Joined 02/23/2012


329 Posts

Minecraft Live 2021 has wrapped up and as always Mojang has given us a lot to look forward to. I'm going to point out some key things, though I may miss some details. I recommend watching the embedded video, however it is about 25 minutes long and xisumavoid has a shorter video (almost 13 minutes), which actually covers more. You can see his video here:

Before I get into 1.19 I want to cover a few things briefly. Be sure to log in to your account so that you can migrate it to your Microsoft account. Obviously, you can create one if you don't already have one. It's easy and you can get a free cape by doing so. Once the account is migrated, go to your profile on and look near the bottom under the "skins" part. You'll find the cape there. When you open the Minecraft Java Edition launcher, it will ask you to log in as usual. However, it may not work, so click the "back" button and the "X" next to your account to remove it. Then it'll prompt you to choose a Mojang or Microsoft account to log in with. Select your Microsoft account and you're all done. If you need help, feel free to ask. You can also visit this link:

All DLC for Minecraft Dungeons has been released and there are a couple new features. The game will introduce seasons, just like Diablo 3, which will provide weekly challenges. There will also be a new single player game mode, which is a tower that you progress through each floor. I don't have details on this at the moment, but if you're interested you might be able to find more about this.

Next year 1.19 will be available and it's called the "Wild Update." It introduces a new biome called the birch forest. It seems the swamp may be getting revised (I don't think it's a separate biome). It will now include mangrove trees, which adds a new type of wood, which can be used for crafting just like any other wood. Some of the roots are large and you can ride a boat underneath of them. Mangrove trees can be planted in water or dirt using the propagules that grow on it.

Frogs are also being introduced in this update. They don't appear just in the swamp though and they have color variants depending on the biome they're in. So, the tropical frogs are a different color than the snowy frogs. You can't have frogs without tadpoles and they're here, too. You can collect them with a bucket of water. So, what do frogs eat? Fireflies of course! Yes, fireflies are being introduced as well.

Version 1.18 is the "Caves & Cliffs Update Part 2" and it will expand the vertical borders of the worlds. So, worlds will be higher, allowing for taller mountains, and much lower replacing bedrock and allowing for deeper caves. It is going to be easy to keep your world from other updates and migrate them to 1.19. They're calling this feature "blending" and it will not destroy your worlds.

Taking advantage of the new depths of the world, a new biome is being added called the Deep Dark. It includes unpopulated cities, which look like ruins. However, this is a very dangerous and actually very scary biome. You really should watch one of the videos to see this for yourself. There are blocks called sculkers. There are different sculker blocks, but I won't get into them here. They react when they detect motion and if they're activated enough, a new terrifying creature will spawn called the Warden. It is blind, but can chase after the player if they detect motion. You can usually avoid motion detection by crouching. One way to avoid the Warden is to throw something like a snowball in another direction. This will divert it's attention away from the player.

Early on 1.17 was going to introduce bundles. You can place up to 64 items in them and thus carry many more items making inventory management much better. Archaeology was also introduced, but both of these new features will not be in 1.19, but will come some time in the future. However, we do get a very cool new feature, chests on boats. This is going to be very helpful in transporting multiple items and they will also work with redstone.

Another cool feature is the introduction of the mud block. You make one by using a bottle of water on dirt. You can then put it on top of a drip stone block (introduced in 1.17), which will drain the water from the mud block turning it into a clay block. This will most certainly be helpful as clay is sometimes hard to find and easy to overlook. Mudblocks can also be made into mud bricks, which look smaller than regular bricks.

Voting for a new mob has been going on during Minecraft Live. The Glow Squid is a new mob in 1.17, which won the most votes last time. This time the Allay won. It is a flying creature that can retrieve items. You give it an item and it will look for more of the same item. It cannot harvest, mine, or break blocks though. I'm not completely sure how useful this is, though. It will return the items it finds to the player or on a note block. You might find some info here:

Let me know what you think about all this. Have you played 1.17? If so, how do you like it? What do you think about it? 1.18 will be available in December, are you looking forward to it?
I found this great article by TechSpot today explaining why using "Ultra" settings (or the preset) is "dumb." I have to agree, although I'm one of those gamers that wants the best hardware to be able to easily run any game on that preset. However, this is an expensive and performance demanding preference. It's not based on logic, either. I have noticed great quality in games using only the "High" preset along with great performance. I've also noticed that the "Ultra" preset doesn't usually add anything noticeable, except for the huge performance hit.

That experience is exactly what TechSpot is referring to here. They've benchmarked the performance and quality of some games using really good hardware. Their observations were pretty much what I just said, the quality of "Ultra" presets is usually negligible and comes with a big hit to performance. I really think this is a relevant topic here and I do strongly recommend reading the article. One of the games mentioned is DOOM Eternal and the game recommend that I don't use the highest preset, but the second highest and it was great.

Sometimes it's difficult to decide which settings to use in a game and presets are a great way to do that simply. GeForce Experience can also optionally "optimize" your settings, but I've found that while those settings are usually good, sometimes they are not. This makes me question the basis of the settings that GE chooses.

Take for example Ark: Survival Evolved. I let GE "optimize" my settings when I got my GTX 1660Ti (and other new hardware). However, I noticed the performance with those settings was unacceptable. It was pretty much using the "Epic" preset, which is the "Ultra" one for this game. Ark has been out for a while now and it's been very demanding on hardware since the beginning. This is just an example of a game where the highest preset comes with an unacceptable hit to performance while not really showing any greatly obvious quality improvement that you'd think would come as a result of the settings.

Let me know what you think about this topic. Are you one of the people that *must* have hardware good enough to run on "Ultra" presets? Or are you someone who values performance more and still enjoys good quality? Have you also noticed how "Ultra" presets don't always give really big and noticeable differences in quality, but significant performance hits?

I didn't want to leave this post w/out an image, so I uploaded a screenshot I took some time ago showing my settings for Ark. This was primarily to help me remember, since the game sometimes resets them.

Check out the embedded trailer. I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to give away spoilers. Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds, is pretty much the main character but there are other recognizable actors in it as well. The ones I noticed were Taika Waititi and I recognized the voice cameo by Hugh Jackman. You might recognize it, too. It sounds like him, but you don't see his face. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was actually the bank robber in the trailer that Guy shoots. You don't see his face, either.

What if life were a video game? Guy found glasses that opened his eyes and he began to see video game things such as health pickups, money, and missions. If you like video games, you'd probably enjoy it. There are other pop culture references, even a brief cameo from Chris Evans. There's a bit of a Matrix theme going on here, but it's also similar to Ready Player One. So, go check it out, you might find it better than you might expect. It's a must see!

