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Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines Review and Discussion

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

It is that special time of year. The best time in fact. Scary movies abound and might as well throw in a few Horror Themed Games while I am at it. With the sequel due out next year and desperately needing a break from Pokemon. No better time to go back and check out Vampire The Masquerade The Bloodline. I didn’t play it when it came out. Never heard of it in fact, till I saw the sequel, but they had me the moment it said, Vampire RPG. So, I picked it up on Steam and played through and now am here to talk a bit about my playthrough and how nine yards. Lets dive in shall we.

SYNOPSYS

When you select new game, you are given two questions. One, can skip to your create a character option or go to a short questionnaire, in which your answers will dictate your clan. Which is what I did and the powers to be placed my in the Brujah Clan. Dished out various points. Leaning heavy into the Melee and intimidation and away we went. Getting a cut scene where it shows you becoming a vampire and are attacked and the two of you are taken to a committee. Seems that turning someone without permission is against their laws and they kill the guy who turned me. Before my verdict is said, a man interrupts. Getting everyone worked up and Lacroix decides to take you in and sends you on a mission to Santa Monica, but not before getting to know a Vampire named Jack through the voluntary tutorial. As well as the Sabbat. A clan of more viscous vampires. Once you get set loose on Santa Monica, tasked with helping your contact who got beaten down, get a bomb to use on a Sabbat warehouse, but once you get the bomb. You have to find a Vampire who is in hiding from another vampire named Therese and she isn’t going to call off the vendetta till you help with a ghost issue and all made worse due to her issues with her split personality Jenette bubbling to a boiling point and you get caught in between. Once one of them wins out, you get to find the Vampire who can help, blow up the warehouse and off to downtown you go. To report in with Lacroix, only to be attacked by Sabbat and saved by Nines. The same man who intervened during the opening scene and the leader of The Anarch Clan. Wanting you to meet him at the Last Round for the real story. Before though, we got to report in with Lacroix, who will give you a job of checking out a ship called the Elizabeth Dane. Which has a sarcophagus which may house an Antediluvian. An Elder Vampire who will kick of Gehenna, The end of time. After checking it out, he wants you to steal it from the museum. Only it is stolen before you can get to it and now you have to track down the Nosferatu to find out who else knew and get it back. Along the way, you meet various other groups and colorful characters and try to decide which group you want to side with at the end or if you want to make a run at the end, solo.

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REVIEW

This game has got so much going for it. The Main Story arch was enticing. Wondering just how far down the well you have to go. Wondering what group you want to side with and is this all real. Is Gehenna really upon you or is it all just a superstition. My first playthrough I sided with the Anarchs, but there are so many different avenues you can go that I hyped to play again and see all the various endings for myself and the main story is only part of why I want to play again. The side quests and various clans all play heavily on replay value.

Clan wise, you got the Brujah, who are the Anarch rebels. Gangrel are your brooding loners who get a bonus for frenzy. Nosferatu is your hardcore mode. They are mutated to the point where you can’t be seen and stealth is a must. Torredors are all about sticking close to human as you can an being more class while Ventures are your high society type who will vomit if you drink from Prostitutes or homeless. Tremer are magic and Malkavians are your wild ride. They are schizophrenic and minds are broken. Can see bits of the future and have the craziest dialogue options because of it. If you want a crazy ride, Malkavians are defiantly the way to go, but regardless of which. They will change up how you want to go at things. Making each run something a little different.

The side quests are abundant and highly enjoyable throughout. Mostly due to the charismatic characters and just how much detail and time they put into them and kind of entwinning them together. In Santa Monica, you meet a group of Thin Bloods, who want to know who they are and see his Lily again, but can’t find her. So you set off to find her and takes you to a Bail Bondsman, who needs help finding his Bounty Hunter. After finding him, you are asked to check to see if Muddy skipped town and he has and that ties in with a serial killer story down the line. You can become a silent partner in the club Confessions, by helping Venus and get an 250 every once in a while. Fight off zombies, a Plaguebearer, and deal with a Werewolf, and the best man, Jack. So much you can do besides the main story and your choices, humanity and deciphering the insanity that is the Malkavian.

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Now this game does have some flaws and I made it a lot harder on myself then it probably should have been by making a full blown melee character. Waves of enemies towards the end starts to become a bit daunting and Ming Xiao fight towards the end was nightmare fuel because of how difficult she was for me. I didn’t have a lot of ammo due to the fact that wasn’t the style I was going for, my fault, but the fact you have the option to build up melee characters and drop a boss fight like that on you is almost a bit uncalled for. All for difficulty but Ming Xiao is on another level. So make sure to drop a few points into ranged and have some ammo.

It is a bit rough around the edges fighting wise. Playing very much like a game from 2004. I read a lot in the comment section of game breaking bugs in this game if you don’t download the unofficial patch to fix some of it. I never had anything like that. Had one bug that was more entertaining then frustrating. I died in the maze at the FU Building, but during the Final Death animation I was teleported to where they were keeping the vampire prisoner and succeeded the quest, but when I still had to go through the level anyway. Bringing up the patch, because I do suggest picking this game up.

