Watch List: Halo Infinite…

The year 2020 will be one of the biggest years for gaming with the next console generation hitting shelves holiday 2020 arguably the biggest exclusive of either console will be dropping as the launch date title for the Xbox Scarlett Halo Infinite… this could be the return of the Halo franchise to glory like the good old days of Halo 3. The fan base went their separate ways in the previous console generation since Halo 4 left a bad taste in the mouth of some. I am one who did end up making the conversion to PS4 since Halo 4 was all disappointment for me. With the hype circling Halo Infinite, there is a chance that I will be making a return back to Microsoft. E3 2020 will give us a lot more information about the upcoming installment in the franchise, but for now, we will discuss what we are hoping to see in the upcoming title.

Possibly the most enjoyable part of the Halo games has been the campaign. As someone who is bored senseless of story, Halo has always pulled my heartstrings. I may not remember the Halo 1&2 story as well as others, but growing up I do remember enjoying the games thoroughly. Halo 3 is still in my dreams with that amazing score and plot. YES, the score. The soundtrack to this game is iconic to all gamers across either format they play on. The menu music to the badass track during the snow scene in the Scorpion tank is perfect. The campaign has a very compelling story and makes the games so enjoyable. Even the two games after Halo 3(Halo 3 ODST & Halo Reach) had such amazing campaigns. The NPC character development was incredible and made you care about characters throughout the game. I will NEVER forget some of the moments that you witness during the Halo 3 and Reach campaigns. The moments in Halo reach when characters gave their lives to keep you on your mission was heartbreaking. Halo Infinite will need to grab the player’s attention early. That was the issue with Halo 4 for some, the story was just not all there. If Halo Infinite can keep a solid supporting cast to Master Chief to make you latched onto the campaign.

For the multiplayer fans of the game that is where your focus may be for the upcoming game. We will have to see if there will be a load out format or back to the original Halo games. Another big concern is will there be jetpacks. I would love to see more unique game mods in Halo Infinite. The games have done a great job evolving with Infection, Griftball, and other game modes to keep the game fresh. On top of the online matchmaking, a return to forge and custom games will be a need for the new title. I would personally love to see Firefight back!

There is so much that we are hoping to see come with the Halo Infinite new release of the Xbox Scarlet. Are you excited for Halo Infinite? Are you like some who believe Halo died when Bungie cut the cord? What do YOU need to see in the upcoming release of the franchise? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed the article please leave a like to know you would like to see more like these!

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-Brandon Maj

Watch list 2020: Minecraft Dungeons…

HUGE games are releasing in the year 2020. Of course, most people will be thinking about games like CyberPunk 2077, Last of Us 2, and Dying Light 2… The game we will be discussing today is for sure the most hyped game of the year… Minecraft Dungeons! This is of course not the case, but I will be tackling this game for our watch list for 2020 since this is one of the games I am most excited for in the upcoming year! Minecraft Dungeons has been rumored to be dropping in the first quarter of the gaming season, and here is everything we know so far about the dungeon crawler!

Minecraft Dungeons is set to be a Diablo-esque bird’s eye view dungeon crawler RPG. The game will be taking place in the Minecraft world but will be focusing much more on a progression/loot-based system. The game will not follow a normal class-based system like most dungeon-crawling RPGs, but more of a Runescape style game of interchanging items and loot! There will be different items and enchantments, (20 Enchantments per item style!!!), in the game to make your character more of a “warrior”, “ranger”, “mage”, or other variations to be announced. Mojang will do their best to stay away from making the game feel like a grind, and it will just be a fun time of looting while dungeoning!

Minecraft Dungeons will have a storyline to the game, but will not be the main focus of the game. The focus will be the combat, loot, and progression, BUT we will see a storyline with a villain named the Illager. We aren’t too sure where the story will go other then we are battling against the evil forces of the Illager. There will be plenty of different monsters from the original game such as creepers, spiders, and skeletons thanks to the evil forces. We are still waiting for what other forces will join the battle against our heroic dungeon crawlers (ELDER DRAGON???)…

Make sure to check out the cinematic trailer of the game to have your idea of what is to come ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJczpIdONjs ).

What are your thoughts about Minecraft Dungeons? Is this a game for you? Are you glad that Minecraft will be making a return? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed the article leave a like to let us know you enjoy the articles! What would you like to see our next article on?! 

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-Brandon Maj

Watchlist 2020: Cyberpunk 2077

Hey friends, we are nearing the end of not only 2019, but the end of this console generation with both the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett slated to launch next Fall. Keeping that in mind – there are still so many incredible, generation-defining games still to come in the final year of these consoles. Speaking of generation-defining, the first game on our list is looking like it is just that. We are going to kick off our Watchlist 2020 series with Cyberpunk 2077.

