My site is www.sknr.net and I also do a weekly radio segment as well as content for 8 papers and own a magazine.
10 Games Rated and Reviewed
I first played Moving Out at PAX West last year and was taken with the game from the start. The game was not on the main floor of the show but was instead in a small booth upstairs where many of the Indies are displayed along with non-electronic games and some hardware.
Three of us played the game and despite not having a fourth player, we were able to get through the level after a few tries and some serious mayhem.
The game casts players as a whimsical animal who works for a moving company. From driving the truck around and clearing homes; you are a force to be reckoned with. On a work site players must work with one another to remove objects from a house and get it safely on the truck before time runs out. This is not as easy as it seems as players move at times like they are on ice and trying to move a curved couch around an obstacle is not easy. There is also the fun task of trying to get beds and other large objects through various doors.
Once you get to the truck you have to make sure to arrange it to allow space for the other items to come. Sure you can throw them onto the pile but trust me; spacing is important.
Another problem are appliances as they are plugged in and often require some pulling to get the chord out before you can store it on the truck.
As levels increase so does the challenge as objects become harder to move and obstacles such as ghosts and other hindrances arise. Sure you can smack them out of the way but time is money so in many cases jumping through a window was fine as was tossing an object through a window so another team member can secure it. Yes there will be a bit of collateral damage but hey; it is moving day right?
The characters are a fun mix and the game is lots of fun even though it can be a challenge. I had wished for an online option where random players could drop in versus having to have all of us in the same room but my wife and I were able to enjoy the game very well with just the two of us.
If you want a fun and challenging game, look no further than Moving Out as it is a real treat.
4 stars out of 5
Super Mega Baseball 3
Since we currently do not have a MLB season; Super Mega Baseball 3 looks to fill that void with a fun alternative. From exhibition mode to regular seasons; players will have plenty of options. I am not one who enjoys a lot of micromanaging and tinkering so I went right into the action with a three inning exhibition game.
The characters are cartoon like with some really over the top features such as bulging biceps but small legs and waists but it adds to the fun of the game. It did take me a bit to get the pitching down but once I relied on letting the various pitches go instead of trying to nibble at the corners of the Strike Zone I had much more success.
Batting on the other hand was a bigger challenge as it took some work to get the timing down and it was actually rewarding to hit a hard foul for the first time. In time I was able to get around on some pitches and even make hard outs when hit balls did not find a hole or make their way into the gap.
The defense also takes some adjustment as at times balls that I thought would be easy outs moved past slow infielders while well hit balls were at times snared with ease. I also saw plenty of ESPN highlight worthy throws from deep in the hole to take town an opposing player’s bid for a hit.
The stadiums are colorful and busy as I enjoyed watching a Sky Train just over the fence and wondered how I would have to time a pitch to try and hit the train. Sadly this never came to be despite chanting ‘Steroids” to myself hoping the batter would muscle up and ride the lightening.
While the game may lack the official players, teams, and stadiums of other games; it has plenty of fun and if you just want to get back to the fun of the game and swing away, this is a game you will want to play.
4 stars out of 5
The Persistence is a very interesting mixture of Virtual Reality and Survival Horror. The game was originally released for the PS4 but has now arrived on PC and can be played in both a V.R. and Non-V.R. environment which makes it an ideal game for those looking for V.R. style gameplay without the hardware.
The game is set about The Persistence which has experienced some very unfortunate incidents in deep space. You play a cloned version of someone who was killed prior to the events of the game and with the help of the ship’s A.I. you are able to be respawned and are guided throughout the ship to collect objects and complete tasks.
There are several dangers facing players from ship systems and deadly beings who have been spawned from the former crew. Faced with a shield to block attacks and counter-attack players must be able to defend themselves as they look for the optimum angle to deliver impactful hits on their enemies. As they explore they will gather weapons, health, resources and items which they can use at various terminals to update their abilities and to better enhance their chances for survival.
Since the game was designed for a V.R. setting; players will have to get used to a control system that is different than one who has not played many V.R. games would be accustomed to.
If you can endure the early challenges with combat, navigation, and such; the game offers some good tension and an enjoyable experience.
The graphics will seem a bit dated in parts but remember this is a product of the V.R. as you will not get games to have state of the art graphics in this environment.
