the outcome of an early race between Sora and Riku, but as you defeat Heartless ships and gain materials from either them, chests, or Cid, you become able to create better ships of your own. Each piece has its own purpose and effect to help you as you fly from one world to another.
It is boring at first, without the plethora of weapons and lasers to help with fighting ships and without the faster engines to move faster, but it's a bit of a growing experience.
You build yourself up from being a rinky-dink little ship to a massive force of cross-colored destruction that has no chance of meeting its demise.
It's more fun than I thought it would be.

The environments are nice in that they can be interacted with in a number of ways.
The first world, Traverse Town, gives you the option to search every nook and cranny (As long as you've made progress in the main story) to find 10 Post Cards in order to obtain free items.
The next world has you altering certain appliances while you are turned tiny and walking on the walls of a bizarre room.
Another requires you to look around a camp site for recipes to make a few useful consumable items.
Not only that, but each world is made more distinct by Heartless that match the setting of their respective world.
Up to the first half of the story, anyways, before the game places the tougher Heartless in the older worlds, too.
And the enemies can't always be beaten by constantly pressing the attack button. Some are immune to physical damage from the front, some have spells or phases that make them immune to all forms of damage until they are done. Some dole out more damage than you give them, at first.
Combat demands that you be careful and concise with your combos, more-so with the later enemies and bosses.
Because it's just as easy to be defeated as it is to cause defeat elsewhere.

Eventually, you can create new items not available anywhere else in the other worlds in the Synthesis Shop in Traverse Town.
They require you to have a plethora of ingredients in order to make something, though. The items you can create in the shop aren't necessary to beat the game, it's more for a completionist that absolutely wants everything in the game made available to them, by their own effort.

The soundtracks, for as upbeat and cheesy as they can generally be, range from decent to excellent.
"Dearly Beloved" is a respected classic and "Simple and Clean" can never be matched with how distinctly "early 2000's J-Pop" it sounds.
But I really liked the ominous soundtrack that plays after the opening introduction.
The "Kairi" soundtracks were nice for how pleasant they sounded.
The exploration tracks for Deep Jungles and, of course, Agrabah, were pretty good.
And I swear, I'm an absolute sucker for the "Scherzo di Notte" track that plays in Hollow Bastion.

Alas, it's not a perfect game.
~Sora, Donald, and Goofy rarely had many group moments together where they really shined as a group of friends united not only by their common goals, but developed bonds with one another. Nor are there enough moments or acknowledgements addressing how different the three are (Despite the explanation being Donald's magic concealing their identities) compared to the very foreign worlds they claim to not want to meddle with (But still bring other characters as "Summons", anyways).
But again, less realistic, more fantasy.
~A few bosses spike in difficulty, only to have later bosses be easier than them (Maleficent's dragon form. I still can't believe I beat that. But then, fighting Riku was easy, along with the other boss when you return to Hollow Bastion).
~The Atlantica level that forces you to adjust to a new control style and restricts you from using various abilities underwater.

Regardless of warning, I enjoyed this game.
I give it an 8.3 out of 10.
Simple and Clean...Except for the part where you go inside a whale.


(Misc. Info)
I have a bit of an odd history with the "Kingdom Hearts" franchise. I played the first Kingdom Hearts years ago, likely 2003, on someone else's PS2. I only got as far as training with Riku, but I hadn't played it again. Still saw lots of commercials of it and Chain of Memories on TV, but never picked them up.
A few years later, I saw a trailer of Kingdom Hearts 2 and was blown away by how awesome it looked. The battle, the presentation, the style, the sleekness of it all, it was unlike anything I had ever seen before.

So, I borrow KH2, around 2005-ish elsewhere, and have one of the greatest times of my life. It was more fun than I thought it could ever be. But then, I lose my borrowed copy somehow.
I try to make up for this mistake by actually buying a new copy to replace the borrowed copy I lost. Of course, the person I borrowed it from found out that I lost his old copy and wasn't too pleased, but accepted the new copy, anyways.

