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E3 2019: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is Sekiro in the Star Wars Universe


I don’t get excited about too many games outside of Persona and Yakuza titles… and I’m not excited about this one. Not because it looks bad or plays badly, but just because I try not to pre-judge things anymore. That being said, I’m enjoying what I’ve seen in the form of the combat. They seem to be leaning towards the updated structure of From Software titles with a stance system.

At the moment, I don’t know how I feel about the main character. All we know is that this game takes place somewhere way before Rogue One. This trailer doesn’t do a great job of telling us much about this Jedi. From his comments he seems fairly level-headed and atypical for a Jedi. In combat, he’s less forgiving and often times incredibly brutal to his foes.

Now this could mean that he’s more of a Grey Jedi or the game is opting for a “Choose your destiny” style choice system. I guess that’s just something we’ll learn as time goes on.

Currently, we’ve got some familiar elements from other 3rd person titles such as climbing, platforming, etc. Since this is a game by the developers of Titanfall, it looks they’ve put their special wall running touch in the game for funsies. We can only wait and see if these elements factor into fun platforming elements outside of the aesthetically pleasing but easy traversal of the Uncharted titles.

I’m happy to see the Lightsaber as an unforgiving tool for attack. Normal soldiers are incapable of taking more than one strike from it, while the more elite fighters can take a few more hits just to make the battles last longer. This demo is fairly simple and shows us very little but here is hoping that the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be a spicy meatball when it releases to the public.

E3 2019: Genshin Impact looks like a playable anime!


Recently, the One Piece: World Seeker released and it was really close to building the world of the namesake it takes from. Genshin Impact doubles the colors and the palette to make an even brighter world. The character models are also as anime as anime can be from the traditional features to the oddly dressed female characters.

There seems to be a vast amount of space to play in as well. My only worry is that the game will feel a bit empty but we’ll see how the world is populated as it reaches release. One thing that I am confused about is the combat. At some points during the trailer, the game seems like a more tactical dodge and counter affair. In other spots, it looks as if it’s a Dynasty Warriors type action brawler.

They also put a lot of focus on the characters floating about through the air. Will this be the main means of getting around? I also want to know if it will be fluid and fun to experience. One of the worst parts of World Seeker was the traversal around the island. Luffy could catapult himself about but it felt as if it wasn’t a simple affair. Here is hoping that Genshin Impact is a much more tolerable affair.

Check out the trailer above from Gematsu!

Stream Highlights – Layers of Fear 2


Bullet Points – Shakedown Hawaii Review


Shakedown: Hawaii visually dances between the 16-bit and 32-bit era of gaming sprites. It sports a top-down view that’s very similar to Grand Theft Auto version of a River City Ransom title. There is a vast amount of detail in the environments, cars, and the slew of characters that scramble across the screen. The amount of care placed into the individual animations for the civilians is a joy. They’ll dance while listening to music, take photographs of the scenery, or chow down on a meal.

The dialogue menus and mini-cutscenes are also fantastic. The characters that show up in dialogue don’t move around much but you can glean their personalities from the subtle ticks of animation. There are also quite a few cool action animations that add flair to a situation. Sometimes, you’ll see fruit being thrust into view or we’re shown a visual of our vegging out in front of the TV. The amount of care that went into different presentations is greatly appreciated.


You might be asking why that’s so important? It’s because this game is all about how businesses use underhanded tactics to increase revenue. We play as the C.E.O. of a company that’s on the verge of bankruptcy due to out-of-touch practices. His job is to head out into the city and use whatever devious means are necessary to take control of the city and fund his corporation. Usually, that means he’d go outside and soak himself in the blood of his enemies. I mean… he does that too, but there are a variety of other methods he must also pursue.

Shakedown: Hawaii is a most satirical take on the business practices as they are now. It touches on a fair number of things that we as civilians have been creeping into our wallets without much pushback. It tackles convenience fees, the price hike of superfoods, and even one of the craziest fads “Raw water.” Shakedown: Hawaii’s best feature here is that it pulls no punches with making the player feel like a trashcan person. The C.E.O. comes up with a new scheme every day and we have to act on it. Sometimes it’s good to be the villain in some games, but Shakedown: Hawaii does it best to make you feel icky for doing so.

