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Opinions

Why In-Game Betting Is The Next Evolution For The NBA 2K Series

In console-based sports gaming, things can begin to seem stagnant from one year to the next. Franchises like Madden, FIFA, and NBA 2K primarily make incremental changes with their annual releases, updating players and teams as needed and perhaps tweaking poplar game modes. For the most part though, they rely on tried-and-true formulas and gameplay that is at this point about as good as it can get with current technology.

More than its genre counterparts though, the NBA 2K series has actually demonstrated a somewhat subtle ability to adapt and surprise its loyal following from time to time. It was only two years ago, in fact, that the series launched a companion app. Just a matter of months ago, NBA 2K20 became the first game in the series to include the entire WNBA. And over the last few releases (though particularly with 2K20), narrative has been infused with game play in a way that far surpasses sports games of the past. So, while the core game play of NBA 2K hasn’t hasn’t changed meaningfully in quite some time, and the games may look similar, the series has been perfectly willing to introduce fairly significant changes.

Now there’s reason to believe that in-game sports betting could be the next big one.

In part, this is because of the ongoing expansion of real-money betting activity across the United States – naturally one of the game’s primary markets. In the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision that struck down a nationwide ban on betting in 2018, some states are indeed welcoming online and mobile bookmakers. New Jersey kicked off the trend with a whole collection of prominent sportsbooks, and a few have since opened in Pennsylvania as well, demonstrating the potential for expansion. Furthermore, these new betting sites in Pennsylvania – where people may not be as familiar with betting as in New Jersey, where there’s a history of casino activity – are specifically striving to make things easy on customers. A review of the Sugarhouse sportsbook in Pennsylvania pointed out that the site already offers a convenient mobile option, as well as a “Quickstart Guide” that explains betting practices and even provides a glossary of terms.

Features like those from Sugarhouse, as well as the fact that mainstream sports journalists are now covering betting as well, are going to help the public get up to speed quickly, and will likely help to spark interest in betting among large swaths of the sports fan (and sports gamer) population. And the NBA may be uniquely positioned to take advantage of these developments.

That doesn’t mean that basketball will be the most popular betting sport in the U.S. However, the NBA as a professional entity has been far more openly friendly to betting than its counterparts in professional sports. League commissioner Adam Silver was vocal in his support of legalized betting in the U.S., and the league announced its first betting partnership back in 2018, mere months after the federal ban on sports gambling was lifted. On a related note, Silver has also played an active role in promoting NBA-related eSports, specifically in the form of the NBA 2K League. With eSports having already become popular among bettors internationally, this too has helped to strengthen the ties between the modern NBA and online gambling.

With all of this under consideration – the expanding betting culture in the United States and the NBA’s openness toward gambling and modern gaming – in-game betting does begin to seem like the next natural evolution in the 2K series. It could take any of a number of different forms. The games could simply have built-in betting for online competition. They could incorporate fantasy sports components similar to those on FanDuel, allowing people to play with real money within the games. Or, they could partner with full sports books to include betting options surrounding the real NBA, such that fans can play 2K and gamble on basketball all in one place.

Whatever specific form the development takes though, don’t be surprised if in-game betting is the next big innovation in the 2K series, and potentially in console sports gaming in general.

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Nintendo Duel Screens Podcasts Trophy Whores

Trophy Whores & Nintendo Duel Screens Now On Spotify!

After a long wait to be approved, Trophy Whores and Nintendo Duel Screens have been added to the growing list of quality podcasts on Spotify. We here at Proven Gamer are immensely proud of the hard work the hosts have put into these shows and are excited to see where this new platform will take them.

Trophy Whores

Trophy Whores is Proven Gamer’s Playstation podcast started by TrickyMic (Owner and Founder of Proven Gamer) over seven years ago. Each week Alex, Yield, Tricky and Steve come together and discuss the biggest Playstation news, what they are playing, and occasionally argue over complete nonsense. Sid from across the pond has a segment each week called Sophie’s Trophies, where he goes into detail about a hunt for a platinum trophy. Trophy Whores posts each Wednesday on your podcast service of choice, and will always be posted right here on Proven Gamer.

And as of this moment, you can give the show a follow on our new platform, Spotify!

Nintendo Duel Screens

NDS is a Nintendo Podcast hosted by Proven Gamer’s own Editor-In-Chief Stephen Fontana and his best friend and editor Andy Asimakis. NDS is a show where Andy and Steve cover the Nintendo news you absolutely need to know about and have an open discussion about Nintendo’s past, present and future. The boys routinely have guests on the show from the indie dev community such as Alx Preston, creator of Hyper Light Drifter, and even recently had Kaiji Tang, voice of Detective Pikachu on the show. The boys enter the Hype Zone (a super hype segment about the “most important” news of the week), and even play a retro game trivia game called The Retro Game Club. NDS posts each and every Monday for your listening pleasure on your podcast service of choice and will of course be posted directly on Proven Gamer as always.

You can now find the show right on Spotify!

We are incredibly proud of these shows and cannot wait to see what is in store for the future of The Proven Gamer Podcast Network.

