Cuphead – A Love Letter to 1930’s Era Cartoons

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If you haven’t heard about the Cuphead, perhaps it’s for the better. Pretty much everyone who saw this game instantly fell in love with it, myself included. Now the game itself is nothing really special. It’s an old-school run and gun boss rush game with a little bit of platforming added to it.

What’s so special about this game and why this game has overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam and why it’s been so widely accepted across all the other platforms as well doesn’t actually have that much to do with the way the game plays. In fact, people are finding this game to be one of the most frustrating due to its unforgiving, old-school difficulty level.

However, this game is absolutely amazing if we take a look at its aesthetics. It’s been hand-drawn like the cartoons were used to be. It features watercolor drawn backgrounds with animated sprites moving around it while the radio recorded jazz music plays in the background.

To anyone who has ever watched any of the old cartoons made by Technicolor or Disney, this game is immediately going to pose a striking resemblance to those. And that’s because it’s exactly what the game tries to do.

 

 

However, despite its childishly drawn backgrounds and silly animations, do not make a mistake of taking this game lightly. Comparisons have already been made comparing it to Dark Souls. There are already all different kinds of compilations online of people raging while playing the game. Many agree that the game is unfair or ridiculously challenging for an average player gets all of this seems to somehow contribute to the game’s popularity. Everybody seems to be liking this game!

And I for one believe that it’s justified. There is an incredible amount of boss fights in this game all of which have been very well thought out. From the background in music to a design of a boss, everything seems to fit. Of course, none of this is important as the behavior and phases that these enemies are going through as you are battling them. It would really be too much to talk about all of them here so I suggest you look for a detailed review on YouTube if you’re interested.

If the games difficulty proves to be too much for you to handle, you can always invite a buddy to help you with it. Thanks to the local multiplayer mod, you can enjoy this game with one of your friends, however, the game cannot be played online. I’m not particularly sure what the developers optioned for this approach but I can bet that it has something to do with the game’s nature. Since it’s a very fast game, it would be extremely complicated to write a stable net code that wouldn’t make whoever’s playing with you be at a disadvantage due to the latency.

All in all, if this does sound interesting to you, if you like a challenging gameplay and you are old enough to remember the cartoons of old, give Cuphead a try. Even better, if you have a friend who also happens to be as hard-core as you are, I can think of a better way to share a keg of beer and spend some quality time while also trying to overcome this incredibly challenging game together.

PC Games to Play With Friends #3

Image from dos2.

My topics on popular PC games are easily one of your favorites am constantly being asked to write more and feature some newer games for you to play. That’s exactly what I’m going to do right now. With so many games being released lately, it’s going to be hard to pick just a couple of them but, I promise that I will do my best to feature only quality content here.

Divinity: Original Sin (and Divinity: Original Sin 2)

If you love computer RPG games you owe it to yourself to play Divinity: Original Sin. This is a masterpiece, shortly put. What makes the game so good is that it actually does role-playing very well. Your characters personality, their gear as well is their attributes are all taken into account when not just fighting enemies but also when dealing with NPC characters.

So how does the game handle multiplayer, more specifically cooperative play?

In the first game you play as a pair of Source Hunters investigating a mysterious murder of counselor Jake. Source is the powerful essencee that Sourcerers use to fuel their magic. It’s an ancient forbiddent form of magic that our two heroes are swort to root out from the world. The sequel is somewhat different and much more dynamic but, let’s not get into that right now.

What makes the game so good is that each of these characters are controlled either by you or your friend. You to don’t have to agree on pretty much anything. You can choose to support one another or you can argue about everything and see who’s making more sense. You can even kill one another!

Of course, this will distract you from your primary goal but, the game does allow it as well as many other things. And that’s what makes this game great alongside with the lack of handholding and the absence of quest pointers.

It is a co-op game that encourages exploration and experimentation in so many different aspects. It is truly a traditional computer RPG game modernized and done right and it serves as a reminder for other game developers that games can be both complex and fun at the same time.

Definitely give this one a try if you like RPG games!

 

 

FIFA 18

Pretty much everyone likes soccer. It is the world’s most famous sports and definitely the one that people invest the most money into. Videogame industry is not spared from this aspect of marketing either. While FIFA 18 does suffer from some terrible marketing and he desperately tries to justify selling overpriced you makes through the game itself to the player, you don’t really have to worry about it. Of course, you can cheat the game and grab free coins, points and FCC’s but to be completely honest with you, you really have to do it.

