I love Shazam as a character. As a kid, I liked him more than most Super Heros. It was exactly what any kid would want. Being able to be a kid with Super Powers but at the same time, grown-ups will take you seriously. I wasn’t too sure about this movie leading up to the trailer and I’m still not but it has for sure swayed me to be more hopeful.
When ESO launched it had its fair share of criticism. I personally really enjoyed it back then but even I have to admit it had its share of bugs and glitches. Goodness was it a mess of a game. I’ve jumped on here and there with little success through the years since it’s launch and noticed steady improvements. I herd more and more from the players about how much better it is now. The overall MMO player base seems to agree for the most part that ESO is one of the better MMOs on the market. I would consider it to be one of the top 3 MMOs on the market right now. The other 2 being World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2.
Elder Scrolls Online has revamped its system since launch. It’s smooth and glitch free. It’s gained a bunch of new expansions with solid and varying gameplay mechanics and lastly with the newest update (One Tamriel) it’s removed the need for your level. Your level is still there it’s just not as important as your gear and your skills. Now like Elder Scrolls games should be you can go and explore any location in the game without worry or limitations. You are free to play with newer or more experienced players now regardless of level, gear or skill.
The game plays smoother and the animations are excellent. My sword swings hit with force. The game falls into and action combat style which I personally don’t like for the most part. I personally prefer the classic tab targeting of old or a slightly more hybrid system like we see in Guild Wars 2. That’s being said this is Elder Scrolls we’re talking about and tab targeting just wouldn’t be right here.
If your are a fan of story, adventure and exploration than this is the game for you. All the quests are voice acted. When I say all of them I mean all of them. They all very in the style and story told. Aside from the main story line there are many side quests you will just walk upon and get swept up in. Some are sad some are funny and some are just harsh wake up calls. You will run into a variety of these by the time you hit level 5.
The dungeon content in ESO is some of the best I’ve seen. I would go as far as saying this is some of the best all around PVE and dungeon content I seen since Tera Online. I’m also saying that from the perspective of a PVP player. You got to go the extra mile to get me to enjoy your PVE. I’m just saying its nice to have dungeons content that is actually hard. It’s exciting and focused. Im worried about every pull and satisfied with every kill. Overall Elder Scrolls Online is killing it in the PVE department.
They are also doing pretty well in the PVP department. If large scale siege PVP is your thing than this is the game for you. It doesn’t have its equivalent of arena or battlegrounds which I think is a missed opportunity to be honest or at least something they should consider down the line. That being said they nailed large scale alliance PVP. Cyrodiil is what they call the area you battle in for PVP. It is located in the very centre of the the world map and it is a solid chunk of it. If you have played Guild Wars 2s World vs World than it is very similar but imagine instead of 4 large maps you have one giant map called Cyrodiil. I would say when it comes to scale, Cyrodiil is as big as all of GW2s WvW maps put together. The swaying large scale battles are excellent and there is even room for solo and smaller groups to make a difference.
There is a hell of a lot of stuff I didn’t cover like the crime system and duelling and much more but just know this here is a good game that has gone back to its roots. It looks like Elder Scrolls, it plays like Elder Scrolls and most importantly it feels like Elder Scrolls. I’m not going to give this game a rating due to the expansive nature of MMOs, instead. I’ll say this. If you want an active game that you can play with your friends at any time, with an extensive universe and excellent questing, PVE and large scale siege PVP than Elder Scrolls Online is the game for you.
Medium – DarksterMedia
I’ll just start off by saying I don’t really like this game. It falls into this category of well made toy type games. It makes you have to come back over and over with the sense of reward but the game itself is lacking and ends up just being a variation of rock, paper, scissors. It might be something to do when in line or a short bus ride but there are far better games laying all over the App Store for that. Take away the animations and fancy graphics and all there really is here is rock, paper, scissors with a bigger budget than it needs. I would have much preferred them working on gameplay and making a decent game then pushing it all into graphics and animation. Sure it looks good but it gets boring fast.
You manage your team equipping them with weapons and then going and battling the other families. There is also a Crew vs Crew option but the gameplay itself falls apart. Or a better way of putting it is the lack of gameplay really makes it fall apart. They makes you think there’s a game here but it’s really just a reason to look at your phone every hours or so and tap things. It’s the equivalent of getting a notification and then opening and closing 5 apps and then putting yours phone back in your pocket. That’s pretty much how the game plays out.
There really isn’t any strategy. Just pick a guy to beat up and click all your guys, keep doing that till all the enemies are dead. If a special triggers use is and that’s going to be how 90% of this game plays. I said this before but App Store or touch screen games fall into 2 categories. Toys and games. Most the apps in the App Store are actually toys and that’s fine because that’s what a lot of people want in their mobile games. This game on the other hand barely even falls into that. If you played any semblance of games before than this is going to be a big pass for you. Don’t even bother, save yourself the battery power and time.
I give this game a 2 out of 5. That 2 is for the graphics, animation, and sound. The game itself would be 0.5 out of 5. I really hope other companies don’t try and copy this style of rock, paper, scissors gameplay. It’s because of games like this the larger gaming population looks down on mobile/touch. Make games not garbage.