Azurephile gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Azurephile gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. In a way it’s cool, because I felt like the game play was much more fun and addictive than I expected. Unfortunately, enough time passed and I became bored with it. It’s still a great game and I highly recommend it, but in the end I feel “blah” about it. I guess I burned out on it. I’ll let you know about game play mechanics, what I liked, and what I didn’t like along with problems I ran into.

In case you didn’t read my review of Shadow of Mordor (link at bottom) or if you’re unfamiliar with the basic game play of this series, I’ll give a friendly introduction. These games take place in the world of Lord of the Rings (Middle-Earth, of course!). I’d say it occurs some time between about the end of the Hobbit movie trilogy and the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, before the ring of power was destroyed. There are two main characters, Tilion, and Celebrimbor. Tilion was killed along with his family, but he was “banished from death.” I think this is explained eventually or at least that he could actually have been relieved of his “curse” at anytime (no spoilers!). Celebrimbor is an elf, well when we see him he’s actually a wraith, but he’s not a ring wraith (or nazgul). He was the one who forged the rings, including the ring of power. However, events occurred, which will be revealed throughout Shadow of Mordor.

Talion’s ultimate goal is to defeat Sauron, but he can’t compete against Sauron’s army of orcs. So, he gains the ability to recruit them by “branding” them, which basically means he takes control of their will and they become his soldiers. I was disappointed with a DLC character that would not use this and a second who could not, because branding is one of my favorite parts of the game. Branding an orc replenishes Talion’s health. Usually when this happens, it’s head explodes and with the right skill upgrade, you can make it so that nearby orcs flee in terror at the sight of this.

Skills are pretty self-explanatory. You get skill points that you can allot to different abilities. There are many abilities you can purchase with skill points. The main ones also have upgrades to them, which you can also with skill points, but you can only have one of these enabled at a time. An example of them is the one I just mentioned regarding head explosion. Eventually, you may run into a point where you have no use for them. At that point, I thought the only thing I could do was to buy the upgrades I didn't want, even if I didn't enable them, but there will come a time where there are a few skills you can keep spending points on. The one I always used was the final health skill, it gives a certain percentage of health you get back from killing an orc. This seemed to go on for a very long time, I never reached a point where I could no longer invest in it as it's increase was very small.

There are regular orcs that can get promoted to be captains, war chiefs, and in Shadow of War, overlords. Whenever you get killed, orcs level up. If a regular orc kills you, it’s very likely to get promoted to captain. Orcs have internal feuds, they get promoted by betraying a war chief. Each captain has a set of different attributes. These can be something like a fear of fire, enraged by poison, and immune to arrows, but there are very many more attributes. You won’t know these at first, you’ll have to gather intel to find out. You can see captains strengths, but you’ll need intel to reveal their weaknesses. Usually you get this by branding an orc that looks green in wraith sense. However, you can also find intel on a board or table.

Wraith sense is a second kind of vision. It’s similar to night vision. You can see the shape and colors of orcs and other objects you can interact with. I used wraith vision a lot, there’s no limitation to it. It’s extremely helpful, because with normal vision, you can’t see the orcs for the structures and terrain, to put it one way. I relied on this so much that I was very disappointed that I wasn't able to use this with the second DLC character.

A difference in Shadow of War is that there are regions and fortresses within those regions. Your goal is to conquer and defend each region, so you have to build up your army. There are missions where you take on a fortress and try to conquer it and then others where you have to defend your fortress.

You can get new gear by killing captains. Each piece of gear will have a random quality and attributes, just like you’d find in a Diablo game. You can upgrade them, too, but I think you can only do this a couple of times. Particularly, you can upgrade them by completing challenges. For instance, one piece of gear might tell you to kill 10 enemies with a bow. I didn’t upgrade all of my gear, because not all of the challenges were appealing to me or I thought they were more challenging that what I wanted to do. Also, there are sets of legendary gear and when you have more than one equipped, you get a bonus.

Speaking of Diablo and gear, there are also gems you can put in slots in every piece of gear. Each piece has one slot. There are three different colored gems that have a different attribute depending on what it’s slotted in. You can combine gems to create a better one, which is great, because you’re often finding gems and it takes a while to get the final ones.

Here lies an issue I have, though. There’s a currency in the game called mirian. At first, I felt like I had plenty. You get this by completing quests, destroying unwanted gear, or killing orcs that are white in wraith sense. Perhaps the most useful thing you can do with it is upgrading your orcs and fortresses. You can buy training orders with it, so you can level up your orcs, give them certain weapons, or other attributes. My main issue is that after you’ve completed the story and other quests, even though you can still do a lot of things, it’s hard to earn enough mirian to keep up with what I wanted. I wanted serious defenses on my fortresses, but I had to grind quite a bit just to afford them. Then it seemed as though those defenses really weren’t worth it (my entrance was always breached quickly).

There are online quests. You can send an orc into an online fighting pit or you can try to conquer an online region’s fortress. I didn’t do these, but I did take on online vendettas, which are for captains that have killed another player. If you decide to take on the mission, you’re apparently transported to another player’s world and are put into a captain’s fort. Drawing out the captain is the same as drawing out a war chief in the offline part, you have to do something specific. One example is to kill 10 archers, or kill 10 enemies without raising the alarm. Once the alarm is rung, a whole lot more orcs spawn, which can quickly and constantly be overwhelming, so you want to avoid that. You can see an icon over the head of an orc running for the alarm.

I think at least two other captains will appear, so you’ll have to find those green orcs in wraith sense to get intel about them, since you're in another world. If you brand and recruit any captain, they’ll be transported to your world and you can place them wherever you like. If you recruit the target captain instead of killing him, your mission is still a success and you will be rewarded. However, killing a captain gives a piece of gear, recruiting does not. You’ll still get gear as a reward for the mission anyway. There’s always a chest with some gear for you at the end, plus you’ll earn points towards a better chest, which will include free training orders (those upgrades I mentioned).

Stealth is a major part of the game and knowing that, I didn’t think I’d enjoy the games as much as I did. It’s why I’ve mostly avoided the Assassin’s Creed games, because stealth isn’t my thing, but I enjoyed it so much in this series that I’m thinking of trying Assassin’s Creed again. I forgot to also mention (though I mentioned in my Shadow of Mordor review), the combat is great. I used my Xbox One controller that I bought specifically for PC gaming, but you can also play with the keyboard and mouse. Combat is just like the Batman: Arkham series (they’re both Warner Bros games, so I think this shouldn’t be a surprise). You attack with X and counter with Y. Other buttons have other functions, some have combos. I really love this combat style, so I was glad to see it here. I guess my anti-stealth thinking was a bit of a contradiction, because I loved those Batman games, but you had to be stealthy in them, too.

