KickBeat - Special Edition is a rhythm fighting game that combines the frantic button presses of a rhythm game like Rock Band Blitz with the over the top fighting action of a Jackie Chan movie. If at this point in time you are asking yourself “Whaaaaaa?” then you are not alone. I had an idea as to what this might be, but I was not expecting what Zen Studios (Creators of gems like Pinball FX/FX2 and Castlestorm) has created here.
The Neverending Story
The story comes at in you in pieces during cutscenes. I really enjoyed the hand drawn, watercolor-esque minimalist animation in the cut scenes but the voice acting was…lacking. During these cutscenes you discover you are a young hormonal teenage male named “Lee” who spots a pretty young thing walking into a monastery. As these stories usually go, you get a job there as a janitor and, during a period of meditation by the resident monks, you are discovered to be the “chosen one”! (I totally didn’t see that coming…) As the chosen one, Lee is tasked with finding and retrieving all the world’s music after the Sphere was stolen right out from under the guardian monk’s noses. Enter your nemesis, Mr. Halisi, owner of Earth Entertainment and stand-in for all greedy music labels.
As the chosen one your quest is to retrieve the Sphere. You fight your way through 24 levels in 5 different locations around the world in an effort to locate and return this magical sphere to the monks. There is a mini boss at each location that you have to fight through until the final showdown with Mr. Halisi himself. Once Halisi is defeated and the story “complete” you can play through the exact…same…levels again as the PYT that you originally were chasing: Your Sensei’s granddaughter Mei. (Again…totally didn’t see that coming…) The levels are the same, the music the same, even the animations are exactly the same but the story branches off with Mei and her quest. The game and story know you have been to these levels before so all the bosses you fought as Lee look a little battle worn by the time you get to them as Mei.
The tutorial spells out all the major game play concepts. Hit the buttons or the D-Pad as the bad dudes stop in lit up circles for a split second waiting for you to pummel them with your fists or feet of fury. Miss your window and you get hit instead. Push that button way too early and you miss entirely. Points are scored for how close you come to perfectly timing your attacks. If you are a little off you are notified with a “Good” or “Great” and a + or – depending on if you were late or early. Hit it perfectly and you are rewarded with a “Perfect”.
Lee and Mei are equipped with 3 different attack styles. Single tap, double tap for the powerups, and hold down and release for the guys chained together. The Yin and Yang in the center of the screen are your health and chi meters. Health needs no explanation but the chi is used for releasing powerups you have gained over the course of the song.
The enemies encircle you on different circular platforms made from concentric circles, with a Yin and Yang symbol in the middle circle. As the bad guys close in on you from the outside, some are given multipliers, score increases, health, shields and other powerups floating above their heads. Some are chained together much like holding a note in Guitar Hero or Rock Band.
That’s it. That is all there is to it. You don’t move your character around, you don’t use the thumbsticks, you don’t have secret moves, Lee and Mei stand in the middle in martial arts poses waiting for you to hit the right button. When you hit that button at the right time they attack in a flourish! However, again KickBeat – Special Edition suffers from “sameness” as this mechanic is exactly the same for all 24 levels. The bad guys you fight may have different costumes but they act and react the same in each level. After the first couple levels I became relatively bored with the overall gameplay but was hoping the music would become more interesting.
Let’s talk about the music. Four of the 24 of the tracks were by bands I knew. That was fine as I was exposed to some great bands through games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band that I may never had come across. I was looking forward to discovering something new here but sadly that was not the case. Zen Studio’s sells it as a high energy playlist but you had better like Nu Metal, EDM and/or Industrial electro rap as that is what every single track in the game is. Even the Taiwanese rap sounded much like every other track (check blog.zenstudios.com for the artist and track list). After completing the first 23 levels in just under two hours I had had enough. I tried the final level with Mr. Halisi and after getting my ass handed to me and my ears assaulted with substandard Dub Step, I quit. Enough was enough. There was not enough diversity here in the gameplay or the music to make me want to even finish. On top of that, during the final battle my Xbox crashed within the last 30 seconds of the fight 3 times. In no other game has it ever crashed like that.
“You quit?!” Yes I quit. For four days I did other things like play Destiny and Defense Grid 2 until guilt got the best of me. I went back at it again for a few hours. I had the same crashes this time around in Lee’s story but I kept at it until I passed crash free. That was when Mei’s story became unlocked. I was hoping I may have unlocked some other tracks or different levels but as you have already read the game is exactly the same playing as her.
I wanted to like Kickbeat – Special Edition. I love Pinball FX2 and I came into this thinking this would be fun. I like music and music games. I like fighting games like Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Dead or Alive, etc. Admittedly the Hard setting in both those genres kick my ass but I still enjoy playing them. However I found there was not enough interesting new music, nor any interesting mechanics in KickBeat – Special Edition to hold my interest. Around the halfway point in Lee’s story I realized I would hard pressed to get through. When Mei’s story opened up, I sighed and pressed on. That being said, after beating Mei’s story I did try the Freeplay mode and a couple of the harder levels just to see if anything different appeared. However, same music, same levels…too much the same to make me want to continue.
Street Fighter - the Movie
You are probably expecting a “Skip” rating given my review. KickBeat - Special Edition is $10 as a digital download and think the amount of game you get is almost worth that price. That being said I can’t get past how bored I was, overall, with this game, but if it dropped to under $5 or ends up being free at some point in time it is worth picking up and playing.
Bungie has a unique connection with the 2old2play community. Halo 2 was the centerpiece around which our community was formed, their games are some of the most heavily played and hotly contested on the site, and when Bungie decided to play Destiny online they chose 2o2p to show off their newest IP, in an exclusive livestream with Doodi and Hitman. We have a history together.
This relationship with Bungie, and the Halo series in particular, was the primary reason that there was no front page review for Halo 4 when it was released. It would have been difficult to compare 343’s continuation of Bungie’s work without being able to put the game into proper context: it would have been a lot of homework and whatever conclusion the writer would have drawn from the experience would have been wrong in the eyes of those who love, live, and breathe the games. I was not ready or willing to subject myself to that kind of scrutiny, so I left it alone. Destiny, however, is a brand new IP without the established mythos and history of the Halo franchise, and I am no longer apprehensive about having my dick stepped on by the community...so here we go, amigo.
