Tag Archives: sandlot

Haven Editorial: Zacerons 2016 game awards

Zacerons 2016 game awards

2016 is officially over. Therefor I can now make a list about the best games and worst games of 2016. This list is proof that 2016 was good year indeed. The hand picked games from this list is all based on the ones I’ve reviewed this year.

2016

No man’s sky:

An under-engineered, over hyped piece of software. Which runs like a three eyed, one legged man, hobbling on thin ice. Needless to say it runs terrible and I can’t get it above thirty frames per second. Despite everything setting all the settings to low. There is also that terrible loading whenever I start the game. Despite what Hello games will have you believe. That pesky star journey is a loading screen. It even says, loading shaders at the bottom. Slow loading times is a good indication that the game code is crap.

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“Fix the damn performance issues already!”

Overwatch:

I still play it despite my short temper, questionable aiming abilities and my raging murder boner. It’s a game about holding an objective against colorful weirdos, with skills on par with mine. Whom are more concerned with chasing kills and trashing scenery, than to push the wagon up a hill. Yes it is fun, terrible and awesome, all at the same time. 

 

“Murder, death kill and chill.”

Everspace:

Rogue lite meets space exploration, with a high probability of fiery death. While being having an armada of murderous and very angry lizard people son my tail. As I traverse the randomly generated galaxy. It is the most beautiful rendition of space I’ve ever seen within a game.

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“How to make space look fantastic.”

Enter the Gungeon:

Charming and fun, where everything is a pun related to ammo or a gun. A game about exploring randomly generated dungeons and killing bosses, while trying to get the gun that can erase the past. Hard to wrong with a sizzling hot, table flipping bullet hell.20160420200000_1

 

“Fun with puns and guns.”

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun:

Ninjas flip out and kill people, it is a proven scientific fact. At least according the interweb. Around the time of fire arms, where the shogun ruled and Japan was almost peaceful. A cleaver ploy to reignite the war is brewing and a team of ninjas are set out to thwart it. Someone finally decided to make a top down stealth game, I’ve not seen many of those since Commandos was new.

20161209153853_1“Best stealth game of the year.”

Xcom 2:

Aliens have taken over the earth and the resistance needs my help, in order to liberate Earth. This game improves on everything the previous release did and a lot more.  Though adding a mission timer was probably not the smartest thing to do. Overall a fun turn based strategy game.

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“Damn aliens, always digging holes in my backyard.”

Owlboy:

It took nine years to get it done and I’d say it was worth it. It looks fantastic and is immensely  fun to play. Starring Otus; A boy, whom also is an owl, with a flying cape and several useful companions, fighting menacing mechanical pirates.20161030235823_1

Worth the wait

Redout:

Strap yourself into a rocked, held aloft with anti gravity. While trying to avoid a fiery death as the track blast by. It’s the fastest and most polished racing game I’ve played in 2016. It’s just fun speed through a loop at 300 km/t. The music is good as well and apparently it can be used with virtual reality.

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“High octane crash and burn.”

Earth Defense Force 4.1 Shadow of new despair:

Finally a proper EDF game on pc. A last I can smash the bug horde under my heels,  without slowdowns and horrible performance issues. It’s one of the few third person games where you actually face down an overwhelming horde of enemies. 20160725160931_1

“EDF! EDF! EDF!”

The Incredible Baron:

While not the most played game on my list, it does sport a very good soundtrack, which I’ve been listening to a lot. Especially when writing my list for games of 2016. The game it self is not bad at all and looks good. It’s just not my cup of tea. Despite the quirky fun characters.20160804095119_1

“Kick ass music.”

The Final Station:

All aboard the man train to Armageddon. It is a fun game about managing a train, explore abandoned locations and keeping passengers alive, while the nefarious plot unfolds.20160825001136_1

“Quit dying on me, I’m trying to adjust the cabin pressure.”

Clustertruck:

The floor is lava is a simple game about not touching the floor.  Only this time around the the floor is composed of speeding trucks and questionable physics. It’s fun as long as you can manage extreme first person platforming.20161003183511_1

Bird of Light

A very fun run and jump game, with a deep and slightly depressing story about a very real problem India is faced with.20160724194007_1

 

“Slow motion matrix jumping is awesome.”
May 2017 be an even better year for games than 2016.

Njål Sand

Earth Defense Force: Shadow of New Despair

 

Earth Defence Force: Shadow of New Despair is so bad its good, Some might say that. To this I say, bah humbug!

To save our mother earth from any alien attack
from vicious giant insects who have once again come back
we’ll unleash all our forces we won’t cut them any slack
The EDF deploys!

Sure the allied AI is virtually non existent for allied soldiers. But do keep in mind that games does not really have AI. In virtually every game the CPU controlled enemies are just acting as scripted, with some decent path finding included. Sure collision detection on spiders webs was terrible, and even those have been improved greatly. (I have not been sniped through cave walls yet). As a game such as EDF has refined action gameplay down to its core. 20160719144937_1There are no quick time events, all voices and cut scenes can be disabled and any enemy attack can be dodged in some fashion. After all there is only one goal, kill all enemies and survive. The graphics are decent and does get the job done and had they been any more polished and insane, the frame rate would have been shot to hell. Which brings me to an important point, state of the art graphics does not make the game a good experience. Naturally Sandlot could have made it look like a AAA game, but then where would the 50 plus enemies go? What would happen to the huge screen shaking explosion and enough enemy attacks to blot out the heavens? Exactly they would have been non existent.20160719143811_1

Earth Defense Force has not changed the concept since its start as a Japanese budget PS2 game. Four players have to cooperate in order to beat the alien horde. The enemy drop armor, health and weapons, which unlock new gear and increase the maximum health. Some of these weapons are insane and totally outlandish. There are 4 classes, Ranger, he can run fast, roll and uses more conventional weapons. The Wingdiver, a girl with big boobs and a jetpack, that uses plasma weaponry. The air raider, whom uses a lot of support weaponry, can field airstrikes and vehicles. Lastly there is the fencer, he is heavily armored, moves slowly, can counter almost anything while carrying big guns.

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This is how you get ants!
State of the art combat armor!

There are several new additions to the armory as well, such as a 50 meter tall mecha, that can punch things hard. An APC ambulance and more enemies on the map than ever. Naturally the developers have also included steam achievements, those are very important indeed. Replayability comes from completing all the levels, with all classes, om every stage and collecting the 800 plus weapons that comes from random drops.

One of the most negative things sandlot decided to do with earth defense force, is to put a weapon and armor level cap on the various difficulties. Eventually cap will be lifted but, that requires a lot of playing, which means that some grinding is needed. Keep in mind, this will only make things easier, it is not a prerequisite for completing the game. Vehicles also     handle a lot better and the wingdiver can now use vehicle turrets. The voices and the music in the game is decent and can be switched from English to Japanese as one see fit. Those mostly braindead npc troopers that’s on the map will also react to some of the commands and words said on the chat wheel. Get used to hearing EDF!, EDF! a lot.

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Things are closer than they appear

Helicopters still need a lot of work done. Not entirely sure, why developers have such a hard time with this. The simple solution is to have the helicopter hoover at current height, until you either descend or ascend. The air raider can now summon a wall crawling mecha in caves that summons instantly as well, but it moves like a spider, a very, very, extremely slow spider indeed.

In all of this brutal murder, where you will die a lot, there is also a B move story about an alien invasion and how Earth Defense force was made in order to best them. EDF does not even try to hide the cheesiness of it all, it is embraces it fully. Unfortunately I can’t recommend this game for anyone, even if I want to. It’s an intense action game with giant friggin’ bugs and explosions.

edf

Njål H Sand