Review – Fallout 4 (Xbox One)

My hands shook and my stomach churned in excitement as I feverishly tore into the package before me. All I could think was “Finally – the day has come”. The day I’d been waiting for, for what seemed like a lifetime. Today was the day that the latest installment of my favorite game franchise Fallout 4 arrived and I could barely stand the wait and I paced back and forth waiting for the install to finish.

Fallout for me has always been a world I can get lost in. That goes back to the days of the original. I’ve played through fallout 3 and New Vegas 3 times a piece each time differently than the last and each time took no less than 80 hours so to say that excitement that filled the air in the days leading up to release was high to say the least.

In typical fashion of the Feed Your Console team, we will endeavor to avoid spoilers despite there being countless sites out there who divulge the game’s story. The basis of the story sets the player on a mission to find who took his/her son and for what purpose did this happen. For the first time in the franchise, we’re treated to protagonist who not only has a voice but can be a woman as well. In the beginning of the game when setting up your character, players are met with an incredibly powerful character creation tool which morphs the main protagonist’s face in unimaginable ways (See link for some amazing examples). From there, we’re placed smack dab in middle of a pre-war suburban area set within the series’ 50s-esque era. It doesn’t take long to throw you into the world of Fallout with the bombs beginning to drop, the player and his family must run through the streets to their local Vault-Tec vault for protection.

One thing to that’s always struck me as funny about the Fallout series is it’s ability to set you on track to a main story yet distract you from the main mission so easily. I was bound and determined that I would focus heavily on the main quest then after, I’d jump back into the game and continue doing the side missions. That last all of 45 minutes as I suddenly found myself spending no less than 3 hours screwing around in my first settlement.

The team at Bethesda has made a plethora of changes to the games some of which I loved and some, I have to say I wasn’t overly thrilled with. The combat system is still as awesome as it ever was with a few changes. Actually playing the game without utilizing the VATS system is a completely viable option now whereas in previous games it felt much to cumbersome and I rarely ever did in 3 or New Vegas. It just gives the game a whole new feel. VATS has changed a little as well in that now instead of freezing time, time slows down AND the player manually triggers a critical hit after their meter has filled up. It’s no longer a random successful critical hit.

More companions! You read that right. There are 13 companions to find throughout the vast expanses of this wasteland. Each with their own unique style, missions and dialogue help to keep the game fresh and exciting over multiple play-throughs. My personal favorites are Strong, the Supermutant, Nick Valentine the old school private investigator and Dogmeat the ..well… German Sheppard.

Settlements – Perhaps the single biggest addition to the game is the ability to find and build settlements. If you’re the Minecraft/creation gamer, this is going to be your thing. Basically, settlements are found and built from the ground up using supplies you find and break down in the wastelands. Seriously – Everything has a purpose now including pre-war money all the way to the cleaning solvents. It can all be broken down into it’s base components and turned into something else which you can use to rebuild civilization within your settlements. When building your settlements, the people will demand things and they look to you to provide for them. They need water, crops, defense, beds all of this falls to your shoulders. At times when out exploring, you’ll be notified that one of your settlements is struggling and needs help. If you wait too long, you will lose settlers. For some reason Bethesda opted to leave us to our own devices when figuring out how to set up supply lines and their importance. I feel the settlement building needed a solid tutorial. Chances are someone like me would probably have spent more time mucking about in the building options.

Another aspect of establishing your settlements, you must build. I’m not a Minecraft fan. I don’t understand the appeal or the success. Maybe that’s dating me and I’m showing my age but building things in games is not something I have any desire to do. Not in Halo’s Forge, not in Minecraft and not in the Sims. For Fallout though, I was game to give it the old college try and try I did. I literally spent an entire day travelling, scavenging, scrapping, selling, sleeping… Rinse repeat for 9 hours bound and determined this was going to be the game that got me on board with building things in my games. After all that time, I spent no more than 30 minutes struggling with how to build a simple home with power and lights and furnishings. The game beat me. I tapped out. I found that building wasn’t as intuitive as it first looked in the videos online. I couldn’t get the lights to power on in my house save for 1 lowly light in the middle room. I have no idea what I did but I stopped frustrated.

