“Shoto Todoroki: Origin” is a tough act to follow, and while “Fight on, Iida” doesn’t capture the same emotional highs of the preceding episode, it manages to weave in a substantial amount of content without feeling rushed or overstuffed. The U.A. Sports Festival is quickly coming to a close, and “Fight on, Iida” does a solid job at setting the stage for the final battle, while also offering new insight into Iida’s family and the evil threat that looms outside the school’s walls.
Trudging through a desolate, snow-covered landscape for ten minutes, scavenging a couple of gas cans, and hiking another ten minutes back to the fire you need to fuel sounds like a chore. This series of actions is what characterizes the experience of Impact Winter, a slow-paced survival game. But monotonous as it may seem, you’ll be driven to keep performing these actions because of the tense scenario that contextualizes them. Instead of challenging you to persist indefinitely, Impact Winter asks you to endure for a set amount of time with the looming promise of rescue–an end to your struggles–and pushes you to stretch your already thin resources just that little bit further.
You play as Jacob, who leads a group of four other calamity survivors. They’re holed up in a church when a little robot called Ako-light springs to life, broadcasting a mysterious transmission that states a rescue operation is occurring in 30 days. Jacob’s task is to leave the safety of the church with Ako-light at his side and traverse the post-apocalyptic tundra, scavenging for supplies in order to keep the group alive until that time.
Each survivor, including Jacob, has a number of meters that must be maintained at a safe level in order to avoid their deaths or departures from the group. These include overall health, energy, hunger, thirst, temperature, and morale. Keeping the church bonfire fueled and making sure each survivor is fed and happy are as important as exploring the world and completing quest lines, which fast-track the looming rescue operation by taking chunks off the timer. The constant juggling of all these priorities keeps you anxiously engaged, your thoughts constantly being occupied with short-term planning as you trek through the snow.
Each individual back at camp has a different crafting specialty that Jacob can take advantage of to help ease the burden of his tasks. For example, Wendy can effortlessly cook a number of filling meals given the right ingredients, while Maggie is exceptionally handy at mechanical repairs and upgrades. These characters also provide a series of personal quests, the completion of which help decrease the rescue timer and expand that character’s range of crafting recipes. These quests are narratively thin, but they are the primary motivators for you to explore the world and push the boundaries of how far you are willing to risk traveling from relative safety. And it’s the exploration of this bleak, snowy wasteland of a world which is Impact Winter’s strength.
The overworld feels desolate, but once in awhile, you’ll encounter a hint of what once was. A half-buried gas station or the scene of a disastrous airline crash help create a gloomy world, in addition to being useful landmarks for navigation. You’ll encounter the roofs of what were once tall buildings that lead to dank underground caverns of former shopping malls and airports. These dungeon-like areas are convincingly devastated, with a mess of receptacles to scavenge from. The ominous soundtrack that accompanies your long journeys hit the correct notes to instantly evoke the tension of classic thriller films like The Thing. It’s an ominously intriguing world to explore, provided you’re adequately prepared to survive the journey out there and back.
Impact Winter runs on a constantly ticking clock, and traversing the icy overworld, referred to as “The Void,” takes up an enormous amount of that time. With no means of fast-travel, each journey you take topside requires some forethought and planning to avoid completely wasting the day while your group’s well-being declines. Limited time and resources mean that it’s also difficult to follow all character quests to completion, so the best course of action needs to be decided on well in advance.
Are you going far enough to warrant bringing a portable campsite to restore your energy for the journey home? What kinds of tools do you need to accomplish the goal at your destination? Should you bring food and drink for yourself, or do you think you’ll be able to procure some on location? Have you left enough room in your backpack to bring supplies back? Traverse frivolously, and you could find yourself in a situation where you’re desperately trying to satiate Jacob’s hunger to avoid health loss. Or perhaps using Ako-light’s flashlight and scanner functions too often has caused it to temporarily run out of battery power, leaving you with no radar, meaning you have have to navigate home with just your memory of landmarks and a paper map from before the world was buried in meters of snow. The game constantly holds you in a state of mild anxiety, worrying and hoping that the path you’ve chosen will pay off.
