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
So, PS4 Isn’t Region Locked… Right?
Well yeah technically that's true. The PlayStation 4 itself can play any title from any region. But good luck if you change regions and make a new account, or in my case, buy DLC in your current region for a physical copy of a title that happens to be from another. You're rolling the dice.
First Let Me Explain
I'm a PC guy, have been since the 90's. Sure I owned a PS2 and when it died I bought a slim one in like 2005 I think it was, in order to replace it. Aside from that though I haven't owned or really even wanted to own a current gen console. I have nothing against them mind you, they're more affordable and generally stable while having a large library of games and apps to use nowadays. Except for shooters. Ugh, controller shooting vs. mouse and keyboard... there's just no contest.
Anyway, for Christmas I was gifted a PS4 slim with a few games that have interested me but I couldn't play since they aren't on PC. One of those is the super impressive Horizon Zero Dawn. I'm way into this game: Beautiful world, good writing and a pretty decent story. This new PS4 impresses me actually. Boot times are fairly quick and it's pretty easy to use even for a PC guy like myself who is unfamiliar with the OS layout.
So a few days back I received a ten dollar gift credit from PlayStation to use by the end of this month. "Cool", I thought. "I should buy the Frozen Wilds DLC for Horizon". And I did. The download happened over night and the next day I went for the install. I was all excited about making my first purchase on the PlayStation Store and seeing how it all works for what really was the first time. But instead of installing I get a message: (paraphrasing) "Game content not found. Would you like to open the PlayStation store?"
Now I'm confused. Why wouldn't this work? The purchase was confirmed and the download was successful. So I cancelled the install and started the download again thinking that maybe something just didn't gel. Four hours later I tried the install again and got the same message. Now by this time I'm 35 plus hours into Horizon so I know and PlayStation knows full well that I have the game content installed on the machine. So I boot the ol' PC and hit the interwebs for information.
As it turns out my copy of Horizon Zero Dawn has a European region code. Here's how that works: A code beginning with CUSA followed by five digits, is a Canada USA - North American region code. If that same CUSA code is followed by a second line of seven more digits, making twelve in total, then that code is European. Meaning of course that your copy is an EU version even though it says CUSA on the case.
Now, the PS4 itself is not region locked. If I moved to another country I would be able to bring my PS4 and buy games from that country and play them on my account. The problem is that games and DLC follow a country code. Meaning my USA region games will never, ever be compatible with another country's region DLC. Such is the case for me. No matter what I do I can never use the DLC I bought for the game I own without it costing me more money and needing to start the game over from scratch because of course save games are also not compatible cross region.
Getting Things Worked Out
Of course I decided that I didn't want to just eat the money I spent on a product that I couldn't use so I began trying to contact PlayStation Support in order to straighten this out. First let me say that if you've never had to do this before it's a giant pain the ass to get ahold of them. You'll have to navigate a few screens before you'll be able to contact anyone regarding any issue. Most of what you'll see are Twitter FAQs and search bars but if you dig a little you'll see a topics button that can be expanded thus bringing up an option of refunds that again will have to be expanded opening a screen with yet another link about how to get a refund that will show a couple of options. There is no "contact us" link, no way to email customer support to open a ticket, and only with some scrolling will you find an 800 number to call, (1-800-345-7669) by the way. But I chose to try the live chat with customer support.
I had to provide the proper information including my linked email and account ID etc. Understandable as they need to verify who I am and whatnot. Once I got that done I was placed in line in order to talk to someone and to their credit it only took a few minutes. I was placed in a chat room with a friendly agent called Melissa who promptly refunded my purchase and answered a few questions for me. Below is the transcript of my chat.So I did get a quick refund from a perfectly pleasant agent but again, there's no option for me aside from buying a new, US version of the game in order to play the Frozen Wilds DLC. An exchange, as was suggested, is basically out the question as the closest brick and mortar store is about 75 miles from my house and this was a gift anyway so the reciepts are long gone. Not to mention Sony doesn't offer a change of region as a service at all so that's never happening.
I also found out that most games don't ever have this issue. It's usually the game developer and publisher who decide if title should have a region lock. So it's even more strange to me that this game, Horizon Zero Dawn, a PlayStation exclusive title that happens to be published by Sony, would have this problem. I'll say with certainty that from now on any new games I buy will be through the PlayStation store in order to make 100% sure that I'm getting content I can fully use.
