There's no items and no last hitting. We level as a team, pay attention to objectives and also objectives change depending on the map you play. MOUNT UP WHEN NOT IN COMBAT!! These are but a few phrases my friend kept telling me as I made the transition from League of Legends (LoL) to Heroes of the Storm (HOTS). I'm super pumped to introduce my LoL friends to HOTS with the announcement of the Nexus Challenge cross-promotion. The promotion runs from Nov 15th until January 3rd and if you play 15 games with a friend, you'll earn a special skin for Genji in Overwatch. If you manage to play 30 games total with a friend, you'll earn a handful of other heroes, a special mount for use in HOTS and a gold & experience booster. I see it as a great opportunity to introduce people to this game by dangling the special skin as a reward for playing with your friends.
I'm a huge fan of MOBAs. I fondly recall many nights where friends and I would form 5-man teams in League of Legends and play hours on end while on a Skype call with one another. I feel I can't yet speak on the nuances of Heroes of the Storm due to my inexperience but the mechanical difference between HOTS and LoL caught me off guard. First off, there are no items to purchase and subsequently no "last-hitting" or landing the killing the blow on minions to get something. Instead, you progress by leveling up and taking "talents" or skill choices at certain levels. You gain a talent choice every 3 levels starting at level 1 (with the final talent being unlocked at level 20 taking 4 levels to reach). From what I've experienced, there are talents that augment your skills, your passive and offer activated abilities in addition to your skills. Some talents have "quests", which have you perform certain actions to empower that ability even further such as use a certain skill on Heroes X amount of times.

Equally important but instead of each player having individual levels,you level as a team which is displayed at the top of the HUD. Experience is gained by being nearby when minions die, killing players, killing neutral camps or destroying towers and forts (bigger version of towers). There is not a jungle like that of league but there are areas between lanes where neutral monster spawn and can help destroy structures (Siege Camps) or help clear minions waves and fight Heroes (Bruiser Camps). There are also "Boss Camps" that act as your Baron where taking the camp can do anything from spawn an elite monster to help siege structures or help you with the map's objective (which I'll cover shortly). The towers & forts have ammo and will be unable to attack once they are run out, though they can regenerate ammo at a rate of 2 charger every 30 seconds. The enemy's core, similar to league's nexus, is what must be destroyed to win the game. Unlike in LoL, cores have a shield that regenerates and has the ability to attack heroes and minions with an unlimited supply of ammo in lieu of regenerating inhibitors and nexus turrets.


What really captivated me from what little I've played so far is how there are multiple maps to play on, each housing a unique objective that you must play around accordingly. For example, "Warhead Junction" and  "Braxis Holdout" are two Starcraft themed "battleground"/map yet are different in design. Braxis Holdout is a two-laned map where the objective is to fight for control over two beacons, located at the center of the map, that will activate periodically. When the beacons are active, both teams fight over control of the beacons which fills the controlling team's holding cell with Zerg. The progress each team has made towards filling their holding cell as well as who currently is on control of each beacon is displayed on the HUD. When either team reaches 100% progress, each team's collected Zerg will be unleashed to wreck havoc. Two important things to note: the holding cells are located at the top and bottom of the map.Control of these holding cells swap alternate with each beacon activation. The second being you will continue to gather Zerg until one team reaches 100%, meaning it is possible for one team to reach 98-99% progress only to lose control of the beacons and have the opposing team reach 100% . From what I understand,additional Zerg units will spawn for the team that reaches 100%,so it's always in your best interest to be the first team to get to 100% progress.


  Picture of Braxis Holdout,marking where beacons spawn.

 On the other side of the spectrum,there is "Warhead Junction", a three-laned map that has teams fight over control of nukes which periodically spawn in random, but fixed locations between the three lanes. The mini map will be marked where the next wave of nukes will spawn and a timer will appear on your HUD when they are ready to be collected. Once captured by a hero, these nukes can be deployed at a certain range that will do heavy damage to structures and units. A hero can only a single nuke at a time and will drop the nuke when they are killed. The interesting part of these type of objectives is that you can still turn things around should you fail to collect the objective. It becomes a game of one team trying to assassinate whoever the collected the objective while their teammates try to protect the holder until they can call in the nuke.


  Picture of Warhead Junction, marking Nuke spawn locations

Perhaps my favorite thing of Heroes of the Storm is the match times. This could be because of my inexperience but my games haven't been 40-50 minute wars of attrition. My PvP/quick match games were on average 20-30 depending on how close things were. Maybe that's why I'm enjoying myself as much as I am. No wait, I take that back. My favorite thing about HOTS is how I can "try" a Hero in the shop before I can buy them. I don't have to wait until a Hero I want is in the free rotation before I get a feel for them. Same goes for trying out skins which I'm a huge fan of. I don't have to hunt down Youtube videos what the skin changes (if anything). Regardless, I'm really looking forward to forcing convincing my friends to give HOTS a try. If I'm lucky,perhaps they'll stick around after they earn the Genji skin 😀





I've touched on my perspective of the stealth game genre a few times during the history of LAN Mob's blog in various posts. To reiterate, I strongly believe stealth games present one of the most challenging and formidable gaming experiences for both players and developers. There's a massive exchange of information going on between the player and the game and simple imperfections in UI/the HUD can turn a great formula into a bad experience, and these errors feel multiplied 10 full in a genre where patience is key. I cannot stress my love of stealth games enough (check out our Aragami Game Preview post for a longer rant about this if you're interested) and I feel after many long years I've played the best and the worst this genre has to offer. Back in 2012 when Arkane Studios released the original Dishonored it was very obvious to me it was a golden entry in the genre, right out of the gate. The "gaslight/steampunk" stealth title managed to create an incredibly immersive world and challenge players to follow their own path through it. I'm happy to say the game's recently released sequel, Dishonored 2, has managed to surpass it's predecessor in some of the grandest and most subtle ways, but clumsily trips through the dark plot in a few places.




