Category Archives: Games

Benefits of Playing Video Games

1. They are good for surgeons

Reading latest research is a must for surgeons. According to a study of laparoscopic, it was discovered that surgeons who have a habit of playing video games for over three hours in 7 days are more likely to perform better during the procedures they perform.

2. They Help You Overcome Dyslexia

According to some research studies, attention difficulties is one of the main causes of dyslexia. As a matter of fact, a study found that patients shown better reading comprehension once they have played a video game. Actually, what happens is that video games change the environment on a constant basis in order to make the player focus more.

3. They Improve Your eyesight

You may have heard that sitting too close to the TV is bad for you vision. However, today, scientists found that if you play games in moderation, your vision will get better. Therefore, it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time playing your favorite video games.

4. They boost your career

Some game genres make players develop better leadership traits. As a result, they provide better services for the society. According to researchers, players show a correlating motivation to choose a better career.

5. They Make You Physical

Some games improve your body interaction. Even if you play with a handheld controller, it will be considered a physical activity. As a matter of fact, sports games, such as tennis, basketball or skateboarding games may help your kids practice the required skills.

6. Games slow down your Aging Process

Today’s brain games help you improve your memory, puzzle components and problem solving skills, especially if you are a senior player. According to a study, a few players played these games for 10 hours. In the end, they showed an improved cognitive functioning.

7. Games help you lessen your pain

What do you do to distract yourself from pain? Of course, you focus your attention on something else. However, you can also play video games to achieve the same purpose. As a matter of fact, playing games helps your body produce a pain-killing response in your body. You don’t feel the pain at all if you are paying full attention to the game that you are playing.

8. Games help you get social

People think that gamers are too insulated; however, this is not true. Nowadays, you have multi-player games that let you get in touch with new players. People from different corners of the world get together, play their favorite games and solve mutual problems.

9. Games help you reduce stress

Some games induce stress, but you can also find some that help you reduce your stress. According to a study, players who played video games had stable heart rates compared to the ones who didn’t play video games.

RACING GAMES

  • Forza Motorsport 7

While crosstown first-party rival GT Sport is dialling back on its “car-PG” origins and shifting the spotlight from the usual scale of its virtual garage, Forza Motorsport 7 is doubling down on it. As such, Forza Motorsport 7 will ship with over 700 cars and a renewed focus on collecting them, experimenting with them, and learning about what makes them interesting. Some of that 700-strong list is bolstered by a few same car-different livery instances (plus some pre-tuned Turn 10 variants of existing cars) but for the most part it’s set to be a broad smorgasbord of cars from all kinds of countries and categories.

  • WRC 7

Developer Kylotonn turned a corner with WRC 6 last year, producing a strong rally game with a respectable career mode, well-designed stages, and a responsive handling model. It was definitely the most fun I’d had with a licensed WRC game since the PS2 era and it made for a credible companion game to the technically stunning Dirt Rally. WRC 7 will now arrive in the wake of Codemasters’ very good Dirt 4 – which launched earlier this year – and seems set to make a similarly strong case for itself. WRC will feature split screen multiplayer and 55 official teams, including a “large selection of WRC 2 and WRC Junior drivers.” It’ll also feature modern rally beasts from Hyundai, Citroën, Ford, and, yes, Toyota (a brand that has developed a sudden aversion to some, but apparently not all, racing games). It’ll even include a Porsche 911 GT3 RS R-GT, which is a first for the series (the R-GT Cup is a fledgling championship for rear-wheel drive GT cars held across five tarmac rally rounds in Europe).

  • Gran Turismo Sport

It’s easy to forget when there are such vast gaps between instalments but the Gran Turismo series remains Sony’s biggest-selling first-party franchise, ever. But even though Gran Turismo Sport will be the first GT game on PS4 – and the brand still carries plenty of cultural cache amongst car fans – the pressure is definitely on. Sales of Gran Turismo 6 dipped more than 50% from Gran Turismo 5, and the PS3 generation itself was a self-described “nightmare” for developer Polyphony Digital. To make things even more difficult, the competition has never been fiercer.  In the face of this challenge Polyphony Digital has re-invented Gran Turismo. It’s not a 1000+ vehicle, car-PG collect ’em up anymore; the focus is now esports. There’s still a solo mode, but the purpose of the 150-or-so drills in ‘Campaign Mode’ is really just to prepare players for the iRacing-inspired ‘Sport Mode’, which is the scheduled, online multiplayer side of the game.

