Category Archives: Video Game Review

Epic Gnome Battle during GW2 Beta! Goats for the Win!

The Garden Warfare 2 Beta is still on, and in this 5 minute video my son catches the end of a super long battle for the gnome–where he’s able to win it for his zombie team while being a . . . goat!  The session was the longest he’s ever experienced playing Garden Warfare, and perhaps that’s a tribute to plants and zombies being more balanced in the newer plants vs zombies game.   Here’s the video, but we also have a post that goes over the changes we see, and our impressions of them, from Garden Warfare to Garden Warfare 2.  We hope you enjoy both!

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Garden Warfare 2 Beta, Changes and Impressions

GW2, command area for plants
At the central command center for plants.

The Garden Warfare 2 Beta, or more like a pre-release frenzy fest, is happening from January 14th to 18th, 2016.  The game’s release is scheduled for February 23rd.  I’ve written positively about the original Garden Warfare here,  since it’s a “clean” fun game that Christians might enjoy.  But what of Garden Warfare 2?  Well, we’re playing it and these are some of our impressions; they are necessarily limited to the parts of the game included with the BETA, which are the multi-player mode and small amount of backyard play only.

A note on the categories below.  Good, Neutral, and Sad/Questionable relate to changes to the new game from the original game.  And, since there seem to be lots of changes, not all are written about here.

The Good
  • Zombie changes.  Not all zombie changes are good, in our opinions here.  But there are good ones (the Yeti Chomper is sooo cute!).  Captain Deadbeard is funny and has a parrot that he can use for distance attacks, just like the Cactus does with vegetle drones in the original Garden Warfare.  The scientist has some fun and detailed variants, the mathematician and the zoologist.  The zoologist, especially, is crazy-funny and detailed, with its porcupine gun, living Koala riding piggyback, and prairie dog coif.  The scientist, according to my son, is now easier to use/control, too.  Another new zombie is the Imp with his Z7 Mech, which together are a fun wink at Titanfall.  The imp is a really fun addition to the zombie team.

Continue reading Garden Warfare 2 Beta, Changes and Impressions

Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Story)

Fallout 4. Nick likes me.
“I got you as a friend. There’s nothing more an old bot could ask for.” This is one of the more satisfying aspects of the game, or is that a social outcast sort-of-thing to think? Here, Nick Valentine, a synthetic human with the memories of a 21st century detective (who’s fiance had been murdered by a crime boss), professes warm friendship.

This is the second part of my Fallout 4 review, Fallout 4.  Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better.  For the first part, with the introduction and description of what’s similar and what’s different in this newest edition to the Fallout series, please go to Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Overview).

The Story, or, an Outline of a Story

I don’t know if it was bad directing or bad choices that made the story so shallow in Fallout 4.  This game has a huge map, voice acting, cut-scenes that accompany all the dialogues, all kinds of crafting and building, and many followers that have a lot more comments and quips than in previous games, and all of those things take up memory and developing them would have used up the game’s budget.  Those are things that either weren’t in the previous games, or they were but to a much lesser degree.  So choices were made, and the newest story suffered; it is much more of an outline than an actual story.

The main stories in Fallout New Vegas DLCs, like Old World Blues and Honest Hearts, for example, have more to them than this new whole game does.  Characters in those DLCs talk a lot more about what they’ve done and what they’re doing than in Fallout 4, which has a story where all the missing explanation is an irreconcilable, glaring annoyance.  Your own character doesn’t have the ability to question much of anything, like any normal person would, nor do they have anywhere near the normal level of frustration, sadness, anger, etc., expressed in all things related to your son and your quest for him.

Continue reading Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Story)

Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Overview)

Fallout 4 Older Model Synth
An old model synth found in an abandoned part of The Institute (with a “posterize” filter).

Fallout 4.  What can one say?  After years of anticipation, the 2015 sequel to Fallout 3 (2008) and Fallout New Vegas (2010) is found to be bigger and . . . different.  It should be different, at least in some ways, of course.  Fallout 4 (Bethesda Softworks, Rated M) is a BIG game, as so many new ones are today, but it tries to be too much in this reviewer’s view. How can a video game have too much?  Well, Fallout 4 isn’t just any video game. It is one in a series, one in a franchise (Fallout New Vegas technically isn’t part of the franchise, but that makes no difference to player perception or lore) with a certain style and lore.

While there is a lot to be happy about with Fallout 4, the new gargantuan level of building and crafting (together with the related radiant quests) is not integrated well with the actual story of the game. It’s almost as if they’re two different things, two different games held together by thin threads. The story comes off as being really minimal compared to both the other in-game activities and the last two Fallout game stories. The ultra-tragic story sets the mood of the game, and when that mood is betrayed (finds no outlet), the resulting annoyance (anger and dismay, more like) spoils the game. But more on that later.  Since this Fallout review would be really (really) long for one blog post, it was divided into two. This first part goes over things that are the same and things that are different in this newest Fallout (the lists here are not exhaustive), with the second part presenting the story, with commentary, and giving a final overall analysis and rating.

Continue reading Fallout 4. Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better (Overview)

Fallout 4! Gamestop Bundle Unboxing, A “Let’s Play,” Screen Shots

Fallout 4 Intro, Nuclear cloud
From Fallout 4 Intro, Nuclear cloud

Hello gamers!  So have you taken some time out from playing Fallout 4, which just came out today, or are you visiting here because you’re curious about it?  Well, my family looked very much forward to playing it, and now it’s here!   We ordered a Fallout 4 bundle from Gamestop because we knew we could use a new XBOX and controller, and Gamestop’s bundle came with an exclusive Fallout faceplate.  (We made an unboxing video of it, posted at our Youtube channel, Lingering Trees.)