The story of Cyberpunk 2077 begins with a two-minute cinematic trailer that casually dropped in January of 2013. There wasn’t any real context to what happened in the trailer but graphically it was so advanced that it piqued my interest immediately.

Fast forward to today, nearly seven years and one blockbuster release (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt) later and CD Projekt Red is just mere months away from releasing Cyberpunk 2077. The game has quickly become one of the most anticipated releases of all-time thanks to its beautiful presentation, the sheer scale of the world, and the impact player’s decisions will have on the game’s world.

For those of you who do not know what Cyberpunk 2077 is, the game is a massive open-world roleplaying game that is loosely based on the tabletop RPG Cyberpunk. The game takes place in the megacity known as Night City, a town free of government control. Due to the lack of structure, the town is always full of chaos and conflict between gangs and corporations. There are six different districts in Night City, with each bringing different conflicts for you to resolve. Since Cyberpunk is a non-linear story, when and how these conflicts are resolved is entirely up to you.

Who you are in the game is entirely up to you. The only constant with the protagonist (or potentially antagonist, depending on how you play) is that you are V, but who V is entirely up to you. From gender to appearance, the backstory to skills, the choice is yours to make as to who you are going to be. This is the first example of how your decisions impact the game world. Your backstory, skills, and appearance all have an impact on how you will interact with NPCs in the game. If you’re a street kid you may have an easier time getting along with some of the street gangs of Night City, and difficulty fitting in amongst the corporations.

That is just a small taste of how much depth and attention to detail CD Projekt Red has put into this game. Every interaction you have can affect your playthrough of the game. If you use the same doctor to help upgrade your character, they will give you a loyalty discount. If you make friends with a certain NPC companion in the game, it can harm your relationship with others. This world that CD Projekt Red has crafted is truly alive, and that’s what makes the idea of playing this game so enticing.

All of this is simply scratching the surface of what Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be. The above video gives a great look at the gameplay and character skills in the game. I would highly recommend checking out that video, as well as the 48-minute gameplay, reveal that came out last year. I can assure you once you watch those videos you will be as sold on Cyberpunk as I am. The level of freedom and roleplaying that this game offers is something we have yet to see in video games and I believe that CD Projekt Red is going to knock it out of the park.

 

 

Everything We Know About World of Warcraft Shadowlands…

There were a bunch of updates that were announced for Blizzard games from sequels (Diablo IV and Overwatch 2), an auto chess game for Hearthstone, and a HUGE new expansion for World of Warcraft. The new expansion that all WOW fans have been waiting for (including myself) is Shadowlands! The new expansion should bring some much-needed life back into the game. The last expansion was very solid, but I feel it did not hold the community, as well as other expansions, have for most people. The story structure was very well done, and the dungeons/raids were, for the most part, were enjoyable. Most people are speculating August since the last two expansions have come out in August. Most likely will be August or later for the 2020 year.

Since the expansion was just released there is not a huge amount of information yet, but there are some very key points. To start they showed off four total zones for the ShadowLands Expansion Revendreth, Bastion, Ardenweald, and Maldraxxus. Revendeth is the first one showed off on their World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Features Overview on youtube!

This zone is a very demonic and more on the dark and grim style for maps. It has some very interesting characters shown off in the video which seem to be some demons and potentially vampires as well that will wander this zone. The next zone on the list is Ardenweald. This zone is a very mystic and colorful zone with some darker undertones for a more Night feel to it, but a very luminous location. We seem to see what appears to be a Night Elf type creature with large antlers as sort of a city location. As for the monstrous creatures of this area we will be seeing more of the natural type with large worms, antelopes, and possible NPC or creatures that resemble a fairy-like hybrid. Maldraxxus is more in the style of Revendreth. Much more in the creepy/demon hunter location. It will be infested with trolls, spiders, and warlock type of humanoids in the zone. Maldraxxus is a much more run-down location for this expansion out of all the zones for the visuals. A very destroyed and gloomy zone for the expansion, but I’m sure will hold some very interesting creatures. The last zone in the overview is Bastion. Bastion has a very hopeful look to it with beautiful and vibrant colors throughout the area for what we can see. The city like the area has some beautiful architecture and an amazing amount of workers and guards throughout maintaining the city structure.

The zones are going to play a larger role than just quest locations as for what the overview brings to light. There is a new system called covenants in Shadowlands, and it shows each zone has its covenant that provides you with different rewards and armor for whatever you accomplish in this expansion for the covenant that you side with. We will have to see how the covenants play into the story, and how they potentially will affect the loot in the game that is earned. Each covenant has its own very distinct armors that you earn throughout the expansion. Now the real question is will different zones have different stats and attributes to the gear or will it all come down to cosmetics?

