Saturday, 16 May 2015

TOP TEN Video games on Playstation / Xbox / PC - 2017 - 2018 - A Must Have Collection!



Mortal Kombat X - BUY NOW

 


 Mortal Kombat X moves the timeline forward 25 years, giving the game the opportunity to show older versions of existing fighters as well as some of their kids. This translates into 24 playable characters, with a decent split between existing combatants and new ones. Returning characters include Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana, Kenshi, a gray-haired Liu Kang, Raiden, and more. Eight characters are new, with four falling on the bad guy end of the spectrum and four humans that descend from "old" fighters. Those four also figure heavily into the game's storyline as Cassie Cage, the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, teams up with Jax's daughter Jacqui, Kenshi's son Takeda, and a descendant of Kung Lao named Kung Jin to basically save all the realms from Mortal Kombat 4's end boss, Shinnok, and his right-hand man, Quan Chi.




Mortal Kombat X combines cinematic presentation with all new gameplay to deliver the most brutal Kombat experience ever, offering a new fully-connected experience that launches players into a persistent online contest where every fight matters in a global battle for supremacy. For the first time, Mortal Kombat X gives players the ability to choose from multiple variations of each character impacting both strategy and fighting style. Players step into an original story showcasing some of the game’s most prolific characters including Scorpion and Sub-Zero, while introducing new challengers that represent the forces of good and evil and tie the tale together


The finishers in Mortal Kombat X are more gruesome than ever. On some level that should be an obvious improvement, since this is the first game in the series to show up on this generation of hardware. But the developers have really gone the extra mile to make sure most of the fatalities go "too far" in new ways, from bodies getting ripped in half to faces being sliced off to reveal a tongue that sits there and twitches until you move forward to the next screen. The game also has brutalities, which are new--they aren't just the weird, sped-up dial-a-combo explosions that they were when they showed up in Mortal Kombat Trilogy.


Mortal Kombat X moves forward with a snappier version of the previous game's fighting and some cool new characters, but the story and other features around the edges feel a bit rough in spots.


Forza Horizon 2 - BUY NOW

  







Race through a wide-open world featuring dramatic weather and day to night cycles. Connect with friends in this celebration of speed, style, and action-packed driving. Explore exotic locations in more than 200 of the world’s greatest cars.

Forza has always been synonymous with sim-oriented racing, from tuning cars to finding that best line to shave off 1/10th of a second of a lap of the track.  Two years ago developer Playground Games broke the traditional Forza gameplay model by introducing open world racing on the Xbox 360.  It was brought to life with the Forza graphics and physics engine.  The game was pretty much all I could have hoped for back then.  Fast forward to present day and Forza Horizon 2 is set to release on the Xbox One.  I won’t lie, I have been anticipating this title for quite some time, as the promise of next-gen hardware combined with the graphics and car-sim engine from Forza 5, I had high hopes for Playground Games next  Xbox exclusive open world racer.  We here at COG have been playing an early copy of the final retail code, and after sitting down over the past week or so I have to say that my expectations were fully met.  Just like a Subaru all-wheel drive Impreza takes off from the line and speeds down the road, nimbly navigating whatever lies in front of it; Forza Horizon 2 is something you should experience.



Playground games have once again met, and even exceeded, my expectations for Forza Horizon 2.  The open world of southern Europe, rain or shine, not only provides a great backdrop, but it is an awesome automotive playground too (did you see what I did there?).  With so much in-game content fans will find themselves racing for many days and nights (not just virtual) and the multiplayer modes add even more playtime for fans.  If you are an Xbox One owner and looking for a racing game that is an open world, fun, and has a lot of replayability while being both accessible to beginners and a challenge racing veterans given the number of gameplay options, then you really shouldn’t look any further then Forza Horizon 2.




Dragon Age: Inquisition - BUY NOW


  









Select and lead a group of characters into harrowing battles against a myriad of enemies – from earth-shattering High Dragons to demonic forces from the otherworld of the Fade. Go toe-to-toe in visceral, heroic combat as your acolytes engage at your side, or switch to tactical view to coordinate lethal offensives using the combined might of your party. Observe the tangible, visible results of your journey through a living world – build structures, customize outposts, and change the landscape itself as environments are re-honed in the wake of your Inquisition. Helm a party chosen from nine unique, fully-realized characters – each of whom react to your actions and choices differently, crafting complex relationships both with you and with each other. Create your own character from multiple races, customize their appearance, and amalgamate their powers and abilities as the game progresses. Enhanced customization options allow you to pick everything from the color of your follower’s boots to the features of your Inquisition stronghold. Become a change agent in a time of uncertainty and upheaval. Shape the course of your empires, bring war or peace to factions in conflict, and drive the ultimate fate of the Inquisition. Will you bring an end to the cataclysmic anarchy gripping the Dragon Age?