 

 

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Staff

The Official Proven Gamer Friends List

We are aware that many of you got gaming consoles for the holidays and wanted to make sure we can game with you. Below is a list of our gaming ID’s to make sure we are friends

Name PSN ID Xbox Live Switch Code
Tricky TrickyMic PG TrickyMic SW-5940-7287-5308
Alex RaiseHavok
Yield Iyield2no1
Stephen batchild27 SW-4129-9744-6985
Kalai Maile1978 Maile21 SW-7991-1342-2323
Joe Mrtmnt84
Kory TheGrounddGamer
Matt S mateo83
Jeremy jvader82
Andy Scissorman
Luke Yakurider ThatRudeDude
Matt M mistanuff mistanuff
Jerry nachoboy333
Roberto vectorman88
Brian AzGhostt

 

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Game Stuff Nintendo Duel Screens PG Spoilers Podcasts The Smart Marks Trophy Whores

Proven Gamer Holiday Special 2017

Happy Holidays from EVERYONE here at Proven Gamer

We appreciate your support (and your ears)!

You can find us on Facebook: Trophy WhoresSmart Marks PodcastNintendo Duel Screens, Game Stuff and Proven Gamer

You can find us on Twitter: @Trophy Whores, @Nintendo Duel Screens, @Game Stuff,  @Smart_Marks and @ProvenGamer

You can also email us at Trophy WhoresNintendo Duel Screens, Game Stuff, and The Smart Marks

If you wish, you can always download the show here – Proven Gamer Holiday Special 2017

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Staff

We Have Launched A Patreon

More than six years ago, Proven Gamer was born with a bunch of hardworking dedicated people who never asked for anything other than the ability to get their voices out about video games.

Thanks entirely to your love and support, Proven Gamer has grown to levels we never expected. So that’s pretty cool. Thank you.

Thanks to you, the world has a new No. 1 PlayStation podcast on the east coast, the best wrestling podcast on the Internet and two up coming podcasts, Nintendo Duel Screens and Game Stuff

Its come time to pay the staff, but unfortunately, our sponsorships are few and far between.

www.patreon.com/provengamer

No matter what tier you support us at here on Patreon, know that your subscription allows us not only to eat, pay our utilities, and make rent, but to produce better content for you as well.

Proven Gamer simply wouldn’t be a reality without the support of thousands of our biggest, most ardent fans on Patreon, and for that, we thank each and every one of you. So whether you just give us a buck a month, or even up the ante to one of our higher, premium tiers, know that you’re part of the engine that makes Proven Gamer go.

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PC Reviews

Bendy and the Ink Machine Review

Bendy and the Ink Machine[/i] is a first person action horror game with puzzles to solve in order to escape the old animation studio where you are trapped. The game is released in episodes, the first being available for free. Currently there are only two episodes with a third one on the way and five expected in total.

I went into this title completely blind, I had never heard of it before and wasn’t even sure what genre it was. From the title and cartoony title screen, I thought I was getting into a harmless adventure game that would have me solving puzzles. Needless to say I soon found myself scared and afraid to even continue playing. I am not good with these types of games, especially when jump scares are used. I don’t dislike them, frankly I enjoy the thrill at times but it certainly took me off-guard. However, the game was enjoyable; it’s very atmospheric and has a unsettlingly story that is just as scary as the jump scares.

You take the role of Henry, who has been invited to the old animation studio where he once worked; However, things aren’t as he left them. Most of the story is told through tape recorders found throughout the map where employees recall their tales of working at the company. Henry doesn’t say much and has little personality at all -his goal is to escape and that’s about it. To say the story is weird would be an understatement, from what I gathered someone decided to perform some dark rituals to bring cartoon characters to life and it backfired. Now the studio’s mascot, Bendy, wants to kill everything. While the game promises to “decimate your childhood” I didn’t experience that at all. Sure, it was creepy but there is so little story development I was more left with an “I don’t care” sort of feeling. I want to escape because it’s a game, not because I’m invested in Henry. Bendy may echo classic cartoon characters, but isn’t actually one of those characters. The game does follow the example of [i]Five Nights at Freddy’s[/i], blending innocuous (if sometimes unsettling) childhood memories with horror. I hope later chapters expand upon the story and flesh it out more.

The game can be played with a keyboard and mouse combination or a gaming controller, I opted for the later. It’s first person so you’re able to look all around your surroundings, open doors and interact with objects. There are a few puzzles to solve but not many in the first two episodes. The only difference between the two is you gain an axe in the second episode and will have to fight against monsters. I wasn’t too fond of this, it took away from the spooky atmosphere and mystery of what was lurking around you. Actually seeing it and being able to kill it changed the nature of the game. At its best, you’re wandering around trying to escape as things unnerve you.

It’s the art style used in this game that really caught my attention. The game uses a very simple color pallet relying on great shadow work to add depth to your surroundings. When I first stepped into this world I had the exact same reaction the main character did “What the heck happened here?” Everything’s a mess, the walls have creepy writing scrawled on them and the studio’s mascot, Bendy, shows up everywhere. Following you but not physically following you, or is he? The game also has full voice acting and a good soundtrack as well, everything really delivers the feeling that you’re in an old timey animation studio.

While I enjoyed playing [i]Bendy and the Ink Machine[/i], I don’t enjoy how it’s being released. I don’t like when video games are released in episodes -to be blunt, I despise this practice. Not only that, from what I’ve played of the first two you can beat them in about an hour without a guide and much less time with one. The puzzles are also not very challenging. While the first episode is free, the second one costs six American dollars which is a bit pricey for such a short amount of game play. While yes, so far it’s fun and it does have Steam trading cards and achievements I personally recommend waiting until all of the episodes are released. Hopefully they will be compiled together so players can pay one price for access to the whole story. The demo is free, however, so I would recommend giving it a try and see how you enjoy the style of this game.