There is a HUGE change coming to the 2020 Shadowlands expansion… As most of you know the current max level cap for WOW Battle of Azeroth is 120. Blizzard is lowering the level cap down to 60 instead of raising it to 130. I believe this is a brilliant strategy for Blizzard. Right now trying to get into WOW as a new player to get from level 1 to level 120… Is impossible for most without paying 60$ to boost your character to level 110. With the level cap change the way leveling will work now is you will get to level 10 in your normal location of the game, and then at level 10, you will choose which expansion you will play. Yes, that’s right. Now at level 10, you will choose which of the previous expansions you would like to play from level 10 to level 50. Once you hit level 50 you will get to move onto ShadowLands. They have announced that Death Knights and Demon Hunter will start at level 10 to move onto the expansions. The real question for everyone right now is what happens to people right now who aren’t maxed level or level 1… We aren’t too sure yet if they will try and balance the levels out, make everyone level 10 who isn’t maxed, or make everyone 50 who is over (insert level). All and all I believe this was a very smart choice for Blizzard. As someone more of the casual player by running dungeons and raids here and there, but I have only ever really had one or two characters near max. This will drive someone like me to run all the expansions on a bunch of other characters to get to the new max.

What do you think of the upcoming ShadowLands DLC for WOW? Are you excited? Will this bring you back into the mix after not playing for years with the level cap much more reasonable? Let us know in the comments! Feel free to tweet us about your thoughts!

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-Brandon Maj

Outward: The Most Interesting Game You Haven’t Heard Of

Ninedots Studios was founded back in 2011 with the goal of pushing the potential that games have to offer. Their first two games – Brand and GoD Factory: Wingmen – were both well received, with GoD Factory getting greenlit on Steam and published by Bandai Namco; however, their next project, Outward, looks to be their most ambitious project yet and a big step towards their goal.

Outward is an unique take on the open world RPG genre. It doesn’t tell the story of a young knight and his rise to prominence or the leader of an army facing an impossible threat, just a story about you. Who you are in Outward is quite simple, you are an adventurer living life in the land of Aurai. That is what makes Outward such an intriguing prospect, it gives you the freedom to do what you want and play how you want.

There is a big, beautiful world for you to explore with four different biomes within it. Two different mountain regions with varying weather and enemies, a desert region that has extremely warm and cold temperatures depending on the time of day, and a marsh that has poisonous waters. The changes in the weather in the game will also change the way you go about navigating the world. Your character is effected by extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and you will want to pack appropriate clothes for the right conditions.

Your pack is something that is unique to the game as well. Backpacks will vary quite a bit in size and will effect your characters movement. If you carry around a large pack you will be able to fit more loot and supplies with you but you will be sluggish while carrying it. You will be able to remove your backpack and explore and fight without it on but you run the risk of losing it.

These types of mechanics are why Outward has my interest piqued. The world feels very much alive in a way that many RPGs haven’t explored yet. For example, if it snows during the winter, snow will actually accumulate on the ground. You will also see events that take place in real time; so if someone were to ask you for help and you decide to continue on with other things, that person doesn’t just stay there waiting for you to come back they carry on with the task without you. Sprinkle in survival elements, dungeons to explore and towns to explore, and you have a game that could help lead the RPG genre forward to new depths.

Hopefully Ninedots desire and efforts to test what games can be inspires other studios to test the boundaries of not just the open world genre, but all types of games. I would highly recommend checking out some gameplay so you can see some of what Outward has to offer before it drops on March 26th (which you can find here).

 

Madden 19 First Thoughts…

We are getting close to the start of the NFL season, and that means madden is here! Myself and Manny got our hands on the Hall of Fame edition of the game nearly a week ago, and so far we have had a very good time. I have always been a huge fan of the madden franchise where on the other hand Manny hasn’t purchased a current Madden since Madden 13 and hasn’t played one since Madden 16.