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The World of Karnaca in Dishonored 2



Dishonored 2 takes place 15 years after the events of the original game. This time around, players have the option of playing Corvo Attano, the Royal Protector/main protagonist of the original title or Emily Kaldwin, the current Empress of Dunwall/Corvo's daughter. This option immediately sets the sequel apart from the original, with both characters offering different play styles and options for dealing with different situations, while directly effecting the narrative. While the game begins and ends in Dunwall, most of the narrative takes place in the southern city of Karnaca, capitol of Serkonos. I do not intend to give any critical plot points away, but Dishonored 2's plot is a fantastic example of what it means to weave scenarios that keep players intrigued and invested. Using the dramatic events of the original Dishonored as a launch pad, Arkane Studios continues to develop an incredibly well fashioned fictional world of political unrest and conspiracy that feels similar to the first game but manages to be fresh and exciting. The first major problem presented in the narrative is a mysterious figure known as "The Crown Killer" who seems to be targeting and assassinating political adversaries of our protagonists, creating a facade of blame aimed towards Emily and Corvo. These events lead to a coup on the throne of Dunwall by Emily's long lost Aunt, working in tandem with the Duke of Serkonos. Events play out and eventually players are forced to choose their character and render the other absent for the rest of the narrative. Although stressing Emily's struggle for independence and having almost nobody to rely on, this choice from Arkane bummed me out a little. I understand how not having Corvo at her side creates some very potent character growth for Emily, I would have loved to see what the duo is capable of and what their interactions would be like. Cutting Emily out of Corvo's narrative creates a parallel to the original Dishonored, and well Arkane does a great job of doing it, once again I can't help but wish we could have got some father daughter team up action.   




The "Dreadful Wale" serves as a hub between missions in Dishonored 2. It is also an anagram relating to events in Dishonored 1. Can you figure it out?


After spending some time in Dunwall players set sail for Karnaca, a stunningly beautiful coastal city. I love Dunwall overall, but the coastal city of Karnaca in the country of Serkonos was an excellent change of scenery for fans of the first game. The Dishonored series is definitely dark and I wouldn't want it any other way, but it was nice to see some grass here and there! Gameplay is divided into chapters with a small respite between missions aboard the "Dreadful Wale", a small ship piloted by the mysterious Meagan Foster. Each of the 9 missions in Dishonored 2 manage to be different then the last, with some of the craziest "themes" I've ever had the pleasure of sneaking through. From an ornate Clockwork Mansion created by a genius to a Chapter revolving around time traveling (being stealthy in two timelines at once is...an experience), I never found my goals to be monotonous, which is a problem that plagues many stealth games. Before I get into gameplay, I'd like to touch on one of Dishonored's strongest assets as a stealth game. 





Karnaca, homeland of Corvo and the first place Emily Kaldwin has visited without her cloak of royalty.


I've mentioned "storytelling though mechanics" a few times throughout the LAN Mob Blog and I'll probably continue to do so. It's one of my favorite tools used by game developers to move the narrative along without sacrificing immersion. Storytelling through mechanics can be presented in a plethora of ways and Dishonored 2 hits the nail on the head in a lot of aspects. Naturally, players will be sneaking around in the game, pick-pocketing and stealing and placing tidbits of lore and triggered events for doing just that is an excellent way to award players for crafting their story. It's also pretty hilarious to unleash some of your supernatural powers on a guard and think...wow...I'm completely superior to this guy, which is another theme represented in the narrative. The best example is probably how players can "find another way" to deal with a multitude of goals presented in Dishonored. Your mission may be to "Eliminate Target X" but the title allows you to deal with issues in another way if you can uncover it by doing what you do best. These narrative mechanics working in tandem with the narrative itself is such a massive strength, with my favorite example being Emily Kaldwin. About halfway through the game (Emily Low-Chaos Run) it is very apparent Emily feels tremendous guilt for living life in cushy Dunwall Tower with all the suffering in her country she was oblivious to. Arkane presents this guilt similarly to when you go on a murder spree. Regret is a present theme in the narrative and in gameplay. Another thing Arkane does perfectly when it comes to narrative is best described as, "cryptic storytelling". A narrative style brought to the forefront of the industry thanks to games like "Dark Souls", cryptic story telling is exactly how it sounds - telling a story through obscure methods. While Dishonored 2 definitely delivers the main narrative with an appropriate amount of understanding, some of the best stories this world has to offer are tucked away in a dark room on a shelf. There's a ton of letters, books, secret rooms and stories to untangle in the world of Karnaca that be uncovered just from exploring a bit. One of my personal favorites is an ode to the events of the first game, hidden away in a small flat in Serkonos -






Overall Dishonored 2's narrative has some excellent moments and 
creates a dark and immersive world I was genuinely invested in. However, compared to the plot of the first game, I have to say Dishonored 2 falls short more then a few times. Ironically enough, I was not a fan of the opening sequence or the abrupt, unsatisfying and predictable ending. I would have loved some more interaction between Corvo and Emily and it feels the supporting cast wasn't explored as much as they could have been. I suspect DLC is around the corner, and maybe it will bring what I'm looking for to the table. On a positive note, I'd like to commemorate Arkane for doing a stellar job on casting voice actors, utilizing another asset to bring their world to life. There's some massive AAA names lending their voices to Arkane's title such as Rosario Dawson as Meagan Foster, Vincent D'Onofrio as Duke Luca Abele, Sam Rockwell as Mortimer Ramsey and my personal favorite, Robin Lord Taylor as The Outsider.


Shape Your Playground


As mentioned above, Dishonored is a game series that allows players to carve their own path, which directly effects narrative but most importantly gives the player the freedom to act as they see fit. With this formula in place, Arkane masterfully crafts a playground of a world, equips players well and let's us have at it. Players are given nothing short of an arsenal - Pistol and Crossbow with various ammunition types, a collapsible blade, various bombs, mines and traps; oh and supernatural powers! Just like in the original Dishonored, players take a dip in the Void and receive the "Outsider's Mark", a brand given to those selected by The Outsider himself, bestowing some amazing and unique abilities. Corvo is equipped with the ability to freeze time, possessing living things and a "force push" ability called Windblast, among others. However, with the addition of Emily as a playable character, Arkane has used the opportunity to introduce a smorgasbord of new abilities. Emily has "Domino" a personal favorite, which "links the fates" of multiple characters together, allowing Emily to dispatch a small squad in one move. Emily also has the ability to create Dopplegangers, teleport short distances (just like Corvo's Blink) and even become a shadowy beast...thing. 


Creepy.


With a toolbox of destruction (or mercy, based on your choices) and unmatched level design, players are free to deal with things as they see fit. Dishonored utilizes a "Chaos" system to shape the world based on their actions. The Chaos system is incredibly complex, but thankfully the team over at Now Loading have written a Chaos Guide, explaining the intricacies. Despite the Chaos system being in place, Arkane still does not cage players with labels like "right or wrong". Play Dishonored as you see fit, and the world will shape around you. You get to feel in charge, and it's marvelous.


