Destiny 2 is Official

And yea, that’s it. No trailer or info.

However based on the image we can see the Tower on Fire. This coincides with recent rumors that suggest Destiny 2 will be based heavily on the Cabal invading The Last City.

Destiny 2 is rumored to arrive later this September for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Nier: Automata – Square Enix’s New Killer Franchise (PC Review)

In 2010 Square Enix released Nier: an action RPG with a mysterious story involving some weird book. Its combat looked a bit clunky and the PS2 presentation didn’t help sell it. Not to mention all eyes were on FF 13 which at the time was the most hyped JRPG ever. It seemed the new IP was a bust but years on, even up until today, the name keeps getting brought up in game discussions. It’s weird yet engaging narrative, multiple endings, and a gorgeous soundtrack have helped keep the it afloat. Seven years later, Nier comes back in what could arguably be considered Square Enix’s new killer franchise.

The word Automata means machine that imitates humans. Unlike its predecessor this game focuses on two androids centuries into the future. An alien invasion that uses machines has forced most of humanity to retreat to the moon. To retaliate, humans created YoRHa (an organization of androids) to fend off the threat. You play as the sassy 2B along with a timid boy called 9S who at first is sent in to do various missions until something eventually happens that sets the story in motion. Expect lots of weird plot twists throughout.

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Nier is a product of Yoko Taro, ever since Drakengard his stories have had a sense of mystery that on one side feels jarring and confusing and the other feels sophisticated with a dash of WTF. Either way his ideas feel genuinely intriguing enough to get you sucked in and invested. The best I could describe the feeling is similar to watching a film like Donnie Darko—where a lot of it doesn’t seem to make sense until you dig deep.

Even if you’re not a fan of complicated plots Nier: Automata does enough to make you enjoy it without knowing what’s going on. Yes, of course I’m referring to the stellar gameplay that’s been handled by beautifully by Platinum Games. Anyone who’s played Nier 1 would tell you that dealing with the clunky hank ‘n’ slash mechanics was worth it for the plot alone but here it can be said the other way around. While it’s easy to point and say this is a Bayonetta reskin, it manages to retain enough elements from Nier 1 to make it stand out. Holding the right bumper will let you shoot projectiles while face buttons deals melee damage. The right trigger does the parry dodge which is very similar to Bayonetta’s witch time minus the slow-mo. The more you dodge the more damage you deal.

While all this screams hack ‘n’ slash Nier Automata is more of an action RPG. There’s a level up system, equipment stats, and even towns. The last part threw me off as I expected this to be a level based title but instead it actually has explorations with towns and regions. At first I thought these locations were minor but later the game opens up to being something way bigger than I anticipated. Another quirky thing I noticed is how Nier Automata handles its cameras. At times it feels you’re playing a side scroller with dodging projectiles that makes you scream Ikaruga. It’s those little things that make it feel distinct and nostalgic for retro action games. As my friend put it, this game feels like something out of the PS2 age in a very good way.

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Sadly this does bring some archaic elements such as how the game handles it saves. There are no checkpoints and instead uses save points. It may not be a major issue but when you’re married and have to unexpectedly stop playing it can be inconvenient. Another gripe I have is some of the bigger boss battles. They can feel a bit annoying as you feel your chipping away their health meter while also constantly dodging projectiles.

The presentation is further amplified by the gorgeous dynamic soundtrack. Its hauntingly beautiful melodies really put you in the mood when roaming around. One area in particular is the desert where even after days of beating it I still hum its theme song.

This is also the first Nier title to come to PC. Platinum’s previous PC efforts ranged from pretty good (Transformers Devastation) to decent (Metal Gear Rising). Nier sadly falls in the latter category. Not that it runs terrible but certain features such as 60 FPS lock or not properly supporting ultra wide is a bit of a letdown. Also cutscenes are brought down to 30 with certain slowdowns that just look out of place in what can arguably be one of the best looking games to come out this year. Thankfully a fanmade fix was released that addresses most of these issues. But that shouldn’t be a substitute for lazy work.

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Regardless of what platform you play it on, Nier Automata is one heck of a game. It seemingly came out of nowhere in an age where new IPs struggle to find their foothold. With its whopping 26 endings, Yoko Taro and the team poured their heart and soul into this project. The result pays off with flying colors that has managed to place Nier as one of the top tier actions RPG’s.

9/10

Why Breath of The Wild is The Ultimate Zelda Game

Breath of The Wild has been out and about for almost a month and within that time frame it has changed the way we perceive Zelda games forever. Formula’s changed, dungeons have changed, and there’s even voice acting for crying out loud. Yet despite all that, Breath of The Wild is probably the most Zelda game we’ve played in ages.