Destiny begins near a defunct Russian cosmodrome in the future. A traveling ball of wonder, known as the Traveler, has driven the technological advancement of the human race on Earth, allowing their influence to spread and prosper to other planets in our solar system. However, the Traveler, an entity of light and benevolence, was trailed across the universe by many different enemies of light. The forces of darkness waged war against Earth and light, devouring our colonies, draining the light, and reducing our population to a single protected city, which is now under threat of annihilation.
Biomechanical ghosts have been sent in search of fallen Guardians to be resurrected and put to use by the forces of light against those who would destroy it. The player’s ghost, voiced by actor Peter Dinklage, resurrects the player, finds them a weapon, and the game is on.
Classes and Weapons
The player may choose from 3 different classes: Hunter, Titan, and Warlock. Hunters are the sharpshooters and blade dancers of the bunch, generally utilizing a one at a time approach to crowd control by quickly dispatching an enemy and moving on to the next. Titans are the tanks of the three, capable of destroying many enemies at once and providing protection for the rest of the team. Warlocks balance the two offensive styles with a mix of crowd pleasing and singular attacks, but may boost team mates later in the game and are able to resurrect themselves.
Weaponry is a mix of old school and futuristic: pistols, boomsticks, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, heavy machine guns, grenades, pulse rifles, etc. Warlocks can use magical attacks and Titans can take advantage of powerful mechanically assisted melee attacks.
Destiny is a good mix of FPS and RPG. Almost everything in Destiny can be upgraded: character abilities, weapons, armor, ships, and vehicles. Much like Diablo, I spent a great deal of time tweaking my gear to get the most punch out of my play style. I generally utilized a pulse rifle/boomstick of the future/rocket launcher offensive combination, for my Hunter, in conjunction with armor that provided the greatest protection while allowing me to carry more ammunition for my weapons. Loot drops are infrequent, but there may be a secret Russian cave to please the loot whores out there.
Bungie does several things very well, perhaps better than anyone else in the genre. First, the gunplay is exquisite and accessible. The controls are fresh and crisp, and even I had no trouble locking in on a single, moving opponent from a distance, putting him down, and quickly moving to the next.
Destiny’s story is presented organically. The player is able to progress the story on their own instead of having the plot force-fed to them by long-winded NPCs or lengthy cutscenes. Subtle narrative is a rarity in this business, and Bungie has put a lot of thought in getting the player into the action quickly and allowing the story to unfold one piece at a time.
There are very few lulls in the action. The game is a constant, persistent assault on the forces of evil, who are divided into four different, and often competing, factions: The Hive, The Fallen, The Vex, and The Cabal. Apparently the forces of darkness don’t do the whole unity thing.
My final accolade goes to the level design. Players will battle on the Moon, in the ruin-filled jungles of Venus, on alien ships, Martian cities and installations, abandoned and rotting structures of Earth, and more than a few caves on different planets. My favorite was an underground train station beneath the Martian surface which begins in pure darkness and finished strong in a maze of train cars and apparating Vex enemies.
Competitive multiplayer, known as Crucible matches, are probably the least unique part of the game. Although the games modes are very vanilla, the level design on the multiplayer maps are very interesting and make good use of players’ special abilities. However, they are, for the most part, devoid of the lanes and choke points that amp competitive gameplay. Another point of contention is that the weapons aren’t balanced very well, which means that almost everyone is packing the pulse rifle/boomstick combo. Noobs will be discouraged very quickly in the Crucible.
Vanguard allows players to take a fireteam on raids into enemy territory for some of the more exciting cooperative gameplay that can be found during the campaign. A good mix of character classes is recommended for survival, unless you’re out for the revival achievement.
You Knew It Was Coming
As good as Destiny is, there are a few things that I have a problem with. I do not like sharing my single player exploration with a world filled with random strangers. This always online bullshit can be problematic, especially when players cannot connect to Bungie’s servers...which happened on more than one occasion. Developers shouldn’t be following EA’s example.
Another disappointment was the blatant stupidity of the enemy AI. I have literally stood directly in front of enemies who were content to stand there and ignore me until I decided to knife them in the face. No single enemy was ever a true threat and only swarms of enemies stood a chance against even the most cross-eyed marksman. Most of these enemies are pure fodder and bullet sponges. If you want a true test of skill, you’ll have to enter the Crucible and endure Timmy and his pulse rifle.
No game is perfect, but Destiny comes pretty close. The campaign length is comparable to the Halo games, but the co-op is way more fun than it has a right to be. If you have a few friends on your list with Destiny, you will enjoy a great deal of replayability. If you have been waiting for the next great shooter for the 8th Gen, this may be your go-to game for a good, long while.
Although not as commercially successful as the Battlefield or Call of Duty series, Sniper Elite has carved out a niche in the shooter genre for the blatant and unrepentant camper crowd. Sniper Elite 3, developed by Rebellion Development and published by 505 Games, has brought the best parts of Sniper Elite V2 to the current generation of consoles.
In Sniper Elite 3, American sniper Karl Fairburne is sent to the besieged city of Tobruk to help repel Nazi forces, under the command of General Vahlen, during their North African campaign of 1942. The city ultimately falls to the overpowering offensive capabilities of the Germans, but Fairburne’s efforts get noticed by the British, who recruit the hawk-eyed sniper for a little recon and assassination mission. It is the player’s mission to uncover General Vahlen’s plans, disrupt whatever evil he is planning to unleash upon North Africa, and put a bullet in his bitch ass.
Tools of the Trade
Snipers are not armed like regular infantry. Karl’s starting loadout is comprised of a scoped M1 Garand, a Sten SMG, and a silenced Welrod pistol. These weapons can all be upgraded with different scopes, barrels, and stocks as the game progresses. Other weapons, like the Thompson SMG, MP-40, or Luger 9mm, can be substituted for the standard loadout, but I was happy with the starter set for most of the game.
Players are also able to make use of trip mines, land mine, AP mines, dynamite, grenades, and rocks. Camping snipers are generally big pussies in a firefight, so the smart ones set up traps to cover their six while they cowardly eliminate targets from a relatively safe distance. Bonus points are awarded for shooting from cover or from sniper nests, or by muffling their shots. Shots can be muffled by passing aircraft, noisy Ratte Factory machinery, or by sabotaging generators to sputter noisily,. This often requires that shooters synchronize their shots with the ambient noise spikes to effectively camouflage their shots. Some secondary weapons, like the Panzerschreck, can also be found in certain areas and are useful in taking out tanks, vehicles, and groups of unfriendlies.