Branding orcs is fun and useful, but there are a couple of limitations to it. You cannot recruit a captain that’s a higher level than you are. The best way to do this, without having to level up, is to shame the captain, which will reduce his level and he will run away. You can then find him later and try to recruit him again. You can also decide to “fight to the death.” The icon above an orc’s head will turn green when he’s “broken." You can only brand broken creatures. Some orcs, however, have a trait that makes them unable to be recruited, in which case you may as well just kill them.

If you’ve finished the main story, make sure you continue to do the remaining quests. What I mean, specifically, is make sure you control every region. This will show another cinematic, which explains Talion’s true fate. This is very relevant in the first DLC. I think if you didn’t see that “true fate” cinematic, then the story in the first DLC will be confusing as it’s a continuation of that.

The DLC allows you to play as two different characters, but they have their own little main story quest and don't do everything that was available to Talion. So, they're kind of like smaller, more limited versions of the main game. This didn’t bother me so much, but their abilities (or lack thereof) did. The first character you can play as is an elf that refuses to brand orcs. She makes up for this, though, by meeting orcs that are actually friendly towards her, one of which is obsessed with elves. While I thought that getting around her vow to not brand was greatly done, I was not at all a fan of her healing ability. That’s because, in order to heal, you have to hold the Y button and then you’ll heal over time (though it seemed to happen rather quickly). The problem with this is when you’re trying to heal and still being attacked by orcs, which gets interrupted if you get hit, plus you can’t counter while doing this either. So, if you’re close to dying, you pretty much have to run away far enough so that you can do it. Running away is really a key tip for these games, there’s no shame in it. It may be better to run away than let an orc level up by killing you. Anyway, her healing ability was frustrating. I did finish this DLC’s story, but I didn’t do everything I could have done. By that time I had grown tired of the game and was ready to move on.

Healing is part of the reason I barely even played the second character DLC. He’s a mortal human and the only way he can heal is by using potions and he has a limited amount he can carry at a time. I think you start out with three, but can upgrade later. This is a problem, because you can often run out of them, even though dead orcs sometimes drop them. He also doesn’t have wraith sense. Also, instead of double jumping, he uses a parachute, which is kind of annoying since the other characters could fall at any height with no fall damage. I got surrounded by orcs and the captains had shields, which made it harder to fight them, especially since some of them had immunity to acrobatics, which means you can’t jump over them and hit them in the back like regular orcs with shields. I had a body guard, but this was not a challenge I was interested in. Because of all of this, I gave up on the last DLC and thus the game.

I ran into other problems. I had a problem where my controller was disconnecting. It seemed like if I moved slightly it would disconnect, but I’ve been using my controller for the last few games I’ve played and it’s never had this problem. It’s a USB controller and I thought maybe I just need a new USB cable. Someone on the Internet suggested using Big Picture view in Steam, which I don’t like, but using it seemed to have resolved the issue. Another problem is that the game crashes sometimes. It’s not obvious, it’s just that it looks like it’s taking forever to load and loading times were pretty non-existent for me, possibly because I’m running off of a NVMe SSD now. But, when I noticed these long load times, I just went to Task Manager and stopped the game. This didn’t happen too frequently, but enough to be annoying.

I gave Shadow of Mordor an outstanding review, but I can’t do the same for Shadow of War. This game is in a lot of ways better than the first. It improves on many things and I think there’s plenty to do in it’s open world. However, even though the game play was addictive at first, it got old after a while. I still strongly recommend both games, but this second one had some setbacks I didn’t experience with the first. It reminds me of programming, the more features you add, the easier it is to create more bugs.

Let me know what you think about all this. Have you played these games? What did you think about them or do they look like something you’d be interested in? (I'm glad I proofread this multiple times!)

My Shadow of Mordor review:

The trailer for The Matrix Resurrections is finally out and the movie will be released in theaters and HBO Max on 12/22/21. The trailer says "this Christmas" and my first thought was that is a bad idea, because Spider-Man: No Way Home comes out on Christmas and I wouldn't bet on anything getting as much attention. That's not to say The Matrix is bad, it's great in fact, but...well I'm sure you understand.

So, Neo and Trinity are back, but they don't know each other. Neo (Thomas) is seeing a therapist played by Neil Patrick Harris, because he's having weird dreams and thinks he's crazy. Jada Pinkett Smith returns as Niobe, who you might remember in the sequels. It *looks* like Morpheus is back, but is played by another guy. It looks like this might be a younger version of himself (according to the link below). Hugo Weaving will also not return and I'm disappointed both actors will not be returning.

I found a link with some more details, especially about the actors. You can check it out here:

I'm looking forward to seeing it, I've loved The Matrix movies since they came out. I'm also extremely fond of The Animatrix and if you haven't seen it, but are a fan of The Matrix, you should. As it sounds, it's anime Matrix stories. Some aren't really relevant to the overall story, but a few of them are significantly related. IMHO the best ones give us the backstory of how the Matrix was created and it's very interesting and disturbing. I loved the soundtrack as well.

I'm glad it seems this is coming to HBO Max the same day as theaters. The one great thing about COVID is that it created a significant boost to streaming services like HBO Max and Disney+. Those services have started showing movies when they release and I really love it. I think it's incredibly responsible, especially since we're currently dealing with the more contagious Delta variant and even vaccinated people are getting sick (but not mortally so). I prefer to watch something in the privacy of my own room. I did go see Shang-Chi, so obviously I've decided to go anyway, since not all movies I want to watch are streamed right away.

Let me know what you think about this. Are you a fan of The Matrix? What did you think of the trilogy? Have you seen The Animatrix? I've got a little more to say, but I might wait and put it in the comments.

Azurephile gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Azurephile gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a very good game. It seems I’m on a trend with my gaming lately. I’ve been enjoying open-world games that have a combat system like the Batman: Arkham games. Shadow of Mordor is very much like a Batman: Arkham game crossed with Lord of the Rings, but there are key differences. The main difference between the two is that in Shadow of War, you can build an army of orcs.

At the beginning, you learn that a ranger, Talion, was killed along with his family, yet he is denied death. He was cursed and now pretty much lives again. He can die, but he keeps coming back. He is followed by a wraith, Celebrimbor. This wraith is special, though, and takes Talion along on a journey. When Celebrimbor was alive, he was an elf and he forged the rings of power. Talion and Celebrimbor are bound together and act as one and their main goal is to defeat Sauron, but they must get through his minions first.

Being a character who’s pretty much half ranger and half wraith means that he has many abilities, most of which are not unlocked initially. There are quests and items to collect. There are main quests and side quests. One good tip I found was to go through the main quests for a while so you can unlock different abilities. Even if you end up finishing story mode without doing all the quests or finding all the collectibles, you’ll get that chance after the credits roll.