Categories
Podcasts

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Episode One Review

Telltale has done a pretty fantastic job of acquiring licenses to some of the most popular franchises in recent memory. Whether is be past or present Telltale has managed to take existing IP and present their own stories with their charming and yet sometimes janky episodic formula. Guardians of the Galaxy is no exception.

The first episode titled “Tangled up in Blue” starts off with an already established group of heroes battling Thanos. Right from the beginning the voice acting for Rocket Raccoon stands out compared to the rest of the cast. The banter between the protagonists is fine but it is very noticeable that Rocket Raccoon is voiced by Nolan North and he is the veteran on the team and is quite entertaining. As for Starlord he is quite boring compared to his portrayal in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie and that is kind of disappointing. Overall the dialogue and choices you face for the majority of the episode are mediocre and the attempt at tension between teammates really seems unimportant, but there was a good balance of fun and cheeky banter within the team of guardians.

Where this episode really shines is the backstory for Starlord. In typical Telltale fashion there is a more dramatic story being told with more meaning that your normal save the universe super hero tropes. In fact the episode only really gets started three fourths the way through when the back story about Starlord’s mother begins. Another area where this episode seemed flat was the introduction of the new antagonist towards the end. As a fan new to the series I was unfamiliar with the character and Telltale did not do a great job selling her as a real threat nor a character whom I should care about, but it is still really early and this could change.

As far as gameplay is concerned Guardians adds a little extra flavor to the mix for a few new additions to traversal and combat mechanics. This episode definitely made me feel more involved rather than as the player just sitting back and watching the game play out. There were sections of combat where you had your standard quick time events, but there were also shooting sequences and sections where you jumped from character to character that were quite enjoyable. This added to the idea that you are part of a team and not just one lonesome hero with people in the environment. You also get to use Starlord’s rocket boots to solve Batman style detective mode crimes. Using the boots to investigate different levels of the world was pretty cool, but the detective mode stuff was less than fun. At one point I was convinced (and late proven right) that I had the solution to the puzzle, but was forced to exhaust all possible options before the scene would play out. This took the fun right out of the scene. Graphically Telltale continues to add style to their games and their presentation gets better and better. The best part of Guardians is the sound track. Telltale comes right out of the gate with some great licensed songs that put a nice pretty bow on their take of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Overall this was a good starting point for the series and I am optimistic about where Telltale will go from here. Some parts were less than stellar but overall it was a fun experience and there is plenty of potential. My biggest take away from playing this game was that I immediately wanted to go watch the movie. Telltale did their best to make their story different from the cinematic universe but yet still managed to capture the charm of the guardians that fans new and old have enjoyed.

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Playstation 4 Playstation 4 Reviews Sony X-Box One X-Box One Reviews

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 3 ” Above the Law” Review

With episodes 1 and 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier ending on such a strong note with a fantastic cliffhanger, episode 3 “Above the Law” has plenty to work with and gets off to a good start. Javier and company make their way to a new settlement only to find that his long lost brother David is not only there, but is an important high ranking official within the New Frontier. Telltale does a great job of building David’s character to be mysterious and possibly not trust worthy. The episode starts with main protagonist Javier and the remnants of his family with new found friends Tripp and Jesus immediately being locked up in a holding cell without any clear sign that they will be released even though the guy in charge is his brother. From there, the usual dialog options prompt with little evidence to show that your choices will really change the way you and your brother get along. In fact, it seems no matter how you respond the facial expressions you get in return stay tense, and it is just a matter of time before Javier and David come to blows.

Telltale has done an excellent job with their use of fan favorite Clementine for this installment in the Walking Dead series. Even though she is not the main protagonist, she is a very strong support character and her involvement in the story moves it along quite nicely. She has issues with the New Frontier, which you learn about in a really smart and fun flashback, and more specifically David, Javier’s brother. She insists that you cannot trust him no matter how the scenario plays out. This keeps you constantly on the edge when it comes to fully trusting and interacting David even when it seems that you can, and seemingly should. Episode 3 also builds on the estranged relationship between Kate and David, and her desire to get away from him as soon as possible even after being separated for years due to the current state of the world from the outbreak. Telltale has done a good job of building Javier’s character by using family and how far you will go to protect them, all while leading to the inevitable fallout between David and Javier and ultimately who will end up with Kate. Unlike the last episode, this one tried to leave you with a big cliff hanger but didn’t quite hit a home run. I was actually caught off guard by how abrupt the ending came about. This didn’t kill the experience, but it defiantly left me saying “That’s it?” Again Telltale is in a good place to pick the story back up and hopefully will lift the curse of previous games and make episode 4 memorable and fun to play.

Overall this episode runs great and looks fantastic. I did not experience any of the usual Telltale engine slow downs, framerate drops, or chugs. In fact the episode ran smoothly and never crashed, which unfortunately is saying a lot. Graphically The New Frontier is a great looking game and the story to this point has held up quite nicely compared to previous Walking Dead games. Overall this episode was a little short but definitely delivered and left me wanting more even though it had a lack luster ending.

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Podcasts The Culture Dudes

The Culture Dudes 2 – The Sequel

Adam and Billy break down the Nintendo Switch! Is it worth the money? The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, does it live up to the hype?
Also- Secret Empire and The Edge of the Venom-verse are coming this summer. Is Marvel over doing it? Is it too much to have at least two new mini series ever summer?
Please subscribe to the The Culture Dudes feed in iTunes or <a href=”http://feeds.feedburner.com/ProvenGamer/SoMO”>RSS</a> and please leave a review. We won’t give you cookies, but it will help us make the show better.

