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Haven Review: Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil its one of the classics of gaming, I remember picking up a copy of Resident Evil code Veronica from a pawn shop as a child and proceeding to get the crap scared out of me for a good while afterwards. Resident Evil 4 continues that tradition the same way it did then, with jump scares.

Now over time Capcom has innovated and and improved upon the series some results being good and some results being poorly received and now even though its been out for a good while Capcom has revised and refurbished Resident Evil 4 much like a lot of the series up to this point.

Now one of the first aspects of the game I noticed they improved upon that I for one am quite happy about is that you can freely save without the need to have printer ink and for the record yes, I haven’t played a Resident Evil since code Veronica.

However there is one thing I deeply loath about Resident Evil 4. I can handle the mini-bosses, the new approach to enemies, and the finishers but I cannot stand the whole escort missions. I grew up in the age of Golden Eye and and horrible escort missions and even though they improved upon the AI I still cannot stand escort missions and I go into them with a deep passionate loathing for them.

The combat seems infinity better than what it has been where you stand around swinging a knife around in mid-air. Although you do remain stationary almost all the time when firing a weapon so where it visually looks different and more fluid its still pretty bad in terms of combat. Although we can’t be too brutal with it as it is a product of its time and newer games look and feel a lot more fluid.

Music for the game remains as good as always, and as a fan of Capcom’s work over the years they remain pretty good in giving a perfect musical score to their video games from Mega Man, to Devil May Cry its always spot on to help set the tone and the fluidity of the game.

My only issues with the game besides the escort mission is the horrible character dialog it feels poorly conceived and to be fair not many decent Capcom games for that era have had very good dialog written for the characters.

The game ultimately outshines its predecessors in some good ways, but that doesn’t mean it has a flawless experience. Its nice to see Capcom bringing its older titles to the Xbox One, Play Station 4, and the PC. But I just wish instead of just increasing the resolution and updating the visuals. I would hope that they would also patch things or do a complete overhaul fixing some bugs.

The game is good though, and I’m gonna continue to play this.

-Daniel Clatworthy-

Haven Review: The Walking Dead: Michonne

Spoiler Alert: This review is written as commentary on story elements within the game. Reader discretion is advised.
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The Walking Dead has become synonymous with Telltale Games in recent years, standing with its own unique characters who don’t appear in the TV series (except that one time with Glenn, but that was only in Episode One!)

Now however we have The Walking Dead: Michonne, a character that does appear on TV. This game gives us a bit of back story to her character, her regrets and the weight she carries on her shoulders. Right off the bat you’re thrust into her story, with her chopping through some brush while avoiding zombies (ahem…sorry…I mean walkers). She begins to hallucinate about what I can only assume are her two daughters.mich

From there, as in all Telltale titles, you’re met with amazing fight scenes in which you must kick everyone’s ass by pressing certain button combinations. This is followed by the obligatory cut-scene and finishes with Michonne uncharacteristically pulling out a gun and letting the player choose weather she blows her brains out. Being the sword-wielding bad-ass that I am, I choose not to and was soon met by some rather unsavory characters who took me aboard their ship.

From there we were floating down a river in our lovely sailboat, and Michonne wakes up from a nightmarish nap; The crew of the ship checks to see if she’s okay before receiving a distress call from their trading partners aboard another boat. Continuing on in yet again classic Telltale fashion, the story then brings you to search for a radio signal. More boat issues begin, and the ship gets stranded. You take a row boat over to the other ship that the signal was coming from, and conveniently get parts to fix your ship.HeadChop4_1920x1080

But you already know, since it’s a Walking Dead title, that nothing goes according to plan. The boat tips over, you avoid getting bitten by walkers from under the water and you make it ashore…only to be thrown into another dark scenario. This time its followed by the first Walking Dead combo cut-scene where you must push all the buttons in the right succession to survive; a twisted game of “Simon Says”.

So more exposition befalls you as a group of men break into the place, trying to get a bag of supplies, and mistakes you for a troublemaker. So they kidnap you and take you to their super secret base, which isn’t so super secret. This dark game has become even more dark, because it’s The Walking Dead.

Alright let’s stop for a minute here. The Walking Dead is a dark series. We all understand that it’s a zombie Apocalypse and that there are roughly 300,000 people left on Earth. But what bothers me about the stories is just how often these events happen with the original Walking Dead game from Telltale Games. You must see the story play out in a way that makes considerably more sense, where they’re held up in a hotel and are working their way forward. But in The Walking Dead: Michonne it feels like they’re just trying to advance a person’s story with unbelievable acts that they’re presenting as believable.
The-Walking-Dead-Michonne-4 With a long string of coincidences that help make her who she is, it feels like this game is falling short of her comic book counterpart. There are two parts left to go and hopefully that will make up for that. As this is a Telltale game, it will be limited to 3 episodes instead of 5 or 6, like the rest.

Don’t get me wrong, Michonne is a great character and very well received. Hell, she actually gets raped in the comics, endures it and gets revenge later on. But in terms of how bad-ass she is, there feels to be a huge gap. It feels also that the first installment doesn’t do her justice.

The Telltale formula is getting really old and there’s almost no innovation that makes it feel like an actual game to me. It feels like Simon Says meets a story book, and not in a creative way. I honestly wish they would take a lesson from King’s Quest in terms of design, but that’s just my input.TWD_Michonne_Kids

Overall the story is a bit lacking, as are the interactions throughout. Nothing really kept me interested in playing, but hopefully the next installments will fix this.

