RAD Rendering

Escapism through Entertainment

COD WW2 Zombies

Reed1 Comment

With the announcement of Call of Duty WW2, many zombies fans are concerned about the direction Sledgehammer is taking. This is my initial opinion with the limited information we have available right now. 

Call of Duty WW2 Zombies has been described as a horror take on the desperation of the Third Reich during the waning years of World War 2. The potential for this story line is greater than any previous game we have experienced in the past. One of the biggest factors of the game mode is the background the developers have in the shooter horror genre. Sledgehammer Game's lead directors for Call of Duty WW2 directed Dead Space and Dead: Space Extraction. Games that revolutionized the genre in the gaming industry. In particular, Glen Schofield worked on games that were far out, dark, and straight up crazy in the form of GEX 3D: Enter the Gecko and Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko. I can still remember the off-putting nature of the Gex series for something that looked so inviting from the cover art.


Furthermore, this take on the possible "Nazi Zombie" mode in Call of Duty WW2 can be an experience we would have never had in the 2008 Call of Duty Era. Entertainment has pushed the envelope of what is acceptable so far since the release of Call of Duty World at War that we have experienced character's brains being bashed in on national television. Studios can push boundaries in incredible ways as shown by Naughty Dog in particular with their release of The Last of Us in 2013. From the reveal, it sounds like Sledge Hammer was given complete freedom to create a serious, dark, gritty game by Activision. With all that said, this game is simply our chance at a serious, horror filled, UNCENSORED, call of duty zombie experience.

Many commenters feel that Sledgehammer is copying Treyarch's original storyline, which could be said about Treyarch copying other forms of media talking about Nazi research to create super soldiers. This has been a science-fiction cliche since the 1950s. Sledge Hammer has the chance to run with this easy set up to a story. Treyarch has since distanced themselves so far away from the original story that I feel it is completely unfair to say SledgeHammer Games is copying Treyarch. Not only has Treyarch shown they want nothing to do with that story, Treyarch doesn't own that idea. They have the copyright to their mode, but much like how Disney can't file a lawsuit on every movie that recounts the story of Snow White, because the ideas and elements of the story are always retold in new ways.

Zombies is a fun, creative, and beloved mode that is approaching saturation, but the question to ask is what type of zombies is going to last? Infinite Warfare's zombie mode has lost all steam because it showed us nothing different from Treyarch zombies. I am more concerned for Treyarch if Sledgehammer can completely revolutionizes the genre. We are at a breaking point in Call of Duty Zombies. It can go in a completely new direction thanks to the disarray of the story lines in Black ops 3 and Infinite Warfare. I do believe that Sledgehammer Games has everything to gain IF they can execute a horror zombie experience. 


As for the Campaign and Multiplayer I am optimistic. Advanced movements have been fun in the past, but done to death. It creates a frustrating Call of Duty experiences that hasn't cultivated genuine new interest in the franchise. Modern Warfare Remastered gathered more interest with its boots on the grounds because it went back to "the roots" of Call of Duty. The Call of Duty experienced has been changed in the game over the years so often that player are dying for a next generation game that takes advantage of the mechanics of the past. 

It has been a long time since there has been a truly epic story line in Call of Duty campaigns. Campaigns use to be the main focus of the series. Taking players on incredible historic journeys through the history of war. I am extremely hopeful that the focus on characters will allow for a better storytelling experience. I read many people's responses complaining that the lack of multiple fronts of the war makes the game worthless, but I believe it takes away from what Sledgehammer Games are trying to do. From a writing perspective, it is extremely difficult to get people invested if we have to tell another story with different characters that don't interact with the main characters  of the other story ever. This is why the world at war campaign lacked depth to each of the stories. Each time we jumped, the excellent story telling would be interrupted by the other front. Thankfully Treyarch didn't try to interconnect the marines in the Pacific with the Soviets on the Eastern Front just for the hell of it. 

