Death of the Critic

First Person Shooters

The Backlog - Battlefield: Hardline

Written by: Tom Blaich

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I have a confession to make. Like many of you reading this, I have a list of games that I’ve been meaning play for years. I have way too many games on Steam, and a stack of cases sitting next to my TV. Close to five hundred games now. Maybe more. It makes me feel guilty. I haven’t touched 90% of them in one way or another. I need to fix that. So this week, I dug deep into my backlog and pulled out a game. I want to play all of them; I’ve just never had the chance. Now’s the time.

With Battlefield 1 already in players hands, I thought it was only appropriate to go back to the oft-maligned and forgotten Battlefield: Hardline. The game that a franchise desperately wants you to forget. It was the 2015 attempt at annualizing the franchise, and unfortunately, a cops and robbers themed game released at a time where players weren’t looking at police as heroes. This coupled with some confusing design decisions that made Hardline feel unlike many Battlefield titles of the past, combined to quickly push this game out of players minds. I picked up a copy early this year, and it fell to the bottom of a stack of games a mile long. Until now.

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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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In some ways,
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is the most interesting Call of Duty game to release since Modern Warfare. For once, they have finally nailed down the shooter campaign story in a way that no other game quite has this year. It goes to places that are legitimately surprising to see as a player, and they actually try to say something with the story. But at the same time, the multiplayer experience is subpar. Which is so out of left field for a game like Call of Duty. It is the exact opposite of what you would expect when you pick up one of these games each fall.

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Titanfall 2 - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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It is not often that a shooter manages to get almost everything right. Every year we see so many games try and so many of them fail. The original Titanfall was a great game, that simply didn't last long enough to be fantastic. What was there was excellent, but there simply wasn't enough stuff packed in the box to leave many gamers, including me, satisfied. With
Titanfall 2, we finally have what the first game promised to us and teased us with, and it is the best shooter of the year. It has a fun, if slightly ridiculous (in the best way) campaign, and a fantastic multiplayer mode that I've already dumped way too many hours into, that I can see myself playing for a long time. It is the most complete package on the market right now, and all signs point to its strength going forward.

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Killing Floor 2 - Review

Written By: CJ Streetman

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In the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of games like
Call of Duty, which dilute their experience by trying to be everything for everyone. They become bloated  with serviceable modes that all are perfectly adequate in their own rights, but don’t really excel in anything.

Conversely, games like Killing Floor 2, which come with a clear sense of identity and purpose, are becoming more and more rare.

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The Backlog - Receiver

Written by: Tom Blaich

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I have a confession to make. Like many of you reading this, I have a list of games that I’ve been meaning play for years. I have way too many games on Steam, and a stack of cases sitting next to my TV. Close to five hundred games now. Maybe more. It makes me feel guilty. I haven’t touched 90% of them in one way or another. I need to fix that. So this week, I dug deep into my
backlog and pulled out a game. I want to play all of them; I’ve just never had the chance. Now’s the time.

It turns out that guns are more complex than video games make them out to be. You don’t just hold down the giggle switch until all the bullets kill all the bad guys. There are a few more steps to remember.
Receiver tries to capture some of this complexity by putting you in control of every aspect of your handgun. You search a dark building scattered with lethal flying drones and automatic turrets that are ready to do their devastating duty on your flimsy body. Luckily, your enemies are as fragile as you are, and you have to survive while finding tapes that can tell you more about the reality that you have found yourself trapped in.

Every time you spawn in, you are given one of a few different handguns and a pocketful of bullets. Maybe you’ll even get a flashlight, if you are lucky, but don’t count on it. You could find yourself with a Glock 18, 4 fully loaded magazines, and a flashlight, or you could have a revolver with half a cylinder of empty shells and six usable bullets. It quickly becomes a game of managing what you have, balancing your few available rounds between whichever magazines you are lucky enough to start with or find. There is no ammo counter, or indicator of how many rounds you have left. You have to remember how many shots you have fired, how many fit in one magazine, and how many rounds you have to reload with.

It’s easy to find yourself in a situation that will get you killed because you aren’t prepared. You forgot to take the safety off, and you die. Your hammer isn’t cocked, and your gun can’t be fired. You only have two rounds left in your magazine but three enemies are coming at you. There isn’t a quick reload here, and it comes down to finger dexterity to see if you can survive. It makes each room into a nailbiting-ly tense experience. You don’t know what is around the next corner, but you know it can kill you in a split second.

You are fragile as hell. If you are so much as touched by an enemy, you are about to die. You might have a few seconds while you are bleeding out, but you won’t survive. It is brutal, and it changes every encounter from something normal into a life or death situation. All of a sudden the shot you are about to take is way more difficult. The possibility of death lurking around the corner compels you to panic. You’ll die countless times as you try to learn the world and it’s mechanics, and there is something amazing about the first time you manage to operate the gun without using the help menu in the corner fo the screen. The learning curve is practically a vertical line, but there is something intriguing about the way that the game plays.

The fundamental idea is solid, and the simple environment can be beneficial as it contains no distractions, just the few things you need to notice to survive. It is like a proof of concept that this can work, I just wish that there was a little bit of variety in the world. What would it be like if you were dropped in a forest full of monsters with a hunting rifle, or in the streets of a war torn city with an M4? I loved the idea, but I found myself enjoying the idea more than the execution sometimes. There are marked improvements that could be made to the graphics, voice-acting, level design, enemy variety, and more. But the core, the fundamental idea is as solid as I’ve seen. With some amount of polish and experimentation it could be great.

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Tommy_Tom

Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.



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The Backlog - Wolfenstein: The New Order

Written By: CJ Streetman

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It’s way too easy to fall way too far behind on games. They simply ask for too much of your time and money to be able to keep up with all the ones that look interesting. Thankfully, almost entirely due to online sales, eventually you’re able to get most games for a five dollar bill and an afternoon of free time.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is about 10 hours of ups and downs.

I’ve been wanting to play
Wolfenstein: The New Order since its initial release, and as many complaints as I’ve had about the experience, I genuinely enjoyed my time with the game.

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The Backlog - Homefront: The Revolution

Written by: Tom Blaich

Homefront_header


I have a confession to make. Like many of you reading this, I have a list of games that I’ve been meaning play for years. I have way too many games on Steam, and a stack of cases sitting next to my TV. Close to five hundred games now. Maybe more. It makes me feel guilty. I haven’t touched 90% of them in one way or another. I need to fix that. So this week, I dug deep into my backlog and pulled out a game. I want to play all of them; I’ve just never had the chance. Now’s the time.

The first
Homefront was forgotten rather quickly, another in a long line of generic modern shooters that everyone forgot about. I, like many others, thought that it would be a forgotten piece of video game history, a curiosity that somehow got made. So, when it was revived as a semi-open world, first-person shooter, I was baffled, to say the least.

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Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3
has one thing going for it. The world isn’t engaging, the characters are lackluster, the story is cookie cutter, but you have a rifle, and an uncanny ability to shoot people in the face from very far away. And that is what you do. Start a mission, mark targets, and snipe people. Wash, rinse, and repeat. It isn’t a bad system so much as it is a well-trodden and forgettable one, but luckily the novelty of shooting people in the face with high-powered rifles from hundreds of meters away lasted a while for me.

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