Showing posts with label Game Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Game Reviews. Show all posts

Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game... Reviewed!

A challenger appears! Brace yourselves, folks, Saber Interactive has done it again with its latest release... Expeditions: A MudRunner Game! With the same creators behind the critically acclaimed SnowRunner, Saber Interactive offers yet another physics-based off-road simulation installment. Does it hit the mark? Let's find out!

Gameplay: As a player, you lead research missions, driving a variety of all-terrain vehicles across expansive open worlds - from the arid landscapes of Arizona to the rugged beauty of the Carpathian Mountains. The game emphasizes realistic off-road driving, challenging terrain, and strategic planning.

You'll utilize high-tech tools/lifelines like the Winch & Anchor to pull you out of trouble + the Echo Sounder to show you how deep the water is (so that you can adapt and avoid certain areas) + the Drone to identify air drops and better locations to approach your destinations and other useful tools. These are lifelines though, never venture out with these, and... it's also beneficial to take your team with you. A heavy truck can pull up a heavy scout or a light scout, but... don't look at the light scout like it's useless beyond scouting out the objectives.

Tip: If a heavy truck is stuck and doesn't have an Anchor, a light scout can roll through and place an anchor in the right location. Especially if it's able to reach higher ground a lot easier. 

So make sure to manage your camp and crew effectively, and expect rugged conditions, unpredictable weather, and the need for resource management... because they can run out. You can by more than one set of anchors if needed, and trust me... some areas will make you wish you did. If not you will find yourself pumping the brakes even more to avoid flipping your truck... trust me; I learned it the hard way. I flipped my heavy truck... right into the water! Of course, you have your Jack-Screw to help flip the vehicle, but... do you want to end up in that type of situation when you can avoid it? Bring the right tools for the job.

Saber Interactive has done an excellent job providing proper instructions and decreasing the learning curve here, ensuring that you can start and function through your missions properly with the challenges only stemming from the ones you're supposed to face (I'm not a newcomer to Mudrunner). The controls are simple enough, and the initial tutorial equips you with enough knowledge the get the party started by way of walking you through a challenge... which... you know what, let me just show you:


Before I forget... the average playtime to finish the main missions of the game is well over 100 hours. We aren't talking about the extras, so if you want a challenging sim to enjoy overtime... this will have you covered. Forcing you to pump the brakes to avoid flipping your truck... trust me; I learned it the hard way. I flipped my truck pretty badly right into the water!

Visuals: The visuals in this game are sweet! What makes them even better is the realism injected into the trucks with animation that captures the authenticity of off-road vehicles. Your graphics capabilities will increase the quality of the visual experience, so don't be shocked if the Switch version doesn't compare to other consoles... or PC. Every detail was taken into consideration, including the horn that shows the power of the sound. Trust me; those small details go a long way.

Here are the Expeditions: A MudRunner Game System Requirements (Minimum)
CPU: Intel Core i3-9100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1300X
VIDEO CARD: 2 GB VRAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 / AMD Radeon R7 370
OS: Windows 10/11 64-bit PC

Expeditions: A MudRunner Game Recommended Requirements
CPU: Intel Core i7-10700 / AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
RAM: 16 GB
VIDEO CARD: 6 GB VRAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 / AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
OS: Windows 10/11 64-bit PC

Make sure to have 20 GB of free disk space or... get some more!

Audio: When it comes to audio, I highly recommend a surround sound system, especially if you prefer to drive from the cab view. The sound quality is genuinely authentic, from the shifting gears to the horn, which you feel in the sound. Speaking of shifting gears, the game's rumble feature is a bit on the shy side, giving you a subtle feedback experience as you drive through rough terrain. For the most part, the shifting is when I felt the feedback for the most part.

By the way, I found myself enjoying the experience more when I cut the music because I could hear what I wanted to hear.

Price: In terms of pricing, "Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game" is available for $39.99 on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and the Nintendo Switch, ensuring a fair price for a stellar game. 

Expeditions: A MudRunner Game... offers different editions - Base Game, Year 1 Edition and the Supreme Edition. In addition to the core experience, Year 1 and Supreme Editions add extra content, including the Great Don 71 cosmetic for the Don 71 SUV and the Year 1 Content Pass.

Gameplay 5

Visuals 5

Audio 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

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Astlibra Revision... Reviewed!

