Review: Super Smash Bros Wii U

Super Smash Bros Wii U
Retail and Digital
15.6 GB
Available On
Wii U
Release Date
Sora. LTD
Single and Multi-player

While the PS4 and Xbox One continue to sell like diamond studded hot cakes, the Wii U has quietly been putting together a much more impressive array of first party software. Both the PS4 and Xbox One have been lacking in exclusive games, with only a few between themselves. The Xbox has games like Sunset Overdrive and Titanfall. The PS4 has games like Little Big Planet 3 and Infamous Second Sun. Each of the big three have also depended on remakes like The Last of Us on the PS4, Halo: Master Chief Collection on the Xbox One, and Zelda: The Wind Waker on the Wii U. But other than just a few small hits, the exclusive games on the PS4 and Xbox One have been lacking. They make up for this with a massive amount of third party content, something the Nintendo Wii U is weak with. However the first party games on the Wii U are above and beyond what the other two consoles have to offer. Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Wonderful 101, and New Super Mario Bros Wii U highlight an impressive library of exclusive games that have been received very well. But anyone who’s a hardcore Nintendo gamer will tell you that they purchased the Wii U for two games.—the new Zelda and Super Smash Bros. In just three games for three different consoles, the Smash Bros franchise has sold nearly 13 million copies. Nintendo has doubled down on this franchise to boost the sales of their console and also remind us Nintendo fanboy freaks why we love the big N so much. And let me tell you, they didn’t just double down on Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, the centupled down! (That would be 100 times for those of us who don’t know)The sheer amount of things to do in this game could go toe-to-toe with any game I’ve ever seen and win. There is so much content, so much verity, so much FUN in this iteration of Nintendo’s competitive and party fighting masterpiece. Nearly flawless in every way, Nintendo, and more specifically Masahiro Sakurai, who is the developer of the game and franchise, has outdone itself and created one of the best games of the generation and the best game the series has seen.

There is just so much packed into this game it’s hard to even know how to cover it all. Let’s start with just the pure fighting, Smash mode. There are 49 playable characters in the game and the majority of them have their own unique feel. There are semi “clone” characters like Lucina, Toon Link and Dr. Mario. But everyone else really plays their own way and each of them is fun to master. Some characters like Captain Falcon and Kirby are easy to pick up and have some success with; meanwhile they still can be mastered to be able to crush the competition. Other characters like Olimar and Ness are hard to use at first, but extremely satisfying to play through the growing pains and come out a smash expert with. There are fast characters, strong characters, strategic characters, defensive characters, and more. Some characters use weapons like guns or swords but still play completely different. Marth and Shulk both use swords but they are about as similar as a porcupine and a doorknob. Samus and Fox both use guns but the fighting styles are night and day. It’s so much fun just to use these characters and pick favorites and master them. The roster is across dozens of Nintendo classics and even some very new games like Xenoblade. There are also characters from non-Nintendo games, with Sonic returning and Megaman and Pacman being wonderful additions. You can also now play as your Mii. You can create your character to be a gunner, swordman, or brawler. Then you can select the moveset accordingly. Many fighting games struggle with character diversity; not Smash Bros. Some characters feel unbalanced at first, but with time each character can be countered and outmatched. Every character looks, feels, sounds, jumps, moves, and plays differently—and THIS is the core reason for Smash Bros success.

There are 46 levels in Super Smash Bros Wii U. Some of them are not as strong as other but again the diversity is impressive. There are fewer levels than ever that end up feeling like throw-away levels. Most of them are fun and competitive. Sakurai made dozens of brilliant design decisions in the game. One of the best decisions was to create the ability to have a “Final Destination form” of every level in the game. Final Destination has been the long-standing favorite level for Smash Bros fans. It’s just a simple stage with no platforms and no nonsense, just mano y mano. So usually after messing around with every level, smash fans will simply play on Final Destination over and over and possibly have a few more they mess around with from time to time. So, instead of feeling forced to play just a few levels only over and over, you can select a level and play the Final Destination form of that level; this creates one simple platform to play on, the same size and shape of the one on Final Destination, but still keeps the look, sound, and background of whichever level you selected.

Another huge design decision that turns out to be amazing is adding 8 player smash to the game. The old limit was 4 characters at once, either humans or computer. However now you can play with up to 8. Not all of the levels are available for this mode, since they would be too small, but you can still play on a good amount of them and there is still a final destination form of nearly every level again for this. There are so many possibilities for pure fun with 8 players. You can play 4vs4 with all humans. You can go 4vs4 with humans vs. computers at level 9. It can be extremely hectic, but in the laugh-out-loud-what-the-heck-just-happened good way. There are an insane amount of items that do massively diverse amount of things. These items can be worthless or completely game changing. Yes, some of them feel over powered or unfair, but that is part of the fun of Smash Bros. And of course, you can go to the options section before a match and simply turn items to high, medium, low or off completely. You can also go into detail and select specific items you do or don’t want. So if you’re sick and tired of that god-forsaken Drill, then just turn it off. Many of the items are a whole lot of fun, and the new additions are great too like the Bullet Bill and Spiny Shell. All the items are from the massive catalog of Nintendo games throughout the years.

Almost everything you do in Smash Bros Wii U give you rewards. Trophies return, as the mainstay collectable in Smash and an awesome memorabilia of Nintendo history. Stickers are thankfully axed, there was no reason for them, trophies are much better. Music in the Smash series has been incredible throughout the years; you can collect more CDs for more songs. Equipment is a new addition. Each character can be edited in the character customization section. You can edit each characters special moves when you unlock new ones. For example imagine Link and his bow. You can have the standard bow OR you can switch to a quick fire bow that can fire through multiple opponents but doesn’t launch the enemy OR you can switch to a power bow that takes a long time to charge up but has immense power. You can also unlock equipment that can make your character quicker, stronger, or better on defense. Pikachu is a very fast character, maybe you want to give him a bit more defense and be okay with dropping the speed a bit. Some equipment gives special features, like starting with a beam sword at the beginning of each life or giving 1.15% more damage with in air attacks. But no matter what there’s always a fair trade off. The character customization addition is awesome and allows for editing your favorite characters to play exactly how you want them too. There are also coins that will be rewarded for various things, more on that in a second. Overall Smash Bros Wii U does a great job of keeping the action going by rewarding you for everything you do.

Brawling it up in Smash mode with friends presents endless hours of fun; even smashing it up alone with the computer is a blast and a great way to hone your skills. But Smash mode is just the start. There are so many other things to do in Smash Bros Wii U. Classic mode returns, but with a welcome twist, you can select between multiple different opponents that give different rewards. After six matches you play versus the multi-man Mii team and then a final showdown against the Master Hand. The great thing about that final battle is how much it varies depending on the difficulty. Master Hand is the only opponent at the easiest difficulty, and then it ramps up with Crazy Hand. It really does get crazy with the “master core”, a shadowy like creature that transforms into different forms and even climaxes by turning into an actual platforming level with enemies and pitfalls. If you’d like to play the tougher difficulties, you must gamble coins. The harder the challenge the more coins you gotta give up, but your rewards will be much larger. All-star mode returns. You fight your way through opponents from different eras in video game history and the damage you take carries over from round to round. There are also master orders and crazy orders. Master orders give you three random challenges at three different levels of difficulty. The harder the challenge the more coins you need to spend but the reward will be greater. The challenges could be anything from beating an enemy 1-on-1 when he has the metal powerup to hitting at least 1,000 feet in a homerun contest. It’s a lot of fun and a quick way to earn rewards as you can see the category and type of reward you will get if you complete the challenge. Crazy orders are similar but with more at stake. To join in you need either a pass, a reward sometimes given in the game, or 5,000 coins. High stakes yes, but the rewards can be great. Just like master orders you can select from three different challenges with an assortment of prizes. Each time you complete an order you can keep going and going for as long as you’d like, but if you die in a challenge you will lose some of your rewards. Meanwhile your damage carries over from challenge to challenge, but 25% of that is lowered. So if you ended with 100% you will start the next order with 75%. And when you want to finally finish and lock up all of your rewards, you have to do one final showdown with Crazy Hand himself.