Old Video Game Systems

  • Super Nintendo’s Satellaview

The Satellaview was an add-on subscription service for the Super Famicom (the Japanese version of the SNES) that allowed you, via satellite, to download games and stream satellite radio—in 1995. Through Satellaview, Japanese gamers had access to a bunch of exclusives, including a Chrono Trigger “visual novel” sequel (Radical Dreamers) and two new Zelda/Zelda-related adventures, presented with so-called “SoundLink” live audio voice acting. That’s right: live voice acting. Many of the games, in an odd and early example of DRM, could only be played during designated times, much like watching live TV, enabling actors to perform live voiceovers during cutscenes experienced by all gamers simultaneously, like a radio play.

  • Virtual Boy

A re-released Virtual Boy would also be a big hit at barcades, where many patrons are planning on waking up with headaches, eyestrain, and nausea anyway. It just so happens to be the rare console you could comfortably play (relatively speaking) while seated at a bar or high top table, so it’s a perfect fit. Keeping tipsy gamers from chucking it across the room after a frustrating round of Teleroboxer could be a challenge, but all things considered, it’s a hell of a lot cooler than a sticky old Megatouch machine.

  • Gamecube

The Nintendo 64 was such a popular console it will almost surely get a re-release at some point, but its successor, the GameCube, isn’t as safe a bet. It’s the third worst-selling Nintendo console of all time, with only 21 million units sold in its lifetime.  But its fans are fervent: GameCube owners bought more games for the console than other Nintendo system in history, and the controller design is legendary. Even in the Wii and Wii U eras, Smash Bros. aficionados, for example, kept using GameCube controllers, thanks to backward compatibility on the Wii and a game-specific adapter for the Wii U. Nintendo recognized the desire to use the controller for other Wii U games, because it created official GameCube-style controllers for the system—an unprecedented move. Considering the rabid fanbase and insanely popular controllers, a budget-friendly re-release of the GameCube with wireless, Wavebird-style, Switch-compatible controllers would be an excellent bit of fan service—especially considering the baffling lack of GameCube titles on Nintendo’s Virtual Console.

Great video games

  • Mirror’s Edge

Parkour never looked so good. When Mirror’s Edge came out in 2008, the free-running, climbing, jumping game made movement exciting again, instead of just something you have to do between battles. It even worked the whole “travelling by foot in a futuristic city” thing into the game’s narrative. Alas, critics were quick to point out that the game was just way too short, with some calling it the “first chapter” in a new franchise, which would at least have made the quick intro forgivable. What nobody knew was that the next chapter wouldn’t be out for at least another eight years, and it would be a reboot. Even time trial modes didn’t really rescue the Edge universe from being a four-hour, one-playthrough experience.

  • The Order: 1886

Even before The Order: 1886’s release, Destructoid was already reporting that the full game ran shorter than the average workday. On the one hand, eager players would only have to call in sick for one day. But on the other …. damn, that thing was sixty bucks. Generally, overly brief games are accompanied by an online multiplayer mode to kill the time, but The Order is a self-contained story. There’s a lot of be said for a coherent, conclusive narrative … except developers Ready At Dawn kinda bristled at the implication that their game was too short. Vampires are forever, but this vampire game is so short, you won’t even have to take a bathroom break.

  • Marble Madness

If ever there was a game built for speed runs, it’s Marble Madness. After all, the game rewards you with extra time for completing levels quickly. Impressing people in the arcade in 1984 was certainly worth all of the quarters plugged into the machine, but not so much at home. For roughly $50, skilled home players had about three minutes of solid marble maze enjoyment, and players who sucked had all the joys of repetition and practice … until they reduced Marble Madness to a three-minute game. That’s time better spent learning the clarinet or eating half a sandwich, but certainly not worth everything in your piggy bank.

