The Callisto Protocol Review - I Don't Belong Here

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Despite releasing a full 15 years later, you could argue that The Callisto Protocol is the spiritual predecessor to Dead Space, given the original pitch from director Glen Schofield was for Visceral Games' survival-horror title to be set within a prison, not a mining vessel. And in a lot of ways, The Callisto Protocol similarly dazzles with its incredible art direction and sound design, even emulating Dead Space's over-the-shoulder third-person perspective and integrated HUD. However, The Callisto Protocol goes its own way by focusing on melee strikes and dodges, utilizing a combat system that feels great at first but isn't suitable for the game's more action-focused latter half. Plus, lengthy death animations compound the frustrations of surprise difficulty spikes, creating an experience that feels like an uneven mix of horror and action that fails to adequately commit to or excel at either.

In The Callisto Protocol, you play as Jacob Lee, a freight transporter contracted to ferry cargo for the United Jupiter Company, moving supplies from the UJC-operated Black Iron Prison on Callisto to the colony on Europa. On a routine trip back to Black Iron, Jacob's ship is boarded by Outer Way, a group blamed for a recent terrorist attack on Europa. In the ensuing struggle, Jacob and Outer Way leader Dani Nakamura are the only survivors, stranded on Callisto. They're both picked up by Black Iron security head Captain Leon Ferris and incarcerated in the prison on orders from warden Duncan Cole. Jacob awakes in Black Iron hours later, discovering a mysterious infection has been released into the prison, transforming the prisoners and guards into biophage monsters. Escaping from his cell, he teams up with fellow prisoner Elias Porter to find a way out.

The Callisto Protocol doesn't devote too much time to storytelling and worldbuilding. None of the characters (save for Elias) are especially likable, and though the main villain has an intriguing motivation--you can clearly see how The Callisto Protocol was originally intended to fit into the PUBG: Battlegrounds' universe once you find out what the bad guy is up to--it's only revealed right as the game is concluding. I wish it had been revealed far sooner because, though the ramifications of it are interesting, there's not enough space in the plot for those ramifications to be explored. The game fleshes out the world up to that point with optional audio logs to discover, but most don't actually reveal all that much, and those that do aren't very interesting to listen to. It's ultimately not worth going off the path in pursuit of these collectibles.

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Marvel's Midnight Suns - Before You Buy

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Marvel's Midnight Suns - Before You BuyMarvel's Midnight Suns (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X and Series S) is a Firaxis strategy battle game with a relationship simulation built in. What? Let's talk about it. Subscribe for more: http://youtube.com/gameranxtv ▼▼ Buy Midnight Suns: https://amzn.to/3AZRiKy Watch more 'Before You Buy': https://bit.ly/2kfdxI6

Marvel's Midnight Suns Review - XCOM Superhero Squad

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Marvel's Midnight Suns' story draws clear inspirations from the original Rise of the Midnight Sons comic book series from the 1990s in which Blade, Morbius, and Ghost Rider--among others--unite to fight against a recently resurrected Lilith and her army of demons. Developer Firaxis Games' title, however, incorporates more faces from the current Midnight Suns series, such as Wolverine, Magik, and Nico Minoru. In making these changes, it distances itself from the source material's idea that to defeat a monster, you need a team of monsters. Instead, it is a story about the power of friendship between a bunch of misfits, which is forged and strengthed through battle as much as traditional social scenarios. Midnight Suns aims to combine relationship-building with memorable role-playing moments, and the result is a stellar turn-based tactical combat title driven by interesting characters.

Marvel's Midnight Suns begins with the Avengers in a tough spot--the prophesied return of an eldritch god is on the horizon, having been brought about by Lilith, who now leads an army of HYDRA soldiers and demonic children in a war against humanity. The Avengers aren't adequately prepared to tackle such a supernatural threat, so they turn to Doctor Strange and his newest apprentice, Scarlet Witch, for aid. After their first attempt at fighting Lilith goes sideways, Strange introduces the world's mightiest heroes to the contingency plan: the Midnight Suns, a group of young heroes who each wield magical, supernatural, or demonic powers.

