Hoot Hoot! Where my Owls at? Do they know what you're playing this weekend? Is it Red Dead Redemption 2 like the rest of the world? You sheeple, you're no Owls! You're a bunch of Sheep in Cowboy's clothing that's what you are. Us Owl folk know this.Read more
In the late summer of 1998, Cartoon Network began airing episodes of an obscure (in the US at the time) nine-year-old anime series called Dragon Ball Z. The show was an immediate hit. In fact, so immense was its popularity, that it nearly single-handedly brought anime (and manga) into the mainstream in America. When I was introduced to the series in the early autumn of '99, I was instantly hooked. Watching DBZ became a daily afternoon ritual with my buddy at the time. And I didn't stop there. Over the next few years I amassed a small collection of Dragon Ball Z paraphernalia including t-shirts, posters, action figures, and even VHS tapes and DVDs.
The first licensed video game to come out following the show's US debut was the Dimps-developed fighting game, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai. After it came to the GameCube in 2003, I pretty much jumped at the chance to try it out. After all, if there ever existed a property just screaming for a truly awesome fighting game adaptation, it was Dragon Ball Z. Sadly, however, Dimps wasn't quite up to the task.
Budokai was a bit of a let down. It didn't really do proper justice to the series. Despite this fact (and the tepid reviews), Dimps was allowed to go right on churning out a slew of lackluster, half-hearted sequels, year after year, for well over a decade. With so many titles that lacked even so much as a hint of additional effort or enthusiasm from Dimps, and no sign of a developer change on the horizon, it seemed like Dragon Ball Z was doomed to an eternity of uninspired shovelware video games.
In 1994, after years of jealously playing Sega Genesis games at other people's houses (Sonic the Hedgehog, in particular), I finally decided to plunk down the allowance I'd managed to save up and buy the system for myself. I only took two games home with me that day and they were both Sonic titles, Sonic Spinball (a pack-in game that was included with the system) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Despite the fact that Sonic 2 had already been available for two years by that point, I hadn't actually had the opportunity to play it yet, myself.
When I got home and popped it into my shiny new Genesis, I was mesmerized. Seeing that beautiful Emerald Hill Zone level was just like the first time I had seen the Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1, a few years earlier. Both times, I was blown away. The first Sonic game had turned the gaming world completely upside down, and the second, not only managed to recapture that same magic, but improve on it enough to stand on its own. But while the other great Sonic games from those Genesis days (Sonic 3, Sonic CD, and Sonic & Knuckles) were all more or less equally good, none of those games could really manage to pull off quite that same awe-inspiring first impression.
In the time since those 2-D glory days, many other Sonic games have come to many other consoles. Many have come in 3-D, some in 2, and some have even featured a mix of both; and while certain titles may have been arguably better than others, not one of them has even come close to reaching the lofty heights of the originals. None of them, that is, until now...
So back in May this year I started paying attention to a pretty intriguing new title that was commonly billed as a Cyberpunk Dark Souls. I looked at web sites, I watched trailers and kept an eye on forums and soon beyond a shadow of a doubt I knew that The Surge was for me. Read more
Way back in 2010 Vigil released Darksiders, a game that followed a Metroidvania style of play. I remember very clearly being totally enthralled by the atmosphere then and guys, it's still awesome. Stay with me and I'll tell you what I thought about this newest remaster from developers, Vigil Games and Kaiko and publisher, THQNordic. Read more
Well boys and girls it's almost the 2nd Month of the Year, which means its time to play four games in your backlog that you haven't finished yet! In Other words, its Time for 4 In February!!!
Alright so I guess I'm late to the party here but after much anticipation of the Warmastered Edition's release date tomorrow (the 25th of October) it turns out there's been a delay.
According to THQ Nordic, they'll be pushing back the release until November 29th for PC and November 22nd for console. Unfortunately there were no reasons given for the push back but it looks like we'll have to wait another month to jump back into War's Story.
