Game Reviews – The Nerd Stash http://thenerdstash.com Video Games, Reviews, News, & More Sun, 22 Jan 2017 02:11:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Azkend 2: The World Beneath Review http://thenerdstash.com/azkend-2-the-world-beneath-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/azkend-2-the-world-beneath-review/#respond Sun, 22 Jan 2017 01:12:18 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=54657 Title: Azkend 2: The World Beneath Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One, PS Vita, iOs, Android Developer: 10tons Ltd Publisher: MythPeople Genre: Match-3 Puzzler Official Site: www.azkend2.com Release Date: 03-14-12 (Steam), 05-03-16 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch) Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Google Play Store, App Store While there have been a plethora of puzzle-like titles that […]

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Title: Azkend 2: The World Beneath

Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One, PS Vita, iOs, Android

Developer: 10tons Ltd

Publisher: MythPeople

Genre: Match-3 Puzzler

Official Site: www.azkend2.com

Release Date: 03-14-12 (Steam), 05-03-16 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch)

Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Google Play Store, App Store


While there have been a plethora of puzzle-like titles that have filled the PC and mobile spaces, most focus solely on procedurally generated gameplay that makes them approachable. Rather than implementing a story that makes the game memorable or adding interesting gameplay techniques, the vast majority fall to the wayside and are forgotten. Fortunately, Azkend 2: The World Beneath breaks from this formula and gives players something worth remembering.

Azkend 2: The World Beneath is a match-3 puzzle game set inside of a storybook adventure. You play as a sailor aboard the brigantine Celestia traveling between Liverpool and New York in the late 19th century. The game begins with your ship being berated by heavy rainfall before falling into a whirlpool and stranding the player in a strange world beneath the sea. From here, it’s the player’s job to craft the necessary materials to traverse this dangerous and magnificent landscape and try to make it back to the surface.

The story is told through the narration of your female protagonist over active artistic landscapes. Each of these set pieces requires the player to craft a new tool in order to advance, each of which adds a new element to the gameplay. While most if not all games need a suspension of disbelief in order for the story to make some sense, it seemed strange to me that your character has the ability to craft everything from binoculars to submarine parts later in the game. While certain things I could understand, such as a working raft, it seems unlikely that your character would know how to assemble and use depth charges at a whim.

Charge Tesla Coils and Unleash Their Charge to Clear Obstacles.

Normally, the Bejeweled style gameplay of match-3 puzzlers tends to be limited and only gets harder by limiting moves or time. This was not the case with Azkend 2. The gameplay starts simply and basically with a relatively small and easy level design with plenty of opportunities to succeed and not much to get in the way. Quickly, though, the difficulty curve ramps up and continues to add new challenges to keep the player on their feet as they race against the clock to clear obstacles and obtain the missing pieces of their construction.

While most of them were fairly easy to figure out, such as locks blocking half the level, fire that threatens to consume schematics, ice that freezes pieces, and steel pieces that require twice as many matches to clear them, the one that challenged me the most were the bugs. Each bug requires a certain number of adjacent matches in order to eliminate and easily became the most frustrating part of the game. I genuinely can’t remember how many times I almost beat a level only to have one of those bugs narrowly making it to the top just before I squashed it, causing me to restart the whole sequence again.

Fortunately, the game gives you complete control over how you want to beat stages. At no point in time does the game try to stop the player from using a specific active or passive power-up, but rather hints to you at most load screens that you should mess around and try new techniques. This alone adds some flavor and changes up how difficult the stages are, as well as helps the player play off their strengths and alleviate their weaknesses.

Each Stage Has Its Own Unique Art Still.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the mix of the challenges and story that Azkend 2 manages to deliver. It was never so difficult I wanted to stop playing, and while the story told isn’t incredibly intimate or personal, I felt intrigued to find out where I would end up as I progressed. The story is incredibly short, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it made it a tight experience. That being said, it left me wanting more, especially as it ends with a sort of cliffhanger with many questions unanswered. I’m fully expecting more additions to the series and am looking forward to the continuation of this adventure.

When you finish the story, the game has two separate activities for you to explore: a sort of new game + mode that lets you replay the story with all of the powerups unlocked in the first playthrough, or a set of challenge stages based around each set piece from the story. These extra stages change the level layouts and push the player to adapt in order to conquer.

As someone who tends to steer clear of puzzle games (as I find them too repetitive and pointless), I admire Azkend 2: The World Beneath for integrating an interesting storybook adventure into their game. It felt great to finish the more challenging stages and getting more clues into what was happening in the world they created. It’s a game worth picking up, and I look forward to finding out more of the tale they’ve created.


  • Gameplay: Easy to pick up, difficult to master
  • Graphics: Very pretty art stills
  • Sound: Simple, typical soundtrack
  • Presentation: Interesting story, personalized gameplay, difficult but enjoyable

Azkend 2: The World Beneath Review

Azkend 2: The World Beneath is a match-three adventure game set in an underground world. Enjoy matching puzzle gameplay, a storyline with voiceovers, and hidden object minigames.
Overall Score
Good
Pros:
  • Personalized Playstyle
  • Beautiful Art Style
  • Replayability
Cons:
  • Procedural-Generation Can Become Tedious
  • Requires Heavy Suspension of Disbelief
  • Fairly Short Story, Feels Unfinished

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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Let It Die Review http://thenerdstash.com/let-it-die-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/let-it-die-review/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:22:12 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=54589 Title: Let It Die Version Tested: PlayStation 4 Available On: Playstation 4  Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment Inc Genre: Hack and Slack Official Site: Letitdiethegame.com Release Date: December 3, 2016 Where To Buy: Playstation Store Let It Die can be a difficult game to put your finger on. It’s tons of fun when you […]

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Title: Let It Die

Version Tested: PlayStation 4

Available On: Playstation 4 

Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture

Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment Inc

Genre: Hack and Slack

Official Site: Letitdiethegame.com

Release Date: December 3, 2016

Where To Buy: Playstation Store


Let It Die can be a difficult game to put your finger on. It’s tons of fun when you first jump in. The quirkiness in the presentation and the easy to figure out gameplay keeps you curious to dive deeper and you begin to wonder how this game is F2P. You soon realize, however, that the thin exterior that looks so good at first is incredibly shallow and doesn’t hold up to prolonged investigation.

There isn’t much of a story to speak of in Let It Die. You are a person inside an arcade run by the Grim Reaper, or Uncle Death as he’s known in the game, and you are playing Let It Die. There’s a smug video game genius in there to give you game tips and a stereotypically annoying, teenage valley girl behind the desk giving you in-game quests. Then you jump into the game, a roguelike where you start in your waiting room, a base camp at the bottom of the Tower of Barbs where you have your storage, fighters and a couple shops. From there, your goal is to simply climb the tower until you reach the top, which is the 40th floor.

Hmmm, should I go electro punch or buzzsaw? Hmmm… I think I’ll go with the… PUNCH!

