Fortnite: Or How I Learned to Stop Building and Love the Shenanigans – Video Game Review

TL;DR – After years of frustration with this game, the no-build mode finally coalesces the game for me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – This is a Free-to-Play with microtransactions, and I paid for the Battle Pass.

A crew shot as things explode in the background.

Fortnite Review –

Back in 2017, there was this odd game that exploded onto the video game scene, it was not the first Battle Royale style game on the market, but its free-to-play model and big marketing push made it the example all others wanted to copy. I tried the game when it first came out, and my biggest feeling at the time was that ‘this was not for me’. I just did not have the time in my life to learn how to work the building side of things. However, with the announcement that there would be a build-free mode, I decided to give the game another look and discovered just what people have been talking about for all these years.

So to set the scene, Fortnite is a Third-Person Shooter Battle Royale game. This means that it is a shooter where the perspective is positioned from behind the character, over the shoulder, rather than as if you were peering out of their eyes. As well as this, there is a barrier slowly shrinking the map to a central point forcing all the players together. What this means is at the start of the game, all 100 players jump out of a flying bus landing across the map and have to scavenge weapons and ammo, all trying to be the last one standing while some dude in a banana costume snipes you … banana costumes … raises a fist to the clouds.    

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Hades – Video Game Review

TL;DR – A game where the mechanics, story, music, and design all pulls you in, so you keep trying to escape your captivity run after run after run

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the game

Hades. Image Credit: Supergiant Games

Hades Review –

At the start of this year, I thought I would take some time to catch up on some of the things I might have missed last year, and I also wanted a bit of an escape from the current world around. With this in mind, several people I respect had Hades on their ‘Best Video Game of 2020’ lists so I thought that might be an excellent place to dive in and I was right.

So to set the scene, you are Zagreus (Darren Korb) the son of Hades (Logan Cunningham) and Prince of the Underworld.  However, a prince he may be, but in reality, he is trapped, a prisoner to his father’s wishes and demands. When he discovers that Nyx (Jamie Landrum) The God of Night is not his birth mother, Zagreus takes on himself to escape from the Underworld, even if that means fighting his way through Tartarus, Asphodel, and Elysium to get there.

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The Jackbox Party Pack 7– Video Game Review

TL;DR – We get our party on, in what is a robust new outing for Jackbox Games

The Jackbox Party Pack 7. Image Credit: Jackbox Games.

Jackbox Party Pack 7 Review –

If you have spent any time on Twitch, you would probably have a passing understanding of Jackbox games. These are fun little party games like Trivia Murder Party that can be played with a group of friends around a TV or on large streams when hundreds of people can join in on the audience. It is this flexibility that gives the Jackbox Party Pack their longevity.

Well, today we are going to dive into the world party games and look at Jackbox Games newest outing Jackbox Party Pack 7. To put together this review, I have played some of these games on stream via Twitch and also with friends in local coop.

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Among Us – Video Game Review

TL;DR – A straightforward game that has layers of depth and works no matter what role you get

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Among Us. Image Credit: Innersloth.

Among Us Review –

In the board game realm, there is a genre of games called ‘hidden role’ games. These are games like Avalon, Mafia de Cuba or Secret Hitler where on the surface all the players are trying to complete a task together. This task could be fighting an evil empire, hoarding your boss’ diamonds, or getting rid of the fascist elements of the government. However, around the table secretly, there are some players whose job is to do the exact opposite. I have seen many video games try to capture that feeling but never quite getting there, well that is until today.

So to set the scene, you and your fellow crewmate are on a drop-ship to a new location. It could be another spaceship, an aerostat military base, or a research station on a planet. Something has gone wrong, and your job is to work together to complete several tasks like refuelling the ship, clearing out the trash, or shooting down some approaching asteroids. All of this is very routine; however, among your crew, there is an Imposter (or Imposters) whose job is to stop you from completing the tasks by killing you off one by one.

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Video Game Review – Old World (Ōld World) First Look

TL;DR – A game that sits in the middle between Civilization and Total War, taking things that work from both.

Old World. Image Credit: Mohawk Games.

Review –

If there is one genre of games that I will always been drawn to, it is the 4x (EXplore, EXpand, EXploit and EXterminate) strategy genre. It can be in space, in a fantasy realm, in the past, or somewhere completely new, I don’t care just hook it up straight to my veins. When I heard that Soren Johnson, the lead designer of Civilization IV, was diving back into the genre my interest was peaked and now that I have had a chance to play the game I can see why. One thing I do need to point out before we proceed, this is an “early access” game in that it is not yet finished. This means that this is only a first look, a first impression of the game and not the full review, which is why there is not a score above.  

So to set the scene, Old World (or as it is styled Ōld World) is a game set in the past charting the dawn of civilization through the classical era to almost the medieval era. In it, you play one of seven civilization/leaders from the dawn of time. Ashurbanipal of Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, Dido of Carthage, Hatshepsut of Egypt, Philip of Greece, Cyrus of Persia, and Romulus of Rome. However, unlike Civilization and other similar games, you don’t just hold on to the one leader for the whole game, because like in real life, leaders get old and die. This means as well as maintaining your expansion you need to make sure your heirs are ready to take over. This brings the game a little of the way into the territory of the popular Total War series. On the whole, I quite liked the dynastic politics in the game, however, has the game goes on and your heirs and siblings etc start popping out multiple babies a turn, it can be a bit hard to keep track of. Which is just about when your sister kills you in your sleep for ascending to the throne over her as what happened in my first game. You also need to keep different dynastic families from squabbling, giving you potential problems from afar and within.  

