Category Archives: Games

Review: NBA Playgrounds

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Score: 7 out of 10

We all have pleasant memories of playing NBA Jam back in the day. We have all wanted more of that and we have had some in the form of remakes. In a time where the NBA seems to be slanted towards just one team, we fans are looking for anything to make things a little easier and more fun. NBA Playgrounds seems to be inspired from NBA Jam and has a mix of Current and Classic Players in the roster. I did receive the game free for review but as always I try not to let that influence my opinion in the slightest. I will be breaking this review into 3 parts. The first will be graphics. The seconds will be gameplay. And finally the third will be performance.

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The graphics are pretty solid. They are not realistic like NBA2K but most of the players look like they should and are easily identifiable. It has the typical sports arcade look to it and it works just fine. There are most of today’s biggest players from each team as well as a good amount of classic or Hall of Famer caliber players. The backgrounds are mostly colorful and very interesting to look at while your waiting to inbound the ball.

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The gameplay is easy to understand and difficult to master. There are a few mechanics of the game that can be a bit frustrating to deal with while playing. There are power ups that are available after you fill up your Lottery Pick Bar. You can fill the Lottery bar buy completing dunks, steals, alley-oops and blocking shots. Some are worth more then others.The power ups include 2X in the paint, 2X 3-Pointers, Speed Boost, 12″ Timer, Star Shot and Electric Ball. Some of these are simple like 2X means those shots are worth twice as much and Speed Boost means you are able to move faster around the court. The 12″ Timer makes your Opponent’s shot clock shorter. The electric ball makes half court or closer shots always go in the hoop. The Star Shot is interesting. There will be a star on the court and when you shoot it points will be double followed by another star location with a triple multiplier followed by a third star location with a 4 times point multiplier. Some moves are not too easy to perform. Being able to steal the ball tends to be very difficult, especially when challenges require multiple steals per game. Steals seem to be a very specific timing situation because if you miss then you most likely will lose your opportunity because the game has a fast pace to it. It also should be noted that you can push, and pushing will drain your stamina.

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The performance seems to be average. There doesn’t seem to be anything close to game breaking issues. It is a fast pace type of game and makes it a bit challenging to do the challenges because of the fast pace. The timing for alley-oops seem to be a little inconsistent as well as the time frame for steals. The dunking seems to be easy to figure out and master. The same can be said for shots in the paint. There isn’t much  more to say performance wise besides it runs smoothly and unless you focus on all the challenges, you won’t notice some of the issues of the game.

Overall: NBA Playgrounds is pretty good. I have sunk about 15 hours into the game so far and have about half the achievements already. An interesting note to mention, you are able to pick 2 of the same player for a team. This makes it a little easier to complete certain challenges since some players are better at certain skills then others. This is a good game to pick up and play in short gaming sessions if you don’t have long periods of time to sink into a game. It will also be something to help get you through the NBA off-season that is vastly approaching.

Pax East 2016- Necropolis

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I will start out by saying I didn’t get a chance to actually play this game. I was in a private media demo of the game and we ran out of time before I could get a chance to try the game out. My impressions will be from watching a friend play the demo.

The game looks beautiful. The art style is simple yet elegant. The dungeon environment is very dark and it makes to colors pop. I really like the art and feel that it will age really well in the future.

 

The game is third-person action game with rouge-lite dungeon delving that is hardcore. If you die then you will have to start over. There are very few things that will carry over game to game. The best part of it is you are able to play with 3 other friends so if you are typically bad at these type of games(like I am) then you have other players to help you out.

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The game includes crafting, items you can pickup from enemies, and combat skills with available upgrades. There seemed to be certain weapon types like swords that have electricity and fire elements that are shown when you initiate a heavy attack. The attack seemed a little slow, but nothing too bad.

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The gameplay looked good. There didn’t seem to be any major issues regarding frame rate issues. There seemed to be no major glitching issues either. There was only a small issue where an enemy got caught on the side of some stairs while you were on the platform above, but that quickly corrected itself after 10 seconds or so.

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Overall I am really looking forward to this game. I’ve always been a little afraid of the rouge-like games, and this looks like a great entry point into the genre. I will try to review it when it releases this summer for PC and Consoles. Price will be $30 and so far it looks to be well worth it. I plan to report more on this game as news releases.

Pax East 2016- PlayStation VR Impressions

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I’ve heard a lot of people give their opinion on Virtual Reality. A lot of those people haven’t even experienced VR and say it is just a gimmick. I’ve had the pleasure of trying the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and most recently the PlayStation VR.

This was not only my first experience with PlayStation VR, but it was my first experience with PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Move. I have to say I was pretty impressed with the PlayStation VR. I figured the experience would be totally different then the other headsets due to less computing power of the PS4 versus a High-End PC. There were some noticeable differences and I will get into that below.

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The demo I played was Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. It is a on-rails shooter based on Until Dawn. It is very similar to House of the Dead and Time Crisis. You ride in a cart on a track and go through the demo shooting enemies, ammo boxes, security cameras and other objects. There are a couple types of enemies and a few different weapons. Overall it was a fun demo and I was glad that was the demo I got to try out with PlayStation VR.