The gameplay itself is incredibly simple. You have weapon slots for both hands which are individually controlled by the shoulder buttons where you have a basic attack and a strong attack. You can also sprint, dodge, block, sneak and jump. This simple combat allows you to jump in quickly. While the game is difficult, it doesn’t feel artificial at first. Even though you can be downed in a few hits, so can your enemies. With enough patience you can defeat any enemy you encounter, but mistakes are heavily punished

The first 15 or so floors are a blast and there is a great sense of progression with good pacing. Your original fighter can only level up to 25, but there are benchmarks where you unlock stronger fighters that max out at 49, 74, etc. You level up quickly and that quick advancement keeps you wanting to play. Somewhere around floor 15 and especially when you get into the early 20s, the difficulty ramps up exponentially and the progression slows down. This is when things get frustrating and you realize the draw for spending money.

How did you see me? I’m totally crouching behind this railing.

Let It Die eventually devolves into a brutal grind that requires hours of farming to prepare for battles. Aside from leveling your character, you have to upgrade weapons through finding their blueprints, then farming the materials needed to upgrade them. Then, if (when) your character dies, you have a few options. First, you can use one of the game’s premium currency, Death Metals (gained through in-game rewards or through purchase with real money), to revive your character to full life and continue the battle at the same point where you left off.

If you decline to use a Death Metal, your character dies, at which point you have two other options. You can either live and let die, rolling up a new fighter and leveling them up to speed, or you can spend kill coins, the game’s more common currency dropped from enemies and loot boxes, to salvage them, bringing them back to life with all their gear intact. The higher up in the tower you die, the more expensive the salvage is, eventually reaching obscene amounts when you get to floors 25+. Gaining the kill coins necessary to salvage is another long grind you’ll engage in frequently.

Shhh. Sleeep child. Sleeeeep. Sleeeeeeeeeeep.

Every few floors you’ll encounter a mid-boss that blocks your progression until defeated. They are twisted abominations with cool and interesting designs. At first you’ll be excited to see what you have to face next, until you realize that they just begin reusing the same few mid-bosses over and over, making them stronger to add challenge. Every tenth floor you’ll face that areas big boss before being able to progress to the next set of levels.

Aside from the base PVE gameplay, there is a pseudo-PVP raid system where you can raid other players’ waiting rooms for gold and splithium (yet another currency). They set up defenses, which is just fighters that they have, and you try to beat them up and destroy their banks before the three-minute time limit runs out. All their fighters are bots, however, so you never actually get to take on another PC. You do this over and over again to farm currency and gain rankings within the system.

I was just trying to light his cigarette

You also join a team named for a state or country which will periodically fight with another team through raiding each other, but the gameplay stays the same. Unfortunately, California has snowballed into having so many more members than any other team that most people just join them as they will win most fights. This raiding system loses all fun very quickly, but you are often forced to return to it for farming purposes because the rewards are just so much better than random exploration.

The sound design is decent in Let It Die. The game uses changes in music and certain environmental noises to indicate the presence of certain enemies and beasts which is a welcome warning. The voice acting is thin with each character only having a few lines. Uncle Death’s voice sounds like someone doing a bad Cheech Marin impression and can take a while to grow on you. There’s also a radio in the arcade with so many different music choices you probably won’t go through all of them. There is a lot of J-Pop and J-Metal which sucks if you’re me. You’ll most likely just end up picking the least annoying one or completely turning it off.

In a world without pants, the man with the crossbow is king

It has a great cel shaded art style and a unique anime-inspired presentation. It’s incredibly bizarre and charming enough to pull you in at first, but lacks any depth. Uncle Death and the other two character in the arcade repeat the same few lines over and over quickly losing their charm. After a few hours of play, you’ll have seen and heard almost everything the game has to offer aside from the actual tower-climbing gameplay. There is a small story sequence for each area boss which looks intentionally crude and low budget to fit the 80s arcade feel, but they didn’t completely go all in on this idea leaving it feeling like it has no cohesion.

The level design is monotonous. Every 10 floors share a common look and feel and often don’t look different enough to make any memorable. They give off the illusion of being procedurally generated, but really all that changes with each run is the location of the entrance and the exit.

Overall, it is difficult to judge my experience with Let It Die. The thorough enjoyment I had of the first 15-20 hours only seemed to intensify the extreme feelings of hate it evoked later on. It has a good amount of style and it provides a serious challenge that feels like it can be overcome with some patience and preparation. Also, it’s free, so it’s hard not to recommend it. For only the cost of some sanity, you get an experience that provides a lot of entertainment and will kill a ton of hours. Download it. Check it out. If you enjoy a challenge and farming, you’ll love this game. If you don’t, you’ll still have fun, but you probably won’t finish it.


Gameplay: Simple Hack and Slash, Rapidly Increasing Difficulty

Graphics: Great Cel Shaded Art Style

Sound: Decent Voice Acting, Good Environmental Warnings

Presentation: Tons of Style, Bizarre, Unique, Lacks Cohesion Throughout

Let It Die Review

Let It Die is a free-to-play hack and slash video game for the PlayStation 4.
Overall Score
Good
Pros:
  • Tons of Style
  • Good Early Progression
  • Good Selection of Weapons and Armor
Cons:
  • Shallow Presentation, Lack of Cohesion
  • Tons of Grinding and Farming
  • Weak PVP

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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2064: Read Only Memories Review http://thenerdstash.com/2064-read-only-memories-game-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/2064-read-only-memories-game-review/#respond Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:13:12 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=53980 Title: 2064: Read Only Memories Available On: PS4 (Eventually Xbox One and PC) Publisher: Midboss Developer: Midboss Genre: Visual Novel, Point and Click Adventure, Indie Official Site: 2064: Read Only Memories Release Date: January 17th, 2017 Where To Buy It: PlayStation Store, Steam There’s nothing better than a modern version of an old favorite. Whenever I play point and click […]

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Title: 2064: Read Only Memories

Available On: PS4 (Eventually Xbox One and PC)

Publisher: Midboss

Developer: Midboss

Genre: Visual Novel, Point and Click Adventure, Indie

Official Site: 2064: Read Only Memories

Release Date: January 17th, 2017

Where To Buy It: PlayStation Store, Steam


There’s nothing better than a modern version of an old favorite. Whenever I play point and click adventures, I can’t help but feel nostalgic about a simpler time in gaming. 2064: Read Only Memories is a title that brings the nostalgia but still has an edgy, modern vibe to it. This cyberpunk adventure is a pleasure for anyone who enjoys a good story, point and click adventures, or pixelated games in general!

2064: Read Only Memories is a colorful, beautifully detailed, cyberpunk point and click adventure game that takes a look at some pretty serious issues. The game takes place in the year 2064 in Neo-San Fransisco. Scientist have developed the technology to genetically manipulate someone’s body. It is not unusual to see people with robotic limbs, green skin, or cat ears (or the people protesting their modifications) as you traverse the city. ROM’s, almost sentient robots, are also readily available for conversation or help throughout the world. Your character is a journalist who’s apartment gets broken into by Turing. Turing, a robot a little different from the other robots, has come to ask for your help in finding Hayden, his creator and a personal friend of yours. From there, you are swept into a story of murder, secrets, and shady characters. Hopefully, you survive to write your big story!