My original article can still be read below, and you can bet that I'm still excited for this one.
Original Article Oct. 13th
You guys know I really like Darksiders from my review of Darksiders 2: Dethinitive Edition that I did did a few months back right? Well, not terribly long ago Nordic Games also announced the remaster of the original Darksiders called the Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, and it's live on October 25th.
I'll certainly be picking this one up. Darksiders was a killer title when it came out and it was one of the first games I got when I built my PC back in 2011. I'm really excited for this one especially if it's anywhere near as good as the last remaster Nordic did for the series.
The Warmastered Edition will be available for PS4 and Xbox One, boasting 1080p at 60 fps. There will also be a Wii U version that will be capped at 30 fps. For those of us who flex our PC muscles, we'll get up to 4k resolution and lots of additional video and control options. All versions of the game will be treated to improved textures and post processing as well as better shadows etc. There won't be any new content but it should still be vastly improved over the original Darksiders, and that's ok with me -I'm very important.
We'll get all the improvements and badassery one would expect from a current gen remaster for the so good price of $20. I can't wait to see how it is and write extensively about it in one of my all too long reviews that I occasionally bore you all with. Of course the rumor mill is still churning with speculation that these remasters are in fact a test for the audience reception of a possible Darksiders 3. One can only hope.
Original Posting: May 3rd
Well guys, CD Projekt Red is releasing the newest and final expansion for Witcher 3 pretty soon. It was originally stated that it would arrive in the first half of 2016. I for one am looking very forward to it and I've been holding off on playing the Hearts of Stone expansion because I want to go back to back on both stories. More information is coming on May 10th and I'll try to update this article as soon as I learn more.
This latest expansion is called Blood and Wine, and it will take Geralt and Roach to the seemingly peaceful lands of Toussaint; a place where the war has yet to reach, but hides a "bloody secret". Toussaint is said to be as big as all of the Skellige Isles combined and promises to provide us fans with an addition 20 hours of play time with new creatures and quests and even a new Gwent deck.
Blood and Wine will mark the finale of the Witcher as a whole and it looks to be as fine a way to do so as any. Speaking of series finales, this one will probably be one of the only things that gets me away from Dark Souls 3 for a while, until it's expansion content comes around later this year anyway.
It'll be released on all supported platforms at the same time, thank god, no bullshit timed exclusivity purchase that comes with a useless hat or some such nonsense. Now to wait for Cyberpunk 2077 and see if Yoda0vgs and I have speculated correctly that Ciri has some involvement there.
Update: May 10th
The official release date for Blood and Wine is confirmed to be May 31st. It's also said that this final expansion will add an extra 30 hours to the game, approximately, through the main and side quest lines. You can also expect to a new "point of interest" system and it sounds like Geralt will even get a house to live in.
Of course if you own the Witcher 3 season pass, you'll just get your copy when it's released at the end of this month. If you didn't participate in a season pass, then you can buy a digital copy separately for $19.99. Or if you prefer, you'll also be able to get ahold of a physical copy for $29.99 that will include the Northern Realms and Nilfgaard, Gwent decks along with a game guide and Gwent tokens to use while you play. The physical copy is supposedly a limited edition so grab one while you can I suppose, even though I'm fairly sure the chances of running out of boxed copies is slim.
This is supposed to be Geralt's last Witcher game. Maybe that means some time in the future we'll see Ciri get her own Witcher title, maybe? Or perhaps it's over forever. In any case it's been a blast and I for one have been looking forward to Blood and Wine since I first heard about it. Gonna be great I'm sure.
...And it was great! Here's my review of this very underrated title.
As always, click an image to full size it.
