Life is Strange Episode 1 Chrysalis Review

Life is Strange Episode 1 Chrysalis : Ahead of it's time?

Life is Strange is a new entrant in the ever growing decision making genre in gaming. Over the last couple of years we have had Telltale top of the market with it's versions of The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and more recently Game of Thrones. But is the genre big enough for another studio? Apparently so.

From Square Enix, the publisher that brought such games as Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest and developer Dontnod Entertainment comes Life is Strange. After waking in the midst of a massive storm 18 year old Maxine "Max" Caulfield makes her way to the nearby lighthouse before what seems to be waking up at her desk in school. The class is recieving a lecture from their Photography tutor and after some awkward situations you make your way to the bathroom. It is from this point on you realise that this is just like other choice based games, but something brilliantly new. During a chance encounter that goes terribly wrong your character inadvertantly rewinds time and ends up back in class, and with a few questions for you to answer again you are now able to rewind time to before you answered to see if you would like to change your answer.

As with previous choice based games any choice you make and in the case of Life is Strange the choices you keep effect your story, maybe not straight away but with four more parts coming it will definitely define options available to you afterwards. I love this genre but of late have been getting tired of it because it seemed like a one horse race that apart from changing the subject matter didn't seem to be changing the way to play. And that's why I think this is probably one of the greatest releases we'll probably see this year, not because it is an outstanding game but because it has changed the rules and now other likewise studios are going to have to think about how to keep it fresh.

Life is Strange isn't just fresh but it is pretty, from a visual persepective it is really quite nice. It is muted almost watercolour tones that are soft and embraceful and with a background soundtrack that would be quite at home in an American coming of age film it is a gentle ride. But like most games it does have it's issues. The biggest one for me was mouth syncing, now I know that it is probably ridiculously hard to sync mouth to voice correctly because no matter how hard the coders work just sometimes it never matches up. But on a couple of occasions I actually felt myself feeling a bit off put not of the game but just watching them talk, that said there really isn't any other major faults. At £3.99 or $4.99 respectively it really is worth the price if you like this type of game, and with the second part due for release in March this could be a great game to see you through the year.

***/*   3/4 Stars

Available for Xbox 360/PS3/Xbox One/PS4 and Microsoft Windows

Marvel: Contest of Champions Review

Contest of Champions is a beautiful and fun fighting game for iOS and Android devices. The game takes your through a series of missions where you must compete against bosses, such as Kang the Conquerer, for a purpose that I would deem too spoiler-y to add to a review. The Collector summons you in to control a group of heroes and villains of your choosing to fight against other heroes and villains to inevitably be declared the victor or the battle realm. 

Contest of Champions is based on the 80's Marvel series of the same name. Given that the story already exists, it seems to be looked over that somebody has in fact written and modernised the story they use in the game. Dan Humphries, writer of Legendary Star Lord, has sat down with Kabam (the developers) and written the fantastic story that you learn as you play through the game. 

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As of now the game has 25 playable characters. I will include a link to their wiki page on each of the names, so if you need to do some research to learn more about each character, feel free to click their name to be taken to their bio. The characters are as follows: Abomination, Black Bolt, Black Panther, Captain America, Colossus, Cyclops, Deadpool, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Juggernaut, Punisher, Rhino, Ronan, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Starlord, Storm, Thor, Vision, Winter Soldier and Wolverine

The idea is that you collect crystals which allow you to unlock characters. You get several types of crystals. Daily rewards, premium currency purchases, multiplayer point purchases and rewards for completing missions. Some crystals unlock health/revives/energy, some unlock XP and some unlock champions. 

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Champions have a great way of working together as you put them in teams. Synergy bonuses are used to give you an edge. For example, Gamora gets an added perk when teamed up with Starlord, based on their history in the comics. All the heroes have other heroes they work well with. If you assemble the perfect team, based on that alone, your team will stand a better chance of winning. 

You can rank up your champions in the game. As you win certain game types you will unlock base crystals and IOS-8, which is basically XP. Those two allow you to level up and rank up your heroes. As your hero reaches a certain level, they will cap at that point and you will need base crystals to rank them up so they can continue to level up and get stronger. Confusing in text, but makes sense as you play the game. You can also do daily strikes to help upgrade certain hero types. 