The story is straightforward but also bounces around a bit between two other characters. We can play as the son of the C.E.O. who is intent to do whatever his father wishes as long as he doesn’t get kicked out of the house. The other character is an assassin who hits on an unknown island so that the company has the best produce. Neither one of these characters is all that interesting or fleshed out but they do allow a break from all the property snatching gameplay.


Speaking of snatching things… Shakedown: Hawaii is all about taking as much money as possible. The characters can shakedown businesses by busting up the store, spreading rumors during a protest, and a few other techniques. Despite the name, shaking down isn’t one of the biggest parts of the game. In fact, it’s barely apart of the game and not really as rewarding as simply purchasing properties. Which we’ll talk about in a minute, but I also want to talk about some of the other activities first.

Our villainous characters can repo cars that were purchased via a sub-prime loan, burglarize homes and take peoples items to sell at a pawn shop, and a couple of other activities requiring nefarious deeds. The point is… none of those pay as well as simply continuing through the campaign and making good investments on properties. It may be fun to bust up a mailbox for some extra spending a couple of times after the start of the game, but by the 3rd hour I was rolling in so much money that I didn’t see the point of doing anything else.

Purchasing properties is as simple as having cash, scrolling over the map, and clicking the accept button. As we progress through the game and unlock more properties, we’re given multipliers that boost the amount the properties churn out. A couple of right moves with the multipliers with the right properties will have the player rolling in dough in no time. This crushes all of the other activities because they provide no longevity in comparison.

I think it’s the lack of nuance to the multipliers that make it a bit one-dimensional near the middle of the game. Incentives like “Convenience fee” or “Sell Unrefined Products” show up for every property in the game. If you stack all of the multipliers on five high grossing properties, you’ll more than likely end up ignoring everything but the missions.

The characters also get a salary that allows them to venture around the city to buy weapons, hairstyles, and clothing. I personally, didn’t find a need to do any of this. Clothing doesn’t change much outside of color schemes and there are only a few hairstyles, hats, and beards. It’s a nice addition but it’s not something I was adamant about changing. I made a Joseph Joestar look alike and never looked back!

The gunplay is often smooth when using a controller with the right-stick. The auto-aim while with the action button is hit or miss… but more miss than anything else. It’s strange that it works so well when shooting from a vehicle while being so confused when running through the streets. The vehicles, on the other hand, are great to move in the top-down space. They aren’t vastly different from each other outside of different speeds, acceleration, and nitrous additions. However, they are death machines that take insane amounts of punishment and crash through walls, trees, and people with reckless abandon.

Now one thing I have to do is give respect to the number of mini-games that were created for Shakedown: Hawaii. There are a few small games that spoof classic titles and even some recent ones. Just, for example, there is a game that lets us set up rebates by playing Tetris. Another one makes use of the music genre of games by having our character workout at the gym. I loved these little tidbits because they were funny, informative, and gave us a break from the shooting things.


There is some cool music in the game that doesn’t sound incredibly generic like most retro throwbacks. I just can’t say that any of it created an earworm or was even particularly catchy. It does the job it’s supposed to do but sometimes it just feels out of place. This game clearly takes place sometime around 2018 but almost all the music has an 80’s movie vibe. It just seems out of place but it does help that most of the music is forgettable. Sounds of everything else is pretty great, there are some interesting screams from the characters. And the weapons and automobiles sound as appropriate as they can in a world of 2D sprites.


Shakedown: Hawaii has a few scattered ideas but I still think it’s a great game. The willingness to tackle the underbelly of the corporate world with such levity is as hilarious as it is enlightening. The gameplay is fun, fast, and frantic even if the side-activities lack substance. What it does excel at is creating a frantic landscape that mixes the action man about town formula with inventive ideas like invading someone’s personal space to complete a mission. I wanted it to continue well after I had collected most of the properties when the game was still giving me tutorial missions. It’s a fun world but the story brutal story of a C.E.O. taking advantage of a city and its populace was the real treat.

Persona 5: The Royal shows us some of the new tricks up its sleeve!


