IDL NEWS – Mafia 3, Free Games With Gold, more News, and Evolve

The weekend is over and a new week begun. I posted a review for BADLAND, but forgot about the achievement of the week. Oh well. Maybe I’ll add an extra one during the week?

Achievement

Typically the Achievement of the Week is related to what I’m actually, currently playing, so not always current or relevant. Additionally, I already have the Notable Achievements in the iReviews, so going forward, I might make the Achievement of the Week more relevant by including it in the New Games of the Week article on Tuesdays, or keep it as its own post later in the week, but related to the new game of the week? Hmm, says I.


MAFIA3 Registered
June 25th, Take-Two registered a number of domains related to the potential sequel, Mafia 3. These include: Mafia3TheGame.com, MafiaIIITheGame.com, MafiaThree.com, and MafiaThreeTheGame.com. This is obvious fuel to the fire that is the potential sequel, Mafia 3. Mafia II was a pretty great game, and was recently one of the free Xbox 360 games with Gold game of the month.

The Last of Us 2?
More rumours surfaced today, as very recognizable video game voice actor Nolan North may have just outed Naughty Dogs sequel – The Last of Us 2. In a recent Q&A panel, Nolan North casually mentioned the sequel.

“For now, last one,” North said on the video, when asked if he has any upcoming projects with Naughty Dog aside from Uncharted 4. “I know they’re doing a Last of Us 2 but my character in Last of Us kind of had an untimely demise.”

Xbox Live Gold Now With Two New Xbox One Every Month
Starting in July, Microsoft will begin offering TWO free Xbox Games to Gold members through the Games With Gold program every month. For the month of July the games will be as follows:

Xbox One
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – July 1-15
So Many Me
– July 16-31

Xbox 360
Plants vs. Zombies – July 1-15
Gears of War 3 – July 16-31

Games can be claimed through the console or through http://www.Xbox.com.


This week, Evolve and the Season 1 hunting pass was for sale on the Xbox One. I personally picked it up and started experimenting with it last night. I did the tutorials, and played a few matches in solo, and tried a couple multiplayer Hunts and Arena modes. Haven’t tried extraction yet.

a19a359d7d4216b3

The game has been fun thus far, if not a little frustrating at times. Some matches have been slow burn, tracking the monster an exercise in futility, for 15 minutes until he was stage 3, and then just destroyed us quickly. Another match just had the monster play with us, killing all hunters save for Daisy, letting us respawn, only to do it over again, ad nauseum.

What I’ve noticed is an influx of new players due to the sale, but the veterans out there play the monsters. Playing with a pick-up group isn’t as fun either as there’s not a lot of people playing with mics.

Lastly, in arena mode, within the trapper shield is actually a small environment. It requires clear communication otherwise you’ll get stomped by the stage 2 monster. Especially facing against Behemoth, who is like half the size of the arena map :p.

Either way, I expect to keep playing, trying out new characters and classes. So stay tuned. Check out Cro0ked’s review of Evolve when the game originally released. I may do my own irrelevant iReview too ;).

iRogan

iReview – BADLAND GOTY Edition – Get Squished

It’s that kind of game that just scrolls from left to right and plays for you, while you try to avoid obstacles. Like Flappy Bird. Only deadlier.

Title: BADLAND Game of the Year Edition
Developer: Frogmind
Platform: Mobile, Windows, PS3, PS4, Vita, WiiU, Xbox One
Publisher: Flogmind
Reviewed on: Xbox One

BADLAND starts off straightforward enough: you play a little flappy, fluffy hedgehog-like creature with small feeble arms/wings, attempting to navigate through this left-to-right side-scrolling world. Like Flappy Bird, where you need to flutter your way through the stage, only if you hit anything, or the ground, you don’t necessarily die immediately.


The game plays akin to Limbo, as the stages are silhouette in design, with background level design that will barely even register, and ominous, atmospheric music in the backdrop.

The goal of each stage is to get to the end, which is a large vacuum tube. There is no story. The stage itself is the main obstacle, as it moves left-to-right, and it may eventually push you off the screen, ending that run, if you get snagged. The levels, except for the speed runs (needing to be completed in one life), will have checkpoints if you do happen to die.

