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Imagine, you’re just chilling in your village. Then, all of a sudden, you’re told to go to the town hall for something stupid that you did. You and a lot of people are then told: “You are all hereby banished from the village!” It comes as an unexpected surprise to you, and you do not know how to react.  If this situation happened in real life, it would be more likely for one to get the ultimate punishment instead.  Banishment still is a bummer, though. Try as you and the others might, you cannot escape your fate. So, all of you must gather the little items that you have and go out into the world, knowing that you can never return. Meh, it was a crappy village anyway (yeah your village sucks).

Here seems good

Banished is a build simulation game, where a bunch of banished folks have to build a brand new village in the middle of nowhere. Doesn’t sound too complicated right? You also need to keep an eye on a few things. These include but are not limited to: Hunger, Freezing, Population Loss, Population Growth, Fire, Natural Disasters, Disease, Accidents, Homelessness, and Aging. Most, if not all, of these can result in certain death.

The village is based on the number of citizens and jobs. These jobs start off small, like gathering resources and buildings. Once you build a certain building of sorts, you then assign much more important tasks. These tasks range from wood chopping, keeping the village warm, farming, fishing, gathering, and hunting to keep your village fed. Since your resources and people are limited, you must decide on which job is most important for you to assign to your citizens.

Always keep an eye out on your population. You might end up with a bunch of builders with no resources because all of your resource gathers died, and you forgot to assign some builders to gather or vice versa. You might also end up with less people then you started with because single people don’t have enough homes in which to get married and start a family in, or all of the population is too old to start a family. At this point, you just watch as the remaining population dies out. After your third attempt, you might get it right (goes to the corner in shame).

I call thee..Home

Banished has a sense of gameplay that immerses you by watching the village, that you took the time to grow and nurture, unfold before your very eyes. The sounds, graphics, and gameplay coincide together to bring you a world you can spend hours playing. It may take some time and practice, but eventually, you do get a village in which you are proud of.

You can find Banished on Steam and Windows.

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Dungeon Souls is a game developed by Lamina Studios that came out officially this year, after being in early access. As the name suggests, it is indeed a classic dungeon crawler. For those unfamiliar with the genre, it is a game in which you pick a character and fight enemies, all while trying to reach the top level of the dungeon or escaping it. Games like these are really fun to pass the time, especially in groups.

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Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is the first current gen exclusive in the Dragon Ball video game franchise. This game does play similarly to Xenoverse 1 and reuses some of the missions, but it does enough to stand on its own.

Story Mode (7.5/10)

The story in Xenoverse 2 takes place not long after the events of the first game. Those who played Xenoverse 1 will get a little more out of it, but it’s not necessary to have played the first game to enjoy the second. You’re put into the shoes of a new Time Patroller assigned to protect the Dragon Ball timeline. Your mission? Stop the evil sorceress, Towa, from altering history and resurrecting the Demon Realm.

The plot is interesting enough, but there are issues with dialogue, captions, and cut scenes. There were instances where one character would say something and the other would respond in a way that made no sense. It felt like they didn’t run the narrative by a native English-speaker when doing the dub. The captions had a similar problem. They read as though they were translated & transcribed off the Japanese version as opposed to the English. The result was that the captions would be close enough, rather than exact transcriptions.

Overall, I think fans will enjoy the story in Xenoverse 2 as it’s one of the more in-depth story modes I’ve seen in a Dragon Ball game. 

Gameplay (8/10)

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is like a combination of a fighter and an MMO. When you’re not fighting, you navigate your way around Conton City. There, you can pick up additional missions & quests, learn new techniques from mentors, or interact with other players. DBXV 2 adds the option to ride a vehicle or fly as a way to cover distance faster. It’s more helpful than you’d think, seeing as the map is about seven times larger than Xenoverse 1.

There are over 100 Parallel Quests and Expert Missions in addition to the story mode. These basically take the existing story line and ask “what if this happened instead?” Complete these and you’ll unlock various rewards like new moves, outfits, items, stat modifiers, and Dragon Balls. When you get all seven, you can wish for characters, special/ultimate attacks, items, and other things that can only be unlocked via the Dragon Balls.

As mentioned, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 lets you create your own Time Patroller. There are five different races to chose from; Saiyan, Earthling, Majin, Namekian, and the Frieza Race. From there, you can customize everything from height, stockiness, face shape, eye color, hair style & color, voice, clothing, and special/ultimate attacks.

Each race comes with its own unique transformation that raises your stats in battle. Saiyans can go Super Saiyan up to level 3, Earthlings get to summon the Nimbus Cloud, Majins turn into Kid Buu, Namekians transform into Giant Namekians, and the Frieza Race can turn into Golden Frieza. There are also transformations like Kaioken and Potential Unleashed which can be applied to any race.

Photo courtesy of Afrosenju XL on YouTube

As much as the character creation system offers, it’s missing one major thing. Your hair still doesn’t spike up when you go Super Saiyan or Super Saiyan 2 (it changes for Super Saiyan 3 as shown). So, if your character has straight hair, it’ll turn gold, but won’t spike up. Many fans asked developers to include this feature in Xenoverse 2 as it was a big issue with the first game. For whatever reason, the decision was made to keep that system the same.

