Curse of the Dead Gods Review

Curse of the Dead Gods, produced by Focus Home Interactive, is an exciting new third-person adventure game. As you follow an exotic adventurer journey through ancient temples, you will face multiple traps, enemies, and challenges. You can unlock certain abilities, as well as different weapons that can help you in your challenges. You can mix and match different combinations of the weapons to give you the best advantage against the enemies. The game also implements a new and interesting concept known as corruption.

The first thing that caught my eye was the combat, as well as the animation. Both are extremely clean and are very, very high quality. As the player switches from their torch, to their weapon, darkness surrounds them and the enemies start swarming. As the players start to wipe out the foes, more and more start to appear. The players must be extremely careful because if they take damage, they can not recharge their health. If a player dies, they must restart from the beginning of the map, and work their way through the entire temple again.

The enemies themselves are very interesting. From monsters that have simple melee attacks to giant monsters that have giant war hammers and floating heads, the variety is endless. This large amount of adversaries keeps the game interesting, as well as challenging. The player will also run into multiple traps. These can harm the players in multiple ways, such as poisoning them, catching them on fire, and stabbing them. Both of these challenges can totally change what the player needs to do.

To help counter these problems, the player is given a wide variety of weapons. The player is provided with a sword, revolver, and torch at the beginning of the game. They can then unlock a broad assortment of weapons through chests as well as through enemies that will drop them. There are certain weapons that work better against different enemies, such as the battle hammer that is efficient against large groups.

The most interesting concept of this game is the curses and corruption. When a player completes each level, they will get a certain amount of points that count towards corruption. When they reach 100 points, they will receive a certain “curse” that can either help or hinder them. This is a really interesting concept, but I do not think players should be punished just because they finish a mission.

Overall, I really enjoyed Curse of the Dead Gods. I really enjoyed the combat and customization options, and I think that for an early access game, Curse of the Dead Gods is really well produced. This game reminded me of the old arcade games that I used to spend hours playing. I feel that when the game has new temples and maps released, I will definitely play more of the game. I can’t wait to see what the producers have in mind for the game, and I believe the game will become one of my favorites!

-Daniel C

Spaceland Review

Spaceland, produced by Tortuga Team, is a dynamic strategy game. It follows the old school tactical game genre which requires skill as well as planning. The story follows a team of desperate fighters that have crash-landed on a mysterious planet. You need to help these heroes fight their way through dangerous monsters and enemies to help them discover the secrets of the perplexing world. The game has multiple types of enemies, objectives, weapons, and heroes. Each hero can help out the team in different ways.  You can mix and match different heroes with each other to make the most powerful and optimal teams for each mission.

The actual game itself is very simple. Your team is assigned a certain mission, and once you complete that mission you go onto the next quest. Each of these missions does not take too long, and you are usually trying to complete an objective such as rescuing a soldier or destroying a monster. The controls for the game are also quite simple. There are a certain amount of moves that each hero has, as well as a certain amount of ammo and health. Throughout the missions, you can move your character across the game grid. After you use a certain amount of moves, the enemies have a chance to move around the board and attack you. This forces players to tactfully move around the map, watching the different opponents and their movements. The graphics of Spaceland are also quite simple but are very clean. They are both cartoonish and futuristic, giving off a chill, relaxed, vibe.

On top of different objectives and controls, there is also a wide variety of heroes that you can unlock. You can unlock heroes throughout the 28 missions in the game. Each of these heroes has special abilities such as grenades, automatic rifles, etc. These special powers are quite valuable during different missions. The broad assortment of heroes also brings a large range of weaponry to the game. Snipers, shotguns, assault rifles, are just a few examples of the collection in the weapon inventory. Each weapon also has a different rate of fire, damage, range, etc. This diversity can lead to a great amount of customization and creativity in tactics as well as teams.

Overall, I enjoyed Spaceland made by the Tortuga Team. The simple but yet classic tactic game really was nostalgic for me, especially since I played a lot of those games when I was younger. There were some improvements that could be added to enhance the game. When you first start the game, there is no option to adjust the screen stretch of the game, so the game did not fully fit my TV screen, not allowing me to see what was at the bottom of the screen. Also, there was not a tutorial at the beginning of the game, but that was ok because of the simple and easy controls. The final adjustment I would make is to add a multiplayer option of some sort. I found that some of the missions were somewhat repetitive, so the game could become boring at some point. Besides those few minor improvements, I really enjoyed Spaceland and would rate it a 9/10.

-Daniel C.

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin Game Review

When I first started Wrath: Aeon of Ruin made by KillPixel, I immediately got 90’s run and gun vibes. The game is very similar to Doom, Quake, etc. A reason for this is due to the fact that Wrath is a modified and upgraded version of the Quake engine ( a certain gaming engine that powered the game Quake.) The game itself is quite simple and there are only two main goals, killing monsters and making it to the end checkpoint alive. Throughout different missions, the player will encounter a wide variety of enemies, weapons, consumables, items, and maps.

