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I'm just a guy who LOVES video games. I'm an aspiring journalist and I hope I can connect with many of you gamers out there!
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EA Sports' NHL 15 is the first entry in the series to be released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As a huge sports fan, particularly with hockey, I was expecting NHL 15 to bring new, amazing experiences on the current generation of home consoles. But despite both looking and playing great, this entry is missing a number of features that greatly hurts the experience and makes NHL 15 feel dull. NHL 15 is a good game, but it's a game that is not worth returning to once you have had your full experience with it.

 

 

Presentation: NHL 15 looks great. Players look like their real life counterparts. If a player has a missing tooth in real life, their character will be missing a tooth. Subtle features like this add to the realism. Stadiums also are presented well. During the pre-game commentary, players will see real footage of the city and their team's respective stadium. Fans seem to be more into the action in NHL 15. You can hear shouting, cheering and booing from the die-hard fans, who have face paint and jerseys on. Fans still look awkward when moving around, but their cheering and attire are satisfying enough.

Calling the games are NBC's Mike "Doc" Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, along with Ray Ferraro between the benches. Before each game there is brief analysis of the game before the first faceoff. It's a nice touch seeing Emrick and Olcyzk commentating beforehand, but they look out of sync with how the game looks. Emrick is known for his loud calls and excitement, but he does not fit the role when announcing the games. There is the occasional high-pitched scream from the man, though these expressions are few and far between. There isn't much depth to the script, either. Within an hour I knew which lines would be repeated throughout my experience.

The music in NHL 15 is great, especially between periods or faceoffs. Bands like Young the Giant, Fallout Boy and more are featured, making this soundtrack more memorable and enjoyable than previous installments.

 

 

Gameplay: The gameplay in NHL feels fluid and fun for the most part. The game is quicker and the new physics are a welcomed addition to the series. Pucks will bounce off the boards, sticks and pads like the real game itself. Where the game really suffers is with online versus play. A number of games I played online felt extremely stiff and clunky and it became frustrating trying to generate offensive opportunities. Online play feels slower paced, unlike the offline game modes.

Using the poke check at times feels too easy. A defenseman will be far away from my forward and the sticks won't touch and I'll lose the puck with ease. The physical play in NHL 15 felt inconsistent. I would line up for a big hit and the opposing player wouldn't budge. Obliterating an opposing player and causing a turnover feels amazing, but the lack of consistency when checking players caused me to play more of a man on man defensive game. Another issue I had is with transitioning from player to player while in the defensive zone. Switching players three to four times to get the desired player quickly became tiresome. I wish the transitioning among players was easier.

 

 

Where Are The Game Modes?: NHL 15 is missing a number of game modes on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. EASHL is a staple of the NHL series. Many players, like myself, pour countless hours into this game mode. It's available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, but it's nowhere to be found on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which is annoying because many people buy the NHL games for this feature. Connected GM is also not in NHL 15. Hockey Ultimate Team mode still offers players the ability to create their dream team by purchasing packs and setting their lineups. GM Mode is in NHL, but there is no season mode. Players like myself who want a one season experience will have to use GM Mode, which has a lot to offer, but GM Mode can be confusing for those who don't understand hockey well. GM Mode allows players to run a franchise in any way they desire. Be A Pro mode is fortunately still in NHL. Players can decide which position they want to play and can choose to enter the NHL draft, which is random, or choose their favorite team. Players will automatically be on the NHL roster, which to me impedes the sense of growth from the minor leagues to the NHL. Future game modes like Playoff Mode and Online Team Play will be added with patches.

 

Verdict: NHL 15 is a good game. It plays well, features a great presentation and is a game hockey fans should try. Because of a number of widely loved game modes are not in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions, the experience feels dull and true hockey fans will quickly grow tired of the short number of game modes. NHL 15 feels like a missed opportunity for an excellent entry on the new consoles.

+Great presentation

+Fluid gameplay

-Lack of depth in the game modes

-Playing online feels stiff

7.5/10

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Destiny launches tomorrow in North America and has already launched in other areas throughout the world. For those who have already gotten Destiny and for those who are incredibly excited for Destiny, I'm happy for you. Destiny looks like it is going to be an epic game, but I'm not anticipating Destiny. Don't get me wrong, Destiny is going to be THE game to play for many people, but I'm not that excited for it. Is that a bad thing? Is it because I've hyped games too much before and they haven't panned out like I hoped they would? I'm getting Destiny at its midnight launch and I will play it for hours. The hype is just simply doesn't exist. Let's find out why as I discuss my thoughts on Destiny one day before its release.

