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TRP 4/15/14: Cheese Nostalgia

291smallYou’re not imagining things – the Pack is back to weekly podcasts, at least until they’re completely burned out! The guys kick off the show by answering your questions about the ill-conceived Conception II and free-to-play rumbling. Afterwards, Justin powers up in inFamous: Second Son, Kaz collects “Loot 2.0″ in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls and Tom saves his cheddar in the Mother-esque UnderTale demo. Plus, assessing the local multiplayer renaissance, Fox Mulder’s multicultural forays and 4D dog sneezes.

Relevant Links: UnderTale Kickstarter

TRP 4/10/14: Space Dysentery

OutThereSmallThis week, the Pack explores the endless expanses of outer space in not one, but two tablet-friendly spaceship roguelikes; Kaz picks up alien pickup lines in Out There, while Neil puts out space fires in FTL. Meanwhile, Justin cobbles together a toilet gun in Mercenary Kings, Tony rekindles his Escher love in Monument Valley, and the guys debate whether or not Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball is a charming experiment or an insidious plot to nickel and dime unsuspecting sluggers.

QuickReview: Powerstar Golf

PowerstarGolf

Embarrassingly, I didn’t grab this game at launch. I wasn’t as excited for the return of golf season back in November. However, now I am.

Powerstar Golf is an amazingly competent Hot Shots Golf clone. It’s not going to set the world on fire; the character list and course selection are both a little shallow. But the experience is as calming and zen-like as any other golf game out there. Another plus for the game is the fact that you can advance through it however you want, playing the rival mode, single player events, or multiplayer as you choose. The result is a game that gives you a lot of freedom in getting all the gear, courses and characters, but it does seem a little aimless as a result.

The quest to get all the clubs and gear is a little grind-y. the setup is reminiscent of free-to-play games, and more recently, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. You grind matches to get credits and then spend increasing amounts of credits to unlock packs of randomized items. It feels a little weird to not purchase specific clubs and boosts, but it does feel great when you get an item from the tier above the pack you opened. The game seems set up for a store where you use real money to buy what you want, but you instead use the in-game currency to get the random packs. It’s worrisome but the in-game purchases available are more of the same crap that’s been in every Xbox One game: real money for more credits. This seems like highway robbery given how easy it is to rack up credits playing local multiplayer or rivals modes.

That reminds me that the most interesting aspect of Powerstar Golf is the way it handles multiplayer and leaderboards. The longest drives, putts and other feats of your friends appear as virtual goal lines on the course to be beaten on every shot. You get bonus XP every time you best a rival’s record. It’s tons of fun to beat everyone’s best approaches or longest drives and makes the game feel more social than it really is. The online matches are handled by downloading ghosts of other players’ best performances on a course. Golf etiquette makes the interweaving of these prerecorded shots fit into the rhythm of the game naturally.

It’s not groundbreaking in any particular way, and it’s actually not as good as the Hot Shots or Mario Golfs of the world, but I’ll keep playing Powerstar Golf every now and then until something better comes along…

Mediocre game, I'm not sad that i played it but I'm not all that happy either, only play if you like the genre or series...

QuickReview: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

Diablo 3 ExpansionI just finished the expansion’s “Act V” content. Took a couple of hours altogether, but the real meat of this expansion is the expanded levels and items. It’s hard not to wonder if the price point is fair for the average player. Certainly the hardcore will find more than their money’s worth in post-game adventure mode quests and loot. If you plan to burn through it in one sitting and be done, you’ll probably find yourself disappointed in the lack of story content. The expansion act finished rather abruptly, leaving me asking, “Is it the end already?”

The best part of the expansion was actually a patch for the PC version that was released for the base game as well; it implements a rebalanced Loot 2.0 system. This eliminates the maligned auction house and increases the drop rates. It makes the game feel a lot more like its predecessors, to the point where it makes me question how they released the base game thinking the loot system was good. It was terrible in retrospect.

I find myself wanting to go back in and finish some of the adventure mode challenges just to wring more loot out of the new system. Your mileage will hinge a lot on your stomach for loot whoring.

Pretty dang good, not the best but I'm excited to finish the game, which says a lot for someone at my stage in life...

TRP 3/30/14: A Case of the Mundies

pigsFacebook may be poised to bring virtual reality to the masses, but Neil and Kaz just want their current consoles to work. Despite some hardware woes, the guys pack in as many games as they can fit into this overstuffed episode: Kaz stomps around some more in Titanfall, Justin tries out Umihara Kawase‘s stateside debut in Yumi’s Odd Odyssey, Tony takes everyone to flight school in Luftrausers and Neil wields The Stick of Truth in the first decent “South Park” game. Plus, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2, Yoshi’s New Island, inFamous: Second Son, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, Pokemon Battle Trozei, Out There and probably more!