“AND YOU WILL DIE. LOTS.”

As a physics platforming puzzle game, aside from the navigation alone, with the constant threat of the left hand side of the screen, there are spiky plants, lasers, bombs, and blades all trying to ruin us. As with other platformers, there are occasional switches. These activate walls, or turn off the blades, or switch the gravitational pull, and sometimes, these switches are on different paths. Later in the levels, portals will also be introduced.


This brings us to the main power-up: cloning. Throughout each stage, there are plenty of grab-able power-ups. The main one is the clone function, but others will increase the speed of the stage or slow it down, will make our little fluff ball tiny, or heavy and huge. Some will make us sticky to the level, or bouncy, or even turn us square. Others will make us automatically spin, continuously, as these will help us navigate through circular mazes or roll along speedy parts of the stage, so that we won’t get left behind.

What doesn't kill us, definitely reduces our numbers.

What doesn’t kill us definitely reduces our numbers.

All the power-ups are appropriate to that section of the stage, never going unused. Cloning is by far the most important though, and most impressive part of the game. As we start with one, the stage can quickly get populated upwards to 2, 5, 20, 30 of us, trying to navigate the minefield of death.

The main purpose of the cloning is not necessarily to get them all to the end of the stage – although that is, unto itself, a goal to get as many as possible – but as sacrificial fodder to get through the next section of awful. Strength in numbers, as only one lucky flappy ball needs to make it through. Some stages will involve clone puzzles, where there’ll be 4 paths, each ending in a switch that will open a door for one to make it through. Sacrifice is key in these cases.

“SO MUCH . . . NOPE”

The game really comes together in an impressive feat when you have 30+ clones on the screen, in slow-motion, getting bounced around and shot at by cannons, surrounded by spinning blades, just trying to survive, slowly watching our many, many clones explode into feathers. Even the slow-motion sound effects add to the awesome.


The game has four worlds: Day I, Day II, each made up of 40 levels, and a Daydream world, and a Doom world, each made of 10. Each level also has 3 missions. These are similar to the stars in Angry Birds. These level specific challenges mainly require getting to the end of the stage in one life, or with a specific number of clones.

Day I and Day II are split into 4 zones, 10 levels each: Dawn, Noon, Dusk, and Night. Each section displays different background art styles, introduces new power-ups, and harder puzzles. And the Daydream and Doom levels really mix it up, with modifiers to either the flappy hedgehog, or the whole stage, and increase the difficulty ten-fold. For example: some stages will have light timers or light switches.


“YOU’LL WATCH YOURSELF DIE – OR YOU’LL WATCH A LOT OF YOURSELVES DIE.” 

Each world is also available as a couch co-op mode. In co-op, there are slight modifications to the puzzles, but these are barely noticeable. Playing in co-op, the puzzles are sometimes easier, as you can play with up to 4 players. So, for example, when you start to come up upon a path split, you can communicate, instead of trying to manage 4 spinning monsters simultaneously.

Other times the stage gets complicated, as we’re bouncing off each other, crashing into walls, and losing, or getting stuck, jammed against one another in a tiny gap, and losing.

So, yes, sometimes co-op can be a hindrance. Communication and sacrifice is key, as certain parts of a stage is timing related, and it’s meant for one flappy hedgehog only. If your buddies do die, the cloning power-ups will bring them back to life.

Badland3

Lastly, there’s a couch multiplayer mode as well, which is survival of the fittest. Whoever makes it longest, through the stage, wins the most points. Again, supporting 4 players.


BADLAND is a lot of fun. It’s satisfying, and equally frustrating at times. It’s a great multiplayer platformer that doesn’t require too much brain work to figure out the puzzles, but you’ll watch yourself die – or you’ll watch a lot of yourselves die. A lot.

“For those who liked Flappy Bird, Limbo, or the Slo-Mo guys.”


Many of the achievements are completionist achievements: completing each level/world, saving clones in single-player or co-op, and completing the stage specific missions. All of these will require many, many playthroughs . . . but the secret achievements are where it’s at.