Yoda’s Top 10 Things From 2017
Well 2017 sure as hell was a year. Could have certainly gone better in many ways, for lots of people. But at least there was no shortage of great art to get lost in throughout the year. These are my favorites across many mediums. And yeah, not as many games as usual this year for me. But damn do I look forward to catching up on this years backlog, gaming had a good year.
Before we dive right into my favorite things though, I do have a couple shout outs.
Paragon by Epic Games
Paragon is a game so good it could easily be within the top five on my list. But it’s in early Access. I have nothing else to say.
Sunday Rain by Foo Fighters
I would have loved nothing more than to include the entire new Foo Fighters album somewhere on this list. But unfortunately the Foo Fighters 8th full length album is too long for its own good. You would think that only barely coming in over 45 minutes would mean they trimmed all the fat off the record, but no. Yeah they’re getting up there in age, so I’m aware all the songs can only go to a certain tempo, and the arrangements can’t be as complicated as they once were, but they should still be creative. There are whole songs that could easily be cut from the album. None of them are bad, and the album as a whole is MUCH better than the god-awful ‘Sonic Highways’ from 2015.
'I, I, I am a river
I, I, I am your river
I, I, I am a river
I, I, I am your river
I, I, I am a river
I, I, I am your river'
Yup. Those are real lyrics from the last album. Repeated about 5 times on the 7 minute song...
But songs like ‘Dirty Water’ or ‘T-Shirt’ just have no business being on the same album album as something like ‘Run’ or ‘Sunday Rain’. While a lot of the records big budget production sound definitely contrasts with the band's famous Lo-fi/Garage Band sound and tone, ‘Sunday Rain’ somehow seems to make them work well together. Much in the same way some of Zeppelin’s later efforts tried to imitate their more budget sounds from the early years.
Concrete and Gold definitely isn’t an overall miss. And songs like this show the band do still have some gems tucked away. But they could have put this record off another year and put together more tracks that would stand out in the discography. So I can’t recommend the whole record yet, maybe next time. But for now, I’ll cherish what I consider a song in their top ten best arrangements. Hopefully this politically charged album (You even named it 'Concrete and Gold', come on Dave you're more creative than that) will be a step back towards better record from this band again. I would hate for Wasting Light to be their last Great album. And maybe one day they'll get a spot on the list. But as it stands this year, they get one song from the record on my honorable mentions.
Logan by James Mangold
Well the Oscar nominations haven't been announced yet, but I'll be shocked if this one doesn't get at least a couple at least as a nod. Obviously this movie is a love letter from Hugh Jackman who gives what might be his most human performance I've seen from him in a film, despite being anything but human. Though it's really Stewart in this movie who should get an acting nomination if it has to be one or the other. Call me sentimental but I really think Logan might be the last truly Great comic book film under a Marvel Banner we see for a while. Now that Disney will be calling the shots with basically every property imaginable.
That aside Logan tells a very simple but relatable able story about aging, regret, purpose, and living with who you are. There are no shortage of great films this year though, and if I owned just the script to read I would more than likely include that on my list of things. For now however, I'll stay content with being able to dive deeper on this film when I inevitably re-watch it yet another time.
Nightbringers by Black Dahlia Murder
What a stellar return to form for this band. Now I didn’t mind Rituals at all, I thought it was a pretty sweet record actually, despite being so different for the band. But Nightbringers is easily my favorite of theirs since Nocturne. Songs like Jars and Widowmaker are some of the most fun I’ve had listening to a tune this year. But unfortunately for Black Dahlia Murder, they decided to be like one of 1,000 really amazing albums that came out this year, and I find myself listening to the others on my list far more than Nightbringers and the rest.
Anticult by Decapitated
Bands change the way the sound, the way they look, and the music they play. I have never understood the notion of a band “selling out” because they decide to play music that sounds completely different from their first album. Let’s put it this way kids, every artist you’ve ever paid money for, be it music or anything else, has sold out. You don’t except a single penny for art you’ve created unless you know you have. No, bands, like people can change over time. I won’t get into the history of Decapitated here, if you want to look through the wiki for a sad story feel free. Short story is they have moved pretty far from their Tech-Death Metal roots and into a more metal-core genre. But I didn’t care when Green Day grew out of being Punk kids, I didn’t care when Linkin Park grew out of being just angst, and I don’t care that Decapitated grew out of being Scary.
This is a fantastic record. 0% filler, and comes in just short enough that when it ends you just want to play the whole damn thing over again. I really wanted this on the list. But it ultimately just didn’t fit.