The leveling system has been tweaked a fair amount. Instead of earning skill points and perk levels, now the player gets a single perk point for each level they gain and that point is put into one of the various basic skills OR they can apply the point to a more focused perk (“Bloody Mess” for example) some of which have minimum level (ie:lvl 21) AND skill level (Strength lvl 8). Some people will find this to be a more focused and streamlined level system, I for one was mostly impartial but it did feel to me like my character was vastly under powered or unable to do certain things by the time I had reached a character level 20.

Weapon/Armor crafting and modification also makes it’s debut in Fallout 4. Gone are the days of weapon/armor degradation (Except for the Power Armor). Now by using specific work shops, Weapons can also be modified and created using parts found across the wasteland or the parts and pieces from scavenging. You can also find legendary items during gun fights with Raiders, super mutants etc. This is a fun and extremely welcome addition to the franchise and I would really like to see Bethesda expand on this feature going forward. Perhaps some sort of system to combine items to create highly specialized weapons and armor.

A major issue I have with the game comes from the dialogue system and Karma system. Let’s start with dialogue. It’s too basic. In previous games, your relationship with townsfolk and other NPCs could directly be affected by the choices made within the dialogue system. It could also affect your karma as being a good guy or a bad guy. Which brings me to the Karma system. There is none. It’s gone the way of the Do-Do Bird. At least it appears to me that it’s long gone. When I act like a jerk, my NPC might hate that or they might love it. None of that matters though because you can always have a romantic relationship with your followers (not all of them thankfully).Why they would make the decision to scrap one of the most fun little pieces of the franchise. I can only speculate that it was omitted to allow for simpler decision making by the new generation of Fallout players. I feel these 2 changes were huge missteps by the team.

Graphically I think the game looks outstanding. I know the engine is a little old and even a little tired but I’m not understanding the chatter on the internet about how people think the games graphics are terrible. They’re not. Granted they aren’t up to spec with some of the other titles out there on Xbox One/PS4/PC but I’ve never expected that from Bethesda. In over 60 hours of gameplay, I’ve noticed some framerate dips and a few hilarious graphical glitches but I don’t feel that is something that deserves much time on.

When Fallout 4 was announced I was hoping for a big, engaging game that was worthy of $70(the standard going rate for games here in Canada now). I wanted long game play, a massive world to do some serious exploration in, more guns, explosions with an engaging story and side quests. I wanted the new title to be something I fell asleep and had dreams about. What I got was exactly what I had hoped for. If there’s one game you play this year, make it Fallout 4. I’ve yet to get a game that packs so much punch for such a small price compared with other games out there today. Hats off to the team at Bethesda once again. Now… Please sir – May I have another?

Feed Your Console gives Fallout 4 an enthusiastic 9 out of 10

LEGO Dimensions: “Endless Awesome” Launch Trailer

Lego Dimensions

What do you get when you cross the Lego Game universe and the functionality of the Skylander-like portal – You get “LEGO Dimensions”.

Catch the Launch trailer here:



Available Sunday, September 27, LEGO Dimensions will allow players to not only experience worlds based on DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie, LEGO Ninjago, Back to the Future, The Wizard of Oz, Scooby-Doo! LEGO Chima, Doctor Who, Jurassic World, Ghostbusters, The Simpsons, Portal and Midway Arcade, but also combine different characters and re-buildable vehicles and gadgets from these worlds in any way that they choose – there are no rules. Imagine Kai, the Ninjago ninja, driving the Mystery Machine through Metropolis or Legolas battling ghosts alongside Homer Simpson in New York!

The LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack includes the videogame, bricks to build the LEGO Gateway, three LEGO Minifigures including Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle, plus the LEGO Batmobile, and the revolutionary LEGO Toy Pad. The Toy Pad allows players to transport LEGO Dimensions minifigures and models into the game, as well as control in-game action and solve puzzles by moving the physical toys. Plus, every LEGO vehicle and gadget in LEGO Dimensions can be physically rebuilt twice, for a total of three different objects, each with unique in-game abilities, which adds massive variety to the gameplay.

Disney Infinity 2.0 – Review (Xbox One)

I must admit that I never had the chance to play the original Disney Infinity, partially because it looked to be far too young for me to enjoy and still too old for my daughter who had just turned 4. This year however, things have changed in my house. My now 5yr old daughter is taking notice of games and asking to participate with my gaming so to me it was a no-brainer. Disney Infinity needed to come home this year and thankfully, we were provided a review copy by our Disney Infinity reps.

The starter kit comes with a base station, a replica of Avengers Tower and 3 members of the Avengers – Black Widow, Thor and Iron Man. The little collectible toys look sharp and feel fairly weighty. What we found in the game was something that offers little for the more seasoned gamer like myself, but, it’s a treasure box of fun and excitement for the casual and younger gamer such as my daughter.

Diving right into the game, we found ourselves in a open world version of New York. After figuring out the controls I found the fighting to be rather cumbersome with the Y button being the primary attack but after some thought, I can only assume this decision was made to accommodate the smaller hands of the target demographic. Immediately my daughter and I set out on our adventure.

It didn’t take her long to figure out how to control the camera and move about the city far better than her mother ever could and in short order, we found coins to collect which, once found, allows for other that toy (Sold separately). What we quickly learn is that Loki and the Frost Giants are trying to take over the city and turn it into their own private playground. Throughout our adventure, we met many other characters from the Marvel Universe and were given various missions within the city.

Completing missions and beating the bad guys awards the player with experience. With each level up the player can then add points to a skill tree unique to each character making every one play differently resulting in a different feeling game as we switch between them.

As much fun as my daughter and I had playing through the Avengers campaign, the real meat and potatoes of Disney Infinity 2.0 is the toy box mode. This is the player generated content mode where you get the opportunity to build your own worlds from scratch, start out with a pre-made template or just download any of the levels created by other members of the community. Some of which are genuinely amazing and a real treat to play keeping this title fun and fresh for months if not years to come.

All in all, I would say this was a very successful outing. It accomplished everything they set out to do and everything I was hoping for. A fun little title that’s great for everyone in the family young and old. There was no shortage of “WOW Dad. check this out!!” and absolute belly filled laughter as my little one picked people up flew around the city holding them and chucking them into the water, flying head first into the side of a building or just beating up the bad guys and saving the world. Tonight – I have a date with a 5yr old to do some good old fashioned bad guy smashing and I can’t wait.

Feed Your Console gives Disney Infinity 2.0 an 8 out of 10

Pros:
Accessible controls for young kids
Toy Box Mode
Split Screen multiplayer
Collectible figures are of decent quality

Cons:
Online 4 person multiplayer is restricted to Toy Box Mode only
$13 for extra characters

Telltale Games: The Walking Dead Season 2 Review (Xbox 360)

I’m a zombie fanatic. A complete junkie – I collect all kinds of things Zombie releated from the Afterlife with Archie comics (YOU MUST CHECK IT OUT)I have some memorabilia from The Walking Dead TV Show I have autographs from Andrew Lincoln, John Bernthal and Sara Wayne Callies – I even have a limited edition Comic Con Exclusive issue #1 reprint signed by both Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. So suffice to say – I love me some Zombies.

I absolutely adored Telltale Games: The Walking Dead Season 1 and was left breathless and saddened at how it ended. The moment Season 2 was released immediately bought the season pass and this weekend – I was once again saddened at the end. As a game – it’s pretty basic. As a story – it’s outstanding and that’s what keeps me coming back. No spoilers here folks just a quick overview.

