SETTLE DOWN BOAH! – A review of Red Dead Redemption 2

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(Link to video review at bottom of the page)

 

(WARNING, STORY SPOILERS)

Do you remember the first time you saw Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”? That iconic musical score that plays right after he fires his pistol that still gives me goosebumps. You know the one. Or how about Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful 8?” A film set entirely in a cabin in the middle of a blizzard, in which a group of strangers don’t know whether to trust each other or not. Both these films really grasp how I feel when I play Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s a love letter to the Wild West that shows the brutality of that time as well as single handily signifying the death of the Wild West and the end of the Western genre. This is my review of Red Dead Redemption 2.

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It all starts on a snowy mountain trail in the dead of night in the middle of a snowstorm, on the run from the law after a boat heist gone wrong, this is where we meet our protagonist, Arthur Morgan, as well as other members of the gang, including the charismatic Dutch van der Linde who is the leader of the gang and whom the gang is named after. Everyone takes shelter in a small abandoned town in the snow while Arthur, Dutch, and another member of the group, Micha, go in search of food and the first Red Dead Redemption protagonist, John Marston. You spend a fair amount of time in the mountains, learning how to to ride your horse and hunt with a bow, and while some players would find this tutorial section boring and monotonous, it felt like the game was giving me a small peek at what was to come and what I was about to experience.

Because that’s exactly what Red Dead Redemption 2 is, it’s an experience. The game follows a flow of action packed shootouts and riding around on horses mixed in with less exciting activities such as fishing or hunting. But those activities add a hint of realism to the world around you, the Wild West wasn’t full of people shooting each other all the time, there were people going about their daily lives just trying to survive in the wilderness. And Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t shy away from trying to be as realistic as possible, it’s the little details in the game that make it stand out above all others. Here’s a few examples: When Arthur or his horse gets caked in mud, the mud will actually stay on the piece of clothing until you either wash it off in a river, or go to the local inn and have a bath. Another detail is the way NPC’s react to the world around them, most NPC’s will have a set cycle they go through everyday, from waking up and going to herd cattle, to going to the local tavern in the evening to have a drink, it makes the people really feel alive. But the real kicker is being able to interact with the NPC’s, it might be the most basic way of interaction in comparison to games such as Mass Effect or Fallout, but it’s still incredible to have a person react to what you say to them and how you treat them. But that’s only a few reasons how Red Dead 2 feels so realistic, but I could spend an entire video just explaining the minute details of the entire game, and we just don’t have that much time. Especially since Red Dead 2 is a 60+ hour game.

Playing through Red Dead 2 again is almost nostalgic in itself, even though I only finished the main story a month ago it feels like I’m catching up with old friends again. The voice acting is first class and the delivery in the motion capture is even better, Rockstar games really went far and beyond when it comes to cut scenes, not only are they seamless as you walk into them, but all the actors put 100% when delivering their lines, especially when it comes to the likes of Dutch and Arthur, especially Dutch, who’s lines such as “We need money!” and “One more job, then Tahiti!” have become so memorable that they have become a joke throughout the Red Dead community. But jokes aside, listening to Dutch drone on when he’s giving a monologue never gets tiresome. In fact it builds on Dutch’s character as a man who wants nothing more then to protect his family of outlaws, but also has a darker side to him that will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He’s a polar opposite to Arthur, who also wants to help his family, but has a very strong morale code, in which he starts to wonder if he’s doing the right thing being an outlaw, but knows that there is no way out for him at this point, this is of course called Red Dead Redemption, and Arthur’s story is ultimately about the redemption of his past sins.

I think what stands out the most to me when playing Red Dead is just how beautiful the landscape looks, Rockstar have done an incredible job in making the areas you explore feel alive with animals running around, or trees blowing gently in the breeze as you ride your horse over a mountain, but the lighting really takes your breath away. While riding to the next town or to to a new mission just before sunset, the sky is filled with a faint pink/orange glow that shines through the branches and leaves of trees. It creates an atmosphere that perfectly illustrates what sort of game Rockstar were trying to create, a game about a beautiful landscape, run by outlaws that is slowly being taken over by American Industrialisation. I would just like to show you a few clips/images of Red Dead Redemptions world, so you can also appreciate the effort Rockstar went through to craft it.