In this game, most of your enemies are orcs. They are in a hierarchical system. You’ll see plain orcs everywhere. There are different classes of them. There are archers and berserkers just to name a couple. If you find one that has a big shield, you’re not going to be able to counter their attacks, instead you’ll have to dodge. You can jump over them, then hit them in the back. For berserkers, you’ll need to stun them. Above these orcs are captains and above them are war chiefs. War chiefs typically have some body guards, so it’s best to try to get them out of the way before fighting a war chief. War chiefs often have to be drawn out of a fortress, which means you may be required to complete a certain objective, like kill a number of units without being detected.

Every orc has strengths and weaknesses and knowing these can change a battle. You won’t know these about every one, until you gather intel. Usually this is done by branding enemies that have a green highlight on them. These are called worms. Intel is sometimes lying around and there are also slaves you can rescue, which can also give it you. My favorite orcs are the ones that can be instantly killed by stealth. I found this is usually the easiest way to kill them.

In strongholds, there are lots of orcs and there are different things you can do to decrease their numbers. You can shoot bait for creatures that will attack them, for example. You can also poison barrels of grog (their alcohol) or shoot explosive barrels. If you’re spotted, chances are an alarm will be raised, which will summon many more orcs. It’s not too difficult to hide or escape combat, though. You may often find yourself in a situation where you should instead run away. Dying in this game is frustrating at first and a bit confusing. When you die, the orc that killed you will level up. Time will also pass allowing other orcs to level up as they go about AI activities. This really isn’t a bad thing. Orcs aren’t incredibly difficult and you may want a high level orc on your side. So, don’t get discouraged here. Some day you may have to fight that orc again, but you might also be able to brand it and turn it on your side. You can have it kill other captains. For war chiefs, your orcs can betray them, if they’re already it’s body guard or it can infiltrate it and become one. Then, when you’re fighting it, it’s body guards turn on it and fight for you.

There are some really awesome things your character can do. He can see into the shadows or the wraith world. This is very helpful to get a better look at what things are around. Enemies become very visible, but there are other things that require this wraith sense. One really fun ranged ability is a shadow strike. When Talion holds the bow, ready to aim, time slows down for a brief amount of time, allowing you take get a better shot. If you have something you’re aimed at, you can press a button and you will pretty much warp to that enemy and kill it. Stealth is often vitally important. You can do a variety of stealth kills including the one I mentioned, but you can also kill enemies from behind, above, or below.

Another great ability is called branding and it’s very fun. This allows you to take control of an enemy’s mind and in doing so, you create an ally that will fight along your side. You can tell them to fight for you, or you can also sacrifice them with the touch of a button to restore health. Not only can you stealth kill, but you can also stealth brand.

Talion has a sword, dagger, and a bow. Each has slots for runes. Runes improve something, like the ability to get health from a head shot kill or to restore focus. Runes are collected from captains and the higher level the captain was, the higher level and better a rune can be. There are also challenges, which help you learn how to use each weapon and also to unlock some abilities. There are also some wild creatures you can brand, too. You can ride some of them and they’re often really great allies.

The game was a bit shorter than I hoped. I’ve spent about 73 hours playing it, though. I got all the collectibles, unlocked all of the abilities, completed the main and side quests, and also played a bit more after story mode. The game play is a bit repetitive, but I think it’s also very entertaining and enjoyable. There are some DLC, too. In one, you play as the elf and it’s a bit more difficult, because he doesn’t have the ability to slow down time when the bow is drawn, so I didn’t use it as much. Instead of a shadow strike, he has the ability to do the same action, but when he gets to the enemy, he brands it instead of killing it. He can summon allies and also sacrifice them for health.

One DLC is a group of challenges. It’ll say like kill a number of captains and war chiefs. They have bonus objectives, which will award more points if completed such as finishing in under an hour. The points you get for completing objectives seems to just be for show. You can compete with yourself to try to get more points. Instead of worrying about time, I just went along with it and had fun with it.

Shadow of Mordor has a sequel, Shadow of War and it’s very similar, but it’s a bit more like a graphical and game play upgrade. Both games are very fun. I may review War when I am finished. As I said, it reminds me of the Batman: Arkham games, because that’s the combat system. It’s a lot of fun. The amount of stealth used makes me think of Assassin's Creed, but I’ve barely played any of those games. I didn’t think I’d like being stealthy, but since I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’m thinking of giving another try.

The game can be discouraging at first, but if you stick with it, you’ll probably enjoy it once you’re used to it. Remember, there’s no shame in running away. Go restore your health, then come back to finish the fight if you want. There are a lot of other good tips, so I recommend finding some online. I found multiple helpful sources. At first I was discouraged, but those tips really helped me get into it.

Let me know if this sounds like something you’re interested in or if you’ve played it before. I picked it up on sale recently. If you’ve played an Assassin's Creed game and this, please let me know what you think about how the two are similar and different.

Three years ago, I wrote a review for Jurassic World Evolution. It’s an awesome game that lets you build your own Jurassic Park. You can find a link for that review at the bottom of this post. JWE isn’t just a simple park builder, it actually feels like a strategy game. Unless you’re playing in sandbox mode, you can’t just plop everything down and release whatever dinos you want. At first you’ll have access to all you need to get started, but you won’t have access to every dino or advanced buildings and upgrades.

To get dinos, you have to send out a dig team to visit sites around the world to gather fossils. These sites are actually the real world sites where these fossils were found. You don’t actually visit those sites, you just send a team there and in time they’ll return with fossils. There are some fossils that you can only sell, but mostly you’re looking for fossils for DNA extraction. This increases the percentage of a genome you have so that you can start incubating dino eggs.

There are plenty of other things to do and three different people will give you different things to do, which will help build your park and make it better. There are five different islands where you can build a park. You’ll have to get a five star rating on each island to unlock the next and each has it’s own special limitations and unique challenges. This archipelago is called “Las Cinco Muertes” or “The Five Deaths.” You’ll recognize a couple islands, which are locations in the Jurassic Park movies. One of the unique challenges on one island is tornadoes that will rip through your park, damaging buildings, and destroy fences, which will set your dinos free to terrorize your guests. Without tornadoes, dinos can also break out of their fences if they’re too stressed out. That’s just a basic description of the game.

A sequel was announced earlier this year and it now has a release date of November 9th. Around when I first learned about JWE, I found a couple of good YouTube channels. There is one in particular I’ve been watching exclusively for JWE (and JWE2) content. That channel is “BestInSlot.” Click the link below to visit his channel. He provides a lot of great content, including news, game play, analysis, and speculation for these games. I’ve been keeping an eye on his channel in recent months when I noticed the announcement of JWE2. I strongly recommend watching his videos. The trailer I’ve embedded comes directly from his channel. It really is the only source of info I’ve been looking at for JWE2 news.

