monster hunter: world

Monster Hunter: World Tips and Guide for New Players

Posted by | Feature, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Monster Hunter: World may be the most accessible game in the series (read our review) but it’s still a tricky game to jump into, particularly if you’re completely new to the Monster Hunter series. We’ve compiled some helpful tips and explained some important mechanics to help start novice hunters on the right path to hunting and slaying.

No Level, All Gear

In Monster Hunter: World your progression is tied directly to your gear, as well as a single Hunter Rank number. This number could be considered your level, just without all the normal RPG benefits of stat increases and abilities. Your HR determines how difficult of a mission you can accept, as well as unlocking new areas, quests, and facilities in Astera. Every quest has an HR requirement, and you can never join one that’s above your HR. Keep that in mind when playing multiplayer.

Playing through Assigned Quests, or main story missions, will naturally raise your HR level.

Since your power comes directly from your gear, forging new weapons and armor is not only paramount to your success, it’s the primary method of essentially leveling up. See below for more tips on weapons and armor, but in general you should be stopping by the Workshop frequently and gathering what you need to forge the best equipment available to you.

monster hunter: world

The Easiest Starter Weapons

You begin with the basic iron version of all 14 weapon types, which is both very handy and incredibly overwhelming. Stick with the Sword and Shield at first for a solid baseline into standard melee combat, including both blocking and dodging.

From there you can experiment with the Great Sword and Hammer for slower but weightier attacks, the Dual Blades if you want to zip around quickly, or the Bow if you want to attack from range. There’s no wrong answer and much of your personal enjoyment will come from finding that right weapon set that works for you.

The weapons I would gently discourage completely new players away from initially are the very slow Lance and Gunlance, the Bowguns for micromanaging tons of different ammo, the Hunting Horn for its musical mini-game, and the Insect Glaive for adding a whole new dimension of buffs, kinsect customization, and aerial attacks.

Before heading out to the field with a new weapon, go to your room on the first floor and speak to your housecat Palico to transport to the Training Area. Here you can easily switch your equipment to test out new weapons. Basic combos will also be helpfully displayed right on the screen, similar to the training modes of fighting games. Experiment and discover what you enjoy.

Gather Your Party

Monster Hunter: World automatically populates online sessions, but you’ll need to select Join Quest from a quest board (or your handler) to actually join a multiplayer hunt – or Post a Quest and hope someone joins.

SOS flares are a useful way to find a greater search of online matches, provided the person in the hunt has fired a flare seeking help. You can do the same thing during any quest or Expedition after the first Great Jagras hunt in the main story.

monster hunter: world

If you’re wanting to play consistently with friends, the best method is to set up a Squad. Squads are Monster Hunter’s version of guilds. Create a Squad, then use the Invite a Friend option from the Start menu to invite them into your session, then invite them to your squad. From then on whenever you play in Squad Sessions, you’ll be playing a private server with your friends, and can easily join each other’s quests.

Expeditions, Investigations, and You

There are several different kinds of quests and missions in Monster Hunter: World. Most involve hunting a specific monster or group of monsters within set parameters, such as a limited number of faints and a varying time limit.

There are four options when you go to the quest board, and a fifth option for free roaming. We’ve explained them below.

Assigned Quests: These are the main story missions. You’ll need to complete them to progress your Hunter Rank. Since they feature cutscenes they are a hassle to play in multiplayer, since no one can join a mission if one player still has cutscenes to watch. A reminder should pop up once you can use an SOS flare, which is a sign that others can join.

Optional Quests: These are organized by Hunter Rank (represented by stars). You’ll unlock more as you complete the Assigned Quests. Optional Quests include standard hunts and captures, as well as gathering missions that can unlock new Canteen ingredients. You can also unlock Optional Quests by talking to people with the familiar yellow exclamation (!) above their heads in Astera.

