Halo Infinite Downfall?

Back in November, we were finally given 3 long-running franchise games, Call of Duty: Vanguard, Battlefield 2042, and Halo Infinite. Of the 3 games, only 1 reigned supreme; for a time. Here we are 6 months later, and there is something seriously wrong with Halo Infinite. As a game, it works, but as a live service game, it is definitely lacking, coming from a developer like 343 Industries, who knows Halo, it makes you wonder what is going on over there. It is disappointing since Halo Infinite started out so well for a couple of months and it was a quick turnaround to mediocre. A general lack of a road map is crucial for any live service game, for season 1 it was basically non-existent and for Season 2 it is even more infuriating. These days in 2022, a season should never last 6 months, Warzone and Apex have the sweet spot, with 2 to 2.5 months per season. Having a season that is 6 months with only basic cosmetics is incredibly underwhelming and downright sad, with no new maps and no new weapons. Things and features that were promised for Season 1 have been pushed back into Season 2, with Cooperative Campaign being a highlight of this. Cooperative Campaign was promised to release in May 2022 and now it is late August 2022, a whole 10 months after Halo Infinite’s release date. Not even Forge mode is in Halo Infinite yet, a staple of Halo for years. It’s no wonder why Halo Infinite player count has been on a steep decline, for console and PC. It is becoming very clear that Halo Infinite may have needed another year, to plan out the way the Live Service should be and the Campaign itself. Rushing a Live Service game is never a good idea, even with the name Halo attached to it. The reality is that even with another year of development, mostly for the campaign shows that Halo Infinite was not well planned out and was hoping that the name itself would be enough but with this lack of content, lack of community engagement, why would anyone stay and play Halo Infinite. Maybe the best course of action should have been to give the multiplayer and the Live Service game to a different developer, a developer with a good history in multiplayer or Live Service Games. If 343 Industries continues to release Seasons that are 6 months long, it won’t be long until the game is inevitably forgotten. There are several free Live Service games that are performing exponentially well to fall back. Halo Infinite, Microsoft, and 343 Infinite need a restructure if it hopes to compete in this market.

Article by: ShadowAlchemistX

Shadow Warrior 2 Review

For a long time, I have wanted to play Shadow Warrior 2, and it did not disappoint, just know the kind of game you’ll be playing. What intrigued me the most from the game was the melee and gunfights in first person, haven’t seen a game that can do both and do it so well. The story of Shadow Warrior 2, sees you in the eyes of the protagonist Lo Wang, an expert assassin for hire. What makes Lo Wang a fun protagonist is that he says what’s on his mind at all times, with dozens of one-liners and even more insults to your enemies. This is reinforced with Shadow Warrior 2 gameplay, a first-person action shooter. It may feel a bit weird, how a game at 30fps can play so smoothly but it works just fine. Sound design is lacking here, from explosions to even your weapon sounds, they should sound powerful but they did. There are a few music tracks that hit at the right moments, otherwise, it is completely forgettable. Luckily the game is fun to play, it even has a 4 player coop option for those who are interested in playing as a team together. As long as you’re not expecting a Doom-like game and story I would this is worth checking out. Especially if you have Xbox Game Pass, for now, it is available through this service, otherwise, I would wait for a deep sale on this one. It isn’t worth putting in the full amount for it. 

Unsung Gamers Score – 6

Reviewed by: ShadowAlchemistX

Back 4 Blood Review

From the creators of the Left 4 Dead comes Turtle Rock Studios return to a zombie game, but not what we expected. The game starts with a clean cutscene introducing some of the playable characters, zombies and what the world has become. Even with it’s introduction, it’s very hard to care about the world or what’s even at stake. Clearly Back 4 Blood’s main goal is it’s gameplay and it nails it’s for the most part. Yes, at launch it was riddled with bugs, glitches and downright disconnections from the servers. Most have been addressed but you’ll still find a bug here and there. Gameplay is focused in first person, similar to it’s predecessor Left 4 Dead, but with very limited customization options. What I mean by limited is that you are unable to detach and attach certain upgrades to your weapons. Once an attachment is on your gun it’s on there for good, until you find a replacement for it. It’s good and bad at the same time, pushing you to explore and use all the weapons in the game but at the same time limiting what you can do with said weapon. The game is best played with a team and much preferably a team of your own. The game provides matchmaking lobbies to use but most of the ransoms you’ll be teamed up with, will not cooperate with you on the game, basically a free for all, in a cooperative game. When you want to see and explore the levels, you’re unable to when your team is rushing through it. With your own team at least there is constant communication and teamwork there, and that’s where the game shines at its best. Unfortunately after you’ve completed the annoyingly short game, there isn’t much to it after that. Just difficulty options through the same levels you’ve already played through, which can be fun but only with a team of your own. While there is an option to play offline with AI, it is a bland game from that standpoint and I don’t recommend this. All in all Back 4 Blood tries to recapture what it once had and it delivers, only in certain perspectives, your own cooperative team. Back 4 Blood is at a playable state where you can have fun with it, under certain circumstances. At full price I cannot recommend this game, especially when it’ll only take you 6-8 hours to finish, and with no end game option. Pick it up at a sale price, the cheaper the better of course. It’s worth checking out if you have GamePass through Xbox. And I cannot stress this enough the game can be fun fun with the game with my friends and family, but not offline mode, it just isn’t a viable reason to pick this game up.