Along with all the modes already mentioned there are quick pick up and play modes called Stadium games. Home run contest has been around a long time. To play you beat up a punching bag as much as you can, pick up the home run bat, and launch it as far as possible. Target blast is like angry birds but Smash style. Hit the bomb at the perfect spot and blow up as much as you can, you get two shots and the second bomb is larger than the first. Multi-man pits a massive amount of enemies against you; the enemies are extremely weak and can be launched with the slightest attack. There is 10-man smash, 3-minute smash, endless smash and more. All of these game modes are a blast. There is even Trophy Rush, a mini-game that has blocks falling from the sky that you must destroy. After demolishing a certain amount, coins and trophies and more fall down and can be collected. One of the big new game modes is Smash Run. Smash Run is a board game style competition in which players collect equipment, items, and characters to fight with. The game is very complex but fun. There’s a lot going on and at first it seems overwhelming, but once you get a handle for it, it can be a fun diversion from regular Smash. Events Mode makes a return from Melee and Brawl. There’s an “rpg tree” like mission structure that can be tackled level by level. Beat level one and a branch starts out in each direction, now you can continue with these events that always have fun miscellaneous challenges. For example on the Duck Hunt level you need to jump up and hit the ducks that fly by, just like the real game, all while fighting off enemies at the same time. Another event asks you to demolish the Wrecking Crew level’s building before the team of Warios takes you down.

Of all the game modes mentioned, almost every single one of them can be done in co-op. Smash, Smash Run, Home Run Contest and more are competitive. While modes like co-op events, classic, Smash and All-star mode can be played as a team.

Challenges bring all of these things together in one awesome screen. Basically the challenges are like a huge achievement section; except you are rewarded with new CDs/Music, trophies, coins, movesets, etc. The challenges ask you to play in all the different game-modes, use all the different characters, try to get high scores, and it shows you just how deep this game is. Some challenges ask you to play as Greninja and play at least 12 rounds in Crazy Orders. Or another challenge tasks you with killing 110 enemies or more in 3-minute smash while playing as Bowser. Some challenges are pretty easy like the one that asks you to just beat Classic mode once. But others like getting 8 kills in Cruel Smash are truly difficult. Challenges are a brilliant design decision and just a blast to play, especially for completionist like myself.

The online functionality is a giant step-up from Brawl, but still not where it needs to be. But I blame that less on Sakurai and Smash and more on the Wii U itself. If this game was on the Xbox One I could just jump in a party with friends, talk for a few minutes, decide what we want to do, and the entire game would be open for me and my buddies to play—whether that’s Target Blast or All-Star Mode or straight up Smash. But the Wii U just doesn’t have that functionality built in, so Smash Bros Wii U is limited in that aspect. What you can do in online play does work well. I only encountered lag a few times and that was based entirely on the opponent having bad connection. The online modes are simple, there’s for fun mode and for glory. For fun has items, all the levels, and total chaos. For glory mode has no items at all and only takes place on the final smash variations of the levels. For glory mode is also ranked and you can see all your stats and positioning on the leaderboards. All of this can be done with couch co-op or online co-op.

Speaking of stats, even the options and records section of Smash Bros Wii U goes beyond anything any other games have to offer. You can check everything in the stats section. Players can create their own nickname to use while playing the game, all of your stats will then be saved. You can see the characters or the players kill death ratios, launch distance, how much damage was given, how many times you idiotically self destructed, and so much more. It’s sometimes just a lot of fun to see all of these stats in one place and observe who the best player really is.

The graphics in Smash Bros Wii U are stunning. The amount of action on screen between all the fighers, items, and the level itself always looks crystal clear and never dips under a solid 60 frames per second. The attention to detail for the character animations and the effects are phenomenal and unmatched in any fighting game I’ve ever seen. Everything pops visually. Everything looks so fluid. And everything maintains the feel that those original characters and items had in their original games but still have a distinct “Smash Bros” feel. It’s obvious that so much care and love went into this game by the way it plays and looks alone, let alone everything else. And the music, oh my gosh the music! I’m a sucker for a great soundtrack in a game, and Smash Bros for the Wii U has perhaps the best soundtrack in video game history. Now it does sort of cheat, because it’s taking music from generations of Nintendo classics. But the selections chosen are amazing and the remixes brought back from Melee and Brawl are top notch and the brand new remixes are beautiful. I spent hours and hours just filing through the music section of the game. You can listen to any track you unlock and you can select how often you’d like that song to be played while fighting it up on those stages. If there are songs you don’t like, just tone down the dial so it doesn’t ever get played. If there are songs you love, make sure they get played as frequently as you’d like. This customization is amazing and just the pure amount of high quality beautiful powerful amazing songs from the Nintendo universe are enough to make a Nintendo fanboy’s heart melt with pure nostalgic joy.

Super Smash Bros for the Wii U is THE reason to own a Wii U. Not only is it the best game in the fantastic franchise, it’s pure solo and multiplayer fun and replayability make it one of the best games of the generation. If I was banished to an island for a year and I could take a generator, TV, and one game to play I would pick Smash Bros Wii U. And that’s WITHOUT all the added fun you get when you have at least one buddy sitting by your side, let alone a total of eight! The graphics and music make it the prettiest and most audibly erotic game of its genre and top notch when compared to anything the PS4 or Xbox One have to offer. The couch co-op and competitive fun is virtually endless. And the solo madness is unending and always rewarding. The online is good, but it would be nice if it could take all the couch co-op aspects of the game and carry that over for online play, as opposed to just plain Smash. But that one blemish aside, the game is flawless in every way and Sakurai should be applauded for creating such a masterpiece. Super Smash Bros for Wii U is a Nintendo museum come to life. It’s a time machine of Nintendo nostalgia and it’s packed with more fanfare than anyone can imagine. The industry should look at Smash Bros Wii U and be jealous. Jealous that a company can have so much rich history and so much wide-ranging success—and jealous that somehow all of that found its way into one phenomenal, beautiful, amazing, infinitely fun-filled game.

1) Pure smooth amazing gameplay
2) Diverse characters
3) Endless game modes
4) Incredible music
5) Impressive graphics
6) Nintendo nostalgia

1) Shallow online



Achievement Guide: Boom Balls

Silver Medalist – 20gs – Reach silver time in 10 levels
Silver Collector – 30gs – Reach silver time in 25 levels
Silver Champion – 100gs – Reach silver time in all levels
Gold Medalist – 20gs – Reach gold time in 5 levels
Gold Collector – 30gs – Reach gold time in 10 levels
Gold Hoarder – 50gs – Reach gold time in 25 levels
Swimming in Gold – 100gs – Reach gold time in all levels
Ball Conservationist – 100gs – Clear all levels without losing any balls (multiballs don’t count)

Each level has 4 criteria to unlock. Just completing it, making silver time, making gold time and for completing it without losing any balls. There are a total of 54 standard levels to complete.