2064: Read Only Memories

It would be impossible not to first comment on the sound design for the game. Everything about the sound design is just perfect, from voice acting to the soundtrack itself. The voice acting throughout the game is just amazing. With voice actors like Melissa Hutchinson, Austin Creed, Erin Yvette, and many more on board, how could the voice acting be anything less than perfection? Each character has a unique personality that is only made brighter and more distinct with these very talented voice actors behind them. Aside from some impressive voice acting, the soundtrack is super immersive and provides the perfect background music for the game. The music is pretty catchy and it really does its part in setting the place and mood for the game. Each area’s music is a little different, and the music also changes depending on what is being said by the characters. The voice acting and the soundtrack blend together beautifully to provide an immersive experience.

There’s nothing worse than fabulous voice acting and bad writing; thankfully, 2064: Read Only Memories does not have this problem. The writing is smart and witty and the player actually feels like their choice of words make a difference. For example, you spend a lot of time in the game talking to Turing. In your responses to him, you can be nice, mean, or indifferent. Turing actually reacts to you and treats you differently depending on how you answer him. Throughout the game, you must choose who to trust and who the best person would be to discuss the current problem with and these choices actually have consequences. The writing keeps you intrigued in the story and is a great mix of humor and information.

That being said, it is a ton of reading. Like, mostly reading. Which isn’t a problem, but I had to take breaks often due to information overload. Every time I would actually have a small mini game or I would have to physically do something in the game, I would get super excited. 2064: Read Only Memories could definitely use a few more puzzles. As I stated before, the writing is fabulous, but the game would definitely benefit from a few more breaks from all the words.

2064: Read Only Memories

One of my favorite things about the game is all of the little things. There is nothing I enjoy more than a game that pays attention to the small details, and this title does that exceptionally. Every item in a room can be looked at, touched, or listened to and each one has its own little story. From the extensive list of cocktails to choose from in the bar to Turing’s love of Bob Ross, it’s obvious that the developers really thought of everything. Not only did they think of everything, but they took their time making it happen. It’s obvious from all the little details just how passionate the developers of this game are, and it’s always a pleasure to be a part of an experience like that.

The game is bright and beautiful and the art style is a pixelated dream. The genetically modified characters are fun and were obviously crafted with extreme care. The game, in general, is just charming. From the facial expressions of the characters to moving about the town, everything looks crisp and sharp. As is the trend with 2064: Read Only Memories, graphically the game was made with a lot of care and hard work.

Overall, 2064: Read Only Memories is a colorful, well thought out, witty experience that I would highly suggest to anyone. If you’re not a huge fan of a lot of reading, I would suggest taking the game in smaller chunks. It is too much fun, too well made, and too interesting to be overlooked for being a bit wordy. With numerous different endings, I hope you enjoy 2064: Read Only Memories over and over again!


  • Gameplay: The controls are pretty straightforward. And while there isn’t actually much in actual gameplay, there are a few puzzles and there’s a lot to explore in each area of the game.
  • Graphics: The game is so bright and colorful and the pixelated art is extremely well done. The game is definitely a lot of fun to look at.
  • Sound: The soundtrack and the voice acting are just superb. 2064: Read Only Memoires stars some pretty talented voice actors and they did not disappoint.
  • Presentation: Overall, the game comes together beautifully. The developers crafted each aspect, from writing to graphics, with such care. 2064: Read Only Memories is a true pleasure to play and it is so much fun seeing something made with so much passion.

2064: Read Only Memories Review

2064: Read Only Memories is a point and click adventure game set in a future where people can genetically modify their bodies and have polar bears as pets. You play as a journalist trying to solve a kidnapping gone bad with the help of your trusty robot friend, Turing. However, you quickly find that you're in over your head; can you discover the secrets your friend was trying to hide? 
Overall Score
Great
Pros:
  • Smart, interesting writing
  • Your choices matter
  • Great voice work
  • Replayable
  • Bright, fun graphics
  • Great attention to detail
Cons: 
  • Lots of reading
  • Wish there were more puzzles or actual gameplay

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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Stardew Valley Review http://thenerdstash.com/stardew-valley-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/stardew-valley-review/#respond Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:03:07 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=54404 Title: Stardew Valley Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (coming soon) Developer: Eric Barone Publisher: Chucklefish Games Genre: Role-playing Game Farming Simulator Official Site: http://stardewvalley.net Release Date: 02-26-16 (Steam), 12-13-16 (PS4, Xbox One), TBA (Switch) Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Local Retailer Back on the Gamecube, a little game call Animal Crossing came across my lap […]

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Title: Stardew Valley

Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (coming soon)

Developer: Eric Barone

Publisher: Chucklefish Games

Genre: Role-playing Game Farming Simulator

Official Site: http://stardewvalley.net

Release Date: 02-26-16 (Steam), 12-13-16 (PS4, Xbox One), TBA (Switch)

Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Local Retailer


Back on the Gamecube, a little game call Animal Crossing came across my lap and quickly consumed an excessive portion of my life. Never before had a game captured my attention with tasks as simple as decorating a house, tending to my neighborhood, collecting fish and bugs, and even pulling weeds around the town as the seasons changed. So you can imagine my surprise when that same feeling of enjoyment in the menial came from a $15 indie game.

Each Season Has Different Crops to Plant and Harvest

Stardew Valley is a 16-bit top-down RPG where the player gets fed up with the meaninglessness of city life, boards a bus, and takes over the farm handed down to him by his grandfather. When you show up, the land is overgrown and rugged, but, with the help of some friendly townsfolk, quickly becomes a fertile landscape. But upon your arrival, you figure out that the Joja Corporation is trying to take over and modernize the simple town, running the Mom and Pop shops out. With some hard work and a lot of patience, you can help keep them afloat and Stardew Valley alive.

The gameplay can be as simple or as complex as you make it. Each day has a timeframe to do work, where you wake up at 6 a.m. and have to be back in bed by around 1 a.m. In addition to this, the player has an energy bar, where only a certain amount of effort can be put forth, such as cutting down trees, breaking up rocks, plowing the land, and watering plants. Once the day’s work has been done, the rest of the day can be spent talking to the town’s NPCs, exploring the mines, and planning the next day’s work.

In Addition to Farming, Fishing Can Bring In Money

Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be any real time rush, and players can take as long as they need to play. In fact, the game tends to try to slow the player down, as I found working my way through the mines where I was quickly overwhelmed and ran out of energy. In a world where every game tends to try to make the player move faster and faster, it felt strange to have a game basically tell me to slow down. That being said, it did make me feel like I wasn’t stressed by the changing of seasons or when things went wrong.

This also gives you time to learn new skills, build out your farm to your liking, produce whatever crops you like, and build relationships with your neighbors, some of whom you can even marry and settle down with. Keep in mind, none of this can be accomplished overnight, but rather takes a significant amount of time and focus to achieve.

Each Season Has Unique Collectibles That Unlock New Sections of the Map

Though the story isn’t overwhelming, it is fairly real. When the corporation moves in town and starts trying to take customers, there is a genuine sense of despair for the shop owners who willingly admit that they’re on borrowed time. And the game doesn’t give an “if you accomplish these tasks then you’ll save the town!” feeling, but instead lets common sense push the player to push harder and trade more with the small businesses in town.