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed my analysis of the reveal. If you disagree that is completely fine. I'd be happy to hear your feedback here or on social media. I believe this Call of Duty is worth getting excited for because of their commitment to being historically accurate. According to a recent source we do not gain health back in the campaign mode like we use too. We need medics to help heal and other teammates have certain resources that you can only utilize through them. If you get split up from your company ammo now becomes a struggle. That level of commitment to storytelling is something worth giving a chance.


My First PAX Experience

Life ExperiencesJustinComment

Gaming conventions were never a hot topic for me. Cosplay isn't something I follow or partake in, and tabletop games have certainly don't tickle my fancy; video games are my passion. That being said, I when I was offered the chance to attend PAX with Reed, I was ecstatic. Coming into it, I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was such a positive and unforgettable experience.

PAX East 2017 exhibit show floor.

PAX East 2017 exhibit show floor.

Upon arrival at the main entrance, I was blown away at the sheer size and quality of the venue. Even though we woke up at five in the morning, both Reed and I found ourselves excited and energized to start the day. below is one photo of the exhibit floor, but pictures don't have the ability to grasp how enormous the event is. As we walked around checking out different exhibits and getting an idea of the general layout, a realization dawned on me. 

This is more than just gaming. 

PAX is a culmination of every positive thing that supports and makes the gaming industry great. From cosplayers, to tabletop gamers, to merchandisers, indie and big title game developers and publishers, to the public relations professionals; everyone was kind, friendly, and passionate about what they did. That positive attitude carried through into all of the games, especially the ones we had the chance to interview and demo. We got an extensive look at five games: Songbringer, Super Cloudbuilt, Embers of Mirrim, and Hob. Of the four, Super Cloudbuilt was easily my favorite, but both Reed and I agreed that all of these games were incredibly fun and that talking with these developers about their games was the most rewarding.

What really struck me was the availability of something for everyone at attendance. The difference in demographics was another aspect that truly amazed me. At a convention for video games, one might expect to see hordes of sweaty, basement-dwelling neckbeards (of which there were several), but the differing demographics really blew me away. Toddlers, tweens, teenagers, college students, young professionals, parents, grandparents; any age group, gender, ethinicity, etc. under the rainbow was there in attendance and that was when another thing hit me. 

Video games are a universal phenomena that can transcend social barriers.

That's something I truly love about video games and the effect they can have on us. A little girl from China and a middle-aged man in America and a grandmother in Brazil can all receive the same message and experience from the same video game. PAX was just a reminder of that idea and its nice to see it perpetuated in such a fun setting.

Game enthusiasts and fans trying out the Mr. Shifty exhibit at PAX East 2017.

Game enthusiasts and fans trying out the Mr. Shifty exhibit at PAX East 2017.

I highly encourage anyone with any level of interest in video games and the gaming community to attend PAX or any event similar to it. It was an eye opening experience for me and moving forward I'm going to be more vocal about my love and support for something I have a deep passion for. 

I strike a pose in front of the main PAX East sign.

I strike a pose in front of the main PAX East sign.

Pax East 2017 - Day 1

Gaming Reviews, ConventionsReedComment
pax east

This year I attended PAX East with my good friend Justin for the first time in my life. I was greeted by a wonderful snowfall in the city of Boston. Despite the alarming temperatures, it was an easy process to get checked into the event for media and exhibitors. It seemed the staff was doing their best to process as many attendees as possible, but many were stuck in huge lines in the freezing temperatures. I have been in that position before at other conventions and it isn’t fun at all. The sad reality is there isn’t anything that could have been done to solve the weather issue. As the days went on I have to commend the staff for being able to process so many people so quickly to get them out of the cold!



When we entered the Boston Convention Hall we were greeted by thousands of attendees and staff making their way to the enormous show floor. We picked up our badges seamlessly, then made our way to the media room to drop off our coats to organize our day.