All that said, this is indeed a fighting game, so let’s move on to the combat. Because Dragon Ball battles involve flight and moving at light speed, the combat system is not that of a traditional fighter. Timing is still important, but there’s a lot of teleporting and vanishing so there’s as much emphasis on evading as there is blocking. The controls are pretty responsive, though there will be occasions where you’ll enter a command and it won’t work because of timing.

The combat system does have a few other issues. One is that there are times when the item menu does not close after you use a heal, power-up, etc. during battle. Because things move so fast, you can end up using an item by mistake when you actually wanted to strike or evade.

Another issue is that cut scenes often interrupt you in the middle of a combo or special/ultimate attack. It’s especially irritating for the latter because specials/ultimates depend upon having enough ki (energy) to do them. If you’re in the middle of a special and you’re interrupted by a cut scene, you lose the ki and deal no damage.

Photo courtesy of: idigitaltimes.com via Bandai Namco

Graphics & Sound (7.5/10)

The graphics in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 are some of best I’ve seen in a Dragon Ball game. Keep in mind that the designers aren’t necessarily trying to make everyone look like 4k human renders with games like this. It’s more about trying to make the best looking versions of the Dragon Ball characters, and that’s exactly what they did. As far as animation, the character movements and attacks look good but there is something to be desired for the some of the cut scenes because of the caption/dialogue issues mentioned earlier.

The Funimation crew does the English dub, so it’s legitimate in that regard. However, because the translation is a little off, you may want to switch to the Japanese voices for a better experience.

The music is nothing special, but it’s not bad either. Honestly, you’ll probably tune it out after a while. The sound effects on the other hand do a great job of making you feel like you’re playing through an episode.

Online (8/10)

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2‘s online play has been an experience. There can be some minor lag which can create phantom hits or cause you to suddenly punch in the wrong direction, but nothing that ruins the experience.

You can use one of the 80+ characters, or you can take your Time Patroller online to see how they fare. There are ranked/unranked matches or you can do the World Martial Arts Tournament. I’m not sure if they’ve worked everything out for the tournament though. Every time I’ve joined a tournament lobby, it ended up being a 1-on-1 match up with no ladder.

A little note to those who don’t play online: If you fancy yourself a DBXV 2 Master because you dominate the A.I., you’ll be in for a rude awakening. Unlike A.I., Online players actually know how to combo and make you pay for mistakes. Expect to tweak your style if want to keep up, and even that might not be enough. So many players have this game down to a science that noobs don’t stand much of a chance. Even though my character is maxed out and I’ve changed my build, my record stands at 16-55 or about a 22% win percentage.

You can do also do Parallel Quests and Expert Missions online. If you weren’t able to beat a specific quest or mission on your own (they A.I. is pretty useless as a teammate), it’s a good way to farm for skills or outfits. 

Overview

All in all, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is probably one of the better Dragon Ball games I’ve ever played. Though it has its flaws, it definitely does more right than wrong. If you’re a Dragon Ball fan and are on the fence about this game, I think it’s worth a purchase. There is DLC to come so you may want to factor in the price of a season pass ($29.99) if you want the complete Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 experience.

What did you think of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2? Do you agree with our score? 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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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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It has been 6 years since the release of Limbo, the game that had me reevaluating and thinking differently about video games. It was such a unique experience that I have been in much anticipation for Playdead’s follow up game and they did not disappoint. Inside is breathtakingly beautiful, memorable, and most of all, thought provoking.

What I love most about gaming is when a game comes out and it’s so much of what I wanted – and I just didn’t know it yet. I have had the privilege of having that experience again while playing Furi over the past weekend and I’m hooked! I have a backlog I had planned on starting and its going further into the backseat because all I want to do now is play Furi. Because I haven’t had enough time to beat Furi (and I’m too stubborn to lower the difficulty in order to hurry up the process), I have been only able to fight 5 bosses so far, along with some quality time in the practice mode to understand the ins and outs of these bosses even further. I wanted to go ahead and give my first impressions based on my experience thus far and in a nutshell, Furi is a total sleeper hit.

I want to stand and cheer for the writers and full production team that worked on season 6 of Game of Thrones! What an amazing season it has been and as bittersweet as it is to see it end, it definitely ended on the highest of notes. In my opinion, The Winds of Winter is the best season finale so far in the series which says a lot, because this show is nothing short of phenomenal. Before I get into the episode details, let me put the warning out there: Full spoilers ahead!

Gamers and movie fans alike have been talking about the Warcraft movie since it’s initial concept release. Blizzard has put an immense amount of money into promoting the movie. For the past few months, I couldn’t turn on the television without seeing a commercial about the movie. The hype is immense, so when I got the opportunity to see an advanced screening of the movie, I had to check it out for myself. Warcraft is based off of the hit MMO game World of Warcraft which (since it’s last been reported) has about 5.5 million subscribers. In China, the movie has reportedly broken several box office records. The interest is there, yet some reviewers have given the movie less than stellar reviews. I’m here to give you my honest opinion of the movie with a breakdown of several different aspects.

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From Titan Comics, The Breath of Andolus is the first issue of the new Dark Souls comic written by George Mann with artwork by Alan Quah. First let me say that I am a huge Dark Souls fan so I really appreciated the opportunity to review this comic. I was especially excited and curious to see how it would portray the Dark Souls universe and if it would fit the mold of the series. I must say, I was not disappointed. Be warned, there are minor spoilers in this review.