What is probably the best thing about the game is the atmosphere it creates. The map is fairly evenly divided between land that the player can cultivate as they see fit and houses, towers, and docks to explore. The music that plays in the background is consistently relaxing and folky, the colors change as the seasons pass from spring to summer to fall to winter, and time really feels like it passes slowly. Nothing about this game pushes you to rush and beat it, but rather goads the player into taking their time, make the decisions they think are best, and build the relationships with the people they want.

Descending the Mine Can Unlock New Rewards and Resources

In fact, the thing I probably liked least about the game is the combat sections. While I felt it had its place in the game, it didn’t seem to mesh with everything else the game was trying to convey. Even the magician, blobs, insects and mysterious creatures residing in the abandoned community center felt like they made more sense than needing to descend numerous floors in the mine and kill things.

Stardew Valley was a fuller experience than I could ever have expected. It gave me the reminiscent feelings of needing to get things done so my town could be successful. I got to play the game as myself and become the best farmer that town had ever seen. For $15, Stardew Valley gave me an experience that made me slow down and enjoy myself. I haven’t finished it, but it’s a game a constantly feel a call to come back to.


  • Gameplay: Simple, slow, but definitely enjoyable
  • Graphics: 16-Bit but remarkably beautiful
  • Sound: Wonderful, relaxing music
  • Presentation: Easy-going atmosphere, creative writing, fairly real storytelling

Stardew Valley Review

Stardew Valley is an indie farming simulation role-playing video game developed by ConcernedApe and published by Chucklefish Games.
Overall Score
Great
Pros:
  • Relaxing Atmosphere
  • Intriguing, Real Story
  • Full Control Over Choices
Cons:
  • Strange Combat Sequences
  • At Times, a Little Tedious
  • Not a Lot of Tutorial Direction

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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Dead Rising 4 Review http://thenerdstash.com/dead-rising-4-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/dead-rising-4-review/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2017 07:06:47 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=52771 Title: Dead Rising 4 Available On: Xbox One, Windows Developer: Capcom Vancouver  Publisher: Microsoft Studios Genre: Survival Horror, Hack n Slash Official Site: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/dead-rising-4 Where To Buy: Xbox Store, Local Retailer The Christmas holiday season and the end of 2016 quickly flew by! While many stars left us last year, at least Frank West is back for more […]

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Title: Dead Rising 4

Available On: Xbox One, Windows

Developer: Capcom Vancouver 

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Genre: Survival Horror, Hack n Slash

Official Site: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/dead-rising-4

Where To Buy: Xbox Store, Local Retailer


The Christmas holiday season and the end of 2016 quickly flew by! While many stars left us last year, at least Frank West is back for more in Dead Rising 4 baby. Set 16 years after the events of the original Dead Rising, Frank West makes his return to Willamette, Colorado. Here, a deadly new outbreak of zombies has overrun the area and it’s up to Frank to uncover the truth behind it all. In this latest and last Xbox Exclusive of 2016, you’ll find yourself battling secret military operators and a whole new breed of deadly zombies. Is this holiday season gore fest worth your time and money? Well, yes… and no.

Frank West with pirate hate and zombie horde

Zombies, Blah!

The original Dead Rising released back in August of 2006 and… it was quite a bit of fun. In the event you didn’t know, a live action version of Dead Rising can be seen on Crackle. Most of what was done in the original Dead Rising hadn’t really been done before. For instance, the ability to have hundreds of zombies on screen at one time was new. I vividly remember being able to drive through the tunnels under the mall and run down what seemed to be an endless horde of the undead. As a huge fan of the George Romero zombie films, this was an absolute blast. It was almost if I was in Dawn of the Dead myself. So, when I finally got into Dead Rising 4, I was happy to see pretty much the same game that I remembered so fondly from its first release. However, that also ended up eventually being part of the turn-off.

This time around, Dead Rising has cast a new Frank West with Victor Nosslo. While the casting news did ruffle the feathers of some die-hard fans, the choice was made because a more “more grizzled, older take on Frank” was wanted. This casting choice works just fine and Frank’s humorous dialogue throughout is one of the high points of the game. I was happy to see Frank West return for a new installment along with the festive makeup of Willamette.

Gameplay Dead Rising 4 Headshot

Painting with colors

Dead Rising 4 essentially follows in the same footsteps as its predecessor, minus a few changes. After just a few hours, I thought to myself, “I’ve done all this before.” Not to mention, despite the classification of a survival horror, there’s little horror or tension that ever truly grips you, as opposed to something like Resident Evil. While the word “zombie” is generally attributed to the horror genre, Dead Rising 4 is more of an open world hack n slash action game than it is anything “Horror.” I feel like the ones who will get the most out of Dead Rising 4 are the new generation of gamers and ones that like to create gaming content for YouTube.

I am happy to say that the countdown timer for completing cases has been removed. I found that to be one of the most frustrating aspects of the original title and often the reason I threw my controller. The aggression of the zombies also no longer changes on a day/night cycle. Instead, some zombies are “fresh.” These fun guys are much more in the vein of your World War Z style zombie. A multiplayer feature is also available which is separate from the main story. This new multiplayer mode gives the co-op a competitive style play. While you are working with your teammates to complete objectives, you’ll receive a score based on how you do.

Dead Rising 4 skill tree

Choose your upgrades to suit your style of play

Aside from that, everything else is pretty much the same. Solve the cases, battle some bosses, kill endless amounts of zombie with ridiculous weapons and you’re done. Don’t get me wrong… you’ll certainly have some fun. For me, though, it was short lived and ultimately Dead Rising 4 came up short of my expectations. That being said, there are plenty of collectibles, hidden rooms to find and areas to explore. If you’re a completionist, you can easily log over 20 + hours in the main game alone searching for everything.

The graphics in Dead Rising 4 remain solid, complimented with some impressive detail. Plenty of zombies can again fill your screen and be blasted to a million pieces or run over with all types of contraptions. However, I did find some clipping issues here and there coupled with occasional frame rate drops.  On one occasion I found myself trying to kill a zombie that was half embedded in a wall, which took me a good minute to maneuver myself properly to kill it.  This was a zombie that I just so happened to have to kill in order to release the survivor I was trying to save.

Chainsaw Zombie kill Dead Rising 4

Let’s split

Do I think Dead Rising 4 is worth your time? Yes, but you shouldn’t be paying full price for it. Currently, on the Xbox Store and Amazon, the game is going for around $40. If you have a crew of friends waiting for you to join and you have some extra Christmas cash you’re looking to burn, then give it a go. If you’re returning to the franchise, then personally I’d wait until the game hits half price.

Have you played Dead Rising 4? If so, what did you think?  Were you digging the electrified, Thor-like hammer you could make? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.


  • Gameplay: Over the top zombie killing remains a staple of the franchise.
  • Graphics: Some clipping, frame rate issues but plenty of zombies and great detail
  • Sound: Amusing dialogue all around, Victor Nosslo does great taking over as Frank West
  • Presentation: Ridiculous weapons, crazy contraptions and plenty of zombies.

