Impressions: The Elder Scrolls Legends beta

The first time I played The Elder Scrolls Legends was at PAX East this year, at which time I called it “a brown, clunky, cash-in” and while must admit that I do feel a bit warmer towards it now that I’ve been playing the beta, I stand by those words.

Elder Scrolls Legends suffers from what most Bethesda games suffer from: it lacks personality while having decent gameplay. When compared side-by-side to Blizzard’s Hearthstone, a game from which it takes many of its mechanics (perhaps those are from Magic: The Gathering, I don’t know), it just looks so lifeless. The one and only playing field is just a dull brown scroll, with most of the screen being similar shades of brown. The cards themselves have decent artwork, but the colours tend to be a bit muted. Worst of all this game features awful voice acting—which seems to be a Bethesda staple at this point.

Read my full impressions here.

Preview: Loot Rascals is an approachable roguelike in a colorful shell

What if I told you there is this game called Loot Rascals made by some of the people who made Hohokum, and featured art by the artists behind Adventure Time and Alphabear? Well I’m telling you now, because Rascals is an extremely colorful roguelike that’s easy to dig into.

Long story short, you’re a space traveler, and your spaceship crashes after a moon shows up out of nowhere moments after your teapot-headed robot buddy malfunctions due to what I can only assume is some kind of demon. On the surface of this moon you run into many zany creatures that mostly intend to kill you. Why? That isn’t quite clear yet, nor is what the end game is if there is one.

Read my full preview here.

Preview: Have a Wild Cooking Adventure in Overcooked

If you haven’t yet heard of Overcooked, don’t worry —  you will more than likely get an earful from friends, family, and coworkers once it releases. I can confirm the game is a blast to play, having spent some time with an early build of the game this week.

Overcooked  is a zany cooking game for between one and four players that can be played either cooperatively or competitively. The story mode has players going back in time to learn to cook better under the supervision of an onion king and his pet dog, thus preventing the pending apocalypse caused by a giant spaghetti and meatballs monster. Yes, really.

Read my full preview here.

Preview: ABZU Combines Journey and Ecco

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” I happily sang to myself, making my way through seaweed and surrounded by 10,000 fish in the beautiful Abzu.

The graphical stylings of Abzu may seem familiar to anyone who played the critically acclaimed PlayStation exclusive Journey, as the art director of that game, Matt Nava, is the lead of this project. Both games also share a composer in Austin Wintory, and a genre, as both are linear story-driven exploration game. However, this is single-player only, underwater, and coming to PC as well as PS4.

While story details were scarce in the short demo I played, I was able to spy some paintings that alluded to the origins of the humanoid character I was playing as. At first glance, you might think she is human, but no humans I know can swim fast enough to jump out of the water like a dolphin or communicate with fish. Plus, my demo ended with me entering a giant alien looking underwater structure. I was certainly left intrigued and wanting more.

Read my full preview here.

Gwent Might End Up Being My New Go-To Card Game

Anyone that knows me well knows that I love Hearthstone, considering I’ve spent at least $300 on card packs and expansions to the game. I’d even guess that it was my most played game in 2015, so for me to say that I think Gwent may be able to pull me away from Blizzard’s juggernaut franchise is a big deal.

First off, let me say that I was never really big into card games prior to Hearthstone. Friends tried to teach me Magic the Gathering and other physical card games, but I could never get into them. I’ve also never played any of the Witcher games, but the same could be said forWarcraft titles. I went into my preview of Gwent with a bit of apprehension, thinking I’d need to have played the series to understand and enjoy it. That, thankfully, wasn’t the case.

Read my full hands-on preview from E3 2016 here.

Under A Month From Launch Song of the Deep Has Major Issues

The submarine exploration game Song of the Deep, developed by Insomniac Games, releases in just a few short weeks and what I played on the E3 show floor has me both interested and concerned.

The premise is simple enough: a girl’s father is lost at sea, so she builds a rickety submarine and sets out to find him. When first starting out she can only navigate the deep waters, but quickly finds an upgrade that allows the sub to pick up items for use in puzzles as well as attack aquatic enemies.

Read my full hands-on preview from E3 2016 here.

Feral Rites is a Colourful Tribal Beat ‘Em Up

“I don’t know, I don’t really worry about it,” said Cameron Christian. This was in response to potential concerns that people may take issue with perceivable cultural appropriation in Insomniac Games’ new Oculus Rift exclusive, Feral Rites. I asked this because the first thing that hit me upon seeing the character selection screen was, “wow, these characters look like white people dressed in tribal garb.” I will concede that screenshots I saw after the fact made the character look less white than I initially thought.

Aside from that, what I played seemed like a serviceable game with combat that is reminiscent of the Arkham series. Players can easily take on multiple enemies at the same time, bouncing between them. With a quick attack, strong attack, and the ability to throw enemies into either each other or deadly needle plants, similar to the ones in Insomniac’s recent Rift exclusive Edge of Nowhere. I jokingly asked if this game takes place in the same universe, and Cameron confirmed that it does not. That still won’t stop me from making it my headcanon, though.

Read my full hands-on impressions from E3 2016 here.

Dead Rising 4: Cybernetic Zombie Killing at Low Frame Rates

Capcom has somehow managed to make the latest Dead Risinggame even more ugly than the last one, which wasn’t easy on the eyes by any means as it opted for a more realistic grittier colour scheme, unlike the games that came before it.

While there are more zombies on the screen than ever before, it comes at a price: the framerate drops to what appeared at some points to be in the single digits. Framerate issues also plagued the last title, but in its current state Dead Rising 4 is—surprisingly—even worse. Perhaps these drops are because of the amount of chunks that seemingly fly in the air when mowing down multiple zombies at a time, but I’d rather have a stable game than a manic one. Obviously, the game is still in development and may potentially be fixed by the time it releases later this year.

Read my full hands-on impressions of the E3 2016 build here.