Review: Livelock

Humans in disguise.

What if Transformers were really just humans that transferred their consciousnesses into robots, actually couldn’t transform, and did lots of shooting with guns in a twin-stick shooter? Well, then you’d have Livelock, a game not to be confused with the identity-theft protection service LifeLock.

I’ve played plenty of twin-stick shooters, and Livelock is a pretty enjoyable one. You play as one of three robots, each with unique weapons and abilities. One robot punches has shields and plays the role of a tank, another heals, and another is a ranged shooter. As the game supports three players simultaneously, playing with one of each character is ideal but not necessary.

Read my full review here.

Review: FRU

I remember being excited about the original Kinect launching for the Xbox 360, back when I worked in retail. Our store even had a midnight opening for it, which was a rarity in those days.

Since then, I’ve played a majority of games released over the years for the device on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One, from the fantastic bowling in Kinect Sports (which caused my mom and grandma to buy Xbox 360s), to dancing my ass off in Dance Central and Just Dance, to the downright awful Fable: The Journey and Commander Cherry. Heck, I’ve even played completely unreleased games such as the Xbox 360 version of Crimson Dragon that I managed to get my hands on. I don’t know why, but I’ve been obsessed with Kinect since launch even though most of its games suck raunchy balls and taint with a bit too few teeth for my liking.

So my words should hold some weight when I say that FRU is easily the best traditional game ever released for the tech. Unfortunately, it also has the worst timing — it seems Kinect is all but officially dead as the upcoming Xbox One S revision requires an additional cable to even use it.

Read the rest of my review 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.

Cuphead’s Platforming Levels are Old-School Hard, Repetitive

Before E3 all our hands-on previews of Cuphead have just been boss battles, but we got a chance to take recently revealed platforming levels for a spin and left unimpressed.

While the game’s mechanics lend themselves well to platforming, the two available levels felt uninspired, repetitive, and old-school hard. If you’ve played the old-school Konami classic Contra series, then you know what to expect here: enemies come at you from all sides of the screen at a constant pace forcing you to advance slowly while shooting in every direction and dodging bullets. I saw very few members of the press making it through the platforming levels, as they are truly difficult, but after I few tries I was able to with ease. I guess others just need to ‘git gud.’

Read my full hands-on impressions here.

Sea of Thieves Stole My Heart at E3 2016

When Rare announced Sea of Thieves, I shrugged it off. It looked to be little more than a generic, MMO-like pirate game with uninspired graphics. Then when the new trailer hit this E3, laced with YouTubers screaming about climbing ladders and falling off the side of a ship, I groaned and quipped on Twitter that the game ‘looked like the best Project Spark game I’d ever seen.’ Project Spark being the failed, build-your-own-adventure game that Microsoft is pulling the plug on in August.

I finally got to play a portion of Sea of Thieves on the E3 show floor this year, and boy, was I wrong. So, so, wrong.

Read my full hands-on impressions from E3 here.

Anger And SmiIes: Bloodstained Is The Castlevania Game We’ve Been Waiting For

“They can try,” Koji “Iga” Igarashi remarked when I asked him about the rumblings I’ve heard of Konami possibly working on a sequel to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This was a game that Iga himself wrote the scenario for, programmed, and helped direct. Iga’s translator was seemingly angry at the mere mention of the sequel being a possibility. They stated that Iga, “still knows Konami insiders, and would have heard if such was happening.”

Iga was at Xbox’s E3 booth, showing off his crowdfunded spiritual sequel to theCastlevania series, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, when I spoke with him. I’m happy to report it looks like this is the Castlevania game we have been waiting for in everything but name. It has all the things you’d expect to find: great music, a gothic aesthetic, ghoulish enemies, and massive bosses. Practically everything is here, right down to candles that can be broken to reveal items.

Read my full E3 hands-on preview here.

Will Battleborn be the next Shadowrun?

At the beginning of 2016, I listed Battleborn as one of my most anticipated titles (as well as Fable Legends, RIP) and after playing the open beta I can easily say it still is.

If you’re not familiar, Battleborn is the game Gearbox Software founder Randy Pitchford described as “FPS; hobby-grade coop campaign; genre-blended, multi-mode competitive e-sports; meta-growth, choice + epic Battleborn Heroes!” What that bukkake of buzzwords was supposed to tell us, I’ll never know. What I do know is that this is a hero-based multiplayer first-person shooter that is one partDestiny, one part Borderlands, and one part MOBA; with two modes that feel like totally different games.

Read my full impressions of the Battleborn beta here.