Shmee Destroys Great Britain In Forza Horizon 4!

If you read my Forza Horizon 3 review, you know that FH3 was/is one of my favorite games of all time, and guess what?  Forza Horizon 4 is more of what made Forza Horizon 3 great!  So, if you loved Forza Horizon 3, you will probably find a lot to love in Forza Horizon 4.  It is not a re-invention of the franchise, but no one wanted that anyway.

In Forza Horizon 4 you are no longer the ‘boss’ for the Horizon Festival, you are just another racer, so you are no longer trying to level up Forza event locations.  What are you trying to do is win all the races, so you can become a British Real Estate Tycoon.  Which is to say that without event locations, you need to buy houses for fast travel locations, and the houses you buy come with perks like more wheel spins, fancy clothes or extra cars, so you want those houses (and castles).

You also need those houses, story wise, to stay in because you now live in England through the changing seasons, and if you are going to live in the UK for foreseeable future, you will need a few places to lay your head and store your cars.  The seasons are fun: Things are frozen over and thick snow blocks your progress in the Winter, mud and rain ruin your traction in the Spring, conditions are perfect in the Summer, and you get Spring with leaves in the Fall.  It is always a challenge to retune your skills with each change of the season (seasons change every week).

The other big change is that Forza Horizon 4 is online by default now.  Instead of Drivatars racing around, they are real people, and they are also ghosts.  Spooky!  It makes sense, you don’t want people purposely being able to grief each other while going from place to place, I mean that is what the races are for.  It is fun to watch other people screwing around at least as much as I am.

Besides the Forza Event locations, the only thing Forza Horizon 4 lacks from 3 is the event Blueprint system.  You can’t plan out your own jumps or speed traps anymore.  All you can do is tweak existing races.  I am guessing this had to be done so the game could always be online, and I don’t really miss it that much.  Mostly because I am leveling up all the time, and I don’t just mean my overall level, but you level up in types of races, car collection, photo mode, skill points and just about everything else.  I am pretty sure the only way not to progress in FH4 is to just sit still, but even then, there must be some bar going up somewhere.

Mostly, FH4 is just more Forza Horizon, and I love it.  I love driving a Lamborghini off a cliff and in to a pond below, or racing a Willys Jeep across the country.  If I don’t want to do any of that, I can just mess about, and the game pats me on the head and tells me I am its favorite and hands me some points.  It is all so good.  Even if some may call Forza Horizon 4 an expansion for 3.  It is a vast expansion with a lot to do, and it expands on a wonderful game, wonderfully.  Buy Forza Horizon 4 (or get it with Game Pass) it is more fun than just about anything else out there.

Lucky Tells Shmee A Super Tale!

Did you know Microsoft has an exclusive platformer?  And it is not Blinx or Voodoo Vince?  It is Super Lucky’s Tale, and it is a sequel to an Oculus Rift title, so I am sure there was a ton of demand for it.  Well all joking aside, it is a pretty decent game.  It is not a classic, but it scratches that Mario 64 itch.  You explore cute worlds, find coins and collect random things.

You play as the titular fox Lucky who gets trapped in a magical book with a lot of ‘evil’ cats, and you need to kick them out.  To do so you need to collect clovers and be able to play a platformer.  The more collectables you find per level, the more clovers you get.

As far as the game goes, it is a basic 3D platformer.  It is a little slower though, so think more Mario and less Sonic.  However, there are lot of different types of levels: standard exploration, endless runner, super monkey ball tilting levels, and other random puzzles.  Not to mention the boss levels, so there is plenty of variety.

Super Lucky’s Tale is not going to set the world on fire, but it is fun, and if you have younger kids, I am sure they will love it, or even if you are old like me, collecting things is a good time.  While I don’t think this game sold as well as Microsoft wanted, I hope they stick with it because they lack a solid platformer in their portfolio.  Super Lucky’s Tale was a good first try, and I think they should give it another one.

Shmee Will Remember Telltale!