Investigations: You can register Investigations at the Resource Center. Investigations are unlocked by battling, hunting, and tracking monsters. They’re designed to repeat multiple times and provide bonus rewards in addition to whatever you carve and find during the hunt. They’re also perfect for multiplayer outings, and soon you’ll be drowning in dozens of options. Pay close attention to the parameters; some allow only a single faint or a breezy 15 minute window, though increased challenges come with better rewards.

Events: Event Quests are unique quests provided by Capcom for a limited time. They often involve battling monsters within the arena, and can come with their own unique rewards.

Expeditions: Expeditions isn’t an option in the quest board. Instead you simply open up your map while in town, go to the World Map view, and select an area to explore. This lets you hunt in a zone without any set goals or time limits. It’s useful for gathering materials without worrying about the clock, though you can certainly hunt monsters as well. There’s also a few NPCs scattered around the zones you can talk to who offer special Bounties to complete. Remember to turn them in at the Resource Center.

Bounty Hunter

With the Resource Center (Tradeyard, near the entrance) you can Manage Investigations (see above) and Register Bounties. Bounties are like errands that you’re always working toward, no matter if you’re on a main quest or free roaming in an Expedition. You can register up to six bounties at any time, and they range from completing quests to hunting certain monsters to gathering certain types of materials.

Remember to check the Resource Center between quests for rewards and always have the max number of bounties registered. Bounties are a great way to earn Armor Spheres for upgrading your armor (see below).

Wear the Best Gear

You’ll be unlocking new armor sets at a rapid clip in the early game, as each new monster adds new armor pieces. The most important stat to look for is just boring old defense. You won’t need to worry about Elemental Resistances until a bit later in the game, when monsters start spewing poison or breathing fire.

monster hunter: world

Every piece of armor can be upgraded using Armor Spheres. These items are given as rewards for completing Investigations and Bounties. Go to the Workshop and Select Upgrade, and use the Armor Spheres to boost the defense stat of your various armor pieces. Each piece can only be boosted a set number of times, providing a natural ceiling for the set. This is motivation to keep crafting better armor!

Keep Your Blade Sharp

Eleven of the 14 weapons are melee weapons, and they need to be periodically sharpened. Weapon sharpness is represented by a small bar below your stamina in the upper left corner. As you strike a foe your weapon dulls, and the bar drops from green to yellow to red. You’ll do less damage and begin to see your weapon bounce off the monster’s hide with an insulting CLANG.

You need to use your Whetstone item (which is always equipped, like the fishing rod) and spend a few seconds sharpening. Since this leaves you completely vulnerable, it’s best to do it when the monster is retreating to a new area, or when it’s tied up with your Palico or other hunters.

Note that weapons are not created equal when it comes to their sharpness gauge. Typically Metal weapons will stay sharp longer (more green bar) than Bone weapons.

Affinity = Crit Chance

There’s a lot of things that aren’t well explained in Monster Hunter: World, and Affinity is one of them. You’ll find Affinity as a percentage stat on every weapon. It’s your chance to critically hit, doing increased damage. If it’s negative it means there’s a chance you could do reduced damage. A 20% positive Affinity means one in five hits should do increased damage.

Don’t neglect the Affinity percentage, and make sure to factor it when comparing weapons. Faster weapons, like the Dual Blades, greatly benefit from a high Affinity rating as you’ll be landing that boosted damage more often. Slower weapons like Hammers may prefer higher raw damage coupled with a negative Affinity, finding the trade-off more than acceptable.

Research Points

Research Points are earned when gathering materials, examining monster tracks, breaking body parts, and slaying and capturing monsters. Basically everything you do in the wild nets research points. They’re added to a currency-like pool you can use to forge Palico equipment as well as purchase meals at the Canteen.

Each monster also has its own Research Level, which you can view at the Ecological Research (the giant stack of books at the Tradeyard entrance, near the Resource Center). You have to actually visit the Ecological Research to apply any earned points, so make stopping there part of your routine in town. The points will unlock new information about monsters in your Hunter’s Notes (see below) as well as make tracking them via Scoutflies much easier. At level 3 the monster will show up on your minimap when you’re tracking it!

monster hunter: world

Know Thy Enemy

A good hunter gathers as much information about their prey as they can. On the pause menu you can access your Hunter’s Notes and look up detailed information of all the monsters you’ve encountered.