Ok, so back in November of 2015 Nordic Games released the Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition. There was a customer loyalty package that was a bit controversial. It involved different tiers of ownership allowing different levels of discounts for the game including a free version for certain folks. Anyway, long story short, turns out I still had to pay for it, and I strongly considered not buying it at all. Albeit this fee for me was minimal at a mere $6.00, why would I spend money on a game that I already had?Well, I'll tell you what made me pull the trigger and buy it. THQ (the original owners of Darksiders IP) filed for Bankruptcy back in 2012 so that meant no more Darksiders for us fans. This was a sad day. So, Nordic Games picked up ownership along with some of the original folks from Vigil Games, now called Gunfire Games, and remastered Darksiders 2. They released that as the Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition. This is the game itself along with all the DLC in one package remastered for 1080p and 60fps. All this is great, but the kicker for me was that this release was also an experiment in people's interest in the Darksiders series in general because Nordic wants to plan Darksiders 3.
Awesome, I want Darksiders 3. I bought the game for the modest $6.00 and I hope, hope, hope, that a lot of other folks did too so that we get a 3rd title. And to anyone out there with the same interest or even a passing interest in the series, I want to suggest the purchase. It's $30 on Steam, you'll get the game, some special weapons and armors that are genuinely useful for your play through. You'll also get three bonus campaigns that yield even more rewards and around six to eight hours of extra content. It's worth the buy even if you don't care about the continuation of the series.Ok boring blah blah information over. Let's talk about the game now.
So we ended the first Darksiders with War in serious trouble from the bosses, what with allegedly beginning an unsanctioned apocalypse and all. You know... that old chestnut. Well, in Darksiders 2 you'll play as the Rider of Death. Now, Death believes his Brother War, is innocent and it's all a setup. So he sets out to prove the facts and ends up battling for the very existence of many worlds. His journey takes him through the Forgelands of the Makers, through barren plains of the Realm of the Dead, to the pious towers of the Angels, the black evil world of Demonkind, and even Earth itself.Death finds allies and enemies everywhere he goes but his mindset is only that he must help his brother War, any way that he can. Characters are thought out and each one has meaning and an impact on the story. Death himself, voiced by Michael Wincott, is an extremely memorable character. On the one hand he is a genuinely scary guy, he has little patience, he's known everywhere as being capable of terrifying power even though the story itself exclaims he's never at full strength throughout the game, and he rides a very scary horse named Despair. On the other hand, Death is an honorable individual, one could argue the he's even caring as he desperately wants to save his brother's very soul. He's reasonable and has no interest in needlessly killing. Death also carries a lot of emotional conflict but I don't want to spoil things for those who haven't played yet.Ok, so if Zelda and Kratos met at a cocktail party and they snuck up stairs to find an unlocked room and then did it on every surface resulting in a nine month gestation period that produced a child with properties of both parents, that's Darksiders 2. Death is a badass, powerful and respected, even feared everywhere he goes. But getting wherever he goes requires platforming, collecting items, keys, treasures, and of course slaying countless monsters, demons, and bosses while traversing many worlds. If you haven't guessed yet, this is a 3rd person ARPG. Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition, is full of action and exploration with a fair amount of puzzle solving as well.Combat is a very functional and fun combination of skill and button mashing. Death has a moves list and can even talk to a trainer to gain more advanced move based attacks. There are two skill trees in the leveling system that give Death abilities as he levels up. He's got the Harbinger tree, which focuses on raw strength, critical strikes and heavy melee damage to defeat his Foes. On the other side Death has the Necromancer tree which focuses more on arcane damage, self shielding and summoning allies for help defeating his enemies. Weapons and armor are varied and will reflect those skills. Death's main weapons are of course his double scythes, fast and versatile in battle. He'll also find secondary weapons in the form of slower two handed axes, hammers, glaives, and various fist weapons that allow for fast attacks and damage reduction. On top of that there are tons of models for all of these, so it never feels boring. Death also acquires his brother Strife's pistol, Redemption allowing for quick ranged attacks. All of these weapons and abilities can be used in combination during combat making fights a shit load of fun. Worth noting as well for those of us who are just sick of it, is that there are quite happily no quick time events in Darksiders 2. The closest we get to that is when Death weakens a foe enough to execute them. This will mark the enemy and when the player hits the "interact" button Death will instantly kill that enemy in a dramatic fashion. Or the occasional button mash to break free of being frozen in place, but thankfully this title lets us players fight our own battles.
