Game Preview – Mirror’s Edge Catalyst BETA

The original Mirror’s Edge from 2008 still stands strongly as one of my favorite games, and believe it or not served as the first true introduction for me into the first person perspective can achieve. Coming from consoles where shooters were just picking up steam, were essentially the only genre using the perspective, and they could only provide controllers for input (massively harming the experience)… Mirror’s Edge blew my mind. While it still benefits tremendously from the speed and responsiveness of a mouse, fast sloppy movements of a high sensitivity analog stick remain enjoyable; larger turns made manageable with it’s 90/180° quickturn system.

As a result of a somewhat future-proof port and now iconic aesthetic, the original still looks and plays beautifully (on PC) to this day. It doesn’t really look or feel like a living, breathing city; lacking in certain kinds of detail, which is then exacerbated by the game’s lacking narrative. That said, there’s a certain ambiance to it that makes it a world I enjoy my time in… just not when there are enemies present. Everyone that played it knows that the combat systems and essentially forced combat sections were abysmal and by far the worst aspect of the entire game. Competent melee/ranged combat that worked while retaining momentum, along with with the utmost importance placed on always being able to avoid it (very much like say Dishonored or Hitman Absolution) could have made it entirely reasonable, but sadly they failed miserably in both respects.

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Game Review – Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3 is a 3rd person combat-focused RPG by FromSoftware [pub. BANDAI NAMCO], released April 11th, 2016 on Steam (or via Amazon), PS4, and Xbox One. This is the fifth game in the series, and while that sounds like a large number, fans (myself included) continually beg for more. Not only are two of the five titles Playstation exclusives (thus limiting their appeal), but I feel these games created and now comprise their own genre. The real core of the genre is the unique brand of combat, focusing heavily on deliberate actions and costs/consequences both for the player and the enemies, that also enables many styles of play with numerous equipment options. In addition to that, one might add the complex and often intertwined level design, cryptic storytelling, and sheer difficulty that can be overcome with knowledge and skill.

The dedicated fanbase and reputation this series has built for itself causes a certain level of misunderstanding for the general audience. Frequently I see misconceptions about what these games entail, why people should or shouldn’t play them, and the ways in which they are ‘allowed’ to be enjoyed. I will be covering the game’s potential as an entry into the series, additions and changes from past games, issues with the PC port, cheating and the ways in which you can push difficulty/frustration in either direction, and more. I won’t be delving deep into lore or hardcore PVP item meta, and should stay somewhat light on spoilers outside of mechanical info, with all screenshots from very early game. For lovers of any of the past FromSoftware titles, I’ll say right away that it is easily a ‘must-play’; arguably the best in the series for my tastes, and a worthy end to the core souls storyline. Review last updated 2016/04/24.

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