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Now that you have seen just how incredible Red Dead Redemption 2’s world is, I want to talk about the musical score of Red Dead 2, because it’s utterly fantastic. It’s no wonder it won best soundtrack at the game awards last year, and it rightly deserves it. The score is perfectly woven throughout the game to make the experience all the more satisfying, the songs that are used toward the end of the game are called “Unshaken by D’Angelo, and That’s they way it is by Daniel Lanois, please go listen to both these songs before you continue this review, they are used in a pivotal part of the games closing hours, and they  perfectly illustrate what the player is feeling toward Arthur at that point, I’m not going to spoil anything here, but when you play it and get to that part you will understand.

But how is Red Dead Redemption 2 as an actual game? I’ve been talking about all these amazing things Red Dead does when it comes to making it an experience, but I haven’t talked about how it plays. The best word I can use to describe Red Dead 2’s controls is that it is clunky, now this isn’t a bad thing. Its purposely slow to give the game a more “realistic” feel to it.This can be frustrating sometimes when you feel that Arthur’s movements are all over the place and you have no real control over where he’s going, (especially if you’re running from bounty hunters or a wild bear). Not only that but sometimes shootouts are cumbersome as well, Arthur will continuously take cover on the wrong wall or barrel even though you were aiming to take cover on a tree. This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does it usually ends up with you being killed. Obviously going back to Red Dead 2 after playing so much Titanfall 2 was a bad idea, while Titanfall reacts to even the slightest touch of the joystick, Red Dead is slow and deliberate, meaning taking down enemies sometimes takes longer than it should. But like Titanfall, gunfights still make you think, if you repeatedly fire your weapon while walking straight toward your enemy Arthur will become tired, meaning he becomes very inaccurate when firing his weapon.

This also is affected by the in game “core” mechanics that both Arthur and your horse has, you need to make sure you keep feeding Arthur food that you pick up or hunt and cook yourself to keep his heath and stamina core up. Same goes for your horse companion as well, you need to make sure you feed your horse enough carrots and oatcakes to make sure it can sprint for the longest duration of time. It’s an interesting survival mechanic that adds an edge of tension when you see your health core being drained when being shot at by some enemies, but it also makes cooking your own food and crafting your own health cures that much more important. But most importantly it allows for player agency in crafting those items.

Look, I could talk for hours on why I think Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best games of this generation, but I think I’ve been talking enough and you get the idea of what I’m trying to say. But I’ll leave you with just one more thing, remember at the start of this review how I mentioned how “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” gave me goosebumps every time I hear that iconic score? The same thing goes for all of Red Dead Redemption 2, it will go down not only as a genre-defining video game masterpiece, but as one of the greatest western stories ever told.

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TITANFALL 2: One of the best first-person shooters of this generation.

 

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First-person shooters, we’re all familiar with the genre. It started with the original DOOM and Wolfenstien, which paved the way for more exciting and dynamic shooters, then we had Halo and Call of Duty which redefined modern shooters till this day. But since those fantastic games, we haven’t had anything that has wowed us completely. That is until I played Titanfall 2.

Titanfall 2 is the sequel to Respawns Titanfall, which was released in 2014 . Titanfall received positive reviews from both critics and consumers alike, the only negative thing was the lack of single player campaign. I also played Titanfall, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing it. But after playing the same maps over and over again I decided to stop playing altogether. That is until Titanfall 2 was released, and I jumped straight into multiplayer, not even bothering to play the campaign (something I would regret) and stopped playing after a week of its release. That is until I picked it up for $8.00 in the Xbox holiday sale and decided to sit down and play it. I had heard nothing but good things from friends that had played it, but my expectations were still low. How could Respawn go from making a completely multiplayer game to a story driven single player first person shooter? But as I started playing through the first few missions of Titanfall 2, I released that it was nothing like the first Titanfall, it was even better.

