Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Writing Articles For GrownGaming.com


Some of you may have noticed that I have been promoting articles from GrownGaming.com on my Twitter account. This is because I have signed up to be a writer on that site for game reviews. Starting this week I will be focusing my game reviews for GrownGaming.com, so please check them out. This means that far less posts will be happening here on my blog. I will still post some reviews here and even continue the Games Worth Playing Under $30 series, along with some other future posts.

So this is an official announcement that I will not be featuring my articles on GrownGaming.com. The one thing I have to say is it is a very well thought out website featuring Video Game reviews, previews, news and feature articles. The owner of the site is a very nice guy who is a gamer that loves to write about video games. The site also features a lot of guest articles from other writers out there. I look forward to my new adventure at GrownGaming.com and will support this site the best I can. Because I want to see it grow and grow in the coming months. So please, keep an eye on my twitter feed for future articles posted on this site not only from me but other writers as well. Keep gaming on my friends...

-Growngaming.com
-Growngaming Twitter Account
-JBtheGamer's Twitter Account

Monday, January 23, 2017

JB The Gamer's First Quarter 2017 Games & Review Release Schedule


I want to follow a schedule in 2017 for the game reviews I want to do this year. So I created a schedule of the games that are coming out and my schedule for when I would like the review of that game to be posted on my blog. So here is a list of games I intend to play and review for the first quarter for 2017.

January 2017
  • Resident Evil 7 (01/24/2017) - Review 2/10/2017
February 2017
  • Nioh 02/07/2017 - Review 2/24/2017
  • Sniper Elite 4 (2/14/2017) - Review 3/3/2017
  • Halo Wars 2 (2/21/2017) - Review 3/10/2017
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (2/28/2017) - Review 3/17/2017
March 2017
  • Legend of Zelda BotW (3/3/2017) - Review 4/7/2017
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands (3/7/2017) - Review 3/31/2017
  • Has Been Heroes (3/31/2017) - Review 4/14/2017
April 2017
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (4/28/2017) - Review 5/12/2017

Of course the review date is not set in stone and is subject to change. I don't want to rush out a review or if I don't finish the game after three months of release, I will not do a review of that game. I hope this schedule will give a better understanding of when to expect a review of the games I intend to play.

Also, here is a refresh of the meanings of the scores I give to games I review:

5/5 = Amazing Game
4/5 = Great Game
3/5 = Good Game
2/5 = Decent/OK Game
1/5 = Crappy Game
0/5 = Total Garbage

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stardew Valley - Games Under $30 Worth Playing


Stardew Valley reminds me a lot of Harvest Moon, and it should because it has a lot of the same features. You inherit an old run down farm from your grandfather in a small town called Stardew Valley. From there you are left with pretty much doing anything you want.

In Stardew Valley you can farm crops, raise animals, build things, explore the local town, adventure and discover things in the near by cave, socialize with the locals, get married, have children, the list goes on. Of course by doing most of these things you can make money, which allows you to buy seeds and other things for your farm. The game has four seasons and each season allows only specific crops to grow during that season. Stardew Valley also allows you to upgrade five skills which are; Mining, Farming, Fishing, Combat, and Foraging. As you progress through the skills, they unlock different things in the game such as new crafting items, cooking recipes, and new areas to explore.

Stardew Valley was created by one designer and boasts a huge amount of features. Even though the graphics are pixelated, the game is still amazing for what it does. For only $15 Stardew Valley is definitely a game worth playing for under $30.


Stardew Valley is available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and soon the Nintendo Switch.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Nintendo Switch Presentation


Nintendo had their Switch presentation on Friday morning in Japan (Thursday night here in the USA). It only ran for about an hour but confirmed 100% the information on the price, launch date, and launch titles. The Nintendo Switch will launch March 3rd 2017 world wide at $299.99. Nintendo also showed off what the Switch can do and how the Joy-Cons work.

The biggest title at launch for the system is Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. Which releases on March 3rd, 2017 along with the system it self. This marks the first time ever, in Nintendo's history, a Legend of Zelda game launching with a hardware launch. This for me is pretty exciting news. I can't wait to pick up the system and Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild on March 3rd, 2017. The other games launching on that date with the system were rather unimpressive, but included Just Dance 2017, Skylanders: Imaginators, Super Bomberman R, and 1-2-Switch. Nintendo spent a lot of time during the presentation showing off 1-2-Switch. The game boils down to a bunch of mini games that show off how the Joy-Cons work with their HD Rumble. A new technology built into their Joy-Cons that is suppose to be the next level of rumble in a controller. I wasn't impressed and didn't really care, but I understand that Nintendo likes to innovate, which is a good thing for the industry. Another big software title for the Nintendo Switch is SKYRIM. Yes, Bethesda confirmed that Elder Scrolls 5: SKYRIM will be coming to the Nintendo Switch. One of the best games in the industry will now be portable. But the game doesn't release till the Fall of 2017. It would have been more epic if this was a launch title as well, but I understand Nintendo wouldn't want that big of a game to hurt Zelda sales at launch. Last but not least, there will be a new Mario game called Super Mario Odyssey and that will not be released till the Holiday of 2017. At least we don't have to wait years for it, just 8 months or so.

