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SnipperClips [Review]

SnipperClips [Review]

Adorable, fun puzzle solving at too high a price.

Nintendo Switch [Console Review]

Nintendo Switch [Console Review]

Nintendo's bold statement on changing the game, considered.

Horizon Zero Dawn [Review]

Horizon Zero Dawn [Review]

A primary example of addictive gameplay fueling an expansive storyline.

The Nintendo Switch’s Revitalization of Social Gaming

The Nintendo Switch’s Revitalization of Social Gaming

Nintendo's monetization of nostalgia reaches new heights with the Switch.

Fan Expo Vancouver 2016 - Final Thoughts

Fan Expo Vancouver 2016 - Final Thoughts

Plenty of improvement and the best show to date, but still room to grow!

SnipperClips [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

SnipperClips is a great showcase of the co-op centric mentality of the new Nintendo Switch. At $10 it would have been a perfect example to show off to your friends what the mentality behind the new console is and where it excels. At $30 though it's a bit much to be asked for such a short experience.

The Pros: 

+Adorable characters and animations
+Simple and fun gameplay/mechanics
+Great example of the co-op/multiplayer ideas of the Nintendo Switch

The Cons: 

-Overpriced
-Short
-Nigh-unplayable single-player

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
6

Many have complained about the barren launch line-up of the Switch all the way through from the initial announcement straight past the release of the console. For my money, I’ve always said it’s about quantity, not quality. So, for me personally the release of a new Zelda title was reason enough to go in day one. But sure enough, after 80 hours of Zelda I found myself wonder “what else is there.”

 

Nintendo Switch [Console Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Nintendo has perfectly captured the emotion of their launch video into a home console. The Nintendo Switch is rife with tradition of the company and takes lessons from their hardware from the NES straight through to the Wii U. More than that, they've made a bold statement about a return to social/couch co-op gaming that we can get behind!

The Pros: 

+Portable
+Fun to change between modes
+Satisfying and well thought-out transitions
+Real weight and quality in the individual components

The Cons: 

-Weak launch line-up
-Everything is overpriced (games, accessories)
-Launch issues with scratched screens and de-syncing JoyCon

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

Nintendo has a history of making bold choices where hardware is concerned. Sometimes their wild attempts to deviate from the norm have produced unparalleled success, as in the case of the launch of the Wii. In other instances, their attempts to push hardware in new directions has caused a comical failure that echoes through time, like the still hilarious attempt at VR in the ‘90s with the Virtual Boy.

Horizon Zero Dawn [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Horizon Zero Dawn is a game that would be easy to compare to a few others, most notably Far Cry and Shadow of the Colossus. The end result, however, is something completely unique. The story is much deeper and impressive than I would have anticipated from a game that was sold under the guise of "shoot robot dinosaurs" and the mechanics are much better than the classic "kill animals for materials to make better weapons to kill animals" loop.

The Pros: 

+True next generation graphics and artist design to showcase it.
+Deep gameplay with an appropriate learning curve to make it an obsession long-term.
+A story far better than it ever had the rights to be, considering the platform it was sold on.
+Playstation's best reason to own a console to date, and specifically to own a Playstation Pro.

The Cons: 

-PR's sales pitch of the game is a double-edged sword. The mystery might have intrigued a majority of gamers out there, but much more would have been interested to know how deep the well actually goes and what it's all about.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
10

At first glance (or play-through) Horizon Zero Dawn is a game that draws immediate comparison to other “hunter/gather” style games, most notably the Far Cry series in its more recent incarnations. Once you’ve progressed past the initial moments of the game, though, other’s will come to mind like Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus. By the time you get to the third act in the story it’s easy to compare the story to something like Bioshock in its scope and twisting turns.

The Nintendo Switch’s Revitalization of Social Gaming

A couple of days ago, we finally received information regarding the launch of the Switch, including the official date, the price, and details on how the console (and its corresponding controllers the "Joy Cons") would function. Since then there's been all matter of discussion regarding Nintendo's statement on the future of gaming; some see it as a giant leap forward, others as a step backward, and most just see it as far too costly a product with far too few titles at launch.

Fan Expo Vancouver 2016 - Final Thoughts

This past weekend Vancouver played host to the return of the local version of Fan Expo. The show represents, in my opinion, the biggest and most established convention that Vancouver must offer its fandom. There may be shows that are of a larger scale, or perhaps even offer a better representation of their individual fanbases, but Fan Expo seems to be the most recognized and draws in some of the biggest celebrity guest stars that our town sees on an annual basis.

