JURASSIC WORLD EVOLUTION Review: We Have An Asset Out Of Containment!

Jurassic World: Evolution is the latest game that serves as a tie-in to the recently released blockbuster, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Similar to the 2003 park-sim Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, Evolution puts players at the helm of running a more modern Jurassic World theme park. The game is developed by Frontier Developments, whose previous works include Elite Dangerous and Planet Coaster. Now, with the release of Evolution, players are tasked with bringing back to life extinct creatures and offer a safe entertainment haven for the public to enjoy. 

Story

GT_JWE_02.jpg

Given that Evolution is a theme park-sim, there is technically no plot or story arc in the game. Instead, players face the challenging responsibility of running the day-to-day operations of a fully functional Jurassic World. The game is somewhat a revamped version of Operation Genesis. However, Evolution brings more to the table with genetic experimentation that allows players to manipulate a specific dinosaur’s traits and behavior. 

Gameplay

The game begins as the player takes the role of the park manager, similar to the job of Claire Dearing, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character in the movie. In the opening cutscene, the player is flown in the first of five islands, Isla Mantaceros together with hilarious commentary from Jeff Goldblum's movie counterpart, Dr. Ian Malcolm, who doesn’t take too long to lecture you about the moral consequences of bringing extinct creatures back to life. Besides Goldblum, several movie characters are also present in the game such as Owen, Claire, Dr. Henry Wu, and Cabot Finch. However, only Goldblum and Dallas Howard are actually voicing their characters in the game. 

The entirety of Evolution will take place on islands known as the five deaths. Each island is slightly different than the other and will offer their own challenges such as weather patterns, varied collection of dinosaurs and many more. For example, Isla Muerta is often ravaged by violent storms, which will easily damage buildings and release dinos, Isla Tacaños, on the other hand, will have limited funding, which forces the player to focus on the island's profitability and so on. A sixth island, Isla Nublar, where both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World was built, can also be unlocked as an unlimited sandbox island given that players meet the specific requirements. 

As park manager, you are tasked to run the daily operations of the park and ensure that you satisfy the needs of the three main divisions: Science, Security, and Entertainment. Each of these divisions will give player contracts to accomplish, boosting their relationship with that department and generate income for your park. However, players must note that these divisions are not exactly in good terms with one another as they sabotage each other and fight to get your attention. 

Furthermore, players will handle research that seeks to improve the overall prestige and efficiency of the park. Research spans from medicines to cure dinosaur diseases, to a better-electrified fence (it’s a mystery why the basic fence is not electrified), or ensure the availability of a gift shop and other park amenities for your guests to indulge in. Similar to the premise of Operation Genesis, players are also given an excavation team to dig up fossils for DNA extraction. The more fossils of a specific dinosaur you extract, the better its lifespan will be in the long run. 

Releasing the first ever dinosaur in your park is a memorable moment in Evolution. The satisfaction and sense of wonder once the dinosaur steps out of the Hammond Creation Lab is a cinematic experience. Of course, breeding and taking care of dinosaurs is not as simple as it seems. A Ranger Station is required to dispatch vehicles to maintain and fix enclosures, resupply feeders, take close-up photos of the dinosaurs, and medicate sick creatures. The best part of this job is the ability to do the tasks automatically by issuing commands, or by driving the vehicle yourself. The same is true for the ACU Center, which houses a helicopter that you can use to tranquilize rampaging dinosaurs on a safe distance. 

GT_JWE_05.jpg

True to their word, Frontier Developments made sure that Evolution adheres to the core concept of the Jurassic books and movies, which is to expect that everything will always go wrong. Malcolm's in-game commentary ensures that players remember this all the time and it doesn't take too long for the game to catapult players in chaos.

 A few hours in, the security division wishes to conduct a drill wherein the player would leave an enclosure gate open to release a dinosaur into the park. Your response with the emergency is crucial and serves as a cruel tutorial on how to handle things when dinosaurs escape. Upon accepting this contract, I put it aside for a while as I wanted to ensure that the park has an adequate amount of safety bunkers when I release the dinos in the wild. However, the game sensed my caution and automatically destroyed one of my fences that resulted in the instant escape of my Edmontosaurus. Luckily, the game did not decide to release my Ceratosaurus, or things could have been worse.

