Video Games

The Division 2 PC Review (Embargo Broken)

Having gotten advance access to the full-fledged retail release of the sequel the world is dying to play, I couldn’t not go ahead and break the review embargo to provide you all with my thoughts on Ubisoft’s The Division 2. With online servers currently live for last-minute dev testing, I’ve gotten ample time to play through the experience in its entirety with a handful of other early access players. Here’s my review.

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The game opens to the sight of Washington D.C. in ruins, and I can’t help but feel the developers worked hard to paint this desolate, destitute depiction of the United States Capitol as some sort of political allegory for the state they feel the U.S. is currently in. Though it’s artistically depicted and nuanced in its commentary of modern day politics, I’m still shocked that the publisher and developer have gone so far as to include in-game graffiti on dilapidated D.C. monuments that reads “Make America Good Again.” You might not catch what this is referencing at first, but really double back and think about it. If you’re looking for political commentary, The Division 2 won’t leave you starving.

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Video Games

Team Sonic Racing’s Roster: Why It Makes Perfect Sense for 2013

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SEASIDE HILL — Sega of America has just confirmed that not only are Zavok and Big hard-locked for Team Sonic Racing, but there will be no downloadable content (DLC) for the game whatsoever. This means the current roster, which consists of the usual suspects as well as Big the Cat, Zavok the disabled dwarf dragon, and a team of Chao, will not be changing before or after release.

To all the fans out there complaining about the lack of inclusion of other characters from the series, such as Chaos Zero and the Babylon Rogues, I have but one question to ask: Why? Why are you complaining?

Think logically about this. It’s 2013, and Sonic Lost World is brand-spanking-new. You’re seriously going to blame Sega for including Zavok, who’s the lead bad guy of their newest main series title? It’s called marketing, people. DuUuUh. And as for the team of Chao, think about it: Sonic’s 25th anniversary is three years away. That’s three years of development time. For Sonic Adventure 3. They’re teasing a Chao garden. I don’t know how much more transparent they could be, at this point (it’s not like they’re just going to skip 2016 altogether, after all. It’s an anniversary year!). Clearly Big the Cat is also part of this forward-thinking SA3 marketing. I, for one, am excited for some Big fishing adventures on my PS4.

So before you get up in arms about a member of the Deadly Six, a fat cat, and a group of dopey Tamagotchi pets getting prime-time placement in Team Sonic Racing, really think about why Sega made the choices they did. It’s obvious logic.

Why would you think the Babylon Rogues deserve spots in this game? So what, if they have a perfect team of three that are custom-built to fit the speed, technique, and power archetypes of TSR. And who cares if they are the only characters in the franchise literally designed exclusively for racing games. Honestly, just because they’re perfect foils to Team Sonic, have badass character designs, and have their own successful spinoff trilogy doesn’t mean they should be recognized in a celebration of Sonic’s history. Come on, people. Think more critically with your roster critiques, next time.

(If you like what you’ve read here, don’t forget to follow on Twitter for more.)

 

Video Games

Bethesda Has A Secret Game Coming Out This Year

You read that title right—it looks like Bethesda’s got a secret game saddled up for release in 2017, also known as the current year with only three months left in it.

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In a recent PAX West interview with Bethesda’s very own Pete Hines, their VP of Public Relations, the man seems to have slipped up and revealed a juicy tidbit regarding a game Bethesda still doesn’t want anyone to know about, even though it’s got less than one hundred-something days to launch if it wants to land within 2017, as per what the accidental announcement suggests.

If we choose to ignore Hines’ back-pedaling on the statement, as we always should when a corporate good-boy slips up publicly, this leaves one question on the table: what could the secret game be? Basic understanding of the gaming industry hints at it being a small release, possibly along the lines of a smartphone card game or something of that nature, in which case we’ll be receiving a totally new game. The other possibility is that it’ll be a port of Fallout 4 for the Nintendo Switch. With Skyrim releasing on the system sometime later this year, it makes sense that a second port would receive a minimized marketing schedule from Bethesda and serve simply as an alternative for Nintendo consumers who aren’t interested in an Elder Scrolls game. And this isn’t just smoke-blowing conjecture: product links have already cropped up for a Nintendo Switch Fallout 4 GOTY Edition.

Only time will tell, of course. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and hope Pete Hines dishes out more classified info in-between his battles with fans over Bethesda’s ludicrous Creation Club fiasco.

Video Games

Overview of the Nintendo Switch: An Underwhelming Console

The Nintendo Switch has been out on the market for a while now, so it’s high-time for an analysis of the system’s pros and cons. Let’s see how it stacks up against its competitors as well as its predecessor console.

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To get everyone up to speed, here are all the Switch components that lag behind the competition, i.e. Sony’s PS4 Pro and Microsoft’s Xbox One (soon to be Scorpio):

1.) 32GB of internal storage. For frame of reference, the baseline PS4 had 500GB and from the start people were ardently whinging about how that wasn’t nearly enough. 32GB won’t cover a modern game. Watch_Dogs can’t fit on this system in its default form. You can upgrade storage via SD cards, but that’s an additional purchase and therefore not a factor in assessing the baseline model.

2.) Minimal third-party support. A console relatively devoid of heavy-hitting publishers. Ubisoft is working on a peculiar Mario-Rabbids crossover and SEGA is bringing Sonic to the Switch, but beyond that there’s little fanfare from third-parties.

3.) $300 price tag. Currently, the PS4 and Xbox One are in the same exact price range and offer infinitely more value in terms of both game selection and hardware, which doesn’t bode well for a new console struggling to make a splash in the market pool.

4.) Charging for online. Nintendo’s market niche-cornering has never been focused on the online multiplayer demographic, and it shows. Without Battlefield, Titanfall, Rainbow Six, Call of Duty, Forza, Gears of War, or any other relevant multiplayer game slated to be on the Switch (besides Splatoon 2), the service doesn’t seem to be justifying its price all that well.

5.) 3 hour Switch battery life. Playing a graphically demanding game results in 3 hours of battery life. That’s less than half an average plane flight’s duration, and that’s exactly the situation Nintendo was advertising this feature for. Worse, some airlines are experimenting with restrictions that prevent you from bringing your Switch in carry-on, negating the purpose entirely.

6.) Accessory pricing. Scraping $90 for a pair of controller handles, known as joy-cons, is the current tag. Not even the main controller, mind you, as that’s the Switch’s removable screen itself. It’s a steep price point that sets a rough precedent for the accessories department, to say the least.

7.) Under-powered. Nintendo had five years to stare into their competitors’ eyes and work toward surpassing the PS4 and Xbox One in every way, and instead of rising to the challenge they’ve chosen to opt out of the race altogether. Objectively speaking, the hardware in this system isn’t competitive with boxes that have been out for nearly half a decade.

In conclusion, things are looking somewhat grim for the Switch. While Nintendo diehards have caused the console’s launch to be a massive success, sales are already starting to stagnate and repeat the pattern of the Switch’s failed predecessor, the Wii U. With only ports of Wii U games on the system at the moment (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild), there’s virtually no incentive to invest in a Switch right now and there won’t be until Super Mario Odyssey secures a release date.