If you wish, you can always download the show here – The Culture Dudes 2 – The Sequel

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Podcasts The Culture Dudes

The Culture Dudes 1 – Go Tell Aunt Rhody, it’s Podcast time!

Adam and Billy discuss the phenomenon that is Resident Evil 7. Discussing popular fan theories, the ridiculous ending, and a very shocking return of a RE favorite.

The guys also discuss the return of Eddie Brock to Venom, and the unveiling of the Watchmen in DC Rebirth!We appreciate your support (and your ears)!

Please subscribe to the The Culture Dudes feed in iTunes or RSS and please leave a review. We won’t give you cookies, but it will help us make the show better.

If you wish, you can always download the show here – The Culture Dudes 1 –

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Podcasts The Culture Dudes

The Culture Dudes – Promo

A look at a future podcast coming from Limit Break

We appreciate your support (and your ears)!

Please subscribe to the The Culture Dudes feed in iTunes or RSS and please leave a review. We won’t give you cookies, but it will help us make the show better.

If you wish, you can always download the show here – The Culture Dudes – Promo

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Playstation 4 Playstation 4 Reviews Sony X-Box One

Siegecraft Commander Review

Siegecraft Commander is a neat little RTS that blends tower defense, turn based strategy and traditional RTS systems that are easy to use and understand whether you are a strategy veteran, or if this is your first time with the genre. At first glance this medieval inspired cartoon world seemed like it would be filled with factions of creatures and humans alike but in reality there are only two races of playable characters. There are the humans, which are broken down between the Peons and the Knights, and the Lizard men, which are separated into a warrior class and a sorcerer class with nothing really special about either one. Although it does not take long to learn the mechanics of the game, I found that once you get started there isn’t anything really compelling about the game or the factions you are playing with and against.

For starters you can chose between two different campaigns. The Knight campaign where you battle the Lizard men, or the Lizard men where you battle more Lizard men. The game is bright and colorful, but there isn’t much of a distinction between the characters other than the humans are blue and the Lizard men are orange, but when you play against other Lizard men you can’t really tell which of the infantry are yours. The environments do not really offer much to look at either. Overall bland settings with small changes in size and scope.

Mechanically the game is actually pretty strong. As one who doesn’t normally play strategy games this one was very easy to start and understand. As each level or match begins you have your starting structure called your keep. From there you can build either an outpost, a garrison, a library or in the case of the Lizard men similar structures just with different names. Ultimately you will find yourself building outpost after outpost because Siegecraft does something I think is pretty unique (or at least I have never seen it before) where the game has you launch a cannonball that spawns your structure if and when it lands on a flat surface. As you erect your outpost a wall instantly raises up connecting you to your structure making your Keep the heart of what will almost become a hive. In fact everything you build stays connected to the structure you launch it from. This makes expanding somewhat difficult because you are limited on where you can build by whether or not the land is suitable. Once you start growing your outposts if you double back and try to build off of an old outpost you may or may not have room leading to the player having to think about where and how they want to progress so they have the space to do so.

Once you are in battle things get a little tricky because if the enemy destroys an outpost that you have built multiple structures off they will all explode! This forces the player to be more strategic on how he or she builds, where he or she builds, and where the player attacks from. As I progressed through the game and built new structures, fired off new weapons and progressed through the campaigns I found that the controls left me down the farther I went. This game would greatly benefit from using a mouse and keyboard rather than the Dual shock 4, but since I reviewed the game on a console, I found that my frustration began to outweigh the fun factor. For example the feeling of progression would come to a screeching hault once enemy AI would begin to build their outposts and arsenal in almost spider mine like fashion and attack me from both sides. At times I felt outpaced almost two to one when it came to building up my forces against the AI. This continued to the point of me shutting down the game for extended breaks because I simply got tired of fumbling through the map and getting defeated while feeling like if I could just navigate a little faster this wouldn’t happen.

Overall Siegecraft Commander falls flat even though it has some strong game mechanics. With an empty world, and baron story and a control system that feels a little sluggish this game doesn’t resonate with me as a player. Although I do believe there is something good here it failed to connect with me and keep me engaged. Playing against another player locally was much more fun in my opinion than either side of the two campaign options. PVP coupled with the option to move in real time or turn based was much more fun than battling the AI that felt faster and seemed as if it moved much more fluid than I could.

Reviewed on PS4

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Android Reviews iOS Reviews PC Reviews Playstation 4 Reviews X-Box One Reviews

The Walking Dead: Ties That Bind 1 & 2 Review

Reviewed on PS4

The Walking Dead represented a new direction in story telling for Telltale back in 2012. With an emotional and compelling story mixed with fantastic relatable characters, Telltale placed themselves in game of the year conversations across the globe and have become the standard of modern story telling in video games today. The Walking Dead Season three titled: A New Frontier, is now the forth installment in the Telltale Walking Dead series, and it does not disappoint in episodes one and two. To be fair, it is really hard to tell a story with the weight and gravity of the original season and after the third installment falling some what flat and not really progressing things in the Walking Dead universe, I went into this game with mild expectations. As a fan of the series and of Telltale’s work I was, and am still optimistic about the future of where they go with the Walking Dead.