As unimpressive as their presentation was, I am sold on the Nintendo Switch and have already pre-order my system with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Can't wait to get my hands on Nintendo's new system and I hope this is a successful console for them. I really don't want to see Nintendo fail again, like they did with the Wii U. Till March 3rd comes around, game on my friends.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Review - Space Hulk DeathWing


I was hoping for DeathWing to become the Vermintide for Warhammer 40k, but sadly that wasn't the case. Space Hulk DeathWing is far from the co-op survival games and is more or less just another First-Person Shooter. DeathWing is developed by Streum on Studio and Cyanide. It is published by Focus Home Interactive.

Graphics

Visually DeathWing looks good, I can't really complain about anything here. The graphics are done very well and are powered by the Unreal Engine 4. Space Hulk DeathWing looks awesome, they nailed the grim-dark atmosphere of Warhammer 40k. The art work and detail in every map is just absolutely amazing. This is one thing that the developers got right. Though DeathWing does suffer from some performance issues, which were really bad at launch, but a patch was released to fix them. Even with the patch, the game can get sluggish when there is a lot of things going on.

Sound

Another area that the developers did very well. The voice acting and sounds add to the atmosphere of the game. Space Marines sound like just as you would expect a Space Marine to sound in the Warhammer 40k universe. The music adds to the tension when loads of Xenos come rushing at you. Though, when walking around there is not much music playing. It only shows up during high octane action areas. The sound effects are pretty spot on to how the guns sound when they shoot and the steps you take in your Terminator armor. I really didn't have much complaint about the sound work in Space Hulk Deathwing. It works for the game.

GamePlay

Now here is where things start to fall apart in DeathWing. You have two options when you start up the game, play the single-player campaign or play multiplayer online. The real meat and potatoes here is the single-player. The Multiplayer is lacking in every way. I'll get to that in a minute, lets start things off at the single-player section.

Single-Player starts you off as a Librarian of the Dark Angels 1st company of Space Marines. You are accompanied by two other Space Marines, who are your AI driven brother in arms. This is all fine and dandy at first but after a few chapters you realize they are just there to keep you alive. You cannot give them anymore weapons other then the basic weapons. Your only choice is to have one guy heal, which he cannot use any other weapon then the Bolter for the rest of the game, and the other Space Marine becomes the Heavy Support. But in reality you find out that there is no classes either. The Heavy Support can die as fast as you or your healer. They are both the same, except one can heal and the other can use slightly more weapons. This makes for very basic cannon fodder AI buddies, but god forbid you lose the healer. You can't survive with out the healer.

The only person who gets upgrades is you, the player. You unlock more weapons and skills as you progress through the single-player campaign. Most of the weapons you unlock your other AI buddies can't use, which really sucks. I ended up just leaving them the same when I first started the game, the other weapons they could use didn't help me much. At the end of each chapter you get three skill points to put into three skill trees. One deals with psyker abilities, which are really cool and help a lot, the other two trees deal with utility and survival. Choose wisely, because once you save your choice you can't undo them later. As nice as that sounds, it really only makes you the stand out character. The other two Space Marines that follow you around are the same as when they started. I really wish Space Hulk DeathWing had more options for your AI buddies. Allow more weapons to be used or even classes such as a tank, healer, etc. But no, you are stuck with the same options since the beginning of the game for them.



As far as gameplay goes in Space Hulk DeathWing, it is pretty basic. DeathWing has been compared to Left 4 Dead and Killing Floor, but I don't see that. The Xenos are pretty much the same except for a few. You have your cannon fodder Tyranids, Melee Tyranids, and then Tank Melee Tyranids. Some of the Tyranids can spit at you or become invisible but I didn't see much of a difference in combat style from them. I noticed the cannon fodder (human/tyranid hybrids) would shoot weapons at you and the others just did nothing but Melee. Unlike Left 4 Dead or Killing Floor where the zombies or zed each had a purpose and you had to use different tactics to fight them. In Space Hulk DeathWing the Tyranid can be smashed to death or shot and either way didn't matter, no tactics involved just point and shoot. Except for the Tank Melee Tyranids (BroodLords), these require more tactics then the others because they can pretty much kill you quickly and take a lot of hits to bring down. That is why I say this game is more of a First-Person Shooter with spats of Xenos rushing at you every now and again till you reach the end of the chapter. All you have to do is point and shoot, and that tactic will be enough to get you through the campaign.