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This game has some deep extricate stories, even some of the side quests and everything is really up to how you want to play. Mix all of that with Vampires and various monsters running around. Makes just the perfect game to play, especially during this, the best time of the year. Looking forward so much to the sequel. Final Grade – S

As always, I hope you enjoyed, and….

Thank You For Reading.

Genwhunner plays Pokemon Black

By: Justin Hopkins

I went into this generation a little more nervously and a little more cautiously. Going into Pokemon Platinum blind ended up making my run more difficult than it probably should have been and in this generation, it is all new Pokemon to the table, till after you beat the Pokemon League. Which as much as I like the idea of. Was kind of nerve racking at the same time, so this time I looked up the Pokedex and skimmed through it. Nothing about Gym Leaders or story. Wanting to experience all of that as blindly as possible. Scouting out potential Pokemon to keep an eye out for and after a few minutes, it was time for Mui to leave her Villa behind and begin a new. Lets dive in and chat a bit shall we.

The game kicks off with Professor Jupiter going through the normal spill but some little differences. This time we get two pals, Bianca and Cheren ( One friend and one rival, looking at you Cheren) and the Pokemon are delivered to Mui’s House and the game’s biggest question is upon us… okay, so it wasn’t really hard, it was Snivy. I know I just used a Grass type in Turtwig, but really didn’t like the evolutions for Tepig or Oshawott. Bianca got Oshawott and Tepig went to Cheren. After wrecking them and the bedroom. We go to leave, but make pitstop to pick up Bianca where we learn her Dad is arguing with her. Vehemently against her going on an adventure at her age. We keep it a secret and after Jupiter sends us on the usual got to catch them all quest, the three of us take our first steps out of town and into what feels like an endless wave of tutorials and a walkthrough of the Pokecenter. When we are introduced to Team Plasma. The villainous group that runs off the idea that Pokemon are slaves to their trainers and shouldn’t be forced to battle and demands their release. Even if it means stealing them. We encounter a trainer named N, who can speak to Pokemon and get the feeling we will be seeing him a lot. After the battle the game starts to open up to the normal routine. Fighting gym leaders and traveling around. Encountering Team Plasma, who are some evil people. At one point, one of their grunts are kicking a Pokemon. When things change at Niambasa City. While chasing Team Plasma through a theme Park. We board a Ferris Wheel with N to get a better viewpoint of the city. To find out that he is the King of Team Plasma. Telling us that he plans on defeating the Pokemon Champion and using the pull they have, to make everyone release their Pokemon. Making it so much more important for us to get the badges to stop him.

I really love a lot of what they did with this game. Giving you the two friends who are each trying to find their way in the world. At odds with her family. So badly wanting to find her way in the world and being overwhelmed with it all. Cheren was not as interesting, kind of a weaker Gary. Kid who they were forced to hangout with because there were only three kids in town and it would be rude not to include him. Wanting to be the very best, but having no idea what that means or what to do is he became the best. They were effect as friends though and having them meet up and taking their first steps together was a rather sweet touch.

Everything about the Gym Leaders were great. First, they were all charismatic. Every encounter I had with them was a blast. Their gyms had great aesthetics and designs. Between getting shot out of cannons at Mistraltron and the coaster at Nimbasa. The honeycombs of Castelia and the museums of Nacrene. Was genuineuly hyped any time I got to go to a new gym, but then they were actively apart of the story. They are hunting down Team Plasma and marked out when they arrived at the Mansion at the end to fight the sages so I could go forward and by having them being involved to this extent. Heightened the danger Team Plasma were. The Élite Four were a little underwhelming, but being four of my favorite types. Ghost, Psychic, Dark and Fighting. Can’t be to upset over it.

Team Plasma stole the show. They were shown just how ruthless they were. Attacking weaker Pokemon and stealing Bianca’s Pokemon. Build a relation between N and your character that hasn’t been seen. Recognizing that you are the threat instead of scoffing or playing it off. Ghelsis little about face was a little dumb, but after everything that you got to go through is nothing really. In a way, there argument for releasing your Pokemon is kind of better than the one against them. We do force them to fight till they feint. Getting poisoned and paralyzed. Forcing them into a small ball to wait till they have to do it all over again for money and our own pride. Not to mention dress them up and actually dance for our entertainment. While the counter argument is.. love. They do all this for love. Which is fine, but trainers could treat them a little better. Try not cramming them into a ball and take them on the Ferris Wheel… I really loved Nimbasa City.

I really enjoyed a fair amount of the Pokemon designs. My favorites obviously are the one’s in my party. Gothitelle, Krookodile (My MVP during the Elite Four and against N), Gurdurr, Chandelure and Serperior. Purrloin almost had a spot, but was being a little too annoying in the early going to level up. Loved the beautiful colors of Archeops. Were there some that I didn’t like, sure. Didn’t care for the Ice Cream Cone and really hated Cofagrigus. Seriously, it was a Sarcophagus with ghost limbs and looks ridiculous, but they had way more hit then misses and that is fine. Not going to bat a thousand and they tried hard.