After that, a few more years pass until around 2008 when I borrowed a copy of the first Kingdom Hearts, understood where the distorted cutscenes from the second game came from, and beat it.
I actually managed not to lose it, too.
I think I also eventually bought another copy of KH 2, too, because I recall some of my crowing achievements being leveling all the forms to Lv. 3, creating the Ultima Weapon, and defeating Sephiroth once.
Defeating Sephiroth. That's still something I was amazed I even did back then.

I played "Chain of Memories" for the GBA at some point between 2005-2008, but on someone else's copy that I didn't play for long.
Didn't have a PSP for "Birth by Sleep", either.

After that, it's five years later into 2013 when I return to KH 1 and KH 2, but this time, as "Final Mix" updates to the old games.
Yep. I pre-ordered "Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix" for the PS3.
More abilities, more bosses, more synthesis materials, the ability to skip cutscenes in the first game, and so on.
However, I remember not enjoying 1.5 that much. I wasn't playing on a harder difficulty, but enemies and bosses seemed harder than I remember them being on the PS2.
Difficulty trophies didn't stack, either, what was up with that?
And I didn't bother much with "Re: Chain of Memories". Felt too different to me.

I then pre-ordered "Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix" in 2014 with a little more enthusiasm than 1.5.
I beat "2.5 Final Mix", beat Ventus' story in "Birth By Sleep" (Only his), and watch whatever the heck "Re:Coded" is.

At some point in 2016, I owned "Dream Drop Distance" for the Nintendo 3DS, but make little progress in it. It was kinda fun, but after hearing it was getting remastered for the PS4, I sold it instead.
I just recently got "1.5+2.5" and "2.8 Final Chapter Prologue" in late August of 2017.

On an unrelated note, I've always felt Aladdin was the one Disney character in Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 to have the best relationship with Sora, Donald, and Goofy. He's outgoing, energetic, handles a scimitar well, and even asks to travel with Sora across other worlds to save Jasmine.

Regarding the seven princesses, very few went out of their way to genuinely save them.
Sora and Riku struggle to save Kairi, for sure.
The Fairy Godmother helped Sora and company by giving them summons of other characters to use in battle, but not even she offered to travel with them to save Cinderella.
The Beast went out of his way to save Belle, likely across worlds, but only helped the others as they helped advance his initial goal. Sure, there's a bit of respect for him still accompanying Sora even when he no longer had the Keyblade, but in terms of charm or interest, the Beast doesn't hold up well.
Yet, Alice was only wanted by the Queen to continue her trial against her, but when Sora returns to their world, they forget all about her and focus on the stronger Heartless.
Princess Aurora and Snow White have little to no concern outside of their purpose.

The whole "meddling" excuse is just weak. King Triton figures out who Sora is in just a few scenes, thanks to Goofy's big mouth.
So, other people in other worlds actually may already know about the Keyblade and other worlds existing before Sora, Donald, and Goofy interfere with them, which is already another legitimate form of "meddling" within itself.
And when Sora saves the other worlds, it's not like everyone forgets about each other or the Heartless due to being closed off.
Plus, Summons.
So...Why is anyone worried about "meddling"?
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Review #49 (8/24/17)

A few years ago, I finally got around to beating the original Metal Gear Solid.
It's labeled as the definitive Third-Person Stealth-Action game unlike any other, during its time and even now.

It seems like everything this game wanted me to enjoy about it, I enjoyed.
~I enjoyed the soundtracks, most notably the main theme, "Cavern" and "The Best Is Yet To Come."
~I enjoyed the story with its great topics including government conspiracies, war machines, superior genes, cloning, the unnatural vs. the supernatural, manipulation within your own organization, and Alaskan Field Mice.
~I enjoyed the entertaining characters.
The only ones that lacked in substance were probably the Genome Soldiers themselves and Johnny.
~I enjoyed the memorable level design and presented style of the game.

