Marvel’s Avengers

Marvel's Avengers logo

Marvel’s Avengers is releasing a free update, Kate Bishop – Taking Aim, on December 8th 2020. The game was first released on September 4th The update is adding Hawkeye as a new playable super hero and Super Adaptoid as a new super villain. Taking Aim will show Kate Bishop donning the mantle of Hawkeye. She was first introduced as a new iteration of the character in comics in 2005. The next update to the game will bring in Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye. There’s still a great deal of content in the game that was available at release for players to experience as well, although the quality of this content is up for debate. The game is currently on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox series X/S, PC, and Stadia.

Avengers Assemble

Marvel’s Avengers shines when it’s telling a story through its campaign. It features a well-developed story where you get to play as some of the members of the Avengers. This lineup includes Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, and the lesser known young Ms. Marvel. Each character has plenty of unique moves and abilities that set their gameplay apart from the others. Iron Man flies around and shoots lasers while the Hulk smashes enemies with his fists. Every hero is different. Some of the missions in the campaign take a cinematic approach and slow down. It fleshes out the characters a bit more and provides a short break from the constant fighting that you do in the game. Kamala Khan, the little girl that takes on the role of Ms. Marvel, is presented as the protagonist for most of the story. Unfortunately, most of the actual gameplay consists of relatively simple combat for every hero.

Members of the Avengers standing together
One of the best parts of the game is the player’s ability to play as different members of the Avengers.

The Endgame

Once the campaign is over, the rest of the game tends not to be as engrossing. There are a variety of multiplayer missions. You can play with real-life other players or AI can be assigned to your partners. However, the objectives of the multiplayer missions tend to mostly be rehashed and simplified missions from the story. They might be longer or padded with more enemies, but the motivation to keep playing isn’t as strong as it is during the campaign. The game features a legitimate leveling system and it’s different for every playable character, but the upgrades that your heroes receive aren’t especially creative or interesting. The game also has a randomized loot system, but most of these upgrades only make minor aesthetic changes, if any, to the character. There are cosmetic skins that will really customize your look, but some of these are blocked behind a pay wall. If you’re looking to experience a new Marvel story and take control of some of the Avengers, you might really like this game. But, it might not be what you’re really looking for if you want a game that you can sink hundreds of ours into. Hopefully, Square Enix will continue to add free updates like Kate Bishop – Taking Aim. These additions can only serve to improve the experience and make the game better, bit by bit.

Kate Bishop swinging her weapon
Free updates might add plenty of content to the game in the future. We might see even more entirely new playable characters.

#Marvel #Avengers #SquareEnix

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla logo

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the newest entry into the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It’s currently out on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X/S. It comes after 2018’s release of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, widely recognized as the best entry into the series in many years. Valhalla has added plenty of new mechanics, while also getting plenty of inspiration from numerous past titles. Taking place in ninth century Norway, the player takes control of Eivor, a Viking Assassin that must fight against the Templar Order that has infiltrated the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

Eivor traveling through Norway
Like every Assassin’s Creed game, you can mix a combination of stealth and combat to eliminate your targets.

A New Breed of Assassin

Much of the gameplay in Valhalla will feel more like Odyssey than most other Assassin’s Creed titles. You can play as a male or female Eivor and explore many romance options with both sexes. There is a well-developed leveling system. Leveling up provides the player with a great deal of interesting benefits. There are also plenty of weapons in the game, with a brand new form of dual-wielding combat that will set this game apart from the others. The game is filled with major and minor decisions that can help shape the entire world of of the game, giving you plenty of control over how your character influences Northern Europe. This is much like Odyssey, where you could influence the tides of the Peloponnesian War, which would affect all of Greece. Also taking inspiration from older titles, Valhalla has reintroduced the ability to run settlements. Building them up and doings missions for them will provide various gameplay bonuses. The game does a great job at motivating you to keep on playing.

Eivor talking to an ally
Assassin’s Creed games provide many hours of content through the story.

Nothing is real. Everything is permitted.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise is rich with lore. Since the first game’s launch in 2007, we’ve seen fantastic events unfold. We’ve learned about the mysterious Isu race that helped guide human civilization. Every game has given us more understanding over the Assassin’s Creed universe. Fans of the series will be excited to see how the story presses on. Yet, what works so well with the Assassin’s Creed series is that it’s always easy to be engrossed in an individual title’s universe, even if it’s the only one that you’ve ever played. Each title takes place in a distant land, hundreds of years earlier or later. This keeps the settings, characters, and stories so fresh. Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, Valhalla will be an enjoyable game for most fans of open-world adventure games.