Pokemon Black honestly rivals generation one for me. Had such a blast playing through this game. Had a fun group to be traveling with, charismatic Gym Leaders that are actively trying to face the threat instead of being blind to it, or only care about their town. Fun Pokemon designs and loved the city backdrops and settings. Team Plasma were great to square off against and a massive Post Game. Genuinely look forward to my next playthrough of this game. Final Grade – S

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

Genwhunner plays Pokemon Platinum

By: Justin Hopkins

After having a blast playing my way through Pokémon Ruby. Went into Platinum with a bit more enthusiasm. Unlike Ruby, I had no idea what to expect going into the fourth generation and wanted to keep it that way. Which was sort of a mistake since my next self-imposed rule of trying to use new pokemon as much as possible and away from what I just used in Ruby and none from Generation 1. As you saw from the thumbnail though, that rule fell apart. With that said, time for Mui to depart the cave and begin a new journey. Lets dive in shall we.

We had to make two important questions this time. Having to name the rival (I refuse to call him friend no matter how much they try to push it) and I named him, Paulie, cause he is the enemy and then we get to pick our starter, after managing to get Paulie out of the house. It was a little difficult this time around. Kid of liking all three. Eliminating Chimchar since I picked Torchic. Came real close to Pinplup, but choose Turtwig named Pamela. A move I would regret later, but off we went. Trudging slowly through tutorials, but managing to catch Roxy the Starly and Electro The Shinx. Making my way through the tutorials in Jubilife and glad to see things open up after getting the Poketech, but things stopped for a vastly different reason in Eterna Forest. First, I really liked the team up missions. Different spin on things and any time they shake up the game play, I am always up for, but I also added two more Pokemon. Buneary named Harley, and a Ghastly named Trickster. My rules say I can’t have him on my team, but had to evolve him to the Best Boy, Haunter. My favorite Pokemon of all time and had to have one at least in my PC. So, took a bit of time and when he evolved, with a heavy heart, put him in the PC and continued on. Had already met Team Galactic, but thought so little of them, due to how Rowan treated them early on, but they were quick to grow on me. Their Grunts were insane, running around with explosives and while they were cheesy. Right kind of cheesy to hook me in. Loved encountering Mars, Saturn and Jupiter and was pretty much running through everything to keep going with their storyline and wanting to see how it ended, and loved the finale. The Distortion world was great and Cyrus was a tough battle. I used the Master Ball on Giratina and named it Spectre. With Team Galactic behind me though, was kind of sad to carry on with the Gym Leaders because the mistakes I made were beginning to catch up to me.

I had some real issues with Bryon and Candice and while Volkner and Victory Road were a non issue. The league was a different story and Unlike before it was more than a leveling issue. My team was not balanced well at all. Even with Giratina taking hits to heal, barely making it past Aaron. Bertha was easy enough with Lopunny rocking Grass Knot, but Flint was devasting since I didn’t have a water type and when I did manage to get by him, Lucian finished me off fast. I needed a new strategy. So, I turned my attention to collecting the three Mythical pokemon, Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf and training up a fire pokemon and well, was going to make the painful transformation of Magmar to Magmortar, but thankfully couldn’t due to the trade stipulation, but Magmar was needed for Aaron Than added Uxie for its Yawn move. After some time up at Snowpoint, was ready to go. With Magmar sweeping Aaron, Lopunny hossing her way through Bertha, and Torterra Earthquaking through Flint with Starraptor and Luxray assisting. The team working together on Lucian. It was on to the wall known as Cynthia. Lost counting on the number of times Garchomp destroyed my team. Had nothing to slow it down and had to pull out a ton of tricks. Uxie yawn to put it to sleep. Torterra used Leech Seed and managed to widdle it down enough before dying, and Lopunny finally put it down. Magmar put her final Pokemon, Roserade down and we became the Pokemon Champion. Had a great time in the post game. A ton more places to journey through and more pokemon to seek out, but after all the extra grinding and Cynthia. Did just enough to stop Team Galactic one last time and retired to the Villa, with Haunter in place of Uxie.

Platinum was a game of steep ups and downs. I hated the rival/friend. Mostly because he didn’t feel like either. Just annoy sight to constantly run into and other characters constantly telling me how nice our friendship got old. The gyms ascetics were nice. Like the clock in the garden and the gym setting, but none of the leaders were memorable, except for maybe Crasher Wake due to the mask but none of them were exceptionally interesting to interact or battle. I only had an issue cause I didn’t do a good job building my team. Torterra being strong, but would be destroyed with ice, fire, dragon, or aerial. Pinplup really should have been my choice. The overreliance on older Generation Pokemon as well. If you didn’t pick Chimchar you would need a generation 1 or 2 Pokemon. Unless you had traded for Magmortar, who is as drastic downgrade on Magmar, I don’t care about stats, Magmar is awesome in my opinion. Same with Electabuzz for that matter.

With that said, the pros easily out do the negatives. To have a powerhouse such as Cynthia be your final obstacle was great, because she was a champion. Her team were unbelievably tough and required thought to overcome and just a joy to deal with. Team Galactic stole the show. Building off Team Magma using Pokemon to change the Earth. Cyrus just upped the game by rewriting everything. As B-Movie story arch as it might be, was great fun to go against. So much Pokemon and Sinnoh Lore. Then you get to the Distortion World which really built up the whole adventure to a whole other level and made the finale with Cyrus feel special.

While Platinum may not be as good as Ruby was, still had a fun time and glad I finally played. Final Grade – B+

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You for Reading.