 

 

 

 

(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)

 

 

 

 

 

Titanfall 2 has you playing as Jack Cooper, a rifleman in the Militia fighting against the IMC. In the first few minutes of the game you learn how to shoot a variety of different weapons, and learn how to wall run and move swiftly throughout the battlefield. The player is then given control of BT-7274, a Vanguard-Class Titan. And that’s when the real fun begins. You feel invulnerable while running around as a Pilot, darting from one wall to other while firing your rifle at IMC troops, then using active camouflage to dart behind them and take them out with a well placed grenade. But you feel unstoppable in a Titan, rampaging through the battlefield Titans can take an enormous amount of damage, but can also dish it back. BT has a variety of loadouts he can use, all with different weapons and abilities. Some of these being you can stop incoming projectiles and launch it back at enemies, or you can fire a big red laser of death out of your chest that disintegrates all enemies around you. But what makes piloting BT so much more satisfying is the fact that you can only control him in certain areas, but those areas are perfectly placed throughout the levels.

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Titanfall 2’s level design is incredible. Here’s an example: You and BT make your way to a secret IMC facility in search of your superior Commander Anderson. But the place is abandoned and even looks like a horrible explosion has happened there. You then find Anderson, but oh no, he’s stuck half in the roof and dead. So you collect his helmet only to find out from BT that there is a rift in space and time in the facility. And it seems the other half of Anderson is the epicentre. So you make your way upstairs to find Andersons other half, all the while getting hallucinations of the facility before the accident. You then find Anderson’s body sticking out of the ground with a “Fold” device on it. Which is actually a time jump device, in which you can jump from your time back into the past. And that’s where gameply gets interesting, you have to traverse the facility on foot using the device to get around barriers and enemies in both the future and the past. But most importantly, the mission strengthens Jack’s relationship with BT through small conversations, but what makes these conversations more important is that you can choose how to reply to BT, the conversations mostly end the same way, but it strengthens not only Jack’s relationship with BT, but the players as well. You begin to trust him not only as a tool to use in difficult situations, but as a friend.

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That is the main theme of Titanfall 2, the relationship between Pilot and Titan. In the final missions of the game Jack and BT work in perfect unison, you have jumped in and out of BT so many times that you trust him to cover you as you traverse levels on foot, then jump back inside BT to take out incoming enemy Titans. The way you pilot BT depends on whether or not you succeed in battle, do you want to purely pilot BT throughout the entire battle? Sure you can do that, do you want to take out enemy titans on foot while using BT as a distraction? You can also do that. The game play allows players to express how they want to play, and are not forced into fighting a particular way.

But let’s talk controls, how does Titanfall 2 feel when you play it? The first Titanfall’s controllers were smooth but clunky in some ways, in certain sections of the game (namely when wall running) you felt like your pilot had no real control when leaping from wall to wall. But Titanfall 2 corrects this, moving from sprinting and sliding to wall running is seamless, you have complete control over your pilot. You know when someone says that when fighting with a sword that the weapon becomes an extension of their arm? Well the same applies when playing a video game such as Titanfall 2, there is that much control when playing as a pilot that jumping from wall to wall seems natural, and same goes for firing weapons as well. You become so used to firing weapons on the run that standing still to long feels unnatural. But that’s why Titanfall 2’s controls are so great, they keep you on the move all the time.

You’re probably asking yourself why play Titanfall 2 in 2019? Surely we have better first person shooters like Wolfenstien: The New Colossus or Destiny 2 to play? Well yes you can definitely go play them, but if you want an experience that has challenging level design and amazing controls, not to mention a fantastic narrative that keeps you on your toes, then I would definitely recommend Titanfall 2, because as much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think we’re going to see something like it again in a long time.

 

 

Hey everyone! I’ve started doing something a little different with my reviews, I’ve started making video reviews as well! So if you want more of a visual experience then check out my YouTube channel with the link bellow! Thanks for reading!

There’s so many new games to play, so why do I keep coming back to Destiny 2?

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2018 has been an absolutely amazing in regards to video game releases. We’ve had blockbusters like God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 blow everyone away with their fantastic narratives and amazing graphics. In between those big titles I’ve been slowly trying to get through my large backlog of games, so why do I keep coming back to Destiny 2?

The thing is, Destiny 2 and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. I played a lot of the first game, bought all the DLC and even completed the moments of triumph just before Destiny 2’s release, but as I played through Destiny 2 and completed the campaign, I was all Destiny’d out. The first two expansions (Curse of Osiris and Warmind) came and went, but I was too distracted with other games to even bother to play it. But then all of a sudden a few months ago I picked it back up again and started playing through the campaign with a friend of mine. But I stopped after a couple of weeks, only to return a week ago at the start of “The Dawning” event.