In previous installments the game focuses on a little girl named Clementine who went from a helpless little girl to a strong and courageous character that has survived everything this post apocalyptic world has had to offer and then some. In A New Frontier, you follow a new protagonist named Javier, a professional baseball player, instead of Clementine from the previous two main line seasons. The first episode opens up with Javier rushing back home only to find his father Rafa has died and his family in mourning. Very early in the game the choices you are faced with already carry emotional weight and establishes the tone of the relationship with your brother. This theme continues throughout the first two episodes as you flash forward and Javi assumes leadership of the small group consisting of Kate, your brother’s second wife, and his two kids. Not long into the game you cross paths with a hostel group called The New Frontier (similar to the saviors from the main line Walking Dead comic and TV show), and protagonist Clementine. I was glad to see her introduced early on in the game and to my surprise she has been hardened from life in this world overrun by zombies and awful people alike.

Graphically this Walking Dead game is a great improvement to Telltale’s previous titles. The character design is still the graphic novel cell shaded style we know and expect, but the models are also more three dimensional and a little bit more realistic. Telltale has touted that they are using a new engine, but I have to be honest when I say do not be fooled their games still don’t run well. With characters popping in and out between scenes and the slight stutters when the action picks up just shows through and through that this is a Telltale game. As for my experience, none of this affected the gameplay, but one can only imagine what the rest of the episodes will look like. Seriously, Telltale, fix your engine! Sound design and voice acting are great as to be expected, but I just wish that overall the game would run a little smoother. However, it is still an improvement from past games.

The moment to moment gameplay in TWD was really tight and between the two episodes never left me board and ready for a change. The dialogue and relationships introduced so far have been great and the QTE has not been overbearing or broken. It definitely seems that Telltale has learned a few things from previous episodes ad seasons. There wasn’t any real slow downs to this point which made for great pacing. Also, as you progress throughout the two episodes there are flashbacks into what Clementine was doing in between seasons two and three. These flashbacks have been short and sweet and have continued to build an already fantastic character in Clementine. Javier is also very likable from early on and the same goes for most, if not all, of the characters introduced thus far.

All in all, this is shaping up to be a great game. New engine, new graphics, same great story telling and dialogue mixed with some new great characters and a fan favorite from the previous installments. As per usual, the twist and inevitable cliff hanger at the end of episode two was fantastic and completely unexpected. I am really enjoying where this story is going and truly cannot wait to get back into the next upcoming episodes. If you are a fan of the previous games, you will definitely like this one. If you were lukewarm towards them, I would still suggest this game as it is an improvement to an already great formula with the caveat that there are still some of the same engine issues as before. Granted they are better but still not perfect. As for first timers into the Telltale Walking Dead universe, this is still a great starting point as you follow Javier and his family closely while learning more about Clementine without being held back by not playing the first two games.

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PG Spoilers Podcasts Remember The Loot The Smart Marks Trophy Whores

Proven Gamer Holiday Special

Happy Holidays from EVERYONE here at Proven Gamer

We appreciate your support (and your ears)!

You can find us on Facebook: Trophy WhoresSmart Marks PodcastRemember The Loot, and Proven Gamer

You can find us on Twitter: @Trophy Whores, Remember The Loot@Smart_Marks and @ProvenGamer

You can also email us at Trophy WhoresRemember The Loot, and The Smart Marks

If you wish, you can always download the show here – Proven Gamer Holiday Special

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Playstation 4 Reviews PSVR Review Reviews

Weeping Doll Review

October is a time for girls dressed as Harley Quinn, candy, and kids just being generally silly and asking complete strangers for candy (I know a guy who does that every day of the year.) Anyway, beyond these things, October is a time for things that are scary and therefore scare us. This October, Playstation VR launched much to the appreciation from a community of gamers looking for a new experience. PSVR launched with a couple of scary games/demos, but there was one game a few of us were anticipating after it missed its launch day.

maxresdefault-1Weeping Doll, from Oasis Games, is a game that should scare and enthrall you as you piece together a mystery in a traditional Japanese home. What the dev team at Oasis forgot when working on this game were solid mechanics, stability, and simply put; the fear factor that comes when providing a “horror genre” game.

weeping-doll-10In Weeping Doll, you portray the role of a maid who is sent in to a frenzy after a phone call from the lady of the house. I know this sounds all sorts of interesting, and many of you would be excited to hear that it is set in a traditional Japanese house, but sadly, the hour long game feels forced and once again is missing the haunted house part. Even worse, you find dolls throughout the house posed in sexual positions, and that’s just weird.

If Weeping Doll was a VR title you were waiting on, take it from us and skip this title in favor of something a little more dynamic and playable.

PG1_10

Categories
Playstation 4 Playstation 4 Reviews

Breach and Clear: Dead Line Review

Reviewed on PS4

Breach and Clear is a third person action strategy hybrid form Mighty Rabbit Studios. Having no prior experience with a Breach and Clear game I was welcomed by the melding of two of my favorite genres in all of gaming and that is squad based military shooters, and zombies. Unlike most games with those two themes Dead Line does not just stay an action based military shooter, or a strategy game up allows the player to chooses his or her play style on the fly.

My first instinct after playing the tutorial in Dead Line was to stick to third person mode. I didn’t appreciate all of the aspects of Command Mode (this is the strategy mode,) but I did like the fact that I as the player controlled the movement of my squad instead of it being real time. As a matter of fact there were plenty of instances where I would assign commands, then switch out of Command Mode so I could quickly get myself out of a jam. You are very quickly overwhelmed when a zombie horde starts attacking you. There are a handful of different enemy types ranging from the slow moving roamed, to the faster paced crawling zombies, larger boss type infected, to glowing spitting infected that leave a trail of acid once they lock onto your squad and launch their glowing ball of goo. The most difficult of all of the enemies would have to be the remaining human military soldiers. You will battle horde after horde and come out on top, but once you are surrounded by an enemy squad it does not take long for your team to be quickly dispersed.

