Mega Man Legacy Collection Review

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As I finalized my thoughts on the Mega Man Legacy Collection, I found it difficult to identify its intended audience. If you consider yourself a retro gamer or collector, you’re likely to seek out the original NES cartridges, and if you’re just itching for a casual playthrough, the emulation route may be your best bet. But, maybe you’ve never played Mega Man before, and you just want to see what the hype is all about without messing with ROMs and emulators. In that case, having all six Mega Man classics at your fingertips is a real treat, even if this collection feels a little thin on content.

If you’ve grown up with video games in the last decade, the 8-bit Mega Man may not be as appealing if you don’t already know what to expect. While these brilliant games have shaped the industry as much as Mario or Sonic, it’s hard to imagine today’s generation embracing the gameplay like someone with a profound passion for the NES. 

Capcom has also decided not to fix the minute technical glitches (frame pacing issues, pixel glitching, etc.). They claim it’s meant to preserve the original look and feel, but after playing the modern, technically-polished, retro sequels Mega Man 9 and 10, Capcom’s reasoning seems like a lazy excuse. But in spite of the performance issues, I couldn’t help but enjoy each entry for their nostalgic charisma.


"The technical annoyances and now-archaic gameplay may leave a bad taste in your mouth, or they may encourage you to explore other classic flavors."

Games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne are continually praised for their challenge, but staring at “Game Over” screens was commonplace during the 8-bit era. Beating anything on the NES used to mean something. It was a pride-worthy accomplishment. Today, being unable to reach the end credits is a result of a crammed schedule or losing interest, but rarely the game’s difficulty. Even the countless indie games that try to recapture the retro essence have, for the most part, adapted gameplay mechanics to today’s design standards. Gameplay difficulty is Mega Man’s greatest strength, and ultimately its biggest weakness. You either love it or you hate it. 

All six titles are straightforward ports. Included are a few noteworthy extras, like game soundtracks, concept art and uniquely crafted challenge levels, but there’s not much else in terms of additional content. The package is not as impressive as the recent Rare Replay Collection or Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, especially since Mega Man 9 and 10 aren’t included. Capcom might be better off committing to something more substantial if they’re trying to tackle the holistic publisher-bundle approach. But even though it comes off as a little gaunt, it’s fun to re-experience some of the games responsible for laying the shooter genre foundation.   

The Mega Man Legacy Collection is an acquired taste, one that can be perceived as either a delicacy or an unpleasant experience. The technical annoyances and now-archaic gameplay may leave a bad taste in your mouth, or they may encourage you to explore other classic flavors. Mega Man games are legendary, but the Legacy Collection feels like a missed opportunity. Each one of these titles deserves the highest praise for what they accomplished when they originally released, but without having access to the infinitely superior X sequels, it’s hard to adequately appreciate the series’ evolution. 

Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Playstation 4

7

Stunning New Razer Case Coming This September

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Remember when gaming PCs looked like this:


As much as I love the 90's, I am glad we no longer have these monstrous beasts sitting under our desks. Gaming PCs have come a long way both in performance and design, and Razer's latest NZXT H440 is a prime example of how much the industry has evolved. I mean, just look at this beauty. The matte black finish accentuated by Razer's signature bright green looks absolutely gorgeous. 

Created in collaboration with PC case manufacture NZXT, this new case is a dream come true for custom PC builders. The inside is spacious, allowing for endless customizability without ever getting too crammed. The NZXT H440 is set to release in September and will retail for $297.00. Although Amazon has it on sale for only $159.00 at the time of this writing. It's a pretty good deal considering you're getting a premium product that's not only designed to last long, but looks stunning. 



News by: Tin Salamunic

An Open Letter from CD PROJEKT RED

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CD PROJEKT RED has already given us enough reasons to praise the ground they walk on, but this recent open letter to gamers once again shows just how passionate and committed these guys are to their fans. We gave Witcher 3 a perfect 10, and it's exciting to think about what else they have in store for us. I mean....see for yourself....I need some tissues to wipe away my tears of happiness. 