 

We Know Destiny Is Going To Be A Good Game- Bungie and Activision are behind Destiny. I will buy almost anything Bungie makes because I know it will be good and Bungie is consistent with their works - at least from what I have experienced. As for Activision? They do publish this game called "Call of Duty," which is pretty fun, though I don't care for that franchise anymore. Destiny has a respectable team under its wing. What could go wrong? I don't think anything will go wrong. The game has been marketed well. Both the Alpha and the Beta were well received and have people extremely pumped for this game, and we have seen just enough with footage, trailers and more so that nothing is spoiled and the craving or the itch for the game can be remedied.

 

Dem visuals, though.

I Blame Myself For My Lack Of Hype- Prior to a few weekends ago, I didn't watch a single second of Destiny gameplay, trailers, or previews. I tried to shun myself from any footage regarding the game. Perhaps this wasn't a smart idea because I haven't fallen in love with what the game will offer, like many other people have. Destiny could be a blind purchase for me because I know nothing about the game. Normally that is okay, but with a game this big and the magnitude of its launch and hype, I need to watch videos and I to have to sit down and see what Destiny has to offer. The only way I'll grow any form of hype is by watching videos, doing research on which character suits me best and seeing what the game has to offer.

Where Is The Hype? My most hyped game of all time is Diablo 3. I was expecting the greatest game ever because how much I loved Diablo 2 and how excited I was for the next installment. Diablo 3 ended up being a great game, but it was extremely disappointing to me. My anticipation was through the roof and it maybe was way too high? But I seldom am legitimately excited for games today because I was so disappointed with one game. I understand that isn't fair, but I just have lost interest in preparing myself for a major release.

 

Destiny is going to be a game that many people will love, and many people won't love. I'm hoping to fall in love with the game, which mixes various genres of video games into one huge MMO. I think looking at gameplay today will determine whether or not I am excited for Destiny. I think Destiny has great potential and will be awesome nonetheless. Will you be getting Destiny? Are you excited? As always, thanks for reading and share your thoughts!

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This year I have read about a large number of remasters that have come to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and I have read about a large number of remasters that are coming to consoles in the future. I'm not against remakes and remasters, but too many have been and will be released. Some of these games are fewer than three years old. Why are they being remade? A few - like The Last of Us and Halo: The Master Chief Collection makes sense in their own ways. Nonetheless, there are a number of games I would like to see remastered. These are games I may have not played when I was younger, or these games are just so fantastic that more people need to play them. Most of the games in this list are RPGs, but people need to experience these games regardless.





Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King- While this game was ported to iOS devices, I'd like a console remaster. I don't know how I missed this gem on the PlayStation 2, considering I played so many amazing RPGs on that system. I've heard nothing but great things about Dragon Quest VIII and I'd love to play it as a remastered version. With Dragon Quest Heroes being announced recently, maybe there's hope of a remaster for a Dragon Quest game.





Legend of Dragoon- I've only briefly played this RPG on the PlayStation 1, but from everyone I have spoken to who has played it, they all have said that it's underrated and does not get enough praise compared to Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, etc. I can play Legend of Dragoon on my PlayStation 3, which is great, but this game has such a large following and so many people want a sequel or a remaster. Why haven't we gotten one yet?!





Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch- I do contradict myself with this choice because the game is fewer than three years old, but Ni No Kuni is a wonderful RPG that so many people haven't played. The game has sold under two million units. That is an atrocity! Ni No Kuni is full of charm and has great characters, a memorable story and an awesome soundtrack. This game was one of my favorite RPGs of last generation. Ni No Kuni is a must play for any RPG fan and anyone who missed out on this gem.





The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask- I think everyone and their mother wants a remake of Majora's Mask. It's amazing how many people want this game to be remade. I don't doubt that Nintendo has considered this idea before. I played this for the first time this year and I fell in love. Majora's Mask is so dark and unique. The side quests are special, the masks all serve some form of a purpose and the three-day mechanic is weird to ascertain at first, but the mechanic is what makes Majora's Mask unlike any other game in the Legend of Zelda series. We saw a 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time, so why haven't we received a Majora's Mask remake yet?! The video game community would literally explode if this remake were officially announced.