If you’re looking for something to play with your friends, you can just forget about coins, points and other nonsense that this game is trying to sell you. You don’t even have to work for it, simply disregard the fact that it even exists and go straight for the exhibition match and see why this game is as popular as it is today.

It is a fine example of purely competitive gameplay done 100% right and made so that even the people who are not even into video games can’t look away and act like they’re not interested since it’s soccer after all and we all love soccer.

And that’s it for now guys, those are two of the newest co-op and multiplayer games that I would recommend you to check out if you’re looking for something new to pass the time. I will continue writing about this once I find out about new games that may potentially interest you.

PC Games to Play With Friends #2

The last time I covered this topic the feedback was very positive. In fact it was surprisingly positive and I haven’t really expected it to be so well received. So, when something succeeds like the last article about co-op gaming is the logical thing to do would be to make another one. After all, I did promise to touch on this subject sooner or later again so, here goes.

 

NBA 2K17

Last time I finished with a sports game but this time I decided to kick it off with one such as that.

It doesn’t really matter how much you are into sports or how much you’re not them. It doesn’t really matter if you’re playing a realistic game or some crazy fantasy that defines absolutely every law of physics that is known to mankind as long as the game is fun.

I’m saying this because I for one am not a fan of sport games but at a same time I absolutely love kicking it off with friends in NBA 2K17 (as of recently)!

The games just fine, as simple as that. There is no philosophy behind it, no complex game mechanics or story to uncover, no. It is as simple as it gets, a game of basketball.

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If I had to compare it to FIFA, I’d say this one is a much faster game that relies heavily on reflexes and reaction while simultaneously making you come up with one strategy after another. Speaking of FIFA, NBA 2K17 has a similar in game purchase mechanics and it can take you a while until you get what you want so to save you some time and enable you to jump straight into the frying pan with your friends I found a way to easily get as many VC coins as you need with a simple online generator. Visit http://dunkjunkie.com/nba-2k17-locker-codes/ for the hack itself as well as in-depth explanation on how to use it.

 

CRAWL

Well this game is technically still in its early access state, it is completely enjoyable.

I have a feeling like I’ve neglected my RPG loving fans in this game seems like a good way to redeem myself in your eyes.

There are a couple of things that are great about Crawl

  • you can get it for $15 on Steam
  • game supports up to four players and local co-op
  • you can play it with a keyboard and controllers at the same time
  • any kind of controller work since the game only needs two buttons and two analogue sticks
  • you can probably run it on a Pentium
  • is absolutely and ridiculously fun

screenshot from the crawl game

 

In this game you take control of a hero trying to escape a complex of dungeons filled to the brim with deadly traps and even done their monsters. Now, if you thought this was a game of friendship and jolly cooperation, you’re wrong. The monsters and traps that I just mentioned are controlled by none other in your friends and they are very motivated to kill you because whoever gets to land the killing blowing you will become the next hero.

One moment you’ll be working with the people around you to take down a hero and if you succeed the tables will be turned and they will all be against you all of a sudden. Sounds simple enough, right?

Well to add some depth to the game let’s say that it has around 30 different monsters with unique attacks and skills while at the same time providing hero with a very rich choice of weapons to choose from that will enhance and define his play style even further. Now add some trinkets, special abilities and attributes to spice it all up and you should have a pretty decent idea of what Crawl is all about.

Definitely give it a try if you like dungeon crawling. And do not be fooled by its seemingly cheap design because this pixel art is one of the best I have ever seen in my entire life and believe me when I say that I have seen a lot of them!

Make Original Skyrim Look Better Than Remaster!

Recently I’ve made a post discussing and pointing out the pros and cons of Skyrim remastered. I’ve mentioned how the game is obviously made for console users and how PC gamers don’t really require it if they’re only looking to improve the visual quality of the original Skyrim release.

Now I might’ve overlooked a minor detail back then. In truth the remastered version of Skyrim is actually a lot more stable due to the fact that it’s running on x64 executable therefore, the game will crash significantly less than its predecessor did. Still there’s a solution even for that and it is indeed possible to make the old game look better and run just as stable (if not better) than recently released remaster, and here’s how.