Breach & Clear: Deadline_20160602190830

You travel back and forth throughout the city, and it’s outskirts running small missions and bringing supplies back to your safe house. One of my favorite parts of the game were the dungeons. Scattered all throughout the city there are medical boxes, ammo crates, and loot crates. But the rare items are hidden deep in the dungeons. Level by level and floor by floor there are tons of undead to slay and plenty of loot and gear to collect. Much like Diablo there is great reward in traveling from building to building and into the sewers clearing out all of the enemies so that you can squire the next best weapon and the next best piece of armor.

There is a pretty extensive skill tree for each of your soldiers as well. As you mow through the undead and battle your way through the remaining humans you accumulate scrap which is the game’s currency for upgrading your weapons, as well as experience points for upgrading your team’s skills. You can customize your squad’s armor and equipment and you can upgrade those items as well. All in all I was very pleased and impressed by the amount of upgradable teams and weapons in Breach and Clear Dead Line. Each of your team’s members specialize in a certain skill i.e.; medic, demolitions, sniper class, and team leader, and at anytime you can add other skill trees to your character if you have the said amount of skill points. There is plenty of game here and the grind to fully upgrade your team is quite long.

Breach & Clear: Deadline_20160602192612

The sound design is quite nice in Breach and Clear. It reminded me of old 90’s horror films from the opening screen. The music score is very well done and I never found myself getting tired of it. Graphically Dead Line is a little underwhelming by today’s standards. The game doesn’t look bad, but I often found myself somewhat lost in the city, and outside of the city because the environments didn’t change that much. Even in some of the dungeons the game doesn’t really shake things up that much and the game does suffer from some unfortunate glitches. There were plenty of times when my team would be wiped out and the game would totally reboot instead of let me respawn. And I also found that every time I would download a game in the background Breach and Clear would not load past the main title screen. At first these bugs were not very alarming until I switched to a different PS4 with a different profile and I still had these issues. There are also frame rate drops when the maps loads. Again, at first it didn’t bother me but after a while I got quite annoyed, especially when it would take a few seconds to load so I could get back to killing.

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Breach and Clear is overall a neat and interesting game. There are a few bugs that did hurt my experience and graphically I wasn’t impress but these things wouldn’t keep me from recommending the game. As a matter of fact I enjoyed my time in Dead Line. The option of switching to and from Command Mode to full control of the player is a very cool game mechanic that I personally appreciated and am glad I have experienced. The loot grind and skill tree will leave you with plenty of incentive to find the next dungeon and clear the next area for many hours.

Proven Score 6/10

Categories
Playstation 4 Playstation 4 Reviews Sony

Riptide GP: Renegade Review

From the very first race there has been a consistent theme with Riptide GP: Renegade, FUN. The follow up to the IOS games Riptide GP, and Riptide GP2, Renegade does much more than deliver a polished Jet Moto meets Hydro Thunder mash-up. In fact, it takes what was great about these franchises and makes something truly wonderful. In fact, even grinding out some of the races didn’t lose any of the fun factor. Vector Unit has truly made something special here with the Riptide franchise.

The games starts out with a very simple tutorial in the form of a story set piece. You are dropped right into a race and the game teaches you its simple and responsive control set-up by hitting waves and doing tricks to gain XP and boost all while you are illegally racing your futuristic hydro-jets. Then, we fast forward a few years where you rally up with some familiar faces to race in small tournaments gaining experience and money in, what I would call, Fast and Furious meets Wave Race. There isn’t much for story other than some small trash talk segments before you race, but hey that’s all you really need. Each tournament is buttoned up with a “Boss Battle,” where you sometimes race in a series of events. Once you beat said boss you obtain their ride.

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Riptide offers just enough of an upgrade system to keep you racing and trying to obtain three stars in each race so that you can max out your hydro-jet without it seeming like an endless grind. Each upgrade doesn’t really feel that different, but once you fully upgrade your jet it becomes pretty rewarding and worth doing. There are also a handful of customization options, but nothing too crazy. All in all, Riptide feels like it has just enough of everything so there is some depth, but isn’t an endless grind. It is also very fair with the amount of money earned on each race, and I found in my play through that I was able to fully upgrade my jet, and then some, by the time I unlocked my next vehicle.

Graphically, Riptide is very pretty. The water looks great, the lighting is spot on, and the environments are absolutely beautiful. The game often reminded me of Motor Storm Apocalypse when it comes to weather changing or the environments changing after certain laps. At one point, a Space Craft launches in the background of the race and the force from the rocket caused the waves to rise allowing you to pull off tricks for extra experience points. From racing through a futuristic city aqueduct system, to a battle scene in a military base, all the way to a sky high multi-level space ship ending with some weird water spout vortex, there is plenty of cool things to see while racing at high speeds to be the best in Riptide GP.

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The sound design is fine in Riptide. At times the wind blowing in a stormy section sounded more like screeching tires rather than a rocket powered water jet, and the repetitive house music in the background became a little taxing. There are times where to get the three star rating you have to replay some of the races. My advice would be to do yourself a favor and load up Spotify in the background.

