Rise of the Tomb Raider Review
The beginning of this game is very exciting and it seemed like we were playing an action movie. You can hunt, climb and kill. As a part time huntress Lara is able to craft new weapons and adjust to the situation. There are many mysteries to be found in the game. The puzzles were challenging enough but were still fun. It was even cool to die sometimes because there would always be a cool death video. One time a stick went through Lara's neck. The game looks great and it felt like I was traveling through the wilderness with her. I could not put the game down.
Lara Craft is back and better than ever. I have to say, I was not initially excited about this game especially with the onslaught of other games that have come out recently. I hope this doesn’t get lost in the shuffle because it truly is a gem! Playing the reboot of the series a few years ago, Lara is a hero for today’s generation. She is a strong woman who knows how to handle herself, a very exciting protagonist. The game is strikingly beautiful as it drops you in large semi open areas in different locals. You will traverse jungles, swim through lakes and hike snow covered mountains. We won’t spoil the story here, but there is much more substance to be found, not to mention the gameplay. The crafting system of the weapons have been refined and there is not so much of a linear campaign here, as there are more than one way to complete a mission and a large number of tombs and collectibles to be found. There is no thrown together multiplayer here, and this is a good thing that ends up benefiting the final product. The combat is varied and the ability to shoot arrows never grown old. The feeling of the guns is more refined as well, which adds to the feeling of authenticity. Anyone who remembers playing the first game remembers having to watch Lara become the tomb raider and all the cuts and bruises she had to endure. The player is rewarded early on by having a fully capable Lara craft. The puzzles are just challenging enough to stay enjoyable. This was a welcome surprise during this oversaturated gaming season.
Star Wars Battlefront Review
Star wars battlefront is just I time for the holidays, but does it measure up against the other first person shooter competition that has also recently hit the marketplace? Our answer is both yes and no. The filter we wanted to look at the game through was as a first person shooter first. Taking away the coat of paint that is Star Wars, does the game stack up. The answer here is no. The mechanics are clunky and slow for this generation of shooters if you were to compare it to call of duty or halo. This is a multiplayer only game, and the overall value could have really used a single player campaign. Remember, we are only looking at this without the star wars universe right now, and I was pretty disappointed in the gameplay. I believe that after the nostalgia wears off, we will be left with a shell of a game.
Let’s look at the star wars package of the game. It definitely does star wars right. The environments are represented well and it is a very pretty game. Listening in a different room, you may think that someone is watching a Star Wars, movie rather than playing a star wars game. The sound effects are spot on in the game. Any real star wars nerds can tell that there is some music you find here in the game that is not part of the original score because DICE and EA added their own soundtrack to emulate the universe. It is a pretty good attempt at the feel of the universe for sure. It is fun to play good or bad and use the force as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker and many other familiar characters. Now when we look at the total package, it is a serviceable star wars game that will benefit from the new movies and the overall star wars obsession that will be around for the next few years. I just wish there was more to this game. I grew tired of it very fast, the attempt at modes is lackluster and it seems like it was lazily put together. My son felt quite a bit different, but I think I was looking at a $60 game value, not just the ability to run around and shoot some storm troopers. I was hoping for some substance.
This game is one of my favorite games. It does a good job of taking you into the battlefront. I was surprised that they had Han, Leia and even Luke in the game. I knew they had Vader and Boba Fett but I didn’t know they had Sidious until now. The game is very good looking. We spent a lot of time just enjoying the star wars universe and played many battles we have seen in the movies. This game is making me more excited for the new movie.
Call of Duty Black Ops 3 is a return to form for the series. With yearly releases, it could be easy for this franchise to become stale, but it seems to have reinvented itself with this one. With an industry leading cinematic campaign, this game throws you in to the future as a super soldier intent on finding the truth behind some secret CIA robot and human experiments. The environments in the campaign are varied and we were also happy to see that local-co-op was still something included in this version. The voice acting and motion capture is top notch here and you will even recognize a few TV actors here as well. There is a lot of customization here whether it is the loadout of weapons or the look of the main character. With the introduction of special abilities, you are able to hack computers, take over robots, control enemies’ minds and have super strength at times. This is the most varied gameplay of a call of duty to date.
I like how you are able to use your weapon and how it feels through the controller. The gameplay is violent as always. This game takes call of duty to the next level. I used to say I didn’t like call of duty but this game changed my mind. I didn’t like the simulation parts at the beginning of the game. It was a tutorial and it took way too long. The game is by far one of my new favorites.