First of all what you need to do is head over to Skyrim Nexus and download Skyrim mod manager from their site. While you’re at it you should also consider making an account which is particularly useful if you’re going to use some of more explicit mods like bloody and violently mods or body modifications which are usually nude bodies and therefore labeled as adult content.

Once you’ve downloaded the manager you want to leave it as it is for now and browse the web for the latest  “SKSE” or Skyrim Script Extender. Make sure you download the latest available version for best performances and fewest issues.

Now search the Nexus for Skyrim 4GB Patch and download it.

After it’s downloaded, simply extract the content of the archive it in your Skyrim installation folder where game executable is located and allow for any data overwriting that may be required.

Believe it or not you’re halfway there already. All you need to do now is look for an “ENB” which looks appealing to you. For me personally it was Real Vision ENB which really made the game world look alive and realistic combined with a couple of textured packs of my choosing.

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If you’re unsure what an ENB actually is and what it will do to your game, the best advice I can give is to look for the comparison screenshots. Basically it is a graphical modification that will enhance certain visual elements like lightning and shadow occasionally adding effects like motion blur and depth of field making the game look as best as it possibly can. Most of the ENB mods aim for realism or fantasy look with vivid colors and strong lights but there are also those that can make the game a lot darker and moody if that’s what you’re looking for.

Once you find the one that suits you the most you should just pay attention to the description on the Nexus page on how to enable it because every ENB might have different settings though it will usually consist of downloading a “d3d9.dll” from the official ENB site and then loading a specific preset found on Nexus. It’s a piece of cake, honestly.

Now the next time you open up your game you will immediately notice an insane change in graphics. Be mindful however that is graphical modifications are extremely heavy on your system and that you will need a very powerful PC in order to play these and no matter how powerful your PC might be expect some ups and downs in frame rate.

Skyrim Remastered, Is It Worth It?

As you probably noticed, Skyrim is the talk of the Internet… again. Well, to be fair it’s mostly talk of the gaming part of the Internet but it just so happens that that is exactly the part that were interested in, right? If you know, Skyrim got rereleased some time ago as improved, remastered special edition. After playing with it for some time I decided to write about it and help you decide whether or not you should get this game for yourself.

 

If you’ve never played scarab before the answer is a big yes. You may stop reading right here, there’s nothing else to say. It’s a great game, it’s a fantastic action adventure (even though it labels itself mostly as an RPG) and it will give you hundreds of hours of pure enjoyment.

 

But what if you already played the game? Should you reacquire it? Well, that may depend on a couple of factors.

  • If you’ve played it on a previous generation console like Xbox 360 and you want to get it for your Xbox One or PlayStation 4, you may want to think through. If you’ve already spent a great amount of time on this game, if you’ve already “finished” it inexperienced most of the content it had to offer back in the day, then I would say no, do not get this game again. Why? Because it’s exactly the same game that it was. This is literally a remaster, nothing more. The only thing different in this game is texture quality and lightning effects, at least those are the ones that are notable unless you really, really are trying to find the differences and compared the versions.

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  • If you’ve only got like a couple dozen hours of Skyrim, then you might get this for yourself. It is almost certain that new graphics will appeal to your taste more than those of the previous game. Having all downloadable content available is also a great deal and will undoubtedly provide you with at least 20 to 30 more hours of fun. Getting this if you’ve only “dipped” yourself in the previous game and liked what you got during that time is probably the best thing you can do to satisfy your gaming habits.

 

Now what I would like to point out is that if you happen to be a PC gamer and you’ve been playing this on your computer instead, there is absolutely no need for you to buy the Special Edition of the game and here’s why. First off, if you’re playing this on your computer that means you’re playing it on Steam (either that or you’ve illegally acquired the game online, which would be a total d*ck move on your side). If you’re playing on steam chances are you’ve already grabbed the Legendary Edition. The trick here is that everybody who had Legendary Edition prior to games Special Edition’s release date actually get one for free. Yeah, go check your library, it’s there if you had Legenday. However if you didn’t have it, there’s actually nothing special about this edition. Everything can be achieved and made much better through a couple of community made mods in your game will even look better than the official release.

This is aimed towards console users and is just an attempt to cash in with an old successful and minorly tweaked product.