Leaf Blower – 30gs – Clear all levels in the Forest area
Zen Explorer – 30gs – Clear all levels in the Garden area
Sand Blaster – 30gs – Clear all levels in the Desert area
Dive Bomber – 30gs – Clear all levels in the Underwater area
Space Destroyer – 30gs – Clear all levels in the Space area
Knower of the Secret – 50gs – Unlock the secret level by clearing all other levels
Black Belt Cube Slicer – 50gs – Reach a score of 1,500 in the secret level (#55)
Unlocking 101 – 5gs – Earn enough stars to unlock the Garden area

The Garden is the second area.

Cube Hitter – 20gs – Hit 5,000 cubes (fireballs don’t count)
Cube Champion – 40gs – Hit 20,000 cubes (fireballs don’t count)
Cubonator – 50gs – Hit 100,000 cubes (fireballs don’t count)
Pyrotechnician – 50gs – Blow up 5,000 other cubes by using explosive cubes
Multitasker – 50gs – Keep at least 3 balls in play 15 seconds. Hit each ball at least once and don’t lose any balls

First time you will get a multiball is

Left, Right, Left, Right – 25gs – Hit the same ball alternately with the left and right hand 10 times without hitting any other balls

Just work the ball back and forth. Try to keep the ball in the middle of the area with straight shots as it is very difficult to get your opposite hand to hit a ball that is close to the side walls.

Multiballistic – 50gs – Hit at least 6 different balls without losing any balls in between

You will need to get 2 multiballs going and once and keep all 6 going for at least one round.

Juggernaut – 10gs – Break at least 30 cubes with a single heavy ball (explosion chain reactions don’t count)

This does not have to be all in one strike. Just with the same ball. First level with heavy balls is level 6.

Review: Halo: Master Chief Collection

Halo: Master Chief Collection
Digital and Retail
59.11 GB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed]
Release Date
343 Studios
Microsoft Sutdios
Single Player, Co-op, Multiplayer

In 2001 the world was introduced to what would become one of the most influential games and franchises in the industry. Halo Combat Evolved instantly was recognized as the definition of what console first person shooters could be. Beautiful graphics, intense sci-fi story, groundbreaking couch and lan-party co-op, and the best controls the genre had ever seen. Three years later Halo 2 took everything that made the original special and multiplied it by a thousand. The story revved up, the graphics were arguably the most impressive of the time, and the controls were better than ever. Most importantly however, the multiplayer exploded the collective minds of the gaming world—and to this day is one of the most memorable and powerful online multiplayer experiences the medium has ever seen. In 2007 the hype machine was at an all time high for Halo 3. And while the game may not have quite lived up to that hype, it’s probably more based on how ridiculously and unreasonably high the expectations were, because the game itself was nearly flawless. Halo 3 was the first HD Halo game, it launched on the Xbox 360 and was the must own game for any owner of the console. The biggest competition for Halo 3 was how perfect Halo 2 was in the eyes of the fans; and the new franchise that would overtake Halo as the biggest online FPS in the industry itself for next decade, Call of Duty. For the next few years the Halo franchise seemed to be trying to find itself. There were a few spinoffs here and there like a failed RTS and a lackluster top down shooter for tablets. There was also a pseudo-sequel to Halo 3 called ODST that was a solid game filled with controversy. Bungie was the developer for this incredible franchise for every major adaptation on the consoles, and they tried to have a nice going out party called Halo Reach. But overall the fans’ reactions were quite negative. Bungie left Microsoft and 343 Studios took over and created Halo 4. Underwhelming and seemingly unfocused, Halo 4 was not the inaugural 343 party that was hoped for. But before that even, 343 worked on the Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition in 2011. This was the tenth year anniversary of the game that started it all.

All of this Halo history is to prepare for one of the biggest remake bundles the gaming universe has ever seen; Halo: Master Chief Collection. 343 promises that Halo 1-4(all the Halo games starring the Chief himself) will be smashed together in one uber game with all the features from the originals plus some added features they didn’t have at first. Along with each game in its original form, Halo 3 and 4 have been up-ressed to 1080p and 60fps. Halo Anniversary is packed in and also has its multiplayer going online for the first time ever on a console. And Halo 2 gets the same treatment the original Halo got three years ago with it finally going HD, its multiplayer coming back online, and added features like brand new beautiful remade cut scenes. With four full campaigns, four full multiplayer games built into one, and endless hour of fun and nostalgia from one of gaming’s biggest franchises, 343 seems to have the perfect formula for a massive success for everyone and a perfect filler to play as the world waits for Halo 5. Oh, and speaking of which the Halo 5 Beta is packed in and will be available soon. Here are the big questions; does the entire Halo experience still hold up today or do aspects seem outdated? And if it does still hold up, can 343 possibly hold up their bargain and give us everything they promised?

If you go back and play classic 2D games from the NES and SNES type era, most of the games truly still hold up. You’re still going to have a whole lot of fun playing anything from Yoshi’s Island to Tecmo Super Bowl to Earth Bound and everything in-between. Of course some games are truly dated and almost unplayable now, but the majority of those 2D gems are still great fun to play today. This sadly is not the case with 3D games. The N64/Playstation era had so many amazing games, some are still fun today but a lot of them just can’t hold up compared to the gameplay in current games. The same can even be said for some games from the Xbox/PS2/Gamecube era. Although nowhere near as flawed as the N64/Playstation era, there are still games that we thought, “HOLY CRAP THIS GAME IS AMAZING!” but if we play it today the controls, camera, etc just fall flat. I thoroughly loved Halo Combat Evolved and its campaign when I first played it on a friend’s Xbox and again on the PC two years later. Today it sadly just isn’t the same. I could go back and play Super Metroid or Super Mario World a million times and never stop loving it. But Halo Combat Evolved just isn’t that kind of game. Compared to the advancements in the genre the controls feel slow and the levels are drawn out for much longer than they should be. It always felt like my next objective was the same as the last. Walk over there, press a button, clear out bad guys, walk over there, go to that thing, kill the guys in the way, etc, etc, etc… The health system was changed in the newer Halo games for the better. It’s hard for me to enjoy a game when I just fought my way through a massive horde of covenant bad guys and barely survived with ONE sliver of health left; only to get a checkpoint and have an even BIGGER gang waiting for me and now I’m out of health and low on ammo. The original Halo may be one of the more influential games of the past two decades but playing it now feels like eating a delicious bowl of Lucky Charms….that’s been sitting on the table soaking in milk all afternoon; used to be amazing, now it’s just gross.

