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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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Podcasts Remember The Loot

Remember The Loot – 43 – Good Guy Konami???

Mutha-freakin Loooooooot!

The Loot Crew is finally back together after several weeks of one or two guys missing.

This week the Looters discuss Konami, Metal Gear, their Ultimate Alliance dream team, and much much more.

Also with the holidays approaching the guys talk about their most anticipated games for the rest of 2016.

Thanks for listening and please join the conversations in the Remember The Loot podcast group on Facebook

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If you wish, you can always download the show here – Remember The Loot – 43 – Good Guy Konami???

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E3 2016 Nintendo Opinions

Why We Should Be Excited About Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo did not have a conference at this year’s E3, but that did not stop them from presenting what may be one of the most anticipated games of 2017.  On Tuesday, June 14th, we were shown a trailer for the new upcoming Zelda title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild followed by an entire day show casing various gameplay elements the game has to offer.  The trailer begins with a mysterious female voice uttering the words “Open your eyes”, followed by panoramic views of the game’s setting, presumably Hyrule at this point, but is yet to be determined.  This game is gorgeous.  With an art style favoring a hybrid of Wind Waker and Skyward Sword on a next-gen level, the worlds beauty really comes to life in it’s lush, colorful ambience.  Everything from the sun setting behind a mountaintop casting the shadow of the giant walking it’s cliffs, to the ripples of a lake as ducks peaceful bathe in it, I was immediately in awe at this new vision for Hyrule.  I also noticed some familiar scenery which has Link traveling in a desert, much like the Gerudo Desert in previous installments, as well Link scaling a snowy mountainside in search of a dungeon.  “After Skyward Sword, we needed to develop a bigger world.” stated Eiji Aonuma, lead director for Breath of the Wild.  Landscapes in Skyward Sword seemed very bland, and uninteresting, so it is to no surprise that Aonuma-san wanted to create a bigger, better, and more beautiful world, and from what can be seen so far, they are sure to deliver.

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Gameplay mechanics hold true to what has made Zelda a fun and engaging experience for it’s fans but is now accompanied by upgraded features that aim to engender the interests of players unfamiliar with the franchise. Link has kept his sprinting mechanic familiar in Skyward Sword, but has now also been equipped with the ability to jump, as previous titles only limited the hero of time to merely running to the edge of a platform or cliff before performing his jump animation.  Paired with his newly acquired jump ability, Link can also climb his surroundings.  A stamina bar displays on the screen as our hero can climb trees for higher vantage points, or scale mountains in search of hidden caves or dungeons to explore.  Although it is unclear at this time, it has been speculated that the player can upgrade Link’s stamina bar to further increase the expanse of his environment which he can climb.

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A crafting (or cooking) mechanic has been added, as shown in the trailer, which features Link adding items to a cauldron in attempt to concoct various items to aid him in his journey via searching local enemy camps or hunting a wild boar with his trusty bow and arrow.  One item which was show cased during the demo was a piece of meat which was cooked and provided the player with not only a health recharge, but a health boost which will most certainly come in handy before encountering a difficult enemy or boss.  It will be interesting to see what sort of items can be created using this mechanic.  Perhaps an attack or defense boost, or maybe a stamina boost which allows you to climb and sprint for longer durations.

Weapons and armor play an important role in this game as well.  One of the biggest eye sores of the trailer reveals Link not wearing his iconic green tunic.  This caused quite a bit of conjecture among fans of the series, for many assumed the protagonist in this particular entry was not going to be Link, but that theory has since been debunked.  In lieu of Link’s green tunic, we see him wearing a blue tunic like top with brownish cloth pants similar to what he wore in Skyward Sword.  These items can be removed at any point in the game if the player so chooses and can later be replaced by what looks like stronger armor for Link to defend himself against enemy blows.  Maybe the legendary green tunic is an item which can be found later in the game?
Many of the weapons found in the demo seem to have a durability mechanic in which the weapons weaken over time and causes the player to discard items either through the options menu or by hurling them at your opponent for some extra damage before equipping or finding your next means of defense.  It will be interesting to see how this mechanic plays a role in crafting and the longevity of one weapon versus the other.
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The landscape is plentiful and that is an understatement.  The sheer size of this game is huge.  The map shown in the demo rivaled that of most open world titles such as Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto, which is a very bold approach, and unlike anything we have seen from Nintendo to date. Players can add beacons on their map to help guide them to new locations, or serve as reminders to revisit an area for further exploration.  At one point in the demo, a beacon is placed in a distant part of the map, and Link is shown parachuting off of a cliff hundreds of feet above the tree lines towards his destination all in real time.  Upon landing on the ground, Link then ventures inside an archaic yet unworldly structure in pursuit of treasure to aid him on his quest.

Zelda: BotW will redirect itself from more linear titles such as Zelda: The Ocarina of Time and return to it’s exploration roots which made the original so memorable.  Players can create their own adventure in this open, sand box Hyrule instead of having their hands held by an annoying fairy. Sorry, Navi.    Eiji Aonuma recently stated “Our mission in developing this new Zelda game for Wii U is quite plainly to re-think the conventions of Zelda. I’m referring to the expectation that the player is supposed to complete dungeons in a certain order, or that you’re supposed to play by yourself. The things we’ve come to take for granted recently. We want to set aside these conventions, get back to basics, and create a newborn Zelda so that the players can best enjoy the real essence of the franchise.”

Zelda has meant so much to the gaming industry and to fans all over the world (and even to myself personally), so it is a breath of fresh air to see this game reimagined into what it is becoming.  There is so much to do and explore, and fans are waiting in anticipation to get their hands on the game, but unfortunately we will have to wait until it releases on the Wii U and presumably the Nintendo “NX” in March of 2017.  Be sure to view the trailer below and for more on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, keep it locked right here at ProvenGamer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nintendo Wii U News

Nintendo showcasing New Legend of Zelda at E3

Although Nintendo will not have a presentation at this year’s E3, it seems they will not be completely MIA.  COO Reggi “My body is ready” Fils-Aime’ announced that Nintendo will be broadcasting a day-long, Live stream of Nintendo Treehouse on June 14th to showcase the new Legend of Zelda title.   The Stream will contain gameplay footage as well as live commentary from Nintendo developers and behind the scenes information.  The best part?  Nintendo will have a playable version of this new Legend of Zelda on the showfloor for the first time ever, however this will be the only game showcased at E3 from Nintendo. This title will be different from previous installments of the franchise with the introduction of new gameplay mechanics as well as an open world environment.  The game was recently delayed to 2017 to improve it’s quality and possible launch date alongside the NX.

For more news on The Legend of Zelda, be sure to visit Provengamer.com!

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Podcasts Remember The Loot

Remember The Loot 11 – If You See the Troll, You’ve Gone Too Far

No Resident Darrell this week, but that doesn’t stop Frosty from toasting in his honor and talking about some Resident Evil. Josh The Walking Idea finally pops his Bloodborne cherry, it’s Gamesquat’s birthday, and T-Byrd’s power level is over 9,000!!

This week’s Super Mega Rapid Fire is brought to you by our good friend DJ Hex. Find him on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/hector-sotomayor and be sure to download and share his single “The Power Within”.

We appreciate your support (and your ears)!

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