Continue reading Fallout 4! Gamestop Bundle Unboxing, A “Let’s Play,” Screen Shots

Dragon Age’s Newest DLC, The Descent: First Impressions, Screen Shots

 Descent DLC, Dragon Age
A view in the Deep Roads of The Descent DLC, Dragon Age Inquisition.

I purchased and have played the new Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC, The Descent, as soon as I could since we wanted to put it up at my husband’s and son’s YouTube Channel.   I’ll do a formal review of it sometime soon, but for now, suffice it to say that this new add-on seems VERY short for the $14.99 price tag.

I was fairly dumbfounded when, at the new “expeditions” table, opening areas for 8 power points only opened bridges to small loot areas.   The new dwarven dungeon is neat, but not as spectacular as anything in Skyrim.  In fact, the blue-light speckled ceiling in one area looked like a copy of Skyrim’s Blackreach and other falmer dungeons).  I’m not quite done yet, so I’ll see if I’m correct in assuming The Descent is very short.  So far, however, the only reason why it has as many episodes in our playlist as it has is because of my mistakes!

In any case, I try and do a thumbnail for each episode and therefore have lots of screen shots.  Here are some views from The Descent, and images that reflect Dragon Age: Inquisition, and all it’s add-ons, generally.  They of course represent spoilers.  (Feel free to use any you like, but only if you are willing to link them to this page.)   Click on the images to see the full-size views (much better!).

Update (September 9, 2015):  The last DLC for DA Inquisition, Trespasser, came out yesterday, but I did not purchase it.  Since The Descent would take an experienced Dragon Age player only about 5 hours to go through–which is ridiculous for the $15 price tag–I decided against spending our limited funds on another Bioware DLC.  Gamers need to stop supporting gaming companies that abuse their player base like this.  The much much longer-playing (and interesting) Jaws of Hakkon was sort-of worth the $15; The Descent should’ve been $5.  I’m serious.  It is a short, straight forward run to simply get some new gear.  I think the Destiny guy who angered so many simply voiced what all the game developers know:  gamers simply “throw money at the screen.”

Descent Darkspawn
Darkspawn in the Deep Roads; The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition DLC

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The Descent Ep 2 Thumbnail, Darkspawn
Another type of Darkspawn or related demon. The Descent, Dragon Age.

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Female Dwarf statue - right? The Descent, Dragon Age
Female Dwarf statue – right? The Descent, Dragon Age

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Dragon Age humor, "barreled treasure" in The Descent
Dragon Age humor, “barreled treasure” in The Descent

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Fighting Darkspawn in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition
Check out those demons! Fighting Darkspawn in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition

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Looks like hell. Dragon Age, The Descent.
Looks like hell. “Reclaiming the Thaig” in Dragon Age, The Descent.

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Battling an Emissary Alpha in The Descent, Dragon Age
Battling an Emissary Alpha in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition.

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Valta at Ancient Lift, The Descent, Dragon Age
Valta at the Ancient Lift, The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition.

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Renn at the Ancient Lift, The Descent, Dragon Age
Renn at the Ancient Lift, The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition.

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In the Forgotten Caverns, The Descent, Dragon Age
In the Forgotten Caverns, The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition. It’s pretty dark, and are those blue glowing eyes?

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Crazy guardian dwarf with lyrium gun, The Descent, Dragon Age
Crazy guardian dwarf with lyrium gun, The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition. You can only see these in a VERY DARK video (this image was filtered).

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The Descent, bridge exploding
Bridge exploding. An expedition will replace it.

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Lyrium veins in The Descent
Lyrium veins in The Descent.

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The Barrier, rigged, The Descent.
The Barrier, rigged, The Descent.

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Exploding lyrium, The Descent, Dragon Age.
Exploding lyrium, The Descent, Dragon Age.

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Mysterious Bed, The Descent, Dragon Age
Mysterious Bed, The Descent, Dragon Age.

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Battling an Emissary, The Descent
Battling an Emissary that was behind a Gate of Segrummar.

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Wellspring view, The Descent, Dragon Age
Wellspring view, The Descent, Dragon Age.

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The Lyrium heart in Wellspring, The Descent
The Lyrium heart in Wellspring.

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The Guardian, The Descent, Dragon Age
The heart transforms into The Guardian, but the Titan itself seems to not wish the team harm (or any more harm).

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Nug King, The Descent, Dragon Age
Nug King, The Descent, Dragon Age. Love the crown!

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Battle in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition
Battle in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition. I don’t know what that purple attack is!

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Using thevVeil against Demon, The Descent, Dragon Age
Using the Veil against a Demon (or Darkspawn), The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition.

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Dragon Age Inquisition, bow abilities
Sometimes battle is like a dance. Dragon Age Inquisition, bow abilities; The Descent.

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View from Heidrun's Monument, The Descent
View from Heidrun’s Monument, showing ancient Dwarven homes.

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View from Ailsa's Camp, The Descent, Dragon Age
View from Ailsa’s Camp, with Sera.

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Sera gone invisible, The Descent, Drgaon Age
Just for fun. Sera gone invisible at Ailsa’s camp.