Having Trouble Finding the Fun in XCOM 2

Over the weekend I’ve played a generous amount of XCOM 2, and I’ve also restarted after 10 hours into my first playthrough. I’ve named soldiers, customized them and watched the die to hilariously biased random number generation (RNG) and pulled off more than a few clutch victories. But for all of that, I’m just not enjoying my time with XCOM 2 all that much.

20 years after the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, in which the alien invasion was successful, you and your ragtag band of resistance fighters are striking back against the extraterrestrial overlords that control Earth. XCOM 2 flips the formula a bit by making you the invading force and you start most missions with a concealment bonus. You can actually plot ambushes this time, a welcome change from the free move the aliens would get when you encountered them in the first game. Continue reading Having Trouble Finding the Fun in XCOM 2

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a Great PC Port if You Have the Rig for It

A mere three months after its exclusive Xbox One release, Rise of the Tomb Raider has arrived on the PC bringing the rebooted Lara Croft’s mass-murdering rampages to PC players everywhere.

On the scale of PC ports from Arkham Knight to Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Rise of the Tomb Raider falls closer to the latter, but it still requires a beefy rig to get the most out of it. The minimum requirements are pretty forgiving (i3 or equivilant, 2GB GPU) aside from the 6GB of RAM, which is quite the ask for most builds. For reference, I’m running an i7-2770k, 16GB of RAM and a 4GB GTX 980. Despite the taxing nature of the game I ran it on the highest quality with nary a dip below 60 fps aside from a couple areas at the end when everything was popping off – fire, lighting, multiple enemies, collapsing geometry, you name it. Continue reading Rise of the Tomb Raider is a Great PC Port if You Have the Rig for It

Testing the Division Beta on PC

This past weekend the Division beta finally gave us a glimpse into the long-gestating title that Massive has been working on. The hype train for The Division has been a long and strange one and it felt good to finally get my hands on the game.

While the beta was fairly limited to one mission and the Dark Zone, I had an awesome time taking on the gangs throughout New York and going rogue against others agents to steal their loot. I played on PC and the game was fairly well optimized for a Ubisoft-published title. While there was some concerns about the “bullet-sponge” nature of the enemies from pre-beta impressions, I didn’t really notice it too much at the time. Continue reading Testing the Division Beta on PC

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a Great Return to Form

Assassin’s Creed is the gaming world’s whipping boy for the case against annualized releases. While Call of Duty pulls this trick as well, the sheer scale of an Assassin’s Creed game means that the stress fractures brought on by a quick turn-around are more readily apparent.

Last year’s Unity could be seen as the tipping point in the series. With a buggy launch and a poor reception, despite its decent co-op mode, Unity left the series balancing more closely to irrelevance than ever. Ubisoft needed to right the ship with the follow-up title, and thankfully Syndicate was the shot in the arm Assassin’s Creed needed. Continue reading Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a Great Return to Form

Star Wars Battlefront is Gorgeous Fan Service, But Not Much Else

Ever since EA and Disney announced their partnership to bring more Star Wars games to the market a Battlefront reboot helmed by DICE, the developers of the Battlefield series, was inevitable. The pre-release material showed us all the right stuff: gorgeously rendered Stormtroopers and Rebels mixing it up in iconic locations with tantalizing glimpses at the famous heroes, villains and starships thrown in for good measure. Now that Battlefront has been out for a while, how has this seemingly killer formula measured up?

There’s no getting around it: Star Wars Battlefront is quite possibly the best looking and sounding game I’ve ever played. With no last-gen version to hold it back, DICE went all out on recreating assets from the original trilogy down to the smallest scratch of paint on the X-Wings. DICE leaned heavily into their location research and promotional shots of the material they got from LucasArts as part of their marketing and their dedication to capturing the look and feel of the first three movies paid dividends. Continue reading Star Wars Battlefront is Gorgeous Fan Service, But Not Much Else

Watch 50 Minutes of The Division Gameplay Because You Know You Want To

Youtuber JackFrags (along with a bunch of other YouTube channels and outlets except for us and Kotaku) visited Ubisoft recently to get a peek at the long-in-development Tom Clancy third-person shooter RPG hybrid The Division. A lot of the videos that made their way to the Internet last week were short and had voice-overs, but JackFrags put up 50 minutes of commentary-free footage featuring some co-op mission action and Dark Zone shenanigans. The footage was recorded on Xbox One, for reference. Watch the embedded video below if you want to know more:

My hype level for the Division has been steadily climbing since the previews started hitting. I’ve seen some complaints about the “bullet sponge” nature of the enemies, but it makes sense if you think about it as an RPG first rather than a twitch-based shooter. I’m in the beta that will be hitting the PC at the end of January so I’ll most likely be streaming the game for anyone interested.

Who else is riding that Division hype train? Anyone on the fence?

Source – JackFrags’ YouTube channel

Heading Back Into The Wasteland in Fallout 4

To use an analogy that is perhaps a bit staid by this point, playing Fallout 4 is like eating your favorite dish for the hundredth time. It’s still filling and satisfying in its own way, but has lost some of the magic it once had.

Don’t get me wrong, Fallout 4 is not a bad game; I’ve put around 40 hours into my adventures in the Commonwealth and I’ll more than likely be close to double that by the time I’m done. Even though Fallout 4 hews closely to the established Bethesda formula, there’s a reason it works so damn well. Continue reading Heading Back Into The Wasteland in Fallout 4