 

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Immersive Choice and Consequence Game Mechanic

Immersive Choice and Consequence Game Mechanic

Just the other day I wrote about Telltale Games and their choice and consequence. To be more exact I wrote about why I didn’t like the way they were implementing choice in consequence mechanics into the gameplay. I’ve promised to further elaborate on this providing the good example of incorporating choice in consequence without breaking the immersion of the game, so here we go.

 

I mentioned how I dislike there blunt and very obvious incorporation of the set mechanic. I said that the results are most likely to be “rigged” subconsciously by the participant who knows that he is being tested in some way. Knowing that you’re being tested can complicate things and messed with the player immersion. Given the choices that are clearly good or bad, selfish or noble makes the players create a fictional persona in their head and choose a solution for the current problem in game depending on how they would like their fictional characters that they’ve created to react to it rather than confronting it in a way that they themselves see fit. This usually and up with player choosing to go down a certain predefined path therefore always optioning for a specific way of problem-solving.

 

Some games even take this a step further by always assigning similar reactions and responses to same buttons on the controller, so for instance you will always press “Y” on your Xbox controller if you want your character to appear brash or violently or press “X” to be as much of a good guy as you can possibly be. I do know about you but being presented with this much control in a game where choices are supposed to have consequences is not very fun, at least not for me.

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There’s a game that absolutely defined this whole thing of player profiling for me and is perhaps the main reason why I don’t really consider Telltale Games to be that much of a choice in consequence material. Now the game in question is honestly nothing special in terms of a videogame. It doesn’t feature any groundbreaking gameplay nor it’s an action-packed or a computer graphics spectacle, no. But at one point it definitely stands out from the crowd as a (in my opinion) masterpiece of choice and consequence gameplay. The game talking about is Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (SH:SM for future references).

 

Let me get this out of the way right now. I’m not saying this is the best Silent Hill game, I’m not even trying to compare it to other Silent Hill games, and simply saying that this game an exceptional job at tackling down hardships of successful choices and consequences gameplay. Whether it’s the best or absolutely the worst entry in the franchise is absolutely not the subject of discussion here.

 

Since I don’t want to spoil anything major I’ll be brief and because I believe that there are still people who haven’t got the chance but have always wanted to try this game, I’ll be very short.

 

From the moment you start playing every action you do is counting towards a hidden scoring mechanic that will directly impact how the game story unfolds, what you will be facing in the future and of course, how the game will end for you. There is absolutely nothing that will ever highlight a specific action, making it stand out from the rest. Everything you do (and I do mean everything, even some trivial actions are given some weight) will feel natural and of even importance and for the most part it’s because everything actually is taken into account, not just some major highlighted events. Were it not for the disclaimer about the game “psychologically profiling you as you play” at the beginning, there would be nothing at all throughout it to actually indicate that it has heavy choice and consequences mechanics.

 

What’s also both impressive and terrifying is the fact that this game is a horror game, and a very bizarre one, even when compared to other horror games, which makes the thought that the game will actively keep profiling you psychologically as you play it then using that information to change itself in order to create your own personal nightmarish world much more scarier and uneasy. If you’ve ever played or saw a Silent Hill game even for a short while, you know how bizarre and nightmarish these games can be. Even though SH:SM’s theme is entirely different than the rest of the franchise due to the fact that it’s actually a reboot, a reimagining of the original game it succeeds in creating just as eerie and unpleasant atmosphere as the previous games have (at least it did so for me).

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The worst thing about this is that I have sworn not to spoil major game elements while talking about them which is usually fairly easy to do but, as this game is so much different than the others it’s literally impossible to mention even the tiniest of its ingeniously subtly implemented gameplay mechanics without ruining somebody’s first play through which something I definitely don’t want to do, not with this game.

 

What I will say is that the game has a combination of 3 endings and 3 epilogue’s which explain why the ending and gameplay was as it was in the first place so, a total of 9 combination of stories can be experienced from Shattered Memories (which makes the fact that there are no unlockable bonuses upon completion very lame, which then again makes the fact that I’ve finished it for countless times even though I knew that speak volumes about the game itself). If you value choice and consequence gameplay, do yourself a favor and try this game. It is available for PlayStation 2 Nintendo GameCube and Sony’s PlayStation Portable, and the best thing about this is that it’s also playable PC through an emulator for any of these three consoles.

 

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PC Games to Play With Friends