I have to say, this is the most fun I’ve had in Madden in almost 3 years now. Last year really fell short for me and I quit playing after only about two months of being released. Where most Maddens I continue to play until after Christmas. I have always been a huge fan of Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) for the excitement of pack openings and the grind to make your team better throughout the season and different holiday events that pop up through the year. So, I will admit ALL of my time spent on the current Madden has been all in MUT over the past week of the game. I really enjoy the different aspects this year to make it much easier to figure out what you want to do and the game is much more straight forward for MUT. This is my first time ever playing MUT Squads (a new game mode that was implemented in last years Madden to allow you to play MUT with your friends.) Manny and myself have played a few matches so far and overall it has been really fun to play with your friends in this game mode. We did a huge pack opening the first day of launch and it was incredibly fun we got some amazing cards in our packs. Manny even pulled a 90 overall Legend card which blew my mind. There is a new addition to MUT this year that I’m sort of having a bit of a love-hate relationship with currently. That is the new upgrade progression system. Now there are cards in the game that you can upgrade with new tokens. Which yeah is really cool and all but at the same time I feel like it makes it so much easier now to get a really good team, which is something I always loved about the grind it meant a lot when your team’s overall was around an 85. Well, after the first week my team overall is already a 79… which usually took me about a month to achieve, and I know if I spent more of my tokens I could probably break the 80 overall threshold. Which scares me because the grind is what always kept me around playing Madden to get my team as close to a 90+ as possible, and I have a feeling I may hit that in the first month if I keep grinding like I am. All in all the Madden Ultimate Team is very fun again this year like most. Now for the gameplay.

This years Madden has the smoothest gameplay I have ever felt in a sports game. Most of you are probably thinking “shouldn’t the newest game always feel smoother then the last?” Well yes it should but honestly Madden 18 felt clunkier then 17, and others have felt worse then previous years. This one has it all so far. The passing and running are very fluent while the new player movement system is fantastic and really allows you to combo different special movements with the ball carrier. Also hit sticks on defense seem to make a much bigger impact, but are also way harder to land now. You pretty much either force a fumble, or you are giving up a huge play. I really love that they have fixed a lot of the gameplay issues from last year. The only thing that is bothering me when it comes to actual gameplay is when you begin running on a play the ball carrier or defender doesn’t accelerate like old maddens. It’s very slow, and feels kind of weird. The two best parts about the new player movement system in Madden 19 has to be the celebrations and the fact that different players are slower then other players. To touch on this first, in most Maddens my 90+ speed running back would get caught by a 67 speed Defensive lineman running down the sideline, which was super unrealistic to me. They have finally fixed this problem! The second portion the statement previously… touchdown celebrations are in the game and they are so fun and exciting! Everytime you score now you just get so excited to see which celebration your character will go with after you choose. It really makes scoring feel even better now in Madden 19!

I am going to give Madden 19 an 8.8 out of 10. The MUT is extremely enjoyable, and from what Manny has told me about franchise you have so much more control this year as a player with bonus rewards mid game and different goals throughout the season. The only things so far holding me back to give the game a higher rating is the MUT progression system, MUT Squads not allowing you to play with just 2 players, and the acceleration aspect of the game. That being said the game has some amazing new additions with player movement, and prior to Madden 19, the highest I would have scored another Madden would be around a 8.2, so this game takes the cake with the new motion system! Let us know why you thought of the article and your options of Madden 19 in the comments! Make sure to hit the star so we know you enjoy the article! Untill next time.

-Brandon Maj

Black Ops 4 Beta Dates

The dates have finally been announced when the beta will drop for Black Ops 4, the upcoming installment for the Call of Duty franchise. It has been a sigh of relief the last few years when the developers have allowed us to indulge on early gameplay for multiple reasons. The biggest of course is for the not so hardcore fans to know if they will be interested in the newest Call of Duty. Then another benefit for the hardcore fans is they will be able to express their opinions of different gun balances pre launch. Even though some people may view the Call of Duty as a second evil to EA with their microtransactions, it really has been much appreciated that we have been getting betas for the past few games. Yes, for most part the franchise has become stale, but I will argue that the recent Call of Duty installment betas have lead to a much more polished game release.

Multiplayer Beta Dates:

Playstation 4 (First Weekend):

Start: August 3rd 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 6th 10am PT / 1pm ET

Playstation 4 and Xbox One (Second Weekend):

Start: August 10th 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 13th 10am PT / 1pm ET

PC:

Start: August 10th 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 13th 10am PT / 1pm ET

Black Ops 4 Blackout Beta: Classified

There are a plethora of different elements the community is eager to get their hands on in the beta. Black Ops 4 is trying it’s best to make Call of Duty feel innovated again, but this could be its ultimate downfall. As much as the community complains about Call of Duty being stale by not taking risks, these same people lash out when the game does change (jet packs). There is potential for a pivotal year for Call of Duty with the addition of new combat changes such as self healing, medics, five man matches, and BATTLE ROYALE… this could be a huge turning point for the franchise. If pulled off correctly, fans will find their love for the game again. But if the additions lack, it could be the final dagger to the heart for the franchise. As a long time Call of Duty lover… I really hope this could be the change we are needing.

Let us know what you think about the upcoming Call of Duty game, Black Ops 4. Are you interested with the changes? Are you buying in on a AAA title making a battle royale game mode? Are you excited for a possibly new tactical game play with self healing? Or do you just want Call of Duty to die already?

-Brandon Maj