As I was notified with the breakout, I immediately went into panic mode as I was not prepared nor even tried flying the ACU's helicopter yet. I began shouting “Code 19! We have an asset out of containment” in true Bryce Dallas Howard fashion at my TV screen. Of course, given that the escapee is only a gentle Edmontosaurus, I was able to handle things smoothly but still with urgency. I then realize that the experience is just the beginning of things going wrong, and I loved it. 

Over time, the game becomes a little bit repetitive. Once the player gets the hang of how things should be managed, a lack of variety becomes apparent. Although jumping from one island to the other offers a different challenge to overcome, the core gameplay is still the same with most of it spent waiting for cash to come in. 

For our review, we were given the PS4 version of the game. Even as I played Evolution on my regular PS4, the visuals were stunning especially the details that went into the dinosaurs themselves. Although I would have loved to see more detail on the visitors, they were still very much alive as they roam around in groups, pointing at dinosaurs, and at one point, I even saw them taking a selfie, but maybe I imagined things. My playthrough of Evolution is also the first time that I played a simulator game on a console as opposed to the traditional PC. Although the control scheme is smooth and well optimized for the PS4, I still felt that the game is more natural to play using a mouse instead of a controller. Nevertheless, the game was still fun to play, so it all boils down to personal preference when it comes to controls. 

Verdict

All in all, Jurassic World: Evolution is a successful unofficial successor to Operation Genesis. The game was able to retain the features that I loved in the 2003 title, but at the same time, it introduced a lot of new features never seen in Operation Genesis making Evolution a game of its own. The uncertainty of keeping peace and security at the park kept me entertained and on my toes during my first few hours with the game. However, the repetitive mechanics, even when placed on a more challenging environment, pulled me away from enjoying the game in the long run, which can be a perfect opportunity for modders to do their magic. Well, at least for the PC version. 

In the end, Jurassic World: Evolution is a fun and enjoyable experience. The task of managing a park, breeding dinosaurs, keeping guests entertained, and preventing the different departments from tearing each other apart provides a true park simulator experience. Of course, Malcolm’s commentaries were enough to compensate for the game's shortcomings, especially when things become too easy as you get better at managing the park. As for whether the game is worth buying, I say that Jurassic World: Evolution is a must buy for both fans of the franchise and simulator games in general. 

Permalink

The Xbox’s E3 Conference Takes The Title Of The Most Watched Twitch Stream Of All Time

 Microsoft's President of Gaming Phil Spencer at the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing

Microsoft's President of Gaming Phil Spencer at the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing

The recently concluded E3 2018 announced a multitude of game announcements and the revelation of release dates from previously reported titles. It’s hard to pick a favorite E3 presentation as all developers each had their own exciting games on the way soon. However, it seems that Microsoft has taken the spot of the most most-watched live stream in the history of Twitch. 

GitHyp’s analysts reported that Microsoft’s E3 2018 presentation took the top spot as the most viewed live stream watched on Twitch. This is not the first time Microsoft achieved this milestone as they were also recognized as the most-watch E3 live stream last year. However, for this year, Microsoft’s stream was also the most viewed on the streaming platform with an impressive 1.7 million. 

“Now, for the second year in a row, Microsoft’s live stream was the highest viewed stream on Twitch,” as reported by GitHyp. “But Microsoft’s Xbox E3 Briefing wasn’t just the most watched live event of this year’s convention…it was also the highest concurrent viewer count of any stream ever on Twitch, pulling in an impressive 1.7 million viewers at its peak.”

Here is the list containing views per presentation of the following developers and publishers at E3 2018:

  • Microsoft/Xbox - 1.7 million viewers (1.1 million in 2017)
  • Ubisoft - 1.6 million viewers (986k in 2017)
  • Sony/PlayStation - 1.5 million viewers (926k in 2017)
  • Bethesda - 964k viewers (233k in 2017)
  • PC Gaming Show - 893k viewers (552k in 2017)
  • Nintendo/Switch - 679k viewers (292k in 2017)
  • EA (Electronic Arts) - 528k viewers (676k in 2017)

It is worth noting that every single one of the developers and publishers listed above saw an increase in viewership versus last year except for EA. Microsoft’s conference included a plethora of first and third party announcements such as Cyberpunk 2077Just Cause 4, Devil May Cry V, Fallout76 and many others. 

