No Man’s Sky Review

No Man’s Sky ventures in to a new frontier with a universe full of unique planets. It allows the player to “go where no man has gone before.” Unlike Captain Kirk, you will not be able to surround yourself with a crew of friends physically or virtually. This is a game meant to be played alone. Although the video game community is split on whether or not this game is an epic success or an epic failure, no one can contest a few key points.

First, the game does not contain all the elements promised in the pre-launch campaign—of course few games do.

Second, if you try to play the game is traditional manner trying to reach an objective, solve the puzzle, climb the levels, conquer the game and its opponents, you are setting yourself up for a frustrating few hours.

Third, using an algorithm to create limitless flora, fauna and biomes has broken a barrier that could be an evolutionary step in video game development.

No Man’s Sky allows users time for solitude and reflection while being engaged and entertained. Strategies are not for survival, but creation and exploration. Players build their own space ships for esthetics, rather than better weapons or more speed.

The game taps into the part of us that needs to carve a quiet place out of our day where we can retreat and no one else can follow. Playing No Man’s Sky reminds me of a friend of mine who rakes their Zen garden every day for 30 minutes. Or my grandfather who used to walk the perimeter of his farm every night after dinner. If you like to run or ride your bike for miles just because, you will love this game.

This is not a video game where there is a clear objective, like collecting items to save the princess, kill everyone on a level to reach the next one, navigate a battlefield to save your squad. If you move quickly through the game trying to reach new planets and doing a cursory check to see what lives there and what they look like, you will be very disappointed with this game.

If you enter the new universe as if it was your new home, and slowly absorb and name each element of the planet, you can embrace the wonder of the journey. Stand still and feel the pulse of your new world.

It is an unusual and contradictory game, one that asks very little of its players while simultaneously demanding a great deal. It’s a frustrating failure in many ways, technically unpolished and seemingly unfinished. It’s full of perplexing design decisions and half-realized ideas. It gets a few big things right and a hundred little things wrong. It draws you in with a promise of endless splendor, then swiftly reveals itself to be something much more ordinary.

No Man’s Sky is a fascinating game, in part because of its novel concept—to fly through near-infinite space, exploring a vast, uncharted universe on your way to its center—and in part because of its tangle of expectations, hype, and controversy.  Relaxing and flowing with the game, allowing the quiet creation and exploration can restore your peace of mind at the end of the day.

You won’t fit every resource into your inventory at first, so here are the most important things to collect in the first couple hours:

It is the most essential element in No Man’s Sky, able to recharge your mining tool and your life support — both of which can take any red-clad isotope, but seriously, only use carbon. Carbon’s also used when interacting with random alien encounters. So far, every planet we’ve gone to has had an abundance of carbon. When in doubt, shoot all the plants and trees. Keep some on you at all times.

The other isotopes (red elements): Plutonium and Thamium9
Both are essential for specific tasks — Plutonium recharges your ship’s launch thrusters, while Thamium9 recharges your pulse engine. Both are considered “rare” although it’s easy to spot plutonium (red crystals, same on every planet) and Thamium9 is ridiculously common once you’re in outer space (shoot any asteroid). Whenever you find these, it’s best to transfer most / all back to your ship immediately (hold down triangle when in your menu) to keep your exosuit’s inventory clean.

The oxides (yellow): Iron, Zinc, and Titanium
Iron is in every rock, and though it’s essential for early-game repair and crafting, its usefulness lessens after you leave the first planet. Zinc and Titanium, the rarer oxides, can also be used to recharge your hazard protection (although a cheaper solution is to run indoors or hop in your ship, if those are options). It’s always good to have a bit of zinc on you, if nothing else, and trust that there’ll be a nearby rock if you really need Iron.

Heridium and other silicates (blue)
Heridium is crucial when you’re preparing your hyper drive. It’s also perhaps the most annoying part of the tutorial, which asks you to walk far away from your ship in search of the element. Feel free to transfer additional Heridium to your ship as soon as you get it — you won’t often need it on hand.

Green elements
Okay so… this is a very long game, and maybe later on this will mean something else, but at this point all green-tinted elements and items only seem to exist for selling in the galactic market. And while sometimes the market favors one element over the other, given the sparseness of inventory slots, it may not be a bad idea to sell these often. Same as with the silicates, feel free to transfer to your ship as soon as you get it, to keep your exosuit inventory clean.

There’s good money to be made on the galactic market. Every system’s space station (and a few random terrestrial spots) provides a place to buy and sell items and upgrades. Prices vary based on each store (a helpful prompt tells you whether or not it’s in your favor). That’s one of the best ways to make money. But here’s an even better way: hold L2 to look at and analyze every creature you see. The galactic library is trying to chronicle everything in the universe, and it seems to have unlimited funds. Press option to open up your library, which lets you rename and upload everything you’ve found. Systems and planets give you the most credit, but you also get paid for discovering creatures and plants.

Ultimately, if you are a person who loves to build and create. If you loves to unwind by relaxing, then you will enjoy and appreciate this game.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Review

The 2008 Mirror’s Edge was widely embraced by gamers pulled in by the first person view point of Faith, a medium build “hot” Asian woman voiced by Jules de Jongh.  The fast pace and stunning graphics helped users overlook the somewhat limited freedom of movement.  This year’s sequel, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, seems to be creating a polarizing reaction.  Players who were pulled in by the character and the storyline were disappointed that the new storyline is thin and that there was a missed opportunity to flesh out the characters bringing in some depth.  They found the game less than engaging.

