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Xbox One

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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.

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A couple of weeks ago, The Witcher series was on sale on both Steam and Origin. With the enhanced edition of The Witcher at the low price of $1.50 and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings at $2.29, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to finally play one of the most talked about story driven games. I’ve heard great things about the game, some people even comparing it to the Dragon Age series (which I adore). Now, I’m not one to pass up a good story, especially one with choices, but something seems to be stopping me from actually starting the game up. Believe it or not, it has a lot to do with the lack of character creation.

In The Witcher, you play as Geralt of Rivia. Apparently, he’s a bad ass monster hunter for hire. But, like I said, I haven’t actually played the game yet. I’ve been spoiled by games like The Sims, Dragon Age, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim where character creation was pivotal. In The Witcher’s defense, those are all games whose story is all about the character the player wants to be. The Witcher is like some other games in which the character is given to you. You can make choices, but at the end of the day, you are playing as Geralt and experiencing his story.

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This unwillingness to play may also have something to do with my life, because who isn’t burned out after a long day of work or school? Regardless, it got me thinking, how important is character creation in a game? Often times, people ask me what my fascination with video games is. My answer to them is always the same, interactivity. A story is being told, and I am an active (rather than passive) participant of it.  We can break down the interactivity of storytelling in games even further. There is the kinetic story, which follows a strict linear story line, games that have none, like the Sims, or games such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect which allow the story to change depending on the choices you make.

When character creation is implemented, it allows the player to further immerse him or her self into the game. You create the character that you see on screen, and this doesn’t just regard full character creation but customization as well like in The Division. Being able to change a companion’s clothes, regardless of changing their features, also gives the player added control of the story. This is because the player tweaks the aesthetics to fit their vision of the world within the game. I’ve concluded that character creation’s vitality is dependent on the game that you’re playing.

Take a game like WWE 2K16. It has a host of real wrestlers from the television show to choose from. You can be anyone from Andre the Giant to John Cena. A high appeal to the game is the creation features. Throughout the series, there have been many opportunities for the player to create their own wrestler, entrance video and music, way their wrestler walks out on to the ring, and even the arena they wrestle in. The character that I make can interact with very real characters that I watch on television. I can even go as far as creating my own match cards and manipulating what happens. In this game, character creation is not vital but it enhances the experience. You can very well play with the characters and arenas already given to you.

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What about the Sims? Character creation is the selling point for The Sims 4. EA has boasted that you can change the features of your sim by dragging body parts, unlike any of the other games in the series. You even have control over how they walk, sound, and the way their family looks as well. In a game like this, character creation is vital. You have full control over the character (or characters) that you want to play, the town that they live in, the people they meet, and how they interact with the world around them.  Its appeal comes from the fact that it’s a platform for the player to create their own story, rather than giving them one. Therefore, the character creation cannot be substituted for a pre-made character, without hindering the player’s experience.

These are just two examples of games that utilize extensive customization and character creation assets. A series like Uncharted does not need character creation, because the story lines are linear. If we take out Nathan Drake, we don’t have the same iconic series. Therefore, I’ve determined that character creation is a necessity in certain kinds of games. Customization is a different story entirely. It should be utilized in more games. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning’s outfit changes depending on what armor you equip. This is limiting (of course) because you can’t have both your favorite looks and best stats. For example, I hated the dress that Lightning had to wear for one armor, but I needed it because it was resistant to fire. Regardless, it is a step in the right direction.

I don’t see how customization can hamper the intended story for a game. In the zombie mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, the game takes place in the 1920s. Obviously, it’d be strange to have a character wearing Google Glass. To keep the feel of the game, the developer can limit the customization options to clothes of that period. If a character would wear only certain types of clothes, the developer can lay out a few templates for the player to choose from. It is this added interactivity that allows us to relate to the world of video games, while still being able to make it on our own.

 

 

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On this episode of E-I-C Speaks, Nia discusses the current state of gaming in relevance to the jaded and confrontational stance of many gamers in today’s modern gaming climate. In a world full of higher-than-before development costs and diminishing returns, it only makes sense that the medium of gaming would turn much more into a business than a labor of love as it once was in the golden age. The biggest concern though, is is this new trend affecting the way that gamers consume and perceive the products that we have been given – more specifically up to this point in generation 8? Or is it also possible that since gaming is becoming significantly more mainstream and accessible that most genres and play styles have already been explored? Long gone are the days of large graphical jumps between consoles and new genres being created. These days many games are a hodge-podge of ideas we’ve likely already been exposed to. For some, unless you experience the warmth of niche, more artistic games, you’re bound to run into that ceiling where you question the quality of the product or even your own prolonged interest in gaming. 

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Gear heads, rejoice! We received a nice little update on Gears of War 4 today.  It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve learned something so worth wile but thanks to Game Informer, we’ve been informed of what’s going on behind the scenes in the development of the highly anticipated Xbox One exclusive, Gears of War 4.

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The holidays are perhaps the best time of the year for gamers. Black Friday has some of the hottest gaming deals of the year, and the best part about it is now everything can easily be purchased with the click of a button, rather than wrestling through throngs of eager customers. Here are some of the best Black Friday gaming deals happening this week.

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Just when I think Telltale Games couldn’t tug at my emotions anymore than it did with Walking Dead Season One, I’m again holding my breath and wiping tears from my eyes. Tales From The Borderlands not only tugged at my heart strings, but it also kicked me in my funny bone more than a few times, having me laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoying this series like a favorite TV show. Tales From The Borderlands is good, really damn good. Not only is it funny, but it has such a balance between comedy and action that has me feeling once again that Telltale Games is the king of story telling and it will be impossible for me to discuss Game of The Year without adding Tales From The Borderlands into the conversation.

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Microsoft isn’t messing around this holiday! If you were looking to get a new Xbox One, there are now six new opportunities to consider. New Xbox One bundles were announced every day of this week. This was part of Microsoft’s campaign to really push the Xbox One this holiday, claiming “there’s never been a better time to buy.” Here is a complete round up of all the bundles and what is included in each one: