Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are the 8th generation in the Pokemon universe, and this is the first time that a main line Pokemon game has come to a home console. These games are set in an English-style world and have many interesting areas – like the wild area (which we will touch on later). I have really enjoyed my time with this game; let’s break it down and see what’s good and what’s not so good.

See more on this review at: https://www.techmikereviews.com/post/pokemon-sword-and-shield-1

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a great addition to the Nintendo Switch and was released on Halloween, which was perfect, considering the theme of this game. The game begins with Luigi and friends going on vacation to a hotel – only to be captured by ghosts. Luigi escapes and has to fight the ghosts in order to save his friends. Lets break down what was right and wrong with this game.

See more on this review at https://www.techmikereviews.com/post/luigi-s-mansion-3

Farming Simulator 19
Developer
: Giants Software
Publisher(s):
     -Astragon Entertainment
     -Focus Home Entertainment
     -Excalibur Publishing
Genre: Simulator
Multiplayer Option: Yes
Rating: E
Price: $34.99


I have been a devoted Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons gamer my entire life, and when approached with this game to review I thought, “Heck yea!”, but little did I know… The Farming Simulator franchise has been around since 2008 and seems to be popular enough to warrant multiple games in the series, so it has to be good, right? I was going in completely green when I picked up this game and I thought after my years and countless hours in the aforementioned games that I was prepared for any farming game. Seriously, I was wrong.

Here is the story: Your character basically buys a rundown farm and needs to make something out of it. There are 3 different modes that change the difficulty depending on if the farm is purchased with equipment and some extra spending money, or you completely start from scratch. Before jumping into career mode I thought it prudent to do all the tutorials just to get acquainted with the controls and concepts of the game. I found that the tutorial dialogue was lacking and I had to figure out a lot of things on my own or look up concepts on the internet to figure it all out. After the tutorials I dove into the career mode.

Mode selection is one of the first things you pick, location choices are either some small town USA or German countryside and then character customization. Character designs are really basic and you get to choose from a few facial and hair presets, shirt color and gender preference. This part does not matter in the grand scheme of things, its just an aesthetic. I chose the easiest setting since I’m a noob and was plopped into an average day on the farm, and I chose to have the small hints pop up every now and again to help too. Everything is tedious in this game: to harvesting, plowing, planting, buying and delivering goods, this game is meant to use up time. There are no human interactions that I have seen from NPCs for special events or basic conversations. To explain how bad the tutorials are, I thought that after I harvested my first crop and did all the preparations for the new crop, that I was just supposed to sit there and wait for it to grow again. Unlike Harvest Moon there is no welcoming to town party or a person that shows you around.

Speaking of the surrounding area, the map is not massive in a sense like GTA or the newest Assassin’s Creed game, but when all you have for transportation is a slow moving tractor you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. Do not expect to walk into a building, business or otherwise, and interact with electronics, sit down or purchase anything these actions are all found in the menu.

I never thought that one of the essential tools of the game would not be emphasized like it should have been. There is no need for waiting on the crops to grow because there is a section in the menu for requests for help by the other local farmer NPCs in the area. This is the only time you don’t think you’re alone in the world.  You don’t even have to purchase all the equipment to help either, just rent them and the cost will be taken off the initial reward for the job. There is also a multiplayer portion of the game that allows you to associate online with others for the opportunity to compete or help each other. I did a little research and there are competitions and online forums to meet people and to test your farming knowledge against the best of the best.

Pros
Really decent graphics and detail on the machinery and environment.
Price is low to purchase.
Online multiplayer available.

Cons
No story to keep you going.
Lack of personalization.
Tedious.

Would this be a game that I would recommend to others to buy? No, unless you were a huge fan of the series I would wait for it to be on sale or maybe get it free.

I think there is a lot of places this can improve as a game because the graphics and ability are there. The developers have focused on making the work aspect realistic but there should be a sense of community and story for the character to make the life aspect more realistic. If I was to put more hours in this game, I would want more than to just collect money and buy things, but if that is something that interests others then have at it.

Developer Layopi Games
|Publisher: 1C Company
Genre: Action Adventure
Multi-player: No Multiplayer/No Online
Rating: M
Release Price $34.99
My Price: Free Review Copy

In Devil’s Hunt, you play as Desmond, formerly a rich guy by day and underground Boxing Champion by night.  Now an employee of the Devil, Desmond quickly seeks a guy who may help them win the war, or possibly allow him to break his contract.

The game felt similar to God of War 3 meets Diablo – with less fighting options, characters, combat, etc.  The initial flow felt pretty good, but the enemies were limited.  I got bored of the combat here and there, but some of the boss fights were decent… they just took way too long.

It would have been nice to have an introduction back story on Desmond. You are kind of thrown into the character without any real details to explain who he is and why he’s so rich.  It’d be nice to care more about him.  There also isn’t much replayability on this game.  Once you beat it, you probably won’t pick it up again.  You can beat it in what felt like under 10 hours, and at $34.99 that’s not a bad starting price for a mid-level game.