We’re finally getting a taste of Persona 5: The Royal’s new content. From what I can tell (I can’t read Japanese), most of the content in these two videos were visible in the Japanese trailer for the game.

Everything is slowed down enough that we can check out the new companion and a few new confidants added to the game. We even get a glance at what might just be a human version of Morgana sitting in the cafe.

Looks like The Royal will ooze more style and content and keep our Joker looking as fresh as possible in the new semester. Check out these videos above for more information!

Borderlands 3 reveals itself… to be just like Borderlands 2!


Am I seeing this right, is this the new Borderlands game we’ve anticipating for five years? Yes, it has finally shown itself and uh… well it almost looks exactly like Borderlands 2 dlc with some Quality-of-life improvements.

This won’t stop us from going out and playing it, but it does feel like a bit of a disappointment waiting to happen if there aren’t some hidden additions.

Go ahead and look at the trailer to see what I’m blabbing on about!


The Sinking City shows off some new gameplay!


So far we haven’t seen a lot of gameplay for The Sinking City. Frogwares finally released a big snippet of gameplay showing off dialogue, and detective work with a little focus on the combat mechanics.

We get to see Charles Reed take on a case for a man with a gorilla face. It looks like The Sinking City will set the player free in an open-world without constant hand-holding. We’ll have to pay attention to the items given to us and locate destinations via the map.

The same goes for the legwork involved in discovering evidence. We’re briefly shown a Charles wandering around a building looking for clues without the usual “Detective mode” appearing to reveal the items.

However, it looks like Charles has some supernatural ability to piece together evidence in an otherworldly manner. Using his perceptive powers does impact his sanity… but it’s not quite clear what that means for the character in the long run.

As it stands, The Sinking City looks like a great detective game with a hint of madness thrown in for good measure. For more information, do yourself a favor and check out the trailer above.

Tales of the Neon Sea Review


Right at the intro of the game we’re introduced to a vibrant city bustling with traffic and exploding with colors. The visuals are best described as a retro-cyberpunk future. The crisp 2D visuals meld into the wonderous futuristic landscape. It’s aided by bloomed neon lighting and a plethora of distinctly designed denizens wandering around the city.

The detail paid to this world is exceptional with distinct locales filled with gorgeous background visuals and impressive animations. There are quite a few references to pop-culture spread around that’s easy to spot and appreciate. Tales of the Neon Sea nails its world with a flair that very few games are able to pull off.

The sound design is well done but nothing in the music selection truly stood out. If you’re expecting a plethora of synthwave or even Jazz infused beats, you might be a bit let down with Tales of the Neon Sea’s choices. It tries to be more like Blade Runner but without ever having the epic rise and fall of the tracks from those movies.

The ambiance, on the other hand, is great, there are some neat little sound effects like bustling crowds, sirens, and the slow whirr of hover vehicles landing.  There isn’t any voice-over to speak of though, so get ready to read lots of text.


The story comes second to the visuals in world-building.  It starts with a brutal introduction for our protagonist. Rex finds himself injured at the bottom of the sewer before the record scratches and the classic “I bet you’re wondering how I got here” trope begins to play out. From here we find out that Rex blunders into a series of cases that exposes a larger plot involving very powerful people in the city. With the help of a stray cat named “William.” He heads spirals down a rabbit hole that slowly unravels a case from his past.

The story is great and deviates from the more straightforward Cyberpunk stories. It includes some radical ideas involving A.I. respectability politics and talking cats that run a crime family. While the game involves some serious themes such as brutal murders, it also tries to keep things light-hearted with silly little jokes and references from movies. It’s a good time but…


…there is a barrier holding us back from progressing through the story in a timely fashion. Tales of the Neon Sea is not your typical adventure game with point-and-click mechanics. We’re given full control of Rex in a 2D space and allowed to walk about in a fairly large world. You can pick up items, discover clues, and talk to citizens, and even play as a cat. There is a full-on investigation mode in the game where Rex can scan for different substances, fingerprints, and other types of evidence.

There are also a buttload of mini-games from fixing a hangover using chemistry to picking a lock via a laser light puzzle. The game also features simple in-game adventure puzzles like combining items and using them to solve an issue in the world. All this is great until the game decides to mostly ignore the adventure game aspects and riddle the player with repetitive puzzles.