#assassinscreed #valhalla #ubisoft

A Total War Saga: Troy

Total Way Troy logo

A Total War Saga: Troy is SEGA and Creative Assembly’s newest entry in the Total War series. It’s currently out on the Epic Games store and will be coming to Steam in August 2021. The game takes place during the battle between the Greek kingdoms of Troy and Mycenae from the Bronze Age. This would make it the oldest era that Total War has ever centered a game around. This game takes a few pages out of the successful Total War: Three Kingdoms, where it is largely based off of historical events, but there are also many heroes that have legendary strength and participate in legendary battles. 

Fight for Greece

This game holds the central Total War experience in tact while taking us to the oldest time period we’ve seen yet. Fans of Total War: Rome 2 that purchased the Greek States culture pack might find themselves with a sense of déjà vu, as the entire map is now centered around Greece, with numerous hellenic units as the stars of the show in this game. The battles in the campaign will be focused on brutal combat that you’d expect from an ancient battle. Huge battalions comprised of swordsmen, spearmen, cavalry, archers, and various other warriors need to be used strategically in order to achieve victory. But battles only make up half the war. In order to grow your empire and repel foreign invaders, you must also effectively navigate your nation’s politics, your economy, your infrastructure, your food supply, your population, your diplomatic endeavors, and various other obstacles that might get in the way of your expansion towards total Greek domination. Like every modern Total War game, Troy has come out with their infamous “gore” DLC, where players can pay a small fee for a bloody version of the game.

The strategic view of the game's map
Like every Total War game, the player switches from a map of the entire conquerable world to individual battles.

The Blessing of the Gods

More like TW: Three Kingdoms than TW: Rome 2, TW: Troy introduces individual characters that are heroes and can have an enormous influence over certain battles. Total War has always had respect for historical figures such as Julias Caesar or Attila the Hun, but they were still treated as human beings that weren’t capable of battling hundreds of men at once. Three Kingdoms provided a “romance” version of the game, where players could choose to deviate a bit from historical accuracy and allow their generals to become far more powerful. Influential figures in historical China now had the ability to take out entire platoons of enemy forces all on their own. While this might not have been terribly historically accurate, it provided the player with a fun way to become even more personally invested in the life and growth of their top generals. The Total War series has been following a trend of deviating from history, as some of their most successful titles have ended up being the only games that have zero reference to historical events, Total War: Warhammer 1 & 2. In Troy, you can see legendary heroes like Achilles engage in an epic battle with the opposing general as the rest of the soldiers duke it out on the battlefield. Because this game is inspired by Homer’s Iliad, this ends up playing well into the overall campaign that the game presents to the player. If you’re interested in experiencing Total War in the Bronze Age, give the newest iteration of the series a try.

#SEGA #TotalWar #Troy #rts

A battle between warriors
Generals have the power to beat down waves upon waves of enemy soldiers.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon logoYakuza: Like a Dragon has just been released for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and PS4. It’s coming to PS5 on March 2, 2021. This is the newest entry into SEGA’s Yakuza series and it’s made a great deal of changes in story-telling and gameplay that make this game unique and sets itself apart from the older games in the series. The player takes control of a brand new character, in a brand new Japanese city, and the gameplay during combat is totally different, too.

Japanese Crime Syndicate

Just like its predecessors, Yakuza: Like a Dragon puts the player in the shoes of man who must fight against a deadly and dangerous Yakuza clan. You primarily play as Ichiban Kasuga, but this new entry into the series has a huge difference from every other game. You actually play as a team of four players. Instead of being a beat-em-up style fighting game during combat, the combat is actually turn based. There are still a wide variety of traditional and wacky enemies that might require some skillful strategy to get through the game, and you’ll need to take advantage of the strengths of all your characters. Like the past Yakuza games, this game also has many minigames throughout the city. Traveling through the city of Yokohama, you can participate in everything from kart racing to batting cages to arcade game to karaoke.

Karaoke singing

They take karaoke very seriously in Yakuza.