Of course you would think you would be able to have more say in your tactics in Multiplayer, right. Wrong, Multiplayer is just the single-player with none of the progression saved. Yup, you heard right. Each time you play online your skills start all over again. Whats the point if you are just going to be starting from the beginning each time you play online with your friends. No progression, no loot, nothing. A huge opportunity missed here. It could have been the Vermintide of Warhammer 40k or fun like Left 4 Dead and Killing Floor. But no, the real game is the single-player.

Story

The story in Space Hulk DeathWing is the only interesting thing that kept me going through the campaign. What happens is a Space Hulk appears out of the warp and the Deathwing, the Dark Angels Elite Space Marines, are sent to investigate. As soon as you arrive the Librarian, played by you, gets visions of something within this Space Hulk. As you fight your way through the chapters you discover what that something is and what must be done for the good of man kind. If you like Warhammer 40k, then the story will be interesting, but if you are new to Warhammer 40k it might fly over your head. Space Hulk Deathwing misses a big opportunity to lore dump on you. It is like the developers forgot to put in information about the universe of Warhammer 40k. They just assume you know everything and can follow along.

Conclusion

Space Hulk DeathWing is a game made for the fans of Warhammer 40k. They got the art, atmosphere, and sound design right. But from there the game pretty much falls apart and just becomes a basic First-Person Shooter that tries to be like other co-op survival games. Multiplayer is useless and single-player is the only thing worth playing. If you can stand the mindless hordes of Tyranids coming at you again and again till the end of the game, and with no explanation of the lore in this amazing universe.

Final Rating

2 out of 5 - OK Game.



Space Hulk DeathWing is currently available on Steam and in 2017 to Xbox One & PS4.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

JB The Gamer's Top 5 Games Of 2016

I couldn't really pick any one game for a 2016 Game of the Year. So instead I decided to go with my own Top 5 Games of 2016. Now, this is a small list of the best games of 2016 that I played and really enjoyed. The numbered order on list doesn't mean that any of the games are better then the other. So, here is JB The Gamer's Top 5 Games of 2016.

1). DOOM

DOOM was one hell of a come back of the franchise from ID Software. What made this an even bigger feat was that most of the original talent had left ID Software before this game had been released. I really enjoyed this amazing reboot of the franchise. ID Software and Bethesda did an awesome job bringing the classic DOOM gameplay to 2016. The thing that prevented it from getting a perfect score was the lack-luster multiplayer and not so great snapmap feature. But the single-player alone is worth getting this game. If you haven't played DOOM yet, what the hell are you waiting for.

You can check out my full review of the DOOM by Clicking Here.


2). XCOM 2

I couldn't wait to play the sequel to 2013's turn-based strategy hit game XCOM. It was worth the wait. I spent the entire month of February playing the game. I was also very proud of my self for having beaten it on the Hard difficulty. If you like turn-based strategy games then both XCOM and XCOM 2 are worth playing.

You can check out my full review of XCOM 2 by Clicking Here.

3). Battlefield 1

DICE and EA finally made a game worth playing in the Battlefield franchise since Bad Company 2. Battlefield 1 is how to do multiplayer right in this franchise. Though, I felt the single-player was very short and lacking substance (never understood why the media praised it). But the Multiplayer is the meat and potatoes of this game.
You can check out my full review of Battlefield 1 by Click Here.

4). Planet Coaster

Planet Coaster is what Roller Coaster Tycoon World should have been. Frontier did one hell of a job bring this genre back to life. The amount of freedom in creating your park is amazing. Though it isn't without faults. If you were looking for your Roller Coaster Tycoon fix, then skip the horrible mess that is Roller Coaster Tycoon World and pick this title up. It is worth the asking price.
You can check out my full review of Planet Coaster by Clicking Here.

5). Killing Floor 2

Killing Floor 2 kind of came out of no where. I didn't even know this game came out of Early Access till I started seeing reviews about it. Killing Floor 2 is a really fun co-op survival shooter that is worth the asking price. I always have a blast playing it online with others or with some of my friends. Even though it can get repetative it is always fun to play for a few hours a day or so.
You can check out my full review of Killing Floor 2 by Clicking Here.

These where the games I had the most fun with in 2016 and also the ones that came out with the highest review scores. Now that 2016 is over, I am looking forward to gaming in 2017. There looks to be a lot of promising games coming out this year. So lets all just keep on gaming!