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.

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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.

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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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Monster Hunter World

I was not completely sold on the look of this game. I’ve never played a Monster Hunter game, so I had my reservations. I expected it to be a challenging game to learn and one that would have me opt out early on. However, I checked my gameplay time, and I had played for over eighty hours. I love this game. I think a lot of new western gamers experienced this franchise for the first time just like me.

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Monster Hunter World is set on a new land where hunters have come to tackle new monsters and series favorites. The story is rather minimal and entices you to tackle a new monster, usually bigger than the one before with each mission. There are also these large monsters almost the size of an island that you can traverse as you battle them. These fights are quite epic and open your eyes to the scope Monster Hunter World aims for. Even after the story is finished you are still given more and more challenging bosses in the post-game. The continuous challenges make the gameplay loop rewarding.

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The gameplay involves you tracking a monster in a large open area with multiple paths. You fight the monster before they flee. You then rinse and repeat until the monster is finally slain and you can reap the rewards from the monster’s carcass. The gameplay is a bit repetitive after a while, but then something new is thrown at you. Maybe that’s a new monster or a new weapon you’re working towards. They always fill the game with constant content throughout the year too. I have an Alloy character skin and a Dante armor set, and I know there have been a ton of others available.

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The new expansion is coming out next month and with it a new area. The expansion sounds like it could be as big as the main game, and it even includes its own platinum trophy set for PlayStation players out there. So if you haven’t given Monster Hunter World a try now would be a good time to before all of us return for more monster-slaying when the Iceborne expansion is released. Otherwise, it should be bundled together when the expansion releases.

Sink your teeth into Monster Hunter World. I think I would even say it was my favorite game of 2018.

Available now on PS4, XboxOne, and PC.

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Robert Ring

Doom

The early nineties were this place of exceptional and experimental games. There was this new type of immersion taking place where the games industry were trying to make games feel 3D and from your point of view. This was the future of gaming for kids like me and our minds were blown. Before Wolfenstein 3D (1992), we were playing the terrible Prince of Persia (1989) or games I fondly remember like Commander Keen (1990). To get the games running required a basic understanding of programming. But when Wolfenstein 3D booted up for the first time it felt like you were this character. Like you were shooting and being shot at. It was the first time I can recall having some form of gaming adrenaline. The drawbacks of Wolfenstein 3D were not even understood until Doom (1993) came out and gave us a fluid shooter in a complex and realized world.

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Doom was the game that became a showcase for how cool gaming could be. It was shared among everyone. At the time businesses were transitioning to computers in the workspace and Doom became popular in this space too. So Doom was getting a lot of attention. With that came a lot of bad press all throughout the news, which only gave it more popularity. It was a weird time when parents were trying to navigate whether or not the game was detrimental to their child’s health. For me, I was allowed to play it. It was always over at a friends place I played it and loved it. I can still remember playing on those big clunky keyboards, back before you played with a mouse. And the smell of the old CRT monitor with its eventual yellow glow.

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Doom is being talked about again for a few reasons. Firstly, the reboot in 2016 proved to be a massive success and its sequel is releasing later on in the year. Sure the reboot was good, yet I’m still not quite into it like I was the original. Luckily for me, the original Doom, Doom II, and even Doom 3 became available for purchase on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. After playing Doom (1993) again on the PlayStation 4, I find it still immerses me back into the Hellscape I came to love. The narrative finds you by the amazing world-building along with the classic enemy archetypes in this groundbreaking first-person shooter.

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The story of how Doom came to be is rather interesting and I highly recommend the book Masters of Doom by David Kushner. Not only is it an interesting look behind video games it’s a fantastic drama between the two men who shaped the video game industry. The book is currently being adapted into a television show, so more on that as it happens.

For now, forget Pong and play Doom.

Robert Ring