I've had the pleasure of playing Dishonored 2 on PlayStation 4, so I have not experienced the PC problems plaguing the game's release on the platform. I can only hope things get straightened out so people get to experience what Arkane has to offer. On PlayStation, Dishonored runs well, with no frames dropping, responsive and expected interactions and the beautiful expansive coastal region of Serkonos rendering well. Ultimately, I have to give Dishonored 2 a ton of praise. Level design, world building, alternate narrative exploration and solid stealth mechanics have created a remarkable experience. I've had a blast conversing with friends who have also been playing through the game, picking their brains about their decisions in certain points or hearing stories about their various actions, such as Domino Wall of Light maneuvers (good job Dictator). I've currently only completed a Low-Chaos-Emily run and a small bit of a High-Chaos-Corvo run and already amassed 25 hours or so in the world of Dishonored. 
Comparing the game to its predecessor, it's clear choices carry a little less weight, for better and for worse, and the plot is definitely a bit drier this time around. That being said, Dishonored 2 still manages to be almost the perfect sequel I was hoping for. Dishonored 2 is one of the most creative, immersive and well designed stealth games I have ever played, and my own actions within the world resonate with me even now, and it's hard for me to NOT suggest it to all different types of gamers. The world is worth exploring and becoming immersed in, and Arkane Studios let's you do it any way you wish.  




EDIT : I actually plan on writing some more about Dishonored 2, after losing my life to FFXV for a while. I find myself pretty infatuated with stealth games more then almost any other genre, and I can't help but replay them over and over, especially a game like Dishonored. I feel a weird OCD-esque tendency to eat the game alive and uncover everything it has to offer. Hopefully I can make it happen. Thanks a ton for reading!
Too often heard around the shop.


I overheard two customers recently venting their frustration at a player who approaches League of Legends with an overwhelmingly positive mindset. The conversation went something like this:

Gamer 1: "He'll never give up! We could be behind 40 kills and he'll still think we can win!"

Gamer 2: "Yeah, at some point you just have to throw in the towel and quit."


Gamer 1: "Exactly! It's just a waste of time."

I've seen similar thoughts along the lines of surrendering at 20 when things get tough, and gamers voicing their frustration that they can "never just get an easy win."

I think this is the wrong approach to League of Legends, but also to many things we find challenging in life. There are a few things you need to consider when it comes to League:

  1. Gold leads are still close at 20 minutes - Even if your team has been feeding all game, the gold edge is not insurmountable.
  2. Early, mid & late game play differs - As we gain abilities and items the complete structure and chemistry of the team changes. Often a team losing their lanes individually can come together to turn it around with a strong late game.
  3. Your opponents will make mistakes - Unless you're playing challenger tier, in which case I have yet to meet you, your opponents are guaranteed to make mistakes. It could be a poorly timed Baron that's ripe for stealing, or over-extending and getting picked, but the opportunity will present itself if you're patient.
Playing from behind is a part of the game and something everyone needs more practice at. You can turn a lot of the games that feel like you're losing by practicing the late-game roaming/team fighting phases, and even some games where you're completely buried.

This same concept translates to everything difficult you attempt in life. Nothing is easy, there is always struggle and short-term failure, and sometimes it feels like there is no way to bring it back. Quitting is the easy way out: a negative view on the world that it's just too hard, or X forces are working against you, or you're just not good enough.

There is too much of this negativity in our area, and I've never fully understood it, but our psyche is pervaded by the idea that we just can't have nice things. Take for instance this beautiful snow wolf a local artist recently sculpted just up the street from us in Stanwix park, which made it only 24 hours before having it's head knocked off.


Photo credit to Michael Brown / People & Places of Rome, NY FB group


Rome & CNY needs to step up it's game. We can do great things, and it may not always be easy, but we need to learn to appreciate the struggle and let it drive us forward. Don't quit, keep going. The hard fought victory is the best feeling because you know you earned it.
Before we all eat ourselves into a coma tomorrow, we figured we'd post a collective blog for the holiday. What LAN Mob employees are thankful for -  




Bossman

I won't name names but thank you to everyone who has supported us past & present. The last two months have been very difficult, and at times it felt like the universe was out to crush us, but it's starting to feel like we've regained our footing again. Dark times pass and better times are ahead. I'm thankful for an awesome Smash community showing up every Saturday; an amazing staff that's dedicated and constantly stepping up & making sacrifices; a community of gamers that I've grown increasingly attached to; meeting new gamers almost daily with new backgrounds, experiences, and world views; a booming 300-400 block of N James Street (good luck finding parking on a Friday night!); my family for continued support and encouragement; my employer for the flexibility and understanding to fit my very busy schedule; the good people at AmeriCU credit union for outstanding service and understanding; and lastly every customer who has shopped local and supported us - THANK YOU!


Cody

I was originally going to try to avoid being sappy and long-winded, but I'm going to do it anyway! (deal with it!) Whether Thanksgiving is a big event for you and your family or not, it's definitely a nice theme. Nothing grinds my gears more then people who live a completely self-indulgent lifestyle and do not consider the world around them, and in a way, Thanksgiving has a way of pulling people out of their own minds. Maybe it has something to do with parents screaming at people to get off their phones/stop taking selfies and eat together, but it's probably because FOOD. Either way, I'm a fan of Thanksgiving! Be thankful and humble, it's good for you! Let's see, firstly I'm incredibly thankful for LAN Mob and it's place in my life. It's pretty great to get up and go to a job that aligns with your passion at it's core. I'm thankful for our team here at LAN Mob (Bossman's vision, Enrique for making sure all the PCs don't blow up and Rob for being the clutch savior). Ironically enough, I'm thankful for my health. Despite some rocky roads the past few weeks, it's easy to compare personal ailments to other people in the world. A bad back and a nasty case of pneumonia is absolutely nothing compared to what some people deal with on a daily basis. I'm thankful for my friends and family for being solid support systems and keeping my focus aligned (and keeping me from becoming a NEET). Last, but certainly not least, I'm thankful for whoever is reading this/LAN Mob's community. What would LAN Mob be without our valued customers? You guys keep the dream alive, whether it be supporting our Smash streams, coming around the shop or even just reading our blogs we're honored to have your support. Thanks so much!

PS - I'm also super thankful that FFXV comes out in a few days. I can't wait to never sleep again.   

ROB

I'm thankful for the support I'm given from my friends and family. Most importantly I'm thankful Final Fantasy XV didn't get delayed again. Papa Bless.



