Shock Tactics Review – The Wrong Kind of Shock

When Firaxis brought back the venerable XCOM series from the dead nobody could have predicted how damn good it would be, its turned-based tactical mayhem creating a palpable sense of tension. It was difficult, too, demanding that you contemplate every move or else lose your soldiers forever. XCOM 2 had a rough launch, but it still managed to improve on Enemy Unknown, refining various parts of the core gameplay. Unsurprisingly several companies have attempted to leap onto the bandwagon. Shock Tactics happens to be the latest game trying to capture the magic of yelling at virtual soldiers because they missed a 90% chance to hit. It’s also not that good.
But let us assume for a moment that you aren’t familiar with the turn-based genius of XCOM: the basic idea is that you’ll take control of a squad of soldiers and guide them through the level. During your turn you can move them, attack and activate special abilities, all of which are governed by an Action Point system. Cover is vitally important to surviving, and because of that flanking the enemy is key to killing them, otherwise you just end up trading mostly ineffectual shots. When it comes to firing at a foe the chances of hitting will be displayed above the target, which also means lady luck plays a big part in whether you live or die; sometimes a soldier will nail a shot despite having a mere 5% chance of hitting, and sometimes you’ll miss even though there was a 90% chance of hitting them right between the eyes. If all else fails you can just stick your squad into Overwatch which means they’ll open fire on the first bad guy who moves during the A.I.’s turn.
But the truly important thing to know is that if a soldier dies he’s gone for good. Shock Tactics embraces this aspect of the XCOM series, and while you do have a window of opportunity to rescue a downed squad member once that’s over they vanish into the nether realm. The only way to replenish squad numbers is by embarking on specific missions where you have to battle your way to them, of course meaning that you risk getting even more soldiers killed in the process.
Sadly, it’s hard to get attached to your little squad, so their death means nothing more than frustration because you’ll have to find somebody else and patiently wait for them to level up and thus actually become useful. In XCOM you could not only name your troops but also play with their color scheme and facial features, which combined with their unique abilities in the field made them surprisingly endearing. They had their own stories and histories forged through prior missions and their deaths actually made you feel sad. In Shock Tactics your troops are just faceless goons with only their armor color being something you can alter.
Still, within the turn-based tactical combat there are flashes of brilliance, moments where the game nearly manages to match X-com’s tension-filled battles as one of your troops lands a seemingly impossible shot or somehow survives a barrage of firepower that should have surely mown them down. Sure, there isn’t enough variety in enemy types nor enough abilities within your own ranks, and the different classes of soldier feel much too alike, but the XCOM core, which has not so much been copied as stolen outright, remains fun. It’s just flashes of brilliance, though, amidst a lot of….well, okayness. It says a lot that the only thing Shock Tactics does well is what it lifted straight out of Firaxis’ turn-based masterpieces.
The first problem is the level design which bounces wildly from being rather good to outright annoying thanks to what I assume is random generation. There’s a nice amount of verticality to play around with, although it and the thankfully uncommon interiors are marred by an awkward camera that frequently gets caught up on scenery or hides lines of sight. More annoying are the stretches of empty ground that force you to either leave troops out in the open at the mercy of the enemy or play a boring game of trading shots over long-distance that have minimal odds of actually hitting anything.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus may feature more blood, amputation and beheadings than most timeless works of art, but in its own way, that’s what Sweden-based developer MachineGames set out to do with its take on the Wolfenstein franchise.
In New Colossus, players – through the role of William “B.J.” Blazkowicz – are first transported to and then fighting against a tyrannical America – a place in which Nazis haven’t just taken root, but are its guiding light.
The game takes place in a 1961 Nazi-occupied America. But the occupation is, at least at first blush, mostly hospitable. Americans have taken to the fascist party like fish to water.
It can’t help but elicit the question: Is The New Colossus meant to be, in any way, a parable of modern times, a warning of what could be to come under a far-right American leadership. When asked, Matthies called the game “timeless,” and said it was certainly not meant to be commentary. According to him, he and the team drew more inspiration from films like Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained than they did reality.