I say that, but the actual gameplay left me annoyed and unsatisfied.
~Your character is so stiff to control. It depends on primarily using the D-Pad, which isn't a bad thing, but it feels more like something you tolerate as opposed to getting better with here.
~The gunplay...is not fun. Granted, you're on a stealth mission and shouldn't rely on it to get out of situations, but it seems you're thrust into more combat scenarios than you should be that it's not as easy to ignore.
~Bosses are usually tedious bullet-sponges to kill (or grenade sponges in one case, with fists and missiles in a few).
~Codec conversations, while good in content, cannot be skipped in a quick manner.
Same with the credits sequence.

It's strange. The game was a great experience, but it was a chore to play at times. I want to call it "great", but that entails that I'm able to overlook its apparent issues to enjoy the rest of the experience.
But gameplay shouldn't be something I have to overlook.

I give this game a 7.5 out of 10.


(Misc. Info)
My Order of Exposure to the MGS franchise
1. MGS3: Snake Eater (PS2, 2005)
2. MGS: The Twin Snakes (GameCube, 2006/2007)
3. Metal Gear AC!D (Someone else's PSP, 2006/2007)
4. MGS4: GOTP (PS3, August 2008)
5. MGS2: SOL (PS2, Early-Mid 2009)
6. MGS1 (PS1, 2010)
7. MGS: Peace Walker HD (Xbox 360, 2012)
8. Metal Gear 1+2 (Xbox 360, 2012)
9. MGSV: Ground Zeroes (PS4, May 2015)
10. MGSV: Phantom Pain (PS4, 2016)
11: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, 2016)
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Review #48 (7/17/17)

So, I just beat Wolfenstein: The Old Blood.
It looked like it'd be a fun, quick waste o' time and it usually was, across its 8 levels and frequent "nightmare" levels which, when found, let you play a selection of old Wolfenstein levels in its new engine.

The core game has a lot more opportunities for stealth-based gameplay than the preceding game, I think.
You've still got your silenced pistols, takedowns, and throwing knives for silent kills (Just can't use them against heavy enemies, they don't do squat against them).

You can peak around corners to see what's ahead or shoot an unsuspecting commander.
There are new perks which allow you to do some actions I don't think you could do before, such as overcharge armor, do a quick 180 turn, reload faster by pressing the reload button quickly, keep the heavy MG in your weapon wheel, etc.
The new melee weapon is the pipe, which also lets you initiate silent kills (Somehow), break weak walls and climb other walls.

Or, you could use your grenades, dual-wielded assault rifles, and shotguns, along with the new bolt-action rifle, grenade launcher, and later, sawed-off shotgun to decimate a myriad of foes.

Or you could forget all that, avoid all enemies in certain enclosed areas, and make it to the next objective. You don't have to run n' gun every location. Sometimes, it's better not to due to how precise even the common enemies are once they all spot you.

In the main menu is a "challenge" mode which lets you play specific battles in the core game for points and medals. Looks fun, just not for me.

Overall, I had fun with this game...in portions.
Like the last one, actually.
It was fun exploring the various locations undetected (Whenever I was), collecting ammo, health packs, and armor.
I absolutely loved that new bolt-action rifle, it destroys the heads of all weaker enemies in an instant and became my quick favorite. If only it had a silencer...
And that soundtrack near the end, before the credits, was pretty nice.

I didn't care so much for the forced stealth section in the early part of the game.
I didn't like how often you were forced to part with your weapons for weak plot purposes.
I can't bring weapons to a tavern, but a knife and entire pipe is acceptable?
The final boss was pretty underwhelming, too.
Just crouch to avoid swings and shoot a bunch of times 'till they die.

(Unrelated: I've completed "Wolfenstein 3D" on the Xbox 360, beaten the 2009 version on PS3, and beaten "The New Order" on the PS4.
I consider the 2009 version my favorite, although I've yet to play "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" as of this review.)