During the game's story Death also procures special abilities that help him traverse the world and can even help in combat. These abilities will also unlock access to items and chests and hidden areas in places he's already been. Exploration is very helpful, look in every corner, nook and cranny. For a lot of people this game mechanic is tedious, but I'll say now that backtracking is minimal and totally optional. I for one love this mechanic when it's handled properly and Darksiders 2 certainly did that, the rewards can be immensely helpful. Graphics in the Dethinitive Edition, are remastered and they look great. This game is a few years old now, and that's evident just because of the limitations of the game's engine. But man it's held up well. Textures and lighting are great, especially for a game of it's age with no tessellation and little to no displacement mapping. Check out the great bump mapped surfaces here in this image below. Get up close to that wall and turn the camera though and you'll see it's just a plain flat surface.
The only complaint I have speaking to graphics is that there are times when this game doesn't really gel with the newer shaders supported by todays GPU's, resulting in some very occasional pixelation. Really though, this is nit picking.
Level design is fluid and interesting, and each area is filled with super cool visuals. The art direction is stylized and really one of my favorite types of presentation. The folks in charge of creature design deserve medals. Some of the lesser monsters seem kind of generic but I'm talking about things like skeletons here, and really how many differences can one put in to a skeleton. My favorite creatures are the enormous leviathans that are forced into servitude by the Lord of Bones and made to pull his ghost ship through the skies of the Realm of the Dead. Death's horse Despair, looks appropriately scary. A sort of emaciated, undead animal surrounded by a swirling cloud of captured souls. Character design in general is really cool, everyone from the Makers to the Demon Lords are uniquely built.Speaking of characters, let's talk about them a bit, hopefully without spoiling anything for anyone who has yet to play this great title. I'll start with the Makers. These ancient peoples live in the Forge Lands and are responsible for the creation of many worlds. They're a spiritual but pragmatic bunch, and are basically big mountain dwarves.
Next a brief talk of the Undead Lords in the Realm of the Dead. Well, very brief really. I can't say much about them without loosing spoilers on the unsuspecting. Other than to say that they are a spectral bunch who Death struggles to get along with.
The Angels of Lost Light, are not the typical bright and holy beings people believe them to be. Instead they're more like zealotous soldiers for their great Archon. They are also the sole occupants of the now post apocalyptic Earth that War, left behind. Tenuous allies, but allies none-the-less.
The Black Stone is home to the Demon Lords. These folks are few and about as trustworthy as one could expect. Unfortunately this is an area that Death spends very little time in. This kind of sucks because there's a really great game mechanic here that isn't used anywhere else.
Music is also very nice in Darksiders 2, in the fact that most of it is just there for ambience, playing subtly in the background providing mood for each area. During combat it's a bit more in the foreground, which makes sense, since the mood focuses on what's happening right now in fight situations. And in fact there's a soundtrack for sale separately for $5.00.
Dialogue options are usually pretty clear and voice acting is very good. Each character has something unique to contribute to Death's story, so talk to everyone. Quest lines are easy to follow and marked clearly on both the world and local maps. Fast travel is available from the overworld map itself but the way it's handled takes some getting used to. Instead of clicking on where you want to go, you'll have to drag the entire map to align the location with a sort of box type crosshair. Once that's done you'll have the opportunity to select it for travel. This of course doesn't work in combat but it can be pretty convenient because if you're in a dungeon and find yourself full of inventory items, or perhaps out of health potions you can fast travel from right where you are to a safe area. This will leave a waypoint where you were in the dungeon to travel back to once you've restocked supplies and sold your overburden lessening down time greatly.Like every game, this one has it's issues. The platforming for instance is pretty polished, but it's not perfect. There are times when climbing a surface that controls may be less than responsive while trying to leap to another, or just let go. There's nothing game breaking about this, it's just a slight frustration. Even if Death falls off a ledge to his...uhh...death, it's no big deal. He just respawns nearest to where he leapt off as he can be, with no penalties other than having to get back to where he needs to go. He is Death afterall, pretty hard to kill a guy who is the personification of the action. This game is also very good with its autosaves. Which is nice because I experienced a few game crashes here and there for which I could never find a pattern. It was rare but it happened, and seemingly at random.