Hey Gamers!

Time does fly! These few months since launch passed faster than you can say potestaquisitor. We’ve been hard at work delivering you new content, fixing what needed to be fixed, and secretly plotting how to rock this boat we call the RPG genre even more. We’ve just concluded our shareholder conference where we announced that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt family got a bit bigger -- we sold over 6 million copies of the game in six weeks since launch. Worry not, I won’t discuss any financial stuff here. I would, however, like to give you some insight on what that means to us as game creators.

One could think we have six million reasons to be happy and that’s it. We do, but that number is also a big responsibility and I want everyone to know that we, as a studio, realize that. For us, all your high praise, all the positive reviews, are also an obligation -- we’ve made a really good game but there’s still a long road ahead of us. Everyone here in CD PROJEKT RED is really attached to their work and how you, the gamers, perceive it. RED is full of artists, wild dreamers and people crazy about what they do (and sometimes just plain crazy). We lose sleep over that particular color the sun has when it sets over Velen, and argue over arranging the furniture in a house the majority of gamers will probably never see. We’re not the kind of people who are easily satisfied and we always strive for more. I’d like you to know that.

Yes, six million copies is a great achievement for a company making RPGs, but this business is not only about that. If our games are a gallery of sound, picture and text - you are the visitors of this gallery. To an artist, there’s no sweeter sight than people enjoying their work. That’s why, in the name of all the devs in the studio, I’d like to say thanks to each and every one of you.   

Thanks!

Adam Badowski,
Head of Studio

Legends of Eisenwald Review

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Legends of Eisenwald is a testament to a lost art form in gaming. Like Pillars of Eternity, or Divinity: Original Sin, Legends of Eisenwald borrows liberally from popular fantasy titles of the past, but instead it looks towards a different set of titles that, at one time, appealed to a massive audience: Might and Magic and King’s Bounty. It’s an intriguing title that, at best, managed to invoke some of the nostalgia that came from playing those titles as a kid, and, at worst, meandered in terms of pacing due to its weak storyline.

Eisenwald is a tactical turn-based RPG that allows players to take control of up to 12 characters. The battles are fast paced and sacrifice depth for a more streamlined approach. All of the fights take place in cramped hexagonal spaces and there is never any sort of terrain obstacles that might offer solace in the heat of battle.


"It’s an intriguing title that, at best, managed to invoke some of the nostalgia that came from playing those titles as a kid, and, at worst, meandered in terms of pacing due to its weak storyline."

Fights start off in their most basic form -- choose your target and attack it -- but as the game goes on characters will level up and several other abilities can eventually be utilized. It’s certainly not going to appeal to players that demand elaborate skill trees and progression, but there’s something charming about its basic combat system, focusing on satisfying gameplay with no frills. There are other layers of strategy as well. Players can capture castles to earn more money, gain map control, and further improve their unit roster, but there’s not much involved in this mode, in fact, it’s pretty bare-bones. I would’ve liked to see this mode flushed out more, but for now it’s not entirely without merit.

As characters level up I found myself having to make some tough decisions. Should my healer continue down her righteous path, or should I turn her into a witch? Should my swordsmen continue to use a sword and shield or should I let them become more zealous with a two-handed weapon? These choices reminded me a bit of the recent X-Com title, forcing me to make informed decisions that meshed well with the rest of my squad.


"Legends of Eisenwald’s retro-inspired RPG fare is far from perfect, but its satisfying fast-paced combat successfully managed to keep me intrigued and motivated even when other aspects of the title didn’t."

Eisenwald’s story attempts to weave a tale of woefulness, placing the player in a world fraught with corruption and scandal. While it attempts deals with very serious issues like rape, murder, and racism, the problems to the story tries to address never really seem to be more than a superficial means of “shocking” players. There’s no real rhyme or reason to any of the actions the game portrays, and it never gives players the opportunity to deal with the presented issues properly. 