I'll give it a 7.5 out of 10.
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Review #47 (6/23/17)

So, I just beat Battlefield: Hardline.
It really doesn't take long to beat these games. Guess that's intentional to get straight to Multiplayer.

The Singleplayer was pretty unique this time around. A bit more grounded to criminal warfare that occurs in the states as opposed to other countries.
I found myself a little more invested in this story as opposed to anything in the recent games. It's got a cool style to it that persists throughout most of the episodes. And it doesn't take itself as seriously, thank goodness.
Your character, Nicholas Mendoza, even has his own voice now. Not the most entertaining member, but he has his own little flair to the events that unfold before him.
My favorite character was Boomer, followed by Tyson. They had some spunk to them that I enjoyed.

Now, for new gameplay bits.
The words "Expanded, not improved" come to mind.
You have the option to non-lethally dispose of enemies via cuffed takedowns after flashing your badge at enemies or using your Stun Gun. You can throw a bullet case to distract a single guard temporarily, which helps.
You could even sneak past enemies entirely without firing a single bullet. For the most part.

The game encourages you to play non-lethally by awarding you with new weapons and such, but the issue comes in when you realize most of your rewards are lethal weapons. You apparently don't unlock extra gear to help you if you want to do a purely non-lethal playthrough (Which is impossible since the game forces you to kill enemies during key events).
No gas grenades, no extra non-lethal weapons, no boosted takedown speed, no faster movement while crouching. Not even any upgrades for your stun gun, with its limited range and partially lengthy reload speed.
And you stop at Expert Lv. 15, making you lose any incentive for trying to maintain a low-casualty playthrough.

The enemy AI somehow seems worse in this game than its predecessors. Instead of going against fairly mobile enemies that at least utilize some strategy against you, these enemies feel fine with walking directly towards you at a slow pace. Enemies might squirm a bit or keep shooting when you get a minor hit on them, but otherwise, they really seem braindead. I guess the slowness is to compensate for the fact that you take too few bullets to kill (Armor helps somewhat) and don't run fast at all.

The AI partners are at least slightly more useful in this one. You can't order them to shoot people, but they will cause some casualties themselves while fighting enemies.

I played a few matches in Multiplayer. They were kinda fun, but...I dunno. I don't think I'm a big enough fan of the "Cops and Robbers" scenario to get the most fun out of it.

It's a strange thing. I recommend the Singleplayer (Despite its unbalanced issues regarding non-lethal upgrades, shoddy enemy AI, a few awkward lines of dialogue, an abrupt ending, etc.), but not so much the Multiplayer.

I give it a 7.4 out of 10.
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Review #46 (6/22/17)

So, I just beat the campaign for Battlefield 4.
They should rename it Bad Luck: The Video Game for how many unfortunate occurrences happen in the story, intentional or otherwise.

Gameplay felt pretty smooth, even more than how its predecessor felt. It continues the campaign tradition of having you unlock weapons for future use by picking them up, plus by getting lots of points which unlock Bronze, Silver, and Gold-ranked weapons.
Don't think you can customize them, though. If I could actually use a suppressed weapon during the optional stealth sections, that would be appreciated.
Being able to aim above and on the side of cover was kinda nice.

There were lots and lots of guns, but I ended up sticking with two DMRs throughout most of it. Semi-automatic rifles simply have a charm to them.
And range and stuff.

The soundtrack, I think, was decent, though I don't know how I feel about them remixing the classic theme again. Doesn't sound as memorable.

As for the story...I dunno, they try to make it more "personal" by keeping you with a unit consisting of a relatively nebbish soldier called Pac, a short-fused loud-mouthed soldier called Irish, and a standard asian CIA agent woman named Hannah.
And they're all pretty forgettable, with shoddy dialogue and shoddy character development across the short amount of missions that you're stuck with them.
And for some reason, the protagonist/your character, Recker, can't talk. Being the supposed squad leader that issues orders and all, it would seem critical to have your character speak, but that doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, Recker spends more time taking orders from his squadmates than verbally making them himself.