What the game does offer is some tense gameplay and plenty of action in setting that should keep fans of the genre happy if they are willing to temper their expectations.
3.5 stars out of 5
I am usually not a fan of driving games but there was something compelling about SnowRunner that drew me to the game. The appeal of driving a big rig through difficult terrain and weather seemed like a fun way to spend a few hours.
Starting off I had to make my way into town in my trusted Pickup. This was not so easy as a flood had caused damage to the town and I had to go off road and face steep terrain, rocks, mud, and flowing water. Not only was this slow going, but I had to drop my gears to get the needed traction as I was not able at this stage to figure out how to winch myself in.
In town I was able to gas up at a station and make my way to a checkpoint where I learned I had to get a truck and help repair a bridge. Locating the truck then required me to get various loads of wood and steel and deliver it to the site of the bridge so the damage could be repaired.
Navigating a loaded truck on rough terrain, tight quarters, and in bad conditions proved to be tough as you can damage the truck and if it is significant enough; players have to start over.
As the game advances new trucks and challenges will become available which makes the game an ideal simulation for those looking to get behind the wheel of a big rig.
Some may want a bit more variety to missions but I found the real joy was driving the loaded trucks across the very well-detailed maps and that the graphics were eye-catching from the start.
If you want to load up and face the challenge, than SnowRunner may be just what you are looking for.
4 stars out of 5
Every now and then a game slips below the radar. Usually this is due to the game coming from a smaller publisher or lacking an expansive p.r. push behind it. It is even more enjoyable when the game arrives and surpasses expectations which is the case of Filament.
The game tasks players to dock their spaceship with another ship and restore systems on the ship. This is done by trailing filaments through a room and making sure that they power up various areas.
This is done by wrapping the filament around polls but in order to make the transfer of energy work properly; players have to find the correct pattern which allows the cable to complete the circuit.
Naturally this becomes a bigger challenge with each new level and players will have to figure out the ever changing patterns needed for success.
Some may want a bit more variety in a game but what Filament does it does well and the game is value-priced and very enjoyable and features over 300 puzzles which makes it an ideal game for those who want a challenge as well as value.
4 stars out of 5
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath
I had thought that Mortal Kombat XI was as close to the ultimate fighting game as possible. From the numerous characters and the brutal moves set against highly detailed backgrounds; the game was truly everything a fan could want.
Combine that with the engaging story campaign, multiple play modes, and enough action to make a summer blockbuster seem tame; the game is a highlight of the series.
With the release of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath has arrived with a new cinematic story campaign as well as new skins for Sheeva, Fujion and RoboCop.
There are also additional sets available which provide more characters skins and features to round out the gameplay experience.
I opted to dust off some of my vey rusty moves by going against the Joker as The Terminator and I must say it was a joy smashing around the Clown Prince of Crime while waiting for the opportunity to release a salvo of firepower on him.
The new campaign is engaging as Liu Kang and his allies must again battle Shang Tsung and naturally the resulting action is brutal and fast.
Gamers know what to expect from the series and Aftermath brings in more story, characters, and features to truly round out the Mortal Kombat 11 experience and makes it a must own addition for fans of the series.
4 stars out of 5
Fans of action and suspense will be happy that 2K Games has released the Mafia Trilogy which contains updated versions of the three games as well as additional content which truly makes it the ultimate collection for fans and collectors.
While the first game will not arrive until August; Mafia II: The Definitive Edition breathes new life into the classic PS3 era game with updated features.
I had not played the second game in the series and it was great to see that cars and clothing from the third game were available. There is just something about driving around 1940s and 50s towns with a Muscle Car and an Army Jacket from the 60s and 70s to give the game a new wrinkle.
As players take on new missions and challenges; they will improve their status in the organization and move up the ladder. Of course in doing so they make new enemies and it is often very tricky to distinguish friend from foe.
Gameplay and combat is in the third person perspective and players will have guns and their fists to defend themselves with. This is not a full on guns blazing game as players have a regenerative health system and cover is required in order to survive much of the combat in the game.
The game has an expansive map and players will need to drive in order to complete the numerous tasks assigned to them. Players will have vehicles at their disposal and can repair damaged vehicles as well as boost new ones via picking locks or smash and grabs.
Naturally this will draw the attention of the Police and if caught players will have to evade, fight, or bribe their way out of their situation.