Halo 2 and Halo 3 are quite different. The campaigns themselves still feel slightly longer and more repetitive than they should be—but the areas visited, the gameplay variety, and the controls themselves offer enough diversity to allow for a fun and satisfying experience. Meanwhile needed and helpful changes like a better health system and usable equipment help improve the gameplay from the first. The story throughout these three games is confusing to some fans and entertaining to others. There are four, no maybe five different species? All fighting for different things? Who are the flood? The prophets do what? HELP ME! I personally enjoy the story in the Halo Universe, including the first game(to me the only redeeming factor to still play the original). It’s easy to make a story for a book, movie, or game that puts two forces against each other in an all out war. But Bungie decided to make a complicating yet engaging story with betrayal, exile, unexpected alliances, and a slew of hidden motives and interesting twists that doesn’t disappoint. The Master Chief and Cortana have a very interesting relationship. I like the Gravemind, the Arbiter, and Guilty Spark. One of the biggest complaints for an unknown reason to me is the Flood. Some people hate them but I find their presence in the game to freshen up the gameplay with a zombie like feel as well as add an interesting dimension to the story. Even though I suffered through the original, after playing all three games I felt very satisfied with the gameplay and story as I finished the fight. And then there’s Halo 4…

Halo 4’s campaign is dull, repetitive, and does very little to advance on what Halo 2 and 3 had to offer. The gameplay is fine, it’s just that there isn’t enough new. The story focuses on the Master Chief and Cortana’s relationship; this is a smart decision and is the strength of the game. But the rest of the story seems pointless. The Flood are gone but a new species called Prometheans are involved instead. They are uninteresting. Both the covenant and the brutes, the main enemies you face in the original trilogy, are full of life, personality, and even humor. Prometheans kind of just exist for the sake of existing. And in an attempt to create a major villain for the Master Chief to face instead of facing a species alone, 343 created Ur-Didact, a forerunner and commander for the Promethean military. I understand what 343 was going for; they wanted their own Bowser, Ganandorf, Joker, GlaDOS. But instead they just overcomplicated an already fairly complex story and added a villain that has already been placed on the backburner, as Halo 5’s villain has been revealed to be a brand new character.

When it comes down to it, Halo’s multiplayer has been the biggest draw to fans and the most significant factor to its success. Halo 1-3 at the time of their respective releases had some of the best, deepest, and just plain fun multiplayer gameplay the fps genre had to offer. Halo 1-4’s multiplayer is all back, every single map, all in its original form but in HD beauty. Halo 2, being the favorite Halo child, even has some maps completely remade with new textures and lighting to look absolutely stunning, as opposed to just upping the resolution. So how do these great MP experiences hold up today? Sadly, as much fun as they were when we first played them, they just aren’t what they used to be.

Let’s start with Halo Combat Evolved. This game is now thirteen years old and boy oh boy does it show. Not only in the graphics but also in the gameplay. It’s clunky, confusing, and beyond hectic. It’s hard to tell what’s going on. Did I hit that guy? Is he dead? How’d I die? It’s fun to jump in for old time’s sake for just a few rounds, but other than that it has almost no replay value and is more annoying and confusing than any kind of fun. The original Halo’s mp just doesn’t feel good at all. And thankfully the series made massive improvements going forward because Halo CE is as barebones as it gets and not at all in the good way. It used to be fun, just like owning a pet rock used to be cool.

Halo 2 is almost everyone’s hands down favorite Halo mp game; and for good reason. The jump from the original is exponential. It feels better, it plays better, it looks better, it sounds better, everything is better. Still however, it’s not quite what it used to be. I’m afraid some of us will be disappointed with it. Think of it this way. Remember when you used to go to Chuck E Cheese as a kid? Remember how exciting the arcade was? Remember the massive cage of those weird ball things you jump in? Remember the maze of tubes and tunnels and slides to crawl through? Remember the awesome prizes you could get? Remember that amazing pizza? Remember those creepy yet strangely intriguing giant Chuck E and friends that would walk around and give high fives and hugs? Yeah that was just so awesome right? And yeah, as a kid it kind of was. But what happens when we look at it years later through our adult eyes? We see that the arcades games are outdated and boring. The big cage with balls is gross and full of germs. The tunnels really aren’t as big as we thought they were. The prizes are more worthless than toys you get at the dollar store. The pizza is cheap, nasty, two-dollar, thin-crust pizza you buy in the frozen isle. And those weird strange feelings we got with the giant Chuck E was for good reason because inside is some alcoholic forty-seven year old balding creep in a sweaty costume. While Halo 2 isn’t THAT bad, the analogy stands true. Halo 2 MP is fun and nostalgic, but it’s just not that great anymore. I don’t want to go to Chuck E Cheese. I want to go to amusement parks for my thrills, the bar for my food and fun, and my own couch for real video games.

Halo 3’s multiplayer holds up better than the rest. Halo 3 had such huge expectations after Halo 2, so in many eyes it’s just not as good. But if Halo 3 came right after the original Halo and Halo 2 didn’t’ even exist; I’m nearly positive it would be loved just as much as Halo 2. The multiplayer has buttery smooth controls and an extremely balanced approach. It took all that was good about Halo 2 and just made it prettier and better. Some think it’s hypocrisy to say these types of things, but Halo 3’s multiplayer is the best in the series and the Master Chief collection proves this. If Halo 3 came out today it wouldn’t seem that outdated and ancient. Halo 2’s glory days are long gone, even if those glory days were absolutely incredible. Halo 4’s multiplayer isn’t barely worth touching. It’s unbalanced, doesn’t feel like Halo, and just doesn’t hold a candle to Halo 2 and 3. For some, since it’s the newest, it might be good fun. But to most Halo purest they’d rather play real Halo or something else entirely.

Sadly the servers for the first couple weeks have been awful. Finding a game can take an extremely long time and if you’d like to party up with a friend and frag it up together, good luck. This is unacceptable and 343 and Microsoft need to fix this ASAP.

Graphically the Master Chief collection is an odd game to review. Of course it spans across almost a decade and a half of games so the visuals will be polarizing. Halo Anniversary get’s my worst dressed award. Not because the original game, no that’s allowed to look old and prehistoric, it actually has a charm to it. But the anniversary version falls flat on its face. With just a simple button you can at any time switch from the old school graphics to the new updated anniversary graphics. The anniversary graphics just don’t look that good. Of course compared to the classic game it is much better. However compared to recent games it has flaws. Even when compared to 2007’s Halo 3, the 2011 Anniversary Edition looks pretty much the same. This makes no sense to me, it’s nice that the original can look better, but wouldn’t you want to update it to today’s standards? There are also some very curious artistic decisions. For example there’s one moment in the game when I’m supposed to be in a dessert like area, Cortana even references it. However it looks green and filled with trees. When I switch back to the original game it sure enough looks dry and dessert like. Why did they change the actual layout of the land? Other places like the creepy hallways of the flood look dark and scary in the original. But on the new version, that eerie feel is replaced with bright blue and purple lighting that take the atmosphere right out of the game. I’d almost recommend playing it all in its truly original form. Halo 2 also has an anniversary edition, but it’s done much better. Halo 2 looks nice, the colors and lighting hold true to what they originally looked like, they just look better. There is more detail, more appealing visuals, but not at the cost of the original feel and atmosphere. Meanwhile the remade cut scenes by the CG company BLUR are absolutely astounding. It’s no hyperbole to say that the BLUR cut scenes made for Halo 2 are the best that gaming has ever seen; and even the movie industry should be jealous. I’m sure the internet has already done this, but you could easily just take all the cut scenes into one big video and it has the quality to be a full animated movie. Halo 3 holds up nicely, there are no visual changes, no anniversary edition, but now in 1080p and 60 frames it looks very good. Halo 4 may be the black sheep in every other department, but there’s no denying the game has beautiful art and stunning visuals. And can I just say, the art, graphics, sound design and most importantly music of the Halo series is perhaps one of the most impressive the industry has ever seen. Say what you will about the franchise, but the Halo feel is just oozing out of these games because of truly special direction and execution in all of the art aspects of the series. Bravo Bungie, and 343 too I suppose.