Eisenwald’s interface is somewhat frustrating. There were times when it functions without issue and there were other times when I found pausing combat, unit selection, and quest layouts either didn’t work, or they were shoddy and unfocused. Quest layouts were especially frustrating, forcing players to stand in specific spots to trigger events, but not giving any real guidance that would help a player figure it out aside from trial and error.

Legends of Eisenwald’s retro-inspired RPG fare is far from perfect, but its satisfying fast-paced combat successfully managed to keep me intrigued and motivated even when other aspects of the title didn’t. Coupled with its fine musical score and decent graphics I think you’ll find a lot more than expected from a title that evolved from a Kickstarter campaign. I know I certainly did.

Review by: Palmer Sturman | Reviewed on: PC

6.5

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Review

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It’s hard to imagine that nine years have passed since the original Gears of War was released and forever changed the third-person shooter genre. Nearly every action game that followed borrowed gameplay elements from Bleszinski’s talented team. Understandably, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft decided to release an HD remake of their acclaimed franchise. But, is a decade-old game with a new paint job enough to mask Microsoft’s recent hiccups? To a degree, yes, even if the gameplay elements that made GOW so revolutionary in 2006 no longer carry the same weight.  

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition may appear like another piece of padding in an industry deprived of ideas, and this HD-remake does more to point out how far the genre has evolved. Nevertheless, Games like Gears of War carry a certain timelessness that leaves little room for major criticism. If nothing else, the Ultimate Edition is a great way to re-experience a beloved classic with new hardware.


"A part of me is mesmerized by the impressive visual overhaul and the characters’ persistent charm, while another part of me struggles with the now archaic gameplay."

After spending several days with both singleplayer and multiplayer modes, I’m still torn between loving Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and coping with a sense of disappointment. A part of me is mesmerized by the impressive visual overhaul and the characters’ persistent charm, while another part of me struggles with the now archaic gameplay. That’s not to say GOW plays poorly, it’s just that it lacks the same impact it once had. 

The remake has been tweaked in a few key areas by incorporating elements from the original Gears of War 3 to streamline the UI and overall responsiveness. The ability to switch weapons while running or evading is a nice touch, too. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the countless third person shooters over the years, but when the act of reloading a gun is more satisfying than actually firing it, I begin to wonder whether certain gameplay changes could have benefited from further refinement.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition looks stunning. Every single level has been completely redone with higher-resolution textures, improved lighting, and, of course, better anti-aliasing. The revamped visuals are at least partially responsible for the occasional fps dips during hectic battles, but the world is so much richer and believable that it’s almost worth it. Unfortunately, I’ve also encountered a few major bugs. On multiple occasions, I had to restart entire levels because a checkpoint wouldn’t load or a character/vehicle would get stuck in the environment. None of these issues are deal breakers, but considering this is Gears of War we’re talking about, it comes off as a little lazy.


"Having the action run at an uneven 30fps makes everything look and feel sluggish. It’s particularly disappointing in comparison to the smoother multiplayer mode, which runs at a flawless 60fps."

It’s also a shame that the single player portion is limited to 30fps. I don’t buy the “cinematic” excuse for a second. This is an action game that relies on quick reflexes and fast controller response. Having the action run at an uneven 30fps makes everything look and feel sluggish. It’s particularly disappointing in comparison to the smoother multiplayer mode, which runs at a flawless 60fps. Sacrificing some heavy post-processing filters in favor of a higher frame rate would have been a much better choice here.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is a solid, albeit unimpressive HD remake. With Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection offering three full games at 60fps just around the corner, GOW comes off as a bit lazy and barren. The 19 classic multiplayer maps, a few digital comics, and the Early Access to Gears of War 4 Multiplayer Beta can’t hide the fact that you’re only getting a small portion of what should have been a full HD trilogy collection. And no, having access to downloadable, digital versions of the original GOW sequels does not count. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is worth picking up if you’re a die-hard fan or new to the series, but if you already own the original Xbox 360 version, you won’t be missing much by waiting for a price drop.    

Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Xbox One

7

Gryphon Knight Epic Review

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Steam Greenlight has lingered so long past its supposed expiration date, it’s devolved into Valve’s openly sleazy red-light district, overflowing with shovelware and wannabe developers desperate to score a buck. It’s a real shame, because Greenlight is also responsible for gems like Gryphon Knight Epic. Developer Cyber Rhino Studios is about as independent as they come, the Brazilian-based trio of creatives even funded the project through Kickstarter. If you’re a fan of classics like Metal Slug, or pretty much any of the old school 2D shoot ‘em ups, then Gryphon Knight Epic is going to feel both nostalgically familiar and refreshingly unique. If mixing shoot‘em up action with exploration and duel-like boss battles sounds like an absolute blast, then spending a meager $11.99 isn’t much to ask for.

Gryphon Knight Epic isn’t the next Fez or Journey, but that sort of appraisal tends to be more reductive than telling. Cyber Rhino Studios makes no promises to revolutionize the indie scene. It’s a charming budget title designed for a niche audience that still embraces the beauty of 8-bit. Gryphon Knight Epic is a little on the short side, with only eight levels, but each has been meticulously designed and offers plenty of replay value to those willing to tackle a higher difficulty.



"If you’re a fan of classics like Metal Slug, or pretty much any of the old school 2D shoot ‘em ups, then Gryphon Knight Epic is going to feel both nostalgically familiar and refreshingly unique."

You play as Sir Oliver, a knight who has already defeated the big bad dragon, married his beloved princess and secured the kingdom from evil. Oliver’s peculiar story revolves around fighting adversaries that were once his friends, and figuring out why they have gone rogue. It’s a an engaging tale enveloped in gorgeous pixel graphics and a self-aware sense of humor that perfectly fits its quirky world.

Gryphon Knight Epic sets itself apart from other classic 2D shoot ’em ups by offering open and explorable levels. Shmups are typically linear and move gamers in one direction without the ability to backtrack and veer off the path. Gryphon Knight Epic plays more like a traditional metroidvania-inspired platformer, with paths opening in all directions and hidden collectibles enforcing exploration. The openness is a nice touch, and certainly gives levels more diversity, but the restrained execution reads as shallow. The various branching paths feel somewhat limited, and it doesn't take much to discover everything the levels have to offer. Since the game is so short, the sense of exploration and discovery feels like a tease, instead of a fully fleshed out idea.



"With an attractive price point and charming visuals, this is a fun adventure that’s sure to scratch that nostalgia itch for a weekend."

Fortunately, Gryphon Knight’s gameplay truly shines, particularly the punishing yet rewarding difficulty. Like the classics it takes inspiration from, Gryphon Knight Epic isn’t for those seeking a casual experience. Even on normal difficulty, the game’s enemies can quickly drain your health if you aren’t an expert at maneuvering erratically moving attack patterns from each side. The game’s open levels further add to the difficulty as the enemies reset each time you re-enter a scene. If you’re stuck backtracking to flip forgotten switches, and your energy levels are low, it’s pretty much game over. 

Gameplay is snappy and responsive, and even the toughest levels feel fair due to perfect responsiveness and movement fluidity. Memorizing patterns and saving up special attacks for the toughest choke points is key to staying alive. Each one of the levels boasts a tough endboss that’s sure to cause some frustration, but defeating them is equally satisfying.

In an endless sea of greenlit gunk, Gryphon Knight Epic stands out as one of the finer offerings. With an attractive price point and charming visuals, this is a fun adventure that’s sure to scratch that nostalgia itch for a weekend. Hopefully, the developers can expand the open-level approach further if there’s ever to be a sequel, but until then, check out Gryphon Knight Epic if you’re feeling trigger happy. 

Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC

7.5