Behold the Kickmen is an incredible game, even if you’re not into soccer!

 

Tonight I started playing Behold the Kickmen, developed by Size Five Games, and I have to say I’m already in love with it. I played through the tutorial (which the game strongly suggests you play, but in a lighthearted way) and jumped into the first match of the story mode and I think I’ve had more fun in the thirty minutes I’ve spent with it than I have with most sports games. Right from the start you’ll notice that the game doesn’t take the sport of soccer seriously. The tutorial features plenty of pop-ups that poke fun at the sport, seemingly coming from someone who doesn’t care much about the sport in the first place (Kotaku’s recent headline reads: “Game Developer Makes Soccer Game Without Learning How Soccer is Played”).

The writing in the game is so good that I can say I actually enjoyed a tutorial in a video game, probably for the first time ever. I had a smile on my face as I read the pop-ups halfheartedly teaching you the rules of the game, at least as interpreted through the narrator. Once I dove into the actual story mode things only got wackier.

Behold the Kickmen’s story mode seems like it’ll be a blast (I’ve only played the first match so far), but what’s crazier than the silly dialogue is the way the game is played. It plays unlike most soccer games you’ve probably played before in many ways. For starters, your players don’t even know how to pass the ball during the first match. You have to win matches in order to acquire skills, such as passing “THE MOST BASIC OF SKILLS!”.

To make things more interesting, as you’re playing the match you’ll see a dollar amount on screen that correlates to the crowd’s excitement. It’ll go up or down based on how well you’re playing, but you need to score a goal in order to bank that cash. You can then use whatever cash you banked after the match to upgrade your team’s abilities.

Everything about Behold the Kickmen seems passionately designed, and it’s by far the most stylish sports game I’ve ever played. I’m really digging the art, music and sound effects, and I’ll say it again, I’ve never laughed as much while playing a sports game. I can’t wait to see what the game has in store next. I highly recommend checking the game out. It’s only $3.99 on Steam ($3.59 until July 27) which seems INSANE for just how great it is so far. I can’t wait to play more!

-Jonathan Hirt-

 

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Battleborn’s last breath?

Earlier today the struggling shooter Battleborn effectively went “free to play”, validating the long standing rumor that it would indeed end up being free. Most would agree that Battleborn’s troubles are mostly due to the fact that the game launched just before Blizzard’s Overwatch, which quickly took off to become one of the hottest games of 2016. It may not have been fair to compare the two games, as they play quite differently, but they were similar enough in most people’s eyes that they decided to pick one title (Overwatch for most) and stick with it.

I was incredibly excited for Battleborn’s launch, especially after reading about how it would blend MOBA gameplay with a shooter. As someone who was a casual fan of MOBAs (but never any good at them) it seemed like it would be the perfect game for me. I eagerly awaited its launch, and early on I found it to be fun, if a little slow moving. As days went by, however, I found that the hardcore player-base got so good that I couldn’t have fun playing anymore as I would be overwhelmed by more skilled players. What made things worse was that teams of randoms never seemed willing to communicate, and I would often get matched against teams of players who were mic’d up.

As Overwatch neared release I started to get more and more excited by the hype surrounding it. I caved and bought it for PC on release day which ultimately led to me never returning to Battleborn. I had so much fun in Overwatch from the very first moment I launched it that I couldn’t see myself wasting any time playing Battleborn that could be better spent in Overwatch. Once or twice, out of curiosity, I tried to give Battleborn another try, but each time I was met with longer and longer matchmaking times (on the Xbox One) only to have to spend thirty minutes or so to complete a match when I finally got in. This didn’t prove to be fun, whereas in the same time span I could’ve played two or three games of Overwatch. More recently I launched Battleborn one last time, only to sit at the matchmaking screen for a full twenty minutes without finding a match (there were no server issues reported with either Xbox or Battleborn at the time).

I’ve always felt like if Battleborn ever wanted to make a splash at all, it should have gone free to play long ago. It remains to be seen if the free to play model will have a significant impact on the game’s player-base and perception going forward, however I personally think that I’ve already had my fill. Still, I’m going to try it out on PC (I already own it on PC from a Humble Bundle) to see if the new influx of players can make things fun. I’ll be sure to post an update after playing a round or two of the PC version of the game to see if any of my feelings have changed.