Deciding what to pick up while scavenging is also a constant dilemma. Impact Winter adopts a grid-based inventory system where each item takes up a different amount of physical space, meaning there’s a constant value assessment between, for example, grabbing a number of small food items versus a giant can of gasoline. With the sheer amount of items available in the world, it’s hard to tell what’s going to be useful or not in the beginning. With limited inventory space and unlimited pressure to provide for the group, it’s foolish to pick up every shiny thing you find and constantly make long hikes back to base to drop everything off. Scavenging requires you to always have clear goals in mind.
However, despite Impact Winter’s tonal strength and the genuine uneasiness its gameplay nurtures, the struggle to survive this harsh world is made even more difficult by a significant number of technical issues that quickly snowball, coating the already taxing experience in a layer of frustration that makes it hard to stick with for long periods of time.
Areas for contextual actions are ill-defined, meaning that precious time is often spent trying to move Jacob into the right place to perform actions like searching a specific container or climbing a ladder. Collision detection is spotty, so you’ll struggle to get up a flight of stairs but also find yourself clipping through tables. Jacob will often refuse to respond to movement inputs until you pause and unpause the game.
Technical problems can also prove deadly. The game’s passage of time, which continues while you’re fiddling around in menus, is an interesting and thematically relevant feature, but it means wolves will continue to attack if you’re unfortunate enough to get a series of large, in-game notifications while trying to escape them. You’ll also likely experience dire situations where you’re cornered by hostile animals and ready to fight, only to discover that the weapon lock-on system has ceased to function properly.
We experienced what felt like consistent input delay when using a controller. At the time of writing, the developers only recently released a patch that implements previously nonexistent mouse and keyboard controls, though there are notable usability annoyances such as being unable to click a scrollbar to go through your supplies, and some bothersome key placements with no option for custom mappings. Some impossible side-quest lines also had us scratching our heads, like being asked to specifically deliver ten 45 RPM vinyl records to an NPC, and discovering that we were not physically able to bring ten of these objects to the quest-giver, even with our inventory space maxed-out.
There were also problems that veered close to game-breaking. In our time with Impact Winter, returning to The Void from an interior area meant we had to sit through long loading times–sometimes wondering if our game had crashed. These loading times were shortened dramatically in a patch, but we then encountered instances of freezing and large swaths of texture pop-ins when spawning into the world instead. Most of these issues are minor on their own, but together they quickly become intensely irritating. To their credit, the developers have been transparent with their plans for upcoming patches, and mapped out their priorities to address a number of these issues in the short- and long-term future.
Impact Winter deftly captures the tension of being put in a survival situation and makes every compromise you need to make a tough and near-irreversible decision. Surviving in The Void is a mentally taxing experience, and once you begin to internalize the world and the well-being of your group, juggling the countless priorities can be engrossing. Unfortunately, the numerous technical issues make this experience more arduous than necessary, and mar what is otherwise an impactful survival experience.
This is a spoiler-free advance review of the first episode of I’m Dying Up Here, which premieres on Showtime on Sunday, June 4. The pilot is also currently available to stream on Showtime’s website and YouTube.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single stand-up comedian in possession of a strong sense of humor must be in want of a stable personal life. That’s the driving idea behind shows like Louie, and it remains true with I’m Dying Up Here, Showtime’s new period dramedy about a group of struggling comics in early ’70s Los Angeles. But while there’s always an appeal in watching a series that aims to explore the tortured soul that exists the 99% of the week they aren’t on-stage, I’m Dying Up Here’s heavy ensemble focus proves to be its undoing.
When we published our review in progress of Friday the 13th last week, it was after a couple days of playing relatively smooth matches on PC. Since launch day, the PC version has remained our go-to option, but more out of necessity than by choice. On both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Friday the 13th has been intermittently unplayable. Yes, private matches with friends are sometimes possible, but if you wish to join up with a band of strangers online for a bout of deadly hide-and-go-seek from the comfort of your couch, you’re either entirely out of luck or stuck waiting upwards of ten minutes for a match–after days of not being able to play at all.
Developers Gun Media and Illfonic are on the case, providing frequent updates that seem to be improving the situation in minor ways, but for reasons involving platform holders’ patching policies and new bugs that emerge with continued testing, it’s hard to imagine Friday the 13th being anything other than a half-baked experience for the foreseeable future.
Even if servers were up to speed and able to keep up with the purported influx of eager players, you could still look at Friday the 13th and ask yourself if it would have been better off released as an early access game. The answer is “yes.” The dearth of maps, inconsistent frame rate on consoles, laughable animations, and shoddy collision detection are evidence of a game that isn’t ready for prime time.