At the beginning, you create your own hero. You choose the sex, the race and the class and then customize your appearance. Regardless of your choices, the story starts the same way for all. You are the sole survivor of a massive magic explosion that kills the leaders of Templars, Mages and leader of the Chantry in one fell swoop, while leaving you with a pulsing green light in your left hand. This light gives you the ability to close the fade rifts that resulted from the explosion, unleashing demons from the magical realm into this plane. In response to the political power vacuum left by the explosion the Inquisition is formed. Even though you are the prime suspect, you are pressed to help close the rifts that have popped up around the land while looking for clues to the mystery. Tensions are running high and the undercurrents of a civil war are bubbling closer to the surface, so in addition to closing the rifts, you also need to gain support for the Inquisition from the people of Thetas by completing quests. Sounds simple and like a familiar construct from a dozen other RPGs, but the scope of the game is massive. Not just the size of the regions you can explore but in the choices you make in the course of the game with your party and how you choose to resolve quests. In some cases how you chose to resolve a quest will have lasting effects leading to alliances with some while creating enemies by others.


You decide how to proceed with the investigation by choosing which order you will undertake missions and what areas you will unlock. As you complete quests, explore new areas, harvest resources and a do a myriad of other things, you gain power points used to unlock other areas on the map to explore and “influence,” which allows additional perks for the Inquisition’s efforts. There is a fast travel option to return to previously explored areas, which helps with all the exploration you will be doing. However, you will (and should) make use of it to frequently return to your base of operations to meet with your advisors in the War Room to advance the plot and make use of the region map. The map allows you to spend your power points to unlock new areas to quest in or assign agents to mission which give bonuses, upgrades and provide resource rewards. My OCD kicked in early on in the game and I was determined to fully explore the Hinterlands (the starting area) before returning to confer with my group at the base (So, exploration and going on side-quests constitutes OCD? Never knew that. – Ed. Vader). This was a bad idea. Even though I was in the starting zone, the game has purposely been designed as an open world that has varying levels of difficulty when it comes to enemies. If you want a smoother flowing experience, it is sometimes necessary to pop out of your current area and chase down leads or quests in other areas to get gear or level your team as you can and will blunder into groups of tougher enemies. Nothing will shake your strategic combat confidence like getting your butt handed to you in combat by a group of high level demons from Fade rift over and over again.


Speaking of combat, Inquisition has done a very solid job of allowing the player to toggle combat to their liking. Not only can you jump between real-time and strategic combat with the hit of a button, but you can also take control of any member of your party by clicking their portrait in the left corner of the screen. While most of the time I played my mage and stayed in real-time combat mode, I did stop the action and issue commands to the other members of my team in some challenging encounters. As in earlier Bioware games you can also customize the behaviors and tactics for the members of the team when the computer is controlling them if you find the default AI settings are not quite to your liking. The blood splatters have returned from Dragon Age II. Hm, doesn’t quite suit my taste. In Inquisition they have been toned down quite a bit. If you hate them they can be turned off entirely under the options menu.




Minecraft

PS4 - BUY NOW


    






The game involves players creating and destroying various types of blocks in a three dimensional environment. The player takes an avatar that can destroy or create blocks, forming fantastic structures, creations and artwork across the various multiplayer servers in multiple game modes.




Minecraft one of the most famous indie games of all time? Versatility and near-infinite replayability. Want to accomplish a series of goals and clear the final boss? Minecraft has that. Want to explore a series of underground ruins and caverns, unearthing fabulous treasures? That, too. Want to create a 1:1 scale replica of the battle of Sekigahara using snowmen? Hey, if you have the time, Minecraft can accommodate you. Now, after a development cycle of over a year and a half, as well as many patches, the final version of this long-in-progress phenomenon is finally upon us



The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - BUY NOW

  