When we entered the media room, there was only a small group of people sitting around a table while we got settled into the room. At first I did not recognize the creator, but after we found a seat I heard a familiar voice. It was Markiplier with his friends and girlfriend chilling out before his next signing for the day. In the moment, I wanted to tell him what an inspiration he is as a creator. Explain how I appreciate the hard work he puts in to make a difference, while still being a professional in an industry known for its troubled stars. I wanted to ask him question about his passions, creative ideas, and direction in life. In the end, I decided to let him be. Not only did it seem like Mark was recharging for his next panel, I imagine he was jet lagged from his flight to the convention. I felt great respect for his work ethic and wanted to give him the peace of mind he deserved. I know a "hi" and a picture wouldn’t be much, but the man has indirectly helped me in some many way the least I could do is let him be before he had to preform for those who really needed it.


Next, we headed down to the show floor. The booths and waves of people stretched out around for what seemed like a mile or two. Hundreds of booths were being occupied by excited gamers. What Justin and I found amazing throughout the convention was how games had brought together every walk of life. Age, race, gender, occupation, and income level did not matter to anyone there. It was all about individuals expressing themselves.  It was wonderful to see so many getting along despite the division we see in the media so often.


The first booth we had the pleasure of interviewing was the Double 11, which was showcasing Super CloudBuilt and Songbringer. These two games pulled me in from their art style when I first saw them. As soon as I received an email inquiring for hands on experiences with the game it became my most anticipated indie games of the whole convention!  An extremely friendly man named Mark approached me as I entered the booth. I introduced myself and hit it off with him talking about the history of Double 11.


A small studio made up of 35 employees was helping other developers publish their games, while still producing games as they grow. The beauty of the studio is their passion for good games. It was clear from my conversation with Mark the absolute care they put into their selection process for supporting games. For over 7 years Double 11 developed games pushing themselves to achieve as much as possible. The studio became trusted after their work with Little Big Planet Vita. Once they began to gain resources the studio has been able to pursue their creative freedoms inside their studio.


As our conversation drew to an end, I set up my recording software to play Songbringer. A game developed by Wizardfu, a one-man studio. Nathanial worked on his dream game for the past three years to bring fantasy to life.

“Songbringer is a scifi action RPG with swords, secrets, dungeons, bosses and stuff. You play the role of protagonist and accidental hero, Roq Epimetheos. With a propensity for partying and making music, he cruises the galaxy with his skybot Jib aboard the ship Songbringer, searching for verdant planets absent the presence of galactic police. When Roq finds the nanosword hidden in a cave on Ekzerra, he unwittingly awakens an ancient evil. The sword is pretty fraggin' sweet though. It... hums.”


The game is witty and calls back to the nostalgia of our past with a modern twist. The key feature that separates Songbringer is the procedural system. You choose a 6-letter word to seed the world. This allows you play the game in countless new variations, but you still have the ability to reply the versions you enjoyed! By typing in the same 6-letter word you return to the world you once played!


While interviewing Nathanal he explained to me the subtle storyline that is being told with each varation of the game. He encourages players to play the many versions of his game to piece together the larger story. If that isn’t your cup of tea, no worries! Every end to a world has a proper ending.


Despite my terrible gameplay, Songbringer is a blast. I have to apologize for my performance as a gamer because it was quite bad while I was trying to interview Nathanal, but I got the formula down as the convention went on. It’s a game that he anticipates will have players excited for speed running. I hope to see Songbringer as well as many of the other Indie games I played at AGDQ next year. Songbringer comes out later this year for PC, Xbox One, and PS4!


After my interview with Wizardfu, I was greeted by a bearded, soft spoken man named Ander. He was from Coildworks, another small studio putting all they have into their games. After working on Cloudbringer, Coildworks took the community feedback to make a better game. In one year of development they were able to turn around their long term project of Cloudbuilt into Super Cloudbuilt. It serves as the closes thing to a sequel without becoming a sequel. The gameplay mechanics, graphics, puzzles, sound, and story where all upgraded with this new iteration.