Enrique

Unfortunately, Enrique is unavailable today and suffering from massive poo brain. We have a pretty good idea of what he would like to say though - "I'm thankful for Bossman, Heroes of the Storm, waifus, and Bossman."
"The Lost Morsel"
Available in "Gourmet Edition" Retail Edition or DLC


I wrote a review back in August for the delightful indie title "Overcooked". If you haven't heard of it, definitely check out the post, the game deserves attention! Overcooked unquestionably one of my favorite games of the entire year so when Ghost Town Games announced the DLC "The Lost Morsel" add-on and a "Gourmet Edition", retail copy last month I got so excited! Connorkaze is home for Thanksgiving and one of the first things we were able to do is play though the DLC in it's entirety and I'm happy to say it's exactly what I was hoping for.

"The Lost Morsel" is accessible straight from the main menu like so -



Once you enter the DLC for the first time you are transported to a cabin, similar to the small cabins throughout the main campaign. After some brief goofy narrative from the Onion King explaining you have gone back in time to the dinosaur age, and a helicopter loan from Kevin the dog, you can set out for some new kitchens.

The world map for "The Lost Morsel" is as pleasant to spend time in as the main game, with an incredible theme that matches the new time period well and easy visuals, although this time you transition the map with a helicopter you borrowed from Kevin. It's critically important. 




On to the main dish - kitchens. I went into the DLC half expecting things to be even more brutal then the finals world of the main game, I was relieved to see "The Lost Morsel" really uses the six new stages as separate experiences, some being much harder than others. Some maps challenge players with trials they have encountered in the main game (it's recommended players complete the campaign before entering the Lost Morsel), such as using conveyor belts to shift ingredients around the map, and even kitchen stations that move mid cooking. These maps also showcase some of the strongest examples of Ghost Town Games' sadistic creativity, introducing some new and interesting challenges. 



Those are fireballs...

The first kitchen of "The Lost Morsel"


The final kitchen of "The Lost Morsel" looks kind of easy, right? It's not.



Although Connor and I have yet to 3 star every kitchen (we're gonna!) I love what Ghost Town Games has added to the game. For a mere $5 the content added is a prime example of why Overcooked deserves all the praise I continuously give it, whenever I get a chance to. Upon finishing the DLC's final kitchen, my only only gripe is hoping that I get to enter some new kitchens again...soon. It feels like Ghost Town Games has set up a near perfect system for introducing new kitchens in the time travel theme of the game's loose narrative, and I can't help but get giddy with the possible future of Overcooked! I can't speak for everyone but I will happily support future Overcooked content. If you're a fan of the base game, The Lost Morsel is absolutely worth picking it up, even if it is just a snack.    




With Pokemon Sun & Moon already out, I'm excited to get my copy in the mail. I was a huge fan of some of the features introduced in X & Y and hope they make their return in Sun & Moon. Other than watching a few trailers, I haven't sought out too much information on the newest generation of Pokemon games. Z-Moves sound like a neat addition to combat, much like how I felt about Mega Evolutions in the previous generation. I'm super pumped they are doing away with "HM Slaves" by letting you call in a Pokemon to rock smash/surf/strength/fly. It bummed me out to always have least one slot of my party filled with a Pokemon that knew HM moves when I wanted to go explore the map while leveling my party. The Alola Pokemon are a nice way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pokemon (ugh,I feel old). I have not seen too much about the Alola variants but I think my favorite so far is Dugtrio.
LONG HAIR DON'T CARE. Another new spin on something old is that there apparently are no more gym battles but "island challenges" instead? It sounds like you're set to do some tasks instead of facing the gauntlet of trainers and puzzles inside a Pokemon Gym. It has me really excited to try it out. I tried out the demo a few weeks ago and it had me take pictures of certain Pokemon in a cave(which provoked them into fighting me) before I fought a "Totem Pokemon" to pass that particular challenge. I look forward to seeing what these island challenges are about when I play the full version.

...I'm seriously going to make a team of Pokemon with majestic flowing hair.Naturally Mega Ampharos will be in the first slot with Alola Dugtrio in the second slot.I'm so pumped.



This November has been light on releases compared to years past, with consoles reaching their end of life and some major releases getting pushed out into early 2017 and beyond. Here at LAN Mob we're seeing both new and old games getting play: here are our top 5 currently most played games.

#5 Call of Duty - Infinite Warfare



We have 6 copies of the IW digital download + Seasons Pass in shop. The multiplayer has been a bit underwhelming so far, but players have enjoyed the co-op zombie mode, and we expect as the DLC starts to roll out this game will pick up play. Keep an eye out for a tournament coming later this year!

#4 Garry's Mod




The classic Steam hit has been getting steady play, and we recently started subscribing to popular Steam collections to help improve the mods available. This game is most played amongst the after-school crowd and early afternoons on weekends. If you have a specific mod you're interested in, talk to the staff and we'll get it on our download list.

#3 Overwatch




We're pretty evenly split between Xbox and PC players as it comes to Overwatch, with most play happening on weekday evenings, but you're likely to find someone at the shop at any given time who plays the game. There is a lot of excitement built up for the new character Sombra, a hacker-type who just arrived on Tuesday.

#2 Call of Duty - Modern Warfare Remastered





This game has surprisingly outperformed the new Infinite Warfare with gamers young and old alike. It may be the nostalgia of playing a game from years back, or it may be the game is just better than what Infinite Warfare currently offers, but this one is getting constant play. We have the digital download so no disc swap needed, just come in, sit down, and boot up.

#1 League of Legends




Not a day passes that this game doesn't get played. The king of the MOBAS continues its reign as the #1 played game in shop. On any given night you'll find players climbing ranked, leveling up smurfs, grinding rank 7 characters or just relaxing with an ARAM game. We're also watching streams constantly, from LCS to Doublelift to QTPie. We have the League fever real bad.

Honorable Mention - Paladins





Dubbed "The Poor Man's Overwatch", this F2P game from the makers of Smite has been seeing some play lately. This is installed and ready on all our PCs, come give it try!
Sometime while I was home resting after the hospital incident Enrique stopped by to visit and gifted me a brand new copy of Battleborn for Xbox One. (and an Xbox Live card!) In my opinion, Battleborn is one of the most interesting games of 2016, due to Gearbox's decisions, the very tiny but incredibly faithful community and its blend of genres. I wrote a small blurb about playing the game during it's beta phase back in April. Regretfully this is the most time I gave Gearbox's unique shooter even though I bought the game on release. Ultimately I barely played it, choosing to spend my free time on other games. I wound up selling my copy but keeping an eye on the game's DLC packs, newest characters and watching Enrique play it around the shop. After receiving Enrique's gift I no longer had a choice!  It was time to sink my teeth into Battleborn. In a way, the stars aligned perfectly for me to do so, with "Battleborn Day" falling on 11/12 and running until 8am on 11/13. It just so happened 11/12 was my scheduled Lock-In shift...it was meant to be.






