The Trail of a Dangerous Man
General Vahlen is a very dangerous adversary who is up to some large scale shit. However, being a video game villain, he has left a trail of information for those who are willing to kill to get it. This trail winds through Nazi oasis camps, dusty canyons littered with destroyed vehicles and ancient ruins, occupied African cities and fortresses, and a super weapon factory built into the side of a mountain. The levels are mini-sandboxes, generally allowing the player to complete objectives in any order desired. The graphics are very good, but the landscape is mostly brown and drab: it is set in the desert, after all.
Karl will have to assassinate targets to obtain information from the bodies, track enemies, disable vehicles and howitzers, protect allies, rescue prisoners, and kill a mountain of Axis soldiers to get to Vahlen. Players can also collect items like playing cards and war journals for some extra XP.
Carving a Niche
The Second World War has been mined to death for game content. Stormed Normandy beach? Yep, done that. Parachuted into Nazi-occupied France? Been there. Tortured Nazi officers for information with a chainsaw before flying to the moon? You betcha. However, scoping in on a soldier, calculating for distance and elevation, and pulling off a perfect head shot was more rewarding than I expected it to be. Especially when that reward comes in the form of an X-ray slow motion close-up of the carnage. Why can’t this feature be in every shooter campaign? The money shot not only features head shots: I blew out intestines, punctured kidneys, perforated lungs, and even blasted the balls off of bad guys. Anatomy has never been this much fun.
Sniper Elite 3 is, by no means, a particularly fast-paced game, but that doesn’t make it slow or unexciting. If you do fuck up and get in a jam, the Sten will be effective enough for a group of three or so, but the player will need to relocate if he or she draws too much attention. Moving vehicles will have to be taken out by either sniping vital parts or with anti-vehicle weapons. Players can also take a stealthy approach with the Welrod or the knife...but they better make it count the first time.
Rebellion has conjured up several competitive multiplayer modes based on the sniper-centric theme of the SP campaign. Cooperative includes a protect the partner from a distance, tag and bag, and horde mode. Several single player challenges exist for those who have exhausted other play types, and there’s a global leaderboard to let players know where they stand in each challenge.
You Knew it Was Coming
No game is perfect, and Sniper Elite 3 is certainly no exception. Sometimes the vaulting/jumping mechanic doesn’t work correctly, often exposing the player to enemies at an inopportune time. Although Karl is a formidable sniper, the nature of his profession requires him to travel light and unarmored and as a result he dies very quickly in gunfights. Disappearing bodies can be problematic, especially if they are carrying the vital information that Karl needs to progress the level.
Most objects in the game cannot be interacted with, which means a folding canvas chair poses the same impenetrable quality as a wall. The AI, for the most part, is incredibly unbalanced. They are either infallible sharpshooters of the highest quality and keenest level of alertness, or they are nearsighted dolts who incompetently ignore grazing bullets and a completely visible opponent directly in their line of sight. The single player portion of the game is very short, less than 12 hours, but the multiplayer stuff can keep the magic alive a bit longer, if you’re into that kind of thing.
I had more fun with Sniper Elite 3 than I should have but, despite its relatively short campaign, I had enough by the time I had finished and had no desire to participate in a 4v4 sniper campfest. It’s a fun experience, but I would wait for a sale before adding Sniper Elite 3 to my game library.
Detective Ronan O’Connor is killed in the line of duty while investigating Salem’s Bell Killer. O’Connor, a widower, is unable to join his wife in the afterlife until he can take care of his unfinished business. Ronan now exists between two worlds: the living world and a ghost town full of souls who haven’t resolved their corporeal affairs. Ronan now must solve his own murder before the Bell Killer can strike again. Sounds like this ghost could use some help.
Ronan soon finds a reluctant ally in a local medium, named Joy, whose mother was helping the Salem police on the Bell Killer case. The killer has taken an interest in Joy and her mother, so the girl takes refuge at a nearby church while helping Ronan with material objects, like opening doors. O’Connor often finds opportunities to help other ghosts find the light by using his detective skills to find their bodies, solve their deaths, or remove whatever personal baggage is holding them to the material plane.
No Ghost Bullets For You
Murdered: Soul Suspect is not a shooter game, it’s a detective story. Much like Ryse, the game is driven almost completely by its narrative. The majority of the gameplay is spent doing detective work, exploring the world, interacting with ghosts, and a few quick time events. If you’re looking for some kind of spooky shooter or horror game, then keep looking. The only actual action in the game consists of taking down demons, which is a quick time event, or running around as a cat, which introduces some mild platforming elements to an otherwise action-free game.
It’s Kind of Like LA Noire
Those of us who have played LA Noire have some fond memories of collecting clues, pondering the evidence, interrogating suspects, and solving the case. Some of the elements have trickled into this game, but they have been dumbed down for a slower crowd. The clues in Murdered: Soul Suspect are impossible to miss, since they are usually marked by chalk, an evidence marker, or have a light shining directly on them to make them stand out: you’d have to be an idiot to miss them. Even if you are an idiot, there is no way to come to the wrong conclusion due to the “everyone’s a winner!” style of unerring deduction. Players are simply not allowed to be wrong. This would be fine if Murdered was being sold as a children’s game, but the profanity puts this on the adult shelf.
It’s Kind of Like Watching TV
The seemingly singular focus on the narrative almost eliminates the necessity for someone holding the controller. I play games because they’re interactive. The player should have some measure of control, or at least the illusion of control. There should be some sort of accountability for player error, and there should be a reason for a controller and a person holding it. When the most interactive part of your game is prowling around as a house cat, then there’s a problem with your game.
This is not a game: it’s an episode of the Twilight Zone. The game looks good, the voice acting is top-notch, and the story is one of the best on the new consoles, but Airtight focused so heavily on crafting a story that they left the player out. I can watch fucking ghost stories on Netflix.
The game is short enough to be conquered in a couple of evenings and offers no replayability. Consider this title a weekend rental only.
Is it Watch_Dogs, Watch Dogs, or Watch-Dogs? Does it live up to the hype or is it just another game that had a little too much to drink at last year’s E3 launch party and decided to send out a naughty tweet to the hundreds of thousands of people in attendance?