A Fresh Take on Yakuza

Yakuza: Like a Dragon has also opted to make various other changes to the game. Every Yakuza game from 2006 until now has been exclusively voice acted in Japanese. You now have the option for the game to be played out with English voice actors. Voice acting legend, George Takei, plays Masumi Arakawa. He is Kasuga’s patriarch and father-figure from his yakuza past. The Yakuza series has always focused on telling a long story while providing plenty of side-quests, minigames, and memorable boss battles. Despite the vast differences in the way that Yakuza: Like a Dragon plays and tells its story, it still has the same core focus that past releases have had. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a brand new player, this game could provide many hours of entertainment. If you’re a fan of Japanese storytelling or turn-based games, give this game a try.

A Yakuza battle
Changing to a turn-based combat system will give the battles a very different feel.

#Yakuza #SEGA #Next-Gen

XCOM 2 Collection

XCOM 2 Collection was released for IOS on November 5th, 2020. Originally published by 2k in early 2016, XCOM 2 was the direct sequel to the turn-based XCOM: Enemy Within. The game’s plot revolved around the player as the “Commander” of an elite international team of soldiers that must fight off the aliens that are invading the Earth. This time around, the Commander is leading XCOM as a renegade group of freedom fighters that are trying to fight back against ADVENT, the army of genetically modified humans that are slowly dominating more and more of the planet. XCOM 2 Collection will also include the War of the Chosen DCL and the Reinforcement Pack’s 4 separate DLCs.

The War for Humanity

XCOM 2 has become an acclaimed leader in the turn-based combat industry. The game offers a wide variety of choices and options for how the player chooses to develop their individual soldiers and XCOM as a whole. In XCOM 2, your entire base is an alien supply barge that’s been commandeered by your team. You will meet various scripted characters that help you improve your base and your soldiers. Central Officer Bradford makes his return to the XCOM series as your chief middleman with managing XCOM. Dr. Richard Tygan, an ADVENT scientist that has defected to your team, guides you through your technological and scientific progression. Meanwhile, Lily Shen replaces her father from XCOM: Enemy Within as your guide through your engineering upgrades.

An XCOM soldier wields an enormous gun

This class, the grenadier, carries a huge gun and focuses on heavy firepower.

The Fight Rages On

XCOM 2 and its DLC have brought numerous additions to the XCOM series that make the game unique and different. The DLC alone add 4 new classes of soldiers, bringing the overall total of classes in the game to 9. All 9 play totally differently and will force you to completely change how you try to complete your objectives in each level. Beyond class selection, there are numerous weapons and special traits that you can give your characters, which will cause you to truly care about the well-being of your soldiers. If you’re playing on a hard difficulty and find yourself growing attached to your characters, you can expect to load to old saves pretty often if you can’t except the death of an important character. You can also choose nearly everything about the soldiers that you recruit, from their attire, to their gender, to their nationality. The game gives you a great deal of choice in progression and style, all while maintaining an excellent story with engaging strategic combat. This game is a must-have for lovers of turn-based  gameplay.

Chosen Warlock
The Chosen Warlock is one of the powerful aliens featured in the DLC.

Sniper Elite 4

Hitler looking through binocularsSniper Elite 4, developed by Rebellion, is scheduled to be released for the Nintendo Switch on November 17th. The game takes place in World War 2 Italy, where you’ll be tasked with killing hundreds of Nazis and blowing up countless trucks and tanks. Playing as Karl Fairburne, you’ll use every weapon at your disposal to take down the enemy and help turn the tide of the war.

Combat

Every level is packed with weapons to defeat your enemies. Beyond the various sniper rifles, you can also use pistols, SMGs, mines, grenades, rocket launchers, and your own fists to take down enemies. Like its predecessors, Sniper Elite 4 features the unique “X-Ray kill cam” ability. When you hit a target with a sniper rifle, the camera will move with the bullet in slow motion and show the internal damage that the bullet does to the body of who gets shot. These cinematic moments help the game feel unique.Sneaking up on a target

Environment

Sniper Elite 4 takes you across very different parts of Italy. Sometimes you’ll be in a warm forest or you’ll be on a snow-capped mountain. You’ll find yourself in small villages, in large cities, and in massive Nazi bases. Each level is fleshed out and unique so you’ll be excited to see what the next level will have to offer. The DLC even has a level where you actually hunt Adolf Hitler. Sniper Elite continues to provide a fun experience for gomers who are looking for a shooter that keeps you engaged and excited to see the next level.

