Sports Story Review - Over Par

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Developer Sidebar Games' sophomore effort, Sports Story, builds off the successes of its golf-focused RPG predecessor by adding more sports to participate in and additional considerations to the golfing experience. However, these efforts veer too far off course from what made Golf Story as special as it is, creating an experience that oftentimes suffocates under the bloat of too many unwanted fetch quests and unpolished mechanics. A weak story and numerous technical issues also hamper the experience, making Sports Story a disappointment overall.

Sports Story picks up a bit after the events of Golf Story. After proving to be a capable golfer, the unnamed protagonist now finds himself on the cusp of signing a contract and going pro. After going through the motions of checking into your hotel, finding new golf clubs, and acquiring a license, you head off to the countryside for a little practice. Upon reaching your destination, you find the area under the abusive thumb of the bat-wielding Iron Dragons and decide to take on the role of a detective to figure out what's going on and stop this gang from ruining people's lives.

The story abruptly shifts around this early point. No longer are you an aspiring golfer doing his best to solve other people's problems through your golfing skills; instead, you start hopping from one location to the next as a freelance investigator, aiding people in the struggles they're facing and collecting clues related to the ongoing threat of the Iron Dragons. It's not all that compelling a tale to watch unfold, especially with many of the funny and memorable characters from Golf Story either only showing up in a limited capacity or being entirely removed from the plot in favor of focusing on the bland and annoyingly simple-minded protagonist.

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High On Life Review - Talking Heads

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When I booted up High On Life for the first time, I knew what I was getting myself into. I'm familiar with the work of not only Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites) but also of his game studio Squanch Games (Trover Saves The Universe, Accounting+), so I had an idea of the sort of comedy that was coming my way. What I did not expect, however, was a 3D shooter with Metroidvania vibes that echo some of the best games of my youth, and more importantly does them justice.

High On Life tells the story of an unnamed protagonist--whom everyone calls "Bounty Hunter," even their own sister--fighting against an alien drug cartel that's invaded Earth. The cartel wishes to round up every human on the planet and sell them as the drug, which other aliens can consume via elaborate machines. Our bounty hunter hero is armed with Gatlians, a race of talking guns, and each Gatlian possesses its own attacks and abilities. The concept is admittedly very weird, but it's a well-told story that kept me guessing until the end.

At this point, it bears acknowledging that this is 100% a Justin Roiland project, complete with all the hallmarks of his comedic philosophy. Rapid-fire monologues, fart jokes, demolition of the fourth wall, ad-libs, dark comedy--it's all intertwined within the game's narrative and presentation. If things like Rick and Morty, Trover Saves The Universe, or Solar Opposites aren't your cup of tea, this won't be either. That said, I have a very high tolerance for this sort of goofiness and I found myself laughing throughout the 10-hour adventure.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Next-Gen Update Review - Wind's Howlin'

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In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the sacred is always at war with the profane, and beauty is always at war with blood. The series has always contrasted its world's physical glamor with its intrinsic violence, but never has that contrast been this uneasy, this convulsive. That The Witcher 3 depicts the immediate brutality of battle in great detail is not a surprise; many games fill the screen with decapitated heads and gory entrails. It's the way this incredible adventure portrays the personal tragedies and underhanded opportunities that such battles provide that makes it so extraordinary.

It is more than its thematic turbulence that makes The Witcher 3 extraordinary, actually. Excellence abounds at every turn in this open-world role-playing game: excellent exploration, excellent creature design, excellent combat mechanics, excellent character progression. But the moments that linger are those that reveal the deep ache in the world's inhabitants. In one quest, you reunite two lovers, one of which is now a rotting hag, its tongue lasciviously lolling from its mouth. In another, a corpulent spouse-abuser must find a way to love two different lost souls, each of which test the limits of his affection. Don't worry that these vague descriptions spoil important events: they are simple examples of the obstacles every resident faces. On the isles of Skellige and in the city of Novigrad, there is no joy without parallel sorrow. Every triumph demands a sacrifice.