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Platform(s): Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC
THE WINDY CITY… WITH THE WIND KNOCKED OUT OF IT
Originally announced at E3 in 2012, to much fanfare, Watch Dogs was originally scheduled for launch in November 2013 but ultimately launched on May 27, 2014 to allow Ubisoft to add more polish to it. Set in a digital stand-in for Chicago, protagonist Aiden Pearce explores this sandbox world by hacking pretty much everyone and everything with his generic looking stand-in for a smartphone while trying to save his sister in between side missions of ridding the city of its criminal elements, avoiding or defeating rival hackers, and racing from point to point. A backdoor into Chicago’s central operating system or ctOS allows Aiden free reign over everything and no one is safe… especially those responsible murdering his niece and kidnapping his sister.
Eleven months earlier, after a failed robbery at the Merlaut Hotel that led to his niece’s murder instead of his, Aiden Pearce seeks revenge. Armed with l337 hacking skillz of prompting you to press X or Y and his Samsung Android/Apple iPhone wannabe smartphone Aiden is ready to don his baseball cap, a bandana, and his leather one-strap Trenchcoat of Holding (I don’t know what else to call it - It can magically hold an arsenal of shotguns, pistols, assault rifles, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and chemicals and electronic components to save the day without encumbering the wearer or interfering in the wearer’s movement). Aiden appears to take on a badass persona but never quite succeeds because the only one that takes Aiden’s badassedness seriously is Aiden and the game publishers. The audience is simply told in very indirect terms that “Aiden is a badass” without any actual proof… unless you consider hacking $6600 from a citizen that was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and then showing up to your nephew’s birthday party without a present as being a badass. In that case, he isn’t a badass, he’s just a dick and like the Windy City of Chicago that missing any actual wind in this game, Aiden’s the badass that’s missing the bad… ass.
GRAND THEFT WATCH_DOGS?
One of the biggest obstacles for Watch Dogs are the endless comparisons to Grand Theft Auto that it has had to endure. I don’t think this game was ever meant or marketed to be a GTA replacement. If it was, the person responsible for that marketing effort should be caned and canned because it isn’t GTA. Yes it’s a sandbox game just like GTA. Yes there are vehicles that, much like in GTA, you can jack from those driving them. Yes there are missions that involve you shooting up several enemies and blowing things up just like in GTA… but this is no GTA. It is a completely different game just as Assassin’s Creed, Crackdown, Infamous, etc. are all different games yet none of them were compared to GTA as harshly as Watch Dogs.
If you’ve played GTA though, you can’t but help make the comparison. Running and not being able to jump in Watch Dogs gets irritating. Not being able to freely melee any of the NPCs like you could in GTA gets annoying. Not being able to go to a strip club and use your mic on a live stream to verbally seduce a virtual stripper is a major hang up. Having the police on your tail and not being able to get rid of them like a bad case of herpes can ruin your day. Not being able to go to a strip club. Attacking an armored vehicle for $7G’s or mugging pedestrians for $10-$30 then running for your life can be a pain in the butt. Not being able to go to a strip club. Minor things like this might make or break a picky gamer’s day (and their ability to go to a strip club).
On the flip side though, if you’ve played GTA, playing Watch Dogs can be a pleasant break from Los Santos. The ability to run around and not accidentally jump to your death from atop a building is a welcome addition to accident prone players like myself! Not being able to go to a strip club and then have your wife or kids accidentally walk in on you telling your virtual stripper how much you like looking at their oddly shaped polygonal boobs is a Godsend.The ability to not accidentally melee a pedestrian for $2 and then having to run from police using deadly force is great. The ability to walk around and look at your phone while making thousands of dollars from hacking and not having to run for your life is so fulfilling. The ability to use certain elements in your environment such as overloaded utility boxes or underground steam pipes to take out enemies is awesome. The best ability in this game however is… being able to pull out your phone when someone in the game is talking to you and pretend like you are checking email or something important when all you want to do is ignore the other person just like in real life. BEST. FEATURE. EVAR!
HACK THE PLANET
Anyone watch the movie Hackers with a young Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller in it? That’s what this game kind of feels like. In the movie like all movies involving hacking, no real knowledge of actual hacking is required. In the movies or on TV, hacking is so easy that just about anyone with a MacBook Pro can do it. So long as an actor/actress can press buttons convincingly like the young Jonny Lee MIller or Angelina Jolie in the movie, they can hack just as you you can hack in Watch Dogs.
Since you can hack in this game, you might as well hack the whole planet, err, city and in order to do that, you won’t playing a lot of campaign. The real action isn’t in the main campaign. It’s in the side missions, walking the streets of virtual Chicago, hacking the people in the city, and mutliplayer contracts/races. The side missions are a combination of races, running after bad guys, or taking out entire street gangs while walking on the streets of Chicago and hacking people in the city is just that and is just that easy. Multiplayer, however, is a completely different story.
My first day with this game was spent just walking around the city hacking everyone and fulfilling all of my voyeuristic fantasies by reading their short little bios that appear on my phone. In between reading bios, I’d make stops to various ATMs to withdraw money from accounts that I had hacked. By the end of the night, I don’t know how many bank accounts I had compromised but I had a good $100 grand in the various pockets of my one-button/strapped trench coat. Don’t mind the fact that I took most of this money from just about everyone that was diagnosed with some sort of terminal illness. Making money illegally was never so easy!
When you get bored of making money (and you will get bored after you’ve purchased the limited inventory of collectibles and weapons in this game), you can tackle the side missions that either have you racing after a bad guy, have you taking out gangs, unlocking ctOS antennas around the city, etc. Just as you start to bore with these activities, a random online player/intruder jumps into your game and hacks your data. It’s not quite stated what data this intruder is hacking or stealing but this player is stealing your data nevertheless (maybe it’s the obese clown Real Doll porn that you have in a folder called “WORK STUFF,” who knows). You then have a limited amount of time to track this intruder down and put a stop to their hacking.
Finally, you can always just walk around the various parts of virtual Chicago and interact with the NPCs.
The multiplayer aspect of Watch Dogs can be a lot of fun with friends and or randoms. There are two ways to play multiplayer. The first is through the game itself by navigating to your map then hitting one of the bumper buttons to go online and the second is through the mobile phone ctOS app. The Online Multiplayer modes are:
1. Online Hacking has your character infiltrating another characters game with your objective being to locate the other player and install a backdoor into their network while remaining undiscovered. If you do to get profiled, the other player's objective is to find you and kill you.