343 set out to make the ultimate Halo and Master Chief experience with: Halo Master Chief Collection. They promised to give the fans all four games wrapped up just like they were made to be with no changes. Then on top of that they promised to also give visual and optional touches. The multiplayer gaming has been the bread and butter of Halo since its start, and 343 promised everything to be there just like we remembered it. Did 343 deliver on that promise? Yes and no. The original campaigns are all there, untouched and perfect. Meanwhile the anniversary updated visuals for Halo 1 and 2 make the game more appealing to the eye if you so desire and the BLUR cut scenes draw the players in to that world like never before. The multiplayer however is broken and needs to be fixed. 343 can’t promise everything how we remembered it, but not even have things playable. Even with the multiplayer hiccup there are still some problems. And this is not really 343’s fault. Instead it’s time’s fault. Just like your favorite pair of shoes, your first car, and your beautiful thick hair; in time your shoes will be worn down, your car will break down, and your hair will turn gray and fall out. Halo just isn’t what I remembered it to be. But it’s okay. Even if when playing these games again I noticed more flaws than ever, it still brought back memories I can never erase. Halo is such an influential franchise to so many gamers. Even if it’s not as excellent playing it this time around, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth giving it a shot again for old time’s sake. The campaign is still good fun and the multiplayer still has epic moments and crazy laughs. Halo 1 does feel outdated in every aspect now sadly, campaign and multiplayer. But playing through the campaign one more time still has just enough fun in it to help carry you through to the REAL fun that is Halo 2 and 3. Halo 4 just doesn’t feel like a good fit in this package and shouldn’t have been included. The story is disconnected from the original trilogy and the multiplayer isn’t fun. It would be like if Lucas Arts packaged Star Wars episodes 4-6 AND 1 all in one package. It just doesn’t work. If for nothing else, Halo: Master Chief Collection is the original trilogy all in one disc, and that trilogy is one of the best in video game history. That alone would be worth it. Throw in the still fun Halo 2 and 3 multiplayer and we’ve got ourselves a really good bundle. The game is worth the admission price for Halo 2 and 3 alone.

1) So much content
2) Beautiful art and music
3) Full trilogy in one game
4) Halo 2 and 3 multiplayer
5) Nostalgia

1) Halo 4
2) Halo 1 doesn’t hold up
3) Halo 2 MP just isn’t as magical as it once was
4) Major multiplayer server issues



Review: Never Alone

Never Alone
2.8 GB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed]
Release Date
Upper One Games
E-Line Media
Singleplayer and Couch Co-op

Never Alone is a 2D side scrolling adventure game from Upper One Games and E-Line Media. It tells the tale of Nuna, a Inapiaq, as she braves the Alaskan frontier to save her village. She is joined in this adventure by a companion Fox. The two characters are either controlled back and forth by a single player or by a second controller in couch co-op. Yes, it’s another digital title that doesn’t support Live. It really makes me want to question Xbox and just how hard is it to hook into Live.

Never Alone is a gorgeous game. The characters and the backdrops are some of the most detailed and vibrant I’ve seen on the ONE. The wind looks likes its cold and biting, the environment looks harsh. The details in Nuna and the fox both from a character design aspect and also in their movements is simply top notch. As they run and climb and move through the world it is easy to immerse yourself in the story.


The story is told, narrator style, by a Inapiaq and is based on a real folk story handed down generation to generation. As you complete levels you unlock these amazing cultural insights that are mini documentaries that further explore the lives of the Inapiaq. These cultural insights represent the collectibles in the game. There are 24 total and probably 21 of them are given to you as you follow the story. You would really have to go out of your way to miss 90% of them. There are about 3 that are just off the main path, but truly these 3 are in about the only other non-main path areas you can go. If you see a ledge or rope that is not on the main path, chances are that’s a collectible area. The cutscenes are told in native scrimshaw and look just as good as the rest of the game.

The problems start to arise in that a game is not just pretty pictures. You need an actual game to play and Never Alone is a very basic adventure game at its core. Nuna runs around and climbs things and uses her bola to destroy ice and to activate spirits, while the fox is able to reveal and manipulate hidden animal spirits to create and move platforms for Nuna to use.


The most interesting part of the game, the interaction between the fox and Nuna, is marred in that it seems they never knew whether to make a single player game or a co-op and ended up with something that doesn’t really work for either. As a single player game you really are only playing one character in that you do something with Nuna, switch to the fox, and then do something else and then switch back. There is nothing that requires both characters to do anything at the same time. The puzzles were a lot easier in co-op but overall co-op was unfortunately a fairly boring experience. Player A does something then Player B then there is more running. No coordination is really needed. The second half of the story has an interesting twist, that is great story wise, but makes playing the fox particularly boring from this point on. A good co-op game requires both players to work together, where Never Alone would probably play out exactly the same if it was played by a single person using two controllers.

There was a section with a moving crate witch shows some of the basic flaws of this 2 character system. Nuna had to control the crate and both Nuna and the fox needed to reach a high ledge. So I had to have Nuna hold the crate while the fox made the jump, then while I was getting the crate back into position for Nuna to jump, the fox AI would repeatedly jump back down ruining the entire sequence and forcing me to restart. The companion AI is really just set to follow mode. They will do any basic jump but anything requiring a real button press you need to switch over to do yourself. Most of the puzzles were artificially harder because the AI wouldn’t hold where you needed them to or they lagged so far behind your movement they got crushed by just not keeping up.

My entire playthrough of the game, with loading and deaths, was just under 3 hours. I hate trying to create a subjective coloration between cost and time played but 3 hours is a short game. And 3 hours for $15 is definitely on the high end of the current market. There is no NewGame+ here, no try to beat a par time, no reason to replay period really. I finished the game, watched the cultural insights (if you are a achievement hunter there is a achievement for finding and watching them all. I can confirm you can start each one and back out if you want to but they are really well made.) and then I was done with Never Alone with no hook or desire to return.

It’s not a bad game. There are no glaring flaws or errors or glitches (The fox did get caught in the environment one time) it’s just that there is no wow factor either. Nothing that grips me and says this is something that adventure games have been missing and here it is now. The game is gorgeous and the story is well told but for me it seems like they made a good documentary and then shoved a Max: Curse of the Brotherhood clone into it.

1) Beautiful artwork
2) Fantastic story

1) Shortest game on the ONE
2) Fox’s part in second half in minimal
3) Co-op is not engaging to both players equally



Review: Volgarr the Viking

Volgarr the Viking
432.07 MB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed], PC
Release Date
Crazy Viking Studios
Crazy Viking Studios
Single Player

Volgarr the Viking is an old-school action sidescrolling beat ‘em up that is built to be a reminder of what arcade games used to be. The gameplay, difficulty, and graphics make the game look and feel like it could have easily sucked up your hard earned quarters and sat right next to Golden Axe, The Simpsons, The Turtles and more in the early 90’s. Every aspect of the game is a tribute to those arcade classics—nothing more so than the difficulty. Volgarr the Viking was developed by Crazy Viking Studios. It’s a kickstarted game which was initially released on Steam. After success on the PC, Volgarr has moved to the home console and is ready to make you scream and cry. Are they screams of delight and tears of joy? Or is it more agony and suffering?

As mentioned before, the difficulty level of Volgarr the Viking is its foundation. The design of the enemies, levels, and gameplay all revolve making the game painstakingly difficult. You play as Volgarr. You wield a sword and a spear. The sword works well at close range and the spear is used for ranged attacks. The spear is also used as a platform. Volgarr can throw a spear into the wall and use it to jump up to higher places. Just a few hits can kill Volgarr. In each level there are treasure chests that give upgrades. A shield can block projectiles; a fire sword gives more range and more powerful hits. If Volgarr takes a hit, he loses an upgrade. Enemies are all designed in different ways. Spiders jump forward and are difficult to attack from close range, but they are too short for a spear at long range (as it goes flying over their head). Skeletons hold shields that block spears and high attacks, so the only effective attack is ducking down and hitting them low. Meanwhile zombies take one hit to kill them, but if you hit them down low the split in half and the top of the body falls forward and can damage Volgarr. Every enemy must be learned—which is another way of saying you will die a hundred times before you figure it all out.