UPDATE: I may have found a pattern to the seemingly random crashes in-game. They seem to happen only during combat and so far the pattern seems to be during a particularly damaging "Harvest" attack that hits a large group of enemies. I've been able to re-create the situation a couple of times now. Let me know in comments if anyone else has found this to be true as well. -Thanks.And of course there must be the obligatory area that everyone hates to have to do. That particular place in Darksiders 2 is called the Soul Arbiter's Maze, and luckily for all of us it's totally optional. I highly recommend completing this section of the game anyway because the rewards are worth it. There are map pages throughout the dead realm that tell you exactly how to get through, it's just that the maze itself is tedious. So here's the rundown. You'll enter the maze and be warned that once you start you can't leave unless you complete it or die trying. That statement refers to each stage of the maze, not the entire maze itself. You'll spawn into a circular arena with cardinal directions posted around you. The objective is to fight all the enemies that challenge you in the room to unlock the exit portals and then travel in the direction you need to go. Each room is the same as the last for each section and you'll gain zero experience for combat in any of them except the boss room. This is done to prevent level farming but it still blows. Each stage has an optional secret that you can reach by going in the proper direction before you progress downward and the rewards can be very helpful. There is no reverse travel. So I'll lay out a stage arbitrarily to provide an example. Enter room: fight monsters, travel North, repeat the previously stated, travel West, repeat, travel South, Open secret chest and collect reward. Enter room, fight monsters, travel West, repeat, travel North, repeat, travel North, repeat, travel West, progress to next stage. If Death is defeated or makes a wrong turn he must start the entire stage over. There are ten stages of this and then a boss. It's slow, boring, tedious work but there is a reason to do it.
This brings me to boss battles, which are really well thought out, great fights that include mechanics and require strategies to complete successfully. This can be anything from learning when to dodge an attack, or run in a circle and avoid projectiles, to using special acquired abilities at the proper moment. Every boss encounter is satisfying to play out. Perhaps one of the first actual bosses you'll see comes from a side quest and is an elemental construct called Gorewood. It's a hulking swamp monster that hits like a truck and also fires a sort of homing projectile that will engulf Death and root him in place while doing damage over time and the player must mash a button to break free. So learning the battle is pretty fun. The fight takes place in a semi-watery open area. You'll learn the telegraphs and when to dodge Gorewood's physical attacks and fight back when you can, and you'll also learn that the projectile is avoidable. If Death can't avoid the projectile it's best to make sure he's on a dry spot in the area when it hits him since the DoT won't hurt Death if he's on dry land. He'll still be stuck in place, but won't take a potentially fight ending amount of damage. Every boss is unique and everyone has their favorites, one of my personal favorites is The Wailing Host boss, but I won't go into the fight.One of the great things about Darksiders 2 is that there's a new game plus mode. I've always had love for that option. Also beating the campaign unlocks new difficulty modes that differ from the difficulty slide bar in the options menu. New game plus is necessary to complete an area called The Crucible, another optional arena with waves of monsters, though not as tedious as the Soul Aribiter's Maze. This one has 100 levels and a boss, but it contains legendary items and there's no maze aspect. I started new game plus a day or so ago and I'm still loving the time spent playing.Ok, ok, that's about enough from me on this title so I'll go ahead and conclude this. Would I recommend Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition? Yes, I think it's worth the current asking price of $30.00 and if you don't agree then I imagine it'll be on sale here and there so keep an eye out. It's definitely worth playing through at least once, and so by the way is the first Darksiders game. War is whole different animal than Death and his story and struggle is just as interesting to go through. I really hope Nordic will bring a 3rd installment to the table and do so without changing too much of what makes this series great. Rumor has been going around and I've even seen articles that claim to confirm it, but provide no real confirmation. Guys, if you like great story telling, gear hunting, and exploration of well designed visually impressive areas, then you'll love this game.