  • Trine 3

The beautiful Trine series wouldn’t have made it to a third game if the series sucked, but it might just be the threequel that drove the nail into its coffin. After developer Frozenbyte spent over $5 million developing the game, they were still unable to realize all of the ambitious ideas they’d started with. The result was a game that was immediately panned for being too short, according to PC Gamer. Frozenbyte went on to say that in order to make the game any longer than it already was, they’d have needed triple the budget. Further DLC hasn’t been planned, and despite otherwise positive reviews, the studio remains unsure about the future of the franchise after Trine 3’s weak reception.

  • Brutal Legend

A unique theme, innovative and unusual gameplay, multiple awards, a top-notch cast of voice actors and musicians … and about six hours of actual gameplay. Brutal Legend presents an interesting mix of action and strategy, plus a pretty awesome, heavy metal-themed story. Soon after release, however, word spread about the game’s length. Fans quickly realized that the game was a weekend rental, rather than an all-out purchase, and sales numbers suffered. Also, casual game buyers couldn’t figure out what the game was actually about, aside from Jack Black and metal music.

Children’s video games

  • Ecco the Dolphin

Developed by Novotrade International for the Sega Genesis, 1992’s Ecco the Dolphin looks, from the outside, like a harmless children’s game. After all, what could possibly be creepy about playing as a bottlenose dolphin? Fourth-grade girls like dolphins. Heck, everyone likes dolphins. Ecco the Dolphin undoubtedly creeped out many unsuspecting children in its day, but there’s something even more creepy about it when viewed through the eyes of an adult. And it’s not just the aliens that are unsettling. As Andy McDonald described in Vice, it’s the “Pink Floydian soundscapes” and oppressive sense of loneliness throughout — the game hints that humans no longer live on the planet — that really make this game feel properly disturbing.

  • Lemmings

Many people are at least vaguely familiar with DMA Design’s puzzle-platformer Lemmings, which originally appeared on the Amiga, Atari ST and PC in 1991. The iconic, blue-clad, green-haired lemmings are cute and cartoony, but don’t let the title’s outward appearance fool you. It’s a dark, twisted game, in which your sole objective is to minimize these hapless creatures’ suicidal death count.  Furthermore, the game hides one hidden gem of a horrorshow in the form of Level 14 of the “Tricky” difficulty tier, appropriately named “MENACING !!” The level is indeed menacing, and definitely not the image anyone conjures up when thinking of the game. The level is basically Hell, with bloody entrails, skulls and limbs hanging from the ceiling, a long snake comprising the floor, and a bottomless pit of death. It looks like something straight out of a late-’80s satanic death-metal music video. Though the level is apparently designed after fellow DMA Design title Menace, that doesn’t change that it’s out of place, hellish, and certainly not very kid-friendly.

  • Taboo: The Sixth Sense

Perhaps one of developer Rare’s least-known titles, the Nintendo Entertainment System’s 1989 fortune-telling, tarot-card simulator Taboo: The Sixth Sense was the first game of its kind developed specifically for the American audience. Though many kids probably played the game during sleepovers with their friends, taking baby’s first steps into the occult and giggling at the naughtiness of it all — it being one of the few licensed games to feature nudity, if you’re lucky enough to draw one of the three cards showing breasts or behinds — the game was technically directed at adults. Not that anybody cared.

 

Hands-On Blade & Soul Gunslinger Nick Shively

Similar to the other classes in Blade & Soul, the Gunslinger utilizes two distinct specializations that cater to different play styles and fill different roles. The first specialization is Flame, which is focused on building up charges to unleash explosive rounds. Up to five rounds can be stored at once and then unleashed to do heavy amounts of damage. During the initial build up, the Flame spec Gunslinger might feel a bit weaker than the other damage-focused classes, but the burst from the explosive rounds is enough to put a dent in any boss or finish off an unsuspecting player.

While the Flame spec is focused on heavy burst via its explosive rounds, the Shadow specialization builds up meter to achieve Lightspeed. During Lightspeed, the Shadow Gunslinger’s abilities have amplified damage and quicker cast speeds. When compared side-by-side, the Shadow spec has more sustained damage while Flame has more burst damage, but both kits are designed to build up to a certain point and then unleash a ton of damage. Picking a spec will mostly come down to personal preference, but I felt the Shadow spec to feel smoother and less reliant on a single skill than Flame.