It’s difficult writing a review for a game like Skyrim. The extensive countryside is chock full of dungeons, keeps, bandit camps, and ruins, and each one has a story behind it. The usual twenty hours or so that I give to a game review hardly scratches the surface. Even a hundred hours is probably only approaching halfway through. In my first ten hours I didn’t get onto the primary plotline at all, choosing instead to do some exploring, play around with a couple of different character types, pick up some side quests, earn a little gold and gain some experience. There are dragons loose in the kingdom and civil war has broken out in Skyrim (you learn that from the opening movie), but I’ll get to that in good time. Right now I’ve got a really cool flaming long bow, and I’m dying to find some bandits and try it out. So for those who want to just get out into the countryside and do some hacking and slashing, have at it. You can also choose to talk to the world’s hundreds(?) of residents about themselves and their lives, pick up quest and subquest threads, and gather pieces of the rich history of this place. To those who have touted the open sandboxness of other RPGs in the past, pick up a copy of Skyrim and see what a truly open world looks like. It does make it difficult to figure out where to even begin a game review though.


For people who have played previous entries in the series, I can say that the game for the most part structurally is unchanged. The first- or third-person camera perspective works as it did in Oblivion, and the exterior activity of traveling around the countryside while nearby structures appear on your compass is the same. Conversations with NPCs still takes place using a menu style interface in which you select questions and responses from a list. Skyrim, the northernmost kingdom in Tamriel, is a cold and rocky and inhospitable region compared to the rolling, more verdant hills of Cyrodil (the kingdom in which Oblivion is set), and is positively littered with dungeon-like structures for you to explore. I think Skyrim is bigger and there is more stuff, but that’s hard to feel from a gameplayer perspective – both games are immense. Combat has been changed in that you can wield items in your left and right hands independently. Sword and shield, sword and spell, mace and dagger, two different spells, two of the same spell (in which case they reinforce each other) – go hog wild and see what works for you. The lock-picking minigame is simpler – yay! Character creation has been distilled to its very essence. You pick a name and a race, customize your look if you like, and you’re ready to go. The different races have different career leanings, but you’re never locked in as a fighter or a thief or a wizard – you get to choose how your character progresses as you go along. There are only three character stats – health, stamina, and magicka – and each level you get to increase one of the three. You also get a skill point which can be spent (or saved for later) among eighteen skill trees like archery or stealth or destruction magic to gain a particular buff to that skill (improved stealth, greater damage with bows, etc). The skills are linked to skill scores in your character, so if you’ve been sneaking around a lot you should have a very high stealth score, and that allows you to buy the highest stealth skill buffs. So early on, when the levels and skill points are coming quickly, you can focus down on some skill tree and stick to one career, but there’s really nothing stopping you from changing your whole focus at any time, say working at a forge and improving your blacksmith skills, and making a career of that, or throwing spells and becoming a magic user. Well-rounded or idiot savant; it’s up to you.

The interface is minimized and I like that. The screen for the most part is clear of character stats until you bring them up allowing you to see as much of the world as possible without distraction. I will make a complaint about keyboard controls, which seem to have been sort of stuck in as an afterthought, the game primarily geared towards gamepad players. You cannot, for example, bind a weapon to a hotkey. You can put a weapon (or any item) onto a favorites list, call up that list whenever, and select the items you want with simple mouse clicks. But I found that very quickly the favorites list became overwhelming. I’ve got a one-handed melee weapon, a two-handed melee weapon, a shield, a ranged weapon, three offensive spells and two defensive ones, plus some potions and scrolls – it’s too much. That list opens up, and it takes me ten seconds to find the item I want and then click it into the correct hand.


Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - BUY NOW

    







Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was advertised as a brand new way to play Call of Duty, and that advertisement was right! When Activision flew me out to San Francisco to review the game, I wholly expected my opinion to fall in line with how I felt about past Call of Duty titles. The single-player would be OK but would really just be a side show to the main act of multiplayer. However, after playing the game, I have to say that my pre-conceived notions were flipped on their head. Instead, I was met with a multiplayer suite that was decently fun, but a single-player mode that was one of the best in Call of Duty’s history.


So let’s talk about the single-player first. There are a lot of things that are different this time around, more than just the futuristic time period of the 2050s. For the first time in Call of Duty history (spoiler spoiler) the main villain is American (OK he is technically “South African” because that’s where he grew up, but he is white and certainly American seeming, and the single-player designers at Sledgehammer said that was on purpose.)