Unsung Gamers Score – 6 out of 10

Reviewed by: ShadowAlchemistX

Superliminal Review

Superliminal Review

Superliminal may be one of the few welcome surprises I had in 2021. An indie title released back in 2019, by developer Pillow Case, a 6-member team created Superliminal. Taking many inspirations from great puzzles game they themselves played, in particular the game Portal. They were able to craft a game with a genius way of looking at a problem in the game and out. (Minor spoilers ahead) You take on the role of an unnamed protagonist stuck inside a company that specializes in creating perspective puzzles. That is the key focus here, perspective. Just because a problem looks impossible, it almost always needs an answer from a different perspective. The game also looks incredible, with bold colors that can highlight an answer or give you that small nudge you need to continue. And by the games end you’ll truly appreciate the underlining message you’ve been hearing the whole time, come full circle. Superliminal is that missing puzzle game I’ve been looking forward to playing and it delivered. It does suffer a bit with it’s audio issues, sometimes the music just stops and all sound effects are gone. Sometimes you would find yourself stuck in a broken puzzle or finding the solution, only for that solution to be glitched away. Despite these flaws I’d still recommend checking out Superliminal, especially if you’re a fan of the Portal games.

We are The Unsung Gamers, saving the world one game at a time!

Unsung Gamers Score – 8

Reviewed by: ShadowAlchemistX

Rainbow Six Extraction Review

Rainbow Six Extraction Review

Back in 2018, Rainbow Six Siege had a free event called Outbreak. It was received rather well, an infectious outbreak that Team Rainbow Six must quarantine and eliminate. Since then, fans have wanted another Outbreak event, and sadly it never came, until now, and that’s not a good thing. Rainbow Six Extraction starts of well, with a beautifully designed and animated beginning cutscene depicting the oncoming threat. Things quickly go downhill from there, and I couldn’t help but feel let down. Extraction takes place in an alternate timeline away from Siege but using the operators from said game. Once you get your hands on an operator it feels welcoming, precise gameplay found in Siege is here with Extraction. Even with the precision of siege playing Extraction made me realize just how bland the rest of the game is. You’re given a tutorial to introduce you to the mission layout you’ll be playing. Every single level has a different layout but it all plays the same, same objectives and same enemies. The objectives are not hard to do, pick up this item, save this person, pick up this other item, that’s it. Other games have done this and have done it better. You can challenge yourself with harder difficulties with different risks but you must unlock those difficulties in order to play them, which can take an annoying amount of hours. The objectives are easy to get through and the game doesn’t become a cohesive game until you unlock those difficulties. Having said that, you’re still playing the same objectives but now you can’t run and gun. It’s barebones mindless gameplay, instead of 3 objectives , it’s now 9 objectives, back to back, on the same 3 maps, all while the game decides to throw waves of enemies at you. To add insult to injury, the harder difficulties doesn’t reward you with a stronger attachment or weapon for your arsenal, no, you get a hat/helmet, or maybe a shirt. The customization for your weapons and Operators are still here but serve very little purpose. As long as you have a gun, you’ll be fine, wave after wave of enemies, in a game that was not built for such gameplay. After putting in hours and hours of game time into the game, I cannot recommend this title, even at its discounted price of $40. Playing through the same maps with the same repetitive objectives does not justify its development. Ubisoft could’ve put there resources into something else for Siege, Extraction is not the game we were waiting to play. A testament to lazy and bland design cannot make for a good PvE game, that was a recycled season event. To quote a fellow gamer The Escapist, “A Bland Game is worse than a Bad Game”. Rainbow Six Extraction is a perfect example of this. The game is solid, it works, Day 1, very little bugs at launch but this cannot excuse the pure blandness that is brought to the table. I cannot say go out and buy this game, not even at a discount. If you have Xbox GamePass, it might be worth checking out but for everyone else, you’re better off skipping Rainbow Six Extraction.