The Wheelchair

The two levels that press were granted unfettered access to included one in which BJ awakens in a sub, lying on a hospital bed. Nazis have discovered them, so he must pull himself from the bed and into a wheelchair.
The rest of the level is played from within the confines of that chair: BJ expertly maneuvering the chair around corners to pop off shots at encroaching Nazis, hurdling over bumps and down passageways in what can only be described as the world’s most handicap-accessible submarine in existence.

Nazi America

Once the wheelchair level wrapped up, we were pushed forward through the game, to a save point much later on. It opens with BJ, now walking, visiting a small town in Southwest America, deeply ensconced within, happily embracing the new order of Nazi rule.
BJ is here to blow shit up. But first, he has to wander this cozy little town to find his contact, a man who runs the local soda shop.
Matthies tells us that he and the team deliberately avoided watching the Amazon Prime series The Man in the High Castle – which also takes place in an America ruled by Nazis.

The Big Bomb

My final mission in my time with the game was to sneak into a command center and nuke the whole place.
Where the earlier missions were bookended with clever dialog and tight writing, this was more classic Wolfenstein: a steady, bloody churn through endless Nazi enemies using an increasingly diverse – but always lethal ¬– mix of weapons to part Nazi life and limb from Nazi body.
The melee death-dealing of a stealthy BJ is only less satisfying than BJ methodically mowing down Nazis with a weapon in each hand.
The developers spent a lot of time building out the gore system, which enables BJ to do things like grab a Nazi by the shoulder and then lop off his leg before killing him.

War Machine Bridles….

Equines are adored not simply for their natural splendor but also for their strength and momentum but as battle weapons. Also, the rider must be able to connect with equines well in order for them to function proficiently and demand respect and strike fear in the enemy. One of the many resources that can help in the efficient interaction between the rider and the warhorse are the bridles. Horse bridles are found on the equine’s head. It is one way to boost the connection between the rider and the equine with regards to direction, flexibility and speed.There are various types of equine bridles which are regularly used everywhere.

The rider should know how to make use of the tool correctly to acquire good results. It must be used with patience, light pressure and it should be released when the horse responds and leg pressure can be used to support the cues of the bridle. On top of that, a precise size to the horse is an excellent aspect to its glorious performance. A mismatched bridle can detrimentally affect the equine’s ease and comfort, stride and cooperation. Even though you will discover different types of equine bridles, they have common qualities which make them exceptional.The strap that rest across the forehead of the horse, just underneath the ears is called the browband. It is essential to prohibit the bridles from being pulled back over the ears and down the neck. Be certain that it suits snugly and would not pinch the horse. Various horse lovers who prefer western horse-bridles because it does not use a browband, alternatively it uses two ear loops attached to the headpiece. Having either a browband or ear loops, a noseband is also being used to force a horse to drop its head. It is found above the nose but its efficiency and exact position can vary based on the style of bridle employed and riding discipline. Sometimes, cosmetic nosebands that usually do not apply any pressure to a horse’s nose are preferred by owners.

The Cheek piece horse bridles for sale are another significant portion of the horse-bridle is the cheek piece. It can determine the level of interaction between the reins and the bit. It has to suit properly because if it is fitted too freely the bit will rest low in the horse’s mouth. It will lead to the bit to hit the horse’s front teeth and the tongue to be subjected to uneasy pressure. This is unquestionably a detrimental experience for the horse and can negatively influence its operation. A suitably fit cheek piece lets one wrinkle in the corners of the horse’s mouth.The Throat lash is a piece that is situated under the upper jaw near the neck is called the throat lash or also called throat latch. It holds the bridle in place and keeps the horse from rubbing the bridle off his head. Be certain that these horse bridles have the proper clearance of about three fingers to prevent constriction in the horse’s breathing.