2. Invasion happens when someone else invades your game. Your objective is to track down the intruding hacker, profile them and kill them before they can fully install a backdoor into your network.
3. Online Tailing is like an online game of cat and mouse where you take turns trying to follow each other without being detected. In the event of detection, the goal changes to the same goals above - find and kill the player tailing you.
4. Online Race is pretty simple. Drive as fast as you can from point A to point B while using ctOS to your advantage.
5. Online Decryption pits two teams or three individual players against each other. Each team or player face off to collect data by staying close enough to the source or by killing each other off. The team or player that collects 100% of the data wins the match.
6. The ctOS Mobile App on iOS and Android that allows you to take 5 minutes out of your day to challenge friends or random players in between meetings or while you are out and about ignoring the world.
STOP IN THE NAME OF THE LAW… OF PHYSICS!
Believe it or not, the Disrupt engine that Watch Dogs was built on was originally going to be used for a driving game. Thankfully Ubisoft decided against that as the physics in Watch Dogs would give any driving game enthusiast a permanent WTF look on their face. A couple of Forza friends commented on how they like the driving in this game and how it feels more realistic but this is a video game and although it may be realistic that you can’t take a turn at 100 mph in a beat up economy car in the game and in real life, when your in-game car takes a turn at reasonable speed, drifts onto oncoming traffic, kisses an oncoming truck head on, then causes the truck to fly back 20 feet while you still maintain most of your momentum, you’ve got to question the physics… or real life if this has ever happened to you in real life.
Another item that I’d like to bring to everyone’s attention is the law… The police. The police in this game are ruthless and will chase you with orders of shoot to kill for just about any offense, regardless of how serious the offense. They will pursue you to the ends of the city boundaries with reckless abandon and will not stop until you are dead, dying, or have somehow managed to successfully elude capture. If you drive onto the train tracks or somehow figure out a way to get your vehicle onto the El tracks, they will follow. If you drive from one end of this virtual Chicago to the other, they will follow. If you jump out of your vehicle, they will stay in theirs and run you the f-ck down. If you jump into the water and swim away from them, they, uh… they… uh… they cease pursuit and take a break for donuts. For some reason, they can’t seem to follow or track you in the water and then while you are in the water, your phone magically survives and you can take calls or hack nearby civilians.
As much as I like this game and am still having fun with it, I cannot recommend this game as a brand new purchase. There’s just a lack of polish even if Ubisoft took a few extra months to add it that really bothers me. The lack of shadows on just about everything, vehicles appearing as if they are floating on the street as they drive by, repeating dialog of NPC’s after you listen to them for a while (and when I say ‘a while,’ I really mean 2 seconds), etc. all add to my not being able to recommend this as a brand new purchase… instead, I can say get it used. It’s not quite the ‘next gen’ experience but it’s a fun game to play when you’re tired of the usual fare and if you get it used, you’ll save yourself a few bucks while still having a fun game to play on a rainy day.
Supergiant Games thrilled the gaming world with their first game, Bastion, during the Summer of 2011. Narrated by Logan Cunningham, Bastion quickly became an Indie mega-hit with many people wandering around their homes talking in his deep, throaty voice. Now, almost three years later, Supergiant once again tackles the Action RPG genre with their latest release, Transistor.
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Platform(s): PS4 and PC
In Transistor you play as Red, who is a famous singer in a city under siege by something called the Process. Red lost her voice during the initial attack but gained a sword companion instead. The sword, coincidentally named the Transistor, is voiced by the recognizable velvety tones of Logan Cunningham. Throughout the game, the Transistor helps and guides Red as they travel across the city of Cloudbank trying to figure out what the heck is going on.
It's all about the function
As you play through the game, you unlock additional skills called functions. Functions can be combined and strung together for a variety of battle move combinations. One of the keys to the game’s combat is being able to effectively plan out a few moves while at the same time avoiding damage from the robots. If you don’t plan properly, your functions can be overloaded and thus unusable for a time. If you lose all your functions in an area battle with the Process, you die and have to start that area all over again.
The majority of the game is played in the isometric view, with you on foot hauling around a big ass sword behind you. As you play through each area, you encounter different things that you can interact with, such as OVC Terminals and Access Points.
At OVC Terminals, you interact and learn news about what is happening to the city, as well as “speak” with the Transistor.
Access Points let you configure skills and function combos. They all have cool names like crash(), breach(), spark(), and jaunt(). These terminals also let you re-config functions to create new interesting functions with upgrades, such as load() + breach(). You can have four main functions equipped at a time, with what seems like endless combinations of secondary and passive skills. Players have a limited amount of memory slots to fill, so be strategic in what skills and combos you create.
At the Access Points, you can also add and remove a variety of Process Limiters. Limiters remind me of using skulls in Halo. It handicaps players in some way, but gives more bonuses at the end of each battle. For example, one limiter reduces the number of memory slots you have available. If you completely die, you get the option to remove these though as you try that area again.
“Limiters Make the Process Stronger.”
The gameplay was a little awkward for me at first: I am not used to playing a lot of games with the PS4 controller. With that aside, it did take a while for me to figure out how to configure combos and plan effective moves correctly to take down the enemy Process robots. Which then brings us to the Backdoor.
The Backdoor is a separate area of the game that is accessible from multiple places within Cloudbank. This is your home base: a tropical oasis of sorts, where you can relax in the sun, play some ball, listen to music and even practice honing some of your skills. Think of it as a dream-like world apart from the destruction and mayhem in the city.
I am greatly distracted by this area and end up wasting too much time here kicking around a beach ball. With witty comments from the Transistor such as “Take that ball!”, this area is fun and engaging.
This is just like Bastion, right?
Yes...and no. Transistor has the same feel of Bastion, with a strong narrative story and isometric camera views and they both have the traditional ARPG elements. However, while Transistor plays similar to Bastion, it really has its own sense of style and personality. On top of that, the music is enthralling and the story.
Transistor is just as engaging as Bastion was. Yet, it is in essence, its own beautiful beast. Transistor is the kind of game that shows you there is more to video games than shooting your friends across a desolate field of destruction. It transports you into a beautiful world with a compelling story and maintains that feeling throughout the entire time.
At its core, Transistor is truly delightful, quirky, and at times even breathtaking. For $20 USD, you should not pass this one up.