Checking out Corroded (early access)

It’s no secret that the Steam store can be a little crowded, and it seems like the new releases list can change every hour of the day. Therefore it’s easy for games to get lost in a swamp of releases (most seem to be visual novels) and never heard of again. I’ve decided to browse the new releases category on steam in an effort to try out new games that people might not have heard of yet and write about them. The first game I’m doing this for is Corroded, an early access game recently released on Steam by Encircle Games, a six man team out of Norway.

From what I understand the game is an eight player battle arena game. From their website the game is described as:

Corroded is an arena brawler inspired by the Warlocks mod from Warcraft 3, where two to eight players fight and push each other out of a shrinking arena surrounded by a hazardous environment. We supplement this by introducing dynamic levels, and focus on speed and a streamlined skill system, giving it a more arcade-like feel.

This sounds intriguing. I never played Warcraft III nor have I heard of the mod, but it seems to have become popular again as I came across another game in development based on the mod, Ruin. According to their Kickstarter page, Ruin was shooting for a March 2017 release, however their most recent update indicates that the game is only in a pre-alpha stage right now. This may work out in Corroded’s favor, if there truly is going to be a market for this type of game.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to truly test out Corroded as of yet. I launched the game after midnight Mountain Time tonight only to find myself to be the only player logged into the game. I did, however, poke around the menus and launch a custom game so that I could run around and everything I’ve seen so far seems solid. The menus are simple, but effective and everything worked smoothly. The game didn’t have any hiccups, and ran at over 300fps while I poked around an arena by myself.

The game is selling for $12.99, has been on Steam since April 26, and currently has 33 reviews (17 in English, and 3 that Steam counts) all of which are positive (note that most of the reviewers received the product for free). The $12.99 early bird fee grants access to all characters, both current and future, and all the “early access” skins. The game already has menus to buy in game currency which can be used to unlock characters and skins, which makes me believe that the game may end up going for a League of Legends rotating free character sort of thing.

Until I have a chance to play a round or two with other players there’s not much else I can say, so hopefully I’ll be able to find someone to play with at a better time of day this weekend. I recorded a short video of me running around an arena by myself if you’re curious to see what that looks like check it out below.

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I can’t wait to get home to play PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS

I first found out about the game PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS last week after seeing it played on Giant Bomb, and their continued coverage of the game has made me unusually excited for some random, non AAA game on Steam. The game unleashes up to 100 players into a huge playground (or ‘battleground’ if you will) and it’s up to the player to scavenge for weapons, armor and supplies while trying to survive until the end.

This was the idea that sold me on Day Z initially, but I could never get past the complexity of the game. Battlegrounds seems to be much simpler to dive into, and it also looks to run reasonably well. I tried it out on my laptop (Acer Aspire V15 Nitro), but it doesn’t run as well as I’d like it to so I’ve mostly avoided playing it so that I can dive in using my desktop once I return home.

Until then, I’m going to continue to enjoy watching the guys at Giant Bomb screw around in the game as they try to be the last man standing.

Skyrim Special Edition is available for pre-load

Skyrim Special Edition Steam

I had known that The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim Special Edition (what a mouthful) would be available for free to PC players, providing that they owned all the DLC, but I didn’t know that I actually did own the DLC. You see, I played Skyrim first on the 360 and apparently acquired it during a Steam sale at some point but never really got around to playing it on PC. I was excited to find that the Special Edition appeared in my Steam library after I got home from work this morning, and it’s downloading now.

I also have to admit, I have never finished Skyrim. I’m not quite sure how far I got, but I’m terrible at completing open world games (speaking of, I have yet to finish Fallout 4). I know I enjoyed playing Skyrim, but I think I got distracted and at some point couldn’t bring myself back around to finish it (same goes for Dragon Age and Witcher 3 unfortunately). With the updated release tomorrow I hope to finally work on completing Skyrim.