Peanuts is a refreshing movie that stays true to the source material that has been around for decades without alienating younger fans who have no idea who Snoopy and Charlie Brown are. The first thing one notices with this film is the animation. It feels natural seeing this visual mix of animation styles that evokes the very best of stop motion, computer animation and keeps the charm and personality of good ol’ hand drawn animation. It is clear that this was done on the computer, but it has a genuine personality to it and it helps to keep the film grounded. Charlie Brown is in classic form here, as we watch him trying to make a good first impression with a new girl in the neighborhood during the beginning of the school year, but this wouldn't be a Peanuts movie without our main character going through some tough times. We see him clumsy, awkward and downright charming. There was no crude humor in this film, no secret adult jokes that only parents would get, and that was exactly the way it needed to be. It maintained the spirit of the holiday specials and the comic books by being wholesome family fun. It has been a while since something this clean, and this good has come to theaters that is seeking a broad audience. Every classic character is here and there personalities brought out in full effect, no matter how little dialogue these supporting characters actually had. The story ends up being a happy one for Charlie Brown, as he as well as Snoopy have two separate adventures and story arcs that help them find out a little more about themselves, and in classic peanuts fashion they end up back together again, singing and dancing. This was a great kickoff to the holiday season as Peanuts at its core was about being yourself and being the best you possible. Great job Charlie Brown, you are a blockhead no more!!
Halo 5 Guardians has finally arrived for Xbox one and it is everything we had hoped for. For a longtime fan of the series, this 5th installment of the sci-fi action shooter delivers in two main categories. We will be going over the single player campaign through the lenses of gameplay, and the multiplayer modes as they stand within the first week after the launch of the game.
Halo 5’s single player introduces Spartan lock and still continues the narrative of the master chief, the main character we have come to love and identify with. This campaign sees you jumping back and forth between lock’s team and chief’s team as a certain “truth “is hunted. This is a spoiler free review, so we will let you play the game for yourself to pick up the cues of the story, but this does a good enough job of keeping it simple for new players as well.
Many people have complained that the campaign did not dive deep into the halo lore and there is not enough back story, in my opinion this was a good move. Keeping it all about the gameplay, especially on the current generation console was the way to go. After playing through master chief collection before this game came out, we thought we were ready for the way this game was going to play. We were pleasantly surprised to say that we were not exactly “ready”. The gameplay is much smoother and faster than other halo games, and the small addition of boost and sprint bring some of the gameplay mechanics up to date as well. There is also a team based element that beckons the user to direct their squad to different points on the single player map that make for a number of different outcomes in completing the mission. The objectives are no longer linear and can be completed a multitude of ways, whether it is depending heavily on your team or going in guns blazing. There is no shortage of wonderfully choreographed cut scenes and the voice acting as well as motion capture are top notch. It is always refreshing that halo is a world rich with so much color and it doesn’t fall into the trap that other shooters do with being a cesspool of browns and greys.
This is a beautiful game to look at. The campaign is relatively short in comparison to other games with only 15 missions, but the replay ability is there with the return of different skull activity as well as an online co-op mode. Sadly, the local co-op is missing from this release, and we did miss it. It would have been wonderful to play split screen as both teams reaching for the same goal.
This game really shines with multiplayer. With two main ways to play, Arena and Warzone fans of the halo series truly have a feast of game modes and custom ability to sink their teeth into for years to come. One thing that has not been applauded like it should have is the smooth online server launch. With dedicated servers this go around, matchmaking is seamless and there was not a large issue present as there was with master chief collection. The addition of req packs adds for a fun MOBA type feel. I was surprised how engaged I was with the online modes, even though I was hardly competitive at all. This is where the game will truly have its legs. We look forward each day to opening a new req pack and seeing how we can further customize our Spartans armory and abilities. There is a little something for everyone with halo 5, and we expect this to be in heavy rotation for quite a while.
By Landen Prather
Man, I am officially getting old. For the first time that i can remember in my time being a parent and adult in general, there is a beloved franchise that I actually grew up reading and obsessing over, coming to the big screen. Goosebumps was firs a highly popular book series that originated in the 90's, when I was in elementary and middle school. I would anticipate these books like I anticipate the next video game release now. RL Stine created a universe of awesome ghouls, monsters and twists on classic characters for kids. There was even a popular TV show that aired for a while. Enter the theatrical release of Goosebumps for this generation, and it totally works.
A film like this should be good for people who remember the source material as well as newcomers. This is a great standalone movie that follows a mom and her teenage son, who move into a new neighborhood as the mother takes a job at the school. They move next door to a strange man and his daughter, who quickly becomes a love interest. Add in a very well done stereotype scaredy cat need to the mix and you have our main Characters. They quickly get in trouble and the hijinks ensue. The special effects are good enough, remember none of this is real, and it is pretty obvious a werewolf with basketball shorts and torn chuck Taylor's is computer generated. When the action starts it doesn't let up, it really is non stop. Jack Black plays a great R.L. Stine, one that is likable and annoying at the same time. The ensemble approach of bad guys is smoothly held together buy one very great and clever Villain that I won't ruin here.
Towards the third and final act of the film a large twist and secret is exposed and this brings more humanity to each of the characters. The film has the proper mix of comedy, action and it might even make a few children jump every now and then. Goosebumps even leaves open the possibility for more films, and I hope they keep it coming. Goosebumps is a welcome surprise and it pays ho age to jack black fans and goosebumps fans alike with a few clever Easter eggs, but it doesn't alienate anybody new to the franchise. Goosebumps will have you leaving the theater with a rush off family fun.