Destroy All Humans Game Review

By: Justin Hopkins

I lost my mind when the Trailer revealing that they were remaking this game. Destroy All Humans is a game series that I have held close to my heart since it first came out in 2005. From over the top violence and comedic lines. Thrown in with some levels that have made me and my friends absolutely insane. So was all for them updating the graphics and bringing it back. So, lets dive into the invasion shall we.

They really didn’t mess with the story in anyway. Bringing us the exact same story in all of its glory. Telling the tale of how the US Military accidentally blew up a UFO and captured the alien, Cryptosporidium-136. While high up in the Mothership, Orthopox watches on. When another Crypto comes up behind him asking what happened. Turns out they are a race known as Furons, and they reproduce via cloning, and this one is Crypto – 137. An ultra violent one who demands to not only go and rescue his brother, but to destroy everything in the process. Pox agrees, but to a point. Humans see have buried in their DNA, Furon DNA. Which is needed to help restore the degrading cloning process. All the while, Crypto is being chased by the Military and shadow organization known as Majestic. Lead by the mysterious leader called Silhouette. Which was the perfect way to go.

Not changing the game to much may not make for any exciting changes or new little surprises, but didn’t really want any of it from this game. Being more of a remaster than an outright remake. Wanting to relive the magic of the first game, with the witty dialogue and challenging boss battles with newer graphics and they gave us just that and the game looks gorgeous.

Crypto looks amazing. The purple veins and hues around the side of his head. Opening and closing pores, and especially his eyes. Deep red that had layers beyond, that looks so alive and ominous. Loved the fact the humans kept a cartoonish look. The colors of the Mothership and the UFO really pop out at times. Then you get the color burst explosions from his weapons which were both a blessing and a curse we will talk about later on.

Most of the voice acting was done with using the archived voices and yeah they still sound great. J. Grant Albrecht is stellar as Crypto. So was Richard Steven Horvitz and Nika Futterman as Pox and Silhouette. Would have liked some newer dialogue from the NPCs. When you blow through the town on a side mission. Tend to hear the same the lines on repeat kind of gets old pretty fast and going to have the line, “…My name is Bill and I am right” in my head for the next fifteen years, but the main cast does well enough to make it worth while.

Okay, we got to talk about that nightmare of a final level. Wow, I have seriously forgot how hard the older bosses were. Before I go into it, I did enjoy how hard this fight was. Seriously miss when the final boss was a force to be reckoned with, but this had some serious flaws to it. First you get the infuriating UFO fight against the Robo-Prez and the UFO controls that makes it the least fun flying a UFO can be when you are trying to do anything more than casual destruction. Then you go right into battle with Silhouette. Which was fun, difficult and overloading all at the same time. Destroying you if you dare try to retreat. Having to juggle her variety of destructive weaponry, mounted guns and ever back up Majestic Soldiers and Mutants and keeping the Disintegrating Ray loaded at the same time. As well as a Robo-Prez electrocuting the ground intermittently. At times that there is so much going on and colors flashing wildly that it overloads your eyes and will miss something that will end up destroying you and then I made a horrible mistake. I backed out to Upgrade Crypto and had to restart.. from the Robo-Prez fight. Seriously spent more time on these two fights, then I had with the entire game leading up to it. Like I said at the start. Love the fact Silhouette is no pushover. Made it one to remember, but everything around it was a nightmare.

With that said, I had a blast playing Destroy All Humans again. Getting to relive the fun moments, challenging levels, and a difficult boss level. So, if you missed it the first time. Check out the remastered classic of a game. Fingers crossed they green light the second one. Final Grade – A

As always, I hope you enjoyed and..

Thank You For Reading.,

 

Saturday Sequel Presents D2: The Mighty Ducks

By Paul Anthony

I have to admit I am missing hockey and with my beloved Penguins already basically set to be in the playoffs before this mess even happen, and with the news that the NHL does have an plan and agreement to resume action, I needed to find another hockey movie to enjoy and another fun sequel came to mind. Of course I am talking about D2: The Mighty Ducks. Which was released in March of 1994 and became a beloved hit with fans and even spawn another sequel. Now sadly I was not able to find an budget for this film but the first film was ten million and it made 50 million for a gross. Part two didn’t do bad either and came close to first films gross and that gross was around 46 million. If I would have to put number on the budget I would say around 12 to 14 million, in any case I do believe it made a decent little profit.

Anyway let’s get to the plot. The film picks up just after the offseason when the Ducks won the State Championship and their coach left to be a minor league hockey player which he was so good that he was just one step away as the announcers would say from being called up to the NHL despite only playing one season. However a dirty player decided to ruin Bombay’s career by busting up his knee which ended his career for good. So he returns home to figure out what to do next and that when a sponsor shows up to recruit him to coach Team USA with some of his Duck players and some new talent around the country. The team heads out to Los Angles California where they begin to work as a team and win games. Slowly fame goes to Bombay’s head and he begins to change the way he acts and coaches the team and when he full out changes, the team gets crushed by Iceland which has become the number 1 favorite to win it all. After losing the game and losing his team Bombay begins to find himself and realizes the only way to win is to be himself and so it begins and team USA returns to their winning ways however they meet Iceland in the finals which goes to a shootout and uniform to spark the ducks to win the shootout and game and the team returns home where they enjoy a camp fire which happens during the credits.