Before I jump in, I have to give props to the one-man development team... Keizo, who has been working on this game for 15+ years! Yes, 1...5! I salute you, and may many other developers find inspiration in that because it's paying off with all the love and support this game is receiving 14 years went into the original game development and... 1.5 years was revision work. Shout out to Illustrator's Shigatake + Haku Tasufuchi as well, for the work they did on the revision art assets.

Story: Astlibra Revision features a young protagonist who was knocked out while escaping his town with a childhood friend during a demon attack. When he woke up... his friend was... gone (dun dun duunnnn), and so were the other humans. The only thing he had to keep him company was a talking bird during his journey to find his friend and his homeland.

The adventure is told in chapters, with various characters to meet between taking on massive God-like bosses and other huge baddies.

Gameplay: ASTLIBRA Revision is a side-scrolling action RPG game that has undergone a significant update, offering fresh mechanics and content. This is one of those sleeper hits that some of you may or may not have been aware of... delivering skills on top of skills to utilize dungeons, and a multitude of enigmatic secrets! Huzzah!

You're able to equip a slew of weapons, from clubs, swords, axes, hammers, knives, a common stick, etc. The same applies to shields, armor, and other things like rings. You aren't simply utilizing different-looking weapons with similar oomph either, you will notice a difference as seen in various other RPG games.

Your weapons will vary by Attack Power, Range, Handling, and Weight. Your shields vary by Defense Power, Guard, Weight, and Full Resistance. Armor varies by Defense Power, Max HP, Max ST, and Magical Power. You don't have to go back and forth to check on your current equipped item's abilities and effects either, because you get that info directly in the equip section showing the difference.

I think the way Keizo included the elemental spirit-conjuring attacks is... sweet. The conjuring can be activated with a simple combination of holding "Y" and D-pad presses (i.e. Up, Up = Fire Skill, Down, Down = Water Skill), and which ones can be activated.

Karon gives you the ability to utilize various skills activated by crystals, which include Icarus Wings that reduce the speed of falls, Jump Boots for double jumping, Air Ride, Magical Vision, Evil Vision, Third Eye, Dash, Coin Magnet, Force Magic, and many more.

Do you know what this game reminds me of, which is probably what others got the nostalgic reminder of? It almost feels like Suikoden 2, that game was so smooth, and had a ton of depth to it (I still can't believe I traded that game back in the day). While I reminisce, check out this first 30 minutes of  Astralibra Revision:

One drawback for me is the drawn-out script. Although you and speed up the dialog at the press of a button, I think a voice-over update would make this game even better. With the passion Keizo has... I think it's possible that we may see this added in one of these days to make the dialog more digestible. At some point some gamers just want to get back into the action, not read... and voice-overs would certainly help. Speaking of the music, I love the music you hear in the demo gameplay that prepares us for the main game's adventure, it almost reminds me of Samurai 7's outro.

Replay Value: This game serves up some major replay value, which is said to be around 60 hours or so. That's some serious game time, but I can see it when you have to obtain various materials to make weapons and so forth, but... I appreciate it because you're actually building up to something. You aren't just going to a massive battle with a stick and no armor, but at the same time, you're facing smaller threats in between that help you build up your exp and obtain items also. Outside of getting items out of monsters, you also have to mine and find treasure chests... but it will pay off.

Price: You can get Astlibra Revision for... $24.99. Is it worth the price? Heck yeah, it is. This is the duh of the day, especially for fans of anime and 2D side-scrolling action RPG games. As a matter of fact, you're technically playing a game that began development over a decade and a half ago, and here it is delivering in a way that rightfully deserves an overwhelmingly positive review.

Astlibra is available on PC and the Nintendo Switch.

Story 5

Gameplay 5

Replay Value 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

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Wild Card Football... Reviewed!

Before I jump into this review, I want to give a shout-out to Playgrounds Sports & Saber Interactive for supplying us with a copy of this game for review. I haven't played an arcade football game in a while... I believe NFL Street 3 may have been the last time. On that note, let's see how Wild Card Football... scores in this review. Let's jump in after getting some highlight coverage from... Chris Berman!

Fun Factor: When it comes to the fun factor, Wild Card Football is chock full of enjoyment for fans of football and gamers who enjoy variety in terms of gameplay. I word it that way, because not everyone is into sports, or football to be specific, but in Wild Card Football you get arcade action that breaks away from traditional rules. It's faster-paced, colorful, and as you've seen in the launch trailer above... things can get a little crazy on the field. You get to choose from teams that none of you will be familiar with because they're original to the game, but at the same time, you know who they are because the game features players that represent the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association). So you get access to players who have played in the NFL in both the past and present times.