After fourteen years and over thirty games Telltale Games will soon be no more.  I will miss them greatly.  I loved their take on the choose your own adventure graphic novel.  I know some people say what they made are not really games, but I loved seeing where my story would end up, and entertainment is entertainment.  Sadly, I was probably part of the problem.  Why?  Because I always waited until the games were cheap or free to get them, and I know I was not alone.

Telltale was able to create its own genre of game, but then it was never really able to capitalize on it.  It kept spending money licensing movies, comics and TV shows, and then selling their games for very little money.  You can see the problem with that pretty quick.  Add the fact that their engine was ageing and was very glitchy, so they needed to spend a lot of money on an overhaul no doubt only added to their financial problems.

Still, with The Wolf Among Us, Tales From the Borderlands, and the Batman games, they created some classics that will stick with me for a long time.  I am sure that others will come along and build on their formula.  You never know, another company may come in and buy out their name and try to keep things going, but for the time being I going to miss their creativity and storytelling.  Shmee will remember that.

Call Of Duty Goes After PUBG With Blackout!

I was a able to secure a few codes for the ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Blackout’ private beta that happened over the past weekend, and my initial thoughts are that it is a faster less janky PUBG.  There are some things that set it apart: instead of artillery zones there are zombies, the map is smaller, the times between circles are shorter and there is a lot more loot out there, so supply drops are a lot less interesting, but other than that, it is a lot like PUBG.

The rounds start off a lot faster in Blackout with eighty-eight people dropping in to a map that is probably a quarter of the size of either of the two larger PUBG maps, so there are less empty places to hide right off the bat.  Generally you will be shooting at someone when your boots hit the ground, or you will be the one getting shot at.  However, if you can survive the drop and the initial chaos, the familiar hide and seek gameplay that PUBG is known for starts to materialize.

Though just because Blackout is more PUBG than Fortnite doesn’t mean it should be skipped.  It runs at a much higher framerate than PUBG, it looks a lot better, still not great, but better, and if you prefer the shooting mechanics of Call of Duty over those of PUBG, this will feel better.  It just feels more polished over all.

The question is will I be shelling out $60 for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4?  I don’t think so.  It isn’t that much better than PUBG, and I personally don’t like Call of Duty’s zero recoil tinny sounding gunplay.  Plus, I am not a fan the standard Call of Duty multiplayer, or do I need to play the latest zombie mode, and you know future Blackout maps will be stuck behind a DLC paywall.  Which is something about big budget shooters that I have always hated.  In other words, there is still too much Call of Duty attached to Blackout for me to switch.  So for the time being I will be hunting down my chicken dinners in the jank-filled swamps of PUBG.

Shmee Tries Out Battlefield V!

I have been playing around with the Battlefield V open beta, and I am happy to report that things are shaping up nicely.  V is not a large departure from Battlefield 1.  It is more of an incremental update.  The characters move a little faster, you get to spectate your squad before jumping in behind them and everyone having automatic weapons makes a lot more sense.  There are no loot boxes, but I am sure once the game launches that there will be microtransactions for cosmetic items.

The biggest changes are how health and ammo are doled out.  When you spawn you get about two clips worth of shells for your primary weapon, so to get more you will need to pick up rounds off of dead enemies or have really good support players making sure they are running around dropping crates and throwing ammo packs.  The same thing for health.  It doesn’t regenerate as fast, so you can get health packs off of the other team, or hopefully your medic isn’t out there just going for kills.  There are also stations to pick up health and ammo, so if your team isn’t handing everything out efficiently you can memorize where those stations are and make them part of your route.

For most players I don’t think these changes are too much of an issue since they will be out there running and gunning, but it does force scouts and campers to have to relocate to go get ammo more often, or have a squad that can keep them in mind and continue to circle back to drop off supplies for them, so while I can tell you there are still plenty of snipers in Battlefield V, it doesn’t seem as bad as the snipe-fest that is Battlefield 1.

If you were hoping for something totally different for Battlefield V, you may be disappointed, but if you just needed some things tweaked and a bunch of new maps, I think you will be very happy when Battlefield V comes out this November.  It will definitely be on my short list, though I have a feeling Red Dead Redemption 2 will occupy my life for the foreseeable future.