I don’t think this film was bad not at all actually. I think the biggest problem was that it felt like the first film all over again and I think that was the biggest problem. Some elements like the timeline with Bombay’s career didn’t make sense like how was he so ready for the NHL. Some of the cast from the first film are missing without being explained. Then at the same time too many of the Ducks were on the team and not so many were around the country. Overall though it was still a fun family film to enjoy if you and the kids are missing hockey like I am and in the end I am giving this film a B plus for a rating!

Predator: Hunting Grounds Game Review

By: Justin Hopkins

When this game was announced was very much on the fence about whether or not I wanted to bother with it. Was a fan of Friday The 13th and then Dead By Daylight. Enjoying Asymmetrical Games, but wasn’t real enthusiastic about what I was seeing from this. Which changed after I played their demo. Having a great time as both Fireteam and playing as the Predator. So much so that I ended up pre-ordering the game. Looking forward to seeing what the full game had to offer and now with an extra day to play. Does it still hold on to its charm. Let’s devein and check it out shall we.

Being an online multiplayer, it doesn’t have much of a story to it. You either play the role of Fireteam, where you work with 3 other soldiers (As long as nothing goes wrong in loading) attempting top complete missions and take down AI. While at the same time, another player is hunting you as the Predator. You win by either escaping on the chopper, downing the Predator while escaping their explosion, or defending it’s body for extraction; you may or may not have to defuse its bomb.

A simple story that works just find. Puts you in the jungle just like Arnie and his men were in the first movie. They make the most of one short map with various different missions. For starting out, works just fine, with room to grow. Hope we get more like a artic temple like from AVP or something off planet.

Breaking down the sides more, we will start with the Fireteam and you got four different Soldiers to pick from; Assault, Recon, Scout and than Support. Each having their own skills and attributes. Assault being your balanced. Recon and Scouts being a little more speedy, but Scout being faster but has less health and can’t carry as much. Support being more armored but slower. You have various perks to play with that can boast your speed, strength, reload and even how much damage you can inflict on the Predator. Wide range of weapons, Assault rifles to shotguns and if you pre-ordered you get the mini gun that I have yet to use, because I like the others a little more, but none of it will help if you aren’t team oriented. The key to playing as Fireteam is working together. Making sure you all keep an eye out on one another and if all four of you are swarming together. Then you’re going to clean up. Stealth can be a thing, especially if you are down members and need to call for reinforcements, but as long as you are working together. Probably won’t get to that point.

Alright, on to the headliner and the one most people, myself included, were looking forward to play; The Predator, or Yautja of you prefer. They come in three classes; Hunter, Scout, and Berserker.  Hunter is balanced, Scout if fast and has very little health ( I have not played this class and probably never will. Ever) and Berserker is your tank. The customization is a lot of fun. Picking between male and female and what masks and predlocks you can put on them. Various weapons and traps and I am clearly avoiding gameplay.

I don’t want to seem like I am trashing it isn’t terrible. They are very challenging to learn how to play, because you have to be patient. Mess with the tight group. Try to force them to split up and pick off stragglers or catch the right time to charge them and I think that is where it loses me a little. The wait times are so long, to get into a game, to attempt to break the group up in some chance you even can and don’t have to settle for a yolo play at the end. Meanwhile, their health is atrociously low. It does not take much to be gunned down. The reason I won’t even touch scout. Not when Berserker can be taken out with ease. Not even just playing as the Predator. Don’t even really feel intimated when I go against them. I don’t want them to be walking tanks who eat bullets, but something has to be done to make them a bit of a threat, and I think that a single player mode can help out.

I think a big help can be a place where you can practice playing as the Predator. Learning how to play him more effectively and how everything works against harder AI then people who have been playing shooters for ten plus years. Can practice movements, trap placements and be a better player before going to face others. Not to mention you give people a chance to just play the game, instead of waiting ten plus  minutes to play a five minute round.

I know a complaint I have seen is how thick the forest can be and it can be hard to see incoming AI, but I personally like that. Makes them a bit of a bit of a challenge. Adding to their ability to be a threat and they can be. Especially, if you get swarmed and Predator is pressuring with them. All making for more of a fun experience.

With all of that said, Predator: Hunting Grounds is still a pretty fun game to play. Got a fun little shooter with the Fireteam and despite my personal complaints. There is fun to be had with the Predator. You just got to be patient when playing the role and see a lot of potential going forward.

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

Saturday Sequel Presents Major League 2

By Paul Anthony

How is life treating you as we spend another week inside? Recently and I do mean this, MLB has been in the sports news and I nearly forgot that we are nearly two weeks into the baseball season and I realized that I am missing baseball, even though my team sucks that is besides the point in any case this was the perfect time to watch a baseball film and one that has a sequel. Only one film franchise came to mind and that was Major League which for the first two films starred Charlie Sheen. Let’s do a little recap here. The first film came out in 1989 and a was a goofy comedy which was Rated R. The film focused on the Cleveland Indians and the team owner who wants to sell the team and no longer wants to spend money on the team. With the terrible payroll the team gathers a bunch of no bodies but with a little magic, the team actually starts to win and nearly heads to the World Series. The Movie was made from an 11 million dollar budget and grossed nearly 50 million dollars. Which meant a sequel was coming but did the film live up to the legacy of the first film?

