Paradise Lost: A Melancholy Bunker

When I initially opened up this game, I honestly was not sure what I was in for. I immediately got Bioshock vibes with this steampunk, post-apocalyptical atmosphere. However, I could not imagine that the story could have such a strong impact on this title. The game started what seemed slow, only to creep in and leave a feeling of heartache and a choice that seemed almost impossible to pick what was right. Paradise Lost is an indie adventure game developed by PolyArmorous and published by All In! Games SA. You can purchase this on Playstation, Xbox, and PC for $14.99. If you don’t mind slow gameplay and love heavy story-based video games, this is the game for you. 

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The story takes place post World War 2, but instead of the Nazi Army of Germany losing there was no victor. Instead, the Nazis launched nuclear missiles on most of Europe leaving nothing but a wasteland. Afterward, Europe was shrouded in radiation and smoke, and it seems like all life has disappeared. You play as a survivor, a young boy named Szymon who is 12 years of age. His mother has recently passed, and all he has left is a photograph of her and a mysterious man. As the boy, you find a Nazi Bunker in hopes of finding this man, only to run into a girl named Ewa who contacts you through this mysterious technology, and strike a deal in hopes to reach your goals. However, the farther into the bunker you go, the more secrets and dark truths you uncover. The atmosphere only adds to the depressing tale of Szymon, for you have to climb, crawl, and discover all of the horrible pre-wasteland truths of the Nazi warriors and their experiments and technology. Swastikas cover the halls, documents and letters are left at every turn and desk, and there are blueprints and recorders left at various meeting rooms and lobbies alike. The more you read, and the more you listen, the more these dreadful truths come to life.

I loved this story premise, for going into this game you have no sense of self yet, and you have to read through every article and listen for dialogue to match them up with the infrequent cut scenes to put the pieces together. A lot of games struggle with storytelling when trying to make it heavily reading-based, but this game surprised me in how well they executed this. You also get to read perspectives from the fallen civilians and soldiers along the way to see how life was before everything ended. The voice acting was a bit off in terms of the German accents, but nothing that impacted the game too heavily. One other minor complaint I have is that there are only a few instances where you can choose your responses and none of them aside for your final choice matters. It would have been nice to see more instances with dialogue choices that somehow impacted the game to make it a bit more interactive. I will give a warning for players, for this game is not for the faint of heart. Due to the settings of this game, there are a lot of letters and recordings with derogatory statements, and there are actual swastikas everywhere since this is placed in a Nazi bunker.

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The gameplay was nothing really to write home about, but honestly, some games do not need solid gameplay to get them through. This is overall a story-based adventure that makes the game so solid. However, there are some issues I did take with it. First and foremost in any game like this, where you discover and read for more clues, I think that collectibles are insanely important to push players to want to venture more through every area they possibly can. I also would have liked to see more interaction with different tools that you would need on your adventure, for in the game you only really needed a document to get through the first area and an access card towards the end. It almost felt like the adventure went too smoothly, there was no danger or obstacles which let’s be honest if you are in a bunker that’s falling apart at the seems I expect difficulty. My last complaint is there is no sprint whatsoever, and the walking is insanely slow. I mean almost unbearable, like the original Final Fantasy 12 kind of slow. If you want players to take their time, by all means, but don’t have an angsty 12-year-old slow crawl. Overall these were minor issues, though they did impact the slow storytelling a bit the ending honestly made everything so worth it. 

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Overall I loved the game; though it got off to a rough start I am happy that I pushed through it. The atmosphere was beautifully designed and filled you with a sense of feeling utterly alone and helpless. Playing as Szymon was a really hard experience and strong journey, and the character was extremely well designed. Ewa was also a fantastically written character, and her overall story was probably one of the most heartbreaking scenarios that anyone could experience. This is was of the best story-driven games that I have had the pleasure of playing in a long time, and I highly recommend this game to Indie Adventure lovers of all kinds.

DVS Score: 7/10

PlayStation 5: Hardware Review

The Playstation 5 is the new, current-generation console released by Sony last November of 2020. The console is the most powerful yet of all the released consoles and really built upon what players wanted as opposed to their last released console the Playstation 4 Pro. I was very pleasantly surprised with the overall performance of this console and left with a feeling of satisfaction and comfort. There are a few changes I would have made personally, but this release is a huge success for Sony compared to previous releases. This console comes in two editions, being the digital-only and the disc. The digital edition costs $399.99, while the disc edition costs $499.99. If you can manage to get a console outside of scalpers, they are released in batches at stores such as Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, and Target.

Sony PlayStation 5

The PS5 is excellent as far as performance goes, especially now that they have included a high-speed NVMe SSD creating a hell of a lot faster boot up, and cutting load times for games from 1GB in 20 seconds per the PS4 to 2GB in .27 seconds on this new console. The console supports 8K streaming for apps such as Netflix and Hulu, and we can now play games in full 4k thanks to the new AMD custom GPU with RDNA 2 architecture hardware. I will say what I am most impressed with the cooling system. We all of course remember the previous consoles, and how hot they could become leading to the fans running overtime. This resulted in load fans constantly trying to cool down the CPU and system leaving users feel nothing but anxiety or annoyance. I mean let’s be real, the PS4 Slim and Pro could get insanely loud. However, this system uses liquid metal cooling between the CPU and heatsink, as well as using new AMD technology where unused power will be diverted back and forth between the CPU and GPU. The only downside to this is that players experience varying frequencies depending on the demand from either part. Not to mention the PS5 will only be as quiet depending on the game being played and the performance it is being played in. We now also get to experience 3D audio with our games, creating a highly immersive experience, as well as finally getting a 4K blue ray player for the disc edition which we were left out of with the PS4 Pro. The only downside to the cool new technology is that with every console comes a give and take for your budget. The system runs slower than its competitor at 10.28 teraflops at 2.23 GHz but does have a good 16 GB of GDDR6 Ram. Space is another issue since new games tend to eat up storage, for instead of that terabyte we got with the PS4’s HDD, we only get 825 GB of storage for the new SSD. The system also only has a 350 power supply, which it already uses quite a bit of power when loading.