As for enemies, there is a huge variety ranging from slow-moving weak units named Fallen, to quick flying enemies that fire blue orbs of energy known as Afflicted, and many more. This variety of enemies keeps each new level exciting and challenging. Players do not know what enemies they will be facing and must adapt and evolve based on certain enemies.

At the beginning of the game, your character only starts off with a small wrist knife. As your character goes through upgrades and progressions, so does your arsenal. Throughout the different missions, players can scourge the map and unlock new and improved weapons. At the time of the early access, there were five weapons in total that could be used. Each of these weapons had their own strengths and weaknesses. The shotgun was great at up close and personal encounters but lacked in range. The fang spitter had an insanely fast firing speed but was very weak against tougher enemies. This leads to players using a wide variety of weapons in each level.

In most video games, there is usually a large number of items or consumables the player can use. Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is no exception. There is a huge variety of these items that the player can use to give themselves a certain advantage in the game. Some examples are the vials of life that give players health, shotgun shells, as well as fangs that can be used as ammunition for your character’s weapons. These consumables can either be found randomly on the ground or off of the bodies of fallen foes. The game also uses a unique respawning system based off of a certain item players pickup called Soul Tethers. These items allow players to place down a marker surrounded by a white aura. If the player were to die, they would have the choice to respawn at the beacon. The player would then be teleported back to the exact time they placed down the tether. This concept was confusing at first, especially since there was no explanation, but most players could get the hang of it eventually.

As for maps, there are three total realms with several missions in each realm. This variety gives the game a good amount of locations, but it does not have enough to confuse the players. This wide variety of maps gives the players the feeling of freedom and allows players to free roam.

Overall, I feel that Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is a simple throwback shooter. The game may lack an actual story, but it makes up for it in action. If you are looking for an easy and fun shooter, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is a great choice.

Rating:8/10

-Daniel C.

Titanfall 2 by Respawn Entertainment

Titanfall was a great game, winning over 60 rewards at its 2013 reveal, but Titanfall 2 was definitely was a step up. Titanfall 2 was nominated  for multiple year-end accolades including Game of the Year and Best Shooter awards, by several gaming publications. Just talking about Respawn’s success with Titanfall makes it sound like a good game! Trust me, it gets better.

Titanfall 2’s high success was due to its captivating campaign mode and its various online multiplayer modes. Titanfall 2’s many online modes put it above its first game. You can play Free for all, capture the flag, and attrition just to name a few. You play as a pilot, being a pilot gives you a massive variety of guns and abilities. You have sniper rifles, shotguns, and automatic guns. You can also grapple buildings, run on walls, and turn invisible!

Running and jumping around as a pilot is only half of the game, the other half you play in a titan. Titans are giant mecha-style exoskeletions that will crush the battlefield.  If you played the original Titanfall, you would know that there was only one titan you could play as. In Titanfall 2, you have seven different titans to chose from! But I’ll say no more, so I don’t spoil the game for you.

One final thing that separated Titanfall 2 from Titanfall was its single player campaign mode. In campaign, you play as rifleman Jack Cooper. He hopes to one day become a pilot of a titan. And he becomes a pilot of titan BT-7274, but in a way he did not expect. Together you switch between Jack Cooper and BT-7274 as you try to stop the IMC. I enjoyed the campaign adventure a lot. It has great a great back round and has great storytelling. Plus you get to do things that you would never be able to do in multiplayer.(E.g. traveling in time!) But I’ll let you play the game to find out on your own. This is definitely an FPS you should consider getting. Five star game.

-Brandon D.

Minecraft Guide to the Nether and the End by Mojang

Any real Minecraft fan should have this book. The Minecraft Guide to the Nether and the End is the ultimate survival guide that you should be sure to pack before stepping through that portal.

The book is full of juicy facts and tips that will increase your chances of surviving in these two perilous dimensions. It includes all of the Nether and End mobs, the blocks you find in the two dimensions and their uses, and much, much more! Want to learn how make a Nether portal? You’ll find it in here! How to locate a stronghold? You will find that on page 52 and 53!

I am definitely a fan of Minecraft and I have read this book multiple times! If you liked this book, make sure to check out other Minecraft survival guides, such as the Guide To Creative PVP Minigames, and the Guide To Farming. I am not sure if this book is available at the library, but you can get your own copy at the nearest Barn’s and Noble. Good luck bold adventurers, clever crafters, and worldly wanderers! Stay safe out there and don’t die!

-Brandon D.

Movie vs. Book: Ready Player One

As many of you know, Ready Player One has been out for quite some while. Most people who wanted to see it have. But did you know (because I certainly didn’t until it was gifted to me) that Ready Player One was a book as well? If you did know that, points to you. If not, then go to the library, go check out the book, and read it. It’s  very good, in my opinion. Then, come back, and finish reading this. I hope you’ll find it interesting.

The premise of Ready Player One is interesting. There is a high school aged boy, Wade, who lives in the future, 2045 to be precise. The world is in pretty awful condition, and everyone knows it. It’s dirty, global warming is through the roof, and the population is skyrocketing. The only place you can escape, is the OASIS.

