Friday, October 31, 2014

Upcoming Games that will be Featured Here

Well Broketober is coming to an end and brought with it a wealth of games.  I only ended up purchasing Shadow of Mordor and NBA 2k15, but I was able to try Alien Isolation and the Evil Within.  Both of the two latter games were not my cup of tea but both good games in their own right.  Now we look forward to November and a few very big releases.  November brings the new Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, Little big Planet 3, Dragon Age, and Far Cry 4.  Not to mention re-releases of Grand Theft Auto and the big Master Chief Collection.  With all these games coming out I have to limit my purchases with Christmas right around the corner and have already preordered Call of Duty and GTA V for my PS4.  I will admit as a die hard PlayStation fan, the Master Chief Collection is an amazing idea of what can be with a large series remaster and Sony should take note if the rumors hold true to an Uncharted re-release for PS4.

I look forward to both of my purchases as Call of Duty finally looks like a newer take on the series that should bring fun and the single player story should get a boost from Kevin Spacey's character that seems to bring that Frank Underwood vibe from House of Cards.  I am not a huge multiplayer fan, but the recent leak of zombie modes has me excited to take the game online.

As for GTA V, it was one of my all time favorite games when it came out last year, but releasing so close to a new console I didn't sink into it the time it deserved.  So after moving over to the PS4 I look forward to getting to experience the game again and seeing what kind of improvements it brings.  Not to mention my love for trophies now and being able to collect some fun ones that GTA brings.

Look forward to my review of Call of Duty sometime in the second week of November, and GTA V's review near the end of November.  Please feel free to comment with what you think will be the best release of November?

Shadow of Mordor Review: GOTY Candidate

Killing Bad Guys has Never been this much Fun!

Shadow of Mordor was simply a buy due to the process of buying games cheap that I wrote about in the previous post.  But as the game came closer to release the hype started building for me, then came the reviews.  IGN, Polygon, and Joystiq gave it above a 9 and immediately I was extremely excited to get my hands on the game.  Not only am I a Lord of the Rings fan, but with the fighting mechanic identical to the awesome Batman Arkham Asylum games I knew this game would be for me.  Once I did get my hands on the game I wasn't disappointed one bit.


Now the story for Shadow of Mordor isn't the best, you play as Talion, a ranger whose family is murdered and then he is murdered as well.  He is able to come back though thanks to an ancient Elven ghost named Celebrimbor who is known for creating the rings of power.  Talion's mission is to get his revenge while Celebrimbor wants to take down Sauron for his betrayal.  For the most part the story is the simple revenge tale with some side characters along the way, but honestly the story could be skipped entirely.  The boss fights are few and far between, and the final boss is quite a disappointment after all the cool battles you get into throughout the game. Generally SoM is a decent Lord of the Rings story, but it's the game play that completely shines in this wonderfully gory game.

Game Play

If Assassins Creed and Batman Arkham City had a baby that was set in the Lord of the Rings universe, Shadow of Mordor would be that baby: that is a good thing. The combat in SoM is some of the best from a hack-em-up type game, and brings with it some of the most satisfying kills I have ever witnessed in a video game.  As each Uruk limb and head went flying I found my self cheering and feeling like a giddy school child.  The one complaint for the Arkham series was that combat couldn't be interrupted during animations making it riskier to preform certain moves, SoM changes this allowing a counter move at any point and during any animation, which makes complete sense when we think about what a real life battle like this would be like.

Besides the combat, the other star of the game is the Nemesis system within the game that makes each kill and death that much more important.  Die at the hands of a low level Uruk and see him ascend the ranks to become war chief, or kill a difficult opponent just to see them return and mock you for being unable to completely kill them.  During my main play through I was fighting against a nasty Uruk that had almost no weaknesses and was super strong.  I was able to uncover that I could kill him instantly with stealth kill and I was able to defeat him.  However a little while longer he came back as a body guard of a warchief and over powered me.  I went on a hunt after my death to seek revenge and was able to kill him again.  However, in one of the final battle he appeared again as my rival in an epic final battle against my own Uruk army.  It was one of the coolest moments I have ever experienced in games as I was in disbelief that the Uruk I had the longest feud with ended up becoming one of the final boss battles due to our rivalry in the game.

As the game goes on and you upgrade Talion, you become very powerful and can take down a herd of Uruks very easily using different combos, but it still doesn't take away from the satisfaction of chopping of limbs and heads.

Final Verdict

SoM is officially on my list of must buys as well as a candidate for game of the year for me.  The game play is one of the best and had the story been better it would have won GOTY from me in a landslide.  Everyone should give this game a try as it has been the best games for next gen systems in a state of gaming that hasn't seen many big releases.  SoM came out of nowhere for most and hopefully the good publicity and good sales figures can bring us a sequel in the near future.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to Play Games Cheap

In the past year something amazing has happened for gamers that has created a very easy way to play all the games that are released and rarely pay anything out of pocket.  It has allowed me to play games I never would have tried due to the lack of extra cash I have around for gaming.  Thanks to Best Buy and their Gamer's Club Unlocked program the they revamped last year, gamers everywhere can take advantage of what I speak of.

The program normally costs $120 for 2 years but their are rumors it may drop permanently to $99.  However, the program has been on sale numerous times for $30 and starting next week with the purchase of any game over $39.99, you can get the program for this cheaper price.  What the program allows is 20% off all games that are considered new and not used, 10% off of used games, and an extra 10% on trade ins.  All of this allows for some huge savings over a period of time and the ability to play games for next to nothing.

Since getting into this program last year, I have spent only around $100 or so on nearly 14 new release games.  Because of this I have been able to enjoy games I would never have picked up in the first place, games like Wolfenstein, Shadow of Mordor, Lego Marvel, and Infamous Second Son.  Now to really take advantage of this program and save serious bucks there is a certain process I follow.  First it is best to also use Best Buys preorder promos such as the $10 certificate for each preorder and pickup.  This process alone was able to get me GTA V preordered for free during November.  With GCU all new games are priced at $47.99, or around $52 after taxes which gives you around another $10 in savings.  The big thing to really keep your money going is watching trade values with Bestbuy.  For a month or so after a game is released it can fetch around $40 at Best Buy for trade in, which means if you can keep the game for a month or less can get you $44 trade in credit after GCU.

So if I say get the new Call of Duty on Tuesday, I will pay $52, I will also get a $10 certificate 15 days later, and then play the game until either I am done with it or 3 to 4 weeks after getting it I can then trade it in for a $44 gift card.  In the end I only lose around $2 out of pocket for nearly a months worth of play time.  The best rental deal that kills Redbox rentals or anywhere else that rents video games.  This process can seem tedious but it can really afford people to get to play any game they may show interest in.

Feel free to let me know if you have found a better way to work Best Buy's GCU or how many games you have been able to play since getting GCU in the comments.  There will be more posts to follow including some reviews of the biggest games from this fall and what many have called Broketober.