You’ll unlock additional information the more you hunt a monster, including its specific weak points (usually the head and tail) as well as any elemental and status weaknesses and resistances. If you’re hunting a specific monster it can be useful (and eventually, critical) to bring along the right weapon, though you needn’t really worry about it too much in the beginning. The most important information is knowing which body parts of the monster to target for extra damage.

Never Hunt on an Empty Stomach

Eating meals is usually not an important part of an action game, but it’s incredibly helpful in Monster Hunter: World.

In your home base of Astera you’ll find the Canteen on the third floor, manned (catted?) by a team of Palico cooks. You can pay either with money or research points, and you should have plenty of both.

Meals can boost your health, stamina, and provide useful buffs. It’s even more critical to eat when playing solo or with one other hunter, as your Palico receives several buffs as well (which in turn have a chance of buffing you).

monster hunter: world

Certain Optional Quests can unlock new ingredients at the Canteen, which you can use to customize your meals to create the perfect combination of stat boosts and buffs.

The effects of a meal last until you complete a quest, or until you faint. You can always eat a meal at campsites out in the world as well, just head over to the little oven near the tent.

Obey Your Thirst

Potions and Mega-Potions will be your primary means of health recovery. Gather Herbs and Honey and keep well-stocked at all times. Eventually you’ll unlock the Palico Vigorwasp Spray for a quick heal, and the Health Booster item for healing over time.

Later you can craft Mega-Nutrients to add to your max health, Energy Drinks to boost your stamina (and stave off Sleep effects), and Armorskin to boost your defense. Check the ingredients you need by opening your Crafting Menu from the Start Menu and when checking your Item Box next to the quest boards in Astera, or at any campsite. You can set items to auto-craft whenever you have the ingredients.

Note that like the meals, any potion effects you have will disappear if you faint.

Dino-Rider

It’s easiest with the aerial-fighting Insect Glaive but every hunter can attempt to land on the back of a monster to mount it. Use the terrain and items like the Glider Mantle to land on a monster’s back.

If you manage to mount a monster you will enter into a quick-time mini-game as you repeatedly slash at it with your carving knife while it attempts to throw you off. If you stay on you’ll eventually pull out your weapon and deal a massive blow. It’s a challenging, but rewarding maneuver to master in any battle.

 

pax south 2018

The 20 Most Exciting Indie Games from PAX South 2018

Posted by | Feature, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One | One Comment

As one of the smaller Penny Arcade Expos, PAX South remains a great destination for indie designers and publishers. This year Capcom dominated the showfloor with Monster Hunter: World, but bigger indie publishers like 1C, TinyBuild, Annapurna, Devolver Digital, and Crytivo also drew large crowds. Microsoft’s Mixer booth proved a popular destination, with the Hunger Games-like Battle Royale Darwin Project letting onlookers vote to help, or hinder, the players.

Here are the 20 most exciting indie games we saw at PAX South 2018.

Children of Morta

Developer: Dead Mage
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Release: 2018

“Basically Children of Morta is a hack and slash roguelike story-driven experience,” said Rufus Kubica, Community Manager at publisher 11 bit Studios. We jumped right into some cooperative dungeon crawling within the beautifully pixelated, randomly generated world of Mount Morta.

I played as the spellcasting daughter who could blast fireballs and unleash tornadoes, while the fighter-dad could slam swords down all around him. Combat was a bit faster and more dynamic than a Diablo. The full game will have six family members to choose from for up to two players to adventure together.

Crossing Souls

Developer: Fourattic
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release: February 13

Stop what you’re doing and watch the above trailer. Crossing Souls is dripping with cool animated style (complete with VHS scan lines!) and 80s pop culture. The real world 80s RPG setting reminded me of Earthbound, but with a much more active action-RPG combat system. I played through the very beginning, where our blue-haired hero wakes up at home and learns how to swing a bat by practicing with this dad in the backyard. Eventually you’ll control five characters, each with specific abilities that can be used to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.