Okay shout outs went a tad longer but I really liked these things okay! Without further ado, here's the real list:
10. Wind River by Taylor Sheridan
This movie. Man. Wind River is one of those rare films that actually makes you want to learn more about a horrible situation about real people, in the real world, right after you watch it. Not only is the subject matter super relevant to what’s happening to a certain group of people in today’s world, but Wind River somehow manages to keep you engrossed entirely within itself for its run-time. You may be wondering why I’m not talking about the film’s details, well it’s because I didn’t know much going in to see it either. And I feel like the mystery within this film benefits greatly from that. I knew Jeremy Renner was in it, it took place in a frozen mountain town called Wind River, and I like frozen things and Jeremy Renner. So I went. I had a few people tell me on separate occasions it was really good so I already had some expectations for the film, but my god.
I know I already talked about how Hugh Jackman should get an award for Logan, but if Jeremy Renner doesn’t win a Oscar for his performance here, I’m not sure he ever will. Like I said I’ve always liked Renner as an actor, but I’ve never seen him really disappear into a character before. Well not only does he disappear, he becomes this character.
But the real hero of the film's accomplishment is Taylor Sheridan. Between this film, Sicario, Hell or High Water, and of course his work on Sons of Anarchy, this man is on the right path to become the next Tarantino. I implore you all to find Wind River. However you can see it, make sure you do.
9. Room Of Shadows by Pagan Alter
This is a band I didn’t get into until this year (I'm not a big Doom-Metal fan) and was really surprised by how much of their discography I liked so far. But Room of Shadows not only takes the cake as their best by my count, it’s also my second favorite album of the year. This record comes as a very bittersweet note however, as it is the band's last record after their vocalist passed away. As if the music itself wasn’t dower enough, the vocalist was the father of the lead Guitarist. They, along with their fellow band members, had been putting this album together for over 10 years when he passed. Leaving the rest of the band to work with what vocal tracks he had left in his absence, and build the record around those.
And holy shit, I’m not sure anyone could have made a better album under those circumstances. This is a magnum opus beyond compare. Terry Jones' Vocals are on point, and his son Alan's guitar melodies have an incredibly complimentary melancholy that can only be from someone who both wanted to mourn and celebrate his father. I cannot recommend this one enough. It truly belongs on the shelf of any fan of Black Sabbath, Doom Metal, or just great music in general.
8. Battlerite by Epic Games
Finally out of Early Access, Battlerite steps into the MOBA scen- --no no no--.
Finally out of Early Access, Battlerite steps into the Fighting Game scene with a really cool take on the genre as a whole. Using a top down perspective and 2v2 or 3v3 matches, Battlerite simulates the team fights that you have within games like Dota or League by literally just being about the fight. No random damage, no random chance abilities, no farming to get more powerful, and nothing standing in your way but yourself. Despite having some creative bankruptcy in the level design department, what’s there gets the job done. Leaving all the focus on the fighters you choose and how they interact with your teammate(s). This game is a blast to play.
While it may feel unfamiliar to a few fighting game vets at first, you will soon see there’s not much difference between this and a tag team mode in a 3d or 2d fighter. Just without the tagging in and out part. With a pretty decent free to play option, there’s really no excuse to not give Battlerite a try.
7. Date Nights / Last Rights by Tom King
This story comes out Batman Vol.3: Annual #2 (I know comics are weird) and you need to track it down. Lately Tom King has been a powerhouse in the comics industry. It wasn’t enough for the man to provide Marvel with 'Vision', their first book that is really the publisher's only required reading on the same level as DC’s Watchmen. Now King has been doing an excellent run on everyone’s favorite bat-themed superhero. Most of his arcs in the proper Bat book have been good to very good. ‘Date Nights’, and the second half ‘Last Rites’, just might combine to make his best story so far.
I can really only talk about the first half of this book without ruining it, but I may do a single issue review of it at some point. This is really a story worth talking about in more detail, but it’s not like the first half ‘Date Nights’ isn’t a blast all on it’s own. We get too see the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. How her shenanigans find a way into his life, the dynamic chemistry between the two. And of course the obvious cat and mouse game that grows from it.
The art here is just simply stunning. Evoking a classic Batman style with modern sensibilities. The final page of this book will knock you off your feet. Read it, if you can find it.
6. Horizon Zero Dawn
It didn’t take long for us to start seeing big studios taking hints from The Witcher 3 did it? Between Horizon and Assassins Creed this year, CD Projekt RED’s influence over the open world genre couldn’t be more obvious. Clearly this is a good thing, and Horizon Zero Dawn benefits from the influence in ways that don’t just obviously include the care side-quests are given or the way the environments actually have detail and care put into them.
