The Game Guy

Rocket League is one of the most popular games of last year for more than one reason. It's not only becasue its highly competitive gameplay appeals to such a wide audience. It's also because developers Psyonix continue to support the game with fan-friendly updates and content. The most recent content addition is set to arrive on March 8 in the form of the new Batmobile from "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justince."

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'Far Cry Primal' Review - Into the wild

Monday, 22 February 2016 12:58 PM Written by

FarCryCoverThe “Far Cry” series was the perfect candidate for a change of scenery. While “Far Cry 3” and “4” were excellent games in their own right, it would’ve been difficult for Ubisoft Montreal to go back to that same well for a third time. While those two games focused on rural exploration in modern times. “Far Cry Primal” takes away guns and explosives and replaces them with a primitive bow, spear and mighty tiger at your side.


“Primal” is set in a land called Oros during 10,000 B.C. It’s a dangerous time when taking one step away from your camp puts you on the menu for many of forest’s apex predators. Don’t worry about the rival tribes; worry about tigers, bears and badgers. The forest is angry place.  

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SFVCoverThere are only a few video games that transcend their medium to be recognized by the mainstream. Non-gamers know what the “Street Fighter” series is, along with “Super Mario Bros.,” “Pac-Man” and “Mortal Kombat.” “Street Fighter” has come a long way from two player format in arcades. The newest game in the series “Street Fighter V” (“SFV”) is an example of that progress.

 

It’s a big deal for the series when a new numbered “Street Fighter” is released. There have been well over a dozen “Street Fighter” games throughout the series 29-year history, but adding a new number to the title signifies the next step in the game’s evolution. “SFV” advances the series thanks to new core fighting mechanics, but doesn’t quite reach the rest of the fighting genre when it comes to additional features.

 

The last series release “Ultra Street Fighter IV” had a daunting roster of 44 playable characters. “SFV” tightens up with a more focused roster of just 16 characters. More doesn’t always mean better. Having 16 characters strikes a good balance between having enough variety and not being too intimidating to newcomers. There are four brand new characters, while 12 of them have appeared in previous “Street Fighter” games. The roster will grow in the coming months with downloadable content.

 

The four new characters that have been added need a backstory. Fortunately, the game adds Story Mode that tells a small bit of their story. While other fighting games have had a Story Mode, this is a first for the “Street Fighter” series. The last installment of “Mortal Kombat” had fully animated cutscenes in its story mode, but “SFV” has dialog over still images. The quality of those images isn’t much better than concept art, giving its Story Mode the feeling that it was rushed to meet a deadline.

 

Each character has his or her own narrative within the Story Mode. Each of these sections only lasts between five and ten minutes. While a mode like this has become essential for fighting games, “SFV’s” implementation could have used some added work.

 

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The series has always put gameplay above story, which is the case in “SFV.” The game changes enough to warrant a new numbered game in the series, but doesn’t over complicate the formula to scare off novices. Each character has a unique ability called V-Skill that are triggered the same way across the roster. Characters’ special moves have been simplified so that button commands are similar from fighter to fighter. These adjustments make the series inviting again whereas the learning curve in previous games was too steep to attract new players.

 

Charge characters like Vega and Bison have been completely retooled. Many players like me have always gravitated toward characters with quarter and half circle turns over charge characters. Completely changing the way characters who used to be charge characters made me willing to give them a try. Making characters more accessible is positive and meaningful change for the “Street Fighter” series.

 

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The bare-boned Story Mode is a reflection of the lack of features packed into the game’s current form. There is no spectator mode, and lobbies can only be created for two friends. The in-game currency called Fight Money can be earned, but only when connected to “SFV” online servers. The store in which to spend that Fight Money isn’t even available yet, and will be added via free update in March. Fight Money will eventually be used toward buying cosmetic changes to stages and characters. Challenges that have become a fighting game mainstay will also be added in next month’s update. The game would have benefited if it were delayed until all of its features could have been included.

 

Like “Street Fighter IV” before it, “SFV” will be an ever changing game over the next couple years thanks to downloadable updates, new fighters and added functionality. The core fighting mechanics of the game are an excellent base to start from, but “SFV” could use some additional features to elevate it to the current crop of fighting games.

 

8 out of 10

 

 

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'Rocket League' for Xbox One - Review

Thursday, 18 February 2016 11:56 AM Written by

 

RocketLeagueCover“Rocket League” was the best game of 2015. How could a game from an indie studio that is essentially soccer with rocket-powered cars beat the likes of “The Witcher 3” and “Metal Gear Solid V”? If you’re an Xbox One owner, you’re about to find out.

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'Firewatch' review

Friday, 12 February 2016 09:54 AM Written by

 

Firewatchcover“Firewatch” grabbed headlines when it was announced at Sony’s E3 2015 press event. It was a mysterious first-person game that seemed to have an emphasis on exploration. No one was sure about what “Firewatch” was during that first impression, but it had our attention.

 

That trailer came with plenty of questions. What type of game was this independant title from Campo Santo going to be? As it turns out, it’s about interpersonal relationships. The game’s first minutes tell a gut-wrenching tale of life, love, disease and abandonment, but the story fails to bring closure to any of these themes and veers into entirely new territory.

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Bayonetta 'Smash Bros.' Strategy Guide

Thursday, 04 February 2016 11:46 AM Written by

BayonettaBayonetta was just released on February 3 as the newest character on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I tested out her moves and controls for several hours and put together a strategy guide that runs down her best abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

She's going to be a character to watch once the competitive scene spends enough time with her. Her air attacks can easily string together powerful combos, and her range game isn't bad either. Her recovery is one of the best in the game, as she's able to get back to the stage from just about any distance. Witch Time is a strong alternative to usual counters found in Little Mac or the Fire Emblem characters. 

As a nice touch, Nintendo added her appearance from "Bayonetta 1" and "2." Check out the video below for the full Bayonetta guide. Feel free to add me on Wii U for some online play. The Nintendo ID is "GameGuyPgh."

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'The Witness' Review

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 04:28 AM Written by

I wander around the green pastures and hills of "The Witness" looking for the next puzzle. There’s no waypoint, minimap, map in a pause screen slathered with icons or holographic arrow on the ground guiding me in a specific fashion. Logic is my only ally as I desperately try to make sense of the square puzzles before me that are unlike anything I’ve discovered before booting up "The Witness" for the first time.

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How do you start a jigsaw puzzle? You start by dumping out all the pieces and turning them upward so you can see what you’re dealing with. It’s how you get your bearings. “Resident Evil 0” manages to captures the jigsaw puzzle experience in a 3D virtual realm. First, you explore your surroundings, learning where you can go and what pathways need to be unlocked. Each room and object is a piece that leads to seeing the big picture. “RE 0” is more about brain power than the zombies that crave brains.

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