Darwin Project

Developer: Scavengers Studio
Platforms: PC, XBO
Release: 2018 (End of March for Early Access)

You like the explosive new Battle Royale genre but think it could use a bit more Hunger Games viewer participation? Look no further than The Darwin Project.

The Microsoft Mixer booth was constantly drawing a crowd thanks to this game. Ten players are dropped into a snowy warzone where they must scavenge for supplies and upgrades. A game master has full control of the arena, such as being able to bestow buffs on crowd favorites or nuke entire zones that the audience has voted on. Given the popularity of other Battle Royale games, I can see this being a huge release for Microsoft later this year. A limited time open beta is coming this weekend.

Dauntless

Developer: Phoenix Labs
Platforms: PC
Release: 2018

I saw Dauntless at last year’s PAX South, and it’s making my list again this year. The free-to-play Monster Hunter-lite is much more impressive this time around. Controls instantly felt intuitive, and it was fun immediately jumping into a hunt with three other players.

We battled Skarn, a rocky lizard monster who could slough off his rocky scales to slam into us or call up spikes of rock to impale us. My war pike had several different combos I could unleash using the light and heavy attacks, and I had to coordinate with my team to draw it away while we could revive each other when the going got rough. We ultimately fell short of slaying the monster but I hope to try again during the beta period. Open beta should be available later this summer.

Deep Sky Derelicts

Developer: Snowhound Games
Platforms: PC
Release: March 2018 (Available now via Steam Early Access)

Deep Sky Derelicts is Darkest Dungeon in space. Create a team of badasses and go on missions to loot derelict spaceships, along with a fantastic synthwave soundtrack and comic book panel-animations.

The spaceships act as dungeon crawls, and combat shifts to a turn-based system. Deep Sky Derelict’s unique twist is that each weapon and item you equip grants a selection of cards. Each character has a personal deck they use to attack enemies, shield allies, or apply buffs and debuffs. I want to play a lot more of this game.

Evolution: The Video Game

Developer: North Star Games
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
Release: Spring 2018

The digital version of Evolution had just reached infancy at last year’s PAX South. This year I could see the fruits of their labor. The video game version is instantly familiar to veterans of the excellent tabletop game: create species, customize them with traits, and keep them well fed to earn victory points. The visuals and animation go above and beyond what I usually see in digital board game ports. Evolution is coming soon to PC, iOS, and Android and will feature cross-platform play and asynchronous multiplayer.

Frostpunk

Developer: 11 bit Studios
Platforms: PC
Release: 2018

From the creators of This War of Mine comes another stark, human look at survival with Frostpunk. The world has ended, blanketed in unforgiving snow and frost. I had control of the last city, whose hub was represented by a giant reactor core that harnesses geothermal energy from deep within the Earth. From there I had to carefully expand outward, building houses and collecting resources for my survivors.

Unlike many city-builders Frostpunk is concerned with the day-to-day lives of your citizens. As in This War of Mine numerous random events will pop up, forcing you to choose how to lead your people. I could enact child labor laws for safe work, and later down the road enact even stricter and more dystopian ordinances, all in the name of survival.

Guns of Icarus Alliance

Developer: Muse Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release: March 31 (Released last year on PC)

Guns of Icarus Alliance released last year on PC as a stand-alone expansion, adding new PvE elements to the team-based airship action. The build at PAX South was showing off the new PlayStation 4 version, which will have full cross-platform play and voice chat with the PC version.

One of the developers manned the wheel of our ship and shouted out incoming enemy airships as I and a handful of others ran around our flying steampunk zeppelin putting out fires, repairing guns, and firing on would be attackers. The level of coordination and teamwork required to succeed felt nicely challenging and fun.