Battleborn Day was an idea created out of the small Reddit community keeping Battleborn alive. A Gearbox employee caught a whiff of what the community was concocting and Gearbox ended up sweetening the deal for everybody. On top of the community's plan of banding together to create an environment of learning, Gearbox offered:

  • The badarsest of badarse in-game events: Prepare for the Lootpocolypse, play with the Devs, Double XP, Double Credits all rolled into one phenomenal weekend!
  • A special "Battleborn Day Queue" with all kinds of fan-favorite maps and modes.
  • Try out all 29 heroes! Every character will be temporary unlocked for all players. 
  • Enjoy 20% off all skins and taunts in the in-game Marketplace.
  • Swag giveaways on the Battleborn Facebook and Twitter channels!

Even if you aren't a fan of Battleborn or Gearbox, you really have to respect what "Battleborn Day" was attempting to accomplish. I know what it's like to love a game so much, but the community dies out. Shadowrun, Chromehounds, Gotham City Imposters, Monday Night Combat, Brink (shut up, I loved it) all suffered from some of the same problems plaguing Battleborn, and sit on a special shelf dubbed The Graveyard in my collection. I'm not going to pretend Battleborn is free of issues that would cause players to hesitate jumping in, but at it's core Battleborn is a good game and it's a shame it simply couldn't compete, despite Gearbox's confidence. If you're interested in learning some more of the history behind Battleborn and it's "failure" there's plenty of articles out on the web (some of them written by very intelligent and neutral parties) detailing the poor marketing decisions and game issues which led to the failure. It's a sad story, but a very important one. With all that aside, time to talk about my Battleborn Day experience!

I started off by doing the necessary prologue mission in the afternoon, which is very well done in my opinion. It's a great introduction to the main draw of Battleborn, it's incredibly well designed characters. After I finished the prologue I just started playing solo campaign missions with all sorts of different characters, seeing who I liked/fit my play-style. Thanks to playing in the Beta, I already knew I loved Rath, but after about 4 hours I had my line up of characters for the night.


Rath


Pendles


Benedict


Ernest




I ended up playing many more characters in different situations, but if somebody were to ask me what my favorite 4 were, it was definitely these guys. I decided to sleep for a bit then I headed down to the lock-in.


In between helping customers I was playing the special Battleborn Day playlist from about 1am - 4:30am. I had a huge mixture of experiences but for the most part it was a ton of fun and I learned a lot. There were certainly some high level players who didn't get the memo of "Battleborn Day" and ruthlessly oppressed all of us Rookies. There was a high level Galilea player who ended up having over 50 kills with only a handful of deaths against a team of all level >10 in a game of Incursion. While this is certainly a little frustrating, it's good to see the high level of play one can reach by sinking some time into the game. Eventually in a game mode I don't know the name of (We had to collect masks and deposit them into a bank), I did exceptionally well! I was playing Ernest and it felt like everything clicked. After the game, I got an invite to group. I accepted, recognizing the player as the Kid Ultra player on our team (A level 100 sporting the Battleborn Day Guide banner, let's call him Bob.). I grabbed my mic and played with Bob, his friend (both 100s) and 2 other rookies for another few hours. These guys were incredibly good and seemed to understand a ton about each map/character counter picks and loadouts. They picked their characters around us and were genuinely focused on teaching these new players how to not get wrecked by the less charitable veterans. Eventually one of the 100s and one of the rookies left, leaving 3 of us. We played campaign missions for another few hours, and THIS is where I had an absolute blast. The campaign is hilarious, interesting, challenging and theory crafting what characters are good in each mission was awesome. This campaign mode, in my opinion, is a massive strength Battleborn has over it's competitors and makes for a unique and memorable experience. Eventually the three of us split up, but we made sure to friend each other for future games. I thanked Bob immensely for essentially being the best community member possible, he laughed and said he was just glad people were playing.  I continued to play public campaign until the end of the lock-in, and I even got to share Bob's knowledge with some new guys.

So overall my "Battleborn Day" experience was bittersweet. In a very strange way I feel guilty for not playing Battleborn earlier and being a good community member. The game is a blast, and while a lot of the common complaints are things I cannot fix, being an active community member is something I am capable of. I wish Gearbox took a different approach to marketing and did not try to go toe to toe with Blizzard's Overwatch, among other games. I've heard horror stories of balance issues and buggy nonsense in the early part of Battleborn's life as well, and it seems these things worked in tandem to dry up a lot of the player base. From what I understand, outside of "Battleborn Day" it's very difficult to even find a game in matchmaking. I don't have the answers to these problems, but I can say I won't be putting Battleborn on my Graveyard shelf. I believe Battleborn Day was a very tangible positive step in the right direction to spark some life back into the game, and I am happy I got the chance to participate. I'm going to set time aside in the following weeks to play some games here and there, look for groups on Reddit and even pick the game up for some IRL friends to play with. I'm pretty sold on the game after playing for like 16 hours, and I think a lot of other people would be too if they gave it a shot. As a last thought, I implore any veterans reading this to try to be as great as a community member as Bob. It's not very often you see somebody put themselves out there and group up with some new players and genuinely have a good time/ not flame. Bob is Battleborn MVP.

What are your thoughts on Battleborn and games like it? Let me know in the comments! If you're also considering picking up Battleborn and want to play some games, let me know! My Gamertag is GreatGeteSage. Lastly, I'd like to take a moment to shed light on one of Battleborn's coolest things... its intro -




Uhhhh....this is like the coolest thing of 2016.




My absolute favorite YouTuber recently released a video of "5 Games that Changed My Life" and I've been thinking a lot about it ever since. It's pretty well accepted nowadays (thankfully) that video games are indeed an art form, and as such, this form of media is incredibly capable of challenging/changing somebody's way of thinking and even lifestyle. I will be focusing on games that changed my philosophies, my personal creeds or even helped shape my future in a physical way. That being said, it's important to mention these 5 games are not necessarily my top 5 favorite games, if anything there may be games on this list that I wouldn't even consider a personal favorite. I would also like to note, a list like this is incredibly personal and may not make sense to everyone. The ideas presented in these games had a direct effect on my way of thinking, or directly help carve a path in my lifestyle and I can't even say that if you were to play these games you would get close to the same experience. That's the beauty of art, it can mean so many different things to many different perspectives. So let's get started!