Sniper overlooking Italian landscape

Hitman 3

Hitman 3 logo

Hitman 3 is one of Square Enix and IO Interactive’s next-gen titles, set to release on January 20th, 2021. It’s the thrilling conclusion to the World of Assassination trilogy that started with Hitman in 2016. Agent 47 must team up with Diana once again and travel around the world to assassinate their enemies.

Agent 47

The character of Agent 47 originated in 2000 with the game Hitman: Codename 47. The first 5 Hitman games, released from 2000-2012, told the story of Agent 47 and how he went from a mysterious contract killer to a rogue operative. A stealth-based third-person shooter, each level would provide the player with a mission to ultimately assassinate a target and escape the area. However, there were often many ways to go about completing this goal. You could find clever dristrations and disguises to silently execute your target. Or, you could go in guns blazing once you find the target. This level-based assassination gameplay still exists today, but the Hitman series evolved in 2016 in a big way.

The iconic Agent 47

 Global Contracts

Agent 47’s contracts take him all across the globe. He has seen missions everywhere from east Asia, to the middle east, to Europe, to the Americas. Levels are fleshed out with numerous ways to go about completing each contract. Based on the difficulty level of your choosing, each unique level requires you to use intuition to figure out how to optimally complete your contract. Perhaps you’ll carry a brick to throw as a distraction or perhaps you’ll carry scissors to throw as a weapon. Perhaps you’ll carry a silenced pistol that you can hide in your jacket and walk the street with. Or perhaps you’ll carry a sniper rifle and hide from the view of all NPCs. The choice is yours.

Agent 47 overlook

Replayability

The big benefit to the Hitman games in the World of Assassination trilogy is the sandbox-style manner that they can be replayed. Story levels can be replayed with a different NPC as the target and other additional constraints. There might be more guards. You might have to use a certain weapon. Or, you might even have to wear a chicken suit the whole time. The possibilities are endless. If you have Hitman or Hitman 2, you can even import those levels into Hitman 3, giving you an incredible about of content to play around with. The game is packed with enough content that playing the same level with different goals and constraints doesn’t get old fast. There’s a reason that the Hitman series has always been synonymous with stealth games. After 20 years, Hitman continues to deliver new and interesting ways to complete your contract.

Watch Dogs: Legion

Four armed hackers on a building

Watch Dogs: Legion, coming to the Xbox Series X/S on November 10th and PS5 on November 12th is the third installment of the Watch Dogs series from Ubisoft. Watch Dogs broke new ground in the open-world third-person shooter genre in 2014 by introducing a wide range of hacking abilities available to the player through the character’s smartphone.The newest installment in the series is breaking ground again, this time by introducing the ability to recruit and play as anyone on the street.

Cyberattack

Like its predecessors, Legion’s single-player plot revolves around toppling corrupt futuristic law-enforcement and evil cybercriminals. In the future, “smart cities” use one operating system to control a great deal of the city’s infrastructure and property. Hacking into the system gives you the power to manipulate everything from traffic lights to people’s cellphones. You can even see the names of everyone walking down the street, along with various bits of their personal data.

Watch Dogs: Legion
Aiden Pearce, the original protagonist of Watch Dogs, makes an appearance through DLC.

Play as anyone

What sets Legion apart from Watch Dogs 1 and 2 is how that personal data now comes into play in a big way. Legion lets you actually recruit civilians into your hacker uprising and add them to your team. Every pedestrian in futuristic London will now have various traits that will make them stronger or weaker as a playable character. Finding a powerful team member is like striking gold. Like most typical open-world third-person shooters, dying means that you’ll wake up in the hospital. But now you’ll have to wait until that team member gets over their injury before you can play as them again. Unless… you want a challenge. For hardcore players, your player will actually permanently die and you will lose them with no way of getting them back.

Old lady with a gun in one hand, tasing a man with her other hand
That’s right. You can play as a stun-gun toting old lady.

Uniquity

With the GTA series having such a dominant position in this genre, the Watch Dogs series had to differentiate itself with the hacking system. Ubisoft has kicked off their entrance into the next generation of consoles by continuing to effectively innovate the series and set itself apart from other games with the ability to play as anyone in the city. Watch Dogs: Legion is unique enough that, even without experience in the series, it’s worth a try.

Watch Dogs: Legion, coming to the Xbox..
There will still be plenty of gun-based combat.