I inquired about their choice for the art style because Super Cloudbuilt caught my eyes immediately when I first saw it. It became the game I HAD to see at PAX East 2017. Ander explained to me that the art style comes from a Valkyria Chronicles inspiration.  Initially I figured the art style came from a borderlands inspiration, but it is as clear as day it comes from the delightful game that is Valkyria Chronicles. Super Cloudbuilt flowed, the game was easy to pick up and rewarded players for experimenting. Each of the courses inspire players to figured out the best way to complete the level while jamming out to the astounding soundtrack. Super Couldbuilt is another game built for speed runners to enjoy. The speed of the game is dictated by the players, which becomes an absolute delight to watch when more advanced players are able to glide through levels with seemingly no effort. Super Cloudbuilt releases this summer for PC, Xbox One, and PS4!


After our interviews , we enjoyed the convention center by touring other booths. We tried to take in all the sights and sounds because this was our first experience at a convention so large. The end of Day 1 was a delightful experience. We met some of the most detitcated developers in the industry who’s passion burned bright as they described their labor of love. Make sure to check back for updates for each Day of PAX East. I will posting full gameplays and interviews on the site as I can.

Thanks for reading and I will see you in the next one! Bye!


Logan Reaction and Review

Movie ReviewsReed1 Comment

Logan took me by surprise even with my expectations set awfully high for the conclusion of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. This review will contain SPOILERS so be warned!

The movie takes violence to a whole new level for comic book movies. It is set in the Days of Future Past universe where Wolverine was still stuck in a love triangle with Cyclopes and Jean Grey. Fast forward a few decades and the world hasn't had a new mutant in years. Scientists have developed a serum that can suppress the mutant gene like we saw at the end of XMEN 3: The Last Stand. Inside the movie, we only get hints of what happened between the end of Days of Future Past and the post mutant era we find in Logan. 

When Logan is talking with a character called Will Munson later in the film we learn that the scientists have been coating all food in America with the serum causing no mutants to be born. It is left to interpretation if the food suppresses the mutant gene, but it seems likely given the state of all mutants in this world. It sets the stage for the most depressing comic book universe in cinema history because our heroes are broken.

laura and logan

Logan is now an alcoholic limousine driver trying to make enough money to buy a boat to live out the rest of his life with ailing Professor X. Patrick Stewart's portrayal is incredible inside Logan. He ability to bring to life an Alzheimer's Professor X who is trying to hold on to his humanity despite the horrific life he has lived is fantastic. While Logan is working, a mutant named Caliban tends to Professor X. It created an extremely real dynamic inside the movie when Caliban is forced to address Logan's failing health. It represented such a human moment for these once larger than life characters. The viewers were seeing on super heroes at their worst. 

Caliban is a character I was not familiar with before this movie, but played a wonderful role. His character didn't feel out of place and delivered a wonderful arc throughout the film. With so many excellent performances in this film I would be remiss to not mention Dafne Keen.

As a child actor, she knocked her role out of the park. Her performance was clearly better than most when we get a one to one comparison when the other child actors appear on screen. She could take on the part and make us believe her story through just her gestures for the first half of the movie. When Laura decides to talk for the first time in the film the dialog flows. Her character development makes sense coming from her quiet origins to her ending relationship with Logan. I will refrain from detailed spoilers because I strongly encourage you to see this movie if you are a fan of film. I have heard Logan described as “A masterfully written film that happened to be about a super hero." and couldn't agree more.

If you can get past the violence and extremely dark themes you will love the artistic vision that is Logan. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart saved their best performance for their last movie with these characters Their performances will push Hollywood to new limits with the genre. 

I adored this movie because it made me feel all kinds of emotions while masterfully touching on real life problems in the setting of a science fiction world. Hugh Jackmon is the Wolverine I grew up with and will always be my cinematic Wolverine. I can't thank him for his work on the character and care he had for this send off. His incredible work ethic to be the wolverine is what sets him apart.  