At first, we’re given a series of puzzles that never seem the same. After I reached Chapter 2, the game wouldn’t stop throwing out the annoying revolving puzzles in different formats. It felt like I’d hit a wall of these every 5 to 6 minutes just to slow down the story progression. I’m all for doing puzzles but sometimes these things can take upwards to 15 minutes to solve and then Rex walks about 20 steps and he’s thrust into another one.

It slowed the game to a crawl and only added frustration to an otherwise interesting world. After a while, it was like I was doing puzzles for the sake of doing them. No thanks!


Tales of the Neon Sea is an exceptionally beautiful game with an intriguing storyline. It’s sad that it felt the need to saturate itself in redundant puzzles that constantly slows down the pacing of the game. This is one instance where a more streamlined focus on classic adventure game mechanics would have come in handy. The padding of puzzles is alarming and frustrating and will more than likely stop many people from pushing onward to the end.



Good Review – Toejam & Earl: Back in the Groove

Toejam has convinced Earl to leave Funkotron and return to Earth so he can impress a new girl in his life. As usual, Toejam messed up and ends up destroying the ship and scattering the pieces across the Earth. The aliens find themselves stranded on the planet in a search for all the parts to fix the ship.

Toejam & Earl: Back in the Groove is very similar to the first Toejam and Earl. The game takes on an isometric view as the aliens walk across gigantic islands trying to find different ship parts. They’ll use elevators to rise up to high locations encountering many rabid humans on the way.

The big thing about Toejam & Earl isn’t about the combat but instead avoiding the humans and exploring the splintered Earth for gifts. Presents play a big part in Toejam & Earl since they activate different abilities for the protagonists. Unwrapping a present is as mysterious as seeing a bunch of gifts under the Christmas tree. Opening a present reveals a unique item with a wacky ability and also reveals the identity of that present if it’s picked up again.

These presents can range from high-speed sneakers to Icarus Wings. These items will help keep the Earthlings off your butt, as well as give the Funkotronian’s an opportunity to fight back. The trick with the presents is that contain good and bad gifts. So, you may open a ton of gifts and have a good arsenal of items and then suddenly you’ve opened a gift that randomizes them all. You even have the chance of opening presents that draw enemies towards the gang, or even lower a level they’ve gained over the course of the game.

Speaking of leveling systems, the old Toejam and Earl reputation system remains intact. In the previous game, it mainly affected the health bar, but in Back in the Groove there are many different stats to upgrade. Speed, Health, and Luck are just a small amount of the randomized stats gained from earning reputation.

Back in the Groove introduces a few new and returning systems to the game. The Hyperfunk Zone returns from Toejam & Earl: Panic on Funkotron in all of its side-scrolling glory. There are also a few dancing mini-games that give extra experience points on each floor. Toejam and Earl can hide in sunflowers to avoid Earthlings, search for hidden items by rustling them, and feed coins into a meter to reveal secret prizes.

One of the greatest things about Toejam & Earl games are encounters with Earthlings. The visuals are crisp, clean, and made of cartoony greatness. Lots of enemies from the previous games appear in Back in the Groove but they’ve all received a visual upgrade to their look and animations. Each earthling has a distinct animation tied into their murderous methods. Men in Black that randomize items and murderous mailboxes intent on feasting on our protagonists’ packages or lack thereof.

Back in the Groove impactfully mixes in new level design compared to previous titles. Levels don’t just change for the sake of looking different anymore. There are snow and night levels to change up the atmosphere and make the earthlings more difficult to see or avoid. The game is also filled with secret presents and hats that will keep us coming back to Earth for more. We can also unlock 3 other characters outside of the original four.

Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove is without a doubt the return of the series. It’s a vastly upgraded version of the original Genesis game with a wider range of presents and characters. It fixes a lot of the quality of life issues that were problematic in the original game. Such as having a map that took up the entire screen and stopping gameplay to a halt. The game awkwardly pausing every time the players switched from split-screen to full-screen and vice versa.