Or should I work on finishing Fallout 4 first? So many games, and so little time. I think I’ve enjoyed playing Fallout 4 much more than I enjoyed playing Skyrim, but even with Fallout I got sidetracked by games like Overwatch, Rocket League, Gears 4 and Battlefield. What’s worse is that I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews of Titanfall 2, so now I feel obligated to check that out this weekend as well.

If I do find time for Skyrim, I hope to stream some of my playthrough on Twitch this weekend, so if you’re interested feel free to check that out (I’ll try to post here before I start broadcasting). Otherwise, I hope you have plenty to play this weekend, and I hope you have a great Halloween weekend!

Rocket League is great!

Rocket League

Developer Psyonix’s Rocket League released on PC and PS4 on July 7th of this year and almost instantly became a smash hit. The game was made available for free to Playstation Plus members which helped get it into the hands of the masses rather quickly (it’s been downloaded over five million times). Many who played Rocket League became immediately hooked and raved about the game to all their friends.

rocket league

In Rocket League, teams of between one and four RC cars face off in a soccer arena with one simple goal: knock the soccer ball into the opposing team’s goal. The gameplay is rather simple, you just drive into the ball in an effort to push it into the goal. You can also pick up boost which allows you to drive faster, useful for trying to get a jump on your opponents or when you need to chase down a wild ball. You’re also able to jump and spin in the air, which can be used to knock the ball out of the air or into the goal assuming you’re able to time it right.

Rocket League

Matches in Rocket League are short and sweet, just five minutes (unless you go into a sudden death overtime) which makes it a perfect pick up and play game. The problem is, once you pick it up you’re not likely to put it down. Rocket League matches are so wildly fun you’ll even have a blast losing. Matches that seem one sided can sway in favor of the losing team at any moment, and sudden death overtime is always a looming possibility. The rush of a tying goal with just seconds left on the clock never gets old.

Rocket League

I’ve known of Rocket League’s existence for awhile, however I had been holding out for an Xbox One version. We know Rocket League is set to expand onto other consoles, we just don’t know exactly when this will happen. Today I finally broke down and picked up Rocket League on Steam ($19.99) and it’s been a blast! I’ve only played a handful of matches but I’m already hooked. The very first game I played went into overtime with an equalizer scored with just nine seconds left on the clock. My team went onto win with a spectacular goal and I immediately saw just how exciting Rocket League could be.

Rocket League

I scored my first goal during the second game and I can’t wait to jump back into another game!

Rocket League

I’m playing Rocket League on a 2012 MacBook Pro running Windows 10 via Boot Camp. It has an Intel i5 (2.50 GHz), 8GB RAM and an Intel HD 4000 graphics card. It runs well on medium settings, with a few hiccups here and there which may just be lag (I can’t quite tell, adjusting graphic settings up or down doesn’t seem to have an impact).

Civilization: Beyond Earth / Starships bundle sale

Civilization Beyond Earth / Starships

I noticed yesterday that Amazon was selling a bundle that includes Civilization: Beyond Earth and Sid Meier’s Starships for $29.99, which was tempting. I had been wanting to check out Beyond Earth since its release last October, but the mixed reviews made it sound disappointing. I had also thought about buying Starships on the iPad several times, however the reviews of it also kept me from making the plunge.

I absolutely love Civ V and Revolution 2, however I don’t often find the time required to play them. I’ve put a little more than 20 hours into Civ V and probably at least 8-10 into Revolution 2, however between the two games I’ve actually only finished maybe four or five games (against AI). Combined with the fact that I’m trying to replay through the Fallout games on PC and still have Witcher 3, FIFA and Halo to occupy my time on the Xbox One, I’m not quite sure I’d be able to give Beyond Earth the time it deserves.

civ5

$30 for both games certainly seems like a steal (considering they’d total $65 together at their normal retail prices), but I don’t feel an immediate need to own Beyond Earth either.

Steam is making my decision even more difficult as it has the same bundle available for $26.99 which almost seems too good to pass up. But do I really need these games? Do you recommend checking them out?

beyond earth pack