Laser League

Developer: Roll7
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Release: Early 2018

I had lots of hands-on time with Laser League during a private press meeting with 505 Games. Laser League is the clever combination of Tron’s light cycles with arena sports. Several different class roles are available, each with special abilities including stuns, cloaking, and attack. The arena is full of rotating beams of light that must be touched to change them to your team’s color – rendering them deadly to your opponents. It’s an intuitive system that rewards teamwork and quick decision-making, like any good sports match.

Last Encounter

Developer: Exordium Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch
Release: Q2 2018

Twin stick space shooters are a dime in dozen, but Last Encounter’s four player local co-op is immediately exciting and fun. Within seconds of jumping in we were flying around firing our lasers and avoiding enemies. Each level was filled with dangerous hazards with keys to collect at the end, opening the way to a major boss battle against a giant ship that spawned smaller ships. Weapons and power-ups gave it a nice arcade-like feel, and the difficulty was mitigated by being able to resuscitate your downed allies.

Light Fall

Developer: Bishop Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch
Release: March 2018

Light Fall comes from a long line of mysterious side-scrolling platformers. What sets it apart is the ability to create your own platforms. As I controlled the shadowy protagonist, I could create a platform underneath me simply by pressing the jump button again, up to four times. When I later ran into lasers blocking my path, I pressed a different button to summon a moveable platform above me, letting me block the lasers while I skirted underneath. I particularly enjoyed the richly-voiced old man owl who accompanies you from level to level.

The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

Developer: Fantasy Flight Interactive
Platforms: PC
Release: 2018

Fantasy Flight Games are one of the premiere board game developers, and now they’re bringing one of their best card games to digital form. The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game looks similar to Hearthstone, but it’s actually entirely cooperative. It’s designed for solo or up to two players to choose three heroes and battle against Sauron’s gathering forces during the early days of the adventure.

The ‘Living Card Game’ means it does not rely on random booster packs. Instead you purchase expansion packs knowing exactly which cards they will include. That is very appealing in an era where we’re being smothered in loot boxes.

The Messenger

Developer: Sabotage Studio
Platforms: PC, unannounced consoles
Release: 2018

The Messenger was one of the most impressive games I saw at the show floor. On the surface it looks like yet another retro-inspired, pixelated platformer, complete with Ninja Gaiden-style protagonist. Dig slightly deeper and you’ll discover a killer chiptune soundtrack, delightfully funny dialogue, perfect controls and level design, and a well-structured world that actually evolves from 8-bit into 16-bit, then into full on Metroidvania. The Messenger could absolutely be the next Shovel Knight in pitch-perfect retro gameplay.

Moonlighter

Developer: Digital Sun Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch
Release: 2018

What if Link only adventured at night, and ran a shop during the day? That’s the question posed by Digital Sun Games in Moonlighter. The dungeon crawling portions was an exact recreation of old school top-down Legend of Zelda. As I gathered treasure my backpack would fill up, prompting me to return to town to put the goods on display. There’s a deep economy system where you have full control over setting prices for each object, noting what sells and how happy your clients are. Make money, purchase better gear, and make it farther into the dungeon. Capitalism, ho!

Omensight

Developer: Spearhead Games
Platforms: PC
Release: 2018

From the developers of story-driven action-RPG Stories: Path of Destinies comes another story-driven action-RPG in Omensight. The level design and combat felt very similar as I used mystical abilities to grab foes from afar and create a time-slowing bubble.

I traversed a temple level with my rat-woman ally, but when we reached the end I had to make a choice with how to deal with the bird priest. One choice sided with her as we took on the priest in a boss fight, while the other let me side with the priest, skipping the fight but also losing her friendship. The full game will feature numerous choices and paths as you discover how to prevent the end of the world.

Phantom Doctrine

Developer: CreativeForge Games
Platforms: PC
Release: 2018

It’s the 1980s and we’re knee-deep in spy warfare during the Cold War era. Phantom Doctrine most closely resembles XCOM with its turn-based tactical combat, but it’s all the other systems that make it interesting, from using your spies to distract guards (provided they know the language of the locals) to capturing and brainwashing enemy spies and turning them to your side with a trigger phrase.