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Along with hero levels are also stars. 1-4 stars are weakest to strongest, 4 stars being the top tier hero and extremely difficult to obtain. The most common is 2 stars, and 3 stars is rare. It is also unusual to obtain a 1 star hero after a certain point, but it can happen. 

There are 6 hero types throughout the game. Science, Mutant, Cosmic, Skill, Mystic and Tech. Each hero type is stronger and weaker against another hero type. This will give you advantages if you plan your team out correctly. 

You also have a choice to play "versus" which is usually PVP, but can sometimes also be events like 3 on 3. Playing versus is the only way to unlock the Punisher as a character. I was lucky enough to unlock him the day before writing this, which is good or I would of said it was impossible. Before unlocking him I had never even seen another player use him. However, as with cars, once you get one, you begin to see it everywhere. I still see people complaining that they could not unlock him, but it is indeed possible. Keep on hoping, true believers. 

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As you play multiplayer you will gradually unlock battle chips. They are used to unlock exclusive crystals, which can then unlock the Punisher as a character for you.

Each hero also has their own (somewhat) unique attacks. These are moves that build up as you fight and they can then be used at strategic times to help give you a leg up in a fight. They are little bars in the bottom corner that will fill up as the fight goes on. They go up slightly as you land a punch or a kick, and they go up a lot faster when the hits are done to you. Then will then allow you to launch a deadly sequence of attacks to drain the other players health. The stronger your hero is, the more powerful the attacks. Once you have 3 bars, it will begin a video sequence that will do an unbelievable amount of damage to your enemies.

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When you play the multiplayer modes you will begin against much weaker opponents and then as your win streak goes up, their difficulty goes up. Eventually you will fight people twice your strength. This process continues until your win streak is broken, and then it will start again. It becomes quite stressful, but it keeps things interesting. 

All in all it is a great game. I really enjoy it. It reminds me a lot of Mortal Kombat or Gods Among Us. I was always more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan, so this is a more fitting game for me, personally. 

I honestly can't put this game down. I really enjoy it. All in all, if you like fighters, Marvel, or both, then this is perfect for you. 

Overall Score: 10/10

Call of Duty: Heroes Review

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Activision's take on the free-to-play base-building strategy game has finally landed. It is most commonly described as Call of Duty meets Clash of Clans, COS: Heroes focuses on constructing and customizing a fully operational military base with defenses, barracks and vehicle depots, and resource-generating buildings, along with attacking and defending bases.

Spending that generated oil and gold allows for the fielding of troops and armored vehicles in a bid to conquer opponents' bases for experience and resources.

In terms of defence, you build up turrets and mortars to defend your buildings and resources. You can upgrade defences and buildings to make them better and stronger, making your chances of survival better. 

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In offense, you simply figure out where to drop your units to do the most damage and watch them do their thing. The game somewhat lives up to its name by including Heroes, who are significant characters from throughout Call of Duty franchise history. Not only can you direct your Heroes exactly where to go during combat, they also have special abilities that you can call upon to swing the tide of a losing battle. They come with their own attacks and some abilities, to help you win in those tight binds. 

The game itself works fine, but pushes premium currency on you a lot. There are also several bugs and the pacing seems quite slow. The whole process seems kind of like you're just grinding for the sake of it.

Call of Duty: Heroes add much to the genre of quick strategy. Although it may appear with Clash of Clans or Boom Beach, there are characters with great attack power, many units air strike and more frantic combat. If you like that sort of game, it's probably going to be great for you, once you get further in to it. In general it just feels like a pebble in a pond filled with a lot of the same pebbles. In my opinion, I could get the same fix from less buggy games. 

Overall Rating: 4/10

Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens Review

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A company best known for its web content, Rooster Teeth has been seriously stepping up their game over the past few months. They have recently announced the development of their first feature length movie; Lazer Team, a partnership with Fullscreen and now, their first full game has been released. 