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The Dawning is Destiny 2’s Christmas event, and has players running around baking cookies for all your Vanguard buddies. It’s a corny quest that doesn’t take itself seriously, especially since the players reward is a Christmas sleigh to race around on the surface of planets. You might assume that baking cookies in a first person shooter would be enjoyable, but it’s not. It’s a grind. But that is what Destiny is all about, doing the same thing over and over again to gain a reward. In fact this is Destiny’s gameplay loop, run – shoot – get loot – run again until you get the weapon or armour piece that you want. To some people this might be the most boring thing in the world, but to me there’s something both relaxing and exciting about it. The world that Bungie has created is engaging enough to have me coming back for more even when there are 1000 other games out there to play (some of them being even better then Destiny).

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I think what really makes me coming back to Destiny 2 is the updates. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with the way Bungie releases content, it is effective enough to make me wanting to come back for more. Curse of Osiris was weak for a DLC, especially when it comes to the “simulation” that the Vex create, which was meant to be a randomly generated dungeon, but ends up being a boring part of missions in which most players will just run straight through it, but the DLC still expanded the universe at large. While Warmind was slightly better then Osiris, with a larger patrol area on Mars and interesting missions focused around the AI Rasputin that we meet in the first game, but it still falls short in the amount of content compared to Destiny 1’s DLC. Other then that, it’s still enjoyable to play, I haven’t purchased Forsaken yet, and it might change my mind in when it comes to Destiny 2, but we will have to wait and see.

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Destiny 2 will be a game that I continue to come back to, luring me in with the promise of new loot and interesting new missions. It may be flawed, but it’s one of the most interesting and exciting First Person Shooters of this generation.

2018 has been one of the best years for video games, and it’s only going to get better.

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2018 has been a big year for video games, we’ve had big blockbuster releases such as God of War, Spider-Man PS4, and Red Dead Redemption 2. As well as smaller but no less significant indie titles like Celeste and Into the Breach. Looking back at all the releases for this year makes me excited for what we are going to see in 2019 and beyond.

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But first lets go over what happened this year when it comes to games. We’ve had a lot of new releases on the Nintendo Switch, like a brand new Mario Party and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. We’ve had Pokemon Lets go Pikachu! and Lets Go Eevee! We’ve even had Dark Souls and Diablo 3 ported to the Switch. The Nintendo Switch is turning out to be an amazing console now that more and more developers know it’s power and what can run on it. Hell, (quite literally) we’ve even had DOOM ported to the Switch, and we can all now shoot Nazi’s on the go as well since Wolfenstein 2 was also ported.

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PlayStation absolutely killed it this year with exclusives, they released (the now game of the year) God of War, which absolutely blew everyone away with it’s fantastic and emotional narrative and it’s change up from being a top down hack-and-slash to a over the shoulder experience. We’ve had Spider-Man PS4, which not only hit us with nostalgia for the original Spider-Man 2, but also gave us an engaging story and awesome new abilities to swing and punch our way through New York City. We’ve also seen old familiar faces return, both Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited have both been remastered, allowing us to return to our childhood selves as well as showing a new generation so they can experience these games for the first time.

Interestingly enough Xbox didn’t have many exclusive releases this year, the major one being Forza Horizon 4. The one thing that Xbox did do this year was acquire 5 independent studios, including Obsidian Entertainment (the guys behind the original Fallout and Fallout: New Vegas) who are now developing a brand new Sci-Fi RPG titled “The Outer Worlds” which was showcased at the Video Game Awards last week. Speaking of the VGA’s, it was absolutely incredible to watch and really shows how far video games have come as a medium, it’s fantastic to see an award show celebrate what makes video games great, as well as celebrate the developers who put in the hard work to create them.

We’ve also seen a huge shift in games concerning Loot Boxes and Micro transactions. The biggest stories being Belgium outright banning Loot Boxes and some other countries (including Australia) investigating them more thoroughly to decide whether they fall under gambling laws. Will this change the way developers add micro transactions to their games? Probably not, it’s the only way game studios can make money after the release of their games. But it’s not all doom and gloom, after Star Wars Battlefront 2’s controversy studios will be a lot more careful when it comes to integrating micro transactions and loot boxes into their games.