-- Tiffany "ElektraFi" Nolan
World War II has been fairly fertile ground for both film directors and game developers to ply their trade. Some of my favorite movies are set during WWII: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Inglourious Basterds, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List and 1941 are some of my favorites. In video games I have stormed Normandy beach in at least two different games, parachuted into France, defended Pearl Harbor, shot my way through Nazi U-boats, and chased diesel powered Panzers across every type of terrain.
Even some of the greatest comic book characters, like Magneto and Captain America, got their start in the Second World War. Modern pop culture exists only because the Nazis were stopped. A lot of games have put players in the war, but few games pursue the horrible alternate outcome of that war. What would have happened if the Nazis had won the war?
Wolfenstein veteran, B.J. Blazkowicz, and his group are on a desperate all or nothing assault on the island compound of Nazi General Deathshead near the end of 1946. The war has been extended due to the sudden, drastic improvement of Nazi technology, and the allies are losing the war. After their plane is taken down by flak, Blazkowicz, Captain Fergus Reid, and Private Wyatt silence the guns, crack the doors, and storm Deathshead’s castle with the intention of putting a bullet in that fucker’s head. Deathshead, however, is ready for them and he forces our hero to make a terrible choice that will affect the rest of the game.
The House of the Rising Sun
Blazkowicz was taken out of the war that day in 1946 by a 4 inch piece of shrapnel in his brain. The year is 1960, and Blazkowicz has spent the last fourteen years in a Polish sanitarium as a giant vegetable. Deathshead has been using this asylum as a farm for experimental subjects, but eventually orders the place shut down and the remaining patients executed. The husband and wife staff interferes with a soldier’s duty and are executed as well, leaving only the daughter, Anya, to answer to a Nazi officer named Keller. However, Blazkowicz snaps into action just as his turn for a bullet comes up. Armed with a steak knife and the soldier’s pistol, he fights his way outside to save the girl.
The duo find temporary refuge at the home of Anya’s grandparents. Blazkowicz learns the horrible truth of how much time he has lost and that the shadow of the Third Reich now covers the entire world. Even the Americans capitulated after atomic fire rained down on New York. Blazkowicz interrogates a stowaway senior Nazi officer, with a chainsaw, and discovers that the remnants of the Resistance are being held in a prison in Berlin. So it’s up to Blazkowicz to single handedly break into a super-prison, restart the resistance, beat the Reich into submission, and finish off Deathshead. You didn’t think it was going to be easy, did you?
I Rode a Tank, Held a General’s Rank
Swedish developer, MachineGames, has taken the reins from id Software for the ninth installment of Wolfenstein. The game is presented in the classic id FPS style that Quake, Doom, and Wolfenstein vets will immediately recognize. Although MachineGames has abandoned the supernatural in favor of the technological in this installment, The New Order is definitely a Wolfenstein game.
This is not an open world game. Like every other game in the series, Wolfenstein: The New Order features very linear levels but often rewards exploration of the levels with powerups and collectibles. Game environments include a London Museum, Berlin prison, Croatian labor camp, underground train depot, the Gibraltar Bridge, castles and underground headquarters....oh, and the moon. The environments are very well rendered and, quite often, visceral.
The graphics, overall, are very good: not quite Crysis 3 on the pc, but very close for a console. The character models are especially striking, detailed, and memorable. The facial detail is remarkable, even very close up, as well as the details on clothing, the Panzerhunds, mechanical devices...even the fucking water looks spot on.
Haben Sie Glück, Punk fühlen?
It ain’t a shooter without the guns and, for the most part, the armory is standard fare: pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles, grenades, etc. Minigun turrets are featured in the prologue, but once Blazkowicz hits the 60s, those miniguns become rapid-fire energy weapons. These energy guns can be removed from their turrets to get mobile with the death-dealing. Simply place the gun back on the turret to refill spent ammunition.
Once inside the labs in the London Nautica building, Blazkowicz can retrieve the Kraftwerk Laser. The laser serves two functions: cutting chains and turning Nazis into a mess of red goo. The Kraftwerk can be continually upgraded, all the way to the end of the game, and almost always occupied my second weapon slot. Most weapons have an unlockable secondary function: assault rifles get missiles, shotguns get ricochet ammo, etc. Punching right on the D-Pad, on the XB1, activates the secondary function.
Tell Me a Story, I Won’t Leave Till You Spill Your Guts, Old Man
Historically, id doesn’t get hung up on balancing the shooter experience with a quality narrative. I honestly can’t remember the storyline for Quake or Hexen, but I do remember that they were fun as hell to play. Even Wolfenstein’s publisher, Bethesda, has been hit and miss as a storyteller. The narrative does not take a backseat in this shooter, and MachineGames has provided plenty of contextual ammunition to propel our hero’s actions. The story is, by no means, a New York Times bestseller, but it’s better than most of the shit that Hollywood is shoveling in our direction these days. The narrative provides motivation, context, progression, immersion, and closure. It hits all the right chords and climaxes perfectly. MachineGames set me in an alternate timeline, in Europe, and made it feel natural. Not bad for a video game.
The antagonists in Wolfenstein are scene-stealers of the very best kind. Frau Engel comes off as entitled, sadistic, and in love with herself. Bubi is her sycophantic, bourgeois boyfriend who lives to validate Frau Engel’s every utterance. Several of the lesser baddies, like The Knife, had a good measure of enthusiasm poured into the voice performances, but the dude who played Deathshead knocked it out of the park. Part mad scientist, part sarcastic dick, Deathshead is one of those antagonists who has to be put down, but you almost hate to see him go.
You Knew It Was Coming
I like Wolfenstein: The New Order, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a perfect game. I’ve played enough id shooters and have had my fill of being funneled through linear environments that corral me into the place that the dev wants me to be. The different perks given to our protagonist, either lockpicking or hotwiring, depending on the player’s choice in the prologue, opened up an alternate option on some levels. It’s a big world that begs to be explored: perhaps it’s the mark of a good game that makes you want to see more of it....but I wanted to see more of it. Another point of contention is that the game would choose what weapons I started a new area with, often changing my weapons just by walking into a new room. I had run out of ammo for the sniper rifle on the Gibraltar bridge and it kept sticking that same empty fucking gun in my hand. Yeah, nice try.