Dead Rising 4 Review

16 Years after the events of Dead Rising, Retired photojournalist Frank West returns to Willamette, Colorado to investigate a mysterious new outbreak that has overrun the newly built mall and surrounding town with dangerous and deadly predators during the holiday season.
Overall Score
Good
Pros:
  • Countdown timer removed
  • Plenty to explore
  • Crazy weapons
Cons:
  • Repetitive formula
  • Clipping zombies can hinder mission progress

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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Watch Dogs 2 Review http://thenerdstash.com/watch_dogs-2-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/watch_dogs-2-review/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 03:03:43 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=53986 Title: Watch Dogs 2 Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Genre: Third-Person Action-Adventure Official Site: www.watchdogs.com Release Date: 11-15-2016 Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Local Retailer Most people remember Watch Dogs as the game that failed to deliver on the hype that came with its continual showing. For me, I remember it as […]

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Title: Watch Dogs 2

Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: Third-Person Action-Adventure

Official Site: www.watchdogs.com

Release Date: 11-15-2016

Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Local Retailer


Most people remember Watch Dogs as the game that failed to deliver on the hype that came with its continual showing. For me, I remember it as a game almost completely void of all personality. Aiden Pierce, the main character in the first game, felt as though he had all emotions sand-blasted off of him. Fortunately, the good people at Ubisoft remedied that problem.

Watch Dogs 2 is the second iteration in Ubisoft’s series about hackers and their war on government and corporate corruption. This time around the player explores the online and offline world of San Francisco as Marcus and his ragtag collection of associates in the city’s own Dedsec group.

Sitara Will Teach Marcus to Spread Dedsec Propaganda Around the City

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Ubisoft left the drab, grey streets of Chicago and the past, and instead chose to embrace the bright and colorful nature of ‘Frisco. Whether it’s walls plastered in graffiti, brightly colored houses downtown, or bright green grass in the numerous parks scattered around the map, Watch Dogs 2 brings the players to a city full of life. It’s clear the color was a primary focus for the game, and they definitely succeeded in making me feel like the world ahead of me was alive and breathing.

What was especially remarkable is the personality they brought to Marcus and the rest of Dedsec. Unlike Pierce, who felt like a middle-aged grumpy man devoid of life, Marcus is a young, athletic nerd of a character, capable of both parkouring his way across rooftops and freaking out over the latest action movie stars. His team members each add to this youthful voice with their unique characteristics. Sitara is in charge of the marketing of the Dedsec group, with her graffiti murals and colorful propaganda videos. Josh is a coding genius, albeit with a lack of social or communication skills. Horatio fills the role of operations manager and is actually the closest to your average, everyday citizen. Finally, Wrench, the complete opposite of Horatio, is a masked engineer with a taste for the destructive.

A Wide Outfit Customization Menu Lets Marcus Be Unique to Your Tastes

His team members each add to this youthful voice with their unique characteristics. Sitara is in charge of the marketing of the Dedsec group, with her graffiti murals and colorful propaganda videos. Josh is a coding genius, albeit with a lack of social or communication skills. Horatio fills the role of operations manager and is actually the closest to your average, everyday citizen. Finally, Wrench, the complete opposite of Horatio, is a masked engineer with a taste for the destructive. Together, this group brings a loud voice to the hacking community in San Francisco.

Together, this group brings a loud voice to the hacking community in San Francisco. Is it a voice that I consistently enjoyed throughout the game? No… In fact, at times it was annoyingly over the top. But at no point in time did I ever question whether or not Watch Dogs 2 had a personality. Also, while the story itself isn’t anything unexpected for a game about corporate irresponsibility, it surprisingly had some genuine moments where the characters shed their loud walls and actually showed real emotions and personalities. Even the main “villain”, Dusan Nemec, plays the perfect role of a Silicon Valley young CEO, complete with narcissism and sarcasm.

Other Hacker Groups Can Manipulate the Player’s Interface

The gameplay is fairly easy to pick up, especially if players have played the previous entry in the series. The team definitely improved the level structure of missions from being repetitive and simplistic to actually having some decent challenges. The driving is nothing to write home about, which was an issue in the first game, but it’s much more functional and is capable of filling the gaps between fast traveling. Creatively, all mission, side quests, activities, and entertainment choices (including a pretty remarkable and eclectic soundtrack) are run through Marcus’ cell phone, making them feel connected to the overall context of the game.

The only change over the first game that didn’t seem to make much sense was that I could reasonably see someone as bitter and moody as Aiden Pierce using guns and grenades to kill those in front of him, while for Marcus’ story, it doesn’t make any sense. Marcus is framed at the beginning of the game as a potentially violent criminal, so having guns and explosives available to him didn’t exactly add to his credibility. In fact, without spoiling, only one mission made me feel like the people I was fighting actually deserved fatal violence. Every other occasion, I felt much more inclined to use my RC car, my drone, and my access to technology to navigate things stealthily.

Take Control of Ctos Infastructure to Gain Vantage Points

Watch Dogs 2 surprised me. I went in expecting a slight improvement to the first game. What I got was a story that ended up making me care about the characters, one that gave me the keys to the city but continually pulled them away from me to keep me in check. While it has minor flaws throughout, its loud and vibrant personality doesn’t shy away from making itself known and reframing the franchise. No longer are the days of grumpy Aiden Pierce. Today is for Marcus and the Dedsec team.


  • Gameplay: Interesting and increasingly complex
  • Graphics: Colorful and beautiful, No Mocap is noticeable
  • Sound: Excellent soundtrack and sound design
  • Presentation: Interesting characters, fun and bright world, typical story

Watch Dogs 2 Review

Watch Dogs 2 is an open world action-adventure video game developed and published by Ubisoft. The sequel to 2014's Watch Dogs, it was released worldwide for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows in November 2016.
Overall Score
Great
Pros:
  • Colorful world
  • Increasingly Great Characters
  • Well Designed Mission Systems
Cons:
  • Uninventive Story
  • No Reason for Guns/Explosives
  • Personalities Can Be Too Much

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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Monsters & Monocles Early Access Review http://thenerdstash.com/monsters-monocles-early-access-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/monsters-monocles-early-access-review/#respond Thu, 29 Dec 2016 04:56:13 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=52609 Title: Monsters and Monocles Available On: PS4, Xbox One & PC Developer: Retro Dreamer Publisher: Retro Dreamer Genre: Retro/Shooter Official Site: http://monstersandmonocles.com/ Release Date: August 16, 2016 Where To Buy: PS4/Xbox Digital Store & Steam Disclaimer: This product is (at the time of review) released in early access. My review is solely based on my experience with the […]

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Title: Monsters and Monocles

Available On: PS4, Xbox One & PC

Developer: Retro Dreamer

Publisher: Retro Dreamer

Genre: Retro/Shooter

Official Site: http://monstersandmonocles.com/

Release Date: August 16, 2016

Where To Buy: PS4/Xbox Digital Store & Steam


Disclaimer: This product is (at the time of review) released in early access. My review is solely based on my experience with the game at the time of review. My policy on Early Access is transparent and for more of my thoughts on the matter, check out my Inside Look piece.

Big trouble in Little Britain

Monsters & Monocles is a twin stick, arcade style, retro shooter that supports up to 4 players. I have to be honest when I say I was drawn in by the theme of the game as it appealed to my fascination with all things horror related. That being said; I was a little disappointed right from the start. I was instantly reminded of Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon, both of which were top-notch titles in the genre. Considering the plaudits both of those titles gained that’s always going to be a tough act to follow.