Players who craved more of the action with its jumps, twists and turns were more than satisfied.  The battles are still a little clunky and more frequent, but increased freedom of movement more than compensated.  The main character had a bit of a transformation looking more edgy and streetwise with a smaller physique and shorter hair style.  The voice actress for Faith Connors was also replace with Faye Kingslee taking on the task.  Although her voice was a bit thin in the trailer, in the actual game, Kingslee was able to nail it

Running is supposed to release endorphins that make people happy, but Faith Connors and her friends don’t seem to take any joy in being off-the-grid mailmen in the city of Glass’ Big Brother-ruled future. Literally everyone in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is sullen at best or angry at worst, and without a shred of humor or levity it becomes a huge downer. Fun fact: you won’t see a single smile in this entire eight to 10-hour story campaign (more if you fill it out with sidequests) until Faith finally cracks a grin in the post-credits scene. Some people feel the character development is nonexistent, and worse, everyone – including Faith herself – is completely unlikable.

Her physical transformation indicates that this will be a more dramatic version.  I was quickly immersed in her world.  I appreciated not being distracted by side plots that would have perhaps developed more sides of Faith’s character.

Faith’s own backstory is revealed when you experience the moment where Faith begins her rise from a carefree runner to the hero the city needs. Playing in first person allows players to feel her fluid movement, combat and power. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a classic example of form over substance. Pleasant, acrobatic sprint over futuristic roofs is often slowed down and distracted by focus on combat or hidden items. Basic gameplay and running in the City of Glass is still more than worthwhile though – there’s no better courier than Faith.  EA needs to take the plunge and allow the game to veer from traditional game play that requires battles to keep our attention.

Movement in Catalyst still feels as fresh and empowering as it did in 2008, with our viewpoint firmly fixed through Faith’s eyes for every jump, slide, wall run, and skill roll (save for the occasional finishing move that pulls the camera out to third-person). That perspective makes the simple act of running a thrill, just like in the original. The crunch of gravel or the squeak of a glass floor under Faith’s feet, the heavy breaths she draws as she runs faster and longer – it’s quickens my pulse to  practically to string moves together successfully as I move from one area of Glass to another across its rooftops. The grappling hook I picked up partway through the campaign helped sell the idea that Faith could traverse a city like you can tie your shoes. Perhaps no other game utilizes the LB/L1 button more than Catalyst – it’s your jump button that leads into momentum jumps, mid-air attacks, and zip lines – but it felt perfectly natural as I ran and jumped around Glass.

Unlike the original Mirror’s Edge, Catalyst’s version of the gleaming white city of Glass is an open world, and it offers a couple of advantages. First, it lets you challenge yourself to put together epic-length, perfect runs that span the entire city.

Fans of the original Mirror’s Edge favorite element was the built-in tool that let you easily create your own time trials.  In Mirror’s Edge Catalyst you can really enjoy putting it to the test in this freeform city. Your time trials automatically show up as optional events in your friends’ games.  Through side quests you can guild up your XP so you can unlock more traversal moves, combat abilities, or Faith’s gear.  Other missions like Secret Messenger Bag retrievals are small parkour challenges that are intriguing by themselves. Checkpoints are liberal and reload times are relatively quick, so you can take risks and experiment without losing much ground.




A Review of the New Release Paragon by Epic Games

Paragon, a third-person multiplayer online battle arena from Epic Games, places you in the battle with constant threat of danger at every turn.  Paragon combines third-individual control with profound key decision-making. Paragon is organized so that each player can contend and win while never spending cash.

“We want to allow people to have meaningful involvement with their characters,” according to executive producer John Wasilczyk. “That means rewarding the experience and time you spend with Paragon. The unifying factor is that we want to make sure we make time feel valuable.” New legends are added to the continually growing list at regular intervals, giving the player more decisions and new powers. Aptitude matters – where you point, when you assault, and how you move. Bases are located at opposite ends of the symmetrical map. Players have to defeat the enemy team and destroy the core in their base.

Paragon places you in direct control of the activity in a completely 3D world. Cards give legends special forces and abilities on the front line. Construct your gathering by playing, and make decks that lead your group to triumph. Since cards influence power in in the game, they must be earned by playing the diversion. Intense new characters join the conflict, changing the fight with unique capacities and ultimates. Be the first to ace them in battle, make pulverizing decks, and lead your group to domination. Each card contains one of two capacities.  

First is a detached capacity, for example, a harm multiplier.  

Second is a dynamic capacity, for example, a mending elixir, all of which can be prepared amid matches. Each card additionally has a specific expense all by itself – from 1 to 10 – which take away from your general asset pool to prepare cards, maximizing at a general aggregate of 60. This allows each player to continue to individualize their player’s abilities.

While the game is intense, it would be nice to have some sort of rankings, so that each player can be teamed with others of the same ability.  Owning the super pack for advanced difficulty would be great, but the skins are not intriguing, so most players may want to level up the legends to get the card packs.

Although the graphics are amazing, the sound is less than epic.  The soundtrack should create tension and heart racing anticipation.  A more ambitious and creative vibe would really support the visual impact of Paragon.

In Paragon, Epic Games (Gears of War, Unreal Tournament) made an combination of styles and conceptions that is a balance of strikingly delightful and energetic visuals. Keeping in mind it continues to have a hefty portion of the natural components of League of Legends, Dota, and Heroes of the Storm, Paragon is very similar to more up-to-date games like SMITE and Gigantic, with quick paced gameplay that puts you nearer to the activity. Be that as it may, it stays consistent with its roots as a MOBA with everything from 5v5 matches, flunkies, paths, towers, centers, and the reiteration of particular saints to look over. It’s all here.

In any case, during the time spent making this unusual, well-crafted venture, Epic plans to guarantee that every aspect of what makes Paragon unique stays in place. This isn’t a MOBA with third-individual shooter gameplay, or a third-individual shooter with MOBA targets – neither one of the genres is weakened here. Paragon is a half breed approach that not just holds the personality of every style of diversion, however frees them in their solitary magnificence.