The teams are named after the captains of those teams, like Team Cousins aka Kirk Cousins' team (which I actually know his dad), Team Mahomes (Patrick Mahomes' team), Team Prescott (Dak Prescott's team), Team Wilson (Russell Wilson's team), and many others. You have 32 teams in total for the fans and casual gamers alike to go nuts with alongside 150 wildcards.

I've played this game multiple times after the First 30 (seen below) because it's fun.

Gameplay: The gameplay may be football at its core, but it's engulfed in arcade flare and features stylized characters that represent the fun over-the-top nature of play. Wild Card Football features 7v7 teams of pro players going head to head in four quarters of arcade mayhem. You go beyond the standard football action by way of the wild cards that give you the ability to power up your team or select players, power down your opponents, trip up, and outsmart the competition as you use your cards strategically with your skills to pull off a win. I know a number of people who played Madden 95 faithfully back in the day, and I think the game would take them back in an all-new way. That was traditional, but I see the head-to-head arcade battle on the digital field, from the comfort of the couch, would be a blast from the past. It's hard to explain, but this is one of those types of games.

Brought to you by... Prime 21 Sunglasses + Travel 4 Less!

Before I move forward. I just want to point something out for those of you who play on PC. If you're only getting keyboard inputs... go to the little controller icon in Steam and click on it. I've circled it:

From there you will be brought to the "Wild Card Football Controller Settings" seen below. Choose the controller layout you see here, and you will be able to use your controller accordingly. Not everyone has run into this issue, but I did... so I hope this helps:

With all this game has to offer, I do see a missed opportunity here... that can still come by way of a future DLC. Coach Prime could be a featured coach in this game for a practice mode that gives players the ability to practice routes and try out different cards in their arsenal at a slower pace. Add a practice facility + blocking dummies, and have Deion school us on the game. From there it could've transitioned to the tutorial game... which can still be a bit fast for some gamers.

Replay Value: In terms of replay value, Wild Card Football delivers. Outside of the fact that you can play local and online games with friends and family, here are the gameplay modes you have:

Exhibition games deliver what most of you expect, a single game of football for fun.

Season mode delivers the full season experience utilizing your favorite team on the road to the championships if you're able to make it.

Dream Squad, which is your own customized dream team to take on the competition via Quick Game, the League (as you go for the championship ring), and Tour as seen in the gameplay above. You can customize your team's logo, gear, wild cards, celebrations, and all that good stuff. You're able to level up your squad too, which gives you the incentive to keep chipping away at them to make them even better. My team is the... Orlando Comets and you're also able to come up with any name you choose.

Before I jump into the wild cards, I also want to point out the Daily Challenges that further pump up the replay value of this game. You get different challenges that score you challenge points that in turn give you crates to unlock. These crates contain players, vanities, and wild cards... which we're about to get into right now.

The Wild Cards are the headliners of Wild Card Football, and as mentioned above, you have 150 to choose from. Some cards are labeled as rulebreakers because they can affect the other person's abilities, you have Modifiers that assist your team with plays and specials that can bring out your inner superhuman. Here are some of the cards I currently have in my collection: 

  • Expensive | Type: Rulebreakers | Defense & Offense Card | Energy Cost: 2

    Your opponent must spend an extra point for each Wild Card! This card would be activated in the next down.

  • Marksman | Type: Modifiers | Offense Card | Energy Cost: 3

    Increase your Team's Accuracy Stat by +50%.

  • Smash | Type: Specials | Offense Card | Energy Cost: 7

    Your player punches the ground creating a powerful shockwave. Unleash all your strength to toss nearby players away. Just be mindful that you have to activate this or it will go to waste, but sometimes you don't have time if the competition is that fierce.

  • Rascal | Type Rulebreakers | Offense Card | Energy Cost: 5

    Shuffle your opponent's hand on the next down.

  • Super Speed | Type: Modifiers | Offense Card | Energy Cost: 3

    Increase your Team's Speed Stat by +50%. This card has various types, which can apply to the team or a certain player's position on the squad.

  • Triple Electron | Type: Specials | Offense Card | Energy Cost: 6

    Protect yourself with three rotating orbs and shock anyone near you. Warning! The orbs are destroyed after use.

  • Shuffle | Type: Rulebreakers | Defense Card | Energy Cost: 3

    Your hand is shuffled on the next down.