System Requirements for Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition are as follows:
OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 (64bit)
Processor: 2.0Ghz Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor or AMD equivalent
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA 9800 GT 512 MB Video Card or AMD equivalent
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 13 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible Sound card
OS: Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 (64bit)
Processor: Any Quad-core AMD or Intel Processor
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 512MB Video Card or AMD equivalent
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 13 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible Sound card
Well as with everything fun and exciting, there must be an end. Just Cause 3 has been recently finished and it held its share of surprises. This was a fun one guys, read on for my thoughts on this crazy destruction sandbox game.
A quick run down for those who don't already know: Just Cause 3, is an open world action adventure game where you play as Dictator Removal Specialist, Rico Rodriguez. Your goal? To liberate the island Nation of Medici from an oppressive ruler by destroying all the government infrastructure you can see by any means you have at your disposal.So that's the plot in a nutshell. Though even with the very close similarities between all the games in this series, Just Cause 3 actually has a little deeper story. You'll just have to work a bit to see it told, as the games story missions only cover the necessary elements to get you through to the end. The rest of the finer details are found through collecting scraps of an audio diary told from the perspective of the dictator himself, Sebastiano Di Ravello. We even get to learn some of Rico's own history in this game. Now, this is certainly not story telling on the level of let's say The Witcher series, but for an action arcade, "being a badass" game Just Cause 3 is actually pretty interesting.
Even some of the characters in this title are a little more fleshed out and memorable. We meet Rico's childhood friend Mario Frigo, early on and he's a kind of sleezy, weasel of a guy but he's actually pretty likeable as well. He wants to be at the forefront of the action right along with Rico, but he possesses none of the skills so he tends to be the guy Rico looks after more than the guy he fights along side. But even though he's a bit of hindrance, Mario plays a lasting part in the story and is really a true friend to Rico. I don't want to go in too deep so I don't spoil it for anyone who's interested in the game. It's just nice to have relatable characters in a game where causing havoc with no regard to safety is the main goal. By the way the image below is not of Mario, just a couple more interesting folks.So back on day one of the release I mentioned things like long load screens and lots of cut scenes etc. that slow down the games movement and kind of break up the flow. Well, the good thing is that after the initial training and first couple of missions you're free to go about your business however you see fit. This helps to minimise load screens and it's pretty cool to be able to go anywhere at any time and even just skip the story mode if you choose to. There are only a few large military bases that pretty much have to be liberated by playing the story missions. Freedom of exploration has always been a big deal in this series and it's good that Just Cause 3 has kept that going.Something else I mentioned in my first impression that I should revise here is that the main enemy in the game is the Di Ravello Militia. So the game has you literally fighting DRM. But when you start the game up it logs you in to your Square Enix account and makes you take part in leaderboard nonsense and what have you. One could argue as I did that is in fact drm in itself. However even with all the seemingly mandatory login stuff it's not actually mandatory. Here's why. So you start the game, and before you even get menu options, you're logged in. However if your login fails for some reason or you happen to lose your connection in game, it makes no difference. You're not kicked out to the main menu or removed from play, instead you just can't take part in the leaderboards until the connection is reestablished. So yes, drm in the fact that you have no choice in being connected or not, but not drm in the fact that if you do lose a connection you can still play in offline mode. The worst of it is that the game will pause while it tries to reconnect, this only takes a few moments and also only when you open your map which effectively pauses the game anyway so who cares. For PC at least, you'll even be able to go into offline mode through Steam and still play with the same results, just no leaderboards. So in my opinion this is in fact pretty well handled drm-ish material and has little to no effect on game play.