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2018 also ended on a high note with Red Dead Redemption 2 being released in November alongside Assassins Creed Odyssey. Both those games have been extremely impressive when it comes to creating a living, breathing, open world. They have set the standard when it comes to AAA RPG’s, which makes me very excited for Cyberpunk 2077.

So you know what I say? Bring on 2019, if it’s going to be like this year then I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next year. And on that note, Merry Christmas! And I hope everyone has a safe and happy holidays!

HALO – THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION. 4 YEARS LATER

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This is the second time I’ve started writing this review, not because the last piece I had was awful or anything. I just felt as though it didn’t highlight enough my love for the Halo series as a whole. Even though this review will focus mainly on the Master Chief Collection, it will also focus on how the Halo series has influenced my life as well. So here we go, here is my take on Halo MCC, 4 years later.

I can remember the first time I ever heard the name “Halo”, it was on the very first game console I ever owned, a original Xbox. My family bought it for all of us to play and it came with a few games, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a PGA Tour game, and of course Halo. But as Halo was rated M at the time my Mum put it away somewhere so I couldn’t play it. But the front cover of that game always fascinated me, a man in a green suit of armour stood with his rifle aimed toward the screen with a mysterious alien world behind him. In fact I thought that the man in green armour was called Halo, and it wasn’t until many years later that I found out his real name, The Master Chief. It wouldn’t be in 2007 that I actually had the chance to play my first Halo game, that being the newly released Halo 3, and I had an absolute blast playing through the campaign with a friend. But the real game that made me hooked was Halo Reach, funnily enough Bungie’s last ever Halo game. I played more hours on that game then I could count. From there I played through the rest of the games multiple times leading up to the release of Halo 4. But then, on November 11th 2014 The Master Chief Collection was released, and it would change the Halo franchise forever.

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To those of you that don’t know, Halo MCC is a collection of the first 4 Halo games in the series, with Halo 3: ODST thrown in later. Meaning that Halo MCC has a whopping 5 games as well as classic multiplayer with all the maps included. It was a Halo fans dream come true….. or so we thought. Halo MCC’s launch was rough to say the least, players progress was being wiped, achievements weren’t popping when they should have, and it was almost impossible to find a multiplayer match at all. Looking back on it now it seemed to me that Halo MCC was a disaster, with the only positive things coming out of the game was Halo 2 remastered and those amazing cut scenes that Blur remade. But now, 4 years later I’ve found myself playing it again. My best mate and I played through all 5 games on Legendary, and have been trying to 100% the entire game for the last 2 years. To put it into perspective there are 600 Achievements total, and I have 502 of them, with a total of 314 hours of playtime. So no, I don’t think that Halo MCC is a bad game, in fact it does many things right, and most of the game-breaking bugs have even been fixed. The developers of MCC, 343 Industries, swore that this year they would continue to update MCC and even try and fix matchmaking problems.

This is a good thing on the developers part, they realised that MCC just wasn’t living up to the vision of what it should of been, furthermore Halo 5 released in 2015, and that also had it’s own problems. But was it too late? Even now when I jump on to play a multiplayer match it still takes a good 5-10 minutes to find a match on a slayer playlist, and good luck getting a match on Big Team Battle or anything else, most of them are still dead. But when you do find a match the game runs amazingly, and it feels like you’ve been transported back in time to 2007,  playing Halo 3 as you’re shouting profanities over your headset at another player on your team who killed you for the sniper-rifle. It’s a real nostalgia trip. But that nostalgia wears off very quickly, and after awhile you need to step out of the shoes of the Master Chief and go play something else. Halo MCC has been through hell, and to see people still playing it today makes me a very happy fan of the series.

Nevertheless, in my eyes Halo the Master Chief Collection was a celebration of everything that is Halo, as well as a celebration of a extremely loyal community of fans. It’s also an example of how hard it is to release a game to a community that has high expectations, let alone for 4 of the most loved games of all time. At the end of the day Halo MCC is a brilliant game in 2018, and I would recommend it to anyone that loves Sci-Fi and First Person Shooters, in fact it’s actually now on Xbox Gamepass so anyone can try it out!