Notable Achievements:
Besserwisser (Miss 20 clone power-ups while some player is dead in coop) – 10G
Friendly Fire (Lose 500 clones in Co-op) – 10G

-iRogan

WHAT iM PLAYING – The Crew, BADLAND, Destiny, and Splinter Cell Blacklist

In The Crew, I recently reached the West Coast, and I’m starting to get the impression I’m nearing the end of the story mode. Certainly feels like it’s leading up to a climactic showdown. Not that the game is anywhere small, quite the opposite actually, but the story mode itself seems somewhat minimalistic.

Luckily, across the map, all the race types and missions can replayed to earn more money or a better score. And there’s the multiplayer and faction missions as well. Faction missions alone can be anywhere between 10 minutes long, to 4 hours. A couple weeks ago I posted a Twitch timelapse of a 1hr race.

cropped-the_crew_1_216332722.jpeg

So, obviously there’s a lot of replayability to the game, and I’ll continue to plug through the challenges to acquire the achievements. It’ll be my dedicated racer, I think, for a while. Maybe until Need for Speed comes out.


Badland GoTY has been a lot of fun to play solo and Co-op. I’ve noticed though, that the missions are very similar across the two modes, with a few minor differences for some of the puzzles. So not any variety. But more than enough content.

The game is, by far, the most fun when in co-op, watching the hundreds of flappy monsters explode against the blades and spikes. Especially when the map’s modifiers all come into effect: when you have dozens of clones, smashing through physics objects in slow motion. It even has the slow motion sound effect for added value.


I’m also nearing the end of the campaign in Splinter Cell Blacklist. The game is really showcasing its action sequences near the end, stealth be damned. There’s still the stealth options, but the game gives us 3 options to take on each mission, whichever play style suits us best.

The campaign aside, the side missions also show lots of variations to the gameplay, whether they be straight up stealth & eliminate, or wave based survival missions, the game has a lot of replay options. Also an option is to reply past missions for better score, or completing different gameplay challenges.


Lastly up is Destiny, and The House of Wolves expansion. The story is still very much the same as the campaign, relegated to voice-over, and not even worth listening to. There are some new enemy variants, and some of the missions introduce some new areas and platforming elements.

The game also introduced a new social hub, and two new multiplayer modes and a modification to the free roam social events, as they introduce new boss encounters.

The multiplayer modes are the Temple of Osiris, and Prison of Elders. Prison of Elders is the new 3 player Player vs Everything, wave based game mode. 3 waves, 5 rounds, each round mixing up the arena and round specific challenge.

Reviews for all 4 are around the corner as they’re getting wrapped up.


I’m still slowly plugging through Assassin’s Creed IV, and Far Cry 4. I do need to wrap up one of these games, or move on, before I open up Shadow of Mordor. That being said though, Batman Arkham Knight will be in my hands next week, and I might just lose myself completely in that.

I wouldn’t mind playing through Metal gear Solid: Ground Zeroes a few more times before V is released in September – so I might have to dust that off.

Also simmering on the back-burners are Battlefield Hardline, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles, Contrast, and State of Decay, which I COMPLETELY forgot about – I wonder if all my companions are dead? I heard the game runs in a slower real-time mode when it’s not being actively played. As it’s been 2 months.

Last up, almost forgot, Tomb Raider and the Temple of Osiris, I’m currently playing in co-op, on the odd occasion. More impressions of that next week.


Tomorrow I’ll be back with some news about July’s Free Games with Gold and their new model, and hopefully a review for this weekend, plus Achievement of the Week, eee!

-iRogan

IDL NEWS – PC Woes – Batman Arkham Knight Recommended Settings

Today in the news there’s tears coming out of the PC camp as Batman Arkham Knight PC edition burned up in the atmosphere as its launch reached Earth. Also some Destiny stuff.


Bungie’s Plan for Timed Exclusives and The Taken King
Bungie has confirm that it will be releasing the extra content, originally restricted to the Playstation consoles once the Sony timed-exclusive expires later this year. This will bring a couple of extra strike missions and new exotic  to the Xbox this Fall. The strike will include the original version and a new refreshed version included with The Taken King.

The Taken King is released on September 15th, and will be available as a collector’s edition for $40, or for those who already own Destiny and the two expansion packs will now be able to pick up the content for $20

SpeedRunners

I guess it’s coming soon?