At first this is extremely frustrating, welcome to old-school gaming. Each level took me anywhere from one to two hours to complete. However this is where the game nails the old-school feel and delivers on the mechanics it strove for. Because after exhausting so much time, effort, and skill into each level I can complete them in as little as five minutes. First I needed to learn all the ins and outs of each enemy and the levels itself and after the seemingly torturous discovering process I’m able to fly through with relative ease. Gameplay like this was a stable in classic gaming and really hasn’t snuck its way into modern gaming. In most games today, enemies have a health meter, levels are designed to help the player move through safely, and normally the real challenge comes with just the number of enemies on screen or maybe the strength of a boss battle. It’s entirely possible to play through whole levels of games today without dying at all. And checkpoints are thrown around like contraceptives at college orientation. In Volgarr the Viking you get one checkpoint in every level. There’s a beginning, a checkpoint at the halfway mark, and a boss battle. Even the boss rooms don’t have checkpoints. This is something I do have to complain about. In a game like Megaman, it’s a relief to make it to the boss room because if you die there you can try again if you still have lives. In Volgarr the Viking, you have to play through the entire second section of the level again, because you will come back right at the checkpoint again. The bosses are just like the levels, it takes some time to learn how to defeat it. So getting thrown all the way back to the checkpoint is very painful.
The graphics are impressive for what Crazy Viking Studios was going for. It looks very much like a game from the late 80’s early 90’s. The main problem is that there isn’t really anything that gives it its own unique feel. In other words, if Volgarr was a game from the arcades back in the day, it wouldn’t be remembered for its visual fidelity at all, as the characters and levels aren’t anything special. The levels vary and have their own style. The enemies look fine in each level. But the enemy originality is nothing special. The water level has frogs and oysters. The jungle level has lizards and snakes. The music is strange. At some points it sounds good, at other points it’s almost painful. The biggest problem is that it just doesn’t fit with the game’s art and design. The gameplay feels old-school. The graphics look old-school. The music just isn’t. I expected some sweet 16-bit goodness to pleasure my ears. Instead I got some weird pseudo-atmospheric generic songs that have no memorable values. If you’re going to make a game that beckons game to the classic days of arcade gaming, you need to go all out in every aspect.

One of the biggest frustrations to the game is the saves. After beating a level you are supposed to be able to skip that level in the future if you choose by walking backwards from the spawn point of every level. However this just doesn’t work for a large majority of the players who picked up the game. When the game was initially launched on the PC it didn’t even have this option. The only way to beat the game was to play all the way through nonstop. So maybe we shouldn’t complain so much because this option was a gift from the developer’s right? Wrong! Even though it’s something that they threw in to lighten the blow, it’s still something that is supposed to be in the game that just doesn’t work. Playing through every level straight-through is semi-ludicrous. Once you’ve beaten the level a dozen times, you shouldn’t have to much trouble beating it again. But there are six standard levels and six more secret levels, so beating them all the way through will take an extremely long time. After completing a level I felt exhausted and wanted to just save and come back later, but I couldn’t.

Volgarr the Viking is a good game. It’s extremely difficult, but in a fair way that is challenging instead of just unnecessarily cruel. If it takes an hour to beat a level the first time or two, but just a few minutes to beat it after that, then you’ve got a game that is tough in the right ways, just like the best brutal games of old. It teaches you how to defeat the game through the games difficulty itself. The gameplay and art would be right at home in the Penny Arcade in my local mall twenty years ago. Sadly the music can pull you out of that experience. However if Volgarr the Viking was in those arcades it might not be remembered today. I just don’t feel like it has its own unique place in that arcade world. A game like Shovel Knight, which was released earlier this year, manages to borrow from classic NES era games just like Volgarr borrows from classic arcade games. However Shovel Knight does two things that Volgarr does not. Firstly it never breaks from being a 100% NES old-school type game. From start to finish Shovel Knight is an old school game; gameplay, music, graphics, feel , everything. And secondly, more importantly perhaps, Shovel Knight borrows from the NES epoch but STILL manages to create its own special distinctive experience. If Shovel Knight was a game created in 1988 for the NES it would still be remembered today as one of the greats. Volgarr doesn’t have that distinctive feel, that thing that sets it apart and allows it to be its own extraordinary game. If you want a new game that delivers on the same exact hardcore experience that graced the screens of arcade monitors in the early 90’s then Volgarr the Viking will not disappoint. Just don’t expect a game that will blow your mind with new creative experiences in an old school skin and feel. But…. do purchase a few new controllers because you may break a few in anger at some point.

1) Difficult and challenging in the right ways
2) Arcade feel

1) Music
2) Nothing truly distinctive
3) Glitches to game saves



Achievement Guide: Pure Pool

Cue’d Up – 10gs – Complete the tutorial

Just complete the opening tutorial. Learn the controls and pot all the balls.

8-Balled – 10gs – Win an 8-Ball game
8-Ball Century – 30gs – Win 100 games of 8-Ball
9-Balled – 10gs – Win an 9-Ball game
9-Ball Century – 30gs – Win 100 games of 9-Ball
DNA Sample – 10gs – Download a players DNA

For the top menu select Players. Then pick a player and hit Y to download their DNA. This allows you to play against a AI version of the player.

Amateur 8-Ball Champ – 30gs – Win the amateur 8-Ball career
Pro 8-Ball Champ – 30gs – Win the pro 8-Ball career
Master 8-Ball Champ – 30gs – Win the master 8-Ball career
Amateur 9-Ball Champ – 30gs – Win the amateur 9-Ball career
Pro 9-Ball Champ – 30gs – Win the pro 9-Ball career
Master 9-Ball Champ – 30gs – Win the master 9-Ball career
Stars in Your Eyes – 30gs – Win 100 Stars in career mode

Each games in Career mode offers you 3 stars to earn. Like Win the game, win with no fouls, pot a ball further than 160cm from the cue ball. Earn a total of 100 stars through all your games in career to earn the achievement.The stars only count if you win the match.

Mixed Accolades – 10gs – Gain 10 different accolades
More Mixed Accolades – 10gs – Gain 25 different accolades
The Ultimate Accolade – Gain at least 1 of each accolade
A Chain of Accolades – 10gs – Gain 10 accolades of the same type
Accolade Century – 30gs – Gain 100 accolades of the same type

Accolades are found under My Profile, Accolades. Things like Pot 3 in a row and Pot a ball off the break. Some of these will be quite hard, like Win a game against a Legendary player or to End an opponents 3-game win steak. There are 89 different accolades to unlock.

Challenge Accepted – 10gs – Play 4 different challenges
Pure Pool Talented – 10gs – Reach ‘Talented’ rank
Pure Pool Pro – 20gs – Reach ‘Pro’ rank
Pure Pool Veteran – 30gs – Reach ‘Veteran’ rank
Pure Pool Grand Master – 100gs – Reach ‘Grand Master’ rank

These are not skill based luckily but XP based BUT unluckily the game levels you up very very slowly.

Almost an angel – 20gs – Win 3 consecutive games of 8-ball without fouling
Ricochet – 20gs – Pot 3 or more ball off the break
Did you mean to do that? – 10gs – Win by the opponent potting the black illegally

This is for your opponent to pocket the 8-ball illegally giving you the instant win.