There are so many awesome games I have missed out on, whether they were on the Atari 2600, Super Nintendo, or Xbox 360. These are just a number of remasters I would like to see. Which games did you miss out on? Which games would you like to see remasters of? Share your thoughts! As always, thanks for reading.
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Hey, all! I just finished reading an awesome blog from SecondServing about his favorite sidekicks in video games. I shared my favorite sidekicks and he said I should write about them. So here I am, ready to write about my favorite sidekicks in video games. There are so many awesome sub characters, main characters and non-playable characters in video games, but I thought I would share two that I like the most. Without further adieu, here are my favorite sidekicks in video games!


Toad (Super Mario Series): When I think of the Super Mario games, I don't think of that dang plumber, I think of that adorable, selfless Toad who does whatever it takes to get Mario his power ups, which he probably loses IMMEDIATELY! Toad is always there in one of his many houses providing Mario encouragement, stars, 1-ups and power ups. Does he get any credit? No! Mario just runs along, loses the gifts from Toad and doesn't even say thank you. Toad has a family to feed - he works hard for those gifts! But seriously, Toad is wonderful. He always has a smile on his face and he's getting his own game. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker looks wonderful and Toad will once again be in the spotlight. Toad is an under appreciated sidekick, in my opinion.


Reyn (Xenoblade Chronicles): Xenoblade Chronicles is one of my favorite JRPGs and it's important to me because of the characters. Aside from the main protagonist, Shulk, Reyn is my next favorite character in the game. Though Reyn is a main character, I view him as Shulk's number one guy; his partner in crime. Reyn is always supportive of Shulk and encourages Shulk to make the right decisions and be the best he can be. I'd like to consider myself similar to Reyn in the sense that both he and I love being supportive and helping others when they're down. Reyn is selfless and honest. He isn't afraid to share his thoughts when something is troubling him. Reyn seems like he is a great friend to have and a great partner in combat. That is why Reyn is one of my favorite sidekicks in video games.


Those are my favorite sidekicks in video games. There are so many that are memorable characters that deserve to be mentioned, but Toad and Reyn are the two that stick out the most to me. Who are some of your favorite sidekicks in video games? Share your thoughts! As always, thanks for reading!
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After pouring countless hours into Diablo 3 and Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls on PC, I told myself I was finished with Diablo 3 for a while. But with the release of Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition on consoles, I have once again fallen in love with the dungeon-crawling action and endless loot that Diablo 3 offers. Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is an excellent game that offers an addicting experience for both new players and returning players.


Presentation: Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition looks great on consoles, particularly on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Playing on a television as opposed to a PC allowed me to notice little details I hadn't seen before in the areas throughout Diablo 3. Players can appreciate the aesthetics of their characters more because they are bigger on the screen. The game runs smoothly on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game didn't slow down and the frame rate stayed consistent when there were a large number of enemies on the screen at once. The game has the beautiful cutscenes Blizzard is famous for. The soundtrack in Diablo 3 sounds strong on consoles. It's subtle and intense enough to fit the premise of the game. I rarely actually heard the soundtrack on PC for some reason, but I can hear it well in the Ultimate Evil Edition, which is nice to know.


Story: The story remains unchanged in Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition; stop the prime evils from taking over the world and creating chaos. Included in the Ultimate Evil Edition is the expansion, which includes the fifth act of the game, though not much for the story has improved. Unfortunately the characters seem hollow and dull and the plot is not anything worth remembering. Malthael has the potential as an interesting antagonist, but the story is not the main focus of Diablo 3.


Gameplay: The gameplay in Diablo 3 is fluid. There are six different characters, including the crusader for the first time on consoles, and each character has a wide variety of skills to choose from, which can lead to different builds among players. The Diablo series is known for its randomly generated loot and the dungeons that players can explore over and over again Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is no different. The loot players will get in Diablo 3 pertains to the character they use. For example, Barbarians will get gear with strength based stats and Witch Doctors will get gear with intelligence based stats. Finding the next legendary, or super powerful item from a monster or an elite pack of monsters, is what makes it worth playing through areas over and over again.


Ultimate Evil Edition Features: Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition comes with a number of features - features that are new to the console version. Like previously mentioned, included is the Reaper of Souls expansion, which includes the Crusader character.

Also new is the Apprentice Mode, which is aimed for lower level characters quickly gaining levels and loot. Players will group together, primarily with a high level character. Lower level characters will gain stat boosts for the duration of the multiplayer game. Nemesis Mode is where a monster who kills a friend in one game can enter your game, stronger than before and players have the opportunity to avenge the fallen ally.