Thankfully Horizon takes it’s biggest Witcher influence in how the characters you care about actually matter, and world is reflected on your choices tied directly to those characters. I mean I don’t think I need to talk about how incredibly well written the female characters in either game were. And yeah Aloy joins Ciri as one of the greatest characters ever portrayed in a video game.
Plus I mean, robot dinosaurs! How can you not call this one of the best damn games of 2017!?
5. Ladybird by Greta Gerwig
I should hate, and I mean really hate, the editing in this movie. Most of the shots are roughly the same length, and scenes tend to be similar in length as well. This obviously results in the film moving at a very steady and relatively quick pace from start to finish. Obviously I'm generalizing here, not all shots and scenes are the exact same, but many are similar to each other. I should hate this, but I don’t. Not even a little bit. I think I love it, and I think it’s a large part of what makes this one of the best films I’ve ever seen about youth, family, and coming of age.
The style in which this film is edited makes it almost feel like a slideshow of someone’s life. Especially since a lot of scenes don’t start by leading you into them, instead opting to cast you into a deeply emotional moment within a character's life. The rare times you do get the sense of a scene slowly building toward such a moment, you know it’s going to be even more significant.
I have no doubt this film will be talked to death about in the years to come, and I seriously can’t think of another film that’s anything like it. This is a must see of the highest order, much like many of A24’s films. But while many of the small studio's works can divide audiences, I don't think I've ever met someone who wouldn't like Lady Bird.
4. Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
Sometimes you read something that doesn’t seen like it should exist as a comic. It feels more like actually events from someones very personal life story. Some parts of which I shouldn’t be looking at. Roughneck is the “story” of an ex-hockey playing superstar from a small town, now the local drunk and all around asshole. But was he ever not an asshole? Or is Derek living out the life he was meant to?
Well he tries to find out after his long gone sister returns to town. If only to escape her abusive boyfriend. But it’s her drug addiction that Derek really needs to help her past. In this story we see the two of them grow close again after years apart, while Lemire shows off what may be some of his best watercolor pieces to date. The near black and white frames use hints of color to accentuate key moments in the story. The only other scenes where the colors really pop, are scenes from the past. Further adding to the insult of what Derek's life has now become. Only able to see the beauty of life when thinking about his past nostalgia.
As Roger Ebert once said, "It's not what it's about, it's how it's about it." Lemire writes and draws this story in such a profound way you will feel exhausted after reading it. The fact the graphic novel seems so easily crafted only ads more weight to how he put this together. Lemire is pretty much the hardest working man in comics right now. So much so it wouldn’t shock me if there were two Lemires. But when his work almost always stays this consistently great across both art and story, it’s hard not to praise the man.
3. Blade Runner 2049 by Denis Villeneuve
When I first heard that Warner Brothers was committing sacrilege by making a sequel to the sci-fi film that practically invented the cult classic, I was furious. Not just because I love the original film like we all do, but because I really felt that ruining some of the mystery of Blade Runner would actually taint the story within it.
But when the director of Sicario, Prisoners, and Arrival was chosen to direct it, I saw a flicker of hope. A flicker that turned into a much brighter light when Hampton Fancher, the original film's screenwriter, would return to write the sequel. It was when Harrison Ford, after years of saying he would never do another, signed on board after seeing the script that I gained some damn high expectations.
So how is it? Well not only is it a rare sequel that retroactively improves the original by leaps and bounds, but it's also a far superior film in my eyes. The questions it asks the audience about the nature of humanity are far more important and interesting than whether or not Deckard is a replicant.
2049 also stands as a magnum opus for long time cinematographer Roger Deakins (Fargo, Shawshank Redemption, No Country For Old Men) who will most likely get his 14th nomination for his work this year. Yet a film can be beautiful and still fall flat, thankfully the screenplay never lets up. Nor do the incredibly stellar performances from really everyone.
Ford gives maybe his best acting performance in recent memory, he's actually awake for this one guys. Every actor really walks away with something they should be proud of.
This is not only the best sci-fi film of the year, it may be the best of the decade. I really thought this was going to be the director's first bad film. Well not only is it of the same incredibly high caliber quality, I think it's his best one yet.