What was your favorite E3 conference? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Permalink

OCTOPATH TRAVELER Will Not Get Any Additional Content After Release

A recent in interview with the Japanese website Dengeki Online and translated by Japanese Nintendo,  the producer for Octopath Traveler Masashi Takahashi revealed that the game will not offer any content after the game launches. Takahashi’s reason for this is simple, the game “is the finished product” when it releases for the Switch this July. 

Of course, Octopath Traveler will be getting patches and updates if ever bugs and other issues come out, but aside from minor fixes, players should not expect characters outside the announced roster, or additional quests and chapters.  You can check out the gameplay demo of the game that was showcased at E3 last week. 

In case you’re not familiar with what the game is about, here is the official description of the game by developer Square Enix:

Eight travelers. Eight adventures. Eight roles to play in a new world brought to life by Square Enix. And now, you can enjoy all of them in the new demo. Step into the shoes and live the stories of each of the eight travelers and freely explore the world of Orsterra. Then, carry your choices and adventure into the main game with save data transfer.

  • Explore multiple, distinct RPG adventures in a world created by Square Enix
  • Choose from eight characters, each with their own distinct story
  • Deep, strategic turn-based combat with a layered battle system
  • Visuals inspired by retro RPGs brought to life with modern touches and a rousing, dynamic musical score

Octopath Traveler will release as a Nintendo Switch exclusive on July 13, 2018. 

Permalink

Sony’s PSN Is Having A Massive ‘Best of E3’ Sale Right Now

GT_PSN_00.jpg

Keeping up with tradition, Sony is once again offering multiple games up for sale after the conclusion of this year’s E3. The PSN sale promises discounts of up to 50% off for regular PSN folks and up to 60% off for PS Plus subscribers. 

The "Best of E3" sale started a few days ago and will end on June 19 at 8 AM PT. Currently, there are about 186 games listed on the sale including Resident Evil 7, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Yakuza 0. You can check out the full lineup of discounted games here

During the recently concluded E3, Sony had one of the biggest conferences with announcements on big games such as The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Days Gone, Spider-Man and the long-awaited Resident Evil 2 Remake. 

Permalink

DOOM ETERNAL Announced In Brutal E3 Teaser Trailer

download (24).jpeg

After launching an incredibly successful continuation to the Doom series a few years back, Bethesda has announced the next game for fans of the series to look forward to. Showing off the world, multiple active monsters, and the pure chaos that engulfs this series is the E3 announcement teaser for Doom Eternal.

While we don't really get to see a lot in the teaser trailer, the game looks like it will be as intense as the first or perhaps even more so. The soundtrack used on the teaser is just as amazing as the 2016 Doom games entire soundtrack, so no worries on the music remaining as epic as it was! Check out the teaser for yourself:

This didn't really show us a lot of what to expect from the game, we have the series reputation to go off of. They even announced that the gameplay for Doom Eternal is going to be revealed in August at Quakecon! That's not a long wait to see some gameplay which many of us are already pretty sure what to expect. 

Was this teaser trailer enough to get you hyped up for the next Doom game?

Permalink

The E3 Trailer For CONTROL Is Mind Blowing

download (23).jpeg

The age of trying to visually conceptualize a confusing, yet fascinating mix of activity has been continuing to adapt movies and games alike. Seeing large, physical objects change into different shapes or simply fold when it isn't supposed to be physically possible too is just complicated to grasp. Perhaps it is the breaking of the laws of physics that captures our interest in this case.

Taking the advantage of this fascination is 505 Games with their next game, Control. After watching the E3 Announcement trailer, it is obvious that they are going for an aw-inspiring experience with mind blowing physics that makes things change with plenty of action to go along with it. The glimpse of the story seems like the usual escape from those using science in morally questionable ways, but that doesn't hinder the interest. Check it out:

I love seeing how craze everything looks in this game. The mixture of telekinesis and gun play is sure to bring some unique gameplay mechanics. Not to mention the endless amounts of strategy options that this could bring. The part of the trailer that caught my attention was both subtle and the part that I found mind blowing. She used telekinesis to move the guns shape, which indicates to me that we will be able to use the gun itself in different ways with this power as well.

What do you think of the announcement trailer for Control and what the game will have in store for us?