The Ocarina Legacy

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There’s no denying that Ocarina of Time is what many fans refer to as the base of what makes 3D Zelda games work. Tropes such as collecting X amount of artifacts or items to progress the story, or unlocking weapons that equally serve as tools in solving puzzles. There’s just that feeling we got used to when playing 3D Zelda games which up until now we thought would never go away. Breath of The Wild finally did something crazy and changed things up.

For one it feels different. This is akin to going from riding a bike to a Harley. There are so many new things to get adjusted to and for many this has led to frustrating moments of players not having their expectations met.

Around the web I constantly see posts saying “this is not a Zelda game”. This has been attributed to the lack of “proper dungeons” “weapon durability” or the fact you have to “walk a lot with no proper guidance”. Yet despite those criticisms, all of which can be justifiable in their own way, Breath of Wild tries its best to become THE Zelda game. The ultimate one in fact that manages to not only stay true to its 8-bit formula but also pay homage to all Zelda games before it.

Zelda Juice

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Breath of The Wild is a cocktail of Zelda games. The visuals pay tribute to Wind Waker’s art style, the chosen hero is no doubt a call back to the epic quest of Ocarina of Time (and most Zelda games), the apocalyptic themes match those we’ve seen in Majora’s Mask—it carries all these elements and yet manages to bind them together seamlessly.

Least of all we can’t forget how the open world design is no doubt paying tribute to the original Zelda game that started it all. Being lost and discovering is part of the experience of what made that game so thrilling.

You Are The Story

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Zelda plotlines have always been a subject of debates. Some have criticized them for following the same route. Nintendo was aware of that and rather than recycling the formula we’re give a chance to explore the world and make it our own story.

The best example to this is the Master Sword. You can literally beat the game without even knowing where it exists, but by walking around and talking to people you hear of a rumor that a sword of great legends is someone in a forest. You eventually discover this forest on your own along with the sword. This can be done quite literally at the beginning of the game. This is a sharp contrast to the linear narrative the player had to go through in previous Zelda games just to eventually get it via a cutscene. But by discovering yourself, the Master Sword ends having more meaning to you as you went through the trouble of finding it on your own without following an objective marker.

This is one of the reasons I loved the TriForce hunting in Wind Waker as you’re not given exact directions, well except for some. The ones that involved talking to people and figuring things out is where the real fun of adventure was found.

The Future is Looking Bright

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Many 3D Zelda purists (yes, that’s a thing now) will disagree and find that 3D Zelda games should go back to the Ocarina formula. But that honestly would be a big step back. In fact, I don’t know how I will go back to those games. Breath of The Wild has spoiled me to the point that I don’t think I will take any of the previous 3D Zelda games seriously. It has set a new standard that it so high I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

Just like what Ocarina of Time did, Nintendo has managed to lay a solid foundation for future Zelda games. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Sonic Forces – First Official Look at Gameplay

SEGA have released the first look at Sonic Forces and as we guessed, it will play similar to Sonic Generations.

Interesting to note is that the gameplay is running at 60 FPS. Generations on consoles was only able to manage 30. However it’s worth noting that the Switch may have slight degraded quality and will most likely run at 30 but we’ll see!

Now some may be wondering why they went back to the Generations formula? Well considering that it was the last really good Sonic game that not only sold but got great reviews, it makes complete sense from a business to go back and work on that formula.

Sonic Forces is coming Holiday 2017 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Mass Effect 1 Has Distinctively Better Animations Than Andromeda

Andromeda is the first entry in the Mass Effect series since 2012. To say that fans are excited would be understatement. But sadly it seems early previews have not been so kind. Various issues seem to pop up from lousy AI to bland writing.

While these may be subjective one thing I can’t shake off is the game’s baffling low budget animation. YouTuber xLetalis not only highlights this issue but compares to Mass Effect 1 which looks strikingly better.

The bland almost dead facial expressions are a huge step back to what was done better 10 years ago. There’s no emotion, no character, and no life. BioWare recently boasted how Andromeda has more dialogue than 2 and 3 combined so could that explain the compromise in quality?  Fans are naturally not happy about this and have gone far enough to cancel their pre-orders. Others are ignoring the issue stating that it will be patched by launch–which is impossible considering how much work  would need to put in.

One thing’s for sure: Mass Effect Andromeda has went from must have to wait and see.

Seems Like Crash N. Sane Trilogy is Coming to PC

The highly anticipated Crash remake trilogy might be dropping on PC. According to etdragonpunch who attended PAX , he was able to confirm from a booth rep that the game will run at “4K on PS4 Pro and PC”.

There is also suggestions that the PC version will run at 60 FPS which is an extra plus as the original ran at 30. But again, this hasn’t been officially revealed and easy to be misinformed by booth reps. For now let’s just take it with a grain of salt.