JWE2 includes new dinos, locations, and features. The dinos included in both games are from the movies. JWE2 includes all of that, but seems to include Jurassic World: Dominion related content. That movie comes out next summer. If you’re a fan of the movies, you’ll want to check out info for that. Three of the main (adult) characters from the original movies return.

If you watched Fallen Kingdom, you’ll understand the premise of Dominion. Dinos were brought to the U.S. and have been released into the wild. JWE2 no longer is based on the first game’s islands, but allows you to build parks in different biomes. Most of these may be places in the U.S., but the movie might take place around the world, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of those places appear in the game as well.

There are new dinos in JWE2 that we haven’t seen before, it’s possible they will be in Dominion. JWE has 37 species, while JWE2 is supposed to have over 75! While there was an aviary in JWE for Pteranodons, it has been expanded in JWE2 and there are more avian dinos. The aviary was a simple building, but JWE2 lets you customize and expand it. Aquatic dinos weren’t available in JWE, but they are included in JWE2. Two of the most familiar and popular ones are the Mosasaurus and Plesiosaurus, but there are others.

JWE2 also gives players the ability to customize buildings. Some of these buildings are for providing food, shopping, and entertainment for your guests. There are also additional modes for the game. I’ve already mentioned sandbox mode, but there’s also a challenge mode in both games, providing an extra challenge, but there is at least one more in JWE2. There are many new features, so if this interests you, you may want to dive deeper into details to see the new changes.

JWE2 will be released on consoles and PC, but some content will only be available for the new current generation of consoles and PC. You can pre-order the game for $60 or you can pre-order the Deluxe Edition for just $10 more. Pre-ordering the game will give you some extra vehicle skins (which I didn’t like), but the Deluxe Edition not only gives you different extra vehicle skins (which I liked much better), but also gives you extra dinos. Since every dino has unique attributes such as compatibility or incompatibility with certain dinos, I think the Deluxe Edition is worth it.

JWE has DLC, most of which cost some money and I think the inclusion of the Deluxe Edition in JWE2 means that it will probably have future DLC. I’m sure there will be a new DLC based on Dominion when that’s released, since JWE added DLC based on Fallen Kingdom when it was released. JWE has a Deluxe Edition, too. Some of it’s DLC adds new dinos or skins for dinos, but also new campaigns. One memorable campaign has you working with Dr. Wu creating new hybrids like the Spinoraptor. Another DLC is Return to Jurassic Park, which gives JP skins for dinos and JP buildings along with new scenarios. Another is Claire’s Sanctuary, which is based on the events of Fallen Kingdom where you have to rescue dinos from Isla Nublar. I enjoyed all the DLC and they weren’t too expensive, though I did wait to buy many of them when I could get them for a good discount.

If this sounds interesting to you, let me know. Be sure to also let me know if you’ve played it or read my review. Right now JWE2 is the one game I’m most looking forward to and I will most definitely pre-order the Deluxe Edition, it’s totally worth it to me.

My JWE review:

“BestInSlot” on YouTube:

Azurephile gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Azurephile gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Mad Max isn’t new, the first movie came out the same year I was born (1979). The second came out two years later. There is a third, too, which came out in 2015, titled Mad Max: Fury Road. Tom Hardy plays Max in that movie. I think it’s interesting, he doesn’t speak much, but when he does he kind of grunts. The movie also has the creepiest villain I have ever seen!

The game also came out in 2015. I missed a great opportunity to get it for free as one of my tribe mates from Ark offered to give me a key, but I didn’t take him up on the offer. I kind of regret that, but I actually ended up getting it for $4 recently. I really have no idea how or why I was able to get it for that price, it’s definitely worth more than that. Steam is telling me I spent about 81 hours playing it, which to me is a great amount of time for a game (I love long lasting games so long as they’re fun). I completed almost everything, except for the races.

Mad Max is an open world game based in a dystopian world, sort of like Fallout. I don’t exactly have the details about what happened to the world, but the game does drop some hints. I’m pretty sure I saw some where in the game that it had to do with global warming. This made me think that creating such a world that was pretty much desolated by global warming might be a great way to help teach people about global warming and what the planet might look like if we don’t take action now.

Max and his car are inseparable, although it was stolen from him at the beginning of the game. Not long after the beginning, you meet Chumbucket. He’s a “black finger,” which in this world means he’s a really good mechanic. He’s also turned mechanics into a religion. He calls Max “Saint.” You’ll also meet a dog, which becomes really helpful later in detecting mines. Chumbucket works with Max, helping him build a new car. You have to go searching for different parts including the engine, body, and weapons. Probably my favorite weapon is the harpoon. It not only allows you to pull down things like gates, but it also allows you to pull tires off of an enemy car. I also enjoyed targeting snipers and pulling them off of their perches. Many times while playing I told myself, “I will not tolerate snipers!” There’s also an explosive that you can throw. You can also use your shotgun, which is extremely helpful. It becomes nearly vital when an enemy has pretty much destroyed Max’s car so much that Max has to wait outside of it for Chumbucket to repair it. While on foot, enemies will try to run over you, but you can evade them and then turn around and shoot their fuel tanks (these are almost always exposed, providing Max with an easy target). You can also shoot their tires, which will make them stop and exit their vehicles. Then they’ll come to fight you, which I find is a much easier way to deal with them than ramming them with the car (this way your car won’t take damage). Just shooting out a tire on one vehicle will prompt the other drivers to exit their vehicles as well (enemies usually come in groups of three vehicles).

As you progress, you’ll be able to upgrade the car’s various parts, some of which I already mentioned. These upgrades include things like the engine, tires, weapons, exhaust, paint, and more. As much as I liked one of the cool multi-colored body paints, I ended up sticking with the one that’s actually useful. There’s one that has a primer that’s resistant to fire. This can be important as some vehicles can spit fire out the back, some can also shoot fire out the sides. Your car can also do the latter action, but it consumes gas.

Not only can you upgrade the car, but you can also upgrade Max. You can upgrade his shotgun, the clothes he wears (which can provide armor) and the things he can put on his hands to increase his melee damage. Speaking of melee combat, the system is very much like the Batman: Arkham games, so for me, as a fan of those games, this combat system was greatly welcome. It’s pretty simple, really. You press one button to attack, another to counter, and another to evade. You can also pick up melee weapons, but they’ll break eventually. You also carry an amount of shivs and you’ll see opportunities to use them. Max also has other abilities you can upgrade, which will allow him to do things such as not just counter an attack, but if you counter an enemy who’s swinging a melee weapon at you, you can take it from them. You can also counter an attack with a shiv and turn it on the attacker. These abilities are fun.