The lack of any cooperative or multiplayer game types might be a dealbreaker for fans of games like Titanfall. If you’re looking for an online shooter to play with some friends, keep looking. Wolfenstein is a single player experience.The game also features multiple depictions of sex and the f-bomb is dropped quite frequently, so don''t pop Wolfenstein in for the kids thinking that it earned its M-Rating for a little bit of violence.
If you’re a fan of old school id shooters then picking up Wolfenstein: The New Order is a no-brainer. It looks good, the gameplay is tight, the story is compelling, and it entertains and immerses like a good game should. The game strikes a good balance between stealth and shooter combat . There are only two games on the XB1 that I have given a perfect score to, and this is one of them. I hope you pre-ordered this one, because reserved copies have a beta code for the new Doom game. Even without the beta, Wolfenstein is worth the sixty bucks. Now go kill some Nazis.
Microsoft dipped its toes in the Windows 8/Xbox One port pool with Halo: Spartan Assault, without receiving an overabundance of flak. This time, either taking a cue from rival Sony’s Vita experiment, or perhaps ignoring the unfortunate fate of the Ouya, MS ported Ninjabee’s Nutjitsu (May 8, 2014) from the Windows phone, giving it the Xbox One treatment. Will this stealthy Ninja Squirrel usher in a new age of indie game development for the new gen consoles, or will it be eaten by foxes?
In Nutjitsu, players assume the role of Risu, a ninja squirrel, who is tasked with retrieving acorns and scrolls from a rival clan of foxes, named the Kitsune, who have presumably taken the nuts by nefarious means. Gameplay is contained to one single-screen maze at a time, and level advancement unlocks new mazes to play. Objectives range from gathering nuts and scrolls, hanging out (the squirrel, not the nuts), or staying alive.
Players can choose either Ninja Missions or Survival Missions. Those who choose the Ninja Missions will have, alternately, five different objectives. Players will either collect acorns, collect a specific color of acorns, collect scrolls, collect acorns and put them in a bag, or loiter in a magic area for a specific amount of time. Survival missions only require you to continue breathing. Higher difficulty settings require you to collect more stuff or avoid more numerous enemies.
A Ninja’s Bag of Tricks
Risu is able to take two two items with him at the beginning of each level. I know what you’re thinking: I’ll take the Katana and a sack full of ninja stars. Nope, Nutjitsu is the first ninja game in the history of gaming where the ninja does not fight. This nutless rodent has to make do with 5 different items, which have to be purchased with in game coinage, and may only take two with him. These items are mapped to the A and B buttons.
You Knew it Was Coming...
Nutjitsu is a perfect example of why porting games from a phone to the XBone just doesn’t fucking work. First off, the screen doesn’t fit the tv. The game is centered in the middle of my flat-screen and only uses about 60% of my tv. Yeah, I bought that big flat screen so I would have a huge black border that gives the illusion of playing a video game on a 20” television that I dropped down a fucking well. Nutjitsu is the first game that can be snapped like an app, which is completely pointless since the gameplay is seriously affected and almost twenty percent of the screen is obscured while it is snapped. Watch me snap my ninja rodent game so I can make it even smaller. Who’s idea was that?
Can anyone out there think of another game where the protagonist picked up collectibles while evading enemies in a maze environment? Maybe I’ll ask my friends: Inky, Binky, Pinky, and Clyde. Apparently, there was an arcade game around in the 80s that resembles this phone game..oh, did I say phone game? I meant next-gen console game: the phone version of this game is free.
I was going to include some of own gameplay into this review, but this game does not allow recording by the XB1’s game DVR. That’s a shame, because you’re missing that one part where I cleared a level in 25 seconds.
Nutjitsu is a good looking game, if your eyesight is good enough to actually see it, but it is also a very boring game. The weapons suck, the music might as well be a fucking lullaby, and the one unique feature that the game possesses, the snap, is ruined by not being able to play it while snapped. It’s a perfect Windows phone game, it gives you something to play with when you’re in the bathroom...well, something else to play with anyway. The levels can be knocked down like dominoes, making it a perfect portable to keep the kids occupied in the car or to briefly entertain in line at the DMV, but unless you’re sitting on the can or waiting for a bus, there’s no reason to play Nutjitsu. Download it for free on your phone, but give this Pac Man clone a pass on the console.
Welcome to The Backlog, where older games we have (but haven’t yet played) finally see the laser light of our disc drives!
This edition looks back at Assassin’s Creed III. Last December a buddy mine took advantage of a Best Buy trade in program and snagged me Assassin’s Creed IV for free. I was ready to play it when I realized I still had AC III in its wrapper. Well I couldn’t very well play the fourth iteration without playing the third now could I? I unwrapped the game with anticipation, plopped it in the Xbox 360 disc tray and settled into my chair.
In The Beginning...
I always liked the story aspect of the Assassin’s Creed games, even when it gets a little too high and mighty for its own good. I enjoy the gameplay, but I will admit that I despise the collecting aspect of flags, feathers and cryptographic markers. I view those as non-essential elements designed only to extend the length of gameplay, which I have neither the time nor the patience for. By the end of Revelations I was also getting a little tired of Rome and Italy, so I was looking forward to the next chapter set in early America.
Over the course of the adventure you play as three characters: Haytham, Connor and Desmond. The story in AC III started off well and held my interest in the beginning but when Haytham is on the boat I started to become pissed off and frustrated. If that was to be the tutorial at the beginning, it gets a big ass fail. Half the time Haytham would get into an attack stance and refuse to attack, block or even try to break defense. I would have to let myself be killed and start again and again and again.
That “attack stance but do nothing” bug plagued the entire game. I have yet to actually throw a controller during a game, but I got damn close with this one.
The game bragged that the animus and, therefore, my controls were streamlined and improved to allow a more free-flowing parkour type transitions between elements. Basically the console tries to make a decision for you about where it thinks you are trying to go to help make the transition between elements easier. Sorry, but nope…didn’t really work. For example, in the forest both Connor and Haytham could run on a downed tree with a clearly placed horizontal branch at the end that both could jump to.
Easy right? Well, almost the end of the tree both would randomly leap 90 degrees to the left or right. So I’d walk back to the beginning and try again. That would almost be okay if more than 50% of the time they would get back on instead of running smack dab into it from every conceivable angle. After a couple minutes of that I gave up and just ran. Running was quicker as I could run the distance in less than half the time it would take me to try and use the trees. The only time I climbed one was:
I have a question for Ubisoft: why is riding a horse in this game so damn difficult? Getting on the horse is easy, staying on the horse is easy. Making a small gradual adjustment on the path you are supposed to follow is next to impossible. The smallest movement would see the horse leap into trees and bushes and get stuck. Then, like with the trees, I tried to just run but after dismounting I would get stuck in the same damn trees or bushes, unable to move. Once I dismounted and managed to fall through a wooden dock and could no longer move. I hate restarting a level because of crap like this.