The gameplay mechanics haven’t changed really at all with perhaps a few more QTEs peppered through out some of the more action oriented scenes. For all intents and purposes, this is really just an interactive movie/TV show broken up into 5 episodes which all take somewhere to the tune of about 2hrs per episode to complete.

This season sees us in control of Clementine shortly after the events of Season 1.  Across Season 2 – Clem meets new and old friends and the player is tasked with helping her make some extremely difficult dialog/decisions. The adults bicker like children and poor Clem has to not only be the voice of reason and maturity but the errand girl too. She and her merry band of survivors travel North to a place believed to be a place of sanctuary called “Wellington”. Rife with walkers, looters and all around bad people, the journey is not a safe or easy one.

The Walking Dead Season 2 was full of choices and some of them were absolutely gut wrenching all of which led to my final major decision for this season. A decision that actually took me a few tries to figure out before accepting what I ultimately must do. It left me wanting to know what happens next like any good series does.

I give The Walking Dead Season 2 an 8 out of 10

Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition Review – Xbox One

Here we are folks – September.

I had a truly awesome(and busy) summer. The long drought is finally over and the busy season of game launches is finally upon us.

This year’s game launches practically has 1 game a week that I’m interested in right until December and that started with the release of Diablo 3 – Ultimate Evil Edition. Basically it’s the same game that was released for the PC and Xbox 360/PS3 last year but that’s just on the surface. This version of Diablo III is a far more robust and rewarding experience this time around.

For starters, we have the obvious expansion “Reaper of Souls” which continues the story right after your hero dispatches Diablo and must now fight Malthael who is hell bent on absorbing the 7 Prime Evils souls contained within the Black Soulstone. Basically – he wants to rule the world and cause all kinds of grief for all mankind.

The next improvement comes from the Loot 2.0 system which was introduced to the PC version of Diablo 3 last year with the expansion pack. It GREATLY improves on the frequency of Rare/Set/Unique item drops making the constant hunt for new and improved weapons/armor all the more exciting.

A higher level cap has also been introduced bringing it up to 70 from 60, some revamped skills, a graphical upgrade in the form of 1080p 60FPS (Gorgeous) and my personal favorite – Adventure Mode (which is only unlocked after completing the campaign). Adventure mode allows you to take your Nephalem on bounty hunts across all the various acts in the game for reward, Cash and Nephalem Rifts which for all intents and purposes are nothing more than loot runs but you have a much higher chance at earning the really good stuff.

One last thing – Did you buy Diablo 3 for your PS3 or Xbox 360? Remember all the time and effort you spent building your character to becoming the absolute beast he/she was? Too bad you can’t use them in this version eh? Wrong – Thankfully Blizzard has heard the cries and it is 100% possible to transfer your character to the next gen system. You can even move it cross platform should you so desire.

In the end – there’s ample enough changes and features to make this a full price purchase. This is a damn fine game worthy of your time and money.

I give Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition an enthusiastic 9.5 out of 10

Pros:
Higher Level Cap
Loot 2.0
Character Imports
Adventure Mode

Cons
Reaper of Souls is too Short

NHL 15 Revealed!

Earlier today EA Sports announced NHL 15. They’ve also announced that Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick and Eddie Olczyk have joined the broadcast booth. TSN analyst Ray Ferraro will provide game insights at ice level. They also modeled over 9,000 individual crowd models.

Like previous years fans can vote for who they want on the cover of this years NHL. Head over here to vote.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytkPcoi6VMw&w=560&h=315]

Infamous Second Son Review

You play as Deslin Rowe who’s a young lost soul who’s caught painting graffiti on billboards by his brother the town Sheriff in some little town outside if Seattle, Washington. After you get busted by your brother you hear a large explosion, a truck has crashed and unknown passenger escapes (a conduit). You go to help the people but end up chasing a conduit and after a brief fight you get your first powers and then get interviewed by Augustine the games protagonist.