Comfort:

The PlayStation VR was pretty comfortable. I wore it for about 15-20 minutes and it didn’t feel heavy or that noticeable after a few minutes. I was able to wear the PlayStation VR over my glasses with it still being comfortable.

Visuals:

It looked good. It had a 1080p resolution, but is split vertically to have 960 x 1080p to each eye. It works all things considering, but there is a noticeable difference compared to HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. That being said this is VR for a console so it is understandable that it is not on par with PC just like console games don’t have as good of visuals as PC games do.

Experience:

It took some time getting use to using the PlayStation Move as the controller. You have to keep your hands in front of you in order to see the two guns you have in the game. You have to move it around to aim as well as shake the controllers to reload. I also had to force myself to actually look around and shoot enemies on my left or right instead of looking straight ahead and turning the camera in a regular game. Also there would be times where you had to dodge certain items or get hit and lose health. It ran smooth for the most part. I did have a couple moments when the game froze for a couple seconds. I am not sure if that was game related or the hardware side.

22492780226_4a51ac3e96_zFinal Thoughts: I enjoyed PlayStation VR. I think this really could be a system seller considering the higher cost for the other VR Headsets. I also think PS4 owners will have a great time with the PlayStation VR if more games take the time and create great experiences like Rush of Blood was for me. I am definitely thinking about getting a PS4 a lot more since experiencing the PlayStation VR.

Pax East 2016- Tumblestone

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This is the first game from Pax East that I wanted to share with you. I was walking through the show floor and all of a sudden was asked if I wanted to try this game out. Playing Games is why I went to Pax East after all so I decided to give it a try. I quickly became addicted.

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Tumblestone is a Match 3 Puzzle game. The twist is you have to clear the board and think a step or two ahead of your current move. If you pick the wrong colored tile you might not be able to match 3 more and then you have to reset the board. The mode I played was a 4 player vs mode where each player had the same puzzle and first to clear the board won the round. It gets really competitive among friends and those are some of my favorite games. I am happy to say that there is online co-op as well as local co-op.

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The list of features for the game are as followed:

  • Competitive multiplayer: Tumblestone’s intense puzzle-solving action will turn playing “just a few more rounds” with friends into a late-night Tumblestone marathon.
  • Local multiplayer: Up to four players on a single computer or console.
  • Online multiplayer: Play online against your friends or make new ones using Tumblestone’s ranked matchmaking system.
  • Bots: Have an open slot? Play against the computer. But can anyone withstand the punishing Nightmare bot?
  • Story mode: The 30+ hour story campaign will test your puzzle-solving prowess. Featuring 10+ gameplay modifiers, challenge puzzles, and boss battles.
  • Arcade modes: Kick back and relax with the casual Marathon mode, scratch an intellectual itch with the Infinipuzzle mode, or get your blood pumping with the fast-paced Heartbeat mode.
  • Leaderboards: Online leaderboards let your friends know you’re better than them.
  • Challenges: Hundreds of unique challenges to complete.
  • Stats: Rank up, then compare how you stack up against your friends.
  • Personalization: Choose from a dozen unique characters and environments


I ended up going back later that day to show the game to a friend and play it again. It is a game that I see myself constantly playing and it will release on a wide variety of platforms including Xbox One, PS4, PS3, PC, Vita, Android, iOS, and more. When I say more I mean a lot more. It is planned to release on the Ouya and Amazon Fire TV. I recommend you keep an eye out for this game.

 

Pax South 2016- Lightfall Interview

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Level Designer extraordinaire Ben Archer of Bishop Games speaks with us about the very beautiful Lightfall. We discuss the inspiration, team, and voice behind the Unity-developed platformer. To learn more about Lightfall, visit www.bishopgames.com.

Pax South 2016- LootCrate Interview

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We speak with Bob Holden, VP of Category Management, about Lootcrate’s newly announced Lootgaming subscription service. To sign up, go to lootcrate.com/gaming. Thanks for Jonalyn Morris PR for arranging the interview.

Pax South 2016- Moving Hazard Interview

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We speak with consultant, designer and writer Christian Cantamessa about his new project from Psyop Games, Moving Hazard. For more on the game, visit www.MovingHazard.com.

Pax South 2016- AMD Interview

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I speak with James Pryor of AMD about Mantle, high-bandwidth memory (HBM), DX12, Free Sync and their new line of Polaris products. For more information on AMD, visit www.amd.com. Enjoy!

Pax South 2016- Elite Dangerous Interview

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We speak with Edward Lewis, Community Content Rockstar, about Elite Dangerous’ CQC mode. For more information on the game, visit http://www.frontier.co.uk/.

PAX South 2016- Day One Show

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Day One impressions of our perusal of PAX South 2016. We discuss the running theme of PAX, Best & Worst, and what we’re looking forward to on Day 2. Host Twitter handles are below