Volcanoids Early Access Impressions

As I explore a strange steampunk island I’ve just arrived on, the earth begins to rumble, my senses disoriented for a few seconds. Getting back to my submarine, I seal the doors behind me in preparation for inevitable danger, looking out of a handy periscope, only to see the island suffer gigantic volcano explosion, and my vision gets blocked. With the smoke gone, the once green environment is now concealed under a layer of ash, though I’m capable of venturing out yet again. From there on, Volcanoids asks to construct a ship core, setting you up for what you’ll be spending much of your time playing with. An open-world, base building survival game, it sends you out on a quest to reclaim this land for the people once more, and somehow figure out how you’re going to silence the volcano all by yourself.

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Just Cause 4 Review

Playing Just Cause 4, I can’t escape the notion that something went wrong in Avalanche’s open-world series, with a slightly new design direction that doesn’t fit quite as well as fans would hope. I’m still having a blast destroying the multitude of enemy bases scattered across the huge map of Solis, which I traverse with Rico’s trusty grappling hook, paired with weirdly unlimited parachute, and a jet-powered wingsuit you can now use. Blowing up explosive barrels and enemy structures is a usual display of unlimited chaos, which you can now further facilitate by sending a tornado towards an enemy base. Weather effects have a convoluted plot around them, and Just Cause never aimed to have complex exposition, but utilizing them leads to spectacular results. Yet in many ways, the revamped mission structure here feels too restrictive, taking away much of the freedom to do your own thing, where you’d normally be able to progress in the game simply by engaging with its open world. In Just Cause 4, repetitive objective design is now more apparent than ever, and so is its serious lack of improvement over predecessors, though let’s not write the game off just yet.

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Burnout Paradise Remastered Review – A trip down memory lane

Burnout Paradise is one of those games I find myself coming back to year after year, never tiring out on its adrenaline filled gameplay formula. Few racing titles have managed to deliver levels of excitement found in Burnout ever since the series went into hibernation, and none possess the engaging open world found in Paradise. Now it has a fresh coat of paint and brings all DLC into one spot to preserve one of the best arcade racers you can currently find on the market. Burnout Paradise Remastered extensively improves all visual aspects of the original version, while retaining the exact same game experience fans have enjoyed since its release back in 2008. This is all you’d normally ask of a remastered experience, but features significantly more upgrades compared to typical obsession of the gaming industry to update almost everything it’s released in the past. Burnout Paradise is one of those few where I don’t mind spending money to get the updated experience, knowing I’m very well getting exceptional value even when I own the original game. You don’t have to be a racing game fan to enjoy the experience, and Paradise Remastered offers unparalleled open-world excitement.

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Sunset Overdrive PC Review – Go nuts in a vibrant playground

The release of Sunset Overdrive on PC in 2018 came as a pleasant surprise, injecting some much needed over the top fun into a relatively tame gaming year. While blockbuster releases certainly delivered hundreds of hours of quality content, nothing in the past year especially grabbed me as an experience purely aimed at unwinding after a long day. With complex storytelling arcs and heavy exposition, the likes of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Shadow of the Tomb Raider offered engaging narratives and superb gameplay design, yet didn’t manage to grab as much of my attention as some of Insomniac Games’ best work. Sunset Overdrive is an exciting and colorful adventure, unhindered by much story development, and takes full advantage of its quirky tropes to deliver a non-stop action experience. It’s a game you could lose hours in simply exploring its vibrant open world, engaging in random events, and come back with far more memorable reflections than any major release of the past fall.

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Far Cry 5 Review

Playing a new Far Cry game at this point feels like slipping on a familiar pair of shoes, and despite minor token innovation throughout each release, extensively feels like going through the same motion. Far Cry 5 may be the biggest step away from the series’ usual tropes so far, yet I can’t escape the feeling I’ll be doing precisely the same stuff in a different setting. It’s a new region to explore, a new story, a new villain – yet feels very much the same as the games that came before it. Retreading familiar ground, Far Cry 5 throws players into an isolated region, tasked to liberate it from an oppressive cult. It’s wearing a new coat again, although this time Ubisoft made some welcome changes to make the experience less redundant. Don’t expect full blown progress, however, as we’re still playing by the same rules established in Ubisoft’s sandbox titles back around when Far Cry 3 came out. That said, there is a reason many enjoy the series, and won’t leave that comfort zone for innovation. Far Cry 5 is a solid entry once more, but four games in, the magic of its experience is starting to wear off no matter what Ubisoft attempts to change for a new release.

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Subnautica Review – Take a tour of an alien ocean

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Exploring the beautifully crafted underwater world of Subnautica is an experience that’s both awe-inspiring and absolutely terrifying. The vast expanse of the ocean planet you crash land on just begs you to explore its biomes and venture out further beyond safe shallows, but is quick to remind you that this world can also easily kill you. Subnautica is the most approachable game in its genre, and it doesn’t take much to survive, although deeper layers are woven into the experience and hide just underneath the surface. The mystery of the ocean will keep you coming back to explore its biggest depths, all the while crafting better survival gear to tackle its various challenges. The game never gets stale, and I kept coming back for more and more without burning out on its survival genre tropes.

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Revisiting Saints Row 4 – Still an absolute blast

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Developer: Volition; Publisher: Deep Silver

Release Date: August 20th, 2013; Reviewed on: PC

Hardware: Core i5-6500 3.2 GhZ, 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 1070

Saints Row 4 is exactly an over the top fun experience the gaming industry largely forgot how to make, filled with a sense of humor, fast-paced action and an excellent soundtrack to sweeten the deal. It blows expectations out of the water, distancing its nature as far as possible from competitors on the scale of silliness, and never stops surprising during its playtime. It is a game i find myself frequently coming back to, simply to unwind from heavy exposition or storytelling of modern games, and its bombastic nature brings out all the best in action gaming. You’d feel like riding a giant roller coaster made up of explosions and swearing: one that never shows signs of slowing down for even a moment. The gaming industry produced far too few exhilarating experiences since, and years on, Saints Row 4 is still an absolute blast to come back to.

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