Usually, you’re forced to be stationary while pressing 1 and 2 repeatedly with the occasional 3 or 4 thrown in for good measure. In some games there is a bit more complexity, and often times the systems are really interesting, but almost all mages archetypes are required to stand still while casting or at least have animation locks.

Until recently, this was my experience with Blade & Soul as well. I initially enjoyed both the Force Master and Warlock, and while they didn’t suffer from the stationary gameplay as classes in similar games do, they both felt much slower than the other classes in Blade & Soul. Trying to do boss fights that required a lot of mobility or PvP can feel frustrating, especially when other classes seem to be able to hop around the map with ease.

Well, if you’re like me and want a class that feels like a mage but doesn’t have that tacked-on sluggish feeling then the Gunslinger might be the right choice for you. It can be extremely agile while simultaneously putting out a lot of damage and supporting the rest of the party. Of course, speed and damage aren’t the only things that matter in a class. There’s also style, and the Gunslinger bleeds it. Every one of the Gunslinger’s abilities looks and feels way over-the-top, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your style preference.

For those who haven’t seen the latest Blade & Soul news, a major crafting update is launching alongside the Gunslinger. With the new crafting system, players can have up to three simultaneous tasks for each guild. Additionally, the level cap for each guild is being increased to five and varying amounts of items can be crafted with a single task. Players who have already put a significant amount of effort into crafting can expect some form of compensation at a later date.

An update wouldn’t be complete without new items. Here is a list of new items for each crafting guild:

The Forgekeepers

  • Empyrean Spirit Stone – Used to upgrade legendary weapons
  • Transformation Stone
  • Master Field Repair Tool
  • Void Fragment
  • Ascendance Stone
  • Galaxy Fragment

Radiant Ring

  • Brilliant Key – Key used to obtain class-specific weapon
  • Ivory Beluga Orb
  • Smelting Orb
  • Aransu Orb

Soul Wardens

  • Shield Bases – Exchangeable for Soul Shield Primers
  • Shield Engravings – Used to enhance attributes for a specific set of Soul Shields
  • Serpent Calling Bell
  • Purification Jar

Acquired Taste

  • Dragon Soups – Increases combat EXP by 100% and 200%
  • Mild & Spicy Dumplings & Dumpling Soup – Recovers 100% HP and gives various combat buffs

Silver Cauldron

  • Cactus and Prickly Pear Potions – Instantly recovers HP
  • Persistence and Awakened Potions – Raises Max. HP or AP

Earthseers

  • Revival  & Resuscitation Charms – Revives yourself or a party member
  • Cooldown Reset Charm – Resets all cooldowns

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Most Nintendo first party titles are crafted with accessibility in mind. Super Mario 3D World, Pokemon Sun & Moon, and Splatoon 2 each hide complex and challenging gameplay behind walls so casual players can walk leisurely through the main game. Even Fire Emblem, once accessible only to hardcore tactics fans, introduced a casual mode to open its doors to casual players. When Ubisoft developed Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, a tactics game featuring Mario and Rayman’s rabbids, the development team clearly considered this Nintendo standard.

The game’s basic mechanics, moving, attacking, and activating specials, are all very easy to understand from the moment the game begins. Even as players unlock more skills, Kingdom Battle rarely feels intimidating to approach. Although difficulty spikes and frustrating UI occasionally make the journey more complicated than it needs to be, the way Ubisoft manages to blend difficulty and accessibility harkens back to the Nintendo of the 1990s.

On the surface, Kingdom Battle welcomes young and inexperienced players through its personality. The overall tone actively undercuts whatever level of nervousness players have about tactics games. Mario and the Rabbids explore four worlds in a colorful Mushroom Kingdom loaded with childish comedy. In the first hour of the game, players will find a Banzai Bill trapped in a pair of underwear just outside of Peach’s castle, Rabbids gleefully jumping on a sponge used for undisclosed jobs, and goomba’s trapped on their backs in honey. These sights may seem silly to some, but they actually go a long way towards making the game feel accessible to a broader demographic.

