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Week in Review: Catching Up with Fallout 4 DLC, The Division, and Forced Showdown (All of April 2016)

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  • Week in Review: Catching Up with Fallout 4 DLC, The Division, and Forced Showdown (All of April 2016)

    It's certainly been quite some time since we last had one of these Weeks in Review, yeah? Sorry about that, but you know at least one of the reasons already. With that out of the way, it should be noted that there have been a number of games that I played in the past few weeks.

    Some of these reviews will be a bit shorter than previous entries just so I don't exhaust myself with all of the reviews I think I have to write. Keep in mind that I'm not actually sure how many games are going to end up below, so anything I just said might end up being a load of crap.

    Fallout 4 Automatron DLC
    It's no secret that there is no love loss between myself and Fallout 4. However, I still remained cautiously optimistic for the first actual post-release content to arrive for the game, that being the Automatron DLC.

    This DLC added in a fresh plot to follow through, which equates to roughly two hours of new story related content. In addition, the DLC allows you to splice together new robot companions. This process is about as simple as upgrading armor in the game. The process can result in some rather unique finished designs of all sorts of different robot pieces fitted together. Build a slow but powerful tank-like companion, or build a nimble flying robot with any number of armor options and weapon options. It's actually kind of neat building your own robot army.

    I was actually rather enjoying my time with the new content. Sure, the same old engine issues still persisted resulting in the typical Bethesda open world experience. However, I had a "fine" time up until the very end of the DLC. The game just decided to break on me. The scripting flat out broke after the final fight. I was legit pissed, which you can see for yourself. Note that the video does contain spoilers for the game and the DLC.

    Then you tack on the fact that the Automatron DLC is $10 for about two hours of content that is essentially just "more of the same" (unless you REALLY like to make your own robots) and it's an even tougher pill to swallow. If you already purchased the Season Pass for the game, sure go play this. Otherwise, it's worth skipping over until the price comes down and (more) bugs are ironed out.

    Fallout 4 Automatron (DLC) (Developed by Bethesda)
    $9.99 (USD) via Steam or part of the $49.99 Fallout 4 Season Pass

    Tom Clancy's The Division
    I talked up Tom Clancy's The Division quite a bit in the first couple of weeks of its release. It felt fresh and exciting but most of all I thought it was fun. Yeah, it had some issues here and there but I tried to hold off my final judgment until the first major patch came out earlier this month. This would be the first bit of "end game" content really released for the game and nobody really knew what to expect.

    Wow. Massive dropped the ball. Ever since that update came out in early April it's just been one absurd thing after another. There have been more game breaking exploits found for this game than any other game in recent memory. And given how gear is typically tied to performance in the open-world PvP area (the Dark Zone), it stands to reason that those that exploited the system are also ruining the experience for others.

    Massive has tried to fix these exploits but by the time they finally get around to it the damage has already been done, or a new exploit is discovered, or legitimate players are punished as well. The update also managed to delete player data on the Xbox One. This was thankfully resolved after a bit of time. All of this and I haven't even mentioned the excessive amounts of cheating that goes largely unpunished. Who doesn't like being one shot in the Dark Zone by someone that is essentially invincible? On top of the fixes for exploits, other aspects of the game are constantly in flux as Massive tries to figure out just what they want The Division to be. Is it an MMO? Is it a looter shooter? I don't know and apparently neither does Massive.

    It's unfortunate, because I really enjoyed this game for the first few weeks. I sunk roughly 88 hours into the game in the first few weeks of the game. After the update released earlier this month, my friends and I have played it only once. Based on chatter on The Division's subreddit and other message boards, we are not alone in this.

    Before April Patch

    After April Patch

    Tom Clancy's The Division (Developed by Massive)
    Starting at $59.99 (USD) for PC, PS4, and XB1.

    Forced Showdown
    Forced Showdown melds the world of deck building (the card kind) with the intense action of a twin-stick shooter. I am not normally one for card games but Forced Showdown makes it super easy to throw together a deck of power-up type cards and immediately jump into the game. The game plays out in a gameshow format and includes a number of rounds, modifiers, boss fights, and an increasing challenge.

    Before each round, you have a set amount of energy you can spend to choose from a few randomly drawn cards from your full deck. If you have the energy necessary to play a card, you can do so and you are granted that powerup until you die or until specified on the card. Powerups include damage boosts, starting each round with a shield, boosts to your character abilities, and more. The game also includes elements of being a rogue-like. Your character does not regain health in between rounds, so you need to be smart about when you play some of the randomly drawn cards. Pop that health refill card too early and you might feel it later on.

    There is very little about this game that I don't like. Honestly, the only things I feel like I could really knock it for is that I wish there were more characters to select from and I wish there was some sort of a multiplayer component. Multiplayer just seems like a natural fit with the whole gameshow theme they have going on.

    Forced Showdown (Developed by BetaDwarf)
    Starts at $19.99 (USD) via Steam, Humble, and GOG

    Hyper Light Drifter
    Hyper Light Drifter is the Dark Souls of the pixel graphics Adventure genre. It's hard, it's beautiful, it's cryptic, but it's also a great deal of fun. It's got a very steep learning curve that will turn away many but for those that stick with it, there's a fantastic adventure to be found here.

    Hyper Light Drifter (Developed by Heart Machine)
    $19.99 (USD) via Steam (Coming soon to PS4 and XB1)

    I am a fan of adventure games that people like to call "walking simulators." I loved Dear Esther and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and I somewhat enjoyed Gone Home. Adr1ft fits into this category neatly but it sadly imposes some restrictions on the player that I didn't much care for. The entire gameplay focuses on simply trying to survive in space.

    This means that exploration during the story is severely limited because you need air in order to survive. If you can't find a refill of air, you die and start back at the last checkpoint. It sucks a lot of the enjoyment out of the game when the exploration aspect of a game based on an entire genre of exploration is gimped by a poor, repetitive gameplay mechanic. I also did not like the fact that the slightest bumps would damage your space suit resulting in the faster consumption of air and the need to either find a rare repair station or fill up more frequently. It doesn't help matters that your visuals seem to indicate that you should be clear of a doorway or object but the rest of your body, which mind you is very difficult to see in this game under most conditions, will bump into something and damage the suit.

    I did enjoy many of the game's gorgeous visuals and the setting felt truly unique. Even without the air refilling mechanic, the sense of tension was still quite high. The $20 price tag is also maybe a bit too high for an experience that will take you about four hours to complete. The game does support VR, which may be enough of a reason to justify the price of entry.

    However, the negatives just snowball together to produce a rather disappointing entry into a genre I largely enjoy.

    If interested, I do have a full playthrough of the game up on YouTube.

    Adr1ft (Developed by Three One Zero)
    $19.99 (USD) via Steam

    Enter the Gungeon
    You may look at Enter the Gungeon and say, "oh, this is just a clone of The Binding of Isaac!" Well, not quite. Yes, the levels are randomized and the bosses are tough, but this game has more in common with Nuclear Throne than Isaac.

    The bosses are pure bullet hell in an almost literal sense of the term. The levels are varied and each character is unique enough that each attempted journey through the Gungeon is a fresh and rewarding experience. With multiple endings the game offers up a ton of replayability. The challenge may feel a bit too daunting at first but if you stick with it, the reward of more powerful items and guns will keep you coming back for more.

    Enter the Gungeon (Developed by Dodge Roll Games)
    $14.99 (USD) via Steam, Humble, GOG, and on PSN (for PS4)

    That does it for this week's (month's?) week in review! I hope to have a full review up for Dark Souls 3 later this week.