This sets Deslin off on his quest to acquire more powers and to take on Augustune. Delsin Rowe finds out he is also a conduit, which means he has the ability to channel superhuman powers to do really cool things the game. Throughout the course of the game you’re searching for other conduits in order to take their abilities away from them in order to help him complete the mission he started out to do. These powers include; smoke, neon, video (digital materialization), and concrete.

Throughout the course of the game, like the previous Infamous game, you will have a choice to make on when whether you want to play as a good character or evil character.The choices you make to kill or subdue affect your karma level in the game. Your karma level also helps determine some of the powers you unlock with different shards. Given the cheer size of Seattle you would expect that there would be lots of side missions to do and lots to see. However for me the side missions were the weakest portion of Infamous Second Son. 

Your overall goal with the side missions is to clear each district to remove the DUP and drive them out of town. In order to do this you need to track each drone and collect each shard. You’ll need to find and listen to each audio log. In order to find an audio log you’ll need to use your cell phone and track the signal, find it and listen to it. To trigger the DUP location events you’ll need to spray paint a karma design on the walls by shaking and titling the controller to complete the stencil painting. After you spot the DUP agent hiding the crowds of people you will need to chase them down and kill them. By reducing the DUP controlled percentage of an area to be less than 30 you can trigger the district showdown. Defeating the various regional DUP agents and bosses in the showdown will result in unlocking the district for fast travel and give you control of the district.

There was no side story, no interesting details or anything of substance in these side missions. Besides wanting to get the districts to 0% controlled which will net you several achievements there isn’t much to do here. When it comes down to deciding if you should put your credit card down to buy Imfamous Second Son, I would say yes you should for several reasons.

      1 – It’s gorgeous and it’s the first next gen game I’ve played that demonstrates what these new consoles can do.
      2 – A solid game to play on PS4.
      3 – A decent story with some really good mechanics and powers.

FeedYourConsole gives Infamous Second Son 7.5 out of 10

The Evil Within Gets an Official Release Date

the-evil-within
Just received the word from Bethesda earlier this morning that The Evil Within has an official release date of August 26th in North America and the 29th in Europe. Looks to me like the usual onslaught of high quality must have titles is starting early this year.

Read on for more details:

We’re pleased to announce The Evil Within, the new survival horror game from legendary director, Shinji Mikami, will be available in North America on August 26, 2014 and throughout Europe on August 29, 2014. The Evil Within is in development for the Xbox One, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and PC.

Developed by Shinji Mikami and the talented team at Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within embodies the meaning of pure survival horror. Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story are combined to create an immersive world that will bring you to the height of tension. With limited resources at your disposal, you’ll fight for survival and experience profound fear in this perfect blend of horror and action.

While investigating the scene of a gruesome mass murder, Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners encounter a mysterious and powerful force. After seeing the slaughter of fellow officers, Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead. Facing unimaginable terror, and fighting for survival, Sebastian embarks on a frightening journey to unravel what’s behind this evil force.

The Evil Within has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

CES 2014 – “Playstation Now” Announced

PS-Now-Black-440x270

I don’t like January. It’s cold (no seriously – We’re experiencing an Arctic Deep freeze up here) dreary, nothing much to look forward to but the small glimmer of awesome comes in the form of CES. A place for all us techno-junkies to drool over the latest, greatest and emerging technologies. Yesterday, a little piece of awesome was announced by Sony. Finally they have lifted some details on their Gaikai streaming service and it’s got a whole heck of a lot more meat to it than I had imagined for the launch.

“Playstation Now” is expected to launch in the summer (in the US) with a “Closed Beta” to take place this winter. The streaming service is going to be available across all current Playstation platforms and Sony TVs with future plans to launch on other platforms. Sony states that a 5Mbps internet connection is required for this service. No news on pricing or how it will all play out for users but I suspect it’s going to be similar to Netflix with an all you can eat monthly subscription model for older titles. I can’t see new games become a part of this service unless they make them available for say $5 per day of rental.

Anyway – that’s some pretty exciting news. What do you think?