So, on to the fictional Island of Medici. This is a really pretty place guys. The landscape is beautiful and feels very natural. You'll see these really lovely cliffs and hills, fields dotted with ancient ruins and small charming Mediterranean coastal villages filled with people going about their every day lives. You'll see folks driving on the roads, working fields on tractors, tourists taking selfies and talking on cell phones it all feels very normal and work-a-day until you hear the propaganda being spouted by speakers mounted near buildings and on vans driving around town. You'll see billboards and statues dedicated to the vanity of Di Ravello. Militia will always be near by, armed and ready to strong arm anyone who steps out of line. This is a beautiful place idyllic in it's very nature, but everywhere you look there is a military presence. It really sets the mood, and puts you in the shoes of a guy who can make a difference.Graphically, this is a wonder. Just Cause 3 has a 400 square mile, seamless map. View distances are great, you can literally see for miles. The ocean surrounding Medici is one of the best and most real feeling I've seen in a game. You'll be able to see deep in to the water and watch the waves roll in. The further out you look you'll see white caps and larger swells. The lighting is wonderful and volumetric. Clouds and trees cast rays when the sun is behind them. When it rains everything gets wet and after the storm has passed you're left with puddles in the roads that dry slowly over time. Get in a helicopter and hover it close to the ground and you'll see dust fly and vegitation fluttering under the heavy wind it causes. Likewise with water. The UI is a little noisy, it makes sure to put everything right in your face so you can see it, but it's not too tough to tune out once you get used to it. Particle effects are of course amazing, because you can't give players the option to blow up everything from gas cans to fuel storage tanks to mega sized bucket wheel excavators without having excellent particle effects. The game runs great as well, very optimised. I experienced very few frame drops overall, which is saying a lot for a game with a map this big running at max settings.
My system is a few years old now with a couple of more modern upgrades but I'm running an AMD Phenom 2, 3.3gz 6 core 1100T processor coupled with an AMD XFX R9 280x GPU with 3 gigs on board video ram and 16gigs of 1600 mhz system ram. Also my games drive is a standard 7200 rpm, 2 terabyte HDD, so I don't even have the added access speed from an SSD. For those who can utilize it, this game also supports 4k resolution.A side note here, the devs put in these cool tributes to loved ones. I just feel this is worth mentioning.There were some initial issues for us AMD users who had these crazy tears in the world due to some updates that came from the new Crimson graphics drivers themselves. I showed a screenshot of that back here. This wasn't Avalanche's fault everyone, leave them alone in that matter and keep in mind that a fix is in the works. For me and many others the latest beta driver updates from AMD fixed the issue. This wasn't case for everyone, but reverting to older drivers should fix that problem as well.
Sounds are also super good. Wind whips through your ears while you're parachuting or wingsuiting. Cars and boats have great engine noises, aircraft are loud and very realistic. You'll have the chance on many occasions to just stand there and listen to jet take off from a runway and I suggest doing it. Weapon noises and explosions sound pretty convincing as well. Overall there's a very visceral feeling to it all.
Gameplay itself is fun, even though there are really only a few things to do to progress in the game. It's a matter of how you go about doing those things that gives Just Cause 3 it's variety. You can choose to assault a base on foot with the good old run and gun up close and personal attitude, which works just fine and is a lot of fun. You can also assault that same base by jumping in a stolen military tank and firing cannon rounds at everything, also very satisfying. You can fly in with a helicopter and fire rockets or missiles, or swoop in on a bomber and crater the place. You can skydive from a cliff overlooking it all and just parachute in guns blazing, throwing grenades and liberate the whole place without ever touching the ground. These and many other ways to accomplish your goals will help remove some of the repetitiveness that can take place when the excitement of having an infinite parachute, a retractable grappling hook and access to pretty much any weapon and vehicle you want wears off. I mean, honestly would you just walk up to an enemy and shoot them with your pistol to get the job done? Or would you instead take a liking to spearing them with a grappling hook then attaching the other end to a near by gas bottle so you can shoot that then sit back and watch the guy rocket hundreds of feet in the air ending in an explosion that happens to bring down an enemy helicopter that was flying too close? If you chose the first option then you're better off going back to Halo or something.