  • Strongman | Type: Modifiers | Defense Card | Energy Cost: 3

    Increase your Team's Strength Stat by +50%.

  • Tarpits | Type: Specials | Defense Card | Energy Cost: 3

    Sticky pools everywhere! The offense will be slowed down if they step on them.

Other cards in my arsenal include... Turtle Speed, Boost Pads, Cloak Ball, Electron, Aimless, and Lazy. There are many to collect in this game, so you never know what's being thrown at you... and that's a beautiful thing in terms of competition. That sends that replay value through the room and with a game that plays as smooth as this, in a beloved genre... this is honestly worthy of being added to a gamer's collection. Of course, this would be great for the football fanatic and give them a change of pace game to enjoy when they aren't playing games like... Madden, but also the casual players who are looking for a change of pace.

Price: Pricewise, Wild Card Football comes in at... $39.99 for the Standard Edition, which is a really good price, especially if you want a more affordable option for a football game. This doesn't step on the toes of Madden and actually gets more people in on the game by way of all the fun additions.

There are 3 tiers in total, the Deluxe Edition is $59.99 and features the Base Game + Season Pass + Blazing Bones + 10 Card Packs. The season pass includes 3 future DLC packs with legacy players and cosmetic outfits.

The big daddy on the field is the Ultimate Edition for $69.99 and comes with the Base Game + Season Pass + Blazing Bones + 10 Card Packs + 10 Legendary Outfits. If you get these things separately from the standard version... you're looking at $49.99, so do the math and see what route you wish to take. The base game delivers the same gameplay for your single-player, online PvP, Split screen PvP, and cross-platform multiplayer enjoyment, so if that gives you the ability to game without breaking the budget... you will still have a great time.

Overall, Wild Card Football receives the score seen below because... It's an excellent example of a well-crafted game with a solid challenge, wild cards that keep things interesting, and a high replay value. The different pricing tiers make it accessible to many, and I have not experienced any bugs while playing it. Overall, this game delivers well, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and engaging arcade football game. Order some pizza + wings, and... fun it up!

Wild Card Football is available on Xbox | Playstation | Switch | Steam | Epic

Fun Factor 5

Gameplay 5

Replay Value 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

Ugly... Reviewed!

Story: Let me start by saying, the characterization is admirable. The protagonist, the nobleman, has a depth that is rare in this genre. You'll feel his pain, his fear, his anxiety and his desire to conquer his past. The villains, on the other hand, you will hate them to the point that you really want to destroy them. The characters emit a unique aura that completely reinforces the plot.

Gameplay: The direction of the game is flawless. Each element, character, puzzle, and music is perfectly merged to sustain the plot and pace of the game. The developers have done an exceptional job making sure that the mirror mechanic is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of the game.

Audio: The music is eerie and dark and it captures the tone of the game perfectly. You will instantly feel immersed in this dark world. The musical score is memorable and will stick with you long after the game is over.

Price: Ugly is priced at $19.99, and it's worth every cent. Ugly is an artistic masterpiece. The game mechanics are innovative, the narrative is poignant, the characters are fleshed out, the sound design is haunting, and the direction is impeccable. The player is challenged in a unique way that definitely keeps you hooked. There aren't many flaws with this game, but it's not for everyone. Its images may be too dark, the pace slower, and the puzzles too challenging for some players. But if you enjoy slower-paced platformers with exceptional stories and mechanics, Ugly is for you.

Story 5

Gameplay 4

Audio 5

Price 5

4.75 out of 5 Cool Points

Ugly is Rated M17+ for Mature Audiences 17+

Sophima | Guest Contributor

Redout 2... Reviewed!

Shout out to 34BigThings + Saber Interactive for supplying us with a copy of the fast-paced... Redout 2. My opinions of the game are my own... so strap in and... let's go!

The original Redout caught my eye, so it's good to see the team had the right support to follow up with a sequel. Redout 2 is one of those games that pays its respects to the classics in the anti-gravity racing genre like... F-Zero & Wipeout. Believe it or not, I never really played those a great deal, but I was diving in and out of games/genres. Will Redout 2 bring the heat like the award-winning original? Let's find out!

 Off the bat, I love how they usher players into the game. You start off playing your way into the intro before you're brought to the main UI.