Phantom Doctrine uses all the best bits of all your favorite spy movies, including the classic corkboard string-and-thumbtack walls where you try to decipher clues to uncover hidden plots and secrets. All these systems have the potential of buckling under their weight, but from what I played I’m confident CreativeForge Games has a firm grasp on how to create a memorable spy game.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Platforms: PC
Release: 2018

Obsidian remains one of the best RPG developers around. To say I’m excited for the sequel to my personal game of the year three years ago is an understatement. Pillars of Eternity 2 is looking fantastic, taking the tactical RPG into the pirate-filled archipelago of the Deadfire. Everything is getting nice little tweaks and facelifts, from the UI to combat. Now you can program your entire party Final Fantasy 12-style, letting you show off your skill as a tactician as you chase after a giant runaway god-statue.

Sleep Tight

Developer: We Are Fuzzy
Platforms: PC, Switch
Release: 2018

Sleep Tight has a noticeably kid-friendly aesthetic and theme – you’re a kid who must protect his bedroom from incoming monsters. It’s one part tower defense and one part twin stick shooter as I used my earn star power to craft super-soaker weapons and walls made of couch cushions. Don’t let its cute graphics fool you, Sleep Tight is still a challenge as you’re tasked with surviving as many nights as you can.

The Swords of Ditto

Developer: OneBitBeyond
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release: Early 2018

Swords of Ditto had one of the loveliest, brightest art styles of all the games I saw. The animations are equally gorgeous as my randomly generated character woke up on a beach to grab the sword and continue the 16-bit Zelda-like adventure. The catch? Dying is permanent, generating a new hero with different weapons each time. But your progress through the world is saved, creating an interesting rogue-like Zelda experience.

Wattam

Developer: Funomena
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release: Early 2018

Wattam has suffered through development hell to emerge as a quirky, fun little adventure puzzle game coming this year. It’s from the creator of Katamari Damacy, and feels very similar in theme as you discover the world around you through the various goofy anthropomorphic objects and characters. Analog controls, cheery music, and bright smiles help sell this as a good-feeling, light-hearted puzzle game.

Pixelkin’s Game of the Year 2016

Posted by | Feature, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Rather than settle on one game of the year, here at Pixelkin we feel like every one of our writers brings a unique perspective. Therefore our most prominent contributors have made their game of the year selections. Our hope is that these recommendations give you an idea of the great games of the year in all of our eyes.

Nicole’s Pick

Event[0]

I’ve been playing games my whole life and have been writing about them for more than 10 years. While there are many games that are great at what they do, it’s a rare occasion that I see something completely new. Event[0] is one of those games. Though the story isn’t that different from other AI gone wrong games like Portal, the gameplay is not only intriguing, it’s a lot of fun. Rather than listening to the  AI spout information to you, in Event[0] you have the chance to interact with that AI, whose name is Kaizen.

event0-screenshot-01

You use terminals throughout the environment to converse with the Kaizen. Very little direction is given in regard to what you should ask or say, so the conversations end up being unique to each player. And besides that, they can be very amusing. This is impressive given that even modern RPGs that are focused on choice only have a few canned responses. In Event [0] those responses are nearly limitless.

Kaizen is arguably one of the main characters, if not the main character in the game. Heck, he’s one of the most interesting characters in any game. You can’t proceed without his help and many times you’ll have to be nice to him to get him to help you. Kaizen is a witty and somewhat moody character. Many times I tried multiple approaches to see what he would say and it was endlessly entertaining.

Lots of games that are trying something new with their gameplay end up falling into a hole where the game falters in other aspects in order to accommodate that gameplay. Event[0] keeps an entertaining story and other types of gameplay intact while adding in something new. This game hasn’t received the kind of attention that it deserves. It’s unique, amusing and fun. That’s the reason why it’s my favorite game of the year.