The story made sense, which I was fine with. Here in the next season the team has changed their ways since becoming a winner, Many have cleaned up their image, which includes Rick “The Wild Thing” Vaughn ditching his bad image and now is wearing a suit! Willie Mays Hays in the offseason became an actor. Pretty much the whole team now look like the classic good guys, however their focus on their image made them lose their edge in their skills at playing baseball. The evil owner sold the team to their third basemen who retired and took over the team. The season starts with the excitement that they could head to the World Series. However that soon ends when the team starts to lose badly and the fans start to turn on them and they begin to lose their way and lose fans in the stands which means the team was sold back to the previous owner and she continues her wicked ways which with a few little trades sparks the team to get their mojo back and once again the team starts winning and even makes it into the playoffs but this time they win and head to the World Series which the film never shows.

Like I said before I was okay with the story because they did have unfinish business and the film showed us how winning changed their ways but the movie had a higher budget which was 25 million, that alone was 14 million higher than the previous film but the film barely made 30 million, 20 million less than the first film. Making it more family friendly, I believe did hurt the film, look the film had grown men in it and we couldn’t get a PG-13 rating at least. I did feel like the comedy which was the main thing that made the previous movie shine was hurt by the rating. I didn’t laugh at all and felt like the jokes were cheap. In the end I am giving this film a D rating it just wasn’t there for me

 

Resident Evil 3 Nemesis review and discussion

By: Justin Hopkins

Words can’t begin to describe my excitement, for my return to the zombie packed streets of one Raccoon City. Following the success of the wildly fun and thrilling Resident Evil 2 Remake, we have Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The popular entry that marked the end of Raccoon City, and one of the only ones that I didn’t play much of as a kid. Played a little and became well aware of the threat known as Nemesis, but not much more. Which hyped up my excitement that much more. To play through and kill him for a change. Was my luck better this time around? Let’s dive in and find out shall we.

I’m always big on a story, and loved not only the story, but the pacing of it. Nemesis hits you hard right from the jump and it’s just go from there.  Even when you don’t have Nemesis breathing down your neck, it still feel the game pushing you along. Worrying that he will either show up around the next bend or trying to get the Vaccine to cure Jill. Speaking of Carlos, his parts don’t feel to shoehorned in. Begining with him at the Police Station where he learns where the Doctor is, who knows how to make the vaccine. So, when Jill is infected, he knows where to go. Fact that it started with Carlos temporarily downing him with the rocket launcher was a nice touch. The Rocket Launcher being a big thing in Resident Evil games as the big finish. Even being the final K.O for Mr. X. Showing Nemesis brush it off upped the stakes.

Being that the events of this take place around the second game. This game had a lot of fun tie-ins with it. How the cop with the sliced up jaw and other hanging from the pipe ended up in their position, and pour Marv getting bitten by Brad. Even how the cop got into the locker and the hole in the showers. Could even save some time if you remembered the codes to the safe and lockers, which I did not. Now, I normally never catch the Easter Eggs. Astounded and amazed by others who have a keener eye, but when  spotted one that was right in plain view that hundred of others probably already caught it, but seeing Morrigan Aensland on the sandwich board got a chuckle out of me for finally not being blind for a change.

Jill looked fantastic in the game. Coming off as not only a champ throughout most of the game, but the voice acting was spectacular in the aspect where she came off as vulnerable at the same time. Feeling more and more bad for her with her cries of pain when she would get ragged dolled around and every time she smacked off the ground. She felt like human who had to dig down deep to overcome. Big props to Nicole Tompkins for her vocal works on the character.

Now, to the monsters and no better starting place than the one whose name is on the cover; Nemesis. Back when two came out, had no idea for a while that there was a group of people who hated how difficult Mr. X was because of how difficult he was. Got a little worried over them weakening Nemesis for it, and so glad that they certainly did no such thing. He made himself known right away as a legit threat, where running was not only not a guarantee from how fast he could move, leaping back into the fray, or just pulling you back to him. Yet, he never felt overpowered at the same time. Always something around to aide you or get to a safe place. In his later forms, when he was more dog, he truly felt overwhelming and genuinely satisfying when you finally beat him, and great ending with the FINGeR.

On the other hand, the other zombies and monsters are no pushovers either. The zombies actually come across as legit threats. Even the ones on the ground are back in your face with a grab. The dogs continue their legendary status, and my god the Hunter Betas made me want to die in real life. At times, wanted the Nemesis back, instead of one Hunter B. And than we got the weird spiders… which I actually liked. You always read about creepy things like that happening to the NPCs’ in their journals and notes. To have it actually happen to you was an interesting twist and prefered them over Grave Digger from the original. They just work better and the setting was creepy and and unnerving. Not wanting grabbed again, but if you don’t take care of them. Can quickly get outnumbered.