2. Last Day of June by Ovosonico
****. Just, ****. You ever watch the movie ‘Up’? Love feeling like you want to die after the first ten minutes? Well step right up ************, have I got the game for you. Spreading out a similar theme throughout a couple hour long story, Last Day of June is my favorite video game of the year. With some Tim Burton-lite elements and a plot that’s sort of the first act of the book ‘The Time Machine’, this game uses story narrative structure to create a very cool puzzle game.
Without a single word of dialogue being spoken throughout the whole game, the writers evoked some really great emotionally driven elements here. I also need to wholeheartedly recommend the soundtrack for the game, even if you have no interest in ever playing it. And to think the whole concept was based on the art in a music video!!
Truly stunning work all around from a fairly small indy team. When you look at the story as a whole, and all the different ways elements interact, it’s really a very impressive accomplishment. Unfortunately like most games of this nature to talk too in depth about even it’s core mechanics would dive a tad too far into spoilers. So you all just need to trust me on this. Get this game. Now.
And now it's time for...
Last Minute Honorable Mentions!!
There are too many things. So here's a quick list of other things I want to mention that I liked a lot from 2017!!
Baby Driver by Edgar Wright
One More Light by Linkin Park
The Last Jedi by Rian Johnson
Forever by Code Orange
Cuphead by StudioMDHR
Wonder Woman by Patty Jenkins
Villains by Queens of the Stone Age
Okay I could go on Forever but I wont. So here's the thing I liked the most this year!!
1. The Dusk in Us by Converge
Three of my Five favorite bands of all time are still working today. Two of them released an album this year. It's just unfortunate only one made the list, and the other was Concrete and Gold. Thankfully Converge’s 2017 effort, The Dusk in Us, shows the world why Converge is just as beloved today as they were twenty years ago. This band has a really great habit of releasing albums that eerily feel like Jacob Bannon, the vocalist and album artist, wrote songs about the place I am within my life. Starting back when the album ‘No Heroes’ did that for me in ‘06, Converge has continued to be on my level with each new studio release. The Dusk in Us marks the band’s 9th studio album, five years since their last one in 2012. The wait was more than worth it.
“Our Denial it speaks in tongues, there’s monsters among us.” Much like the rest of the album, the title track speaks to the capacity for evil within the human race. But also how those who can quell it help others shine a light on our own shadows. Even the more abrasive songs like ‘Reptilian’ have this similar Superman-esk aspirations for hope and trophing the better bits of humanity.
“We must lose sight of the Shore to know what courage means. We must lose sight of who we are to know what we can be.”
It's been a long time since an album I've listened to has closed out with a song as strong as this one.
In year like 2017 where so much of the world became under fear of itself, leaving many to question what the future may hold, it’s great to get art showing how there is hope for those who seek it. While still acknowledging the world’s great ability to hide it. All while creating some of the most fascinating compositions the band has ever created. Even having songs be led with what seems like a drum cadenza for the strings to follow. Especially in ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’ where Koller’s ambidextrous drumming makes itself as clear as day without really having to fill every bar with as many notes as possible.
But if you let that trick you for even a second, think again, Converge still knows what their signature sound is, and can create the catchiest grooves while tearing your face off. All of the above comes together in my mind within ‘Cannibals’, the shortest song on the record.
Opening with an extremely complex blast-beat based arrangement, letting the strings shred a rhythm melody above it while Bannon reminds you of how easy he makes the most complicated vocal noises seem. Only to lead out the song almost as soon as it began with a fun guitar riff while the bass pairs up with Ben on a killer rhythm section. Just pure joy within the darkness. Even the nature of the song title plays against your expectations within itself, “We are all just cannibals if there is nothing left to love.” A fleeting thought about what separates us from our beasts within, changes and races just as rapidly as the song's various tempos.
Every song on this record has just as much and more to dive into and get lost in. Not a single track on the album is a waste of time. Just when you’re bummed how a really great song is ending, the next one starts and you fall in love with it just as fast.
It’s for all these reasons and more that ‘The Dusk in Us’ is my favorite thing from 2017. And I’m about to go listen to it fifty more times.
The Surge: Itch Scratching For Souls players – A Review From Scroo
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
FOUR IN FEBRUARY 2017
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!!!
Darksiders Warmastered Edition: Coming [Not Quite as] Soon – Update
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.
Witcher 3: Blood and Wine is Closely Approaching – Updated May 31st Release Date Announced
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.