The vastness of the game is both a blessing and a curse at times as while the highly detailed city and surrounding locales are impressive; having to drive through them over and over and do some missions which are basically drive from point A to B and back does get old after a while especially since the game is very long to begin with.
There are still signs of the games age such as animation not exactly matching the action at times and some odd glitches and dated movements.
The game comes with three DLC and four Bonus packs which does make it a complete set with multiple hours of gameplay.
Mafia 3 comes with three DLC and two Bonus Packs which also makes this a great addition when you factor in the new vehicle and clothing options that are given to players.
While gamers wait for the august release of the first game; the content for two and three is vast and will provide plenty of hours of gameplay for those looking for some nostalgia or for those looking to expand upon the base stories of the games.
3.5 stars out of 5
Hardspace: Shipbreaker is an interesting and challenging game that tasks players to work off a debt in the service of a company. Your job is to deconstruct ships in zero g and avoid the many dangers you face.
After a brief tutorial players will set off to earn some much needed money. Using a cutting tool and grapple which can be upgraded over time; players must slice away aspects of a ship and then grapple them to a salvage barge, a furnace, or recycling bay.
The ships have various cut points which must be sliced in order to move larger sections and in time players can obtain a tether which will pull an object so players can move onto other tasks while a piece of salvage is pulled to a desired location.
This is key as you have a timer to complete your shift and then there is also the need to replenish your oxygen and fuel supply in shift. When players complete a shift they are charged a large series of fees from the company which results in a hefty bite into your profits and makes it harder to decrease your debt.
Another issue is that some jobs will take multiple shifts so players must be careful. There is also the fact that numerous objects of value are present but not listed on your work order. I learned that chairs, terminals, and such are needed for advancement and are necessary to salvage before you start cutting and must be factored in to your time management plans.
Then there is the matter of the ship itself which can be entered via an airlock. I found it is vital to set the pressure as entering a ship and cutting away is a good way to be blown a great distance from the ship. There is also the matter of the reactor and other vital pieces which tend to explode when cut or not salvaged fast enough when removed.
Being careless is a fast way to getting cloned and that does not come cheap.
As the game goes on players can upgrade their gear which will be a big help as the ships become harder and harder.
The game is fun to play and looks great. Getting used to working in Zero G can be a challenge but that is the fun of the game. I wished there had been a multiplayer mode as it would be great fun to take on a ship as a team and also be subject to accidents other players can cause as well.
In the end Hardspace: Shipbreaker is fun to play and a very creative idea that offers challenge and fun with a sense of humor.
4 stars out of 5
Borderlands 3: Bounty of Blood - A Fistful of Redemption
The third DLC for Borderlands 3 has arrived and Bounty of Blood serves up more of the action, guns, and mayhem that fans of the series have become accustomed to.
Answering a call for a Bounty Hunter; the Vault Hunter(s) arrive on the planet of Gehenna which has been largely forgotten after being exploited by one of the big companies in years past.
The planet is a hybrid of the Old West and current Borderlands technology and is populated with all manner of dangerous creatures; many which resemble Dinosaurs.
Upon arriving at the town of Vestige’ players learn that the town is under attack by a vicious gang known as the “Devil Riders”. You are then tasked with eliminating the threat and taking down their leader to collect the Bounty.
Naturally there is much more in play as a larger threat is revealed and players will have to fight their way through various areas to get to the bottom of the mystery and save the day.
The game has lots of action and introduces many new characters while omitting appearances from any past characters in the series. There are abundant new weapons as one would expect in a Borderlands game and the Western theme offered up some great locales and visuals as well as some great music. The game has a narrator which adds a new dimension to the game as it is fun to hear how some of your actions become known as events such as the “Bathhouse Massacre” as an example.
The DLC did not seem as long as the past two did and did not seem as challenging as I was able to complete the campaign on my own and did not have any areas where I was challenged to complete.
There are side missions as well and some will present themselves after the game and credits end so players who want to continue to explore will have many opportunities to do so.
There are also new environmental weapons that players can use to cause destruction or briefly control enemies which adds a new dimension to the game.
Bounty of Blood is a solid and highly-enjoyable DLC for the game and I look forward to seeing what the next DLC offers up.
4 stars out of 5.