The OASIS is a high tech virtual reality system, created by James Halliday. As a child, James Halliday was not exactly a social butterfly. He disliked interacting with other kids, preferring the eccentric adventures of video games over playing outside. James Halliday grew up to become an advanced programmer, eventually creating the OASIS, a place where he could escape from the world and live as a part of the video games he loved.

When Halliday dies (which is inevitable), he creates, basically, an Easter Egg hunt. If you won this hunt, which happens if you complete the clues and series of tasks first, you would inherit Halliday’s large fortune, and control the OASIS. There are three keys that you must find (the Copper Key, the Jade Key, and the Crystal Key), which then unlock three gateways (simply called the First, Second, and Third Gates).

This is the picture of the both the movie and the book. This does not change. However, the characters, Gates, and Keys are very different.

In the book, it is clearly stated that the Avatars in the OASIS are lifelike, at least for the main characters: Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Shoto. It says that you can hook up your system to recognize your facial features, and transfer them onto your avatar. Art3mis is said to have used that program. But, in the movie, Art3mis (the Avatar) is portrayed as a pinkish red alien girl with short cropped red and black hair. Aech is shown as a larger-than-life ogre, when in the books, he is described as a tall, blonde, Caucasian man.

When attempting to obtain Keys and pass through Gates, you must complete a task. This is true for both the hook and the movie. But, the tasks in the movie and in the book are drastically different. For example, to earn the Copper Key, in the book, you must enter the Tomb of Horrors (from a Dungeons and Dragons adventure module), then compete against Acererak the Demi-Lich in a game of Joust (a game in which two players competed to pass levels. You played as a knight riding on a flying ostrich, trying to defeat waves of buzzards). In the movie, the key is obtained by participating in a dangerous race through New York City to Central Park.

The difference is huge, as everyone know how to get the Copper Key in the movie, yet couldnt get past the obstacles. But in the book, no one knew about the Tomb of Horrors, other then Parzival and Art3mis. This is just one example of how different the Key tasks were, the other Keys (the Jade Key and the Crystal Key) also varied between the movie and the book. The Gates, which you opened once you achieved the Key, were also drastically different.

The one other thing that’s bothered me in the difference between the movie and the book, is the moment when Parzival and Art3mis meet in real life.

Meeting in real life is tricky for OASIS players. You don’t know what the person looks like behind the avatar, and it could be potentially dangerous (just like in real life. Never go to meet someone you met online without a parent/guardian/adult). So, when Parzival and Art3mis met in real life, it was a big deal (especially because Parzival had a LARGE crush on her). The difference between the meetings in the book and movie is huge. I was quite disappointed with the meeting in the movie, it wasn’t as heartfelt, or as dramatic as it appeared in the book.

When I went to watch Ready Player One in theaters, I expected something completely different. Although it was the same storyline, I was a bit disappointed they didn’t stick with the original tasks, characters, avatars, etc. But, I did enjoy the movie, and I thought it was worthwhile to go watch. But, you are interested in the movie, and haven’t read the book, go do so. You will NOT regret it.

-Sophia

Ready Player One, both film and the book, are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Sword Art Online Progressive 001 by Reki Kawahara

Okay, confession time: I’m not really into Japanese anime and manga, or things like that. That is, until I read SAO, or Sword Art Online by Reki Kawahara.

To be clear, there are basically three adaptations of this book. One of them is a graphic novel, but this book, SAO Progressive 001, is a fictional chapter book that’s about 300 or so pages long.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book if it hadn’t been for my friends, who are obsessed with Japanese manga and stories. The cover art is really cool, but personally, I just wasn’t that interested. One of my friends, who had read the book cover to cover about thousands of times, allowed me to borrow it. At first I was doubting it, but since the cover looked awesome (I know, don’t judge by a book by its cover! Sorry!), I decided to open it.

And then I pretty much didn’t put it down. The story is centered around the main character, a dark-haired swordsman named Kirito, shown on the cover. Next to him is a fencer, named Asuna. Sword Art Online is a a “virtual-reality” world game, where the player is transported into the gaming world, filled with monsters on each level of the hundred floors of a floating, chambered castle: Aincrad. However, there is no escape. Once you enter the game, there’s no way you can leave it. And the death toll begins to rise. 2,000 players are dead, killed by the monsters in the game.

As Asuna the fencer says, “There’s no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die…”

Kirito meets Asuna in the beginning of the story, and over the events happening throughout the book, they form a sort of friendship. They’re not exactly a team, for they are both solo players, only working to strengthen themselves. But when fighting alone means certain death, will Kirito and Asuna overcome their differences and fight together to survive?

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for high-action, intense combat scenes against bosses, and a story that keeps you hooked in every page. Would you wish SAO was a real-life game that we could play? Anyways, I can’t wait to read Sword Art Online Progressive 002! I’m sure Reki Kawahara won’t let me down!

-Katharine L.