The plot of the single-player goes a little something like this: you are Mitchell, a former soldier who lost his best friend, Will Irons AKA Jonathan Irons’ son, on the battlefield. You lose your arm in battle and Irons decides to invite you into his PMC, offering you the best robotic prosthetic money can buy. This arm ends up being an important symbol in the game, as Will died because his arm got caught in a helicopter door before an explosive charge went off. The arm you receive stands for the void created by the loss of your friend, and the robotic arm you receive stands for the way you try and fill that void with work for his father’s PMC.




Mass Effect 3 - BUY NOW

   






Mass Effect was about time and place; you discovered the Milky Way's landmarks and races, guided by memorable characters like Tali and Garrus, who served as representatives of their cultures. Mass Effect 2 was about people; you learned more about old friends and made new ones, and drew each of them close to your heart. Mass Effect 3 fearlessly manipulates those personal bonds, forcing you to make difficult choices and consider the greater good--even when the greater good isn't always clear. The game is structured less like Mass Effect 2 and more like Dragon Age II: three dramatic acts, each concluding with major events that might leave you in tears, or at very least, shivering from the emotional impact.





Mass Effect 3 is focused more on plot than the previous installments were, and at first, you might miss Mass Effect 2's more obvious personal touch. You meet some new characters, but you develop few new meaningful relationships. A couple of notable exceptions aside, your party members are familiar faces, and as Commander Shepard, you aren't traveling the galaxy seeking individual crew members, but rather the assistance of entire races. Some of the plot devices seem a bit transparent; what are the chances that Shepard would just happen to find an old acquaintance on almost every random planet? But once the plot is in motion, the human element returns, and poignantly so. Mass Effect 3 frequently reminds us that the loss of a single shining soul often takes on more meaning than a planetwide massacre. (After all, what carried more emotional weight in Star Wars: Obi-Wan's death or Alderaan's destruction?)

Mass Effect 3 has its flaws, but they're of minimal consequence in a game this enthralling. By filling the Milky Way with vibrant, singular characters, the series has given you a reason to care about its fate. Ostensibly, Mass Effect 3 is about saving the galaxy, but a galaxy is just a thing--an idea, an abstract, a meaningless collection of plutinos, planets, and pulsars. But the game is actually about saving people. And there's a big difference there. Watching cities burn from orbit tugs at your heartstrings; watching a beloved companion die cuts to the bone. Whether you possess a storied history with the series or come with a clean slate, Mass Effect 3 expertly entangles you in its universe and inspires you to care about its future.


FIFA 15 - BUY NOW

  




  



The FIFA series has long reveled in its own pomp and circumstance. Awash in league licenses and Ultimate Team microtransaction money, its self-belief was arguably greater than its on-the-pitch accomplishments. That being said, EA Canada deserves recognition for continually working on the series, adding to an ever-growing and vital list of game modes and chipping away at its gameplay to-do list. FIFA 15 is the big pay-off you've been waiting for. It isn't perfect, but it's a quality title that finally aligns many of EA's ambitions with firm results. Make no mistake – this is a golazo.

The title's crown jewel is its excellent gameplay. Players' possession of the ball feels a lot less pre-determined than in previous years. This goes well with the refined dribbling and defensive tackling, presenting a coordinated package that feels more organic and real, like you're playing by your own whims and not negotiating imposed constraints. Shirking off a challenge and retaining possession, or conversely winning the ball after a tackle and starting the counter attack happens fluidly. A foot race between two players for a free ball feels like a real contest, with physicality and unexpected ball baubles coming into play. Finally, there is freedom in FIFA.

The ball behaves differently, which is no small matter, since it also produces a greater variety of goals. Realistic deflections change the complexion of play instantly, and often players are quick to react, sticking a leg or a hand (for keepers) out to get a piece of the ball. That being said, I'd still like to see A.I. players react more aggressively when you call them in defensive support, as well as have more awareness of their own teammates so there's less bunching and bumbling.

The improved gameplay is FIFA 15's most notable distinction. Conversely, the career mode has seen only small organizational improvements. The ability to set instructions for individual players (like telling a back to always overlap his runs) is great, but in general the career mode hasn't changed enough. Fatigue still isn't a factor (and there's no reserve system), international management has stagnated, and while more players are uncovered by your scouts, the transfer network still goes inexplicably dark at times. For a game that has such strong online modes, the lack of an online franchise mode is also surprising.





The FIFA franchise has gone from a game that was huge because of the de facto effect of its numerous licenses to a title that stands tall thanks to its own abilities. FIFA 15 takes the series into a whole other level with gameplay that betters the surmounting hype that threatened to engulf it. Playing it makes me believe I can do just about anything with the ball at my feet, and this self-assurance is powerful. If you have the desire, FIFA 15 meets the challenge. It does not disappoint.