I didn’t hate the game by any means, and with an initial discount price, they know they aren’t trying to trick you into thinking this is an AAA title.  That being said, there are plenty of better games that go for much less right now (like Diablo or God of War 3 if you haven’t played them) so I would say wait for a sale unless you have an itch to play it.  You may not be disappointed.

Surprise! Surprise!

The Auto Chess battle has begun! Valve, Riots and Epic see in the Auto Chess category a new opportunity to expand their gaming empires. Dota Underlords is Valve’s bet.

Long story, short, Auto Chess was a mod game at Dota 2. Valve tried to partner with Auto Chess developers, didn’t work out for Valve, but it worked out for Epic. Auto Chess became an Epic Store exclusive game and at the same time Valve and Riots launched their own version of the game.

Without due notice, Valve opens Dota Underlords open beta to Dota 2 Battle Pass owners. Couple of days after Teamfight Tactics is launched and as a response Valve distribute 3 spare keys to Battle Pass owners. Gaming subreddits were all about “please, give me a Dota Underlords key!”.

The Partisan Spy had the chance to evaluate Dota Underlords as a Battle Pass owner and there is no doubt Valve is investing money, time and people on this game. This is a FREE multi-platform game with a development level compared to AAA standards.

Biggest surprise about Dota Underlords wasn’t the launch, the gameplay or the marketing stunt. The connection established between players and developers is something rarely seen. Players feedback are being translated to changes at the game which is updated weekly. A nice first step to start building a loyal and lasting community around the game.

The Evaluation

Dota Underlords was the “first” game in many ways for this evaluation methodology. A true test to the methodology as it was created to be applied for every game genre and mode.

The first FREE game to be evaluated.

The first MOBILE game to be evaluated.

The first CARD & BOARD game to be evaluated.

Evaluation results were a boost of confidence that the project is in the correct way and that the methodology variables are well balanced.  

The only questions not answer yet is: are you looking for a brand new game category to play at competitive level? This is a big decision for any gamer and that’s what Dota Underlords is offering you. Before any move, read the evaluation (click on it to see it in more details) it may help you make your decision.

If you have questions about the game, don’t stop at the evaluation:

Make comments below and chat with us or The Partisan Spy.

Watch the 25 hours gameplay while The Partisan Spy was evaluating Dota Underlords.

Hear the latest Backlog Podcast where we talk to The Partisan Spy about his evaluation methodology and much more!

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THIS IS WAR! REAL WAR!

As its current state (early access game), Hell Let Loose is one of the most immersive war games we had the chance to play of all time. You are part of army with well-organized hierarchy. This army is divided into squads lead by a commander. To organize this 50 player army there are comms channels: nearby, squad and command channel.

The combination of an intense combat gameplay and constant communication make you feel you are in middle of a real war. If you give a chance to the game and instead of just listening to the comms channel, you chat, obey orders, report intel… deeper you will go into the game and into war!

Another great surprise, for The Partisan Spy about Hell Let Loose is that it honors the EARLY ACCESS term in every way. Since Minecraft success (biggest case on the industry that allowed gamers to play a game while in development) the early access term has been attractive to developers as there are a lot of benefits, biggest ones are:

1. Gamers are more flexible about bugs and broken things

2. Build a community around the game, as (in theory) gamers has an open forum with developers

3. Early monetization of the game

To be an Early Access game (or beta) developers need to deliver at LEAST the core of game. Truth be told, today this is more of an exception than a rule as some developers focus monetization benefit instead of delivering a proper Early Access experience.

So if you want understand what a REAL Early Access game is, play Hell Let Loose.

The Evaluation

Time flew by playing and evaluating Hell Let Loose.

The challenge at this section to explain the new evaluation methodology of games while giving the results. Since the WWZ evaluation we have being adjusting design, wordings and methodology so gamer can better understand it.

Every new game genre, mode or category is a test for the evaluation methodology. To apply the methodology at hardcore PVP game for the first time and see that the results can be equally compared with the previous games evaluations show the maturity of the work.

Small changes on wordings also helped a lot to explain the idea that there is no low or high score on the methodology. The scores represents what each offers to the gamer and this is the reason why at this methodology is fair to compare casual games with hardcore games.

This is something the gaming community don’t have and the today’s game rating system misleads gamers. A casual game can be rated a score of 9, same way God of War can be. Easy to see there is something wrong when it’s put this way, right?

Do you think you have the courage to go to a real war? Are you the one? Before making this decision, read the evaluation (click on it to see it in more details) and don’t risk “head shooting” your money. If you have questions about the game, don’t stop at the evaluation:

Make comments below and chat with us or The Partisan Spy.

Watch the gameplay while The Partisan Spy was evaluating Hell Let Loose.

Hear the latest Backlog Podcast where we talk to The Partisan Spy about his evaluation methodology and much more!

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