There is just so much here that Back in the Groove lovingly retreads and improves. I’ll go out on a limb and say that it may not be the most innovative game for new players. It’s designed specifically for the nostalgia of the old game and those that loved it. That’s why this is a great game and hopefully a great template for a more innovating sequel in the future. Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove is a blast to the past. Don’t be afraid to check it out!


  • Elevator Conversations repeat too fast and way too often. It’s not even voiced so there is no reason to see the same 20 or so conversations on repeat.
  • Tomatoes are the hardest thing in the game to use when it comes to going on the offensive. Every other weapon in the game knocks back enemies or outright obliterates them. Tomatoes are hard to aim and often don’t give feedback if the enemy is being hit or not.
  • More Level design would have gone a long way at keeping this game on its legs. Right now, we’re stuck with the same 4 level types (excluding secret areas.) The coolness of seeing the night, snow, and desert levels wear off fairly quickly after you become acclimated to the chaos. I’d have liked to have seen some themed designs like the graveyard, volcanic regions, or even some wacky interior designs like a Medieval mall or something.
  • Hyperfunk Zone is great for the first 15 minutes and then it becomes a repetitive chore. Unlike the rest of the game, the Hyperfunk Zone barely changes at all and quickly turned into something we found annoying rather than exciting.
  • Too many fast enemies can make for some insanely frustrating gameplay. Since the game relies on the player to get lucky at a random roll to get better speed stats, it’s very difficult to outrun and outmaneuver the bad guys. The Funkotronians can’t bob and weave or even catch an enemy on collision and when they finally get surrounded… it feels like all is lost in terms of escape.
  • Music design is lacking there are a couple of remixes from the previous games in Back in the groove, but must of the other songs don’t have that headbobbing rhythm that stuck to our eardrums. The new music isn’t bad but it’s also not that great.
  • Why not more voiceover? At the beginning of the game, the characters are fully voiced and then they are completely silent when moving around the world. I’m not asking for a story or anything, but it would have probably been cool to have them speak to each other occasionally with some dialogue. But… maybe that’s for the best seeing as they only put like 50 lines in for the elevator stuff.
  • This game is really Toejam and Earl version 2.0. It’s damn near the exact same game as the first one with some slight upgrades and more presents. And to be honest, that’s not a bad thing for people like myself who grew up with the game. More Toejam and Earl of this caliber is always appreciated. On the other side of that argument though, this game is perfectly designed nostalgia bait. 

    If you didn’t grow up with this game on Genesis, it’s nothing special. Lots of other roguelikes provide a wealth of content outside of just randomizing levels and stats. If you were to compare this game to something like Dead Cells, The Binding of Isaac, or Darkest Dungeon… this game is somewhat lacking in the things to do department. Ultimately, outside of great nostalgia how many old-school players will dedicate 100’s of hours to Toejam in Earl? If the answer is not many… then it’ll be even harder to get newer players onboard.

Good Review: Resident Evil 2 (2019)


Leon’s story revolves around his new job as a rookie police officer who’s so gung-ho he enters a city full of zombies to be apart of the action. I know people want to impress on the first day, but this has to take the cake. Eventually, he meets a woman named Ada and they both chase after the G-Virus and a woman named Annette Birkin.

Claire comes to Raccoon City to find her brother who’s been out of touch. She braves this ghoulish nightmare to discover that he’s gone off on vacation without notifying his family. She tries to leave the city but discovers a little girl named Sheryl who needs help finding her mother. Instead of abandoning the child as everybody else would, she descends into the depths of the city while trying to keep little Sheryl safe from all the brain eaters.

Leon’s story is a serviceable amount of fiction, but Claire’s story is more believable and interesting. She goes out of her way to save Sheryl from all of the dangers of the city. Not only that, but Claire has a much better performance as a character than Leon. She reacts properly to situations she’s never seen before but clearly shows us that she’s willing to become a badass when it’s necessary. Leon’s story is oddly boring when Ada Wong isn’t around.


The graphics look amazing and that’s without a doubt. The eerie lighting and realistic graphics go well with the shambling decaying zombies. I don’t go out of my way to say that the gore is a sight to behold, but damn if it isn’t gorgeously gross. The detail that went into the different zones is astonishing. The city area is glossy, rain-slicked, and filled with destruction and a dangerous number of zombies.
The RCPD Police Station shines as a crumbling replacement for the Mansion. It drips with intricate art, statues, and destruction that we’ve come to love from the series. Even the underground areas of the game show off some impressive visuals like rising steam, flickering flames, and prisons festering with zombies.