Destiny - BUY NOW 

  









There are few games that can say they've changed the face of a genre forever, but it's no exaggeration to say that Halo did. Many of the mechanics it introduced became commonplace, and it almost single-handedly defined the console shooter. The first new IP from Bungie since Halo and one of the most expensive games ever made, Destiny has a lot of expectations riding on it. Is it another Halo? That question isn't as easy to answer because despite the similarities, Destiny is very much its own beast.

Destiny is set in the distant future. Humanity discovers a being known as The Traveler, who gifts mankind with knowledge that leads them into a golden age. An evil darkness followed The Traveler to Earth, and the ensuing war decimates humanity and the Traveler. The remainder of mankind is forced to live in a single city, The Tower, and Guardians are tasked with stopping threats to the city, aiding the Traveler and eliminating the forces of darkness.





Destiny's story is the weakest part of the experience. It teeters between generic and melodramatic and never manages to capture a consistent tone. There aren't any memorable characters, and the central plot is muddled and unsatisfying. It takes a long time for the story to get going, and once it does, it's a long string of barely explained MacGuffins until a final boss fight that's so generic and faceless that it's difficult to care when you defeat it.

Characters are introduced and dropped without much thought, and most of the story line is told through the repetitive mutterings of your trust robot companion, The Ghost (Peter Dinklage). Dinklage doesn't bring his "A" game to the role, and it really shows. The Ghost feels wooden and uninteresting, and its attempts at being charming or snarky fall flat. Since it narrates most of the game, it really needed to be a more dynamic and interesting character. Destiny feels like it is torn between the plot-light stylings of an MMO and the more involved drama of a traditional FPS, but it doesn't manage to find the balance between either.


Fortunately, the weak story can be comfortably carried by the excellent gameplay. The gunplay is instantly recognizable as being a descendant of Halo: Combat Evolved. It's a fast-paced action game with an emphasis on mixing melee and ranged gameplay, and there's a large focus on mobility. If you played Halo, it won't be a one-for-one translation to Destiny, but you'll have a clear idea of the combat mechanics. This is one area where Destiny instantly stands out from its competitors because a lot of time and effort was spent on making the gunplay feel good and balanced. The speed and mobility of combat, combined with Halo-style regenerating shields, keeps things feeling fast-paced, and the system rewards skill as much as the ability to get the drop on the opponent.



Grand Theft Auto V - BUY NOW


  








Ever since I got my hands on Grand Theft Auto IV back in late 2008, my respect for Rockstar’s flagship series has only grown. You see, at the time, I had just moved to the United States, and while I won’t claim that the transition from the snowy winters of Toronto to the balmy summers of Orlando served as a major culture shock, you’ll always feel like a fish out of water when you move to a different country.



Maybe that’s why the exploits of protagonist Niko Bellic caught my attention. Sure, I didn’t have a rough upbringing in the Eastern Bloc like he did, but Rockstar North injected some much needed diversity into the open world genre. The concept of the American Dream (and perhaps the facade that it might represent) was a central tenet throughout the story, and it resonated with me, as I’m sure it did to many. Even the criminally underrated Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars managed to keep me hooked, partly because I was intrigued by the inclusion of an Asian protagonist, but mostly because I was surprised at just how compelling a handheld GTA title could be.

It’s kind of fitting then that years after I had settled into my American life that Grand Theft Auto V saw a release, a game that focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar, all while criticizing and lampooning our materialistic and over-indulgent society. While it’s been released on multiple platforms over the past two years, the recent PC version has garnered much attention, and for good reason. While the core game has remained largely unchanged from its console counterparts, the PC release of Grand Theft Auto V is undoubtedly the definitive version, a far cry from the unoptimized and buggy mess that was the Grand Theft Auto IV PC port.




Grand Theft Auto V took its sweet time to arrive on PC, but this is clearly the version to own, thanks to Rockstar putting care into the port to supply not only a beautiful looking game that can run a butter smooth 60fps, but is also the most feature rich version, containing all the engaging story, refinements to the game mechanics and all new built-in applications to allow creators to make their own shorts within the world of Grand Theft Auto V. At the end of the day, this is still Grand Theft Auto V, an entry that I find is the best in the series, and a game that has been made that little bit better with the performance boost and graphical enhancements.

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. Hi can you please tell which destiny game is better out of the two?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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