Video Game Reviews

2017 Video Game Reviews

6 Games to Help You Survive the Wait for Star Trek: Discovery

6 Games to Help You Survive the Wait for Star Trek: Discovery

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably losing your mind over the new Star Trek: Discovery trailer, released last Wednesday. It’s been almost sixteen years since Trekkies have had a new show to look forward to – alright, twelve if we count Enterprise, but come on, no one counts Enterprise – and the few months between now and Fall 2017 may feel like lightyears to those who are as excited as I am. The good news? With years in the geek zeitgeist, there are plenty of great Star Trek games – and Star Trek inspired games – to help you pass the time, and to help bring that “final frontier” a little closer to home.

1. Star Trek Online

For those of us hungering for the expansive, intertwining storylines only MMOs can provide, Star Trek: Online is in its seventh year and still going strong. Originally designed for PC, STO released on PS4 and Xbox in September of last year, and features all of the starship battles, lore callbacks, and episodic storylines a Trekkie could want. Fans love it. There are three major factions: one can start their journey as a lowly Federation cadet in Miranda-class clunker; as a Klingon warrior battling their way up the ranks; or as a Romulan colonist who joins with the Romulan Republic. Set in the 25th century, the events of STO take place after Star Trek: Nemesis, which makes it the only Star Trek series currently progressing the in-canon timeline. While new Trek franchises like Discovery, the Abrams reboots, and (sigh) Enterprise are set in a pre-TOS universe, STO is doing the hard work of continuing the joint legacies of DS9 and Voyager, much to the delight of many a lore-starved Trek geek.

(Sidenote: can you believe Star Trek: Nemesis is still considered canon? I know. Me neither.)

2. Star Trek Timelines

If MMOs aren’t your thing, Star Trek Timelines may be a good way to while away the hours until Discovery premiers. Sure, the ship battles are smaller, and the customization options fewer, but Timelines offers a strangely satisfying rescue-and-collectathon, where players are challenged to save their favorite characters from the series who are affected by a temporal crisis. Past, present, future and mirror versions of Star Trek characters are available to be assembled into a dream crew – it’s an ever-changing, ever-updating fantasy football equivalent for grade-A nerds like myself. It’s available on iPhone and Android, which not only makes the quality of the content that much more impressive, but also allows you to get your Trek fix on the clock… without pissing off your boss. Plus, it features a full voice performance from none other than John De Lancie, the magnanimous Q. It’s a small, simple game, but it’s very addictive.

3. Elite: Dangerous

Official Trek games aren’t the only ones to have successfully cultivated the long sought-after experience of being a Starfleet captain. Elite: Dangerous may not have the Star Trek brand name, but it has the – shall we say “enterprising” – Star Trek spirit. Elite: Dangerous sets players in a customizable ship in a 1:1 scale open world version of the galaxy, and invites them to point themselves in any direction and see what’s out there. Players can choose how they’d like to interface with the new galaxy they find themselves in. Are you a Kirk-esque explorer, seeking out new worlds and experiences? Are you a Janeway-esque fighter, ready to duke it out over goods, people, and territory, and progress their status and rank? Are you a Picard or Sisko-esque diplomat, looking to get involved and choose sides in the complex politics of an alien universe? Or are you a simple space trucker, only looking to eke out a bucolic existence hauling cargo? Whatever you choose, Elite: Dangerous offers a myriad of new and exciting ways to play and explore, and plenty of ways to customize your ship, your crew, and your experience.

4. Star Trek: Bridge Commander

In the fifty some odd official Star Trek games ever made, it’s no surprise that some of them… well… suck. Trek fans have had their fair share of truly, heinously bad video games. Luckily, Star Trek: Bridge Commander is not one of them. Made in 2002, Bridge Commander has aged surprisingly well, due in no small part to a robust modding community. (The human models, of course, look worse than old cottage cheese, but the ships still look great, and the voice work is good enough to help you ignore the uncanny faces and horrible lipflap.) While STO features more on-the-ground fighting, Bridge Commander is – as its name implies – all about the technicalities of commanding the bridge of a starship. If you’re looking for an in-depth simulation of what it’s like to be a starship captain, Bridge Commander still promises the most faithful reproduction available… at least until First Contact in 2063.

5. Star Trek: Elite Force 1 & 2

Alright, alright… I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Elite Force. As I’ve mentioned,Star Trek games are a bit of a mixed bag; the few good ones deserve to be heaped with praise. Elite Force, released in 2000, and Elite Force II, released in 2003, are first person shooters that place you in the center of some of your favorite Star Trek crews, ships, and episodes. In the first game, you act as an Ensign aboard the USS Voyager, surrounded by the same crew from the show (all with full voice performances from their original onscreen actors).

In the second, your character is transferred to the Enterprise-E in the events following the end of Voyager and Star Trek: Nemesis. Although the gameplay certainly leaves something to be desired – this is an early 2000s FPS, and it plays like one – it’s hard to undersell the joy of being ordered around by Janeway, chastised by Tuvok, or praised by Picard in real time.