I don’t normally like to address other people’s negatives. Everyone is free to have their own opinions and I have plenty of unpopular opinions in my reviews on a regular basis but feel like I almost have to this time around. No, this is not a long game. Even an achievement if you can beat it under two hours and to get an S or an A, have to do it under two and a half, with no deaths, and under 5 saves. My argument here, is that first, Nemesis was never a long game. Now, there is a whole story as to why it came out that way and I am not going into all the details, but they made it short on purpose, and to be honest, works better that way. The game is all about moving forward. Very little backtracking, with a massive monster making sure you do just that. Even with Carlos. They make it feel like you have to keep going forward. Anything you add to it, would threaten to throw off the pacing or start to feel stale.

Now, an actual bring up a real negative and that is how much I despise the shop section. The first two, encouraged you to beat it in certain ways to unlock stuff like infinite ammo in certain guns and costumes. Which worked so much better than the point system they have in place of it here. It is a small gripe, but just doesn’t feel as rewarding.

Before we get to the end of this, we got to talk about the other game that dropped with Resident Evil 3. That being Resident Evil: Resistance, and have been having a blast with it so far. Still very much in the learning curve of it and been only really playing Mastermind and has been a real joy learning as I go along. Which is such a huge part of playing Mastermind. You are far from effective at the start, but when you really start to grasp what to do. It unlocks so much more fun elements and more fun cards to play. Just got to Daniel and can’t wait to get to Alex and Spencer. I needed a new online multiplayer and strongly suggest giving Resistance a shot.

Resident Evil 3 has been another absolute blast from Capcom, who takes great care when t comes to remaking their prized games. Keeping what made them so much fun and bringing back to the world. Next seems to be Resident Evil 8, which if the rumors are correct sounds like a crazy game, but once that is done. Hope they start on the remake of another great, Code Veronica. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed by review and as always…

Thank You For Reading.

Doom Eternal Game Review

By: Justin Hopkins

This is a game I have been waiting for for quite some time. Deeply saddened by the short delay after it was supposed to drop in November. Desperately needing to remove the stench that was Doom: Annihilation. Doom has a long history of just great, adrenaline rushing fun times, and was excited to know end for this to finally drop, and now that I have played through. Lets jump into the world of the Doom Slayer and discuss shall we.

The game starts out with voices screaming and Earth turning red from the Demonic invasion, and Doom Guy in the Fortress of Doom. With him on a mission to target the Hell Priests running the Invasion along with Sentinel Leader, Khan Maykr. Along the way we find out more about who the Doom Slayer is and how he got his amazing abilities and that his fight with the Demons have been raging for quite some time. I was worried about how they would work him into the cut scenes. As a silent character, how would he act along other people and loved the results and did so without diminishing what makes him a hardcore, demon killing hoss that we all know and love.

The aesthetics and sceneries were gorgeous.  Loved the fact that the places always felt different depending on where you were.  Loved the horrific, hellscapes of Earth. Especially the lava flow and the Tyrants and Sentinels in the background. They levels where you are inside the dead monster was gorgeous. The hardcore soundtrack and violent green flashes and ground shaking on the base of the BFG-10000 and the prestigious feeling that Taras Nabod.  Which really made a difference being that I spent a lot of time fleeing for my life in nearly all of the levels. Fact they felt different kept from getting stale to quick.

Now on to what brought me along for the ride. What Doom does best. Bring us some awesome demons and massive selection of weaponry at hand to kill them with, and they sure threw everything they had at this. At nearly every moment you are being swarmed by Imps and Gargoyles and Hell Knights and many, many others and it was fun and frustrating and an absolute blast. Loved the fact that they really ramped up the difficulty and added a bit of tactics to some, such as the Revenant, Mancubus, and Cacodemon and Arachnotron. Makes you really have to prioritize and think about how you are going to take down the swarm. Luckily, you get a ton of weapons and gadgets. Most of which I continued to forget about till I pushed the button by mistake, and all hail the mighty chaingun. Which bailed me out of nearly every bind, when I lacked the BFG ammo. Which between that and the sword,  I can’t remember the name of at the moment, because never seemed to be able to use it, outside of the big boss fights anyway. Wouldn’t be a bad thing, but with them sort of encouraging going back at playing old levels. Should have ammo be a little more readily available for the big guns once you beat the game.

Now as much fun as the gameplay was. It was fast paced and the jungle gyms you use to evade were excellent and fact it all felt smooth. The platforming at times made me want to curl up into a ball and begin to cry. I get they really wanted to use the double jumps and dashes, but some of them were worse than the boss fights. The fun mechanics to use during battles, but some of the leaps toward the end were pushing him to his limits and just beyond my patience.

While that is a minor gripe, this one bothers me much, much more, and that is in the form of the Marauder. I actually, love the Marauder. He had a great entrance. Calling the Slayer a fake and that he sees his lies. True challenging adversary that took timing and felt satisfying when you beat him, the first time. Around the eighth time though, was nothing more than an eye roll, and that is a real shame. Know the Marauder is kind of a unit according to the lore, but by using him more than once, did such an injustice to one of the best intros in the game’s history. To a point, the Doom Hunter kind of had the same issue, but not quite on poor Marauder’s level. Plus, small nitpick, The Summoner was much better than Archvile.

Since I don’t really do online gaming I can’t speak on Battlemode, and will go right into the wrap up. I love this game. Doom has always been a sheer thrill ride of a series, and Eternal is just another excellent, blood soaked, gory, hellacious entry. If you haven’t checked it out. Would strongly suggest giving it a play through. It’s the perfect way to kick back, and relieve some stress by unleash hell on countless demons. Final grade: A

I hope you enjoyed my kind of rambling thoughts, and as alway…

Thank you for reading and..