Permalink

VAMPYR Review: A Game Full Of Punishing Yet Fair Consequences

download (19).jpeg

Many games have come and gone that had a choice based system that controlled the stories outcome, but the developers at DONTNOD have created a game that brings this genre to a new level. The consequential choices in Vampyr are all tough positions that alter not only the story, but how difficult the overall game will be to complete.

Story

Taking place in 1918 London, vampire and doctor Jonathan Reid is faced with finding the source and cure for the Spanish Influenza that plagues the citizens. However, the truth continues to reveal that there is more going on than simply a Spanish Flu. With the creation of a cure just out of reach and having to face a struggle within against the thirst for blood, Dr. Reid must do everything he can to save the citizens of London!

The story itself is a gripping tale that is sure to hold the interest of players as they personally make the decisions that will save or kill the citizens. There are a couple sections that seemed like they were trying a little hard to grip at my emotions, but they aren't unnecessary story moments either.

Gameplay

When you start out the game you will be faced with a short amount of action before it slows to being the detective style game that the majority of it is. Given that you don't make so many bad decisions that multiple parts of the town becomes hostile.

Each district starts off in an above average or positive position. This meter is based on how many key citizens are sick, which can be healed by medicines you learn to make as you progress, and that includes how many our dead. Whether by your poor choices or your need to feed, too many dead citizens in one district and you will find it more dangerous to simply travel through the streets.

download (20).jpeg

When you aren't collecting information from people or completing side quests of note and item collection, you will be finding your way through the puzzling streets. These streets can hold home to enemies, whether it be vampire hunters, skals, or enemy vampires, as well as source items. You can search through various trash cans, boxes, and multiple other locations to find medicine items, tools, and occasionally money. These same items, and often better ones, can also be found inside any building by searching drawers, cabinets, and anything else the game let's you.

The combat in the game is a main aspect, even if it doesn't seem like it at first. Your level is determined by how much experience you have used in the skill tree through evolution. Experience is gained by completing quests, defeating big enemies (mini boss and boss), and draining a poor victim of their blood. Regular enemies don't provide much experience at all, so needless combat won't be well rewarded. Taking victims within your current mesmerization level (which increases only when you progress further in the story) will be the best way to get experience, it just has the highest cost as well. You get the most out of your victim by curing any medical issues that are inflicting them and unlocking as many hints about them as possible through discussion with them and anyone they are associated with. The hint unlock rule also applies to having more options when making story altering decisions, providing a second or third option on a difficult moment.

As mentioned before, there is a skill tree for you to use your gained experience on. The more experience used, regardless on what, the higher your level. The points can be reset at any time as well if you ever wish to completely rearrange what abilities or benefits you currently have set up so far. This proves to be helpful for anytime you are having trouble with the set up you have given yourself without knowing what lies ahead.

As for the combat, their system allows freedom of movement for multiple different attack styles. There are a large variety of styles based on which weapon you equipped, the stun weapon of choice, and the skills learned from the skill tree. It is well set up for any player to set themselves up with their own unique move set that fits them best.

Graphics and Sounds

Everything has a semi-realistic polish to it. While there is a level of obvious that this is a game, the majority of your surroundings and characters have a very aesthetically appealing art style. The characters and parts of the environment are a bit unnecessarily shiny, but nothing distracting or disruptive.

The sound effects matched well and the combat scenes weren't full of yelling from each attack. They did well balancing the amount of noise and volume with each clash. The music choice is well during also with a consistent somber atmosphere style that fit well with the dark, plague filled era.

Replayability

With the different choices players can make and their consequential impact on the world around them, along with fail able side quests and plenty of people to feed off of, there is tons of replayability here. Whether you want to try a pacifist or killer run, make better choices all around, or simply see what the different choices do when chosen, there is a lot of reasons to return to the streets of 1918 London once more.

download (22).jpeg

What Could Be Better

The lock on system when in combat was difficult to change between different enemies. This may have been user error, but it seems like it could of been done more smoothly.

I also thought the way the player and victim walk when currently mesmerized was completely unrealistic and needs an update. Whether they have the two characters do a snake-like motion so that they aren't slowly turning like they together make one character in an obvious and unrealistic way, something needs to improve with those moments.

Final Verdict

Vampyr is a very well made game that is challenging, a lot of fun, and punishing. The moral decision aspect was done so well that even when I thought I was being a good guy with my choices I still got people killed. Even the detective side of the game was interesting as every character has their own story behind them. Easily held my interest from start to end.