6. Mass Effect

In many ways, my love affair with Star Trek began with Mass Effect. ME’s huge, space-based open world rife with conflict and complex alien societies was once accused of being “too much like Star Trek” – some in the industry even speculate that at one point in its development, ME may have been a Star Trek game. (A theory that’s hard to discount when you compare the similarities between the Cardassians and the Turians, or the Asari and the Betazoids, for example.) In many ways, ME is the Star Trek game fans always wanted. One reviewer called Mass Effect: Andromeda “the best Star Trek movie in years.” But is any of that a bad thing? I’d argue no; Mass Effect is exactly the universe-spanning, high-octane action, narrative-heavy game you’d expect from developers who are in love with everything Star Trek stands for, and depending on the tack you take – both as Shepard and, later, as Rider – you have the ability to create the same optimistic future for humanity, even in the face of great hardship. It’s hard to say anything about Mass Effect that hasn’t been said already, but as a Star Trek fan, I found my home there. If Discovery waiting has you blue, I can’t recommend this game franchise highly enough.

Sony’s E3 2016 Press Conference Roundup And Review

Sony’s Press Conference was one of the most expected moments at E3 this year, and it was by far the best we have seen in the last years, since Sony did what others failed to do. They listened, and they learned from past mistakes.

Unlike Microsoft, EA and Ubisoft, at E3 2016, Sony offered what gamers wanted. Video games.

Instead of wasting time with big words, Sony focused on revealing new games, new trailers, new bonuses for their fans, and new information on the hardware they are developing.

The whole conference, which you can watch above, is packed with everything we wanted to see from Sony. Unfortunately, they were the only one to deliver and save this year’s E3 from a total disappointment.

With EA’s conference leaked before the actual event, Microsoft’s continuous focus on providing new consoles instead of games, and Ubisoft’s rather poor presentation, only Bethesda managed to draw the attention of the crowd with the new Prey and a remastered Skyrim. Until Sony took the stage.

From the beginning (27:45 in the video above), their attention to details and the orchestra playing a song brought straight from Valhalla was overwhelming. But that was just an introduction to what most gamers were wishing for. A new God of War game.

But Sony didn’t stop at showing only a reveal trailer. Instead they delivered a full God of War gameplay trailer which starts at 34:42 in the video.

After the trailer, Shawn Layden of Sony Interactive Entertainment took the stage, presenting his condolences on behalf of Sony for the Orlando massacre victims and families.

The show continued on the same note with a trailer for Days Gone, a new IP that is developed by Sony Bend. The reveal trailer starts at 47:57, while a full gameplay trailer can be seen at the end of the conference (1:38:32).

Without wasting time, Days Gone was followed by another trailer for a PlayStation 4 exclusive. The Last Guardian which also has a release date.

Horizon Zero Dawn was next on Sony’s busy agenda and the gameplay trailer that starts at 52:14 provides even more information on the video game developed by Guerrilla Games.

But why stop here, right Sony? Let’s show the world another exclusive video game. Detroit Become Human developed by Quantic Dream looks gorgeous and you can watch the trailer at 1:00:16.

Someone asked for a pause? No time!

Sony is too busy revealing their PS VR games. And everything starts with Resident Evil VII which has a new trailer (1:04:30), a release date and a free demo available starting today.

Yes, Resident Evil VII will be available for Sony’s PS VR since the hardware will release October 13, 2016 and it will cost $399. It will not be the only game though, according to Shawn Layden. By the end of 2016, there will be around 50 games released for PSVR, and Sony already revealed some of them at E3.

Next on the list was a new Call of Duty Infinite Warfare gameplay trailer that took us into deep space and on board of a spaceship. The trailer starts at 1:17:29 and it’s followed by a new Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered gameplay trailer.

Moving on, it’s time for some Crash Bandicoot games, because one is not enough for all of his fans. Crash Bandicoot returns not once, but 4 times and only on PS4. Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped will all be remastered, and the beloved character will also be present in Skylanders Imaginators.

LEGO fans and Star Wars enthusiasts have not been forgotten by Sony! Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a new trailer too (see it at 1:27:15) as well as free demo available immediately on PlayStation 4.

What else can Sony do to make this conference even better? Glad you asked. They can invite one of the greatest video game designers in the world, Hideo Kojima, who is ready to present his latest project named Death Stranding.

Watch him enter the stage at 1:30:46, followed by the Death Stranding reveal trailer starring Norman Reedus.

Time to wrap things up, but not before showing what Insomniac Games has in store for us (1:35:24). It’s a new Spider-Man video game developed exclusively for PlayStation 4, by the same studio that brought us Ratchet & Clank this year.

As Shawn Layden makes his appearance to close the conference and express his gratitude to all gamers around the world, we can hear a fan thanking Sony. It was a single voice but it came from millions of gamers.

Thank you Sony for an amazing E3 conference, and thank you for understanding that while PlayStation is for the players, E3 is for video games. You were the only one this year.

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