I think the world of the game is quite similar to Far Cry games, although my experience with Far Cry is limited to Far Cry Primal. However, this game really makes me want to play those other games, so I’m keeping my eye out for a good discount for them on Steam. As such there are plenty of things to do. There are many areas of the world and you won’t know what’s in them until you go to one of the many hot air balloon stations littered across the land. When you find one, just keep holding the ascend button. Eventually you’ll get high enough and the game will take over telling you pretty much that you discovered the area. Then it will allow you to use your binoculars, which lets you look around the area and the game will mark the things on the map you discover while looking around.

Each area has a threat level and there are many ways to reduce it, which will reduce the amount of enemies that are scouting the area, though they’ll never completely disappear. One of the things you can do to reduce the threat level include disarming mines in a minefield (each area seems to have two minefields). There are also these kind of statue structures that you can tear down with the harpoon. There are also various types of camps for you to conquer. One such example is a place where you have to destroy oil pumps. These areas have enemies in them. Each one has a difficulty level. When you look at a camp, it’ll tell you your objective and what that difficulty level is. Although, for me the difficulty level was mostly irrelevant as they were all not bad. Some of them have bosses you have to defeat. Usually all you can do against them is evade their attacks and then attack them while they’re recovering from swinging their huge weapons.

Scrap is the currency in the game and there are different ways you can get it. Scrap is used to purchase upgrades. There are places on the map you can go, called savaging locations. There will be a certain amount of scrap items for you to collect, but there are other things called history relics. These are pretty are photos and they usually have something written on the back of them, which gives the world some lore. Max will often also comment on these once you read that text. Once you collect all the collectibles in the location, the marker on the map will disappear. However, if there is a water source in the location, that will be remain marked on the map.

Speaking of water, water and food is the way to restore Max’s health. Water is more abundant. He has a canteen and there are a couple of different sources for water, usually tanks or a toilet, for you to refill your canteen. One of the things you can upgrade for Max is how much water he gets out of a source. The max you can get is 100% more. So, at first, I think it’s a 1:1 ratio, so if a source is only half full, your empty canteen can only be refilled by the same amount. But, if you max out that upgrade, it doesn’t really matter how much water is in a source, because you’ll still acquire more of it. So, if a source is only half full and your canteen is empty, you’ll probably be able to easily fill up your canteen. As for food, there are maggots, which you can find on some dead bodies. There are also cans of dog food for you to eat. There are also living rats, which you’ll hear. You can chase them down and press a button to kill them, then eat them. Yeah, it’s disgusting, but it tells you the state of the world.

There are a few different strongholds. There are missions that the leader in the stronghold will give you, but the strongholds also have projects. You can find pieces of these projects in those scrap locations I mentioned. When you find enough pieces, you can return to the stronghold to build it. Almost all of these projects are useful, except for the scrap one, because it’s supposed to collect scrap for you while you’re offline, but the online features of the game are no longer available. However, you can find other more useful projects such as the maggot farm, water tank, oil tank, and armorer. After building these, you’ll be able to return to the stronghold to refill your health, water, gas, and ammo. However, you can’t just collect these any time you want. Once you collect them, you’ll have to wait a certain amount of time before they’re available again. The game will tell you how much time remains that you’ll have to wait. However, if you have multiple stongholds unlocked, you can visit different ones to get what you need. So, if the refills aren’t available in one stonghold due to time, you can just visit another.

Fast travel is a feature in the game. There are multiple places you can fast travel too, including those hot air balloon stations and strongholds I mentioned. You’ll also be able to fast travel to the various places for races. During a race here’s a finish time you want to get so that you can be rewarded. One of the rewards you can get are certain tokens, although this is not the only way to acquire these tokens. They allow you to get upgrades for Max, like the one I mentioned where you can upgrade how much water you get from a source. Once you get a token, someone will appear on the map (and the game will tell you this and show you where he is). You’ll have to visit him to get the upgrade. He’s kind of a mystic. He’s mysterious and seems to know Max and is trying to help him get back to who he used to be. Max used to be kind of like a police officer that would chase down criminals, but after the events of the first movie, he’s gone “mad.”

The story was pretty cool. The music wasn’t particularly noteworthy though. Still, I really enjoyed the game. I did everything except all the races, because I found them to be way too frustrating. Just like in the game, enemy cars will try to ram you or destroy you by other means. When you join a race, you have a very limited amount of vehicles to choose from (max amount is four). So, you can’t use your own car. If you win a race with one of the available vehicles, they’ll become available for you to use outside the race. While in a stronghold, you can choose a different vehicle to drive, which is handy, because if you want to disarm minefields, you’ll have to use Chumbucket’s Buggy, which the dog is in. Don’t worry much though, this buggy seems to have really good armor and it’s fast, though the only weapon you’ll have available is your shotgun. Oh and I should also mention that one of the upgrades you can get is the ability to make it so that Chumbucket repairs the car you’re using faster, this is kind of important as you’ll notice it takes too long to do so without these upgrades.

Overall, I think it’s a good game and I think it’s worthy of a full positive Cheerful Ghost rating. If you like open world games, then this one is probably something you’ll be interested in. Check out the embedded "Before You Buy" video to get a good look and review of it.

Let me know what you think of this. Let me know also if you’ve seen any of the movies and what you thought of them.

Azurephile gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Azurephile gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since FF12 was released and it was on the PS2! Luckily, Square-Enix has decided to remaster some of those now “old” FF games, including FF12. This remaster is called Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. It’s a bit obvious, but I think the main part of this remaster is the visual upgrade. I was really disappointed with the original, in that it didn’t look so great, so I believe it most definitely needed this upgrade. It looks better now. Take a look at a comparison video and you’ll see how much better it is.

Be aware though, there are other ways in which this version differs from the original, though I didn’t look to see what they all are. However, I noticed in my Internet searches that some things or ways to get things have been changed or removed. So, if you’re playing and you’re looking for info about something, take notice that what you’re looking at applies to this version and not only the original. One example of this that I ran into was how to obtain Ribbons. Ribbons are an accessory, which makes the wearer “immune to status ailments” according to the wiki. These are rare and highly sought after. I wanted to get some, but it looked like they made some changes, so I wasn’t sure exactly which of the original ways to get them had been removed or changed. Ultimately, because of this, I decided not to spend too much time on it and I just skipped over that, even though it would have been beneficial in some side quests. I think I did see that you can use Cheat Engine (a good cheating program I’ve used in other games), but I didn’t bother with that.