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Video Game Review – XCOM: Chimera Squad

TL;DR – it is a game that is something old (The XCOM Setting) and something new (living rather than waring), something borrowed (SWAT mechanics), and something blue (the face of any enemy who just discovered Torque)  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

XCOM: Chimera Squad. Image Credit: Firaxis Games and 2K Games.

Review –

If there is one studio that is the king of turn-based strategy games it would be Firaxis Studios. While they are probably better known for their fundamental Civilization franchise, they have also delved into the world of science fiction, alien invasions, and reloading that autosave because your fully upgraded soldier just missed the one guy standing right next to them and now they are bleeding out on the floor. I have enjoyed the XCOM series in the past, okay not that one alien that pretends it’s a civilian, but other than that, so I was interested when I heard we were getting a sort of sequel/spin-off thingy. Well, I became even more interested when I got my hand on it and I found out just how fun it was.  

So to set the scene, It has been a couple of hears since the end of XCOM 2, and the world has sort of found a new equilibrium as humans, aliens, and hybrids live side by side. There is one place in the world that has been remarkably successful with this, the famous City 31. XCOM has moved from overthrowing an alien invasion to helping maintain order in a constantly fragmented world. Thus the Chimera Squad was created to help local police, but just as they arrive the mayor of City 31 Mayor Nightingale (Nika Futterman) is murdered in front of the squad and you have to work out who did it before the city tears itself apart.

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Video Game Review – Civilization VI: Red Death Battle Royale Mode

TL;DR – Adding aBattle Royale to a Civilization game seems really counterintuitive, that is until you play it.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Civilization VI: Red Death. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Review –

In 2019 if there was ever a trend that could be considered the new hotness that every video game company wants a chunk of, well that has to be the Battle Royale mode. For those who may not know, a Battle Royale mode/game is where you have an ever-shrinking map so you need to gear up, get to the safe zone, defeating any enemies you come across, and be the last one standing. This is where you get your chicken dinner, or in this case your escape from a dying planet. But most Battle Royale games like PUBG, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: Blackout are first/third-person shooters, surely it can’t work in a strategy game, well I’ve been able to play a couple of rounds so far so let’s see.

My experience with Battle Royale games is not as extensive as some people, however I have played/watched enough of the genre to get a good sense of the common aspects of the game. You have the same phases in a match, when you land you have to roam around quickly to try and get resources, troops from ruined cities, helicopters from raider camps, or even a coveted nuclear weapon. You need to move quickly because everyone else is out there doing the same, so you have to stretch your resources, but not so much that you overburden yourself. Then you might pick off one of the players that were not quick enough while keeping to the ever-shrinking safe zone until there are only one or more players left and you battle it out head-to-head.

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Video Game Review – Civilization VI: Gathering Storm Expansion

TL;DR – While the big up-front features are interesting, for me it was a lot of the small quality of life changes that really stood out

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Review –

Now, if you have read anything on our site before, you will likely know that I quite like the Civilization series. Well, I have had my hands on the new expansion Gathering Storm for a couple of weeks now and have been able to play a number of games with many of the new civilizations, so I think I have reached the point where I can give the game an informed review. With that in mind in today’s review, we will be looking at the civilizations, the main features, the improvements, and then the production to see what sort of expansion Gathering Storm is.   

So to set the scene, if you are not familiar with the game, Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy game of the 4X persuasion. This means that instead of moving all at once, each player takes their turn to build wonders, move troops, and explore the map or whatever they are trying to do. Your aim is to build the biggest empire through economic, military, scientific, cultural, or religious means (or all of the above). Thus you eXplore, eXpand, eXpolit, and eXterminate. Gathering Storm is the second expansion pack for Civilization VI after Rise and Fall, which has historically meant that this is the last expansion for the game, but we’ll see about that.

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Video Game Review – Ark: Survival Evolved

TL;DR– Bringing the survival gameplay into a world of dinosaurs is a fantastic idea, but for me,the balance is not quite there.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ark: Survival Evolved

Review –

If you have read my reviews in the past, you would know that one of the easiest sells for me is to add dinosaurs to something. Movies, TV, Books, you name it and if it has dino’s in it I am there for it. However, when it comes to video games with dinosaurs I am much more hesitant after getting burnt in the past with games like The Stomping Land,and more generally in this genre with Day-Z.So when Ark first came out I was not prepared to invest in another Early-Access survival game, but now it has been out in full release for a year I thought it would be a good time to take the dive into the world of Dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, lots of Dodos,and oh the mechanic that lets you know when you pooped.

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Video Game Review – Civilization VI: Rise and Fall Expansion  

TL;DR – It takes the formula of Civilization VI and adds to it in very different and unexpected ways boosting the core game and adding some new flavour to the experience

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Rise and Fall

 

Review –
If there is one thing that you can almost reliably count on is that a Civilization game is going to get an expansion at some point (and hopefully more than one). It is one of those gaming truisms, like there will be a controversy with each Grand Theft Auto game release, or Nintendo is going to Mario up every console it makes, the things that help make life that little bit more predictable in a world of chaos. So today we are going to explore Civilization VI’s (see review) first expansion pack Rise and Fall, which both describes some of the mechanics in the game but is also a homage to the popular mod Rhye’s and Fall.

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