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Friday, October 30, 2015

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth DLC Review - 9/10

The Binding of Isaac was a game developed by Nicalis. The game features the titular character, Isaac, as he tries to escape his mother who is convinced by a voice in her head that she must kill her son. Isaac must descend into his basement, fending off horrific creatures created from his own psyche, collecting powerups and other useful items to kill the bosses and finally his own mother. The game was well received which then spawned a new, updated edition that only further added to the game. This DLC aims to do the same.

The Good:
More everything. Music, levels, rooms, enemies, bosses, powerups. Even a new character. The game is superb as is which is great because this only adds to a spectacular game. There's not much to say other than the fact that there's more of this great game. Extending your play with new modes, new challenges, Daily Challenges and even a new character.

The Bad:
Hey, so this game is tough. I mean like pretty tough. Not impossible. If you're playing the base game or the full package for the first time, you're going to be limited by the characters and powerups you can use straight off the bat. This DLC makes you do some of that all over again. I'm not sure how far this goes, but I've been playing the standard game for a few hours this morning. When I started it up again and got to the new content, all of my characters were locked again. And these characters aren't easy to get. Madeline forces you to collect 7 hearts in one game. Cain needs 55 coins in one game. Azazel requires you to make three deals with the devil in a single game. But worst of all, for me, is Samson, who requires you to take no damage for two full floors. I'm not sure why this is, but if this has changed, I'm not sure what else has.

"Such a high score but only one small paragraph of good v. a large paragraph of bad?" If you need to know anything about me and my reviews is that if there's a significant chunk of one bad thing but a high score, I usually like the game. We often criticize the things we love heavily because we love them. The DLC is great, minus a few tiny bits. If you're a returning player or a newbie, I highly recommend it. More play time, more enemies, bosses and powerups. What else could I ask for?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Star Wars The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire Review - 9/10

Knights of the Fallen Empire is (I believe) the third expansion pack for The Old Republic MMO. Unlike the other expansions, this adds a continuation to the main story line rather than just a side track of missions.

The Good:
Props to whoever came up with the story line for this because it's better than the base game. Without going too far into it, the main story of the Jedi Knight class 'kills' the Emperor and leader of the Empire currently. Each class has their own little introduction mission but basically you are searching the galaxy as a united faction of Empire and Republic forces now at 'peace' for whatever remains of the immortal Emperor who has committed genocide to gain more power. The story is simple but with enough twists and turns to make you feel its more of an experience rather than an add on or an addition. It really feels like it was crafted specifically to add more story rather than simply a new raid/Operation or more gear and enemies.
One of the smaller faults I can find with the base game would be the companions. While decent, you were always stuck with them unless you purchased an optional companion from the start. Each companion was fitted to a specific role, which means even if you were a healer, you could be stuck with a healer as your first companion. The new update has changed it so each companion can have their roles switched at will. If I'm a healer stuck with another healer, I can simply switch them to be a tank or even a DPS character. This isn't intrusive either. I can switch roles as much as I please and as often as I please, and so far I have seen no limitation to this.
The main villain of the story is much more of a presence than a figure or an end goal. In the base game, you never had one true enemy like Handsome Jack in Borderlands. You were always skipping from enemy to enemy as the chapters progressed, which felt odd and never really all that great. In this, the main enemy (or in this case, enemies) is front and center. You have a clear goal with little deviation, allowing you to develop a further bond with said villains.
The writing has also seemed to have taken a great leap forward. While the base game was serviceable, this new expansion is allowed more gravitas or simply depth. These are not fly by night characters but those who really test what it means for your character to exist. The world feels more alive than simply a 'Go do this then that' sort of experience. The villain's motives may not be 100% clear to you but the way they present it gives you a feeling they actually believe in this rather than simply being a raving lunatic or bored person.

The Bad:
With each new update of an MMO comes the clarity of "This could have been better" from the developers. A few changes have been implemented, most notably a switch for your character's HUD which basically alters how you previous slotted your skills in the previous update. Its annoying but it can get used to. However, for players who've been playing long, this will undoubtedly make your gameplay a bit more difficult as (speaking personally) I use muscle memory across all my characters. With a few deviations, all skills I place I then place on my other characters to make it easier to use them. It makes it easier when I switch from my Sith Warrior to my Jedi Knight. Each of the skills are basically the same which makes switching characters as seamless as possible. Apart from that, a few of the skills have changed. For one, the aforementioned Knight and Warrior, both had a skill that reduced an enemy's armor. This has been taken out completely and I have no idea what other skills may have been stripped from other characters without looking through the massive patch notes. Its nothing major its just an annoyance I have to get used to along with any other mechanics that may have changed.

If you've got the chance, I highly recommend getting this. The game itself hasn't released for all players but will on October 27th. You may have missed out on a few rewards leading up to the game, but that's no excuse to miss out on a really good expansion pack.