Overwatch Experimental Patch Notes

In a competitive game such as Overwatch that has a large esports scene and general
player base, balance changes are often necessary to maintain a healthy game state and keep players interested in the game through changes in gameplay. In Overwatch, balance changes in addition to hero pools(banning of certain characters for a set period of time) at the highest level have a massive effect on gameplay overall. In order to test these proposed changes, the player base has access to the “PTR,” or a server in which you can play the game with the new proposed changes before they are official. Doing this allows them to gauge player interest in the changes and whether or not they make it to the live patch (which is the version of the game).

As a team-based game of healers, damage dealers, and tanks, Overwatch requires an
innate balance between the three roles, as each role has two players playing that role for a
team of six. In previous changes, tanks and shields created by tanks were nerfed severely,
significantly boosting the power of “damage” heroes and those meant to support them. As a
result of previous changes, this experimental patch focuses on reducing the overall power of
those characters and the healers that enable them. While changes such as this may seem
initially good for the game and characters, certain changes can have many implications on
competitive play. In this case, one of the changes was made to the primary “sniper” character in the game, called Widowmaker or “widow” for short.

The changes included increased ammo cost and decreased scoped damage falloff. What this means is that not only does she have to reload more, but at a certain point her impact in the game has much less value. Widowmaker is one of the few characters to be able to kill many other damage-dealing characters instantly, making her a valuable asset on certain maps (areas of play). On certain maps, Widow is a mainstay and very powerful in enabling team plays by killing important low health targets such as most healers. By removing this ability on traditionally long maps, her impact in those games significantly decreases as she has to focus more on tanks rather than sniping from a distance, which rewards skill. Mirror duels between Widowmakers on each team are even mainstays on the few maps she is viable on, as taking out the enemy sniper gives you the freedom within the team. Instead, you enable the character to focus on closer targets and remove them from the game as there is less of a threat of an opposing widow, making these changes worrying for how the meta will develop as barrier shields have been considerably weakened.

Overall, I would personally not like to see these changes make it to the main game as many other characters have been weakened significantly in previous patches, and reducing
effective counters to such powerful characters can be unhealthy for the game overall.

-Benjamin L.

Game Review: Among Us

So as of recently, the newest trending game that everyone seems to know of and play is Among Us. Among Us is a multiplayer game developed by InnerSloth, where players are either a crewmate or an imposter on a spaceship. The crewmates are unaware of who the imposters are, so their job is to figure out who the imposters are while completing tasks assigned by the game. Tasks could include things such as cleaning out air vents, downloading files, and readjusting the navigation course of the spaceship. The imposters’ job is to kill and take out as many crewmates as possible without getting caught or before time runs out. The way crewmates figure out who the imposters are is by keeping a lookout for any suspicious activity. Suspicious activity includes killing a fellow crewmate, hiding in a vent (something only imposters can do), or not completing tasks. There are also ways to figure out who for sure is a crewmate, such as seeing if someone takes out the trash (a feature only crewmates can do). There are other features that add on to this concept, such as security cameras and imposters being able to sabotage or create a hazard that needs quick fixing, the crewmates on the spaceship.

In my opinion, I think that this game is a great game because it is fun and people can enjoy the game together. It is very easy for friends to play together, with the use of a private lobby and a game code. Playing for hours on end is super easy because the game never gets boring. To summarize, Among Us is a great time killer and bonding experience for you and your friends, so if you have a free afternoon on a weekend, get some of your friends together and hop on this great game!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Warzone

Recently Activision released a new game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. This new Call of Duty has a new Battle Royale game mode called Warzone. This new game mode is very unique and has certain aspects that no other game has had in the past. For example, if you die in-game, you are sent to a prison called the Gulag. In the Gulag, you are put into a 1v1 situation, and if you win, you are redeployed. This new system not only helps us players get back into the fight, but it also allows for other players to learn the game much easier.

Recently I won my first solo Warzone game, and it was very difficult. Going against 149 other players per game us quite the challenge, so beating all of them was a good feeling. I ended my game with a total of 10 kills, and I was very happy to see that I leveled up by two levels.

