Dredge Review - Grant Us Eels

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For many, fishing is a serene, relaxing hobby. It's a playful, yet often deadly game, where typically the one holding the rod is in full control. Out on the open seas, this dynamic is often flipped. Manning a trawler for days on end, fighting devastating weather conditions, and drifting away from land for weeks at a time can take a toll on your body and mind. It's these sorts of conditions that Dredge so neatly encapsulates in a handful of smartly designed mechanics, but it's the sinister undertone seeping through every crack that makes its fishing expeditions that much more treacherous.

You begin Dredge arriving at a small fishing hamlet on an ever-so-slightly larger island. The town's mayor is in need of someone to supply its population with fish and loans you a small but capable boat to fulfill that. Fishing is what you'll do most in Dredge given that you'll never get the chance to set foot on land, so it's a blessing that it never feels tedious. Each battle with a creature beneath the crest of the waves plays out as a brief minigame focused on timed button presses. The format of each one changes depending on the class of fish you're trying to catch, but the basic premise and overall difficulty remains the same. Completing each one isn't even required for a successful catch. Instead, your ability in each minigame just speeds up the process, which can come in handy when you're trying to get back to shore before nightfall.

While the wide, sun-kissed ocean is inviting during the 12 hours of daylight you have during each day, it's an entirely different prospect at night. A thick fog settles in over the wide expanse, with your boat's lights often struggling to cut through them effectively for navigation. While out at night, your stress levels rise consistently (indicated by a Sauron-like eye that starts moving more erratically the higher the level goes), and with it, the chance for some surreal occurrences. Rocks that you might have been sure weren't on your path before suddenly appear, damaging your hull and potentially robbing you of some of your current haul. As you press on through the stress, your so-called delusions intensify, with anything from pitch-black ravens with glowing red eyes beginning to circle you to ghostly ships appearing in your periphery and setting themselves on a crash course with your vessel.

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WWE 2K23 Review - Head Of The Table

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The legendary Shawn Michaels retired from pro wrestling in 1998 after suffering a career-ending back injury at the Royal Rumble. No one expected him to lace up his boots and step back into the ring again, yet the Heartbreak Kid made a triumphant return in 2002, eventually going on to cement his legacy with unforgettable matches against the likes of Triple H, The Undertaker, and Ric Flair. The quality of the second half of Michaels' career ensured that his surprise comeback would be remembered as one of the most spectacular returns in WWE history, and it's one that's echoed in some ways by WWE 2K23. Following the disaster that was 2K20--a game so bad its successor was outright canceled--developer Visual Concepts returned to the squared circle last year with a solid foundation that 2K23 improves upon in a variety of ways, finally putting the long-running series back on form with a surprise comeback Mr. WrestleMania himself would be proud of.

Little has changed since last year's entry from a gameplay perspective. You still alternate between light and heavy strikes to execute various combos; grapple your opponent to hit them with suplexes, DDTs, and spinning neck breakers; and build up meters to gain access to signature moves and flashy match-ending finishers. Some may bemoan that it still doesn't play like No Mercy--an N64 game that many still consider the best wrestling game ever--but the series has never tried to. 2K23 is a solid wrestling sim, with most matches swaying back and forth as momentum shifts via desperate reversals and last-ditch kick-outs.

The improvements Visual Concepts has implemented are subtle, yet prove to be welcome adjustments, successfully banishing some minor annoyances from 2K22. The timing window on reversals, for instance, has been tightened up. Previously, it was a little too easy to turn the tide of a contest thanks to the generous amount of time you were given to nullify an attack. With a shorter window, reversals feel more impactful this year, encouraging you to study your opponent's move set and sharpen your reaction times as a result. This ensures matches are more engaging and also imbues each one with some added tension.

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WWE 2K23 - Before You Buy

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WWE 2K23 - Before You BuyWWE 2K23 (PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S/One) is the latest in the long running yearly wrestling franchise. How is it? Let's talk. Subscribe for more: http://youtube.com/gameranxtv ▼ Video by Jake Baldino Buy WWE 2k23: https://amzn.to/42lDRk8 Watch more 'Before You Buy': https://bit.ly/2kfdxI6

Resident Evil 4 Remake - Before You Buy

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Resident Evil 4 Remake - Before You BuyResident Evil 4 Remake (PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S) is a fresh spin on the classic RE4. How is it? Let's talk. Subscribe for more: http://youtube.com/gameranxtv ▼ Video by Jake Baldino Buy RE4: https://amzn.to/3yRKz3C Watch more 'Before You Buy': https://bit.ly/2kfdxI6 #residentevil4 #re4remake
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