All Hail The Doom Slayer.

My Top 7 Video Game Protagonists

By: Justin Hopkins

I have a very exciting few weeks ahead. Starting things off with Castlevania Season 3 dropping today. Along with Doom Eternal dropping on the 20th, than free play of Predator Hunting Ground starting March 27th, and then you get Resident Evil 3 on April 3rd. It goes without saying, So, the gamer in me is chewing at the bits. Talking to some friends about games they like and so forth. Got me thinking about the characters I hold dear and decided to come up with my favorite seven. Will this be the same as yours? Absolutely not. We all have our own favorites and own personal memories surrounding them. This is for fun. Maybe you see a name that brings back memories of playing their game, or if you haven’t played them. Give you reason, and mostly, to give you a reason to think up your own names and the fun times you had playing Video Games. With that said, one rule as always, have to have played the game in order for the character to have made the list. There are going to be few heavy hitters missing from the list. Chances are, missed out on their games and just haven’t gone back to play them and don’t like to talk about things that I don’t know about. Okay? Good, lets jump in shall we.

7. Mario – Super Mario Bros. and so much more

I am Thirty years old. By the time I was old enough to play Video Games, found myself pulled to the 2-D World of Super Mario Bros. A game of simplicity. Start the level and get to the end, and repeat. Could play it to try and get everything or get to the end the fastest, and repeat. As time went on and you enter the beautiful and thrilling world that was Mario 64 and the days lost to Mario Kart, the Game Boy Games, Tennis, Baseball, The Parties, and the glorious chaos that is Smash Bros. Mario may have dropped down the list since I was little, but will always hold the Italian Plumber close to my heart.

6. Cryptosporidium 137 – Destroy All Humans

A little out there, I know, but there is something about the foul mouthed, grey alien that makes me laugh. How over the top he is and how outrageous they get throughout the series. He was a likeable Anti-Hero. You did awful things to people and cheered him on the entire way. From him touching down in the farm the first time to all the way back to his homeworld. Had a blast going through his journey and impatiently waiting for the remake.

5. Bigby Wolf – A Wolf Among Us

Okay, if we were factoring in gameplay and technical aspect A Wolf Among Us would fall drastically. Being less game and more, please just go here so we can continue the cut scene kind of game, but I am looking at the character and Bigby Wolf made himself a character that I enjoyed so much. Strived hard to get him the best possible outcome, minus destroying George’s bar, he had it coming. Bigby was a flawed character, who was trying his best to overcome what he did and try and turn over a new leaf and be the guy who saved those he once tormented, and his plight got me to plow through the lackluster mechanics and look forward to the sequel to come.

4. Doom Slayer – Doom

Doom is one of my favorite game series I have ever played. The non-stop action of just wave after wave of demons and monsters to simply plow your way through with glee, and while little is known of the Almighty Doom Slayer, the idea of jumping into his world, armed with a plethora of guns and explosives and glory kills and chainsaws always brings a smile to my face, and what more can I say. He is just a blast and can’t wait for the 20th.

 3. Senua – Hellblade

Her voices drove me crazy. Actually found myself yelling back at them myself when I got stuck on a puzzle and they kept telling me I was lost. Loved the story of her finding happiness in her love Dillion. How he made her strive to be better and her trek into Helheim to save his soul from Hela. A warrior at heart who fights and claws her way to victory and kept me invested and couldn’t stop until I found out how her journey concluded, and still geek out over the Senua Saga Trailer, and all of it is just how strong of a character she is.

2. Claire Redfield – Resident Evil

When I made this list, knew someone from the prestigious Resident Evil Universe was going to make it. Have loved all the games, yes even the sixth one, and while Leon S. Kennedy came close. Claire has always been my favorite of the pact and it’s because she has always seemed to be over her head. She is not a trained special ops. Nor is she a rookie cop, but just a person, in search of her Brother. Who, through a series of events becomes something greater. She saves Sherry and then becomes something much more than where she started, and we got to see the start of her journey and grow along the way. From Resident Evil 2 to even the movie, Resident Evil: Degeneration. Any time they bring out Claire. Know it’s going to be good.

1. Crash Bandicoot – Crash Bandicoot

There has never been a character that has made me blindingly angry and thrilled in a bat of an eye, the way the insane bandicoot has made me. The only game, whether it be the original or remake, that had made me want to throw the controller through the Television on a regular basis, but I couldn’t because then I wouldn’t be able to get the gems and save his lady bandicoot friend, and I had to get the full ending. Not just beat Cortex. I love everything about Crash. His designs and little dances. The vacant look in his eyes, and the fact that no matter how much he made me want to waste all his lives hurling him off the edge, because he won’t stick the landing when I need him to! Yet, I didn’t because I wanted to see his dance of victory and the fact that he can get those extreme mood swings out of me. Shows how strong of a character he is and deserving of the crown.

Like I said at the start. Not expecting people to agree with my list. It’s a personal one and we all have our favorites, and would love to hear yours. All I can hope, is that you enjoyed the list and as always…

Thank You For Reading.

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