Overall, I enjoyed my gaming experience with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Warzone. I do hope the game producers fix certain bugs and hacks, but besides that, the game was very enjoyable.

Subnautica Game Review

Subnautica on Steam

I had never been a fan of survival games. Their grindy, repetitive gameplay, and often disappointing storylines had never captivated me in the same way that other games could. Then I found Subnautica. This game blows almost all other survival games out of the water (pun intended). There’s a deep story, interesting mechanics, and all sorts of cool flora and fauna.

Subnautica is a survival/crafting game set on an aquatic alien planet. The playable area is the inside of a volcanic crater, with the crater edges serving as boundaries. Within the crater is a plethora of explorable biomes, some safe and some deadly. As there is no provided map, you’ll need to learn how to find your way around with a compass and some landmarks.

The storyline is well-executed without feeling forced or choppy. The main thing I like about this game is that there’s not much hand-holding. There isn’t a concrete tutorial, and you can play the game for hours without completing any of the story elements.

Finally, one of the best things about this game is how it uses terror. I wasn’t expecting this game to be scary. It was absolutely chilling. Rather than using cheap jump scares or gore, this game gets you to scare yourself. When you’re in the middle of a pitch-black ocean and you hear a roar in the distance, or when you look down to see nothing but crushing depths, it’s terrifying. It’s really well done.

The only complaint with this game is performance. The game normally looks stunning, but there is often lag and rendering issues. These problems slightly break your immersion, but if you’re okay with some graphics glitches every now and then, it won’t be a problem.

Overall, this is a great game for anyone who doesn’t have thalassophobia (look that one up). Other than a few performance-related issues, there’s nothing I’d change about this game.

Rating: 9/10

-Josh M

Braveland Trilogy Review

Braveland Trilogy, produced by Tortuga Teams limited is a new, exciting, RPG strategy game. The game follows you and your team of heroes, as you encounter different bandits, monsters, etc. Throughout your journeys, you will recruit and hire different soldiers that you can use to your advantage. The main objective of the game is to make your way through the Braveland Trilogy world, fighting and increasing your power with your army.

Each player’s team is comprised of multiple classes, each with a special set of skills and strengths. My army was comprised of peasants, archers, and thieves, each with a different skill set. Some classes had more range, speed, or power than the other classes. Classes also had a different weakness, keeping the game challenging. For example, the archers were only good at a medium to long-distance, and the closer the enemy got, the weaker the archers became. The peasants were quite powerful up close, but due to their weapons, they were slow and vulnerable to faster enemies. There is also a huge variety in the different types of enemies that a player can face. Ranging from weak archers to magical hammer users, the different enemies keep the game interesting. 

I liked how each of the different sections of the map was themed differently and became progressively more difficult. At the beginning of the map, much of the land was green, bright, and the enemies that I encountered were easy and peaceful. Farther down the map, many of the enemies were much more difficult and the map was darker and dimmer. I really enjoyed the aspect of purchasing certain fighters to grow your army. This aspect made the game feel much more like an actual medieval time simulator. The difficulties that I faced when I played Braveland Trilogy was the coins. I usually did not make enough money or coins to buy back the soldiers that I lost in battle. Little by little, my army began to shrink more and more. Luckily, I was able to find a treasure chest that gave me enough coins to buy back my whole army. The animations and graphics themselves for the games were pretty good. The graphics were bright and fun, and very kid-friendly. The voice lines and speech bubbles reminded me of a comic book, and the action sequences were simple but well executed.

Overall, I enjoyed playing Braveland Trilogy. The gameplay was quite enjoyable, and the graphics were very beautiful. The diversity of your army, as well as your enemies, was very nice, and challenging. All in all, I would award Braveland Trilogy a score of eight out of ten.

-Daniel C.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Game Review

As a kid, I always used to play Nintendo games on my gaming consoles. Whether it be Super Smash Brothers or Super Mario, I fell in love with the Nintendo world. When I discovered that an Animal Crossing game was coming to mobile devices, I was very excited to see how Nintendo would execute such a large task. When I downloaded the game, I was pleasantly surprised, and immediately became nostalgic. As I completed the tutorial, classic Animal Crossing music began to play, and characters new and old started to introduce themselves. I realized that Nintendo had once again executed an amazing video game.