Ape Escape



I think every "gamer" has a game like this, the incredibly nostalgic perfect game that holds up even to this day. As I said before, not all of these games are a personal favorite, but Ape Escape is. Ape Escape is the first game I played over and over, it's the first game that challenged me deeply and the first game I ever beat 100%. I wanted to avoid writing a nostalgic love letter to the SCE Japan Studio title, but I think that's one of the strongest lures Ape Escape has to me. The game released in May of 1999 and my big brother Christopher and myself received it as a gift for Easter. It took me many years to 100% Ape Escape, but it's a game I always went back to and genuinely enjoyed. Ape Escape is probably the game responsible for setting me on the path of loving video games as more then a hobby. It's hard to say for certain, but without experiencing Ape Escape I may not appreciate video games the way I do today. 



Final Fantasy Tactics



I first played FFT at a friend's house when I was around 11. I played one mission smack dab in the middle of her playthrough and I honestly was not enthused. She assured me "It's different when you play from the beginning." I've played other JRPGs and of course other Final Fantasy games, but FFT is something I skipped over until it had so much praise from all of my peers that I felt I was missing out on something. After begging my mom to buy it for me, I got completely and utterly obsessed. I've played JRPGs like Legend of Dragoon, (thanks to a fifth grade encounter with Taggles) Lunar 2, Suikoden, Final Fantasy 7, etc, etc. However, FFT struck the magical nerve and it completely set me on the path of Japanese Role Playing Games, which has since become my favorite genre. FFT made me focus more on the narrative side of gaming and I would talk to my teachers about character development and the political disarray present in FFT. I really started to think about the blurred lines of "right" and "wrong" and perspectives on top of other social issues presented in the game . I would go to Jervis Library and take notes on how to build a better party after being crushed over and over in a mission. I would spend time on GameFAQs forums discussing the story line. In a way FFT opened my eyes to how different gaming was in the East, and how many people out in the world love these types of games. I remember posting on the GameFAQS forums that I was a 12 year old kid completely in love with FFT and I wanted to play more games like it and other users were very willing to discuss things with me (and they were pleasant!) On the narrative front, FFT was probably the darkest game I've played up to that point and really stuck with me, directly influencing the types of literature I read for the years to come. 




Shadowrun



Shadowrun is a game many people may have not heard of, but in early high school it was a major priority in my life, and a personal point of growth. At this point in my life I was willing (and able) to play almost any game I could get my hands on. I would get up for school, go to work directly after school everyday for 3 hours, then go home and play games until late at night, basically every single day. We game hopped like crazy, absorbing as much as we possibly could. I look back at this time period with pleasant nostalgia but at the same time I can't help but laugh. Despite doing well enough in school and working a decent job, this time period was strange.

I amassed the majority of my Gamerscore during this time period. I remember my mom thinking I had an "addiction" problem!


Amidst this time, we came across Shadowrun. We played Shadowrun like crazy, almost every single night for months on end. We slowly started to amass pools of people to play with, and ultimately it got to the point where we were considering looking into competitions. This was a time before eSports were well established, but there were still forum tournaments and even small MLG exhibitions as well. Shadowrun was the first game I ever played where I craved competition so aggressively, which carries many lessons. I learned about patience, communication and I'd go as far as saying I learned a lot about purpose. As personal as it is to write, high school isn't easy for everybody. I had an excellent group of friends and overall a good experience, but I think it's fair to say the view from fifteen can seem very rough. Shadowrun helped me through the grind of school/work/homework/miscellaneous high school drama in a way that I felt was pretty productive, especially considering some people's alternatives. I felt incredibly determined to get better at the game and we continued to play Shadowrun on and off for years. Unfortunately, the competitive scene fell through and never took off, but to this day I keep in contact with some of the Shadowrun greats. Shadowrun also introduced me to the man I would end up considering a personal mentor, who helped me grow the most as a person. I suppose, in summary, I would say Shadowrun was partly responsible for creating and strengthening some of the most important bonds of my life.


 Mark of the Ninja

  
 
Mark of the Ninja was another one of those lesser known games, originally releasing as an XBLA title. The first way Mark of the Ninja effected me in a tangible way was completely blowing me away. I've played a ton of games up to this point (as mentioned above) but very few floored me in the way that Klei's indie stealth game did. Mark of the Ninja forced me to pay a whole lot of attention to indie developers and their games by pushing out a title that made AAA stealth games look like jokes. Most importantly, Mark of the Ninja was the first game I ever wrote about in length. Back in LAN Mob's early development stages, Bossman was starting to put together a digital brand for LAN Mob around the same time I was experiencing Mark of the Ninja. I opted to write a review at that time, and while I feel my writing has improved ten-full since, I was incredibly proud of what I managed to write back then. Mark of the Ninja inspired me to write a few more things in the future, and kicked off my interest in really simple gaming journalism. I even wrote some stuff for our RFA's Knight Times! (My high school's student run paper). 



League of Legends



Whether I liked it or not, it seemed League of Legends was destined to become a massive part of my life. I play League A LOT, with occasional breaks here and there. Whether it be LAN Mob, watching streams/eSports, theory crafting or even laughing at stupid League memes, I never would've imagine a single game could get so big and relevant, even when I'm not playing it. I've watched a plethora of eSports before League of Legends (mainly fighting games) but League and Riot made the entertainment option even more well known, and it all happened during my short lifetime. League seems so monumental and I'm thankful to have been able to experience it's massive rise, and to have played the game since around Season 3. League also has a massive effect on my everyday micro life here at LAN Mob, whether it be playing with regulars, helping to keep everyone up to date with the game or even just to be somebody to talk to about the game, League is like a common denominator around here. Personally, I wouldn't trade my nights of grinding League of Legends with Slooze and my other close friends for anything. I have so many distinct memories of playing League around some of the biggest moments of my life.


As I said, this list is pretty personal, but it was pretty fun to think about. I can think of a few more off the top of my head, but all 5 of these games helped me become the person I am today, for better or for worse. So what about you? What games have directly effected your life? Let us know! Thanks for reading!
How much can five dollars buy? Read on!

Entering our second year in business we thought it would be a good time to revisit our product pricing. We've added a lot of products and offerings over the last 15 months which has caused some...interesting holes in pricing. Example: we presently charge $20 for a VIP membership that could include a day pass and a lock-in ($50 value) plus an additional 10% off all purchases for a month, which works out to under 90 cents an hour in perks alone. Great for customers but not so much for a struggling small business!

We very much appreciate our regulars and have kept them in mind for much of the pricing changes. I'll start out with the bad news!

The End of The $10 Night Pass

We like to provide value, but with a $2.50/hour base rate for four hours, this one was providing a bit too much value. It was a popular product and we're introducing some replacements for it, read on below!