The character models are truly astounding as well. While often verging on the uncanny valley, there are some truly confusing moments of humanity shown on the faces of these characters. Leon and Claire are painstakingly detailed, but the assortment of side characters come off as more impressive. The side-characters generally are heavily detailed and show off a range of emotion we don’t get to see on our protagonist’s faces. Their skin flexes as the grimace in pain, scream in horror, and stare daggers into their enemies.

Compared to many various extras in other titles, these additional cast members a nearly unforgettable in their performances. It’s not just a visual delight as it comes forth in their voice acting as well. I don’t want to criticize but the B-movie acting of the protagonists is overshadowed by the often-thrilling side characters.

While we’re on the subject of sound. The audio in Resident Evil 2 is top-notch. The developers created tension by having random sounds play throughout an area. This could be a click or a simple drip from a faucet in a sink. The constantly shuffles kept me looking around to make sure I wasn’t being ambushed by a murderous creature. Resident Evil 2 nails it from the sounds of groaning zombies to the sounds of teeth tearing through flesh.

Many of the enemies return from the Playstation One days of Resident Evil 2. They’ve all been updated with new vicious attack patterns and durability. Lickers still shred through flesh like butter and Mr. X remains as unflinching as Jason Vorhees as he strolls in for the kill. Zombies eat bullets like candy and rise again to take a bite out of our heroes. Death isn’t forever and just when you thought an area was clear, more enemies have poured into the area seeking to do our stars harm.

The most impressive thing outside of the visuals has to be the freedom from loading screens. The crack of a door shrouded in blackness has been replaced by smooth transitions to different areas. Resident Evil 2’s cutscenes also benefit from this change. We’re dropped into a cutscene without a hint of lag or warning and usually treated to some aggressive moments.

Gunplay is smooth like juicy butter and the zombies tend to wiggle about similarly to Resident Evil 4. Running around the world of Resident Evil 2 feels fantastic without the tank controls. I played on PC so it was fairly easy to snap onto weak-points and fire off a few rounds while moving. The game also feels good on console but the flinching zombies can be harder to contend with. It’s easy to fire off a couple of shots and switch to another weapon without missing a beat.

The puzzles are reworked for the remake. They’re simple in Part A of Leon and Clare’s stories, but can be slightly more daunting when playing through Side B. They never felt too hard to solve and kept the pace of the game moving forward.

From now on when we look at Remakes, Resident Evil 2 will be the game to copy. It’s a love letter to a game that I cherished as a child and the remake makes some fantastic changes while keeping to the spirit of the original. You’d be remiss to skip this one if you can stomach horror titles. Resident Evil 2 is a game that begs to be beaten as many times as our fingers will allow. Capcom truly knocked it out of the park with this one and it deserves all of the praise that’s been heaped upon it.

Things I don’t like:

• Headshots don’t work on zombies like in previous games or most zombie fiction. Zombies can take a million shots to the head from a pistol and then get back up and each 4 to 5 more.
• Leon’s Acting is rather dry. You’d think that someone that’s never seen a zombie in their life would be more terrified of the situations he gets into. Claire and the Side-characters seem more in the spirit of dramatic realism in comparison. One of my least favorite parts of Leon’s Campaign is the casual conversation he and Claire have after a helicopter crashes into a building. Claire’s version seems to elicit at least some concern for the situation as zombies begin raiding the area.
• Zombies are harder to evade. Normally, this wouldn’t be a negative in a video game. However, with the controls still being somewhat stiff it’s weird that the zombies have long-reaching auto-grabbing mechanics. Not to mention that the main characters seem slower than the original game and mostly become fodder in hallways.
• Boss Fights are terrible corridor crawls with fast moving monsters. I don’t like that every fight with a boss is the exact same tight corridor evade fest. If there was anything that I would change from the remake it’s the way the characters move in these battles. Bosses have wide sweeping moves and quick movements and the main characters can’t even dodge or roll. It makes for tedious bullet sponge battles.