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Personally, I also loved some of the little things about the setup for the console. Before with the previous PlayStations’ uploading and downloading save data could be a pain. Half the time for plus players they did not always upload automatically, and you would have to manually do it. Other issues would lie with the actual upload and download because sometimes it would not upload the first time and you would have to go back and do it again for it to appear in your cloud saved library following up with the download which did not always work the first time either. I was initially worried about this when setting up my new console, however, the transfer of data was seamless and I had no issues whatsoever. All of my saved data was there in a matter of a minute. I also loved that the system set up was integrated with a new mobile set up from your app making it quick and easy, rather than having to worry about a long and tedious login. Lastly, I am excited as any other player when it came to the new backward compatibility feature. It might be a bit more limited than Microsoft’s Xbox line, but it definitely has a great selection. I was surprised to see the even Final Fantasy Type 0 made the cut, which I have been currently working on a replay of. The list is pretty extensive with a wide selection of Playstation 4 games.

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The interface for the console has its pros and cons for me. While I love the overall clean look, I feel like it is less interactive than before. The home screen is definitely more organized compared to the previous console entries, giving you now a media and games tab on the top. I also love that hovering over each game allows you to track your progress, and you even get a cool new news tab that follows the store tab. However, it feels a bit less social than the previous Interface. Rather than seeing your community feature, or seeing comparisons of other people playing the same game as you, you now have to individually search players or go to your mobile app to see a social media like a page of what your friends are up to. I do like the new profile layout, it feels a lot cleaner and innovative compared to a social media page. And the new menu you get for sharing content, trophies, a cool feature that replaced the social page which is game base, music, and notifications. So while some things could change, overall the new changes are mostly positive. Even the store feels a lot more innovation than the previous layout and feels very clean and modern. The overall Interface just has a more sleek and modern feel to it. Another great bonus is in addition the still getting PS4 free games of the month we now get PS5 exclusive games as well as plus members. Who doesn’t love free games? One downside players will face now is the increase in cost for games and accessories. Rather than spending the normal $59.99 the average game now goes for $69.99, which in all honesty is to be expected for the price the console was sold at and the number of resources that now goes into making these high-performance games.

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The PlayStation 5 overall is an excellent console despite a few shortcomings. The controller feels fantastic, the console runs smoothly and has fantastic performance, and we now get access to a larger library thanks to the new backward compatibility making it so we no longer have to worry about using PS Now. Though the console right now is extremely hard to get a hold of due to scalpers and high demand, I do believe this is a great success for Sony since the launch of the PS3. We have fair pricing, great releases, and top-quality performance that we always expect from a reliable company like Sony.

DVS Score- 8/10

Choosing Your Platform: DVS Edition

When it comes to new gamers, or even veteran gamers choosing a platform to play on can be intimidating. You can be faced with a variety of choices, even as a parent choosing one for their child. This guide can come in handy by helping you narrow down your choice without feeling overwhelmed or pressured by irrelevant parties that tend to be a bit biased with their opinions. I mean let’s be honest, gamers can be the worst fanboys and their views might not be aligned with your best interests. In light of this I am going to break it down by covering each current generation system along with their advantages and disadvantages. These systems will be the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, PC, and I will also touch upon the Classic editions of retro consoles.

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The Nintendo Switch was released on March 3rd of 2017, and made a huge comeback for the company since the Wii U console that was largely unsuccessful due to it’s limitations. Part of what made the console so successful is the fact that it was immediately open to 3rd party titles and support, and also has a unique design for home console and as well as portable, and the exclusive titles that were strong candidates for 2017 Game of the Year.

However, why should anyone choose this console over the others? Firstly this console is well suited to those whom are mostly on the go. Any full time employee that has limited time for gaming can easily take this console with them to work. The Nintendo Switch is a handheld console that has the a docking station that enables it to be play on a TV making it also viable as a home console, and has a platform that allows coordinating game play with other remote players. This capability is very well suited for those who often travel as well as the homebody. This console is an excellent choice for families, as Nintendo is mostly known for popular family oriented games like Super Mario Brothers, Pokemon, and even goofy games like Arms. Gamers with a budget can also benefit from picking the Switch since it only costs 299.99 instead of spending 499.99 like the other console choices.

For gamers that do not care for playing on the big screen, the Switch Lite version is available at 199.99. Though additional accessories can be expensive, you still get everything you need just buying the console by itself. The other big plus is you’ll have access to Nintendo exclusive games that will not be available on any other platform, such as Mario Odyssey, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The Switch also now features live services to play online games with others such as Splatoon 2 and Overwatch, and the subscription is much cheaper than other services starting at 3.99 a month.