Content light is definitely not the case for Riptide. As a matter of fact, the career mode is pretty in depth offering several variations in race types such as a normal race and an elimination style race where you have a small amount of time before the last place competitor gets eliminated. This process continues until you are the last man standing. There is also a checkpoint based raced that is also timed. I found this race to be the most difficult for me, personally. The Freestyle race would have to be my favorite requiring you to land the best tricks for the most points in a set amount of time. Riptide also sprinkles in cops on hydro-jets from time to time to make things more difficult. They are quite the pest. As a matter of fact, they will side swipe you relentlessly and one wrong move will knock you out of the top spot. Most notably, there is a great split screen mode. This reminded me of the Nintendo 64 release Wave Race where 2-4 players could hop wave, bust out tricks, and race competitively. Last but not least, Riptide has an online mode. I did not spend a ton of time with this, but I was very happy to find that there were not any trophies locked behind the online multiplayer.

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All in all, Riptide GP: Renegade is a great game with a tremendous replay value. With great graphics, smooth and fun gameplay, and plenty of options for the single player and the multiplayer, I would highly recommend this game. Whether you are a casual player or a hardcore gamer, there is something here for everyone. If you were a fan of Jet Moto, Wave Race, or Hydro Thunder then this is defiantly a game for you, and yes Riptide has a platinum trophy.

 

PG8_10

 

 

 

Categories
PC Reviews Playstation 4 Reviews X-Box One Reviews

Overcooked! Review

Overcooked is brought to you by Ghost Town Games and it is a very easy game to pick up, there are only 4 different action buttons that you use throughout the entire game. Walk, grab/put down, chop/wash, and boost. Please note that the first two levels are really easy with 2 or more players, then the game takes a crazy turn and gets more difficult. as it adds level hazards, like moving trucks or ice or even Rats! All easy to adapt to if you have the chops in the kitchen! There’s also a “taunt” button. I didn’t see how it helped or didn’t help any given situation, it was just really funny to watch them spout “curses” in a kid friendly Gordon Ramsey style.

The whole premise of the game is to sharpen your chops to appease the beast. Whom is destroying the world from the time line you come from. Yes, you start off not being able to satisfy the beast (a spaghetti monster) then have to travel through time to become better versed in the ways of the kitchen in order to eventually quell the spaghetti monster. After you travel through time and start you food culinary quest you are greeted by a top down over world style map in which you use to go level to level, or kitchen to kitchen. You travel via a food truck/bus and it’s super reminiscent to traversing the overworked in Final Fantasy VII.

Going back to how difficult the game is, this all changes after some time of play and practice and upping the communication between you and the other players, treat it like an actual kitchen, call things out and make sure everyone has a role and can keep up with it. One player cuts, one player cooks, and so on with delivering food and washing dishes. Each activity that’s fine takes a set amount of time depending on how many cooks are doing the exact same activity. Example: If you’re cutting mushrooms by yourself then it would take 5 seconds, if someone was on the other side of the counter cutting the same mushroom it would take 2.5 seconds. This can be utilized very effectively if you have a season veteran running everything else like plating dishes or washing said dishes.

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The game does a really good job of bringing back couch co op. So much so that you can play two players with one controller. Let me explain, earlier I mentioned there being only 4 actions you can perform in the game. If you pick two players but only have one controller it will take the usual control scheme and split it right down the middle. The two sticks being movement for two players and the bumper buttons being the action buttons. I honestly really enjoy this. I’ve missed couch co op for the longest time and I’m so happy to see developers taking the extra mile and making a two player game available to play with one controller. I know wii games will let you pass the controller, but this game is co op! Which means two players playing at the same time.

The versus mode is unlike anything I’ve ever played in the best of ways, you control two characters in one kitchen. You can chop thing while your other hand is moving the character and cooking and delivering the food! It’s wild crazy and fun! This game is a must play for people who want something new to throw into the mix of multiplayer game nights!

The trophies are all very easy to obtain not counting the earn all three stars in every kitchen trophy, as some of the kitchens are very difficult. I cannot see how anyone can make it very far in the game with only one player.

All in all it is a very solid game, where team work and communication is key. There are very few bad things I can say about the game. The only problem I had with the game was how precise I have to be with where I put my cut veggies or other such items I have to pick up then put down. However after sometime that got easier with practice. The levels change with every new area you unlock so things DO NOT become stale. Pick up this game with a good partner or team and you won’t be putting it down until you save the onion kingdom!

PG8_10

Categories
Playstation 4 Reviews Sony

Adr1ft Review

Ever wonder what it what it was like to be Sandra Bullock and be virtually all alone in space? Well you’re in luck because there exists a game Called Adrift (Adr1ft) where you are literally drifting in space with nothing but debris and solitude surrounding you. The game starts with your basic tutorial that does an excellent job teaching you the ins and outs of the game. This is a very unique game with unique movement, and the only thing that I can compare it to, is the space walk segments from Dead Space and Dead Space 2. As for solitude you are definitely alone and, Adrift nails its goal with great atmosphere and wonderful sound design that really sets the tone for this experience.

Since we’re talking about space walking, let’s bring up the movement in Adrift. For lack of a better term, it’s stellar. However, there is a drawback. The destruction of the space station that you called home for the passed 3 years affected your space suit, causing your oxygen to be used as fuel for your thrusters. So what’s keeping you alive is also what’s getting you around. Before we go any further I want to mention how breath taking the game is, From the tutorial to the actual game. It’s visually striking and a sight to behold. Don’t forget to get an eyeful of that pale blue dot we live on. Paired with headphones and a dark room it actually feels like you’re in the grasp of the black nothingness that is space. Even the main menu filled my eyes with Unreal Engine 4 goodness. So from right then and there I was ready to accept space and it’s infinite beauty. The physics in this game is really next level, Everything holds weight, or lack there of rather. You bump into something and it goes flying. You use an air canister toss it and it B-lines and never stops until it hits another object. There is no combat in Adrift so it does carry the “walking simulator” stigma, and I can see some players experiencing issues with motion sickness. After all it is a first person experience and you are floating around and at times spinning around looking for collectibles and oxygen.