When that ending came, I didn't care anymore. I let Irish be a hero and do as he pleased.
I'm not even sure I could call the story "better" than the last one, because it is a pretty stupid one. And not really in an "enjoyable" kind of way.

I recall there being some backlash due to a number of bugs and glitches happening in Multiplayer when it was released, but as it turned out, the Singleplayer didn't come out unscathed, either.
One mission had our in-cutscene car phase through a person walking through a street and had my character fall through the floor into some water near the end of it.
A number of others had some seemingly indestructible enemies stuck in the environment that couldn't be killed by bullets, but by a knife, and could still shoot me.
An enemy taking cover behind the tree somehow "bends" the tree downward in such a bizarre manner.
Your AI partners are borderline useless unless you keep ordering them to shoot at a group of enemies. When the "order" bar is full.
Otherwise, they'll miss a disgusting amount of close-range shots and barely put a dent in enemies.
I recall a Dam mission that, I think I was supposed to jump over a platform but died doing so. Only to realize the game made a checkpoint when I fell to the bottom, so if I ventured too far on the bottom map whenever it reloaded I would instantly die. Using the C4 brought me back to the game, at least.

The Multiplayer was fun, for how few the matches I played were.
I started with BF: 1943 years ago and progressed onward to Bad Company 1+2 and BF3. I had some good times playing as the mediocre medic defibbing allies just to have them die seconds later.
No one really stays alive long in Battlefield.

Interesting how they changed the medic to the Assault class, put a delay between charges, and limited how many times you could revive online players.

I'll give this a 7.3 out of 10.
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Review #45 (6/21/17)

So, I just beat Red Dead Revolver on the PS4, a Western TPS released in 2004 by Rockstar San Diego.
I recall playing it briefly in 2009, but not accomplishing or remembering much besides a few chapters and a Showdown match. So, I went in mostly blind.

It was kinda fun. I enjoyed the style and soundtracks of the game more than the actual gameplay, which was decent but also flawed.
You fight enemies with an assortment of revolvers, rifles and shotguns, each with their own stats. You really want to pay attention to weapons with the best accuracy and range, as I noticed weapons with poor range suffer from bullet drop more-so than superior weapons.
You can also buy Knifes, Molotovs, Dynamite, and Snake Oil to throw at enemies with.

You play as six different characters throughout the story, each with their own special ability.
Red has Dead Eye, which slows down time and allows you to better specify where you want to shoot enemies with red targeting circles.
Jack automatically targets at multiple spots on an enemy in real time and swiftly shoots them.
Annie shoots some kind of indiscernible explosion from her rifle that devastates any foe(s) in front of her.
Shadow Wolf shoots fire arrows, which can spread from one enemy to another. But which can also spread to you.
Buffalo Soldier shoots explosive rounds from his Lighting Rifle. Simple, but very effective.
General Diego shoots a flare from his rifle, which gives his cannons a target to shoot their cannonballs at.

My favorite character in the story was Buffalo Soldier, but my favorite to play as was Annie. Her explosion thing is just awesome.
Sad how you only play as them for one/two missions.

Notice how Red wasn't mentioned as a favorite character. Not only because he's not (Had a cool outfit, but his lines weren't as memorable, nor was his mysterious nature intriguing), but because his ability kinda sucks.
Sometimes, you can score at least two headshots from Dead Eye, but sometimes you can't.
It often seems like enemies can take multiple hits to the head at point-blank range no matter what revolver you're using (Except maybe the Widowmaker), but using a rifle at long range always guarantees a headshot.
Shotguns help, but only in super-close range.

You often get bonuses depending on how well you do on specific chapters. You might get health/dead eye upgrades, you might be able to upgrade your guns to be better, or the most likely, you'll get Showdown characters to use in the Showdown mode against other NPCs.