That being said there are some downsides to going down this route. A lot of accessories are sold separately, such as a protective case and screen protector. The screen for the Switch is plastic and easily scratched up. Some of the accessories, like additional joy cons for family events are expensive, as a pair of joy cons costs 69.99 USD and you will need to get a separate docking station. Another factor to consider is that the joy cons are extremely small, so for those with bigger hands will probably end up dropping another 59.99 on the Pro Controller. Additionally, you will also probably end up buying an SD card since the console only offers 32 GB of storage. Going along with the storage dilemma, it must be said that not all games will auto save to Cloud storage. Lastly, if you want to play in full 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, this is not your console. Nintendo has never been about being the latest and greatest, they hold value in their games and are more invested in their consumers instead of performance.

Nintendo Switch Shortage | Coronavirus Limits Switch Production
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The Playstation 5 is Sony’s newest console which released on November 12th of 2020, and made remarkable improvements from their Playstation 4. It is the best selling new generation console so far with 4.5 million units sold and 47.4 million subscribers. This system is sold at your local stores for 499.99 for the disc edition, and 399.99 for the digital edition making it a pretty hefty purchase. Which is why I am narrowing down the pros and cons to help you decide if this is the best choice for you.

First and foremost, I always say base your console choice on what your friends play on if you play online often. It can be pretty lonely for those who base their choice off of internet or local peer pressure, and we all have ran into elitists at your local Best Buy or GameStop that have their own opinions that may differ from yours. However if you genuinely don’t care about playing with your friends, there are still a number of great reasons that the PS5 can be well suited for you. First and foremost we all love Sony exclusives such as Bloodborne, Spiderman, Ghost of Tsushima, and God of War. While these exclusives are making their way to PC, not everyone has that budget, and you may have to wait years until new releases launch on that platform, IF they ever do.

This console is also more geared toward single player gamers with Japanese Style and Action Adventure RPGs respectively. You also get powerful performance from the PS5, with the ability to play new titles in 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, add their 3D audio support and controller that uses haptic feedback.

Nevertheless there are some downsides to this platform. Chiefly the storage size for their SSD, which is only 825GB, and the system is just not as powerful as the Xbox Series X. So for those who want the most powerful console, you might want to look at other options. Another downside is that while their backwards compatible list is impressive, it does pale in comparison to the available Xbox selection that goes as far back as the original Xbox’s titles. The overall design for the console is also extremely huge compared to other consoles, which might prove inconvenient for those with limited space. That being said, the console is a great pick for the gamer more geared towards single player RPGs, or those who absolutely love Sony’s exclusive titles that are almost always Game of Year candidates.

PS5 review: a hardworking beefcake - Polygon
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On November 10th, 2020 Microsoft released it’s Xbox Series X, the most powerful console of this generation. While the console was remarkably improved from the last entry, the launch did not do well, like previous console launch. That being said, the Series X is still an excellent option for gamers that love multiplayer games, Microsoft exclusives, and the most powerful performance that doesn’t bust the budget, and a great choice for those who love PC gaming, but need a break from traditional PC play. This console is a beast, running up to 8K resolution, the 12 Teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU and runs at 120 fps with 16 GB of RAM. The Series X is also usable as a home theater system to watch movies or stream in general. You can gain access to exclusives (also on PC) such as Halo, Gears of War, and Sea of Thieves, making this console perfect for players that want to make the most of a multiplayer experience.

If higher performance isn’t as important, you can also step down to the Series S. This is just a less powerful and cheaper option for those who care more for the multiplayer aspect and don’t want to fork out 499.99 USD. At 299.99 USD the Series S console still suits online gamers that need to budget but still care about pure performance. There aren’t as many of the more popular its counterparts, but it is cross compatible and cross save with PC, and allows for the use of the Xbox Game Pass, which carries over to PC as an app. With this option you can start playing on an Xbox machine, save, and literally pick up where you left off on your computer. You can also play with PC key and mouse friends who don’t have an Xbox.

Xbox is also know for its backward compatibility, so most of the original Xbox or Xbox 360 titles can be played on various Xbox consoles in upscaled resolution and frames. While the Xbox Series X has amazing perks, there are things to consider. There are a lack of many new titles available because of a poor launch and horrible performance shown for Halo Infinite. Also since Xbox Game Pass is compatible with PC, it might be more expeditious to do PC gaming if you have the budget and are not concerned with having a console, especially one you might find inconvenient or visually unappealing.

When is the Xbox Series X restocking at Best Buy, GameStop and other  stores? - CNET
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Last but not least, classic PC gaming has limitless options, and can prove to be the ultimate and most powerful experience with varying costs. You can buy a prebuilt computer, laptop or make your own build. However, to get the best performance despite what biased opinions might say, you will be spending at least a grand if not more especially with current surge in demand due to the huge influx of online education and employment brought on by Covid.

PC gaming is the best avenue for those who want the most customization for their gaming and performance experience. You can get apps and download games from almost any major gaming company like Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and EA. You also get great platforms like Steam that have excellent bundles and a massive collection of various games dating back to the Stone Age. You’ll also find apps for customizing your accessories and parts, i.e. Razer offers headset, mouse, keyboard, and even mousepad customization; AMD will offer you a performance customization app for your motherboard, GPU, CPU, and more.

A personal computer can be updated as needed and can last a lot longer instead of having to upgrade often with new gaming consoles. These serve as great examples for players looking to maximize their performance and have total control over how they choose to play. However there are downsides for going down the computer route, such as price. You can spend less to play, but those players will find you won’t be playing in 2K nor 4K with limited frames depending on your settings. Even with a smaller budget you will be looking $800 at the bare minimum.