Standard Pricing

The good news is most of our standard pricing remains the same - an hour is still four dollars, and the 3 hour/$10 deal remains in effect - but there are some changes beyond that point. The evening pass is basically being replaced with our weekly event nights, and we've also introduced a SUPER VALUE after-school $5 flat, recognizing a lot of kids would like to visit the shop after school but are often strapped for cash. Our All Day Pass still provides the most value of all our offerings.

1 hour = $4 + tax
3 hours = $10 + tax ($3.33/hr)
*After School Fiver = $5 | 3 pm - 5 pm ($2.30/hr)*
All Day Pass = $25 flat | noon - midnight ($2.08/hr)

New Nightly Event Pricing

We're adding events every day of the week that kick off at 6 pm and run until midnight (or sometimes later!).  New "game nights" focus on our most popular games as well as a "staff choice" game every week. These nights will be featured every Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday.

Monday - $15 | League of Legends | Overwatch | Staff Choice
Tuesday - $5 | SSB4 Friendlies | Pizza Included
Wednesday - $15 | League of Legends | Overwatch | Staff Choice 
Thursday - RESERVED
Friday - $15 | League of Legends | Overwatch | Staff Choice 
Saturday - Lock-in | $25 | Pizza Included 
Sunday - $15 | League of Legends | Overwatch | Staff Choice 

VIP Overhaul

Our VIP program is shifting to a subscription model. When you sign up for the VIP program we'll send an invoice to your email registering you for a recurring monthly payment. Your perks will renew in shop and be available for you throughout the month, but will expire at the end of the month.

VIP pricing has increased to $25/month to match our day pass price. We'll now be offering VIP parties once a quarter - the shop will be closed to VIPs only until 2 am, with pizza provided. All you need to participate is an active membership. You can even show up the day of the party and purchase a membership to qualify! 

We've also added a second "Super VIP" tier priced at $50/month, which offers 2 perks per month, VIP party eligibility, and qualifying for the "VIP Streak" - a consecutive months subscribed that will boost your 10% flat discount to 15% at 3 months and 20% discount at 12 months. Just keep your Super VIP active and you'll qualify for the streak!  We'll offer a 3-day grace period if your billing lapses.

Here are a full list of VIP perks now available in the system, we will be adding more in the future! 

Included - 10% flat discount 
Included - VIP quarterly party
Perk Option 1 All Day Pass ($25 value)
Perk Option 2 Lock-in ($25 value)
Perk Option 3 T-shirt ($25 value)
Perk Option 4 Beanie ($25 value) 
Perk Option 5 8 hours game time ($28 value)
15% Discount (Super VIP 3-month+ streak)
20% Discount (Super VIP 12-month+ streak) 

Conclusion

We want to keep pricing low and affordable for everyone, and we believe this pricing model will work for us for the next year or so. We also are looking at ways to make the event nights feel more like events, and expect to have a new in-store rewards system rolling out soon that should help on that end. We appreciate the support of everyone who has become a regular customer and hope that the new pricing model meets your approval!




Talk to pretty much anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I am a huge fan of anything mech-related, such as Pacific Rim, Neon Genesis Evangelion and particularly Gundam. So when Respawn Entertainment and EA released the original Titanfall back in 2014 to critical acclaim, it seemed like an obvious choice for me, with it's innovative pilot mobility options, creative weaponry, massive multiplayer matches and, of course, big hulking mechs (the eponymous Titans) bristling with weaponry. Unfortunately, at the time, I did not have internet connectivity for my Xbox 360, and it would be over a year before I did. By that time, the shine had worn off and the game servers were largely a ghost town due to a lack of online multiplayer modes and no single-player aspects whatsoever, so I was never able to play the original. When a sequel was announced in 2015 and it was added that the game would include more online multiplayer content as well as a single-player campaign mode (plus that teaser image of a sword-wielding Titan), I was immediately sold on the game and determined not to miss out this time.


EA
Respawn Entertainment
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows
















The campaign mode follows the adventures of Jack Cooper,
a rifleman in the Militia, who aspires to one day become a Titan pilot. In the universe of Titanfall, Pilots are seen as the ultimate example of military force, tipping the balance of combat even without their mighty mechanical allies. During a failed military operation on an IMC research facility on the planet Typhon, Jack ends up becoming linked up with Vanguard-class Titan BT-7274 after BT's pilot is KIA. The two immediately set out to regroup with Militia forces and complete the mission, along the way encountering the forces of Kuben Blisk and his Apex Predator mercenaries, who are fighting alongside the IMC military.

The campaign is extremely solid, both in storyline, gameplay and amount of time it takes. The graphics are beautiful and you frequently come across huge sweeping vistas of the densely-forested and mountainous Typhon while transiting between objectives. You also spend time in a number of varied environments, fighting in forests, war-torn cities, large industrial facilities and even atop warships as they race through the atmosphere. The gameplay is also as varied, alternating between excellent platforming segments involving wall-running and double-jumping, fighting on the ground as Jack and then fighting other Titans while piloting BT. The boss fights against the various Apex Predator members stand out in particular, as you trade blows and try to manage BT's various abilities' cooldowns so that you are never caught without an option. These encounters had a very tactic-based feel, not unlike a good game of chess, that kept me on the edge of the seat and gripping the controller tensely as I tried to get the upper hand. The worst segments (and I hate to use that term) were the moments fighting as Jack. I did not hate them, but they did not stand out as particularly enthralling or unique and I was usually glad when the chance came to get back in BT or go do another wall-running, double-jumping platforming segment.

The main characters are well-developed and managed to never be grating over the roughly 8-10 hours that I spent on the campaign. Jack is a good-natured guy who just happens to be simultaneously living his dream while getting in way over his head, and he cracks the occasional joke when the situation calls for it. BT-7274 plays the straight guy in the duo and tends to not get Jack's jokes, causing plenty of comedic moments, while also making a few of his own later in the game, having developed a very dry sense of humor from his time with Jack. Apex Predators' founder and leader, Kuben Blisk, is also a very interesting character, as he has no loyalty towards the IMC and seems to bear no grudge against Jack, simply viewing him as an obstacle in his way to a paycheck. At times he even displays a modicum of respect towards Jack and his skills. Mysterious robot Ash and loyal second-in-command Slone, both members of the Apex Predators, are also some of the most intriguing characters in the game and I was sad to see that they did not get more time.




