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God of War (2018) | Review

Posted on May 8, 2018 by Meghan Kass

Games like God of War are becoming something of a dying breed. Many major AAA games are trying to be increasingly open with their worlds, with games becoming more of a sandbox and less about story and developing characters. That is not to say there are zero story driven more linear games to play, but it appears AAA publishers are finding those games less appealing to back than more open / only only experiences. It is refreshing then, that Sony has seen fit to help bring us a brand new entry in the God of War franchise.  This new era for the series not only brings us back to the hack and slash gameplay we know and love from the series, but also improves upon it along with its puzzles and story.

God of War brings us into the world of Norse mythology and out of Kratos’ comfort zone of Greek mythology. After successfully taking vengeance on the Olympian Gods, Kratos has decided to settle down in Midgard with his son. Atreus is the son of Kratos’ second wife, Faye. After her death, Atreus and Kratos begin to journey to the top of the highest peak in the nine realms to spread her ashes at her request. It is then that we truly begin our hero’s journey as Kratos and Atreus must deal with monsters, angry Norse gods as well as their own personal issues that could either bring them closer together or tear them apart.

The story is some of the strongest in the series, if not the overall strongest in the franchise’s 13 year history. Kratos’ tale has never been more emotional and heart warming as he only desires safety and normality for himself and his son. He does what he can to prepare his son for the world, while protecting him when he can. Their relationship has its ups and downs throughout the main story and you feel each peak and valley the entire way. While I wish Atreus had been written better as a character, a part of me still desired to see the boy safe and unharmed throughout the game. Even at Atreus’ worst prepubescent arrogance, I still wanted both him and Kratos to succeed in their journey and come through stronger as characters.

God of War brings back the hack and slash gameplay  of the previous seven games and even improves on it with major changes, almost as if the systems had been rebuilt from the ground up. No longer is Kratos wielding the Blades of Chaos, but now carries a battle axe called the Leviathan Axe. This axe not only returns to you in the style of Thor’s Hammer, Mjolnir (appropriate for the setting of the game) but assists you in puzzles with the added element of freezing certain objects in place. You will need this if you want to get past certain puzzles in the game or certain challenging enemy encounterss.  You can also obtain new abilities and skills for yourself and Atreus by using a currency called Hacksilver to for the duo’s forward progression.

You also get the addition of runes that can upgrade your axe with. This allows you to customize gameplay to your liking more than previous games depending on your play style. You can go for faster, light attacks or heavy and slower ones if you prefer. You also have a new shiny shield in this game as well to mix things up with. You can use it to defend and parry much like the Golden Fleece in previous games. One of the series staples, quick time events, are still present but they play out slightly differently than previous games with two meters, stun and health, that will change during events.

Overall, 2018’s reboot is a top notch entry in the long running the God of War series. This game shows maturity, improvement in game-play, as well as introducing a set of a relatable characters and it all still remains, most importantly,  fun. It is refreshing to see a narrative driven, more linear game like God of War, released during the glut of AAA open world sandboxes that fill have filled up the release calendar lately. I highly recommend this game and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



Vikings: Wolves of Midgard | Review

Posted on May 5, 2017 by Meghan Kass

Hack and slash games have been a favorite genre of game of mine for a long time. From Devil May Cry to God of War, they are full of adrenaline-fueled excitement and of course, plenty of action and enemies to slay. The newest to the genre is Vikings: Wolves of Midgard and while this may seem like a Diablo clone ready to be forgotten by time, there is a charm and fun to this game that should be given more than just a quick glance.


Vikings: Wolves of Midgard has you chose the role of Viking or Shield Maiden and throws you into the world of Norse mythology. From the shores of Midgard you defend your village against Ragnarok itself. The winters are getting colder, and now the Jotan are out and seeking revenge against the gods of Asgard themselves. As part of a band of surviving Vikings, it is up to you to defend your home and survive, even if it means leaving a road of blood behind you. You travel to different locations for various reasons, usually to save someone from your clan or defeat enemies that are threatening your village. There are opportunities to show mercy and gain the help and loyalty of your defeated enemies or completely annihilate them and leave no survivors.


The gameplay is very reminiscent of various ARPG / hack and slash games. You have your basic slow/fast attack and one skill to start out with. Depending on which Norse god you want to focus on, you can choose new skills to use against your enemies or buff yourself. I focused mostly on my favorite Norse God, Thor, and used my skill points to gain new storm and strength-based abilities.

The action is rapid and fast paced, all from the birds’ eye view of a top-down perspective. You make your way through an area, wiping out dozens of enemies and finding the treasure before defeating a boss. I found these boss battles to be the most interesting parts of gameplay. They provided some challenge and I often found myself needing to strategize and find out what abilities to use in particular situations and how the bosses telegraph their attacks – which indicated when they were going to come after me with an attack. While many might not find the enemies to be particularly difficult, I found some battles to be interesting and enough of a challenge to keep me wanting more. After defeating areas, you are treated to more story in the form of a narrator telling you the game’s tale. You’ll then go back to your  village to upgrade your armor, weapons or take on special “Trials of the God”s. 

As much as I had fun with this game, I could not help but notice some glaring flaws. Enemies would freeze or not vanish after death, I had gotten stuck in corners of the world geometry multiple times and faced some lag issues as well. I also found it strange that in the main village hub area, there is no alter to level up at and often wished in between areas, I could level up and chose my skills without having to go to my next mission and search for it to progress.

Overall, if you are looking for a fun hack and slash action RPG, this will satisfy your craving. Diablo fans will enjoy the gameplay and the Norse setting and story is fun, if not a bit cheesy in the dialogue at times. Try it out, but maybe wait for a sale to pick it up.Unless you are a huge fan of this genre of game, it may be too repetitive and too buggy to warrant buying it at full price.


Blood Alloy: Reborn A good start but needs work

Posted on March 11, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Review by: Brandon Hall

Blood Alloy: Reborn is a new early access game from Suppressive Fire Games. Its currently released in early access an introduction to the gameplay mechanics of a bigger game. Its tiny price tag of $13 is may put some people off, but it’s really just the start of a game. An early tutorial goes over just the basics of maneuvering and sliding, and leaves much open for interpretation. It also seems to be missing a story element altogether. The art style is great for any pixel art aficionado and the music is very well composed. But those seem to be the only real great points about this game as it exists now.

I made a great mistake by skipping the tutorial, and I paid for it. Skipping the tutorial may have been a bit cocky as I soon learned that I knew nothing about this game or its controls controls. After a lot of cursing and many screams of angst I swallowed my pride and loaded up the tutorial. To my amazement, or lack thereof, the tutorial was barebones with nothing more than flashing keys in the background prompting you towards the end of the section. I know it’s an early access game, but navigating the tutorial seems straightforward, yet failure results in an instant reset putting you at the last checkpoint. It was at this point that my frustration began to take hold as I felt less immersed in the game, pushing me away from enjoyment and more towards a sense of dread.


This should give you an idea of how much happens on screen

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