GT9.png

Permalink

Avalanche Revealed That JUST CAUSE 4 Won’t Have A Multiplayer Mode

Developer Avalanche Studios announced at E3 that the upcoming game, Just Cause 4, will not include an official multiplayer mode. However, this is not really a surprise as previous games in the series were exclusively single-player titles. Of course, this exempts unofficial yet recognized mods that added a multiplayer option in the last two games. 

Speaking to PCGamesN, creative director Francesco Antoloni confirmed the news saying that, “Just Cause 4 will not feature multiplayer.”

The hype over the possibility of Just Cause 4 having a multiplayer mode began when Cameron “Trix” Foote, a lead developer of the Just Cause 2 Multiplayer mod, joined Avalanche back in 2016. 

“I’ll be able to bring many of the things you know and love from JC2-MP into future Avalanche experiences while reaching heights that a mere mod couldn’t facilitate,” Foote said when he joined the developer. 

Just Cause 4 is scheduled to release December 4 via Steam for $60. Were you hoping to have an official multiplayer mode for Just Cause 4? Hopefully, modders will step up just as they did in previous games. 

Permalink

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4 For The PC Will Prioritize Customization

Call of Duty has been a mainstay for the PC ever since the beginning of the franchise. However, Treyarch revealed in a video that they are putting more focus on the PC version of the game than previous titles in the past. The developer is currently placing a larger team in the development of the PC version to ensure attention to detail and customization options tailored-fit to the PC. 

The upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for the PC is being developed by Treyarch with the help of Beenox, a Quebec-based studio, that previously helped with the development of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered and Black Ops 3. However, for the upcoming Black Ops 4, Beenox is dedicated to developing more features for the PC version of the game, including the first title in the franchise that will be accessible on Blizzard’s Battle.net. 

Firstly, significant attention has been put into fine-tuning the controls of the game for the PC. The developers are expecting that they would feel more natural on the platform with a plethora of customizations available for players. However, this does not mean that the default controls won’t be as good. Instead, Treyarch and Beenox promise to offer a broad set of options that will cater to personal preferences of players. 

Beenox technical lead programmer, Philip Troie gave an example of optimizing controls for the PC. In Black Ops 4, if players want to throw a grenade. “If you want to throw a grenade, you can choose between cooking it by holding the mouse button or as a toggle. So you can also click once to start to cook it and click twice to throw it.”

Furthermore, Troie also talked about the importance of mouse sensitivity and how it is vital that players won’t be slowed down. Each game’s specialist will have the ability to configure controls and customize to what feels more natural to them. 

Besides the controls, Black Ops 4 will also run well on a range of systems, even those players without a state of the art PC setup. “We wanted to make sure it ran great on the broadest array of hardware, Treyarch co-studio head Mark Gordon revealed. “Feeling great and running great were the two high-level goals.”

Concerning graphical performance, Black Ops 4 will be able to run in 4K HDR in an uncapped frame rate. The demo that was made available during E3 ran at above 150 FPS. The game will also be able to support ultra-wide monitors up to an aspect ratio of 32:9. The PC version of the game will ensure that the user interface will adjust to accommodate a wide range of monitors. 

In the end, the team of Treyarch, Beenox and Blizzard hope to bring the best PC version of Black Ops 4 that the franchise has never seen in previous installments. 

Permalink

FORTNITE For The Switch Hits Two Million Downloads In A Day

GT_Fortnite_Switch_00.jpg

Nintendo of America was proud to announce that the newly released Switch version of Fortnite was able to sell more than two million units within 24 hours of release. 

The Switch port of the ever popular battle royale game by Epic Games was revealed during the Nintendo Direct presentation at E3. The game was released shortly after the announcement, and it seems that Switch players didn’t waste any time and downloaded the game immediately. 

The overnight success of Fortnite on a new platform is another milestone for developer Epic Games who recently revealed that the game has now been played by over 125 million players worldwide. Given the popularity of the Switch version, that number is expected to rise this year. 

In other Fortnite news, Sony recently commented on the controversy surrounding the accounts of players on the PS4 who are unable to use their Fortnite accounts to access the Switch version of the game. You can check out Sony’s comment on the issue here

Fortnite is now available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. 

Permalink