Don’t give up your day job! – 30gs – 8-ball your opponent in a game of 8 Ball
Perfect Indeed! – 20gs – Clear the table in the Perfect Potter challenge
Get out of that one. – 10gs – Put an opponent in a snooker
That the best you’ve got? – 10gs – Get out of a snooker

Putting an opponent in snooker means to trap them behind one of your balls in such a way as they have no direct line on any of their remaining balls. The get out of a snooker is to legally pot one of your balls most likely via a bank shot.

Banked it! – 20gs – Play a bank shot and pot
Bank Rolled! – 30gs – Win a game with a bank shot
Doubled – 20gs – Play a double shot and pot
They’re seeing double! – 30gs – Win a game with a double shot
The bigger they are… – 20gs – Beat a player with a higher rank

This actually counts in Career against the AI. The first AI player in the Amateur 8-Ball is technically level 14 so beating him in the first game will get you the achievement.

Racking them up – 10gs – Complete a 3 online game win streak
On a Roll – 20gs – Complete a 6 online game win streak
Showing them how it’s done – 30gs – Complete a 9 online game win streak
Putting it Out There – 10gs – Issue a challenge
Whirlwind – 30gs – Clear the table in 8-ball in less than 70 seconds
Can I Have My Ball Back? – 10gs – Knock a ball of the table
Winning the Hard Way – 30gs – Win a game of 9-ball with the 1-Ball still on the table

This means to combo off the 1-Ball and pocket the 9-Ball. So pretty much win on the first shot with a combo.

League of Your Own – 10gs – Create a pool league
In different league – 20gs – Win a pool league

Go to My Games, My League and set your rules. Then invite a friend and win the league.

Review: Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive
Digital and Disc
23.17 GB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed]
Release Date
Insomniac Games
Microsoft Studios
Single and Multiplayer

The year is 2027 and a new energy drink called Overdrive has turned the citizens of Sunset City into crazed mutants. The game plays out as a action packed 3rd person shooter with crazy movement. You grind on rails and bounce off of tree tops and skim over the water. The game is based on moving fast equals staying alive. You not only have to contend with the mutant hordes but also scabs, human criminals who are using the mutant scare to try to take over the city for themselves. There’s a mutant apocalypse coming can’t we all just get along?

The story is extremely funny and heavily self-aware. In one of the early missions you get a status update from a NPC back at the base and the NPC with you asks how you are communicating with the base. Your character scolds them for questioning something that is there just to move the story along. The general plot of the story is you are trying to escape Sunset City so you can tell the world what Fizzle Co is up to. In a welcome twist to the evil corporation trying to take over the world standard, here it was just a sad accident that the drink is destroying Sunset City. There was no malicious intent here, mutants don’t carry a lot of pocket change and make many energy drink purchases so it’s detrimental to the bottom line all this mutant business. But since it did unfortunately happen, Fizzle Co is also not really interested in taking the fall for it either.

The campaign is not particularly long and consists of 27 main missions that can be done in less than 7 hours time. So if you are a Point A to Point B and only play a game’s campaign type of player then the content level is certainly lacking. But if you are a Open World player of the highest of caliber and love the search for Side Missions and various Challenges then that time will more than double. Challenges consist of speed traveling, killing things in certain way and a ton of other stuff. Lots of variety. Add in an insane number of Collectibles and there is quite a bit to do in Sunset Overdrive.

Traversing the city is very smooth. Moving from grinding a rail to bouncing off some building awnings to hanging from some power lines is quick and smooth. My one issue with movement is there is a system of poles you can swing around to get a speed boost that almost never ever ever with my character grab them. They really are not needed but a lot of them have hanging collectibles and the range and perfection you need to grab these is a little insane. But that really is the only issue I had with movement. Sunset Overdrive really nailed the movement, from being able to reverse to changing from top riding or bottom hanging positions based on if you are trying to dodge incoming fire.

Combat in Sunset Overdrive is 3rd person shooter with a auto-aim system. You can manually aim if you want but you are typically grinding so fast that manual aiming is an exercise in futility. The game is based on speed so use it to your advantage. There are a ton of crazy guns to find and buy. Ranging for TNT Teddy Bear launchers to bowling ball launchers to flaming shotguns. As you use each weapon you can level it up for more damage and more ammo up to level 5. Leveling up your gun is just stage 1. On top of the weapons you are also working towards getting AMPs. AMPs are bought by getting the collectibles in the game and do things like add fire damage or stun damage all the way up to each time you jump on a bounce area the whole area below that is a mini bomb. These things get crazy fast and they have levels also. But that’s not all. You also can earn badges for grinding and getting kills with weapon types. These badges are combined to form Overdrives. Overdrive are bonuses like carry more single shot ammo or do more damage to this enemy type. You can really make your life a LOT easier by making sure to have the right AMP and Overdrive combo for the situation. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of the system there is a lot you can do, if you just want to get some bat crazy effects going then that is definitely an option also.

Collectibles. Normally I would rage against a game that sports over 600 collectibles but Sunset Drive does two things that tones my rage down quite a few notches. Firstly, you can buy maps for all the collectibles in game and see exactly where everything is making it a lot easier. Secondly they are not just achievement guide selling collectibles. You actually use these items in game to upgrade and make your AMPs so they have a purpose. 600 is still insane and it definitely will add quite a few hours to your gameplay of just nothing but running around the map but at least they just aren’t there to sell strategy guides.

The multiplayer is co-op with a competitive side. Although all 8 players are working towards the same goal, each player is scored individually. The missions are extremely varied from simple kill missions to item to retrieval to defense missions. There is a standard map voting at the end of each round and then you all run to the next part of the map for the next missions. The game can get quite crazy with 8 people shooting a million pyrotechnic guns in a small area but the game never showed any sign of slowing down or lag which was a welcome change from normal online play for most games. For a game that is so self-aware you need to actually activate mutliplayer (Chaos) from within the single player. So if you want to do some co-op you first have to load in the game and make your way to one of the Chaos portals. Nothing too crazy but an annoyance if all you want to do is get your multiplayer on.

I had, and am still having, a blast playing Sunset Overdrive. It’s definitely over the top in almost everything it does, which can be off-putting to some people, but I find it an amazing game. Once you get some of the higher end AMPs and the craziest of the crazy guns the game really takes off and looks just amazing with bright colors and over the top explosions. Insomniac has made one of the top games on Xbox ONE.

1) Fun and Fast paced
2) Self aware with great comedy
3) Interesting characters

1) Short campaign



Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare : Road To Prestige 16

This entry is part [part not set] of 2 in the series COD Advanced Warfare

So for Advanced Warfare I want to get to max prestige. I am actually racing a friend of mine to 16. My plan is to kind of challenge myself each Prestige with a goal. Prestige 1 I wanted to Diamond Camo a gun which I will talk about below and then so on. After the first 2 I’ll open it up to you guys as to what I should try to accomplish. Nothing crazy like launchers only because I do have to do it for 50 levels!

Prestige 1 – Bal-27

So I started Day Zero at noon and was Prestige 1 just after midnight. Just under 9 hours of gameplay. Took a few breaks and ate dinner with the family but this was Call of Duty day! I wanted to get diamond with the starting gun the Bal-27 hoping that all camo just meant level one of the camos. It did not. So there was no way I could get 500 longshots and 500 headshots when I was going up a level every single game. Also the Triple Kills are just plain stupid. They have to be extremely fast to count. I ended up with 1. Despite many many many 3 kills in a row, only once was it fast enough for it to count as a Triple Kill. I did get my 50 strafes and 50 dodges. Which pretty much go hand in hand. Also with the Royalty requiring ALL camos for the entire series of guns I wish they had done it Black Ops style where you kept your challenges. With Double XP the entire day it took me 54 games to Prestige.