I never noticed the game to be particularly difficult. Most enemies aren't very tough, and Rico can take a lot of punishment. Even if you are defeated, your progress up to that point is saved so it means very little. I guess I'm saying if you're looking for a challenge, this isn't really going to scratch that itch. But if you want to have fun in a great and many times even humorous setting, this is your jam. Just Cause 3 gives players a few more options than just liberating bases and towns. You'll unlock challenges that earn you points toward improving the effectiveness of your gear. There are daredevil jumps when the goal is to grab a car or motorcycle and drive super fast off a big ramp over a thousand foot drop and score points based on how cool you did it. There's also a bomb blast mode where you'll be given a vehicle with a big bomb that will explode if you drive to slow, but if you make it to your goal and bail out before it explodes it will just blow the absolute crap out of the enemy you're targeting. And... you can choose to drive that vehicle in to a military base if you wish and blow that up instead. There are wing suit courses, plane and helicopter courses and boat races. There's this really cool grappling hook trial where you're given a vehicle and what equates to a magnet. You attach the magnet to the vehicle and drive around collecting a mineral to drop in a pit while the military is trying to blast you away. The goal of all these challenges is to unlock things for your gear, I.E. stronger cables for your grappling hook, and different modes for your planted explosives etc. After you beat the game you can even revert towns and bases to their oppressed state so you can liberate them again. Awesome replay-ability.
I'd also Like to give props to the design teams. They actually made some original and really cool vehicles for this game. Plus if you can see it, you can drive it. Just bring it to a garage and Mario will chop it for you allowing the rebels to drop it wherever you may need it. This includes all vehicles: cars, motorcycles, boats, tanks, planes and helicopters. A rebel drop will also give you weapons and ammo if you so choose. To get a rebel drop you'll need to use a beacon that Rico throws on the ground. These beacons are refillable at various places throughout Medici.Something I just can't stand about the game though is a thing like, $25 dlc on day one of release. This of course spans more than just the Just Cause 3 game, it's a widespread problem. Xcom 2 will also have day one dlc, in fact it's on sale already and the game's now due out until February. This is just in general a bad way to release games. There's no reason why these skins and color changes shouldn't be unlocked through playing a game we've already purchased. Especially because if developers have the time to create dlc that goes on sale immediately, then they should be able to release a bug-free product (ahem, Bethesda). And what's with the prices guys? At least make the incentive to buy worth it.
Anyway, my play through took me around 60 hours. This is a pretty good play value in my opinion. The story itself is probably only worth about 12 to 15 hours of play time if you just skip the liberations and blow through story mode only. However this is a game about being awesome. Think of Rico as a character from the Expendables movies. Of course you're gonna blow shit up! This is rediculous fun that had me actually laughing and wide eyed through most of it.
Would I recommend Just Cause 3? Yes, I would certainly recommend it. If you're looking for mindless fun or a playable action movie this is your game. As well as the other Just Cause titles. I might suggest waiting for a sale only because if you've played the other games in the series then you've played this one as well. But I definitely liked Just Cause 3 and I'm sure you guys will too.
System requirements for Just Cause 3 are as follows.
OS: Vista SP2 / Windows 7.1 SP1 / Windows 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
Processor: Intel Core i5-2500k, 3.3GHz / AMD Phenom II X6 1075T 3GHz
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 (2GB) / AMD Radeon HD 7870 (2GB)
Storage: 54 GB available space
OS: Vista SP2 / Windows 7.1 SP1 / Windows 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz / AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 (3GB) / AMD R9 290 (4GB)
Storage: 54 GB available space
Here are some more screens from Medici. Just stuff too cool not to share.