Batman-Arkham-Knight-Dev-Reveals-More-About-Main-Villain-s-Identity-457611-2Can Rocksteady Solve The Riddle of Batman’s PC Problems
Rocksteady had acknowledged the problems with the PC release of Batman Arkham Knight, and stated that they’re working with the graphics teams and NVIDIA and AMD. AMD GPU’s can expect hitches and stuttering and for the game to be run off an SSD harddrive. No timeframe for the patch.

Recommended Hardware Specs: XBox One or PS4

Warner Bros has since suspended sales of the troubled PC game until the issues have resolved, and are pointing fans towards the Steam Return Policy if they’re upset and want a refund.


I’ve nearly completed Badland and will have a review up shortly, and will be the feature of The Achievement of the Week, played in solo, and co-op, and I’m still playing The Crew and Splinter Cell BlacklistSplinter Cell being wrapped up shortly as well. Fingers crossed. More on these tomorrow, plus a round up of all the games I’m playing.

Yesterday I discussed a little more about E3 and some highlights from the show, notably Rise of the Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid V, Dues Ex Mankind Divided and Dishonored. I’ll be writing some of these over the weekend for next week.


November 7th, I’ll be participating in a 24 hour video game marathon to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Network. The event is Extra Life. www.extra-life.org.

“Play Games. Heal Kids”

I participated last year, and I’m happy to be doing it again. I stream the whole event through Twitch as well. I’ve included a link on the main bar as well to highlight the event.


Tomorrow I’ll be going into more detail on my current queue of games, and discuss the reviews coming around the corner.

-iRogan

IDL GAMES – New Game Tuesday and some News

Well, we all know the big game this week, so lets jump right in.

Following the break, we have the new games and deals, and we’ll talk a little about the news and what we have coming later this week on the site.


Batman: Arkham Knight (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – The game is finally here, after only a few delays. Probably worth it. I posted the launch trailer yesterday, and I’ve been excited about this game for a while. It’s on order and will be arriving into my hands shortly, so I’ll be leaving my impressions soon. I don’t anticipate waiting on this game, letting it grow stale on my shelf like some undeserving others. 😥

Tales From the Borderlands: Episode 3 – Catch a Ride (PC, X360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One) – I really enjoyed Episode 1, and now that 3 is out, I should get started on Ep 2.

TFTBL-103-key-art-525x328


Dishonored 2’s Path Chosen To Go
Dishonored 2 is another game high on my anticipation list, and will be added to the E3 page for ongoing opinions. Recently out of E3 was the announcement of a secondary female character. After about 20-30 minutes into the story playing as the new female, Emily, we’re given a choice of continuing as her, or doing the remainder of the game as Corvo. This change is permanent for the remainder of the story but doesn’t change the missions, just the perspective and commentary.

original

Deals with Gold and Spotlight Sale
Xbox One
The Crew and Season Pass each 50% off
Evolve and Deluxe Edition each 50% off
Wolfenstein Bundle 35-45% off

I’m currently playing through The Crew, and I’m really liking it. It’s everything I wanted for a social racer. The season pass, which includes 4 monthly car packs plus 2 exclusive cars, might now be worth it.

Evolve, unfortunately, I have not had a chance to try, save for PAX 2014 where I played the monster. Might be time to give it a shot now that it’s on sale. Maybe it’s too late though? This sale comes in time for The Hunting Season Pass 2.

Xbox 360
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier 75% off
Splinter Cell Double Agent 75% off
Grand Theft Auto V 58% off
Grand Theft Auto IV 80% off
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas 75% off
Skyrim 60-66% off
Fallout New Vegas 60-66% off
Dishonored 60-66%
The Evil Within  60-66% off


I’m currently working on adding new material to the E3 page as info continues to surface. I’ll also be working on a PAX Prime 2015 page for the convention in September, and a Extra Life page for the 24 hour video game marathon in November.

I’m continuing to play The Crew and Badland, and streaming those games on Twitch occasionally. I should have a Badland review up this week as the game is a hell of a lot of fun.

I also recently dropped back into Destiny, so I’ll be posting a little summary of the House of Wolves DLC and more info about Year 2 and The Taken King expansion.

-iRogan