Eric’s Pick

Stardew Valley

My game of the year came as a complete surprise. I knew I’d love Overwatch, XCOM 2, and Civilization VI. I’d never given much thought to sim farm games like Harvest Moon, but I ended up sinking over 70 hours into this charming, pixelated adventure.

stardew-valley

Stardew Valley plays like a love letter to 90s JRPGs, localized entirely within a single town. There’s so much to do in and around Pelican Town it’s often overwhelming, especially since the game takes place in a strict day/night cycle with real seasons. Explore the mines to defeat monsters and find treasure. Socialize with townsfolk to earn rewards, and maybe even a spouse. Fish, explore, trade, and participate in seasonal events. Each day brings a wealth of important tasks and new possibilities.

Stardew Valley is so much more than a farm sim, yet the farming portion is also immensely satisfying. There’s a wonderful balance between scrapping enough money to buy just a few seeds, to eventually turning your land into a well-oiled brewery or animal farm that makes more money than you know what to do with. It’s a great experience with a catchy soundtrack, surprisingly poignant writing, and some of the best pixel art I’ve seen. Stardew Valley deserves all the praise and accolades for being this year’s big indie success, and my favorite game of the year.

Stephen’s Pick

Overwatch

The time has come to bid farewell to one heck of a bad year. 2016 wasn’t very good for much, but we did get some amazing video games. Nicole, our fearless leader, asked me a few weeks ago to think long and hard about what my personal game of the year should be. I had a lot of options, because I played a lot of very cool video games. But, at the end of it all there is only one game that stands out as “the best” and that is Overwatch.

overwatch-screen

Overwatch is a brilliantly designed game that is possessed of a level of polish that is rarely seen in games today. Every minute detail in that glorious game is treated with care. You can feel the energy that went into development just like you can feel the excitement in a match rise naturally as it reaches its crescendo.

It isn’t just the details that make the difference though. Overwatch has managed to prove that an online multiplayer shooter with no single player campaign to speak of can be successful. And it achieved this goal by having an amazing set of characters that are well balanced against each other and all but forcing players to learn to play all of them in order to excel at the game. In most multiplayer games players are expected to select a “main.” This is the character you focus all of your effort into learning. With Overwatch the game forces you to learn all of them the same way you would learn the nuances of different weapons in other shooters. This would be bothersome if it weren’t for the fact that all of the characters in this game just so freaking COOL!

Speaking of characters – The world is a scary place and there are a lot of people who are more scared by people who are different from them. Overwatch doesn’t do that. It celebrates a cast of characters that celebrate diversity more than just about any game to have come before. If you have doubts, then look at the character select screen and take a look at all the different nationalities, body types, and genders represented. Its impressive, but what makes it better is that nothing feels forced. All of the characters are complete and well rounded. No one is the “token” anything. This is a great feeling when it feels like the celebration of diversity is being squelched elsewhere.

These are just a few of the reasons that Overwatch is a must play game. No excuses people. Go grab it and enjoy!

Pixelkin's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Pixelkin 2016 Holiday Guide

Posted by | Feature, Mobile, PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox One | No Comments

Here are our recommendations for games that would make good gifts this holiday. Click on your platform below and you’ll get a list of games, broken down into games that are great for all ages, and those that would be better for older gamers. Each listing includes a snippet from our reviews of the games. Remember DON’T FORGET GIFT CARDS! Sometimes these make better gifts than specific games, especially if you’re not quite sure what some one would want.

playstation4-logo xbox-one-logo wii-u-logo

 

mobile-logo pc-logo 3ds-logo
skylanders: imaginators

The Best Skylanders: Imaginators Figures from the Launch Wave

Posted by | Feature, Opinion, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox One | No Comments

With a sixth game in as many years, the Skylanders crew has had to create an astonishing amount of new toy figures. While each Skylanders game has its own unique gimmicks, playing with new and old figures is still the main draw of each entry.

Skylanders: Imaginators features one of the most enjoyable new twists in being able to create your own customizable Skylander. Yet the new Sensei and Villain figures shouldn’t be ignored; they are some of the best figures we’ve seen yet. Read More