And being a western-styled game, you have to engage in draws with other enemies.
It's a surprisingly difficult feature to master. In the beginning, you have a lot of leeway with how slow you are on the draw. Even if you fail, you'll simply lose health and continue with a standard battle afterwards.
But as soon as you make it to Kelly, the game expects you to be borderline perfect with drawing against an enemy. One screw-up and you die instantly.
It's even worse with the Governer when the game doesn't even give you a pre-draw scene to prepare for the actual draw.

Not to mention a few other irksome things, like the long animations involving explosion kickback and being thrown by other enemies.
Or cutscenes before draws, so if you fail one, you have to keep skipping the cutscenes each time.
Or how enemies can still get shots on you despite you being behind cover and not peeking out.

Overall, I enjoyed it for what it was, prior to the last third of the game that decided mercy was for the weak.
I give it a 7.4 out of 10.
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Review #44 (6/20/17)

So, I just beat Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It's an okay Third-Person Open-World Brawler/Hack N' Slash game with some stealth and arrow shooting in between.

I couldn't say I cared much for the story, characters, or soundtrack. Talion wasn't exactly an interesting protagonist, though I wonder how spry anyone can be after losing their family and being half-dead. Celebrimbor was at least slightly more interesting, given his history.
Really, the one character I enjoyed was that one dwarf named Torvin. Guy had a lot of energy and charisma to him, for how short the time spent on him was.

I guess my genuine lack of interest in the former stuff was due to me not having much prior knowledge of the franchise.
Never played the other games, never read the books. I don't even remember properly seeing the movies.

Gameplay consists of you doing a mixture of things: Getting in all-out battles with an overwhelming number of Uruks, using stealth to kill isolated foes one by one, using Elf-Shots to quickly kill common enemies, having the caragors, ghûls, or graugs distract/slaughter them, branding Uruks to fight for you/recharge Elf-Shots, etc.

One of the biggest features of the game is the Captain/War Chief system. Each one has its own set of specific weaknesses and strengths; you may be able to stealth kill one, but another might prevent you from being able to entirely.
It does force you to think, read through each set so you'll know you can't spam one strategy with them all. Fighting one unprepared risks you getting (temporarily but terribly) killed, which can increase the Uruk's power and maybe rank.
Even gives them some unique dialogue when you face them again.

This is why getting Intel through letters, liberated slaves, or orcs helps. So, you'll have a better idea of what kind of fight you're getting into and how you'll best improvise during the battle.

You can even brand Captains/War Chiefs and have them go against other Uruks of lower/higher rank.
You kinda need to in order to progress through the main story.

But honestly, I think that's the only really interesting aspect of gameplay here. Everything else seems standard.
Get combos so you can do special attacks, find collectibles to give you some history on Mordor and its inhabitants, do challenges to add to the "legends" of your weapons, unlock Abilities, Attributes, and Runes through getting enough XP, Mirian points, or killing Captains/War Chiefs, etc.

I'll give it a 7.5 out of 10.
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Review #43 (6/14/17)

So, I just beat inFamous: Second Son.
For as simple as it ended up being, it felt refreshing playing this type of game again. The kind of relatively chill, yet still frantic open-world TPS with a handful of cool powers at your disposal.

Smoke, Neon, Video, and Concrete. They don't sound cool in text, but they're much better and varied from each other in execution.
Although, I stuck with Neon since that allows the player to "run" forever, on the ground and up buildings.

I enjoyed the gameplay and both the ambient and active soundtracks. I sometimes enjoyed the style of dialogue between Delsin, Betty, and Reggie, however Betty rarely shows up in the story (Beginning, then brief phone audio, then the ending), and Reggie seemed to be constantly changing his mind with whether he wants to help Delsin or not. He had his moments, but more were irritating than entertaining.

The side characters, Fetch and Eugene, were more plot devices to help Delsin get his powers than legitimate characters worth remembering in the story. Sure, they had their flashback moments and helped Delsin in the last mission, but otherwise, they're not great characters by themselves.