The object of the game is very simple and resembles a lot of the other Animal Crossing games. The player goes around the map, meeting new animal friends. The player does certain quests for said animals, and in the process, they will level up their friendships with each animal. After a certain level is reached with each animal, the player will invite their friends to their campsite. The campsite itself is the home base for the player. Each campsite is different based on the player’s style, and it can become whatever the player wants it to be. You can even change the background, foreground, fences, etc to truly make it your own.

The mobile game also includes side objectives, such as fishing, catching bugs, and crafting new outfits. These all take time, and the player is going to need materials to do these objectives, such as steel and wool. Another cool addition to the game is the Cabin and camper. Both of these locations serve as smaller campsites. Because the campsite can’t house all of your animal friends, the Cabin holds the excess animals. On top of that, you can customize the furniture in the cabin, making the animal’s hang out location interesting.

When a player is waiting for new animals, or they are low only supplies, they can complete map quests that will help them gain more materials and animals. These map quests cost coins and supplies, and in return, the player will receive a large number of different materials. If a player ever becomes bored, they can always enter fashion and design contests. These require a player to own certain outfits or furniture pieces, and the player must lay out the pieces in front of a group of judges. If the player successfully passes the test, they will receive new outfits and clothing pieces.

Overall, I really enjoyed Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. I thought that Nintendo did a great job converting the original and classic Animal Crossing games to the mobile device. The game itself is simple, fun, and addicting, and it’s one of the few mobile games that you don’t grow tired of.

-Daniel C.

Warhammer Underworlds: Online Review

When I launched my copy of Warhammer Underworlds: Online, I was surprised to find myself playing a tabletop card game, on my computer. This ambitious, strategy game made and produced by Steel Sky Productions gave me the need to pull out an old board game and play it with my friends. Using cards, characters, dice, magic items, etc. Warhammer Underworlds: Online represents the iconic tabletop RPG game.  The concept is quite simple, use magical characters and powerups to your advantage to get the upper hand on your opponent. But, there are multiple factors that can easily turn the tide of the battle, such as objectives, special moves, and the overall skill of the player.

The first thing that I noticed when I launched the game was the wide variety of warriors you could unlock. There were a large number of factions and warriors. There are three starter decks, each from a different faction. The humans, otherwise known as Steelheart’s champions. The monsters, known as Magore’s fiends. And finally, the skeletons, or the sepulchral guard. Each faction had a certain amount of warriors that did a certain amount of damage. Each faction had its own set of skills and objectives the player needed to complete. The player can also make their own army and faction, depending on what the player unlocks. You can also assign different skills and objectives to each of your armies.

As for gameplay, the producers really pulled it off. The graphics are quite good, and the animations of each character are very well done. The player can move around the board and change the camera angle, and it feels likey you are playing star wars hologram chess. The attacks are based on dice, and depending on which player roles a higher number,  the attack will either be successful or not. In each match, the player is trying to capture and complete objectives, which will give them objective points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game is the winner. In between each attack, players from both sides can use power-up cards that can aid them in battle. Some examples are boosts in damage, speed, etc. This is a great addition, due to it letting each side a fair chance of winning.

I did have some problems with the game. When I first launched Warhammer Underworlds: Online, there was no tutorial or instructions on how to play. I had to find the tutorial options, which was not hard but still was slightly confusing. I realize this game is still in early access, but there was no sound at all. At first, I thought my PC was acting up, but other games had sound. I then went into settings and realized the soundbar was turned down low, so I put it to max volume. The game still did not have sound, and I think this is a major problem since music and sound effects add a lot to a game. As for multiplayer, I could not find an online game, but I am sure that is because it is in early access, and online game issues s will not be a thing. Other than that, I found Warhammer Underworlds: Online to be a really enjoyable strategy game. I think playing with friends and challenging each other to a duel could be really exciting, and I can not wait to see where this game goes.

-Daniel C.

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.