And that’s it for my look back at Halo MCC, I’m going to be trying something a little different in 2019, and I can’t wait to get started. See you next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Dead Redemption Online Beta – My thoughts so far.

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I’ve finally managed to play a few hours of Red Dead Redemption online, and it’s exactly what you would expect it to be. Shootouts in the middle of towns, players being hogtied and dragged along the ground behind a horse, innocent townsfolk being murdered left right and centre, just absolute chaos. But this is to be expected, throw a bunch of random players together in a western themed open world and see what happens. Hmm, it’s starting to sound a lot like a certain HBO show I know…. The most interesting addition to Red Dead online is the story missions which can be played with up to four people, yes you heard me right, Red Dead Online has a story mode. Players start out being freed from a carriage taking you to Sisika Penitentiary, from there players learn how to set up a camp then are given different story missions which take you from shooting other outlaws through to robbing trains, all with your friends.

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There is plenty of other things to do in Red Dead Online, you can go hunting and fishing like you can in the campaign. Except every animal you catch and skin is now taken and sold to the butcher instead of the Trapper. There’s free roam events that the player can partake in, as well as Team Death matches, Horse Racing, as well as a battle royal mode (which is actually a lot of fun). The only downside so far to Red Dead Online is the in-game currency, the player can earn US dollars as well as gold nuggets and bars. Earning 100 gold nuggets will get you one gold bar, and missions will sometimes only give you 2 or 3 gold nuggets a pop. But on top of that the prices for goods and weapons are crazily expensive as well, for comparison: the Lancaster Repeater in the story mode costs $135 US dollars, while in Red Dead Online it costs $405 US dollars. This might not be too bad if the money the player was gaining was a lot, but the most a player will get out of a mission is between $3 to $7 dollars. So it will take forever for a player to be able to gain the money to be able to purchase just one new firearm. Thankfully Rockstar has released a statement today assuring players that they will be updating the in game economy, here is their post:

I’ts great to see Rockstar reacting to player feedback so quickly and even pushing out an update in the same week. It’s only early days for Red Dead Online, I’m sure we are going to see a lot more updates and patches in the coming weeks and months. And each time it’s just going to get better and better. Red Dead Online is exactly how I thought it would be, it’s taken the best parts of Red Dead 2 and added a multiplayer component to it. It’s going to be interesting in the next few months seeing how much micro transactions will play a part in Red Dead Online, because it surely will given how successful Grand Theft Auto Online was for Rockstar (GTA V is the most financially successful media title of all time), so it seems logical to assume that Red Dead will be the same. But I guess we can only wait and see. Till next time partner.

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FALLOUT 76 – My journey into West Virginia

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♪♪ “COUNTRY ROADS, TAKE ME HOME,

TO THE PLACE, I BELONG,

WEST VIRGINIA, MOUNTAIN MAMA,

TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS” ♪♪

 

 

Happy Reclamation Day everyone!

I’ve been holding off writing this review because I just wasn’t sure what to make of Bethesda studios newest Fallout game. On one hand I’m really enjoying what it has to offer with it’s survival mode and large beautiful looking landscape. But on the other it’s full of glitches and bugs, some even being game-breaking. I know that it’s “cool” at the moment to hate on Fallout 76 and call it a horrible game and a complete disaster, but it’s far from it. So let’s start off with the negatives because I want this review to end on a high note, so here it goes.

Fallout 76 is set in the post- apocalyptic West Virginia with its large mountains and hauntingly beautiful forests. But it has some problems, growing pains if you like to call it that. When the beta went live before release players were complaining of the constant bugs and glitches (one particularly bad one where the game would delete itself off of the person’s PC), Bethesda said that they were working on these issues before the games release, but still players were nervous about the quality of the product that they were going to be purchasing. Then, just before the release of the second round of the beta, Bethesda issued a “Letter to the fans” here it is here…