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
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Haven Review: Overwatch

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Not since the early days of Team Fortress 2 (TF2) have I been as enamored with a multiplayer experience as I have with Overwatch. There are definitely similarities between the two, and honestly these are what interested me in the latter to begin with. But once in the game, there are many nuances that have surprised me, to the point where I’ve fallen in love with Overwatch for a variety of reasons. However, the game is definitely not without it’s faults.

Another entry in the Hero-shooter genre, Overwatch pits a cast of eclectic characters against one another in team-on-team combat. The entirety of the gameplay happens over the course of 15-minute matches. Yet the game is packed with amazing design, wildly diverse settings and…if you know where to look…tons of interesting lore. The maps are scattered with informational tidbits. Since you’ll mostly be basting hunks of scrap metal at the opponent, it’s very likely you’ll miss them (and Blizzard seems to not care). This only adds to the charm of the game. If you’d like to hunt down these bits of info, go ahead, although your team might not be so interested in you doing that. If you want to just partake in the combat, there’s no need to know the minutia of the lore. But Blizzard, as they always seem to do with their games, has taken the time to put it there. All of these things come together to form a world that seems to have been inhabited. You’ll find tea still sitting out, or a magazine that was abandoned hastily when the fighting started.Overwatch 2016-05-30 15-26-58-49

The fighting revolves around teams of six heroes duking it out over capture points and payloads. Each player chooses a hero, and while there are some helpful guidelines that pop up during selection, the game doesn’t limit how many of each hero your team can select. I love the freedom of creativity that happens when opposing a team comprised of 6 “Reinhardt” characters, a tank with a large shield and hammer. I was particularly drawn to “Roadhog”, a character with a big ol’ hook that can grab people and reel them in, only to be finished off with a devastating shotgun blast to the face. Most of the other characters I tried were fun to play, as well. There wasn’t a character in all 21 that I hated.Overwatch 2016-05-30 15-43-30-05 Each one is interesting to learn and wildly different from each other. That’s not saying I was good at all of them; in fact the opposite. I’m fairly poor with most. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t end up laughing and rolling around as I got the shit beat outa me for utterly fucking up the play style of a particular hero. Therein lies the joy of Overwatch! The colors and designs, the silliness of the heroes, the wide variety of projectiles being fired all over the place, all come together to bring such joy to my heart that even when I’m doing my absolute worst I’m still having fun. It seems like the game even rewards you for just having fun and trying your best.Overwatch 2016-05-30 15-33-58-46

The most experience you get at the end of a match comes from just sticking around for the whole thing. If you played at all then you’ll get a bunch of experience and level up. Other factors are also involved. If you finish in the top three of your team, or in the top 50% of a category (damage done, time spent on an objective, etc.) you’ll get a little more XP. If you participated on the winning team, then you’ll also get a nice chunk. However, the only thing you get from leveling up is cosmetic, in the form of skins, victory poses and sprays. With sprays you can choose a mark and then leave it anywhere you’d like on the map. It’s pointless but wickedly fun. You’ll sometimes get into spray wars with others who are trying to find and cover up sprays they left while they do the same to you!

Overwatch does have a couple of problems that are present. For the most part, they are easy to ignore, but they’re still there. The first is that the game contains micro-transactions. If you like, you can spend about one dollar (USD) for a loot crate (which gets cheaper the more you buy). This is the same reward you get for leveling. Again, crates only contain cosmetic items. It’s not invasive; there aren’t ads for them all over them game. They don’t boost your ability to play the game, but they are still there. In this $40 game title there are still micro-transactions, and it makes me a little sick to think about. But what else can we expect from Blizzard? They sure do love their money. The other problem (which is less of a major issue and more of an annoyance) is with some character balancing. Right now turrets are a huge deal in the game. They have the ability to wipe out a team without much effort. The worst of this phenomenon is from “Bastion”, a robot who can transform into a powerful turret whenever he wants. He can also self-heal. I’m not saying Bastion needs to be nerfed, or that nobody should play him. It’s just that when Blizzard‘s motto behind Overwatch is that everything should be fun, it’s not that fun getting mowed down from 100% health to zero in less than a second. Bad Bastion players are easy to deal with, and certain heroes do it a lot better. But Bastion is easy to get good at and even a novice player can still get the “Play-of-the-Game” fairly easily. Without a dedicated anti-turret class (like there is in TF2), it can definitely get a little overwhelming. We’ll see as time goes on how everyone deals with this. Whether Blizzard introduces an “Anti-Bastion” class, or players simply find good strategies against him, I definitely believe that the game already has ways to deal with it, and it’ll just take some time to find the right combinations.Overwatch 2016-05-30 15-30-58-45

Overwatch let’s you be so creative; it doesn’t try to narrow down anyone’s play style. If you want to try and pull off a crazy thing that just occurred to you, go ahead. I think a factor that really adds to this creativity is the map layouts. There are so many back alleys and rooftops to access. It’s crazy trying to find all the different directions you can go, and figuring out which characters can fit to what spots. Certain heroes like “Widowmaker” (a sniper) and “Genji” (a ninja), can traverse the map differently than others. With things like grappling hooks and wall climbing, they can get onto rooftops that no one else can. However I’ve seen all sorts of characters come up with inventive ways to get to those positions. Once they do, the enemy isn’t expecting it so they’re able to get the drop on ’em. Overwatch does very little to hinder you. It gives you a set of tools and lets you go crazy. While other games are trying desperately to rein in players and limit them, it’s absolutely a pleasure to see a game that doesn’t. This title has done so much to capture my heart and give me a new FPS to obsess over(watch).

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-Jordan Kamm-