You might go from the intro and feel revved up enough to jump into Arcade or Multiplayer, but if you're new to the Redout franchise... or you need to dust off your skills, Career mode all the way (at least for now). So go to Career mode first... you won't be sorry because you'll be taught how to handle yourself and it also unlocks a certain option (as seen in the preview) that can help newer Redout racers like myself (I certainly need it, and I play racing games).

Arcade is easy enough to understand, you jump in... choose a ship, choose a location, choose a level... and you're off. Career is going to show you all the little ins and outs of what's needed for racing. You get RT to accelerate, LT for Break (the usuals), and you also get the LB to Boost + RB to Hyperboost.

The right analog stick is a major factor in this game. This team wanted to make full use of the controller, so the right analog stick allows your... hover ship to go up or down (Pitch), and even Strafe. This is with the right analog stick, and not only can you utilize these while soaring through the air during jumps, but you also use these while going up, down, and around tracks.

If you were just expected to know this stuff going in, it would be too complex, and for some gamers... it still might be. Do yourself justice and play the career mode, you won't be sorry... after going through the career mode... it's safe to say your inner beast will emerge because you have to fight to accomplish objectives. It's not a walk in the park (if you don't want it to be), but if you follow the steps... you should be good.

You should be good if you want to still have a challenge, but need a bit of assistance on the track so you aren't constantly crashing, overheating, etc. Going through the career, it's not a pain in the butt experience... it's rewarding when you proceed from one objective to the next. I've certainly improved from when I was unintentionally remixing the music by running into the sides of the tracks. I'm getting better and better, and now how custom options are unlocked after placing in the Career mode race. I fought like hell for that 3rd place... let me tell ya. 

So after that, I went over and took a look at the options. Options vary and so does the game difficulty (changing the difficulty also :

  • Zero difficulty - For players who just want to enjoy the ride without being pressured to succeed.
  • Chill difficulty - A Redout experience with some leeway.
  • Pilot difficulty - A balanced challenge for most players with experience in AG racing.
  • Redout difficulty - The complete Redout package for skilled drivers.
  • Master difficulty - For those who enjoy a real showdown.
  • Nightmare difficulty - Push beyond your limits.

By the way (for PC users), options also give you the ability to play with users on another platform. We have Redout 2 on Steam, and we're able to link our Epic Games account to play with those of you who on the game there.

Visuals: I'm going to start with the user interface. The UI is clean and showcases the different options available to you... as seen below. Nothing complicated here, but it doesn't need to be... it covers everything you need and gets you going. In the career area, you will have the different areas like the Trials, the sections might be limited, but you will notice in the B League and other sections of the SRRL Career... the sections will vary.

As you see... in the preview above, you get these colorful tracks going through some vibrant stylized environments. The tracks remind me of Hotwheels race tracks to be honest... and it's a beautiful thing.

There are tracks I have yet to set out on, but the tracks I've experienced... I'm not mad at. Kinda hard to be mad at something while I'm busy trying not to overheat or hit the side of the track at blazing speeds... but overall it's a beautiful-looking experience.

Music: Music is nice in this game, nothing I've come across thus far has been annoying enough to make me hit the mute button. As heard in the preview, and as mentioned above... when I said "Remix", they did something in this game that allowed the music to switch up in real-time. You even have a custom theme music for each ship based on the way you modded it. The menu music is smooth 

Price: Pricewise... you're looking at $29.99 for a game with 36 tracks (multiply it by 2 when you consider the reverse track options). The hoverships give you various mod options that change the performance of the ships, we're talking propulsors, rudders, stabilizers, flaps, magnets, wings, engines, spoilers, paint (duh of the day), etc. SRRL Career goes from Trials, to B League, A League, S League, and SRRL Invitational with 250 different events. So the career has plenty of replay value, and outside of the Arcade, the final frontier is certainly multiplayer... because you can take your bumps and bruises in career and arcade before taking on the competition online (showing off your ship). If you're concerned about your stats, no worries, there's SRRL Unranked & SRRL Ranked racing for you and up to 12 other players to enjoy.

By the way, the game is available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and will be landing on Nintendo Switch (July 2022). I'm glad that Switch gamers will have the option of hitting the track without waiting around for Nintendo to... finally release another F-Zero. Maybe Nintendo should give 34BigThings the option of selling F-Zero-related DLC, just a thought.

Overall, Redout 2 is an enjoyable... challenging change of pace that I embraced. I love my racing sims, but this also brought me to the edge of my seat as I fought my way to the finish.

Gameplay 5

Visuals 5

Music 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

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