Unsung Gamers Score – 5

Reviewed by ShadowAlchemistX

The Deconstruction of Triple A Games.

The Deconstruction of Triple A Games.

It may be age or maybe it’s how Triple A games are developed, but we as consumers should no longer consider this normal or acceptable. What I mean, is the developer/publisher mentality of “Release now and Patch Layer.” It’s becoming more and more clear that a lot of big name games such as, Battlefield 2042, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and Anthem, just to name a few.

I’m not discrediting smaller developers or indie games, their budget and much smaller teams are a major reason for a buggy game. Having said that, they at least have the option to delay their game until it is ready for release. When a Triple A game has that same option and doesn’t delay the game, they can’t blame the consumers for being upset with the product. Bombarding said games with negative reviews, voicing their opinions in news articles, and just downright not playing it, is all a consumer can do to let the developer and, more importantly, the publisher know how they feel about the product.

Back during the days of old, when a game was released there was no way to patch a game; it had to be completely done with development. But it seems those days are almost gone, with only a few 3rd party developers and 1st party games still practicing delaying a game. I for one am totally ok with a delayed game, even by months or maybe even a year. That tells me that the team has a passion for the game being developed and they want that game to be everything we want it to be. Halo Infinite, God of War Ragnarök, Dying Light 2 are great examples of that, with Halo Infinite being praised for taking its time and releasing an incredible game.

From what I can tell, most if not all the blame should be going to the publisher for having an unreasonable deadline. Their business practices are finally making it to the light for us to see. Crunch time, no overtime pay, overworked employees, harassment, sexual harassment just to name a few. These are major reasons for a games’ release being what it is. It starts from the top and needs to be addressed.

As we step forward into 2022, we all need to let gaming publishers know when their product is not what was promised and should be held accountable for it. No longer should we say “oh it’s fine, it’ll be patched up in the next few months and then it’ll be a fun game”. We need to let game developers know we’re ok with the game being delayed if it means they are given proper time to actually make it and not make a deadline for the publisher they already don’t like working for. Again I’m not at all blaming said game developers, they’re under an immense amount of stress, especially here in the present. They are trying to make a game for the consumer/gamer, a game they’ll love.

Article by: ShadowAlchemistX

Continue reading “The Deconstruction of Triple A Games.”

Nier Automata Review

Nier Automata

What a wonderful surprise. Back when Nier Automata released in 2017, I paid no attention to it, big mistake. Nier Automata is exactly what the gaming industry needs more of. Right from the start you’re told very little of the world, it is something you’ll learn more of as you play though the game (multiple times). It’s not only encouraged it is necessary to complete the main story of the game. Incredibly innovative way of playing though a games story is another selling point. In one section of a level the game plays like an old school shooter, like for example 1943 or Ikaruga. While another part of that same level it becomes a side scroller action beat ‘em up, and to finish it off it’ll end where most of the game play stands, as a 3rd person action slasher. All this is complemented with one of the greatest soundtracks in any video game. Composer Keiichi Okabe outdoes themselves when this soundtrack, without it, this would just be another forgettable game. I’ve had so much fun with the game, characters and story, when it was all over, I was proud and accomplished at my ultimate decision (Beware there is no turning back from it). While this game may not be for everyone, Nier Automata definitely and rightly so, surprised me as another incredible game most gamers will never play. I great love letter to what one development team can not only create but to give to us, the gamers.

Final Score – 9

Far Cry 5 Review

Far Cry 5

Far Cry comes to the United States!

This time around you’ll take the role of a silent Deputy, responsible for arresting this game’s antagonist; Joseph Seed. Like previous games you’ll have a great expansive world to explore in Hope County, with many wildlife creatures as well. The sounds design helps bring the world to life, from the winds in the mountains to the sounds of birds near the lakes, and of course the weapons you’ll be firing on your quest. The soundtrack fall in line with the atmosphere that’s been presented, made up from many country tunes and Christian inspired songs too. Gun play hasn’t changed much from previous titles, if anything it feels like a step back at times but if you liked the gameplay of the previous games then you’ll fall in love with this one as well. In conclusion I had a fun time playing this game, especially with a partner, although the game does take you out of your experience with the game, it definitely isn’t needed and it very much slows down the game many times.

7