Those looking to build will also find that the market is totally off the charts with GPU and CPU prices. Tt might be far better to buy preowned at this point in time. Portable gaming laptops are great if you are on the go a lot, however they have a tendency to run hot because of the graphics which tends to give them a shorter life span. PC’s also have a learning curve, because unlike consoles you generally have to adjust your game settings to reach the quality you want. Not all games available have an automatic optimization setting for your build. You’ll also end up needing to learn how to use different apps to monitor your performance or adjust your peripherals. Lastly, operating systems can be quite expensive and literally a pain to deal with. Windows 10 nearly always releases bad updates in need of patches which can lead to minor issues such as audio problems all the way to random crashes.

The 10 best prebuilt gaming PCs | Dot Esports
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Lastly and briefly I want to touch on the Classic Editions of retro consoles. Gaming companies have been releasing new classic mini versions of retro consoles like the NES Classic, Sega Genesis Mini, and the Playstation Classic. These mini consoles come loaded with old bangers like Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Metal Gear Solid. These are great options for collectors, retro players or for those who just want to buy a quick console for the family for a few hundred dollars. A downside to these consoles is how fragile they are and that you are limited to the preloaded games, but they still are great buys for the price and love of nostalgia.

Best Retro Gaming Console 2020: Play Retro Games on These Mini Consoles -  IGN
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It can be a struggle for gamers to find the right gaming console or computer that best fits their needs or play style. As a gaming fan that has owned nearly every platform, I hope this article serves as a guide that helps players veteran and new find the platform that best suits them.

Microsoft Buying Discord: Should It Happen?

We all know and love our friendly communication software Discord. We use it often for guilds, clubs, clans, business, social media pages, streaming and playing with friends. The company has been speaking with potential buyers for some time now, but we did not expect Microsoft to join the fray. Microsoft has been in discussion with Discord for possibly purchasing the software for $10 billion USD and Phil Spencer has been working on the deal. However, what will this mean for players? Should Discord join one of the biggest technology corporations out there?

Microsoft Corporation is a multi-national technology company that is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to manufacturers, software, hardware, and services. Microsoft is the world’s largest software maker with revenue surpassing $38 billion in 2019 as stated in their website by Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella. The company has had their ups and downs with purchasing and creating communication software in the past, with platforms like Skype and Microsoft Teams t show for their efforts. While Microsoft Teams is very popular with business, however, Discord happens to be the heartbeat of the PC community, servicing various areas including movements, podcasts, and school projects. Clans and guilds gather together on discord for gaming and raid nights, and users commonly utilize the platform just chatting on a day to day basis. What would happen if Microsoft did indeed purchase this software? The last time Microsoft attempted to own a true social network, they created So.cl in 2011 and it completely failed.

Windows Apps – Microsoft Store
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Unfortunately we have no insight on Microsoft’s plans for Discord as of yet, but can only speculate the future of this social platform, along with the very likely possibility that Xbox might also be involved. It is highly probable that Microsoft will keep Discord on PC in light of the PC accessible Xbox Game Pass, however one can’t help but wonder if it will be integrated with the Game Pass app, or will they keep it stand alone? We can all hope that Discord does not become a part of Office 365, changing the free to use aspect. Hopefully we will get answers soon to alleviate the anxiety for PC players across the world.

Sir Lovelot: A Switch Review

When playing any platformer, any gamer would want a great story, maybe challenging and addicting gameplay, and great music and atmosphere. Exploring Sir Lovelot was a refreshing experience and served as a reminder on what any good platforming game should aim to be. While I wanted to love this game, it was a pretty underwhelming experience for me, and overall left me feeling disappointed. That being said there was a lot of potential for the developers to build on if they move forward with the entry. The game was developed and published by pixel.lu and Sometimes You, and can be bought on all platforms for 9.99 USD.

Sir Lovelot on Steam
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You play as a knight known as Sir Lovelot, whom takes on a quest to find the love of his life. There really is not much to the story, for you travel place to place giving damsels flowers in order to spend the night with them. Once you go through various obstacles to get these flowers and deliver them, you are then kicked out come morning and repeat this cycle. Unfortunately, this gets pretty repetitive as there really is no switch up other than a change in layout of each area, and increased difficulty and length to get to your objectives. You fight monsters and avoid various traps along your journey, such as weird ooze-like creatures, deadly plants, weird fish, stationary spikes and moving saws. I will commend the artwork for the various locations, and the backgrounds were very beautifully designed. The only issue is you would keep these similar colored backgrounds until you reached the next chapter. This would not be an issue IF you didn’t have to complete twenty different and increasingly longer areas each round before you reached your next chapter. The story basis is cute and had potential, however the execution fell short, overall causing the game to suffer a bit.

Sir Lovelot
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Another issue I had with the game is the gameplay itself. The game is an Indie platformer and shooter, but it lacks in actual combat and gameplay overall. You only get two actions, which is directional shooting and jumping. You can obviously climb and slide as well but as far as controls go there is not much to it. You don’t get any other special abilities, and are forced to just shoot the enemy continuously until they die which makes a fairly satisfyingly popping-like noise. This would not be a huge issue for me if there was more to the exploration and creativity of obstacles. The maps do jump up in difficulty fairly fast, which is nice but unfortunately there is not much towards exploration and strategy when you go into each area. For example, when you play Rogue Legacy you at least have a lot of exploration and get various abilities, or even playing Hallow Knight you have various bosses and a variety of cool collectibles along the way. In games like these there are endless possibilities and directions to go, with cool areas to discover. This game suffers from similarly structured obstacles and the only hidden collectibles for this game in particular are goose eggs that are hidden behind secret walls. Overall the game as I said previously had plenty of potential, but honestly in the end felt lazy and almost linear.