They are no strangers to appearing in mobile games, as they have also recently appeared in Age of Booty: Tactics. However, this game is their first game where the Rooster Teeth faces we know and love take the lead.

Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens is going to appear familiar to people in some respects. The biggest and most obvious point is something that I feel should get out of the way immediately, simply so my comments section is bombarded. It is clearly based on other familiar the zombie mode from Call of Duty: Black Ops. Black ops is not the only game with hoard modes. Halo, for example, has firefight. It's all similar, but I just happen to get a feeling of Black Ops from this. The object of the game is simply that you fight hoards that get increasingly more difficult as time goes on, and you gain coins which you use to buy weapons or unlock rooms. Now that the obvious Black Ops observation is out of the way, let's get started.

Once you start the game and shoot past the main menu you begin your quest for survival in the Rooster Teeth building with a 10 second countdown. You begin unarmed and three or four aliens make their approach. You melee attack them to make your first few dollars and immediately spend it on the closest weapon before the next hoard approaches. 

As far as weapons go, they really outdid themselves. You can get DVDs to throw, pistols to shoot, axes to attack with and more. In typical Rooster Teeth fashion they also put in quite a few references and the occasional plug. You can get a Minecraft sword to hack-n-slash with, or, the far cooler RWBY scyth from their internet hit, RWBY.  You can also find the Inifity Glove from their game show, The Gauntlet.... or from the Avengers.

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So, you've got your scyth and you're mowing down hoard after hoard, and you're about to die. What then? Well, you could throw in the towel and give up, or you could throw down a self-firing shotgun that'll be your backup and give you time to regroup. You can also hide behind a baracade while your traps do all the work. You can throw down land mines and bear traps to protect your baracdes and live like the Mad King, laughing maniacally while zombies get ventilated. 

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The unfortunate part of this plan is that you need to collect items that drop from zombies to craft all your wonderful toys, so you will eventually run out of some vital supply and realise you are stuck against a wall and a golden door. What now? Well, you spend some of your money to open said door and escape in to the next room and run to your temporary safe haven. Usually in each room is some loot, health and a weapons machine. If you're really lucky you might even spot a familiar face. 

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As the golden door bursts open you might hear the soothing sound of Geoff's drunken voice, or be screamed at by Michael as he runs past you and punches a zombie in the side of the head. There are several familiar Rooster Teeth faces running around the game. According to a statement made by Barbara from Rooster Teeth, there are 8 RT staff running around.

You’ll be able to encounter 8 different RT employees in the game, while exploring the RT studio! (I must admit, it’s a bit weird to play the game, then walk out into the hall and think you’re still in the game.. it’s freaky how accurate it is)
— Barbara Dunkelman

Naturally there are a few bugs in the game. I warped through a wall and got destroyed by a zombie I was kiting at one point, for example. One of my support characters died with health actually left, too. However, bugs are a natural infestation to any version 1.0 app. There is no avoiding it, unfortunately. They didn't impact my overall enjoyment, and they don't even need to be focused on too heavily, but I feel they do need to be noted.

There are a few things I would change in the game, if given a chance. For example, I would allow custom character creation. That is something I felt was lacking. I do understand the logic behind their choice to have set characters, though. They have offered two extra characters for their website sponsors, which is quite clever, it allows an additional reward for their sponsors, plus it brings more people to their sponsor program. 

Another thing I would change is the ability to control the attack style of the Rooster Teeth employees. I get the impression that Rooster Teeth does whatever it wants, whenever it wants, but I would still like it if my allies would not immediately charge at every enemy and you could actually plan a strategy with a combination of traps and attacks. 

All-in-all, I truly enjoyed the game. It helps that I'm a fan of Rooster Teeth, but even if you exclude those guys from the equation, it's a truly enjoyable game type that I love. Overall, I'm very impressed. For their first game, with the help of the developers Team Chaos, they really blew it out of the water. To spite the temporary bugs, and the few things I would consider changing if the game were my own, I still think they did a fantastic job. I can't stop playing this game. It's worth every cent. 

Overall Score: 10/10

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