These issues are disappointing, but not only on the principle of meeting the expectations of a finished product. There is a good game in Friday the 13th that pops its blood-soaked head up every now and then. Its asymmetrical teenager-versus-supernatural-murderer premise is one that will speak to anyone with an affinity for survival games, cooperative problem solving, and ’80s slasher films. It has great potential, which is why you can’t help but be frustrated to see it left unrealized, if not outright squandered.
A single match lasts 20 minutes, and that time will either fly by or feel twice as long depending on which role you’re randomly assigned to. As a camp counselor, you are set free in one of three maps pulled from early Friday the 13th films, and are tasked with either repairing escape vehicles, calling the cops, hiding from Jason until the end of the match, or killing him–an obtuse and complex process that the game never explains, let alone hints at. If you are the lucky one who’s picked at random to play Jason, your only goal is to kill every counselor that you can get your hands on.
Playing as Jason is without a doubt the most enjoyable time you’ll have with Friday the 13th. As the lone killer, you are essentially unstoppable, and you gain new abilities over the course of a match that increase both your awareness and mobility. Jason can warp from one end of a camp to the other, rush across large stretches of land (think Evil Dead’s encroaching force), detect fearful or active counselors, and silence the haunting theme that usually plays when he’s approaching a target. He will also earn the strength to bust through doors rather than hack them open, a skill that directly thwarts a counselor’s best line of defense: shelter. Playing as Jason is the epitome of a power fantasy.
These shortcomings and ongoing server issues aren’t easily overlooked, and work against what promise Friday the 13th shows.
When caught, a counselor has a small chance to fight back by staggering Jason with a single-use weapon such as a pocket knife or a flare gun. But most of the time, once Jason has someone in his grasp, they are as good as dead. There are several places to hide, which include tucking yourself into an armoire, a camping tent, or under a mattress, but Jason can still find you if the counselor you’re controlling is prone to yelp in fear–an automated process triggered by the sight of Jason. Pick a counselor with a high stealth rating, and you’ll have an easier time waiting out a match from the safety of a confined space. It’s a boring but effective way to “win.”
If you instead choose to escape rather than simply avoid Jason, you will have to poke around every available building in search of items like keys, fuel, and batteries to repair nearby cars and boats. Items are placed at random locations, so you never know exactly where to look. Teamwork then becomes important as you can coordinate your efforts to simultaneously search multiple buildings and report Jason sightings as you go. This is of course assuming that your fellow counselors are not only wearing chat-enabled headsets, but that they are willing to lead or be led at all. Playing with friends makes this easy; playing with strangers does not.
When you are a counselor without reliable comrades, Friday the 13th is typically boring or frustrating. You either hide or wander around cautiously in search of items, or ironically invite death to hasten your progression unlocks. The amount of XP you earn from sticking around long enough for the results screen to appear is unreasonable; you’re likely to earn far more from dying and waiting than actually making an earnest effort to be a resourceful player. XP plays into a progression system that allows you to acquire new counselors and outfits as you level up, so if you want to experience the breadth of Friday the 13th’s playable characters, you might as well exploit–or put up with–the match-based XP bonus early on.
It’s refreshing when the counselor routine is interrupted by being assigned to play as Jason, but regardless Friday the 13th grows stale in short order. Part of this comes down to the fact that there are only three maps to choose from, but numerous bugs and presentation flaws are equally grating. Characters regularly clip through objects, get stuck in geometry, and occasionally end up floating off of the ground, entirely negating their vulnerability.
These shortcomings and ongoing server issues aren’t easily overlooked, and work against what promise Friday the 13th shows. As of now, a week after launch, it’s short on content and performs poorly all around, especially on consoles. The story goes that the developers weren’t prepared for amount of people who wanted to jump on day one, but that does little to assuage players who were convinced that they were paying for a finished product. Despite showing potential that may one day be realized, Friday the 13th comes across as an unfinished game that shouldn’t have been released in its current state.
Mr. Stanbury has been involved in design and construction for more than 40 years. Born in Hampshire, England, he spent his childhood on military bases in Gibraltar, Malta and Germany with his father who was an officer from the British Army. Mr. Stanbury studied architecture at Chepstow Military College in Wales. After leaving Chepstow, he joined Naismith Engineering in Portsmouth, a design, development and research engineering company. There he worked some of the top engineers for the day, designing components for the Hawker Siddley Harrier jump jet project, the first vertical takeoff jet on the planet.