If I had to point out any flaws to the campaign, the aforementioned combat segments with Jack would be one of them. The gameplay itself was not the cause, as all the controls and motions become second nature and the guns all look and sound great, while having a visceral feel as you blast away and score hits with them. It is just that, especially when surrounded with the platforming and Titan combat sequences, they did not feel as unique as the rest of the game. They could have been cut-and-pasted out of any of the more recent Call Of Duty games and you would not notice it. The other minor gripe was that the game assumes you are already familiar with Titanfall lore and immediately starts throwing out acronyms, names and terms such as SRS, IMC, Militia, MRVNs, Simulacrams, the 6-4, the Angel City Elites, Sarah Briggs and General Marder without telling you what these are. This would be excusable if it had been developed in the original game, but without a single-player mode that game developed the lore through brief, and largely forgotten, radio transmissions at the beginning of matches. I still am not sure if the IMC is the legitimate government turned corrupt and the Militia is a resistance organization, or if the Militia is the legitimate government and military and the IMC is a rebel group determined to overthrow them, and the game never seems intent on clarifying. It just establishes a mentality of “Militia is good, IMC is bad” and leaves it at that.

Titanfall 2 is largely based around it's multiplayer aspect. And, boy, is there a lot to learn and experiment with. If the original was panned for a lack of content, the amount of different game modes and customization should keep people satisfied this time around. There are 8 different game modes, with some including AI enemies and others including or excluding the use of Titans. The Bounty Hunt mode has been the main focus of my attention. Bounty Hunt is is similar to Halo 5's popular Warzone but maintains it's own flavor. To opposing teams of players face off on a map along with waves of AI enemies. Killing AIs nets your team money and also accumulates a bonus for your character and builds your Titan. At the end of a wave, two “banks” open and you turn in your collected bonus to add to your team score. Killing (non-AI) enemy players will also rob them of half of their bonus. The beauty is that this game mode has less of an emphasis on PvP, although it still matters to a degree, for those of us who are not quite as skilled. The matches also tend to be quite long, giving players a chance for multiple Titanfalls.

The customization aspect gives you a lot to experiment with. There are 6 different Pilot classes to choose from, including a grappling hook, temporary invisibility and a throwing knife that sends out sonar pulses. There are also 6 different grenade options, including my personal favorite, the Firestar, a throwing star that lights a thermite fire wherever it strikes and deals damage-over-time. And then there are the weapons, and there are a whole lot to choose, from shotguns to assault rifles to grenade launchers and anti-Titan weapons. The game allows you to create up to 10 customized loadouts and you could fill all those slots and not have two identical characters.




Grapple - Pilot tactical ability. Allows the Pilot to traverse terrain, build momentum for jumps and even grapple enemy pilots and Titans.
Firestar - Pilot Ordinance. Throws a small shuriken that releases flammable "thermite" on contact.
 CAR - SMG with impressive range and power. Good all around.
Archer - Anti-Titan homing missle launcher.


Stim -  Pilot tactical ability. Rapidly heals the pilot while greatly enhancing speed.
Firestar - Pilot Ordinance. Throws a small shuriken that releases flammable "thermite" on contact.
L-Star - Anti-Personal fully automatic particle accelerating light machine gun.
Archer - Anti-Titan homing missle launcher.


Cloak - Pilot tactical ability. Allows the pilot to become invisible for a short amount of time.
Gravity Star - Pilot ordinance. Throws a small shuriken that creates a gravity field, pulling enemies in and levitating them.
Spitfire - LMG with heavy recoil but evens out the longer it is fired.
Thunderbolt - Anti-Titan energy weapon. Fires a large slow moving ball of lightning.

And then there are the Titans. In the campaign, BT's mobility and armor remains the same despite whatever loadout you have equipped. In the multiplayer, every Titan is unique, not just in their weapons but in how fast they move, how durable they are and how many dashes they possess. Each possess their weapon, 3 abilities and then their devastating ultimate “Core” abilities that charge as you kill other pilots and enemies and damage and destroy Titans. There are 6 Titans to choose from, and they are the laser-based Ion who is an all-arounder that is comfortable at almost any range and situation, the fast close-range scrapper Ronin who carries that sword from the trailers and a triple-barreled shotgun, slow-but-tough brawler Scorch who deals punishing damage-over-time from his thermite launcher, homing missile-equipped Tone who excels at mid-to-long range combat against other Titans, the quintessential long-range sniper Northstar who can also fly and the tanky Gatling-gun equipped Legion who is solid at any range. Each Titan also allows customization of certain attributes, both specific and non-specific to their model, and there are a dizzying number of camouflage and nose art options for each Titan. The learning curve for the Titans is fairly steep, and it takes a few hours to learn which maps they are stronger at and which Titan counters which, but getting the hang of that gives you a large edge over the competition.



Once again, the multiplayer is not entirely without fault. The inclusion of the invisibility-based Cloak class is a major misstep. Stealth-based abilities tend to be a real buzzkill in multiplayer games, and this is no exception. People seem all too eager to put the Cloak together with shotguns and turn multiplayer matches into a camp-fest that is near ragequit-inducing. Honestly, it is hard to blame that on the game, as it is more the fault of people who cannot avoid being degenerates, but Respawn should not have given people the opportunity. Another than issue that I run into is people who do not understand the game mode. This is particularly true in Bounty Hunt where many players seem more intent on racking up an impressive Kill/Death Ratio than collecting bounties. I cannot count the amount of instances where the match ends and the guy with 20+ Pilot kills is dead last with about $50 while I am sitting at the head of the team with less than 10 Pilot kills but over $1500 because I was busy collecting bounties. But once again, more peoples' fault and less Respawn's. Also, I predict that their may need to be a little bit of a Titan rebalance, because it seems like 4 out of 5 Titans on each team is either Ronin or Legion. And also, and I am getting into real nitpicking territory, the menus in multiplayer tend to have long load times before they display and the matchmaking when trying to invite friends can also be very bulky.

Overall though, Respawn should be proud of their sequel. In an age of multiplayer-based FPS where the campaign mode is just tacked on, the campaign manages to be engaging, and interesting, and has emotional depth an impact with a number of moments that stand out. The multiplayer has a variety of pilot skills, weapons, Titans and modes, so everyone should be able to find something to engage their interest. The entire game is a beautifully chaotic experience, with missiles, bullets and lasers flying everywhere, Titans raining down everywhere, constant explosions and Pilots parkouring their way across maps. I've been putting in a number of hours with Sage in multiplayer and we have been having a riot, even when we are losing, and I tend to be one to avoid competitive multiplayer. Bottom line, if you are considering buying the game and are worried of a repeat of the original, do not worry, there is a lot more substance to the sequel. And if you were not playing attention to this game before release or were unsure if it is worth getting, I definitely recommend taking it for a spin.


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