It’s not to say that Monsters & Monocles doesn’t have things going for it; there is plenty of positives to take from the title. For instance, the huge number of monsters on screen at once offers the player with plenty of obstacles to overcome, it is a real blast to play with 3 other players in 4 player multiplayer (available online or offline) and has a range of different add-ons and weapons to experiment with.

Now, being British, I did enjoy the novelty of consuming tea in order to restore my health bar and seeing such phrases such as Tally Ho, and Jolly good show and the inclusion of the crumpet launcher were all nods to British culture stereotypes. It’s not a bad thing, I found it all slightly amusing.

The single player experience of the game, I felt was too easy and didn’t provide me with many variations. A lot of what detracts from the experience is that there isn’t enough tailor made content for me to sink my teeth into.

Manic, crazy, almost bullet hellish

Monsters & Monocles is currently in Early Access and certain features are indeed missing. There are only 3 playable stages at this moment in time, so I actually clocked my playthrough at around 20 minutes, which is laughably short. I know that the game comes into its own when you start progressing to the “harder” areas when you run through more than once, but 20 minutes didn’t really do this title justice.

The main issues I have with the game stem from some of the actual design, more than the gameplay itself. Having randomly generated maps is a big gamble, sometimes you get a map full of baddies that you have a blast killing working towards an objective, but when that objective is random as well?

Well, sometimes you don’t have an objective besides, leave the area; or kill 100 things, or kill 3 of this type of monster. The missions come off as a bit of a side note to the gameplay, conditions you will probably meet just by exploring the map.

The only mission I’ve found to be interactive was where I needed to find a key gun, use it to open a door and then I progress. There are no markers to indicate where the door is or where the key gun is; making it more rewarding to explore. What’s interesting to note, is that on every other mission type, you are told where the door to progress is.

What’s the reward for making it past the stages? A stage boss, unique to each area. The downside is that 2 of the 3 available boss fights are way too easy, even when you loop through (where the difficulty is higher).

For the most part, they are just predictable and almost static. The vampire boss in the city area is far more interesting because he actually moves around and creates copies of himself. The bosses should be rewarding to kill, but really aren’t because they offer no challenge. Pinwheel in Dark Souls is considered the worst boss, why? Because he’s a pushover. No-one tells me that Nito was a boring boss fight.

You overgrown walking fur coat! I said fry, not die!

Now, I actually found the game harder to play with more players since I often couldn’t see what was going on with the amount of bullets being fired from allies and monsters alike. The difficulty felt a little artificial with monsters not really becoming more aware of what you are doing, but they just have a health increase and deal out more damage the more runs you do through each stage. I feel a little bit cheated whenever I find that a real effort hasn’t been made to stage difficulty in tiers, by making the actual game harder, but rather by just making it more time consuming.

Whenever I spot a new weapon, like most people would; I try it out in a room or an open area full of monsters to get the feel of it, but more often than not, I try and stick to certain guns that I know are reliable rather than gimmicky. Yes, it is nice to be able to throw crumpets at monsters, but the cool down between shots means I have to be more accurate and that doesn’t really suit my run and gun play style.

Some of the rooms can easily be exploited and cleared with ease by standing in a particular spot and just angling your shots into the room with the spread shot or a well-aimed machine gun spray, or even a well-placed grenade. Most rooms or areas will only give players a problem if they are not prepared for what’s to come.

And there’s the exit. Only guarded by bombs with legs, floating skulls, big eyeballs and some little eyeballs & ghosts…

I also found that many of the weapons appear to be missing or in need of serious balancing. Some weapons whilst being a novelty, are useless, with the standard revolver seemingly doing more damage.

Power-ups and health pickups are random drops from monsters, and health pickups are like waiting for the bus; you wait and wait and wait, then all of a sudden 2 or 3 of them show up all at once. This is a serious problem for British transport and to players of Monsters & Monocles. There is a power-up you can activate to gain additional health pick-ups to drop, but the power up is a random drop that you have no guarantee of seeing, similarly with weapons.

I had an entire run through with only a revolver and a blunderbuss as every monster kept dropping more revolvers, which really began to annoy me, as you can’t pick up the same weapon twice.

You carry two weapons because as you fire, your weapon can overheat, so when one is disabled, you can switch out to another. This works when you have two weapons that you want, but throw in the fact that you need to share pickups with allies, this can lead to a lot of arguments.

I hope the banging isn’t keeping you up. Get it? Banging because it’s a bomb, right!?

In short, this game is a lot of fun and has the potential to be a really fun multiplayer title. I didn’t see enough content to warrant a recommendation as a single player shooter and it became repetitive incredibly quickly.


Gameplay: Fun, but repetitive.

Graphics: Pixel art is appealing but the screen gets very busy during combat.

Sound: Decent soundtrack overall.

Presentation: Appealing fun title but it needs something more to give it a boost.

Monsters & Monocles Early Access Review

Monsters and Monocles is a frantic top-down shooter for 1-4 players. Use teamwork and your arsenal of weapons to defeat the overwhelming hordes of evil, either locally or online. All the levels are procedurally generated with new layouts, objectives, and secrets each time you play.
Overall Score
Good
  Pros:
  • Fun fuelled gameplay
  • British culture stereotypes
  • Well designed pixel graphics
  • Great multiplayer
Cons:
  • Poor single player content
  • Useless weapons
  • Easy, predictable boss fights
  • Randomly generated missions
  • Artificial difficulty

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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Final Fantasy XV Review http://thenerdstash.com/final-fantasy-xv-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/final-fantasy-xv-review/#respond Wed, 28 Dec 2016 01:07:52 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=53086 Title: Final Fantasy XV Available On: PS4, Xbox One Developer: Square Enix Publisher: Square Enix Genre: RPG Official Site:www.finalfantasyxv.com Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Local Retailer Few games have had as long a development cycle and as much anticipation as Final Fantasy XV. One of the first screens the player comes to when the […]

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Title: Final Fantasy XV

Available On: PS4, Xbox One

Developer: Square Enix

Publisher: Square Enix

Genre: RPG

Official Site:www.finalfantasyxv.com

Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Local Retailer


Few games have had as long a development cycle and as much anticipation as Final Fantasy XV. One of the first screens the player comes to when the game boots up says “For fans and first-timers.” As a first-timer to the series, I wondered if the game would live up to the inevitable hype that surrounded its 10-year development. Unfortunately, I found it not to be as great as it could have been.

Traveling around Eos Can Be Done on Foot, by Chocobo, or via Noctis’ Car, the Regalia

Final Fantasy XV, the latest iteration in a series filled with legendary games, places you at the helm of Noctis and his three friends as they make their way across the land of Eos, from Insomnia to Altissia, to unite Noctis in marriage to Lady Lunafreya. Along the way, they are informed that the Empire, a neighboring enemy, ransacked Insomnia and killed Noctis’ father. Noctis and his companions make their way across the land, growing in strength, in order to take the Empire head on.

Noctis’ three friends each represent a familiar character trope. Gladiolus, the brawn, is a pretty buffed guy wielding a massive sword and a deep voice. Ignis, the brain, is much more refined and uses knives for precision strikes. Finally, Prompto, the heart, is the smallest of the group but has the loudest and most energetic personality.