That's where your character, The Hunter, comes in. As the child of Lilith, you possess incredible magical abilities, which is what helped you defeat her 300 years ago. That final duel left both you and Lilith dead, but just as HYDRA managed to bring your mother back to life, the Midnight Suns are able to do the same for you. Not content to leave the fate of the world up to others, the Avengers also decide to set up shop in the Midnight Suns' headquarters, The Abbey, to join the fight against Lilith.

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Evil West Review - Undead Redemption

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Evil West asks a simple question: What if cowboys fought vampires? It's the kind of off-the-wall thinking that gets a Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford movie greenlit, and developer Flying Wild Hog certainly gets a lot of mileage out of its whimsical concept. Set in an alternate version of 1890s America, Evil West is the Wild West at its wildest. A familiar backdrop of swinging-door saloons, rolling tumbleweed, and abandoned gold mines are interwoven with Nikola Tesla-inspired electro-steampunk technology and an assemblage of ravenous bloodsuckers. Evil West shines in the heat of battle when that initial question can be answered, but its strengths are often diminished by the dated design wrapped around them.

The story is a fairly by-the-numbers affair, pitting a vampire-hunting organization against a vampiric enemy force threatening the continental United States. You're strapped into the spur-clad boots of Jesse Rentier, a typically gruff protagonist with very few emotions beyond mild indifference. His occasionally pragmatic response to the absurdity occurring around him is slightly endearing, but it's telling that I had to look up his name before writing it here. The narrative does periodically broach some interesting themes; for instance, one of the Highborn vampires is concerned by humanity's ever-expanding technology and the threat it will pose his fellow sanguisuge--but these threads never really go anywhere. The only one that does revolves around a smarmy and misogynistic government official, yet his comeuppance isn't as satisfying as it deserves to be.

Ultimately, these one-dimensional characters and cringeworthy dialogue replete with strained expletives are easy to ignore. The story is little more than a vehicle for its chaotic combat, propelling you from dusty town to murky swamp in search of new monstrosities to extinguish. The most surprising thing about Evil West is that it's more of a brawler than a shooter. The behind-the-back third-person perspective is reminiscent of the most recent God of War games, letting you get up close and personal as you pummel enemies to a bloody pulp. Jesse is equipped with a metal gauntlet that adds extra heft to each punch, while a charged uppercut can be utilized to launch smaller enemies into the air where you can follow up with a cannonball strike to send them careening into a conveniently placed spike trap or stack of TNT. Jessie's melee strikes feel suitably weighty, and the gratuitous gore that coats each arena in blood and crimson viscera really sells the power fantasy at Evil West's core.

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Call Of Duty: Warzone 2 Review - Al Mazrah Shines

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Although Call of Duty: Warzone 2 introduces the new Al Mazrah map, it integrates both new and iconic locations together to serve as a crucible for the battle royale's big overhaul to a lot of core features and the introduction of Modern Warfare 2's mechanics and movement. The end result is mixed, with some of Warzone 2.0's new additions making the moment-to-moment action feel fresh, while updates to other classic Warzone features feel like a step back for the battle royale title.

Warzone 2's 150-player skirmishes of solo, duo, trio, and quad combatants are played out on the new Al Mazrah map. The fictional desert region in Western Asia does a great job of combining new Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer maps with several nostalgic locations that longtime Call of Duty fans will recognize. Your adventures in Al Mazrah will take you through Rust, Terminal, Highrise, Afghan, and Quarry from the original Modern Warfare 2, and every location--old or new--blends together to create a vibrant and beautiful environment.

In comparison to Modern Warfare's Verdansk map, Al Mazrah feels more diverse, with its mixture of arid desert, large bodies of water, tight cities, and exposed small towns. Water was very limited in the original Warzone because Modern Warfare lacked swimming mechanics, but the sequel brings over all the features and mechanics of Modern Warfare 2, which means that large bodies of water, boats and swimming are now added to the mix, and they're meaningful additions that give you fresh ways to take on fights in Warzone 2. Being able to dive away from a bad gunfight or use it for stealth to flank an opponent in particular adds a new kind of dynamism to engagements.

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