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

Gaming Life

Took a little hiatus but we back. We’ve been busy playing and trying to beat lots of games recently. New PS5 experience, and new games played on it from Miles Morales Spider-Man to Dying Light to recently the beautiful game of Elden Ring!!! More to come later but thank you to all who continue to support.

With Love

The Unsung Gamers

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

What Project Spartacus Needs to Be

By
James Morris aka Buttered Biscuits
Back in December of 2020, news broke out that Sony plans to launch a
program that would be Playstation’s answer to Xbox’s wildly successful
Game Pass rumored to be labeled Project Spartacus. So far not much has
been released regarding Project Spartacus other than a few rumors here and
there regarding Playstation legacy content coming to PS5 (maybe Ps4 as
well) and a potential tier subscription service. The only thing that is official
that is known is that we will have more information regarding Project
Spartacus next month at Playstation’s next State of Play, Sony has recently
called for Playstation Now gift cards to be ceases in the UK, and that Sony
plans on releasing this new initiative Spring of this year. So banking on if
Project Spartacus is a Game Pass like subscription service, here are some
ideas that should be considered.

1) DROP THE THREE TIER CONCEPT

There is a rumor floating that Sony is planning on a three tier
subscription service with Project Spartacus. The lowest tier being the bare
bones basics of Playstation Plus allowing a user to access the Playstation
Network and the current benefits of Plus. The second tier allows access to
digital access to PS4 titles on top of those listed below and finally the top tier
allows access to all Playstation legacy content plus access to the cloud,
demos and much more. Keep in mind this all speculation and rumor at this
time until it of course becomes a reality. However, the issue is simple here.
Why have three tiers when your competitors are marketing two tiers. Yes,
Xbox technically has 3 tiers but how Microsoft advertises, you’d forget that
there is Xbox Live Gold and a basic Game Pass option when Game Pass
Ultimate, which combines both services with the addition of Game Pass PC
and EA Access, for a modest $15 a month US.
Sony needs to keep it simple for their customers as they enter the arena
of subscriptions. As mentioned above, Nintendo and Xbox have already
drawn the line in the sand in regards to their offerings. From Nintendo, they
offer their basic Nintendo Online service, which allows access to cloud
services, online play, and access to SNES and NES video games. Nintendo’s
‘high tier’ model dubbed the Expansion Pass allows users the same benefits
mentioned before as well as access to Sega and N64 titles as well as the DLC
for Animal Crossing New Horizons for a total of $50 US. Sony having a
three tier system at this time, could cause some confusion in those not savvy
enough in the offerings or might put off customers feeling as if they are being
alienated by the paywalls put in place by a potential high price of a
subscription. Thus brings us to our next idea.

2) Make It Affordable

We currently live in an era where we are bombarded by subscriptions to
our favorite films and TV shows, now with gaming becoming part of the mix,
these prices can loom heavy on gamers on a budget. From Netflix prices
rising again and our consumption of streaming content rises, Sony should
consider keeping prices competitive with Nintendo and Microsoft’s pricing
model. Going to pricey on the top-tier subscription, if this does come to
fruition, could spell a potential introduction yield at launch. A $15 dollar
price tag is more than reasonable for access to Playstation legacy library as
well as access to third party content should the top tier service allow such a
feature.
Sony should even consider playing the long game even after the launch
of Spartacus, by constantly pulling a page of Xbox’s playbook by enticing
current subscribers to jump to the next tier for a cheap price like $1 and even
allow customer’s current subscriptions to allocate to the amount of months a
user would get if they had joined the top-tier level ala what Microsoft allows
on Game Pass Ultimate. This would allow an even more acceptance of the
service and also build their install base.

3) Content, Content, Content

What makes Game Pass such a dominating juggernaut in the gaming
industry right now is their constant flow of content being added to their
service monthly and sometimes weekly from all numbers of developers.
From indie darlings like Hades and Goat Simulator to big titles from AAA
developers like EA Games and more, there is much to experience that gamers
would never have been able to try out any other way without slapping down
cold hard cash and hoping for a good experience.
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has already stated to the
media back in September of 2020, that Playstation exclusives will not be on
the subscription service which would be a huge step backwards considering
Microsoft allows for their first party games to hit their service day one. Not
being able to hop into God of War Ragnarok or Spider-Man 2 day one as part
of your Spartacus subscription would be a huge let down in my opinion to the
consumer. Jim Ryan has also stated that these games cost millions to make
and that adding them to a subscription plan just wouldn’t be sustainable.
Seeing the overwhelming success of games like Sea of Thieves and Halo
Infinite, seeing how first party Sony titles wouldn’t see the same amount of
success boggles the mind.
I truly hope Sony releases something that rivals Game Pass as it will
bring more competition to the field and in return, cause more innovation to
both services. Phil Spencer has come out saying that a Game Pass like service
for Sony is the right move and I believe that as well. We are in a new era of
gaming experience with services such as these and can only wait and see how
the continue to evolve. For now, we have to wait for more information on
Project Spartacus next month at Sony’ State of Play but until then, we here at
Unsung Gamers will continue to save the world, one game at a time.

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.”

How Halo Saved the Holidays

by ButteredBiscuitsGaming

Halo has been a facet of the Xbox community since its debut in 2001 and has only on what would make a great multiplayer experience for the E-Sports scene, as well as to keep the environment feel welcoming to casual gamers. A beta was released on November 15th to the public, to better get the way of the land for Halo Infinite's upcoming release and for the first time since Halo 3, the press and gamers fell in love with Halo all over again. How does Halo Infinite set itself apart from its peers? The best answer I can give is that it does it’s best to be a Halo game. You have your basic match types of Slayer and CTF, but Halo has always had a certain community that I’ve never seen replicated on Call of Duty or Battlefield, which has made it welcoming to new and returning players. The controls are easy to pick up and play and the new tools take a hot minute to understand, but add a new nuance to the strategy of a match. Halo Infinite stands currently as one of the most played games on Xbox Live and I’ve personally seen new fans gravitate to this title from Playstation, due to the welcoming infrastructure of the Halo community, as you don’t need an Xbox One to participate, as you play on your PC which adds even more population to the Xbox family. This past November and December, I never dulled out playing match after match with all these players and even enjoyed the classic trash talking and tea bagging. Halo Infinite this holiday season felt like a homecoming of sorts as I haven’t seen the community this active since Halo 3.

While I’ve praised Halo Infinite for being so welcoming, it has had its fair share of issues from progression gain to broken tracking of events. 343 Industries has been smart to listen to the people and fix these matters as fast as possible. Something DICE and Activision should really start doing fast, as adding a scoreboard as a ‘Legacy Feature’ is not the way to go. Warzone may still be a popular mode, however with little updates and changes to the map will leave things going bland in the long run compared to games like Fortnite. Halo Infinite hasn’t lost its steam just yet despite being out for two month now. Plus with Co-OP and Forge on the way, there’s still much to look forward to.
I’m not trying to get you to go out and get an Xbox and Halo Infinite. I’m only stating how in a season of games that were supposed to be the next big thing, released with lazy textures and bugs ala Battlefield 2042, an old champion in the days of multiplayer games rose up and gave a stable and fun environment for us to compete and have fun. I hope to see even more of you on the battlefield either in Oddball or Slayer sometime, but until then, as with all of us at Unsung Gamers, we will continue to save the world, one game at a time.

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