The Love of God’s Power

God is faithful. We’ve all heard these words. We’ve read them, said them, and sung them. And we’ve felt themGod’s faithfulness is a palatable experience of his love. It’s his love tasted and seen in our history. It’s the mechanics of his love wired to fulfill his promises for our good. In fact, God’s faithfulness and his steadfast love are so closely intertwined that in Psalm 33 they’re basically the same.

Celebrate A Simpler Life With Solitude

Solitude, a short game about abandoning your old life and becoming a shepherdess, is all about leaving the things that don’t make you happy behind. This is accomplished by walking through colorful, slightly surreal dioramas and clicking on things, which in itself is nice and calming. There’s also understated music, bleeping and blooping away most pleasurably in the background, and sheep are frolicking about as you slowly turn into a shepherdess.

All of this is delightfully strange and carries a nice message. You see, on your way to become more at peace with yourself, you have to help other people. These then turn into sheep and follow you, which… is a bit weird, actually. But then, so is the rest of Solitude.

The shepherding is not only a wonky metaphor or Jana Reinhardt’s personal escapism fantasy. It works on so many levels, from a simple “back to nature” thing to more complex ideas about society and even Christianity, if you want. Whatever you might read into the game, Solitude is a delight and totally worth the 15 minutes or so you’ll spend on it.

 

Meet Platinum Games’ NieR: Automata team!

PG game designer Takahisa Taura here. It was my pleasure to share some new information and footage from NieR: Automata at E3 2016! Today I’d like to go a step further and give you an up-close look into our development processes, and share some of the challenges that the team and I have faced on this project. We hope you enjoy this taste of what it’s like on our side of the screen.

Bayonetta 2 Second Anniversary amiibo Announcement!

I’m afraid that this little taste is all I can give you right now, since we’re still working hard to get her just right. But I assure you that we’re going to capture everything you know and love about Bayonetta – every detail down to the exact sizes of her glasses and eyes – and bring you an amiibo that’ll meet your every expectation.

Top 5 Gaming Snacks

Let’s be real here. Gaming is an endurance sport. A true gamer spends hours playing, whether its a video game or board game.

Such dedication to the gaming arts requires stamina, and in order to maintain healthy energy levels, one must feed. But what to eat? Pizza and sandwiches are messy, time-consuming, and difficult to eat when your hands are otherwise occupied with controllers, playing cards, and game pieces.

Here then, are the five best snacks to nosh on while gaming:

1. Licorice. The best thing to do is get one of those giant tubs of Red Vines. They are easy to grab and eat, and they don’t make a mess—they aren’t sticky or crumbly, so they are the perfect go to treat when you need a sugar rush to keep you on high alert. Do not ever go for black licorice, because that is just gross.

2. Peanuts. Protein is essential to maintaining proper stamina when those intense battle scenes erupt. However, the worst thing you can do is try to shell your own peanuts. It takes too much concentration and work, which distracts you from the game. It’s also a huge mess. That’s one reason why we shun pistachios as well. Instead, get nuts that are pre-shelled. We like the honey roasted variety. However, you can also go for Peanut M&Ms, which are convenient and tasty.

3. Crackers. So here’s the thing: chips are great, but they are so messy, and they leave a disgusting greasy film on your fingertips. That’s a cardinal sin in gaming circles. Crackers are much more manageable, as they are baked and easier to pop into your mouth whole (most small varieties anyway). You can choose whichever kind of crack you want, but we like the baked crackers from Melaleuca. There are two varieties of Melaleuca crackers: multi-grain and seven-cheese.

4. Beef jerky. Again, you need protein to keep up the high energy needed for serious battles, and jerky is so damn tasty. It’s a bit expensive, but for special gaming events it can be a great treat. so go ahead and splurge.

5. Bottled water. No, this isn’t a food; but you have to stay hydrated to be at your best.

GODSANDHEROES

Rome Rising is a mature, full-scale, action-adventure, massively multiplayer online role-playing game that immerses the audience in Roman mythology.

Players strap on gladiator armor, lay waste to monsters and command minions while seeking favor from the gods.

Contact

2991 Sandy Avenue,
Costa Mesa
CA 92626.

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