In FF12, the combat system is not quite like other FF games before it. Instead of issuing commands for each character once an ATB fills up, characters will act on their own when they’re ready to act. Although, you can still switch between characters and chose an action for them to do, quite simply. This “Gambit” system allows you to select certain commands to occur on certain conditions. For instance, you could set one up that’s “Foe: lowest HP” and then set up the action to “Attack.” You could also use one that’s “Ally: Status KO” and set up the action to use “Phoenix Down” or you could set up another for the same, but have the action as “Rise” or “Arise.” The list of Gambits has a top-priority, so the lines closer to the top get executed first, as long as the condition applies, if not then the line below it is active, continuing until it finds a condition that applies. So, you’ll probably want all of your healing gambits at the top and your attack at the bottom, so you prioritize healing over attacking (it’s not good trying to attack if you’re KO’d). This may take some learning and getting used to, but once you accomplish that then it’s really not a bad system, it kind of “takes your hands off the steering wheel,” giving your characters some autonomy, even if you pre-selected actions. One thing that confused me at first was that there are different tabs where you can set up different gambits for different battles. Your characters will follow whatever page of gambits you leave it on, they don’t follow each tab, only one tab at a time, so you can create different custom gambit lists.

I love Ivalice! There are some major races, many of which are humanoid, but also like an animal. Humes are humans, as you could easily guess. I’ve never seen a male Viera, but according to the wiki, they do exist. Viera are kind of tall and skinny with very tall ears on top of their heads, which look like rabbit ears. I really love the Viera, one of the main characters in the game, Fran, is a Viera and I really love her. Nu mou have an interesting and canine-like description on the wiki. They are smaller than humes, but live three times as long. I didn’t see many of them, in fact I think the ones I did see were part of a side quest. You’ll see a lot more Bangaa, though. They have a lizard-like appearance. There are also Seeq, which look like pigs. They’re a bit shorter and stouter than humes. There are other races in the game, but these are the main ones. Oh and I can’t forget the Moogles! If you don’t know what Moogles are, you haven’t paid attention to Final Fantasy. They are still little, but now skinnier and they have rabbit-like ears, similar to the Viera, but smaller. They have a “red pom-pom” on top of their heads connected by a wire. Often in FF games, this is actually attached as a tail. They don’t talk much and you won’t see many of them there. They seem to be mostly engineers.

The “jobs” or “class” system is back. Some of these you can choose from are typical FF ones like White Mage, Black Mage, Red Battlemage, Time Mage, Archer, and Knight, but there are more. Each “job” is actually called a “license board.” You earn “license points” (LP) after a battle and you use these to activate a tile on a license board, which is called a “license.” These will give you an ability or a stat increase. This is how you become able to wear different armors, accessories, and use different weapons, magics, and skills. Each “job” uses a different weapon, there is one for Ninja Swords and another for Crossbows, just to name a couple. Each character can have two active license boards (or you can think of this as a dual-job). When you fill one up, you can activate a tile that will let you use another board, but you won’t lose the tiles you activated on the previous board. However, if you go talk to Montblanc, he can let you switch boards, but it will refund you all the LP you used and wipe everything clean. After doing, so you can select another board, fill it up, and select the second to fill up. So, you could actually have a character that’s a White and Black Mage. I changed my characters sometimes. I ended up with making everyone a White Mage first, because White Magic is the best (Arise, Esuna, Shell, Protect, etc.) and then something else. It’s really not a complicated thing and eventually you’ll have more LP than you can use. There are other skills you can learn called “Technicks.” Some of these skills include “Gil Toss” and “Steal.” Some of them are limited to certain “jobs”, so one Technick might only be available to a few different “jobs.” There are plenty of these, though I didn’t use many of them.

So, you need to active the “license” on a license board to be able to use a piece of armor, accessory, weapon, magic, technick, etc. But, you also have to find that armor, accessory, weapon, magic, technick, etc. to use. So, if you have a good sword you want to use, you’ll have to unlock it on the license board and it won’t be available to every job (Mages don’t wield swords, though you could have a White Mage/Knight combo to do so). Everything is scattered throughout the game and many of them are hidden.

I mentioned Montblanc, so I should mention clans. You get put in one automatically. Clans don’t necessarily matter, it’s what you can do in a clan. Basically, there are monsters that people want hunted, so they’ll post something on a board in a bar, for instance. You can see the posts, with limited information about the hunt. Once you’ve accepted it, you have to go speak with the person who posted it to get more details. The game will show you (on a map) where that person is, then where the monster is once the person gives you the info. These monsters are usually tougher than regular monsters. You may need to exercise some caution as some of them may be too difficult to deal with at first. After completion, you’ll have to return to the poster and get your reward. Doing these hunts will increase your clan rank. Each time you reach a new rank, Montblanc will give you a reward. You can also get rewards for defeating certain monsters or achieving other conditions. The higher your clan rank, the better things you can buy in the bazaar. I completed most of these, but not all of them.

There are a lot of things to do. As it goes with FF games, this one is also full of side quests. I don’t recall how many or which ones I completed when I first played this game all those years ago when it was released (I pre-ordered it and was even able to buy a FF12 shirt from a GameStop employee). In this play through, I made it to a point that I thought was a bit more difficult that I’d like, so I took some time away from the story to do some side quests. Eventually, I reached a point where I had to continue the story so that certain things were available. Once I returned to (and finished) the story, I found it much easier. Not long after, I reached the point of no return, which is pretty much exactly where you want to stop to do all of your side quests. The game will tell you when you’ve reached this point. So, the difficulty is like most other FF games where you just have to find better gear (including armor, weapons, magics, and abilities) and level up for things to get easier. You do earn experience points and thus levels, but I read something that said gear is more important than levels.

Oh, you might be familiar with “espers,” which is a term used in some other FF games that refers to large beings you can summon. In most games some forms of these are Bahamut and Shiva, however the only ways in which you’ll see many of those familiar summons is as an airship. However, there are others like them with similar abilities. You can summon them and they’ll fight along side the character that summoned them, the rest of your party isn’t there anymore. The esper will use it’s own abilities and you can use yours. However, your esper can get killed. If that happens, or you get killed in the fight, your esper will be “dismissed.” You’ll have some bars under your name, which shows how much power (not sure what it’s called) you have. If it’s full, you can summon an esper or use a “quickening,” if it’s empty, you have to wait. I think Ethers will restore this energy. Quickenings are pretty much what are usually called “limit breaks.” These are special large abilities characters use to attack a foe. Once one character starts using one, you’ll have a brief period of time to press a button next to a different character’s name, if successfully done, another character will do their quickening and you can try to select another character, until you miss or all the quickening/summoning bars are depleted.

I’ve now only played through FF12 twice, the first time with the original and this time. Getting back into it reminded me the two FF: Tactics games (the second was A2). Both are great games and I miss them very much, I wish they’d bring those to Steam (and consoles, I guess).