40 Strafes from Prestige 1

Prestige 2 – Crossbow & Direct Impacts

So each Prestige you get to keep 1 item as a permanent unlock. I choose the Crossbow since it’s a very late level item (48) and I am a huge Direct Impact fan. My goal here is to maximize my DIs. This Prestige should take almost double the time since it’s won’t be 100% double xp so my goal is 100 DIs. Going to go Camo Exo to camp a little and sneak up for the Direct Impacts.

Review: The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us
Digital & Disc
x.xx GB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed], Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, Vita
Release Date
Telltale Games
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Single Player

The Wolf Among Us tells the story of Bigby Wolf, otherwise known to you and me as the Big Bad Wolf from the 3 Little Pigs fairy tale. Bigby Wolf is the Sheriff of Fabletown, a small enclave of characters of lore and stories who have come to live in the real world among us humans. These characters include Snow White, Ichabod Crane and the Woodsman from Red Riding Hood to name a few, along with mythical generic characters like Trolls. To hide their true identities, since Fabletown is located in the heart of New York City, Fables must use a magic called Glamour to make themselves look human. Glamour is regulated and expensive. Those who break the rules are sent out to the Farm, a location that is not explored in the game but the characters allude to it being less than comfortable. Think the TV show “Once Upon A Time” even though in truth the FABLES comics predate Once Upon A Time by probably 10 years or more.


The game plays out as what I would call an interactive story. There are some point and click sections and some QTE (quick time event) button action sequences but the majority of the game is conversation choices. Not to say you are going to be sitting there just watching cutscenes. To the contrary, you are interacting with the story constantly. I can’t really call it a point and click adventure in the traditional sense because the game hand holds you throughout. You simply are not allowed to move on until you get all the clues or information you need. Even failing a quick time event typically doesn’t create a game over event, you’ll just fumble around a little and continue on with your fight or chase. There are sections where you could die and have to reload but they are few and far between and you’ll typically be started right back up in the middle of what you were doing trying to get it right this time. In my entire playthrough of the game I managed to die once, and that was because I was interrupted in the middle of a QTE and looked up to my dead character.


Where this game, and with it all Telltale Games, shine is that all your choices constantly affect the game. Obviously if a character dies, they are not going to be in a scene latter in the game, but the system goes much deeper than that. Something as simple as being rude to someone in a conversation at the start of the game will affect how they react and deal with you 3 Episodes later. These relationships and events carry across your entire playthrough of the game. We’ve all played games where you choose between X and Y and it changes the game, but in The Wolf Among Us these events happen all the time. You can change a character’s perspective of you multiple times in a single conversation based on your choices. Something to note though is that no matter how bad or good or indifferent you are, your never locked out of any content, only the context of the conversations and interactions change. You don’t have to be nervous you are “ruining” this playthrough with your choices. Be as bad or good as you want to be. Then play again and do the opposite.


The story really is the thing here. It’s superbly written and the entire cast is amazing. All the characters feel like real people with real problems and as Bigby you have the opportunity to help or hinder them in their day to day lives. The lip syncing is probably the best I have ever seen which is so important to draw you in and make you believe the story is real. Add to that that it is pretty hard to dislike a character whose entire personality is based on the choices you have made for him and it’s a great experience.

There are a total of 5 Episodes with each Episode broken down into 5 Chapters. Each Episode is about an hour and a half of content and I finished my first playthrough in just under 9 hours. The game plays out as a TV miniseries complete with a Previously On at the start that is dynamically created based on your choices up to that point. At the end of each Episode you are presented with a screen that goes over what choices you made and how they line up with the rest of the community and not just the version you are playing. Mine included the ONE and 360 player bases.

If you’ve already played The Wolf Among Us in it’s episodic format then there are only superficial changes to the full retail release. It does play smoother and looks nicer but there is no added content of any kind that I could find. The achievements, although bumped up to 1000gs, are exactly the same as they were before, just doubled in value.

The Wolf Among Us is a compelling story in a world filled with interesting and well developed characters and I strongly recommend it if you haven’t already played it in the 360.

1) Well told and acted story
2) Unique game experience
3) You craft the characters and world through your choices

1) Almost no way to really fail, so no real tension
2) No new content vs 360 version



Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Leveling Guide

This entry is part [part not set] of 2 in the series COD Advanced Warfare
2Private Rank IBlast Suppressor - Exo Ability
3Private IIExo Stim - Exo Ability
4Private First ClassARX-160 - Assault Rifle
5Private First Class IXS1 Vulcan, Orbital Care Package, Aerial Recon Drone - Scorestreak, Module 1 - Scorestreak Module, Primary Gunfighter & Secondary Gunfighter - Wilcard
6Private First Class IIS-12 - Shotgun
7SpecialistVariable Grenade - Exo Launcher
8Specialist IMORS - Sniper Rifle
9Specialist IIFlak Jacket - Perk
10CorporalASM1 - Submachine Gun
11Corporal ISemtex - Exo Launcher
12Corporal IIHeavy Shield - Special
13SergeantExo Cloak - Exo Ability
14Sergeant IXMG - Heavy Weapon
15Sergeant IICold Blooded - Perk
16Staff SergeantRW1 - Pistol
17Staff Sergeant IAerial Assault Drone, XS1 Goliath, Missile Strike - Scorestreak, Module 2 - Scorestreak Module, Perk 1-3 Greed - Wildcard
18Staff Sergeant IIMAAWS - Launcher
19Sergeant First ClassTracking Drone - Exo Launcher
20Sergeant First Class IHBRa3 - Assault Rifle
21Sergeant First Class IIExo Hover - Exo Ability
22Master SergeantMDL - Special
23Master Sergeant IThreat Grenade - Exo Launcher
24First SergeantSN6 - Submachine Gun
25First Sergeant IOvercharged - Exo Ability
26Sergeant MajorNA-45 - Sniper Rifle
27Sergeant Major ISystem Hack, Paladin, Bombing Run - Scorestreak, Module 3, Streaker & Bombardier - Wildcard
28Command Sergeant MajorEPM3 - Heavy Weapons
29Command Sergeant Major IEMP Grenade - Exo Laincher
302nd LieutenantMP443 - Pistol
312nd Lieutenant IGung-Ho - Perk
321st LieutenantIMR - Assault Rifle
331st Lieutenant IExo Ping - Exo Ability
34CaptainSAC3 - Submachine Gun
35Captain IScavenger - Perk
36MajorBulldog - Shotgun
37Major ISmoke Grenade - Exo Launcher
38Lieutenant ColonelAtlas 20mm - Sniper Rifle
39Lieutenant Colonel IDanger Close - Perk
40ColonelPDW - Pistol
41Colonel IExplosive Drone - Exo Launcher
42Brigadier GeneralMK14 - Assualt RIfle
43Brigadier General IFast Hands - Perk
44Major GeneralAMR9 - Submachine Gun
45Major General IExo Trophy System - Exo Ability
46Lieutenant GeneralAmeli - Heavy Weapon
47Lieutenant General IHardline - Perk
48GeneralCrossbow - Special
49General ISpike Drone - Exo Launcher
50CommanderMahem - Launcher
Prestige1,002,100XP Required For Prestige