Mr. Stanbury left England in 1969 to pursue his career in architecture and construction with WC French, a uk development company from the Bahamas. Shortly fater he began being an assistant and quickly had become the project foreman, owning a crew of 200 men in regarding high-rise buildings. This work soon took him towards the outer islands where he handled high-end custom beachfront homes on Treasure Key and Great Harbor Key.
In 1976, Mr. Stanbury moved to Nyc where he was awarded contracts to development and produce homes for most high-profile celebrities and businessmen. Mr. Stanbury designed and remodeled actor Robert De Niro%u2019s three-story Tribeca loft. From that point project, he became Mr. De Niro%u2019s consultant for his Tribeca film center, a ten-story facility containing the Tribeca Grill, production offices, studios along with a 70-seat, state-of-the-art THX screening room. Mr. Stanbury also excelled inside the film and video post-production facilities field, working together with such entities since the award-winning Manhattan Transfer Edit Studios. In 1989, Mr. Stanbury won the Manhattan Transfer/Edit Facility Achievement Award.
In 1992, Mr. Stanbury gone to live in Miami Beach, Florida, where he designed and built many high-end waterfront homes. After that great devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he dedicated himself to designing and building hurricane-resistant homes that will keep their occupants safe and sustainable after and during damaging storms.
In 2014, Mr. Stanbury was invited to Sarasota, Florida to style a seaside home on Lido Key. It will be a contemporary, curvilinear, yacht-inspired 15,000 sq . ft ., cutting-edge, hands-free, voice-activated smart home. Mr. Stanbury%u2019s goal is to apply one of the most advanced, innovative technologies to create one-of-a-kind, sculptured homes. He’s got also launched into designing unique, geometrically-balanced homes that may expand from three,000 to 6,000 sq . ft ., in a cost-effective and time-saving manner.
After years of waiting, Samurai Jack finally got the ending that many thought would never come. Now that the story has concluded, let’s look back at how the final season pulled off such a strong finish despite a some pacing issues towards the end.
Warning: full spoilers ahead!
Moving to Adult Swim gave Genndy Tartakovsky and his gifted team the license to take Samurai Jack in a more mature direction, and aging up the content to better align with the tastes of its now-adult audience proved to be a master stroke. Adult themes were explored in a way that broke new ground for the show. Jack took his first human life in the season’s biggest gut-punch moment, making him confront the morality of killing in battle. Instead of hacking away at lifeless robots, Jack now spilt the blood of his enemies and suffered nasty, grievous injuries himself. Wandering the land, immortal and unable to defeat Aku, Jack suffered intense PTSD that haunted him in the form of his younger self given a demonic makeover. And the introduction of Ashi gave Jack his first true romance, and for as complicated as it was with her being the daughter-assassin of Aku, their love became the crux of the show’s emotionally devastating finale.
All throughout Season 2, My Hero Academia has done an excellent job of delivering a seamless blend of action and character development. “Bakugo vs. Uraraka” is no different, serving up a thrilling battle that provides new insight into Bakugo and establishes Uraraka as a strong character who will fight tooth and nail to achieve her dreams.
Despite what others seem to think, Bakugo isn’t an evil, bloodthirsty villain. While he uses extreme words like “die,” it’s clear that deep down his ruthless, competitive spirit stems entirely from his desire to be number one. This is made perfectly evident in his battle with Uraraka. Instead of writing her off as an easy win, he sees Uraraka as a formidable opponent who shouldn’t be underestimated. I really appreciate how Bakugo’s attitude in this battle reinforces the fact thatUraraka isn’t just some frail girl he should go easy on, despite the booing audience who clearly believes otherwise.
The second part of Season 10’s loose trilogy that started with Extremis last week, The Pyramid at the End of the World feels a little saggy even as it tells a tale of world-spanning danger. And yet, the terrific trio of Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas keep the hour entertaining and intriguing all the same.
Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro hardware is the company’s ultimate setup for eSports, combining a high-end headset with an external 7.1 soundcard/controller for fine-tuning everything and greatly expanding its connectivity. At $200 MSRP the Elite Pro are the company’s most expensive wired headphones, and you can add another $150 for the external soundcard (both can currently be purchased as a bundle – (See it on Amazon) (See it on Amazon UK).