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Now we all know Bethesda’s track record when it comes to their games. Most of them are full of bugs that the QA team just didn’t pick up. But Fallout 76 is a fully online multiplayer experience, so going into this game I knew what to expect. And I was not disappointed. I started the game by myself, during these first few hours I ran into a few frame rate drops (I’m playing on Xbox if you’re wondering) but otherwise it was a relatively smooth and fun experience. But then I stopped playing for I didn’t want to get to far ahead of my friends who I was going to be playing it with. So a few days went by and I organised with my friend to play it, so I joined his lobby and off we went to explore West Virginia, and that’s when the trouble started. As soon as we came into contact with other players the frame rate dropped tremendously to point of almost being unplayable, the night ended with my game crashing to dashboard. The next time we invited one of our other friends to join us on our adventure, I joined their lobby and my game immediately froze, so I had to quit the game and return to the dashboard. This happened twice. After that however we went on our adventure, which was filled with HEAPS of bugs, most of them hilarious, my favourite is when a random player jumped into a suit of power armour but the armour doesn’t load. During that time I started to realise how Fallout 76 was unlike any other Fallout game I had ever played.

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Firstly, the combat was very confusing. Enemies would run around at crazy speeds and would be really hard to hit with the slow weapons you’re given at the start of the game. VATS (which allows you to hit the target more accurately) can no longer slow down time because of the multiplayer aspect. The only problem with this is VATS doesn’t lock onto the target quick enough, so by the the time it does the enemy is a metre away from you or their behind cover, which makes it useless. There are no NPC’s, so you are given quests either through letters or audio logs, it really makes the world around you feel empty even with the other players running around. Alright, that’s the negative stuff out of the way, now for the positive.

really like Fallout 76, the past few days I’ve been playing a lot of it and really enjoying myself. I’ve mostly been playing it solo and just enjoying where my feet take me. I’ve been doing small side quests, I traded with another random player, I even found and fought against the horrifying Grafton Monster. But mostly I’ve been travelling from location to location and simply marvelling at the world that Bethesda has created, because it sure is beautiful. Fallout 76 also uses Fallout 4’s crafting system. Except this time the player needs to have the schematics or the weapon mods to be able to customise your weapons. But unlike Fallout 4 your weapons now degrade, which means you need to be keeping an eye on their condition as you fight enemies. This system seems tedious at times, but if you pick up a lot of loot and scrap it into crafting materials you will be fine.

Another added mechanic is the CAMPS, in which players can set up a home wherever and whenever they like. That’s what makes the CAMPS so great, if you don’t like the area you’re in then you can pack the whole thing up and take it someplace else. I made a small homestead for myself up in the forests surrounding Flatwoods, it’s a quiet place and I even put a small ammo box out the front with some ammunition so if people needed some equipment they could take it. It’s a place where players can go regroup and stash there weapons and equipment, but also craft new weapons and armour and even cook meals to take out with you and boil water. For Fallout 76 is a survival game, the players character will get hungry and dehydrated, so the player needs to make sure they have an ample amount of food and water on them as they travel around West Virginia.

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Another new addition in Fallout 76 is the perk card system. Unlike other Fallout titles in which you could pick which perk you wanted from a set list, Fallout 76’s perk system uses trading cards. Every time you level up you pick which perk you would like to upgrade (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck) and from there you can are given a selection of perk cards you can choose from. You can then add that to your character and even upgrade them. The part of these that make it so great is that you can trade these cards with other players, so you’re not stuck with the same cards over and over again. Sometimes you are given a random pack of cards you can open (almost like a loot box) and you have a chance to get a higher ranking card in the packs.  It’s a confusing system at first, but it really feels SPECIAL (see what I did there) when you get further into the game.

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Fallout 76 really is an amazing game. It has the foundations to become one of the biggest multiplayer games in the next few years, Bethesda aren’t just going to stop working on it now that it’s out, they have a plan for it, and yes we might be getting large updates over the coming months. But at least they’re trying to fix it. Yes it might not be a typical Fallout game but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be enjoyed. West Virginia is incredible to explore, sometimes it might be a bit wacky, but what Fallout game isn’t? So if you want my advice, don’t listen to the people screaming online at how awful this game is, because it’s not. And from that, I’m going to head off to my next adventure into Fallout 76, thanks for reading!!

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“For when the fighting has stopped, and the fallout has settled. You must rebuild. Not just walls, not just buildings. But hearts, and minds, and ultimately America itself.” 

 

♪♪ “COUNTRY ROADS, TAKE ME HOME,

TO THE PLACE, I BELONG, 

WEST VIRGINIA, MOUNTAIN MAMA,

TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS” ♪♪