The Desmond, sailing, and hunting missions were pointless. I had to play through the sailing and Desmond missions to finish the story, but neither set added value to the overall game. Thank jeebus hunting was optional, and I exercised that option to the fullest. Yes, I am aware that I could have traded goods for money in which to buy upgraded weapons and such, but I got through the entire game without upgrading or buying anything.
Navigating in the map reminded me of a Disney show my kids watch: “Wizards of Waverly Place”. One episode has the kids play with a magic stick one of them bought out of the back of a wizarding magazine or something (think X-Ray goggles from the back of comic books). They would hold it up to their head and say “transport” beaming themselves three feet away while anyone around them would fall asleep. That was what Fast Travel felt like.
Here are the steps to get from your homestead to New York:
Roam Where You Want To...
I can respect that Ubisoft wants me to roam and discover the world they worked hard to build, but how about a goddamn option menu? When I click on the fast travel icon please give me the option to go directly to New York without passing Go.
I really needed some inspiration to finish this game, and I found it in a Reddit AMA from one of the former designers/programmers. Reading through the AMA confirmed that I wasn’t entirely alone in my disappointment and it provided some insight to some of the issues within the game. Knowing that others suffered as I had oddly renewed my desire to see it through to conclusion.
In the end, even after all my frustration, it was a decent story, although I would not rank it up as the best of the series. At times it felt as if the entire American Revolution was fought single handedly by Connor, yet I enjoyed the twists with the characters and, overall, I am glad to have completed another chapter in the story.
My goal this year is to finish AC IV by the time AC Unity ships. Wish me luck!.
Ubisoft and Redlynx are at it again, but this time they’re doing it in high definition, next-gen console goodness. Trials Fusion, is here - at some point we have to stop calling the Xbox One and PS4 ‘next-gen’ because, like Trials Fusion, they are already here. If you haven’t already picked this game up and thrown a controller at your TV, now is the time to do it! Although I wouldn’t truly consider this a next-gen game, as it is still available on the Xbox 360, it’s a great addition to your Xbox One, PC, or PS4 gaming catalog.
HATE THE PLAYA, NOT THE GAME!
The highly addictive and extremely competitive gameplay in Trials Fusion make it such a great diversion to pick up and play a few minutes at a time. You start out on EASY mode, progress to EXPERT mode, and finally slosh your way to THROW YOUR CONTROLLER/STRANGLE YOUR FRIENDS mode where you ride your motorcycle or quad over insanely impossible and outright deadly obstacles while trying to contain your rage. It’s like a Bruce Banner/Hulk Simulator game. You play as quietly and calmly as possible until you hit a jump that has you going over it again and again and again. That’s when your muscles tense up, your man-boobs turn into pecs, you grow a pair, and your voice goes from tenor to bass as you throw insults and curses at your console. Playing beyond that point, you run the risk of your skin turning green, you start to see red, and you hate and rage on everything. GRRRR!!!!!!! You’ve now turned in to the f-ing hulk and NOTHING CAN CALM YOU AND YOUR RAGE UNTIL you finally clear that jump that’s been calling you a girly-man for the last 15 minutes. When you finally clear that jump, and you’ve screamed ‘HULK SMASH’ a few hundred times, your rage subsides and you’re back to being mild-mannered Bruce Banner.
Jump, flip, clear obstacles with as little to no faults as possible, get the best time. That’s Trials Fusion. A simple enough premise until you actually start riding and experiencing the frustration, err, fun begins...but that’s not the half of it. The real beauty of this game lies in the sense of competition that it brings by showing you each of your friends that has played the game. You see your score and the scores/goals/times for you to beat and the next thing you know, your 5 minutes of casual gaming has turned in to 2 hours of you trying to beat your nearest rival on the easiest course. You can’t stop… You just have to beat the guy that has a 5 second lead over you with 2 faults… but when you do, you’re still not happy because you got a four second faster time with 2 faults so you try again and again and again until you’ve beaten the time with 0 faults. It’s like crystal meth for your video gaming brain - once you start, you can’t stop until you get that next fix. When you get that next fix, you’re pretty much jumping off of walls, both literally and figuratively.
I’ve resorted to calling this game Trials Frustrusion on my Livestreams, because it is just that: A fusion between a fun game and a frustrating game. Fortunately though, the fun outshines the frustration in more ways than one. Just when you’ve mastered the fun, the game throws you a curveball by introducing FMX. Short for “Freestyle Motocross” or “f-cking motocross sucks balls” depending on your current frustration level. The FMX feature in this game allows your rider to do some really crazy stunts while soaring through the air similar to what players of SSX are familiar with. Now, you’re not just trying to beat your rivals’ times with no faults, you’re also trying to do it with style and class through your insane tricks. Life just really hates you now.
If you’re not too concerned about competing with your friends, you can compete against yourself. Power through all of the tracks then go back and see how many gold medals you can get. When you’re done doing that, don’t forget about the challenges that are present throughout the game. Challenges such as doing x number of backflips while running a course, keeping your throttle on full throughout the entire run, riding wheelies for x number of meters, etc., etc.
Once you’ve challenged yourself, grab a second controller, just because you can, and just because your first controller is probably stuck in your TV. If you seriously thought I was going to say grab a second controller for some head-to-head local action, you were right. You can play multiplayer on Trials Fusion but unlike other games, MP on this is local only so you can have up to four buddies on a couch playing this. Online multiplayer is a feature that Ubisoft/Redlynx has announced that it will add on later as a free update giving us a tease that it will be a completely “new type of multiplayer.”
Trials Fusion is a great game to play if you are tired and just want to kick back for a series of fun challenges. Notice I didn’t say “kick back and relax.” This is not a relaxing game. If you want a relaxing game, go play Call of Duty. Getting spawn-camped in COD is more relaxing than Trials Fusion but it certainly isn’t as fun. For $20 for the game only or $40 for the game and season pass, this is a must have for anyone that wants a departure from their regular gaming habits.