Kakarot

It’s hard for people to expect new things from a series that has been remade countless times before. What they did this time was give us a definitive remake that tailors almost identically to the anime. The difference with Kakarot is that it has a real soft spot for the original Dragon Ball series and you get to meet countless characters from that series and see what they’re up to in Dragon Ball Z. Being a fan of the original series I loved seeing the likes of Nam, Emperor Pilaf, Android Eight and Launch just kicking about in the world.

In my fifty-five hours with Kakarot, I was able to complete the game to completion, which included the PlayStation Platinum trophy. To put this into perspective that’s almost exactly half the amount of time it would take to watch every episode of Dragon Ball Z. The game covers the four main sagas of the series from the Saiyans, to Freezer, to Cell, and finally to Buu. Notably absent is the Garlic Jr. Saga, but was that really a loss? With a season pass in the works, it will be interesting to find out what additional content gets added, my guess is that they will cover the movies.

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The gameplay of Kakarot is similar to the fighting style and movement in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. The world is a segmented open world full of Z Orbs to collect, side missions and battles throughout. These can be completed between the main missions, although some side missions will lock you out of them if you progress too far in the story making them irrelevant. While the game’s title is called Kakarot, you will play through the story as Gohan, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Trunks as well. Depending on where the story goes will determine who you play for the most part until the post-game. There are multiple RPG elements that involve you levelling up your main character, while you can also level up bonus stats by using Soul Emblems.

Kakarot_Gohan

The post-game doesn’t have a lot to offer for someone like myself that completed every side quest as they appeared, minus one that I was locked out of. It does let you summon the dragon when you collect the dragon balls to bring back old enemies. There is a Villainous questline that has you tackle very strong enemies that upon finishing lets you tackle a secret boss.

Kakarot_Piccolo

Every other Dragon Ball Z game has let you relive the epic fights throughout the series in quick succession, but Kakarot allows you to relive the emotion you get gearing up for those epic moments. That difference had me playing this game non-stop. I enjoyed my time with Kakarot and I’m a little sad it’s over. I’ll be sure to check back in when the DLC content releases.

For fans of Dragon Ball Z, this is a must-play, for newcomers, maybe check out some videos of the gameplay first.   

Robert Ring

Available on PS4, XboxOne, and PC

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Spider-Man PS4 – Review

After Superman, Spider-Man is my favorite superhero. And if I’m honest, these were the only two I ever cared about. In recent years I’ve begun to enjoy Batman as well. This is in part due to the storytelling portrayed in a game much similar to Spider-Man, which is the Batman Arkham series by Rocksteady Games.

Playing Spider-Man, I couldn’t help, but compare this game to the Batman games. I think that it’s the same way we distinguish the Nolan Batman films as the high point of the superhero movies. It’s almost silly to compare those films to the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. That was my own prejudice on my part during my first half of the Spider-Man playthrough.

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Alright, let’s get on with it.

Spider-Man is an intellectual property that people are starting to grow weary of. It’s only the origin story. People don’t want to see Uncle Ben die yet again, likewise with Batman and the death of the Waynes. Spider-Man on PlayStation 4 by Insomniac decided to skip that part and put the player into the shoes of Spider-Man roughly a year into his powers. This allows for Insomniac to litter the game full of easter eggs that have taken place beforehand, and still be early enough into the lore to watch the origins of some villains. Most notably, Doctor Octavius who we meet in this game as our mentor and an esteemed scientist. Peter isn’t at the Daily Bugle; instead, he is working with Doctor Octavius to work on robotic engineering to help advance those with missing limbs with robotic replacements. That’s where Peter Parker spends most of his time. Parker has also been involved with Mary Jane, although we are not entirely sure what split them apart. As the story progresses, we learn of a villain named Mister Negative. Mister Negative is the overarching villain that is mysterious and unlike anything Parker has faced before. Mister Negative is after revenge against Norman Osborne and will do anything to get his revenge. There are plenty of villains sprinkled throughout the game. Most of them are humanized amid all the usual comic troupes.

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Initially, I may have been burned out by the nature of open world games, and therefore didn’t truly become enamored with the world at first. Sure, it looked good. I just wanted the open world to be revolutionized in this game. The side quests and challenges found all over the map were tedious to me and held me up from continuing the story. Maybe halfway through the game, the pacing got better between story missions and exploration. Once the story gets rolling it’s a roller coaster ride. I wish there had been more story towards the universally known Spider-Man villains like Green Goblin, but the villains appeared in a mostly boss fight manner. The sequel I suspect will do a better job at giving us more backstory into the Sinister Six.