There Are Some Remarkable Landscapes in Eos

Most of my favorite or least favorite moments in Final Fantasy XV came as a result of these characters. Noctis has a fairly tempered personality, which plays off of the others in both great or terrible ways. When the four are driving in their car, the Regalia, or are having some one-on-one moments when camping, the game captures some fairly realistic and comfortable scenes of true companionship, sometimes like friends and other times like brothers.

Unfortunately, the writing also leads to some extraordinarily strange moments as well. At certain times, something devastating will happen to Noctis. Instead of offering him support, the other characters, Gladiolus especially, will berate him for being upset. This happened numerous times through the story, and each time it did I felt myself lose a connection to the characters. Not until the final chapter of the game did I feel like I actually enjoyed being in my party again, which took a long time to get to.

Prompto Will Capture InGame Moments, Like Meeting the Chocobos

The gameplay itself isn’t very remarkable in any particular area either. The world itself for the majority of the first part of Final Fantasy XV is open world. Each rest stop tends to have a place to fill up the Regalia’s gas tank, a vendor who sells some classic Final Fantasy soundtracks, a restaurant with bounties for killing creatures, and someone to give the guys a quest. As the main story progresses, more of the world opens up and more quests are attainable. In addition to towns, the world also contains a variety of different dungeons, each with powerful enemies and rewards in them.

The sidequests initially are fairly diverse, but after you do about five different ones, you’ll realize that they’re all fairly similar. Most of them entail going to collect retrieve something, maybe fighting a few creatures while you’re there, before returning to turn it in, only to receive another exactly like it in a different area. The dungeons, on the other hand, are actually genuinely awesome. Each feels unique from each other, and while the monsters in each tend to be similar, the methods of getting around and unlocking things is where I found myself having the most fun in the game.

One of the Many Rest Stops Noctis Can Visit

Strangely, in the last few acts of Final Fantasy XV, the player is pulled out of this open world and put instead in a completely linear quest line. Honestly, this section of the game felt extremely different and almost fairly rushed as far as gameplay and story go. The only benefit, without giving any spoilers away, is that some major character development happens in this section that actually makes the story feel like a story.

I also found myself having a love/hate relationship with the combat system. While it was simple and comfortable enough for my to get a feel for it quickly, it relies on an antiquated system that the games industry has moved away from since the Playstation 2 and early Playstation 3 era. Instead of having a dodge system that actually worked most of the time, the combat system loads the player with damage, and constantly makes them used potion after potion until the fight is over. Most battles I found myself in were won based more off of how stocked on healing elements I was rather than on me actually mastering the broken system.

In addition to this, the camera during fight sequences was abysmal. Every fight, and I do mean every fight, was half a fight with monsters and half a fight to find an angle that didn’t have me looking at a something in the foreground that blocked the entire screen. And even despite all of these flaws, I didn’t die a single time. I can understand making the game accessible, but even when I was extremely outmatched or outranked, I never really even came that close to dying and having to reload.

The Game Awards the Player a Certificate for Finishing the Story

This synopsis of the story mentioned earlier is only the beginning of a long, semi-convoluted journey. The game itself doesn’t explain well who exactly Noctis is, where his companions come from, or what exactly is going on in the background. Instead, the player is expected to delve into the lore that is provided in extra materials, such as an animated film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. 

My issue with this is that games such as Overwatch or Destiny are critiqued for separating their lore from the actual game, and for good reason. The lack of this material made it much more difficult to feel like I had a grasp of what was going on. Even 20 plus hours in, I found myself becoming confused as to why certain parties such as the Empire were behaving in certain ways.

Fortunately, there were things the game did well. The cinematic cutscenes are astounding achievements in art direction for video games. Even the in-game scenes that weren’t part of the dialogue (because those looked like they were from last generation) looked fair. The world itself is full of callbacks to previous games and characters, whether it’s pictures from previous games or Prompto singing the victory theme every so often.

Going in, I truly wanted to like Final Fantasy XV. I hoped that the extended and laborious development cycle would end with a game that felt like it had been worked on for 10 years. And sometimes, it really did. But more often than not, the words that I felt best suited the game were repetitive, antiquated, and boring.


  • Gameplay: Easy to pick up; not very modern-thinking
  • Graphics: Beautiful and consistent
  • Sound: Very well done; Nostalgic
  • Presentation: Convoluted story, sometimes confusing character dynamics, and a gorgeous, repetitive world

Final Fantasy XV Review

Final Fantasy XV is an open world action role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One home consoles.
Overall Score
Good
Pros:
  • Beautiful world
  • Sometimes wonderful moments with characters
  • Extraordinary dungeon system
Cons:
  • Story lacks explanation
  • Horrible combat camera
  • Antiquated gameplay system

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 1 And 2 Review http://thenerdstash.com/the-walking-dead-new-frontier-episode-1-and-2-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/the-walking-dead-new-frontier-episode-1-and-2-review/#comments Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:52:08 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=52934 Title: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Ties That Bind Part 1 & Part 2 Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games Genre: Interactive Adventure Official Site: www.telltale.com/series/the-walking-dead-a-new-frontier/ Release Date: December 20, 2016 Where To Buy: Steam It’s been almost a year since Telltale visited the universe of The […]

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Title: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Ties That Bind Part 1 & Part 2

Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android

Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: Telltale Games

Genre: Interactive Adventure

Official Site: www.telltale.com/series/the-walking-dead-a-new-frontier/

Release Date: December 20, 2016

Where To Buy: Steam


It’s been almost a year since Telltale visited the universe of The Walking Dead (and even then it was with the Michonne mini-series). It has been around three years since we last heard from Clementine, the series protagonist, who last appeared in the second season. Well, Clementine is back in The Walking Dead: A New Frontier and the simultaneous release of the first two episodes makes for a great one-two punch that looks like it will be a setup for another great Telltale series.

It’s fun to see Clem, still a young teenager, as a total badass.

Telltale games follow a similar pattern: players make dialogue choices that impact the story and how characters act towards you, players explore environments and collect items, and players occasionally have to make a “big decision” that seems like it dramatically alters the story (even though every player basically winds up in the same place). The key balancing act that determines whether a Telltale game will be successful lies in whether or not they can make these dialogue options and decisions seem impactful and story-altering. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier definitely succeeds so far on this front: not only do the decisions you make in-game seem impactful, but decisions you’ve made in previous seasons seem like they have shaped the character of Clementine significantly. Even if you haven’t played any older seasons, there is a quick generation process (basically a questionnaire of major events from previous games) that can help you shape the story before you begin.

Clementine’s personality is important because, in general, the player is not making her decisions. The central protagonist of A New Frontier is a man named Javier (or just Javi, as most people refer to him) who is trying to hold his family together. The story weaves some interesting flashbacks into the mix, showing Javi’s interactions with his family right as the zombie outbreak was getting started, while the main action of the story takes place many years after. The flashbacks are some of the most interesting aspects of this newest season of The Walking Dead: decisions you make in the past about how you interact with Javi’s family have definite repercussions in the present day, and it really goes a long way to helping you create the type of Javi you want to play as.

Javi and part of his crew.