Sir Lovelot Review: A Bite-Sized Adventure (PS5) - KeenGamer
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Overall it was not a terrible experience, as I did enjoy the difficulty increase, and I also loved the artwork. I just would have liked to have seen more to the combat, exploration and obstacles. I also feel like the game would have benefitted more with a cooler change of scenery and more directions to travel. That would have made the game feel less linear, and leave you feeling less stuck with each level change. The game also did not create that same addictive, adventurous feeling like most other platformers give you, if anything it just made me feel like I wanted to get through the game almost as if it were a burden. I wanted to complete this game, but unfortunately I felt no desire to return after spending a couple days on it. I can honestly recommend this game for those where a bargain price point is important and just want to economically kill time, but for those who don’t mind spending a little more and love to explore there are far better recommendations. That being said, it’s not a bad game by any means, it just leaves much to be desired in a platformer.

DVS Score: 4/10

PS3 Servers: An Official End to an Era

Breaking news from TheGamer! According to industry sources the Playstation 3, Vita, and Portable servers will all be shutting down. Playstation 3 shuts down July of 2021 and Vita in August 2021. What does this mean? Buy your games ASAP or forever hold your peace! DLC and games will no longer available for purchase if these rumors prove to be true, and knowing TheGamer, they are usually spot on.

The PS3/Vita/PSP Digital PlayStation Stores Are Apparently Being Closed
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These consoles did indeed have a good run, considering the Playstation 3 first launched in 2003, is still around and has been thriving ever since, with people still actively playing it. While the initial launch was not the best, the console still sold over 87 million units and brought us great launch titles such as Call of Duty 3, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Tony Hawks Pro Skater 8. This console holds not only a lot of valuable memories, but also many titles we might not see again. When it comes to the portable gaming market the PSP and PS Vita proved to be far less successful due to emulators and also the fact that it is extremely difficult to compete with Nintendo and their enormous success in the world of handheld gaming devices. However the PSP still sold 81 million units and the PS Vita sold 15 million, a respectable amount to be sure. Many classic, old niche titles were able to be played on these handhelds, like Final Fantasy, and even fun hack and slash classics like Dynasty Warriors.

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Losing these consoles will be sad, and brings a lot of questioning as to the preservation of ancient titles by Sony and the lack of backwards compatibility for retired consoles. We are starting to see Sony heading in the right direction, however, with PS5 backwards compatibility with the PS4 console and PS Now respectively, but this method still needs improvement. We are also seeing a rise of remade classics as well during these times, such as Dark Souls Remastered, Final Fantasy 7 port and Remake, and even Mass Effect Trilogy Remastered coming out this year. I still however urge people that do own these platforms to buy what you can, because Sony is just now again dipping its feet into backwards compatibility and wishing and waiting for more remasters or remakes is a long road ahead.

Pumpkin Jack: Spoopy Platforms

Everyone loves platformers, I mean come on we have the long-running Super Mario games, the Ori series, Sonic the Hedgehog, and even Crash Bandicoot! However, what everyone needs to turn their heads to is Pumpkin Jack. No, this is not a spiritual successor to MediEvil, but a standalone game developed by one person who is Nicolas Meyssonnier. This game is an adorably spooky 3D platformer that allows you to play as nonother than Jack, a soul that was summoned into the skin of a pumpkin. You get to fight creepy monsters and ghouls alike, all the while unleashing chaos upon the humans of the world. The game brings some strategy, puzzles, fantastic music, and a unique art style taken from the PS2 era. This game was surprisingly a fantastic experience with an adorable story that I quite honestly could not get enough of.

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Pumpkin Jack had some pretty decent gameplay. I would have liked to see a little more to the platforming, for aside from obviously having to climb and jump across various platforms with some monsters placed in various locations and some barricades, there was not much to it. It was fairly easy to get where you needed to go, aside from the fact that the controls were insanely sensitive. The slight tap of the thumbstick could very well send you over the edge and leave you feeling very frustrated. However, that being said what really spiced the adventure up would be the puzzles and the joy rides. The puzzles were simple but extremely fun to take part in. They were good for testing your reflexes with physics or putting your memory on the spot, and they provided rooms with fun riddles. Failing to complete these puzzles prevented you from progressing further. The joy rides just added intense experiences such as riding the ferry in an all-around stressful experience or using the mining cart on a crazy roller coaster ride through town. So while the platforming could be better, the puzzles and transportation definitely found a way to spice things up.

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Slaying some monsters with Pumpkin Jack left you feeling like a true mythical terror, providing you with a fun selection of weapons after slaying each boss. You start off with a shovel, giving you a true Halloween horror movie feeling. However, with each level, you end up getting weapons like a pump-action shotgun to blast holes into your enemies and a cool orb that is known as the Murder of Crows allowing you to cast cool sorceries. My only complaint is I would have liked to see a little more to the combat. Obviously, with a game like this, I don’t expect anything intricate, for platformers don’t call for cool combos. But I think this game could have provided more than just a single button attack that you could create an AOE out of. Maybe one more ability assigned to an unused button would have provided a more satisfying experience.