Spiderman

The gameplay takes the Batman Arkham combat and gives it a shot of adrenaline. This was mandatory for Spider-Man. The combat is buttery smooth when you’re in the thick of it and you quickly get a feel for the controls. Most of the game lets you choose to take down enemies silently. I tended to get the first couple down like so before swinging in. There are also tons of gadgets to help you strategically aid you in combat. There are tons of costumes to collect that are usually rewarded with level progression. I unlocked everything, completed the entire game and even got the platinum trophy. Overall, this game has a lot of bang for your buck.

Spider-Man is a good game, not amazing. I think it’s been a little overhyped, but good nevertheless. I would say it’s a mixture of Horizon Zero Dawn and the Batman Arkham series. So if you like those games or even just Spider-Man, you’ll love this.

Robert Ring

Red Dead Redemption 2: A Western Rebirth?

The western genre is one of my favorites. When I start watching anything western I’m in for a slew of them. It’s hard to stop when they’re so goddamn good. They are not as prevalent as they were, but the genre has begun bleeding into dystopian films, so I take my fill wherever I can. That’s where Rockstar Games comes in and makes what looks to be the greatest western game ever imagined.

I would love to see Red Dead Redemption sweep into the psyche in a way that has Hollywood recommit to making some great westerns. The Magnificent Seven (2016), and Cowboys and Aliens (2011) are the last two big-budget westerns I can think of; however, they were not well received. Quentin Tarantino has been the closest filmmaker for the western of late with a portion of Django Unchained (2012), fulfilling us with hope and then The Hateful Eight (2015), which I thought was too much of whodunnit over a western. Rockstar Games has created a fantastic canvas for anyone to play out the role of a gunslinger, and I suspect will inspire a new generation to revel in the history.

Check out Rockstar’s Gameplay Video below:

I never played much of the first Red Dead Redemption because I was late to the party, and the mechanics never felt quite right to me. Mechanically and graphically this game is on a level above the previous entry and perhaps setting a new standard for games in general. This one looks to evolve player choice to a new height so we can choose how we want our gunslinger to be seen in the eyes of others. I want to be the hero and save the damsel, roughen up the vermin in the whore houses, and ride my horse into the sunset. By Red Dead Redemption 3 I expect to be able to play the entire game in virtual reality, wearing a hostel, a hat, and everything.

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For now, the game is set for October 26 on PS4 and Xbox One.

Are you excited for the new Red Dead, and what’s your favorite western?

Robert Ring

Batman: Under the Arkham Knight

Batman is busy these days with Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad in the pipeline for 2016 and the recent release of the critically received Batman: Arkham Knight game out now. It is unlikely that games will be mentioned much on this site, but it’s hard to pass up with the fine cinematic storytelling presented within the concluding chapter of Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight. The title of this post’s play on words is used because of the parallels towards the game and the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood. Below is both a review of the game and the animated film.


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Batman: Arkham Knight

The game begins with the cremation of the Joker, and yes, the Joker is dead in this version of the Batman mythology. Instead, filling the shoes of the villain in this game is the Scarecrow and the mysterious villain the Arkham Knight. The Scarecrow with his fear inducing toxins unleashes chaos throughout Gotham City. Naturally Batman is exposed to the toxins which brings his greatest fear to life, the Joker. Seeing the Joker pop up and ridicule Batman from time to time is in fact is one of the most rewarding parts of the game. The Scarecrow makes each encounter filled with tension as the lines of reality become blurred. This game presents you with twist after twist and the revelation that comes with discovering the origins of the Arkham Knight is one of the best. The combat is perfect and this one allows you to take control of the Batmobile, which I found to be entirely satisfying from start to finish. Rocksteady knew this was their concluding chapter going in and they gave it everything they’ve got, so think again if you think every character is safe from death.

Batman: Arkham Knight does everything right from the scope of a cinematic film to experincing all Gotham City has to offer and story arcs that involve all your favourite villains as well.
4.5/5 – Stars

Batman Under the Red Hood
Batman: Under the Red Hood

This animated film from the beginning starts with the Joker hitting Jason Todd, the second iteration of Robin with a crowbar. Robin is beat senseless before he is blown up by a bomb killing him just as Batman approaches the scene. The start of this film alone is the darkest opening to an animated film I’ve ever seen. Five years pass and Batman is still haunted by the memory of the event. Batman is more withheld and unwilling to take on help from Nightwing because of the loss of Robin against his new foes the Red Hood and Black Mask. The Red Hood is another mysterious figure that brings to light some twists in the Batman mythology. The Red Hood is a key figure and watching this film as a companion to Batman: Arkham Knight will be a treat.

Without spoiling any more on an animated feature with a runtime of 75 minutes, Batman: Under the Red Hood is a great Batman one shot and the best DC animated film I’ve seen to date.

3.5/5 – Stars

Check out these two Batman stories while you wait for the feature films coming to theatres next year.

Robert Ring