Javi is a great main character, and the supporting cast is, for the most part, pretty interesting. Javi has essentially put himself in charge of his abusive brother David’s family: David’s rough-around-the-edges wife Kate, his surly teenage son Gabe, and his sweet daughter Mariana. Of course, more characters (including Clementine) begin to assert themselves into the narrative, and of course, things go south pretty quickly for Javi and his surrogate family. Some moments are very well done (including the cliffhangers of both episodes), but a few situations may appear a bit tired to fans of The Walking Dead. “Wow, this fortified township seems like it could be a perfect place to settle down!” Guess how well that goes?

One thing that struck me about A New Frontier was how well directed it is. The first episode in particular is extremely cinematic – the flashback scenes to Javi’s life at the start of the outbreak are the perfect zombie story examples of dramatic irony. As an audience, we know how bad everything is about to get, but the characters are completely oblivious to all these signs playing out in front of them. Clementine gets some of her backstory filled in as well, but it is obvious that Telltale is still holding their cards close to the chest with some of the bigger reveals that are sure to come.

There’s still a lot to fill in with what Clem has been up to.

I did not notice the typical Telltale issues that have plagued many of their games. The graphics look about as good as the engine can get. Telltale typically fares better when it adapts something like Wolf Among Us or The Walking Dead (which started as comics) or Borderlands (which already has cartoonish, cel-shaded graphics) as opposed to going for the realistic look as they did with Game of Thrones. There were no glitches or bad sound bugs that I noticed, and there was really only one of those boring “wander around and pad the episode time” sections that Telltale has been (mostly) weeding out of their more recent releases.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier seems like a setup for a very strong series. The writing and direction are very tight, the voice acting is on point, and the decisions the player has to make feel impactful and important. It is good to see the Clementine you created in past seasons fleshed out and making decisions, and the new characters are, thus far, much stronger than what the second season brought us. There are a few slow sections, and one character is extremely annoying, but it feels like the third season of The Walking Dead is headed in the right direction.


  • Gameplay: Mostly dialogue options and decision moments. Feels impactful.
  • Graphics: Looks very good. Still definitely Telltale’s aging engine.
  • Sound: Voice acting is very strong.
  • Presentation: Flashbacks help fully flesh out the story.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Ties That Bind Part 1 & Part 2 Review

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is an episodic point-and-click graphic adventure video game developed and published by Telltale Games.
Overall Score
Great
Pros:
  • Mostly likeable new characters
  • Decisions feel important
  • Clementine is fascinating
  • Voice acting is great
Cons:
  • A few tired story ideas and sections
  • Gabriel is seriously annoying

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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Maize Review http://thenerdstash.com/maize-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/maize-review/#respond Tue, 27 Dec 2016 22:34:13 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=52885 Title: Maize Available On: PC Publisher: Finish Line Games Developer: Finish Line Games  Genre: Adventure, Indie Official Site: Maize  Release Date: December 1, 2016 Where To Buy It: Steam, HumbleStore, Gog Maize is something truly unlike anything I have ever played before, and to be completely honest, it was super refreshing. And yes, the game is […]

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Title: Maize

Available On: PC

Publisher: Finish Line Games

Developer: Finish Line Games 

Genre: Adventure, Indie

Official Site: Maize 

Release Date: December 1, 2016

Where To Buy It: Steam, HumbleStore, Gog


Maize is something truly unlike anything I have ever played before, and to be completely honest, it was super refreshing. And yes, the game is about sentient corn. Believe it or not, the sentient corn isn’t even the weirdest part about the game. Maize is a nice reminder that games don’t have to be deep and serious to provide a great experience. Maize has a great sense of humor and a wild story, and it’s probably one of the most fun games I have played this year.

As I previously stated, Maize is a first person adventure game that focuses on sentient corn. Why sentient corn, you may ask? Two scientists misunderstood a memo from the government and created the sentient corn. Your character wakes up in the middle of a corn field (go figure), and you must explore the farm to solve puzzles and open up new areas. You must discover who you are, the purpose behind the corn, and what happened to everyone who worked at the facility. The ending is something you could never guess, seriously; you could never guess how the game ends.

Maize House

Who doesn’t love a creepy farmhouse??

Maize creates a really a-maize-ing (that’s the only one, I promise!) environment with beautiful graphics and excellent use of music and sound design. When you are first dropped into the game, the isolated farmhouse and creepy music create a pretty spooky environment. Despite glitches here and there, the graphics continue to look really well done throughout the game. And it is pretty fun to hear how the soundtrack changes throughout the game as you discover the utter silliness this title will have in store for you.

The writing in Maize is done extremely well. The game has an incredible sense of humor that not only pokes fun at itself but about the genre in general. Your character will pick up incredibly heavy or large things for your inventory, and the game comments on how much space you much have or how strong your character is. I really love games that allow you to find information on your own and Maize definitely lets you discover the details of the story yourself. My playthrough was about 6 hours along and I attempted to be as thorough as possible because I loved all of the notes and collectibles. You really get a feel for the people in the world through insulting sticky notes, journal entries, and paintings you will discover throughout the research facility.

The characters you come across in Maize are just as charming and insulting as the rest of the game is, in the best way. My personal favorite would have to be Vladdy, a Russian teddy bear robot with a bad attitude. Aside from your little robot companion, the creators of Maize really spent their time creating memorable, unique characters.

Maize Vladdy

Meet Vladdy!

My advice to anyone who is thinking of playing this game, do your best to pick up everything that you can. In true Grim Fandango style, if you don’t fully explore an area when you first visit it, you will be forced to return there to solve several of the game’s puzzles. The puzzles will really force you to think outside of the box and encourage you to try combinations you would have never thought about. When you pick up a few of the objects, you can’t help but wonder what in the world you would use them for and Maize never disappoints when it comes time to use these crazy items.

As much as I truly enjoyed Maize, if you’re searching for a true adventure title, this is not the game for you. This game provides a much-needed break from the sea of serious, deep stories in the market at the moment. If you go into the game knowing it’s more comedy than action, I think Maize is something everyone could enjoy. If you enjoy the title for what it is, a short comedic experience with some fabulous characters, challenging puzzles, and a unique story, then you are definitely going to have a good time.

All in all, Maize is a game that I hope no one overlooks. The game is constantly surprising you with its wit or a curveball with its gaming style. This game is just too much fun while being super thoughtful and puzzling. It is an experience truly unlike anything I have played in the past couple of years and I would totally recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good, colorful story!


  • Gameplay: The controls are pretty basic, but the game definitely throws you some interesting curveballs. Very point and click-esque type of adventure.
  • Graphics: As silly as it is, this game is beautiful to look at.
  • Sound: The game’s soundtrack is done really well. The soundtrack really evolves as the story does. It moves from spooky to utterly ridiculous in the best ways.
  • Presentation: Overall, the game comes together really well. While utterly ridiculous, Maize is a breath of fresh air in such a serious market.

Maize Review

Maize is a first-person adventure game about what happens when two scientists misinterpret a memo from the U.S. Government and create sentient corn. And that last sentence is pretty much the least ridiculous thing about the game.
Overall Score
Great
Pros:
  • Good sense of humor
  • Encourages you to think outside of the box
  • Unique story, super refreshing
  • Great graphics
Cons:
  • Easy to get lost
  • Minor glitches

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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