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The last thing I want to bring up is the insanely cute and enjoyable story that made this game. This adventure takes place in the Boredom Kingdom, where the humans and animals lived at peace with no wars or fear. Because of the lack of drama in the world, the Devil found himself so bored that he unleashed a powerful curse known as the Curse of the Eternal Night which awakened the scariest monsters to torment all of humanity. However, the humans counter reacted by summoning a powerful master wizard to end this curse, which resulted in the Devil summoning Pumpkin Jack to destroy the wizard. Along the way you find great allies to aid your journey, such as a crow that assists you in battle, an architect that you assist in releasing the deadly sins, and of course the Owl that leads you on your journey to the end. You also find yourself not knowing who to trust along the way, for what might seem like an ally sometimes ends up turning against you for their own gain. For a solo developer, I have to say the amount of personality in each character despite how brief the game was, was extremely impressive and well designed. I loved the story premise, and the adventure felt so wholesome yet chaotic at the same time.

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Pumpkin Jack is a hidden gem that I cannot push enough to players looking for a fun, short platforming adventure to experience. I honestly was not expecting much from this game going into it, but it ended up surprising me in more ways than one. This game brought on so many feelings with the art style, the music, and the incredibly Nightmare Before Christmas-like feeling. It is in my opinion that this developer has a bright future ahead of him from the incredible amount of work put into this game.

DVS Score-7/10

Rogue Company: A Hidden Gem

A lot of people will jump the gun when it comes to hero shooters and ultimately want Overwatch or Valorant, and while they are excellent choices I want to turn everyone’s attention to Rogue Company. Rogue Company is a multiplayer tactical third-person hero shooter developed by First Watch and Published by High Rez Studios. It is playable on all last-generation platforms and current-gen, and is free to play! I very much enjoyed this game being a big hero shooter fan in general, and for the fact, it felt more realistic.

Rogue Company - Coming Soon to All Platforms - Early Look - YouTube
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In Rogue Company, you pick an elite mercenary with a special loadout pertaining to them. You’ll participate in matches that are 4 versus 4, and try to build a team to outmaneuver the opposing one. Each character has a special set of talents, for example, you can play as Gl1tch who uses a pump-action shotgun with high damage with a semi-automatic pistol to cave in your enemies chest, or switch over to the Fixer who uses a .50 caliber sniper rifle and a silenced pistol for satisfying precision aimed headshots. Each character also gets their own individual abilities like Saint who can revive downed teammates in a pinch or Trench who can create a barbed wired field for the defense to hold off the enemy team. In each game, you can also upgrade different weapons and mods by earning money for each round of the match. You gain money by getting kills and assists, as well as using your abilities. Your end match stats are based on your K/D and money earned. This is just one of the extremely unique characteristics of this game that make it so much fun as well as making it so much more competitive in a whole new way.

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The matches are broken down into three different versions; demolition, strikeout, and extraction. Demolition is a more objective-based match type and highly competitive. Teams are required to either plant a bomb at a designated location or defend against the opposing team from plating said bomb. There are a total of 6 rounds in this particular match and this one is so far my favorite. Strikeout is more equivalent to Call of Duty’s Team Death Match. Each team gets a total of 12 tickets and starts with 12,000 cash to upgrade anything they can or save for the next round. There are designated points you can control per round which will reduce the losing side’s tickets, or you can pick off the enemy team reducing their lives. Lastly, there is Extraction which is just like Call of Duty’s Control. You just fight over an area to gain control which exchanges from round to round. The more exciting news is that Season 1 has been out for ranked finally since January, and you can place and move up the ranks starting from Bronze and ending in Rogue.

While the game brings unique content, great diversity, and great tactical gameplay, there are some aspects that can be improved. The map layouts feel a little lacking when it comes to strategic setup and can feel overall lackluster. For a cover-based kind of tactile game that feels almost Gears of War-like, the maps do not compensate for that kind of movement. I also think there needs to be more to punishing players for leaving matches and penalties. There have been matches where I have played and people left either right away leaving it to be a 4 on 2 or sore losers that leave towards the end of the match. I would also like to see more match styles in the game, for while the three given match types are fun they do get old fast. More match types would help not only improve gameplay and skill cap but also help keep players more interested in competition and motivation to practice.

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The game has a lot to offer and I am excited to see if it will eventually grow into more tournaments and in the MLG world. I highly recommend players that love Hero Shooters to give this a try, for it is definitely a game with high skill cap. This game not only has replaced Overwatch for me to kill time, but also has improved my overall skill in shooters and team based games. So to recap, yes! Grab this game now!

DVS Score- 7.5/10

Hot Brass: A Steam Review

When you think strategy, you look to your favorite classics such as Warcraft 3, Starcraft 2, or even great current games like XCOM 2. However, I want everyone to turn their attention to a fantastic game that can fulfill anyone’s strategy needs. Hot Brass is a great indie strategy game developed by Walk of Kings and published by Treasure Hunters FanClub and Fellow Traveller. At first, when I heard of this title I didn’t find myself all too excited. There aren’t many reviews on this aside from Steam reviews from players, and overall their score was a 7/10 which is fair. Yet after diving deep into the title, I was nothing short of impressed which the real-life feel it gives, as well as the challenging gameplay. You might ask how a 2D Indie title can produce such feelings, and here I will explain why strategy lovers need to get this game.

In Hot Brass, you play as an elite SWAT operator that goes on various missions where you capture dangerous criminals in bunkers, save hostages, and obtain evidence to put away these criminals. These missions, however, really test your skill in terms of clean arrests and not getting over run by arms individuals. If you take a shot against an armed criminal, this will automatically fail the mission. If you accidentally assault an unarmed individual that is not hostile, this will also fail the mission. Any kills with unhostile individuals will result in a fail, and if you alert targets and they escape you will also fail. Any kills will deduct points even if they are clean, and you also get points deducted based on the time given. You also get a number of extra challenges to complete in the game that contribute points. For every badge met on your mission score, you will unlock more missions in the future or arcade modes. The environment of the game feels insanely life like, where as the individuals actually have dialogue and will say things just like in real life situations. The atmosphere created also gives a sense of urgency and stress, though you need to take your time because rushing will certainly get you killed. The music is also absolutely fantastic, which I tend to look for in any game that I play.

