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This Week in Review: Stardew Valley and E.T. Armies (February 28 - March 5, 2016)

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  • This Week in Review: Stardew Valley and E.T. Armies (February 28 - March 5, 2016)

    It's going to be a short one today, but we have some quick reviews for Stardew Valley and E.T. Armies.

    Stardew Valley
    Stardew Valley is a perfect game for those that liked Harvest Moon even slightly. It's a wonderful game that allows you to build up a farm from nothing but a debris filled plot of land. You can eventually go mining or go fishing and from there it's simply about discovering a balance of what you want to do in order to make some money to keep doing what you want to do the next day. Focus on the farming aspect, focus on fishing, focus on mining, or ignore all of that and develop relationships with the townsfolk. It's up to you. There's really no wrong way to play Stardew Valley.

    Even though there's no wrong way to play, there is still an overarching story. There are goals that you can and should be working towards at your own pace in each of the game's four seasons. If you happen to miss hitting a certain goal before the end of the season, have no fear because you will get another chance in subsequent years. There is also an "end" to the story but you are more than welcome to keep playing if you so desire, building up your farming/fishing/mining empire long after you met all of the story related criteria.

    The developer, ConcernedApe, has been very active listening to community feedback, often implementing changes the same day that they're requested. This game is an absolute bargain at $15. It'd still be a great deal at $30 given how many hours of play you are able to get from this game. Those who really get into it will easily get a few dozen hours from the game as the "one more turn" mentality kicks in. Before you know it a few extra hours have passed in the real world and it's suddenly dark outside. Without a doubt, Stardew Valley is an absolute must buy.

    Stardew Valley (Developed by ConcernedApe)
    $14.99 (USD) via Steam

    E.T. Armies
    E.T. Armies is a fairly generic FPS developed by a small team based in Iran. E.T. Armies isn't a bad game, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn't really stand out too much from the competition. It does feature a single player campaign that will take most players roughly three hours to complete. Aside from a few spikes in difficulty, it was a fairly by the numbers affair of going from point to point, killing some enemies, activating a panel, and moving on to the next area to do much of the game. It also features a multiplayer mode that sadly nobody really seems to be playing, but it seems like it could have been fun if I found anybody else online.

    The game makes use of the UDK and is built on Unreal Engine 3. It runs very well but was strangely locked to 62FPS on my system. I'm not entirely sure why this happened as v-sync was disabled. It also features this always present background blur that makes things slightly in the distance appear out of focus unless you aim down your weapon sights. I may as well mention here that aiming down sights is a toggle with no means to change it to a "hold to enable" setting. This kind of bit me in the ass a few times because you are unable to run while aiming down the sights. Outside of the slight blur, I really had no real complaints with the visuals in the game. They did the job. I felt like I was making my way through a proper sci-fi, war-torn, Earth-like setting, which is great because that's what the team was going for there. The game was also rather colorful, save for the opening level, which was unfortunately a brown tinged, desert-like setting.

    For what it's worth, I did enjoy my time spent playing the game. Some of the guns did sound a little weak but others, such as the shotgun, sounded powerful and packed a punch. It was a really great videogame shotgun that was helped out by some decent reactionary animations from the enemies. The voice over work was adequate even if there were a very few instances where it was almost laughably bad. Again, it won't be winning any awards but it was still a decent effort that outshined some efforts put forth by larger studios. I will say that a few weapons (enemy snipers and player usable turrets) had an issue that made them sound incredibly loud in my ears. It's like those two sounds in particular just ignore any volume settings I had set.

    It wasn't bad but it wasn't great. That's really how I feel about the entire game. It was a very "middle of the road" game in every sense of the word. I really wish nothing but the best of luck to the team. I would love to see more from them in the future, because for a first effort, E.T. Armies was very promising.

    E.T. Armies (Developed by Raspina Studio)
    $14.99 (USD) (on sale for $11.99 until March 10) via Steam

    Well, that's kind of it for this week. I'm working on "proper" reviews for Black Desert Online and Assault Android Cactus. Assault Android Cactus will undoubtedly go up a lot sooner than Black Desert Online. The embargo for AAC is March 8, so I hope to have the review up around then. I may decide to do a regular "update" blog type thing for BDO until I feel comfortable getting a full review out for it.