It's also a bit weird how Reggie and Delsin mention going on their quest for their Akomish people, but you never actually learn anything about the Akomish throughout the story.

For the side missions and other certain in-game tasks, I wasn't so bothered by the use of motion controls, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't eventually get redundant shaking the controller and aiming it a certain way to use the spray can, or swiping the pad up, holding it, and pressing R2 to destroy the mobile station bits every time. Feels like I could just press a button at that point, instead of the needless shaking and swiping.
I'm thankful the boss fights at least didn't have some kind of motion control quick-time events in them. Even though they still were bullet sponges to kill.

You know, when it's all said and done, it wasn't a perfect game, but I had a great time with it.
I give it an 8.1 out of 10.
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Review #42 (6/9/17)

So, I just beat Resident Evil 7.
I've gotta say, the first 20 minutes in this game are the most suspenseful, if not horrifying, moments in the entire game. You have no idea what to expect (Unless you've seen other gameplay footage), and even if you do, the use of lighting and the unsettling atmosphere still keep you on edge throughout the introduction.
Then, insanity ensues, and the game begins.

Most of my fun with this game came from exploring the Baker's house and scrounging around for as much supplies as I could. Sticking my items in the green chest and hearing that soothing soundtrack in the background.
Combining ingredients to make health and ammo, then improved versions of them later, was neat.
Even the puzzles were decent entertainment, for how simple they were.

That fun would then subside whenever the actual fighting began. Not so much the Molden enemies, they were passable foes to deal with (Except those fast bastards that jump ridiculously far and take a good chunk of your health, screw those guys).
I mean, the actual Baker family.
Jack's a chore to fight since he saunters faster than you and generally takes a lot of hits to (temporarily) put down. Sure, you can let him grab you so you have a few seconds to dodge his weapon attack, but he'll only grab you if you're facing away from him.
Only the chainsaw battle rectifies his nonsense.
Marguerite's the same, though arguably worse since she can take more abuse, climb on walls, drop and attack you from a fair distance, and spawn insects from wherever she's hiding.
Lucas, you never fight. But he does trap you, sets a fair amount of makeshift tripwire explosives, explosive boxes, and Molden your way.

Not to mention that, due to a lot of hidden loading screens masked by lengthy animations or long pathways, you are not able to skip nearly all of the cutscenes in the entire game. For every playthrough, you will always start at the beginning with Mia's message.

Though the game is surprisingly short (You start at the Guest House, then the Baker's House, then the Ship, then the Caves, then return to the Guest House again), it feels longer because of the very slow pace your character moves at. Running doesn't even look like running, it looks like slow jogging.
It's interesting that you can find Steroids and Stabilizers to improve max health and reloading speed, but there is no syringe to improve movement speed.
(You can unlock something called "Running Shoes" for better base walking speed by destroying all Mr. Everywhere items, but prior to beating the game, you are stuck with the default speed.
Other unlockables involve beating the game strictly on Normal difficulty, beating the game under 4 hours, beating the game using no more than 3 Herbs/First Aid Bottles, and beating the game while using the Item Box no more than 3 times)

Blocking is a nice feature, despite rarely using it outside of boss fights.
Sometimes, the items you get from yellow-marked boxes are randomized, so box memorization is generally useless outside of which one is explosive or not.
It's also a bit inconvenient that the game won't tell you when you don't need a certain key or item anymore or give you the choice to dispose of them permanently to save for extra space, but at least the map tells you what doors require keys and such.

Overall, I had a fairly good time with this game, but I don't see myself replaying it again due to the nature of the game itself.
Slow paced, cutscene-heavy (And that you cannot skip), no introduction skipping, mostly not entertaining boss fights (Save for the chainsaw one), and while you can start a new game with a few bits of new gear after already beating it, you would still have to scrounge around the house all over again for valuable materials.
One and done.

I give it a 7.6 out of 10.
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