The gameplay and tools given to you in the game are unique in a way that makes it more life-like. You get gear such as a rifle, pistol, and armor. You also get gadgets such as a flashbang, grenade, breaching charge, and more. Various tools are given control-wise like night vision and tactile equipment to help you see in locked rooms. This way you have a number of stealthy ways to infiltrate, take down your enemies, and avoid unwanted altercations that lead to failed missions. My only issue is the controls can feel overwhelming and clunky at times. There were times that I would accidentally taser a criminal that I detained, and it is easy to get caught on random objects in the room. You can use the spacebar to hop over them but depending on the situation it can be extremely inconvenient (example: 3 arms enemies in a medium-size room all shooting at you). The button layout is a bit odd as well, but you get used to it over time. You also get the ability to shout to deter enemies to coerce them into surrendering. My only issue with this, while it is a good tactic, is it seems to rely on RNG for it to work on enemies. Some enemies will ignore completely as you shout, and when you end up in a room of 3 enemies with 1 that surrenders and the other 2 ignoring that are armed you will most likely lose points from having to shoot.

All in all, I do highly recommend Hot Brass for the experience, and to satisfy strategy lovers like me. Though the controls can feel off, and the force system needs some tune up, the game is insanely fun and challenging. It’s definitely a great way to kill time and play when you want to destress from the time-consuming big titles that suck away your soul. I love discovering new Indie games like this game, it’s for sure a hidden gem. To sum this up, go to steam and buy this game for $14.99 and lose yourself in the SWAT operative world. I can not wait to see what this developer has to offer in the future.

DVS Score: 7/10

A DVS PC Building Guide: Pandemic Edition

The year 2020 leading into 2021 has definitely proven difficult amongst all gamers across the globe. Newly released computer parts have in addition to last-gen have become either scarce or overpriced due to the increased demand and of course scalpers. Even new generation consoles are being picked off by them. However, though it may be a rough time to build, that does not make it impossible. Here I will go over available parts, good budgets, and overall what to look for when trying to build a PC during the pandemic.

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When building a PC it can seem overwhelming, but with a guide or help you will come to realize it’s not all too hard at all. We just need to start with the CPU for the computer. A CPU, otherwise known as the Central Processing Unit or Processor, is the part of the computer that executes instructions that make up the computer program. This part of the computer can pretty much be compared to the human brain. It delegates and executes tasks just as our brains tell us what to do, think, and say. There are two major brands which are known as Ryzen and Intel. I won’t go into the major differences between the processors, more so give you a comparison when necessary because debating processors would be opening a whole new can of worms per se. Intel Processors come in the i3, i5, i7, and i9; but Ryzen will come in the Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9. You base your choice in the processor on what you would be using the computer for, and how demanding you need your specs to be. Whether you’re a hard-core gamer, or just an anime binger these all tie into your choice for your parts. As far as availability though in my honest opinion performance-wise during this pandemic, the Ryzen 5 3600x is the best for not only your wallet but mid-ranged performance. This processor can hold over the average gamer and be consistent in your day-to-day tasks. This processor has 6 cores, 12 threads, runs at 95 Celsius, and maxes clock speeds of 4.4GHz. Another great bonus with Ryzen Processors is that they come with a fantastic CPU cooler known as the Wraith Cooler, saving you the time and energy to find a decent cooler for your CPU. This can be bought online or in stores such as Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, Microcenter, and other various stores for on average $250 give or take depending on store choice.

From here we can go into your CPU cooler quick, and I say quick because from this particular build I’m recommending during the pandemic we would use the cooler that came with the Ryzen 3600x. CPU coolers are important, and the name says exactly why. Your cooler is what keeps your CPU from overheating and damaging your system or just plain not turning on. Your computer will in fact shut off if temperatures skyrocket to hopefully prevent any permanent damage. These coolers come as fans, AOIs, or water pumps. For the sake of budget during the pandemic, I encourage fans. Fans are very efficient and extremely low maintenance and cost anywhere from $10-100 on average unless you use the CPU fan that comes with. However, for those that want another good option and have some more money at their disposal AOIs (All In One) are another good option. They are an all-in-one water cooling system that combines the water block, radiator, tubes, fans, fittings, and pump into a small package. Not only do they look cool, but they are also low maintenance. The only downside is that they will need to be replaced with a completely new AOI every 6 months. Water cooling, on the other hand, can be extremely expensive and high maintenance but can be the best method of cooling your computer. Depending on the liquid you use you will be cleaning it every 3 to 6 months. AOIs are generally more budget-friendly averaging around $200, while full Water Cooling systems can average around $600. For this article’s purpose, however, I will stick with the Wraith cooler as recommended.