The game doesn’t hold your hand when it comes to the story, if you want to find out what happened go and explore every little nook and cranny you can. There’s everything from audio files to emails you can read to learn about the past 3 years on this rotating abode. Another thing that I can compare to Dead Space, is the fact that there are little pieces of story in almost every corner of the game. During your exploring time don’t wander out too far, or you will die, your oxygen will only last for so long and get you so far. The game really depends on you remembering where you went and doesn’t really give you a concrete objective. You hit the scan button and it points to oxygen or a collectable. You want to go out and find where you’re supposed to go next but the fear of running out of oxygen is very real, and is incredibly disheartening. You start to wheeze and grasp for the blank space in front of you. Then the color fades from everything around you and you’re accepted into the black waters of space. To really get a hold of where you want to go next in the game remember where you came from, go out a ways from the wreckage and then pick a point you think you haven’t been to yet and go for it. Picking up all the oxygen you can is key to survival. Adrift does get easier once you get your first suit upgrade, which is fairly early in the game. The similarities of the corridors and rooms and bigger structures can get a little stale but there are small differences on the inside that you can really appreciate.

You will be followed around by a disembodied voice that will almost constantly talk to you. They nailed the voice of this computer because again the sound design in this game is great and the voice of the robot is not annoying at all. It’s almost comforting hearing it and having that feeling that you’re not alone. But the cold harsh reality is that you are alone and your only true objective is to escape and make it back to earth safe and sound.

Let’s move on to Trophies, there isn’t a platinum which is a bit disheartening and should be mentioned as I did review this game on the Playstation 4. But don’t let that keep you from that 100 percent completion rate. EVEN if most of the trophies are collectibles, which I despise,  that is one of the very few things that I dislike about Adrift. Moving to a few more trophy points, there are 15 total and over half of them are hidden. So get to collecting and beating the game! You’ll have a great time exploring and an even greater time boosting around the rubble and debris!

In closing if you’re a fan of sci-fi or space, walking simulator or survival games, pick this one up and you won’t be disappointed. There are a few draw backs to the game like lack of combat, the walking simulator aspect, and it is a relatively short game, but they are overshadowed by all the things this game does right, like aesthetics, graphics, sound, and the overall story. This was an overall good experience. Pick it up and stay in space for awhile!

PG7_10

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Nintendo Playstation 4 Playstation 4 Reviews Sony Wii U X-Box One

Kerbal Space Program Review

Reviewed on PS4

Kerbal Space Program is a rocket crafting, space exploration simulator with multitude of options and features. From building a space craft from scratch, launching rockets into space, conducting experiments, and managing resources KSP puts plenty of tools at your disposal but it forgot the most important one, FUN. There is a lot to do in this game and I found that it was quite overwhelming at times, but no matter how much Kerbal Space Program has to offer there were a few themes that ran pretty common throughout my entire experience.

First would be the learning curve. Tutorials are key in this game. My first few hours were spent trying to build my own custom rocket ship. I turned on the game and bypassed the training missions ready to launch myself to infinity and beyond! Instead I found myself extremely frustrated and utterly confused as to why none of the parts I assembled would make an adequate ship ready to be launched into space. After learning the basics of space craft building I found a nice little folder with pre built rockets ready to go. So the next few hours were spent trying to successfully make it out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Much to my dismay I learned I am not very good at simulators. Although I did really enjoy making it a few thousand meters only to lose control and spiral to my ultimate destruction. But one can only crash to his or her doom so many times before they grow tired of the monotony and are ready to move on. Space is nice, and there is a feeling of accomplishment once I made it to the great beyond, but every step of the road there was just plain boring.

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Graphically this game is a joke. I know the point of this game isn’t the graphics, but KSP looks like a straight port of the PC version. All the way down to the mouse cursor. The text is entirely to small and there is quite a bit to read. The sound design is a barren wasteland as well. There really isn’t much going on at all sound wise. So it is hard to become fully immersed in the experience. On top of it’s less that stellar graphics and poor sound design, the game doesn’t run well in certain spots. From loading a new rocket, to launching said rocket, down to disengaging stages of your space craft there are several frame rate glitches and dips.

The controls take some getting use to as well. The curser can be moved by motion control and by the left thumb stick. This grabbed me by surprise a few times bc I thought my controller might have been glitching out on me. Come to find out if you move the DS4 it imitates the mouse from the PC version. During the launch of your missions you have to balance your rocket and the default button mapping is clunky to say the least. Control of your craft takes a ridiculous amount of trial and error and a decent amount of skill.

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To it’s credit there is a ton of content in KSP. This is a very deep and educational Space simulator. But I would not say it is a fun game. It’s strengths are the seemingly endless amount of possibilities when it comes to creating your space craft and putting together your team of astronauts. Resource management and flight stability make this game very challenging and the victory of launching a successful mission is very satisfying. But my biggest take away from KSP is the game does not respect my time as a player. It takes hours to learn the most basic of operations and the reward from the trial and error was just not there. I respect this game for being a strong simulator, but did not enjoy my time with Kerbal Space Program.
PG5_10