My Review of Dark Souls 3, and Why I Love the Series
I love Dark Souls
Maybe it's a latent masochistic part of me who likes this sort of punishing and unforgiving game play, maybe it's the fact that nowadays games are so full of assistance and hand holding that they basically play themselves, but there's something about this series that grabs me and won't let go. Admittedly the Dark Souls 1 PC port was a travesty that was only really even playable with a fan made patch, but I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to a series. When I started hearing about Dark Souls 2 I was glued to news sites trying to learn as much as possible, and even though it had a different director I loved it. I've been anticipating Dark Souls 3 since I first learned about it, and I'll probably play it for as long as it's up and running. I've never played Demon Souls and I don't have a PS4 so I haven't played Bloodborne, but I'd love to change those things as well.
I've been playing, and dying repeatedly in Dark Souls 3 now for over 100 hours and I feel like I can finally get my thoughts down. Continue further for my review and thoughts on the series in general. Read more
Broforce for the PS4 review
Broforce is part of this month's PSN+ free games promotion. It won its place by getting the most votes in the "Vote To Play" contest that was held last month. I had some interest in it but never enough to pay full price for it on PC. I guess it was never dirt cheap and now I know why. It's a pretty good side-scrolling action game.
Broforce is a celebration of old-school action movies. We get parody versions of most iconic film and TV heroes like Rambo, Commando, Neo, MacGyver and B. A. Baracus to name a few. All of them play differently. They have different speed, weapons, special moves and athletic abilities. For example, Rambo has a machine gun and hand grenades, Neo is a melee fighter and his special is the red pill which basically turns him into an invulnerable killing machine for a short period of time, Mr. T has a very useful flamethrower and fire grenades which are great for fighting bosses from a distance.
When you begin the main story you'll start with only one character, Rambro. You'll be dropped in the jungle by a helicopter in order to liberate the area. You'll do that by killing terrorists left and right with guns blazing, literally. On your way to kill the Devil at the end of each level, you'll find prisoners. If you set them free you'll get a free life and that's the way you'll unlock new characters. For better or worse, when you set free a prisoner, you'll randomly switch to a different action hero.
Randomness is a big part of Broforce. After you've unlocked a new character, heroes will be switched every time you lose a life, start a level or set free a prisoner. There's no way of manually changing to a hero of your liking. This gives the game a lot of variety as you have to adjust to to whatever weapons and abilities the hero you have at the moment has. However sometimes you'll feel you need a specific hero for that challenge and let's be honest, some of the heroes are lame. I'm looking at you, Brocketeer.
The game exudes American Patriotism. It's taken to parody levels and it feels awkward sometimes. I mean, at one point you'll be playing as European legends like 007 and William Wallace and they will be raising American flags when reaching checkpoints. That was very odd. When you finish a level you get to the chopper, explosions start all over the place and the light in your dual shock 4 controller will start flashing red, white and blue. It's that American.
The gameplay is pretty simple, just run and shoot. There's no reloading in here. I really liked how this helped the action to flow very quickly. Some other games that have reload like Mercenary Kings and Helldivers really put me off since it over-complicated what should have been quite simpler, in my opinion. I guess I was not the right audience for those. I like how it feels like Contra where you don't have to worry about such detail. Unlike Contra, this title does have destructible terrain which you can use to your advantage to change the path you take to reach your goal.
There are some things that I wish the developer had addressed before releasing the game. The PS4 version of Broforce has some bugs that seem out of place in a title that looks like a 16-bit shoot-em up. Each time you restart a level there's like a second or two where your controller won't receive your inputs and your character will stand still vulnerable to enemy attacks. At first this won't bother you much, but in the later levels those seconds could mean life or death. Loading times can reach up to 1 minute in the later stages. I really thought the game had frozen and I would have to restart the console because there was just a black screen with no loading signs and it took way too long to start the missions. There were also frame rate drops when there was a lot going on. You would expect that in a SNES, but not in a PS4 brand new title that looks like it would have been fine in the 16-bit generation.
Besides those bugs, it is very much playable and enjoyable. It has a lot of humor and variety. I had a great time playing it and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in action games with a retro vibe. I tried it in multiplayer, but it felt much better in single player. Just be warned that the last level is a tough marathon. the ending will make it worth it, though.
System Sellers and Why I Bought a PS4
I recently bought a PS4, which is the main reason why I haven't been too active writing new articles for Twinstiq. Let's make one thing clear. This is not a console wars article. The thought of buying an Xbox One has never even crossed my mind. What I'd like to do here is to take a trip down to Memory Lane and remember the titles that sold me consoles since the 80's. Let's face it, it's all about the games.