ReCore [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

ReCore would be a really solid entry into an otherwise under-appreciated genre, action/adventure, if it wasn't held back by a host of technical problems. The game lends concepts from titles like Zelda and Mega Man, but falls short on the excution of a lot of its great ideas.

The Pros: 

+Unique and fun take on action combat.
+Plenty of diversity in corebot customization.
+Beautiful world, both open and dungeons. 
+Plenty of great ideas.

The Cons: 

-Loading times are painfully long (even reloading sections).
-Stuttering/lagging and massive frame drops.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
6

If the idea of a Zelda-esque adventure title in the far-flung future created by gaming God Keiji Inafune and the creative minds behind Metroid Prime sounds like an exciting prospect, then you might appreciate the amount of fun I had with the first hour of the Microsoft Studios project ReCore. Unfortunately, that kind of high octane excitement is quickly removed due to a host of technical issues that hold the game back from being truly great and instead produce something that I would merely define as "good."

X16 Preview: Halo Wars 2 Campaign

Halo Wars 2’s campaign will be the perfect chance for new players to jump into the franchise, according to 343 Industries’ studio head.

 

X16 Preview: Halo Wars 2 Multiplayer

I was pretty excited when I found out Halo Wars 2 would be playable at X16.

 

X16 Preview: Flinthook

One of the gems at X16 was roguelike action platformer Flinthook.

 

X16 Preview: Dead Rising 4

It’s been a long time since I’ve delved into the world of zombie mayhem, but with a steady mix of the undead and Christmas, Dead Rising 4 is sure to be the game that brings me back.

X16 Preview: Cuphead

Like any great run and gun action franchise, Cuphead challenges players to die, jump and die again to learn how the many creatures in the game work.

 

I was excited to see Cuphead on the showroom floor at X16 in Toronto. Last year, I only briefly got a chance to play it, so I was determined to take another stab.

Batman: The Telltale Series: Realm of Shadows [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

As with virtually all Telltale games, Batman: The Telltale Series is a unique, original take on the story of the titual franchise marred by the weight of the name "video game." Technical issues and a lack of gameplay hold it back from being something truly impressive, though fans of the developer will of course forgive it for its very obvious sins.

The Pros: 

+Creative and original story
+A few unique/interesting sequences that take advantage of the title character

The Cons: 

-Frame rate issues
-Obvious animation issues
-Gameplay glitches in several versions of the release

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
6

One of the most interesting, and unexpected, reveals of last year's E3 was the announcement that the kings of interactive story-telling, Telltale Interactive, was working with Warner Brothers to produce a game experience under the franchise banner of Batman.

Hot on the heels of titles under staple franchises like AMC's The Walking Dead and HBO's Game of Thrones, it seems that there's no property that Telltale hasn't been able to brand with their unique spin.

Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo 2016 : New Feel, New Venue!

This year represented a transition year for the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo. For years it's operated in a very similar structure and location. Primarily as a venue for vendors to pedal their wares of the old-timey video game variety, and out of New West's historic Columbia. Now the convention "Beta Tests" it's fit with the new Anvil Centre (recently built) to define the next generation of the convention and it's crowd.

Overwatch [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Overwatch has been referred to as the "mixed martial arts" of competitive gaming and that feels like the most apt analogy anyone will make. It brings together a little bit of everything, shooters, MOBAs, even RTS and fighting games. All in a way that doesn't feel to convulted or overcomplicated.

The Pros: 

+Quick and easy game types.
+Easy to learn, difficult to master.
+Blends a little of everything, from the competitive gaming scene.
+Insane attention to detail, from map design to audio queues.

The Cons: 

N/A

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
10

Overwatch has broken ground on a few industry firsts during its production. Many are already aware of the long development history and transition from Titan to Overwatch, changing a massive multiplayer online role playing game into a first person team-based shooter. Not only did it make history in that unprecedented change, but it also has one of the longest running beta periods I've ever seen (about 6 months). So for all that work, all that testing and tweaking, has Blizzard truly created the next big thing? Or is the novelty due to fade?

Ratchet & Clank 2016 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Ratchet and Clank is much more than the standard "remaster" or HD remake that we've been inundated with over the last couple of years. It not only improves the graphics, but adjusts the maps players are used to and re-writes portions of the story to modernize it and give it a new spin while making jokes at its own expense. The game is not only beautiful, but a whole lot of fun to run through (even if it's not your first time).

The Pros: 

+Beautiful remasters character models and landscapes.

+Fun story with plenty of nods at it being a remaster.

+Solid mechanics that have been updated for the modern area.