All of that paint, the music, overworld, and puzzles, does a superb job of masking the fact that Kingdom Battle can be frustratingly hard. Even in combat, the game manages to feel simple while pushing players to become better at the game.

When the game begins, all Mario and his two Rabbid companions can do is move and attack. Both of these options aren’t hard to grasp, and while a few more maneuvers get added to the mix, they basically make up the entirety of the gameplay. Once every ability is unlocked, players still only have five tools they can use each turn: Main weapon, secondary weapon, movement, special skill 1 and special skill 2. As the game progresses, it challenges players to use these options in creative ways but never throws in new skills for the characters to learn. Stages instead offer different enemies and obstacles that force the heroes to use what they already have in creative ways.

SONIC MANIA

Sonic has been around for ages, but most regard his best moments as the original Sega Genesis titles. The last decade or so has seen countless forgettable  Sonic games that sampled elements from the franchises legendary roots but have ultimately forgotten why Sonic was once battling Mario for center stage and what made fans have faith in the quality seal of a Sonic game. Now, with a ton of hype, comes the long awaited Sonic Mania. PagodaWest Games and Headcannon have finally returned Sonic to its 16-bit glory. Sonic Mania is a traditional 2D platformer that looks and feels like a vintage Sonic game. There are 8 remixed zones that are taken from the first three Sonic titles on the Genesis as well as Sonic and Knuckles. On top of that, five new stages have been specially designed for this game. There are plenty of new incorporations in Sonic Mania, but the mix of nostalgia, great level design, and modern implements all allow a much needed second wind to be breathed into this classic mascot.

Sonic Mania allows players to go through the adventure using any of the three original protagonists (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles). The game has no dialogue to speak of, but it begins with Eggman getting on with some dastardly plans to send out his minions to obtain a power created by an energy signal. The plot isn’t important, but there are awesome animations between stages (and sometimes within) that make the game feel like a classic 90s cartoon. Eggman can often be found somewhere in the level,–he’s riding a train and laughing it up as Sonic flies by in the eighth zone–and the animations are very well done. The crisp colors add to the fluid animations, and the cutscenes do add some continuity and amusing interludes that make the game feel more complete.

Finally, a new Sonic game feels like the original games. That is not to say it doesn’t evolve or add the franchise, but Sonic Mania keeps the original recipe that made Sonic great in the first place and just sprinkles in new ingredients. Fans have never really asked for anything more, and while it’s been too long since a truly great Sonic game, I am happy to tell you that Sonic Mania indeed fills in that void and that Sonic will be spin-dashing back into the heart of gaming. The game is 2D, fast paced, simple to play but very hard to beat, and it kept everything we loved–and admittedly a few things we disliked–about Sonic while bringing the series back to its roots. It does this with very strong level design, versatile platforming/boss fights, the right amount of difficulty, and fusing elements from many different Sonic games.

Sonic Mania nails it when it comes to great level design. Every level is drastically different from the others, and the difficulty gradually increases as the game wears on. Green Hill Zone is a relaxed warm up, but after that, each level has some very unique obstacles that mean that players can’t just shoot through the game without discovering and overcoming the fine intricacies of each stage. Every zone features two acts, and there is a lot of disparity, even between the first and second half of a zone. For example, Chemical Plant Zone stage one will feel a lot like a level you have seen before, but stage two features a ton of brand new elements such as needles that inject the water with chemicals that cause Sonic to hyper jump and DNA strands that launch Sonic to new platforms.

I found the new changes to be more interesting than the nostalgia twinged areas, and I loved that each stage felt like a new set of rules to play with. The level design is very innovative, and the fine mix of nostalgia, new elements, and ever changing platforming designs are the backbone to Sonic Mania’sgreatness.