Logan debuted in theaters on March 3rd. Check your local listing to see the movie in a theater near you!

My Impressions of Ubisoft's For Honor

Gaming ReviewsReedComment

For Honor has been a wild experience for me so far. The game has entranced me from the second I saw the trailer at E3 in 2015. To give this game an unbiased review is impossible because it hits upon a concept in video games I have always wanted. Knights, Vikings, and Samurai all stuck in endless combat to prove who is the strongest!

It is a simple, but effective concept for a game. History's greatest warrior getting the chance to battle it out with our help. It is an idea that is not only easy to market, but people get instantly. "Who would win in a duel between a Knight, Viking, and Samurai?"

Once you get past the concept the real question is "Does the game work?". The quick answer is yes, if you aren't on PC. The game has been a delight on console since its release. I have invested just over 26 hours into the multiplayer so far, it works. Combat is easy to pick up, but rewards the most advance players for their ability to understand the mechanics. Graphically, the game keeps up with the industry in its multiplayer aspect, but campaign is lacking. Campaign's animations and renders seem to be plain or clipping through common elements, but I imagine that was because it was a late addition to the game. Fans voiced their concern for the lack of a campaign early on in its development. Ubisoft responded swiftly by pushing their teams to create an experience to fill players need for a campaign.  I am not giving it a free pass, but it is something to take into consideration.  A full review of For Honor's campaign will be posted at a later date when I complete it.

My Great Capture Screenshot 2017-02-25 21-07-11.png

What is fun about for honor? The combat systems, the graphics, and the game modes. There are 5 different game modes to play called Elimination, Skirmish, Dominion, Duel, and Brawl. Each one offers a different experience for players. The core mechanics remain the same, but the style of play changes for each mode. Elimination is like search and destroy from the Call of Duty Franchise where players play a best of 5 series with one life per round in a 4 vs 4 team combat. There is only one objective, wipe out your opponents! 

Duel and Brawl work the same way, but are 1 vs 1 and 2 vs 2 respectively. These modes are prefect for players to fine tune their play style. It allows casual players to practice with their characters in a competitive atmosphere with almost nothing to lose. 

Skirmish and Dominion work by reaching 1000 points to deplete your enemy's spawns. Once you have gathered 1000 points through taking positions and killing enemies you can kill your opponents for good! Skirmish is the weakest game mode out of all five because of its pacing. There are no points to capture and next to no minions on the battle field causing the game to drag. It is basically a death match until you kill the team enough to stop their spawns. In contrast Dominion creates an awesome dynamic of fighting for positions. Players are forced to utilize team work to fend off the enemy advance and maintain their position. 

Each mode offers endless ways to play against both players and AI. The AI system works well, allowing players that leave to be replaced by bots or allow teams of human players to face off against AI. Any of the Player vs AI game modes payout a lot less in rewards, but still make for an excellent experience. 

Now for the current issues with the game. Right now, PC is riddled with issues. A trip to the /forhonor reddit page will greet you with a plethora of complaints. The P2P system breaks many matches because it reveals individuals IPs allowing them to be vulnerable to DDOS attacks. Hacking has been another issue where players are exploiting the game in a variety of ways.  Players leaving from matches cause major instability issues causing games to disconnect. Some accounts even experienced bans even though they hadn't purchased the game! It has been a very shaky launch for Ubisoft for a vocal minority of players. Balancing doesn't seem to be too far off, but changes to the guard break mechanic from the beta has left many players asking for a change. Ubisoft did make a post on reddit addressing their concerns explaining that the core mechanics will be fixed in their next patch. 

For my first impressions For Honor delivered an extremely enjoyable experience worth a $60 purchase. I do recognize I have been fortunate enough to have not experienced any of the instability issues that has plagued other players. Is For Honor for you? Check out my videos linked in the articular to decide for yourself! 

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