The Cons: 

-As with all remasters: I would have preferred a full new title.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Over the last couple of years I may have become an Xbox "fanboy" due to Microsoft being my perferred platform over the last two generations of console. Coming up as a kid though, my roots are firmly planted in the Sony Playstation lineage. Well, if you don't go too far back anyways where you'll find that I bleed blue and have been and always will be a Sega fanboy.

Quantum Break [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Quantum Break is a risky gamble, one that might not pay off for the general public, but one that a review and lover of story crafting and world building like myself deeply appreciates. While the general public might not love the idea of sitting down to watch 20 minutes of TV at the end of each chapter, I found it a beautiful combination of my love for marathoning Netflix TV and gaming.

The Pros: 

+Live action is well shot and well acted.
+Story and world are deep, interesting, and will keep you guessing.
+Time-manipulation powers are a lot of fun to abuse.

The Cons: 

-Core shooting mechanics are weak, compared even to previous Remedy action-shooters.
-Easy to see people not being interested in 20 minute "cut scenes" at the end of each chapter.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

From the end of the first chapter I knew that Quantum Break was going to be a controversial title. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to sit and watch a 22 minute "cut scene" at the end of each level. That being said, this is hardly the first time we've been asked to sit and watch either. Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid have found success with elongated cut scenes to close out chapters of the game, so why is the idea of watching a full TV show quality bumper so unreasonable?

The Division [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The Division represents all the promise that Destiny promised. It's a solid shooter title with RPG elements and a squad-based online system that actually works. The game offers moments of zen run-about and baddie killing, with an option for some of the most intense moments of competitive gaming within its "Dark Zone."

The Pros: 

+Tight shooting mechanics that never get old.
+Inivative online multiplayer via its "Dark Zone" mechanics.
+Incentive to grind/replay for late game gear and incoming new content.

The Cons: 

-Severely lacklustre story telling.
-Suffers from the trend of "map clear" games, which has got stale of late.

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

The Division is a game I've been sitting on for a little while now. Not so much because I was looking forward to playing as much as humanly possible before I wrote the review but more so because I'm a little confused about my time with it. My experience was that Division burns hot and fast, it was a whole lot of fun to the point of near addiction for about a week... then my desires to continue faded out rather quickly.

Xenoblade Chronicles X [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Xenoblade Chronicles X is complicated.

The Pros: 

+Cohesive design that rewards curiosity and exploration
+An amazing soundtrack that I need to own
+One of the most impressive looking games regardless of platform
+Sexy squid lady

The Cons: 

-Systems and menus that will be intimidating for even the hardest core players
-Anime clichés and designs that might turn some people off
-Sexy squid lady

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
10

Where do I even start? Xenoblade Chronicles X is positively massive in every sense of the word. The physical space of it’s world is massive, the depth of it’s systems is massive, the amount of content in general is massive. It’s no wonder that Nintendo has provided optional Installation Downloads to keep loading times moving at a steady clip for people playing using the physical disc.

Game of Thrones: Season 1 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Taking into account that Telltale Games has created a fully realized House Forrester, complete with background rich characters from a single line in the novels and stays within TV show and novel cannon is nothing short of amazing. Season 1's decisions will weigh heavily on your conscience and you'll make many sacrifices along the way, direct or otherwise, in typical Game of Thrones fashion.

The Pros: 

+Perfect voice acting
+Incredibly difficult decisions
+Cameos from major show characters (also voiced by the actors)

The Cons: 

-Lack of closure
-Having to wait for Season 2
-Winter is coming

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
8

It's no secret that Telltale Games has figured out the formula for their great success: Take a pre-established franchise, write a compelling narrative around it full of interesting characters and dialogue, utilize amazing voice actors, make the player decide between incredibly difficult decisions, and finally split up into episodic content with cliffhangers at the end of each episode leaving you wanting more.

Rise of the Tomb Raider [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Crystal Dynamics set a high bar of quality when they rebooted Tomb Raider in 2013, so naturally its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, needed to up the bar once again; it's done that and more. Built on its solid foundations from the reboot, Lara takes part in an engaging adventure complete with beautiful landscapes, plenty of optional tombs, brain-wracking puzzles, and exciting new combat abilities for a memorable journey that should be had by everyone.

The Pros: 

+Graphically impressive
+Improved crafting system
+Numerous optional tombs and collectibles

The Cons: 

-Bigger focus on mandatory combat sections
-Predictable plot tropes
-Accidental deaths due to controls

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

I don't think many people were expecting Tomb Raider to make as big of a return that it did back in the 2013 reboot, save for Crystal Dynamics. I know it took me by surprise with its exciting traversing and combat coupled with an engaging story and believable voice acting. Tomb Raider was a success at becoming relevant once again and two years later we finally have the much anticipated follow-up to continue Lara's journey.

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