Every horse Geralt has owned is called Roach. Talk about an identity crisis.
Every horse Geralt has owned is called Roach. Talk about an identity crisis.

As returning protagonist Geralt of Rivia, you, too, face the anguish of mere existence, sometimes in unexpected, unscripted ways. The central story, which sees you seeking your ward and daughter figure Ciri, as well as contending with the otherworldly force known as the wild hunt, often forces this anguish upon you. But it was my natural exploration of the game's vast expanses that proved most affecting. At one point, I witnessed a woman sentenced to death, doomed to starve after being chained to a rock. It's a chilling sentence, of course, but it was only later, when I accidentally sailed past the tiny island where her corpse still rested, that the horror of her punishment sunk into my heart. The Witcher 3's story did not script this moment; it was merely a passing detail that might have been lost in the waves or overlooked in favor of the harpies circling overhead. Yet there she was, a reminder that my actions--actions that felt righteous and reasonable as I made them--allowed this woman to

Dragon Quest Treasures Review - All About That Bling

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Loot. Few words in gaming hold such power. The promise of sick loot is a siren song that has driven many a player to take on bold challenges and reconsider their objectives… as well as to make exceptionally poor judgments and even pry open their real-life wallets. Many games, regardless of era and platform, are fundamentally about the satisfaction of obtaining loot, but few will admit that. Dragon Quest Treasures is the rare game that states outright that accumulating a trove of legendary loot is the whole point--and, if you can endure some of its gameplay and technical foibles, you too can experience the satisfaction of having a Scrooge McDuck-like vault of gold (but not the experience of swimming in it).

Dragon Quest Treasures tells the tale of young Erik and Mia, who were first introduced in Dragon Quest XI. Dissatisfied after having been adopted by the pillaging, hard-partying Vikings, the duo decide to escape from the ship and go out on their own to become great treasure hunters. Along the way they free a duo of odd winged critters and stumble upon the Dragon Daggers, enchanted weapons that whisk them away to the realm of Draconia, where treasure hunting is a way of life. Somewhere on these floating islands lie the legendary Dragonstone artifacts, and Erik and Mia are going to get them all--along with an absurd amount of mythical relics just waiting to be dug up.

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World Of Warcraft: Dragonflight Review In Progress - Who Says You Can't Go Home?

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World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is about coming home, in more ways than one. It's a homecoming for the titular Dragonflights of Blizzard's long-running MMORPG, who return to their ancient ancestral home to pick up the pieces and rebuild after thousands of years away. It's also a homecoming for players, who after years of languishing in WoW's unpopular Shadowlands expansion, get to return to Azeroth and all the familiar sights and sounds it holds.

Dragonflight, in that regard, is incredibly nostalgic, but not in the way you might expect. Though it without a doubt features the return of fan-favorite characters, monsters, and even gameplay systems, it never feels beholden or shackled by them. Instead, it takes those familiar elements and breathes new life into them. Whether it's the return of talent trees reminiscent of those from the game's earliest expansions, the game's updated user interface, its lack of mandatory activities, or the feeling of adventure the new dragonriding system invokes, Dragonflight miraculously feels both fresh and familiar at the same time. Even if there are some aspects of Dragonflight that could be improved, I can't help but be impressed at how a handful of new ideas, along with major facelifts to some old ones, breathe new life into Blizzard's flagship title.

Dragons, as you might expect, are the star of this new expansion. Players ride new, highly customizable Dragon Isles Drakes. The majority of the main campaign's primary characters are dragons. There's even a new dragon race, the Dracthyr, that is only playable as the new dragon-themed spellcasting class, the Evoker. The Dragon Aspects Alexstrasza, Nozdormu, Wrathion, and Kalecgos all play key roles in the game's initial story campaign. To see them all front and center for the first real time since 2010's Cataclysm expansion is part of what makes Dragonflight feel so nostalgic, signaling a return to the high fantasy of Azeroth after nearly two years of the dark, dour, and death-themed settings and characters of Shadowlands.

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