Oh and there are other, non-visual, enhancements. One of them allows you to increase the speed of the game. This could make traveling around, fighting monsters, or running away from them easier. I should also mention that random encounters aren't so random. You can see each enemy in your view on the screen or the mini-map. So, you can chose to attack or avoid whichever you want. There's no cut between starting a battle and being in it, it all happens in real-time, which is unlike some other FF games. If you defeat all the monsters in an area, usually you can get out of the zone and get back into it for them to respawn.

That might cover all the major things to talk about. Overall, I think if you like FF games, you’ll probably like this one. While it isn’t my favorite, it’s still pretty good. It does have it’s moments of “eh,” but I think overall it’s good. I definitely recommend checking this out, especially if you’re into FF games.

Let me know what you think about FF12 and this remaster. I wasn’t overly excited about it. I even hesitated to buy it for a while, but I found it at a good discount recently and got it. I didn’t think I’d enjoy playing it (again) as much as I did. Feel free to check out the embedded video for another positive review.

Azurephile gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Azurephile gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
In Marvel’s Avengers, you get to play as some of the Avengers (duh, right?). Although this is a Marvel title, it is not an MCU title. Characters are not voiced by MCU actors. The voice actors aren’t bad, though. I was most impressed with the voice actor for J.A.R.V.I.S, but I thought the one for Thor was interesting, too. Characters don’t even look like they do in the MCU. That may take some getting used to, but I didn’t think it was bad. One interesting difference from the MCU that I noticed is that Hank Pym is about the same age as most of the other Avengers. He’s also lost the ability to use his Pym Particles, but he’s also not a playable character. Other familiar characters are missing such as Vision, Wanda, Captain Marvel, and Falcon. Black Panther is joining the game in a few weeks (August 17, 2021, see trailer below).

The overall story is separated into different parts. The Hawkeye DLC continues the story from the main campaign. It introduces Kate Bishop and Clint Barton, who both go by the name “Hawkeye,” as playable characters. I was unaware of Kate, but apparently, Clint trained her. They are very similar in the game and I think Kate is coming to the MCU.

As for the main campaign, it introduced me to “Ms. Marvel” Kamala Khan, who is coming to the MCU. She is a teenager and a very big fan of the Avengers. In the beginning of the game, something happens, which makes her an “inhuman.” If you saw Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you may recognize that term and how they got their powers. Kamala’s powers actually look much like Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, but they differ. She’s called a “polymorph,” meaning she can transform her body. She can stretch, like Mr. Fantastic, but she can also make her body (or body parts) bigger or smaller. She can grab enemies at a distance or throw a big fist forward quite a distance to hit an enemy. She seems to have other abilities mentioned in the comics, but not in the game, so look her up if you want more info on her. I honestly think I like to play as her most. I think this is in part, because I got used to playing as her, since you start out as her. I think another reason is because one of her special abilities is that she can heal herself. Throughout the campaign, you’ll meet up with some different Avengers, which will make them available to play.

As an Avenger, you will go on missions. Not all missions are necessary to complete the story, most are optional. Most missions allow “1 to 4 players.” So, there are multiplayer options, but if you opt out of this feature, the AI will control the others. It seems you can chose which Avengers come along with you, but I always left the option open, so it seems random available Avengers came along with me. While on missions, you pretty much “beat up” the “bad guys” using different attacks and combos. The game play reminded me of the Batman Arkham games. Each Avenger has different attacks and abilities. There are three more powerful abilities that can be performed, but these aren’t always available. I can’t explain in detail how to increase the gauges for these as I didn’t dive too deeply into the system. Basically, you get to use them once and then they have to recharge. Enemies do sometimes drop orbs, some of which give you some health back, but there are also ones that add to the special ability gauges.

Above each mission’s icon is a green (positive) or red (negative) number. This number relates to your power level. This gives you an idea about the difficulty of the mission. You can change the difficulty of most missions and there are more than a few options for this, but lowering a difficulty will not guarantee that it’s still “easy.” You can go to missions that show that your power level is low for the mission and that it’s more difficult, but there seems to be some missions that will not allow you to access them if your power level is a lot lower. I can’t explain the power level system in detail as I didn’t get into it very deeply. However, it appears that it’s based on the gear you have.

Each Avenger has a set of gear and each piece can be upgraded. You can get more pieces from chests located in each mission or as rewards for completing missions. These pieces come with randomly generated attributes. It’s kind of like the items you acquire in the Diablo and Borderlands games. You can carry a number of them, but when inventory becomes full, it may be necessary to disassemble ones you don’t want, which will give you resources. These resources can be used to upgrade each piece. You can also find resources in chests or in crates, which you can simply hit to get them.

Your characters will have their own level, which increases when experience points are gained. I believe you get a skill point for leveling up in this way. Skills are pretty much very similar among each character. For instance, one skill you can unlock is a certain combo, which is available for each character. Other skills can increase certain attributes. They don’t seem to be very unique, although they may change how a certain character’s abilities behave.

I didn’t play the multiplayer parts, but it seems the game can do some quick match making. It might be fun to play with friends. I didn’t have much trouble with the AI, though even they sometimes needed to be revived. This is done by standing near to them for a brief period of time. The AI can revive other AI teammates and you as well.

While you can play with a keyboard and mouse, but I think using a controller is probably best. At least, that’s what I decided. I played it with the Xbox One controller I bought exclusively for PC gaming and it worked out well (as usual).

Perhaps the worst part about the game, in my opinion, is the fact that there are numerous cosmetic items you can get, but if you really want them, you’re most likely going to have to pay for them. The game has credits, which can be used to purchase many cosmetic items and the easiest way to get them is to buy them. I find this disappointing and that credits are not easy to get in-game. However, cosmetic items aren’t very important, so this doesn’t really matter too much, unless you see something you want. You can unlock some cosmetic items just by playing the game, but they may not be the ones you want. You can acquire credits in-game, but it takes a lot of effort to acquire a significant amount. Some of the items I saw cost about 2,000 credits and I finished my game with only 100.

Overall, I think it’s a good game. I enjoyed it. I just wish those cosmetic items weren’t something you need to spend money on in order to get. If you like Marvel and the Avengers, you might enjoy this game, especially if it fits the kind of game you’re into. If you’re into multiplayer, then there’s that option, too, though it doesn’t seem necessary. I’m looking forward to the Black Panther DLC (all DLC is free, BTW), but I’m not sure how much more time I’m going to spend in the game. I might go back and try some of those missions there were more difficult and I might also try to get my power level high enough to take them on.

Feel free to let me know what you think about this game if you’re aware of it or have played it. Feel free to also comment on the Marvel characters I mentioned that I was not familiar with or whatever else about the game you’d like to discuss.

Here's a trailer for the free upcoming Wakanda expansion: