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Erica Alatorre

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Erica has been fond of gaming since she was 5 years old. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, she was privileged to have experienced the NES, SNES, TurboGrafx 16, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, N64, amongst many other consoles. Do not mistake her classic upbringing for unawareness of today’s generation of gaming. She is up to date with gaming news, the gaming community, as well as the social aspects of gaming. She is fascinated with men and women and how they each view and treat gaming, and above all she keeps gaming in check for what it is meant to be: for fun. So if you want some down to earth commentary and opinions, look no further than Ericutz4thewin.

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I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical when I first heard about Yooka-Laylee. I wondered if my affinity for 3D platformers was a thing of the past and maybe I wouldn’t appreciate it. Not to mention, hearing this was to be a “Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor?” What big paws to fill! However, after getting my hands on Yooka-Laylee, I realized my doubts and skepticism were just…silly. Yooka-Laylee is a fun, entertaining experience with a sense of humor I can’t get enough of. It’s witty, charming, and most importantly; the gameplay is a love letter to the open-world-3D-platforming genre many of us grew up on.

Without a doubt, Yooka-Laylee plays like a true Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor through and through. From the voice acting to its platforming and puzzles, I’m confident Yooka-Laylee will make a lot of Banjo fans happy.  That’s not to say this game is dated or an exact replica of Banjo-Kazooie. Yooka-Laylee manages to have its own identity because of its new likable characters and story, along with a few twists on familiar mechanics that make the gameplay feel fresh.

For example, much like Banjo-Kazooie where we had to fetch puzzle pieces or “jiggies,” Yooka-Laylee is similar in that way because we now fetch book pages called “pagies.” Much like the jiggies, pagies are needed to progress to different levels but they can also be used to expand levels, to make them bigger and add more content. I tried this as soon as I had enough pagies and was pleasantly surprised with how much more content was added to the level. Not only was the terrain extended with bigger mountains and pathways leading to more areas, but more mini-games and character side missions were added as well. A single level’s open world became even more open and I found myself just wandering around in it, enjoying myself as I discovered more things to do.

Another reason Banjo and old school 3D platformer fans will enjoy this game is it’s notable sense of humor and references to other games. I love when a game doesn’t take itself too seriously and that is where Yooka-Laylee really shines. I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle a few times as I played this game. One minute I had a character tell me assets were borrowed to make this game but “ssh, don’t tell anyone,” and then the next minute I was running into characters I recognized from other games. “I was having an adventure so great, I crossed over into the wrong game!” comes from a character that is sure to make you smile as well.

As for the move set and abilities, Yooka and Laylee start off with simple abilities such as attacking, running, jumping, and even… slurping. Later on as I progressed, I learned I can make Yooka slurp up flowers to use as another attack on enemies, or simply to spit at buttons to activate platforms or win at mini-games. I also learned other special moves by collecting quills and bringing them to a snake friend named Trowzer. He has a variety of special moves to purchase, and I was able to back track with these new moves to activate something new. Combat is pretty basic and fun to use. I usually use the spin attack with the help of Laylee but every once and a while, I mix it up with the roll move I purchased so I can mow down enemies. So far, the combat and move set has been easy to pick up and enjoyable.

So far, my only real gripe with this game is the sometimes wonky camera angles. There have been more than a few times where I was controlling the camera with the right stick, only for it to wrap around the opposite direction. Also, when Yooka and Laylee are near a wall or edge of a mountain, the camera will sometimes wrap around and get up close and personal, causing me to feel a little disoriented. At one point, I even felt a little motion sickness because of it. To be fair, I can be sensitive to motion sickness with particular genres; 3D platformers being one of them. Fortunately, it hasn’t been every play session and I do feel like I’m getting used to the camera movement with the more I play. Regardless of this issue, I am looking forward to playing more and especially look forward to seeing the different worlds in the game.

From what I have played so far, I sense that Playtonic Games put a lot of love and tender care into Yooka-Laylee. It’s delightful characters and dialogue has me smitten and the gameplay is easy to pick up, with new abilities to learn as you progress. Yooka-Laylee shows us how open a world can be for this type of genre and whether you are a long time 3D platformer fan or just picking this genre up for the first time, you’re in for a delightful treat.

This has been a preview of Yooka-Laylee, by Playtonic Games, played on PC. Are you picking up Yooka-Laylee April 11th? Let us know!

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Nintendo has unveiled a new Nintendo Switch commercial that will be airing during Super Bowl LI this Sunday. If I could draw up the perfect blue print to marketing the Switch, I’d go BIG and what better way than to have a commercial aired during the biggest sporting event in North America? In fact, the Super Bowl averages hundreds of millions of viewers and that number is growing each year. This will be the first time Nintendo has ever aired a commercial during the Super Bowl.

Here is the commercial for your viewing pleasure:

Well done Nintendo! This commercial is excellent. It’s simple, to the point, and gives the clear message of how the Switch is meant to be played. Whether on the go or at home, you can play your games anywhere. Even better, the commercial focuses on an adult playing the Switch!

Nintendo has long received criticism about its marketing and the focus on children, as if they were the target audience.  Not properly marketing the Wii U was arguably one of the main reasons it failed to capture a bigger audience. Now it seems Nintendo received that memo and are changing things up. Keep it going Nintendo! Hardcore gamers know what the Switch can do. Now it’s time for the casual market to know too.

Here is the extended cut of the commercial, showing all ages using the different ways to play the Switch:

Are you going to watch the Super Bowl and wait for this new Switch commercial? Are you excited for the Switch? Let us know!

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Originally released last year on the PC and now available on consoles, FEIST is a side scrolling action game that combines complex physics and dynamic gameplay. You play as a little fur creature trying to rescue its mate from a savage unpredictable world. As you make your way across a mysterious forest, you come in contact with bigger foes and challenging escape routes that depend on precise movement and decisions.

In FEIST, all elements interact with each other in the game, making for some really interesting and unpredictable situations. I was very impressed with how complex the enemy AI are. The flying bugs for example, chased me down relentlessly, forcing me to take cover when I could and take action when the timing was right. Their movement was always unpredictable. Sometimes they would swoop down to attack and sometimes they would hover, allowing me to move and then they would shoot stingers at me from a distance, which are very accurate by the way. The spiders were even more relentless, chasing me down no matter how far I ran and they would accumulate in numbers the more I ignored them. It would start with 1 or 2 spiders chasing me and then before I knew it, there were quadruple that amount and I was done for.

Itsy Bitsy spiders aren’t so Itsy Bitsy

The enemies were so unpredictable, it made every encounter feel different. Even though the enemies were in the same spot, their movement varied and any mistake I made, they made sure I paid for it. It was frustrating at times because I found myself thinking a lot of this depends on luck, since the enemies were so unpredictable in their aggression and attacks. However, the more frustrated I got, the more and more I was impressed with the AI and FEIST all together.

Not only are the enemy AI very complex, but the physics of my character and the environment was even more impressive. I found myself having to be very precise when maneuvering my way through the forest. If my jumps were too aggressive, I fell. When my jumps were too soft, I fell. Also, there are moments where I stood on boxes and tree trunks that hung by ropes and had to use my body to swing them back and forth to make it to higher ground. Sounds easy enough! Only, it wasn’t that easy and really required precise movement of my body weight to make it swing how fast and high I wanted. There are also sticks, rocks, and pine cones that you can interact with by picking them up and using them to hurl at enemies or use to jump on to get to higher ground. It was very fascinating to see how well the environment interacted with my character.

Through the rain, through the mud, we will find our mate no matter what…

Developed by Swiss Studio Bits & Beasts (Adrain Stutz & Florian Faller), FEIST has won multiple awards for its beautifully handcrafted action and I can completely see why! I was very impressed with FEIST and would recommend it to anyone, especially if you are into side scrolling indies that have a lot of challenge. It’s beautiful to look at too, with its very unique art style and vibrant colors. The sound effects and music are also done very well. Check out FEIST! It is now available on PS4 and Xbox One for $10.

Have you played FEIST? If so, what did you think of our review? If not, will you be picking it up? Let us know!

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At this year’s Playstation Experience, I was also able to get my hands on many different games. One of them being Horizon: Zero Dawn which I have been looking forward to since it was announced. Talk about a gorgeous looking game! Youtube videos does not do this game enough justice. My number one question going into the demo was does this game play as great as it looks? and before long into my hands on experience, I had my answer: Yes, yes, and more yes!

Rockstar Games has been teasing us the past few days, releasing pictures and information bit by bit about Red Dead Redemption 2. Suspense had been building among fans up until today with the release of the new Red Dead Redemption 2 reveal trailer and… it was short, really short! It does look amazing though. Check out the trailer here and don’t blink!:

Graphically, this is a beautiful looking game. Knowing Rockstar’s track record, this game will stun and amaze even if there is technically a graphical “downgrade.” I’m a huge fan of the first Red Dead Redemption and often think of it as the most impressive game of last generation. This trailer doesn’t tell us much about where the story is going but I anticipate we will learn more as the days go by. Red Dead Redemption 2 is set to release Fall of 2017 but it is possible for this game to be delayed, especially if it comes to PC. People are wondering if this game will come to PC at all since only PS4 and Xbox One are announced thus far. Only time will tell! I just know I’m excited for this game and can’t wait to play it.

What did you think of the Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer? Do you think it will come to PC? Let us know your thoughts!

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As a long time fan of Gears of War, I know just how important this next Gears of War game is. This isn’t just some new game that is made to hang onto the original trilogy’s success coat tails. Gears of War 4 has very big shoes to fill. The original Gears of War trilogy is something fans hold near and dear to their hearts. For many of us, myself included, Gears of War was the reason we started gaming on the Xbox 360 in the first place. It was gritty, innovative, and incredibly influential. So much so, that this series became a culture built by a dedicated die hard community. So when Gears of War took the awkward turn with the spin-off Judgment, a lot of us were left wondering if Gears of War could become “great” again and if Gears of War 4 would prove to be the game we deserved all along.

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clockwork

Gamesoft’s debut title Clockwork is finally coming to PC next month! It will be available on the Steam Store worldwide on October 10, 2016 with the Mac OS release to follow shortly after. It will be available for $14.99, with an additional 20% launch week discount to reward fans for their continued patience and support during the development process.