Video Game Reviews: the Holiday’s Biggest Video Games

Kyle Bergfors, Associate Editor

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Ever since the multi-million-dollar success of Fortnite, a 100% free to play battle royal third person shooter where players land within a map and duke it out until there’s a winner, the video game community has been head-over-heels for this new game genre resulting in other game studios creating their own versions of the battle royal experience. This is where Call of Duty: Blacks Ops 4 comes into play. Activision and Treyarch decided to take an entirely new route to this year’s Call of Duty installment and the fourth in the Black Ops series, thus eliminating the single player campaign that comes with every first-person shooter game in order to place more emphasis and to better manage their time & resources on the online, multiplayer aspects of the game. Originally meet with skepticism on this move, in hand with the un-easiness on the inclusion of their own version of battle royal, titled Blackout, this tone would eventually change upon release when old fans and new fans flocked to the new title with excitement and eagerness. As a more old-school Call of Duty fan, I can personally attest to Black Ops 4’s success, because what a video game comes down is are you having fun? I haven’t had as much fun playing a COD game since middle-school when Modern Warfare 2 & Black Ops 1 were just coming out. Activision and Treyarch managed to create an entirely new COD experience with a new approach of fast paced, high-octane game mechanics & gunplay, while still maintaining a boots on the ground approach, in hand with the success of Blackout, which is essentially a more well-polished and playable Players Unknown Battleground, in addition to the return of the classic Black Ops game mode, Nazi Zombies making Black Ops 4 a complete success for the time being.

 

Assassins Creed: Odyssey

One of the best decisions game developer & publisher Ubisoft did with the Assassins Creed series was take time off from it. By doing this, it allowed them time to re-evaluate what the future of the series was and could be while allowing it to stay true to its roots. The re-modeling and re-vamping of this game series is a true success story that began with Assassins Creed: Origins allowing for the, at the time, largest map size in an Assassins Creed game, more to explore, new method to the game mechanics, & then some, yet Origins was still lacking that little extra unf that a game requires. Ubisoft realized this. They then set out on making the necessary improvements and changes, while adding even more content and completely changing the genre of Assassins Creed with the release of AC: Odyssey. This installment follows a brother and a sister in ancient Greece separated at birth as they uncover their past, unite a nation during war, and continue to lay out the history & the lore of the franchise. Similar to Origins, Odyssey allows for more flexibility in different play styles, an even larger map with more locations to explore than in Origins, and now have moved into the realm of the role-playing genre with the addition of choices, consequences, dialogue options, and more. While it is not as multi-layered or detailed as the Elder Scrolls series, Fallout, or Mass Effect, it is still a very impressive start to hopefully a regular occurrence in the game series because this adds an entirely new dimension to the series ultimately making the game more memorable with a higher replay value. Assassins Creed is one of the biggest comeback stories in triple A gaming right now, so I sincerely hope they continue to make improvements and new additions to the series after the success of the last two installments.

 

Fallout 76

What started as an honest mission to create a new and unique Fallout experience quickly turned into one of the biggest centers of drama of 2018 within the gaming community. From game ruining glitches to players getting banned for almost no logical reason to Bethesda not honoring or fulfilling pre-order items properly and then ignoring customer complaints for re-funds on said items, Fallout 76 was quickly overshadowed by this maelstrom of drama and problems. What follows is my honest opinion on this game consisting of a decent number of hours put into playing it. Fallout 76 had a massive amount of potential, an entirely online Fallout game that you can play with other people while exploring the largest Fallout map to date? What could possibly go wrong? Well, just about everything. The lack of human NPCs quickly put a damper on any possibility of a true story line or the inclusion of RPG/decision making elements in the game, there are none, yet, if I’m going to be honest, I still enjoy the game even though the core aspects and what makes the Fallout games great weren’t to be included and the game would still be running on the same, outdated game engine that was used for Morrowind, Oblivion, Elder Scrolls, & every Fallout before this one. Ultimately, the addition of playing with friends and meeting new people online has resulted in some extremely memorable experiences already, in addition to an immensely sized map with an uncountable amount of locations to discover across the most scenic location in the Fallout series so far. Yet, I find myself being discouraged to play it due to the lack of an engaging story-line. This is where Fallout 76 fails. If players aren’t motivated to play the game then why should they play the game? Regardless, I still hold the opinion that Fallout 76 had and still has a massive amount of potential. That if Bethesda had approached the absence of human NPCs differently therefore, finding a method to include them in the game in addition to the desperate need for a game engine update. Overall, Fallout 76 will leave me with plenty of great memories as I explore gorgeous Appalachia with old friends and new friends, while also leaving me worried about the future of the Fallout franchise and the Elder Scrolls series due to the desperately needed game engine update, the direction Bethesda is taking, & the financial failure that followed Fallout 76’s launch.

 

Battlefield 5

EA’s & Dice’s first installment since the controversial Star Wars: Battlefront 2, due to the debate around the inclusions and abuse of micro-transactions, ended up still being surround by some negative press and drama. Except this time around, it was centered around, as corny as this sounds, EA’s decision to go “politically correct”. Similar to the debate around Star Wars and many other movies, TV shows, and video games, a small, but vocal minority, believe that these platforms are become too “PC”. Overall, these “issues” aren’t actually issues at all within these media outlets, but rather a minority of people using the excuse of “historical accuracy” for not wanting to see women, people of color, and other stories outside of the standard, cliché of white men displaying acts of equally stereotypical acts of heroism. This is where I believe the single player campaign, referred to as war stories, stands out. Battlefield 5 takes you on a unique journey across multiple perspectives and experiences during World War II that are often not heard off or are ignored ranging from British special forces in Africa to Norwegian resistance fighters trying to stop the Nazi’s creation of atomic weapons, the often looked over and ignored contribution of black French soldiers in Europe, & even a war story focusing on a German Tiger tank commander during the final weeks of the war. The online multiplayer stuck to its grit and remained tride and true as to what makes a Battlefield game great, interactive vehicles, a fully destructible environment, large maps & large scale battles, and fast-paced gameplay, while including new additions to the Battlefield franchise like creating fortifications during battle allowing players to create new advantages and challenges as the game unfolds in real time, their own version of battle royal, the emphasis on squad mechanics and working together, more refined gunplay and character movement, & the removal of a season pass allowing every player to have access to 100% free content. I’ve been a fan of the Battlefield series since Battlefield: Bad Company and I can say this just may be my favorite Battlefield game since Battlefield 3.