RESIDENT EVIL REVELATIONS

I have something of a love/hate relationship with the Resident Evil franchise; the original three titles on the PlayStation 1 will always be the textbook definition of survival horror done right in my opinion, but from Resident Evil 4 onward the series began to favour fast paced action over the suspense and atmosphere of its predecessors. Resident Evil 4 was an excellent game, but it marked a change that didn’t sit well with myself and other long time fans of the franchise; the titles that followed (Resident Evil 5 & 6) followed suit with the change in gameplay, moving the series from survival horror to a more action-adventure oriented experience. Thankfully, the series has returned to its roots somewhat with the release of Resident Evil 7, which has revived a lot of the aspects found in the original titles, while simultaneously revolutionising the gameplay yet again under the guise of the PT-esque first person perspective found in many modern day horror titles.

Resident Evil Revelations attempted a similar change of pace when it released in 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS, keeping the action-oriented gameplay found in RE4 while adapting it to focus on survival, evasion and exploration instead of all out combat. The game was re-released as a HD remaster last Tuesday for the PS4 and Xbox One offering fluid 60fps gameplay and improved 1080p visuals over the original. While it plays very similar to RE4, the change in suspense is exactly what the series prior to RE7 was missing, and sees a return to form that this series desperately needed at this point in time. There are fewer enemies present at any one time to be sure, but that is what makes the encounters that much more tense, especially so when you have to manage your ammunition and health items simultaneously.

The game’s narrative sets it between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, where you play as series veteran Jill Valentine and her new partner Parker Luciani as they investigate an abandoned cruise ship called the Queen Zenobia for it’s link to a bioterrorist organisation called Veltro, as well as it being the last known location of Jill’s former partner: Chris Redfield. From the moment Jill and Parker arrive on the ship it becomes abundantly clear  that something isn’t right. As they explore the eerily silent and dark, haunting corridors of the Zenobia they soon realise that a new virus is running rampant on the ship, turning its former inhabitants into hideously mutated creatures known collectively as the Ooze. Overall the game’s creature design is pretty solid, basing their design on different deep sea creatures which works well in conjunction with the overall tone of the game. The game is designed in a TV-Style format, with each chapter being an episode in the overall ‘season’. There are twelve episodes in total, with a run time between 7-9 hours depending on how long you spend exploring the game’s environments.

The Crew 2

As I mentioned previously, the biggest feature that differentiates The Crew 2 from its predecessor is that players have a ton of options as to how they want to race. From piloting airplanes to riding a dirtbike, there are a ton of options to choose from. Switching between vehicles is super easy too, as the right analog stick can be used to automatically shift from a car to a plane or a boat without any load times. It’s amazing how a player can be speeding down the highway in a sports car one second, and then take flight without missing a beat.

Of course, this switching can be done for more silly purposes too. Want to drop a boat in the middle of a city? You can totally do that. It won’t be able to do much of anything without water, but you can just stare at all of the unhelpful computer controlled cars that seemingly don’t care that a boat is in the middle of the Bronx. I really enjoyed going from an airplane and trying to line it up so my car could drop a few hundred feet onto a street. Most of the time I missed my target and ran right into the wall of a building, but hey, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

While I was easily entertained by the antics I was getting up to in The Crew 2‘s open-world, I also was impressed by the variety of the actual races. The first race had me riding a motocross bike on a dirt track. This was a lot of fun as I was able to boost into jumps to make sure I could clear them, and take sharp corners to pass opponents. It probably won’t rival MXGP 3 in terms of courses, but as a fan of two-wheeled racing I came away impressed.

The next race was completely different, as I was racing a powerful car on an oval race track. This required a far different strategy compared to the winding turns of the dirt track I was just on, but the racing still felt great. I was really impressed with how no matter what vehicle The Crew 2 put me in, I was still able to adapt and have fun straightaway. I didn’t end up winning the race, but I had a good time nonetheless.

It’s not all about regular races, though, as the third event I participated in was a drift challenge in the streets of New York City. Here I was competing against another player to see who could score the most points while drifting around the city’s streets. While drifting requires some reckless driving, it’s also important to drive safely as a good drift doesn’t mean anything if it ends up with the player hitting a street bench. I learned this lesson the hard way, as there’s more of a learning curve to the drifting mechanics than the regular driving, but near the end of the event I had started to get a real handle on it. It was almost enough to comeback and win, but I had to settle for second place.