Your next step is to choose a compatible motherboard, which is why we start with the CPU because other parts will only be compatible with certain CPUs. Your motherboard is a printed circuit board that allows communication between crucial components such as your CPU and RAM. This part can be compared to the nervous system of the human body. It is important when considering a good motherboard that you keep in mind available slots for your m.2 drives, transfer speeds, whether or not you want LAN or wifi, and any other additions such as RGB, available ports, the cooling on your chipset, and more. Good motherboards can be tricky to find due to pricing and wanting all the bells and whistles, but I found that the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E is absolutely great for middle ground. It comes with PCIe 4.0, WiFi 6 and gigabyte LAN, active cooling for your chipset, Gen 4 M.2 slots with 64 GB transfer speeds, both USB type A and C with HDMI, Display, and more. Also, a good plus is the RGB so for buyers such as myself, you’ll be filled with endless color. This particular motherboard is also decently priced at $300 USD. You can find it at similar stores previously mentioned when we covered the CPU.

Following the motherboard, we can pretty much dive into anything else such as your random access memory (RAM), GPU, hard drives, case, and PSU. I will continue with RAM next because RAM is extremely important for any PC build. Your RAM is your extremely fast and temporary storage space that your computer will need at the moment or in the next few seconds. This is what allows multitasking functions such as the number of windows that you can keep open and running high-demand games. As an example, I am sure everyone here has experienced windows randomly closing out on them, and that is because your computer does not have enough RAM to keep your multiple tasks at hand. RAM features generally come in different sizes such as 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, and so on. My recommendation for the average gamer would be to go with 16 GB RAM and for the average user per social media and streamer at least 8 GB RAM. There are a variety of great brands, such as Corsair, Trident, Kingston, and HyperX, but my recommendation is the Corsair Vengeance LED. The specifications for this set are great for the price with DDR 4 and speeds of 3200 MHz. The price point is a bit more than your average RAM, but Corsair is always very sturdy, has great performance, and is overall just reliable. You will need a BIOS update to his the speeds for 3200, but the quality makes up for it. Corsair also tends to always run great sales depending on where you buy. Right now you can find them on sale for $229.99 on Corsair’s website.

Image Credit at http://www.corsair..com

Proceeding onward, I will briefly cover the PSU and hard drives. Your PSU is honestly an easier choice to make because this is your Power Supply Unit. Not as much thought is needed to go into this particular part. You just need to make sure you find a good wattage that will power all of your components without the risk of damage. I recommend the one I use personally which is the Corsair CX750M because it’s quiet, fairly powerful, and reasonably priced. It runs on average around $100 and can be found at your normal retails as previously mentioned above. There are other good brands such as Asus and Thermaltake, but I found that this particular model is solid in price, wattage, and overall performance. You won’t break the bank and overkill your needs, but you also aren’t sacrificing crucial performance either. In addition to the PSU, we will need to look at hard drives. I always recommend a solid-state drive (SSD) for any computer.

An SSD is a solid part rather than your standard HDD which is a spinning disk. They have low failure rates and increase loading speeds exponentially. That being said they are a lot more expensive than your standard HDD so I generally go by the rule of thumb of getting at least 1 to load your operating system on and any important documents or games that you want better loading times on. Then get an HDD for extra storage since they run extremely cheaper. For this, my recommendations are to get a Samsung 860 Evo 500 GB. This gives you enough room for your OS like Windows 10 (which eats up space) and maybe some important games that you revisit often. This model not only gives you great performance and reliability but also is greatly priced around $75 to $100 depending on the vendor of your choice. For your HDD I generally recommend Western Digital. They are more reliable than your standard Seagate and you can grab 1TB storage for around $50.

We (unfortunately) have no arrived at the barren wastelands of graphics cards (GPUs), which have been completely raided by scalpers for both the new generation and last generation. Your GPU is one of the most important parts of your computer. This is what will allow your computer to play in 1080, 2K, 4K, and so on. Usually, I would say base your graphics card on what you prioritize, but with the scarce availability, beggars can not be choosers. Your top brands are usually Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, and so on, so for what is available I generally say attempt to look for the best brands you can. So with this in mind, I would bite the bullet and get the GTX 1660 if you are not able to wait. This will be the cheapest option that will last you long enough to hopefully get your hands on a 30 series. It will cost the same as a 3060, which is around $599.99, but you can always try to sell it to someone for some money back when the 30 series roles around. The only other option I can say is to wait for the 30 series. Any other GPU will be outrageously priced, while the GPU is only around $200 over the normal price. You could step it down, however then you will be on minimum requirements for most new releases.

Your last choice will be a case for your computer. You’ll be basing this on size, color, and fans. Generally, you want to pick between a mini, mid, and full tower. There are other sizes but they are mostly for business purposes and pre-built. I personally had no recommendation on your case because that is a pure preference for how you want it to look, and most cases allow you to add more fans or change them if you want different colors like platinum or RGB. I love Corsair and Fractal Design personally, however, my case is actually the NZXT 510 Elite which I was not a huge fan of. I say do research and see what you want in your case for this, then go from there. You will also get to pick out monitors and peripherals which are also usually a personal preference unless you like competitive gaming. Usually, for a monitor, I like to go with MSI, Asus, and BenQ. MSI and Asus are usually better for your wallet, but if you have the extra money BenQ is a fantastic brand to go with. Your peripherals include a headset, mouse, and keyboard. I love Razer personally as far as grip, customization, and performance. The Applications to customize performance are very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Corsair and Kraken are also great go-to go to as far as customization and performance.

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Building a PC can be an exciting experience, even during the pandemic. Though the prices are high and availability for certain parts is at an all-time low, this is a way to make the most of an incredible experience. PC gaming opens a whole new world for any gamer, and ultimately is a teaching experience for players around the world for what performance really means. Just like this guide, a good budget for a decent PC during COVID and scalpers will probably run you around $1500 for all the parts before the monitor and other peripherals. For those looking to build, I hope this guide can serve you during these hard and stressful times.