Co-op: Playing local co-op on consoles is more fun than playing on PC. Everyone remains on the same screen and when one person moves, everyone moves. Players can't run off and attract unwanted monsters. Online multiplayer does not have the same benefit, though. Entering a lobby with friends online is a breeze and you can gift items to friends with the mailbox feature, which is located next to the player's stash.

I have some minor gripes with Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition and these do not hurt the experience in a major way. If an item is close to an entrance, sometimes I will exit the area rather than picking the item up and I will have to go back into the area to get the item. In local co-op, only one person at a time can access their inventory, the shops and the blacksmith. Other players will have to wait for the player to finish so they can access the aforementioned inventory, blacksmith and shops.

Verdict: Chock-full of content, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is a strong version of Diablo 3 on consoles. With pretty visuals, an addicting loot system, fluid gameplay and convenient co-op, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is a must own for new players and experienced Diablo fans. It could have had a better story with more complex characters, but the story is not the primary focus.

9/10


+Great visuals

+Fluid gameplay and addicting loot

+Diverse playable characters

-A forgettable story
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The Disgaea games are strategy RPGs that never truly takes themselves seriously, and that is what makes each game unique and a joy to play. Disgaea games always have a charm about them and Disgaea 4 is no different. With Disgaea 4 being ported to the PlayStation Vita with all of the downloadable content and receiving a new name - "A Promise Revisited" - Disgaea 4 is another great entry in the strategy RPG series.


Presentation:

Disgaea 4 looks great on the Vita. The main characters look detailed and their outfits are very distinct despite being small on the screen. The environments are bright and colorful. Each chapter has a unique setting. My favorite part of Disgaea 4 is the unique animations that occur when using skills during battles. It seems like the developers had a lot of fun designing the animations because each skill, whether the player or the enemy uses it, is a joy to watch. Sometimes I went to the Item World solely to see the animations. Complimenting the visuals is a nice soundtrack that features serious tracks, to up-beat tracks. They help set the tone throughout the story and I didn't grow tired of the tracks.


Story:

Disgaea 4 revolves around former tyrant vampire Valvatorez and his werewolf servant, Fenrich, whom wish to overthrow the current president of the Netherworld. Valvatorez has regressed from being a feared tyrant to a mere Prinny instructor, which reasons are revealed as the player progresses further in the story. The story overall is enjoyable, primarily because of the hilarious writing and strong characters. Just when you think the story is taking a serious tone, the writing immediately switches to a comedic tone, which is fine because Disgaea titles should never be too serious. This game has taught me more about sardines than I thought was possible. In the beginning of the story, I lost a crucial battle and the game actually ended and I had to begin the game at the first chapter again. This was a surprise to me. Luckily my gear and levels were still intact.

My biggest issue with Disgaea 4 stems from the latter part of the story. Without spoiling anything, the last few chapters became tedious for me. "Final episode" was the title for a number of chapters towards the end of the game and I got really annoyed by this. I was expecting the chapter I was playing to be the ending, but the story dictated otherwise. They do tell you when the final chapter is truly the end, though I would have preferred a definitive final chapter without the game leading me on.


Gameplay and features:

The Disgaea series is known for its unique, strategic combat and the addicting, endless Item World. Each item the player can own has its own world, full of randomly generated levels. Progressing in these worlds will cause the item to level up, increasing its respective stats. This feature can lead to potentially hundreds of hours of level grinding - something the Disgaea series is famous for. Every tenth level in the Item World features an elite monster, sort of like a sub boss within the Item World.

Disgaea also has Geo Blocks and Geo Panels, which are special blocks with effects that can either benefit or hurt your party, along with the enemies. Effects like invincible, reverse damage and deathblow can force the player to think more strategically on how to handle each battle. Destroying Geo Blocks on certain panels can cancel out effects or place the effects on different panels. Players on Geo Panels can receive damage when the color of the Geo Panel they are standing on is changed. Destroying all of the panels and having a clean battlefield will improve the bonus at the end of the battle and will cause a flash to occur, which will damage the enemies.

The strategy RPG series also has numerous different job classes, ranging from mages to warriors to demons such as Prinnies and dragons. The characters can equip different weapons and can learn skills that relate to the weapon they use.


Verdict:

Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited on the PlayStation Vita is a great entry in the Disgaea series and a great stand alone strategy RPG. The game has great visuals, a good story with memorable characters and hundreds of hours in the Item World alone. Whether you like RPGs, anime or endless level grinding, Disgaea 4 is worth owning.



8/10


+Great story with strong characters

+Countless hours of level grinding

+Great visuals

-An annoying number of "Final Chapters"
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