Medium – DarksterMedia
I’m very happy to start off by saying Hammer Bomb is a game. Something I find and bring up in all my game app reviews is that most mobile/touch screen “games” are not games. They are toys. Easily 90% of the games on mobile are toys with a few decent games hidden in the flurry of plastic fisher price gimmicks. Now toys aren’t a bad thing. They work well for their purpose, which is to keep you entertained for a little bit here and there. That being said I’m a gamer, have been since I was 6 years old and toys don’t cut it anymore. There are fun ones sure and they will get a fair review if they are good but for the most part I’m looking for solid content.
Hammer Bomb is very reminiscent of old school point and click dungeon crawlers. I was never a fan of this style back in the day. By the time I started gaming they were able to pulley realize real time characters and active fluent combat. So the whole take a step and figure the way out of a dungeon type adventures were already old news to me. That being said I find they the last 3 years or so there seems to be a small resurgence of this style of game and not having been a part of it when I was young it’s nice to see and try now. It’s a really interesting experience. Makes you feel a little trapped and a little claustrophobic in a good way. Having to figure out where each hall way leads and the fear of a monster being around any corner is a nice thrill. It’s also a cool feeling when something really old feels so new due to my generation missing out on this style of game.
Enough generalizing though, how is Hammer Bomb? It’s really fun. Mirroring everything I said above. It has varying monsters to fight, ever changing dungeon to explore and items to find. The completionists will have a good time here. I don’t find myself to be a completionist but I found myself finding the exit early and turning around to explore the whole dungeon before leaving. Graphically I would say it’s a takes on the old school look of it’s predecessors but I want to say it has a bit of a Minecraft look to it too. It also has some retro 80s style music and looks sprinkled here and there. I personally like it. One thing I don’t like is the constant running aspect of the game. Your character is always moving forward on his own accord and you swipe in the directions you want him to turn and tap for his interactions with monsters and items. It’s fine I just wish I could tap to move forward block by block in the old school style. That’s not a knock on the game just my personal feelings on it.
There is a cash shop you can buy gold with that is used to buy weapons and upgrades. So far with a few hours of game time I never felt the need for more gold. You can also remove the ads for about $3. The ads are not annoying or intrusive but I feel if you like the game it’s good to support it. $3 is a very fair price for this game.
Overall I’m happy with this Hammer Bomb. It’s fun and intuitive. You can play it quickly on the bus or sit on the couch and put some time into it. If you like the game I say support it by removing the ads for $3. I rate Hammer Bomb a 4/5.
Medium – DarksterMedia
Before we get started with the review I just want to let everyone know that I’ll be doing more app review going forward. I’ll be doing at least one a week or more starting with this one. They will not be limited to just games either.
Dan The man is a new game that came out this month(October 2016). I didn’t think much of it when I downloaded it. I find most touch screen games come down to two categories. Toys and Games. Easily 90% of the App Store and touch screen games in general fall into the toys category. What is a toy game? Something overly simple with little to almost no mechanics made for quick bursts of entertainment. You know when you are waiting in a line or on a short bus ride. Games you can hammer out small amounts of time. Just something to keep you busy. Now I don’t really like these toy games. I get the appeal and I do have some I play but I much rather play game games. The stuff the PC and console guys would consider as games. Games that involve planing, thought and a larger time investment than the length of a short bus ride or a wait in line. Something with evolving mechanics and maybe a larger scale story. Not large scale story mind you, just larger than the toys offer.
Dan The Man is a game. It would fit just fin on a PS4 as it does on touch. It is a side scroller beat them up game that works brilliantly with touch. The attacks animations are smooth and solid and the response time between clicking the button and Dan running the animation is as close to 1 to 1 as I can tell. Simply put, its responsive and feels good. There are fun lively enemies that get stronger and more challenging as you play. You have power ups and health you have to maintain. There is also multiple levels with changing layout and map styles. The most important thing being is that it’s fun.
All that being said the bane of mobile gaming and the reason why the big company’s and other gamers stay away/make fun of mobile is the dreaded cash shop and ads. Every 30 steps or so I’m hit with a video ad for another game. Randomly at check points I would be forced to watch an ad. There are even statues holding TVs that if you hit and break make you watch an ad ending with some kind of weapon or health reward. You can also watch ads for gold and that gold is spent heavily for your needed upgrades and heals. They also sell gold and other things for money. Nothing is pay to win but it sure feels like pay to play.
That is until you pay for premium. It is $4 and there is an option for $8.50 that will give you another playable character. There are also premium bundles that come with varying amounts of gold as well. I feel the $4 regular price is the best bang for you buck here. The game is good but it’s not more than $6 good. If you get the game try it and like it I recommend buying it for $4. Otherwise it’s almost unplayable. I don’t see this as a free to be play. It’s more of a $4 game that has a long annoying demo. It also doesn’t account for the amount of gold you might need. Later on in the game it might get difficult enough that you would want to buy gold. This is not my preferred model for this. I would much rather pay a slightly higher set fee and then pay for future DLC if I want them than this whole run around system all these apps have now. It’s just a way to squeeze a little bit more out of people willing to pay a bit more than others.
All that being said I would rate the game with the $4 purchase a solid 3/5. The game without it would be a 0.5/5. If you like it pay for it because it’s really not worth the annoyance otherwise. If they add coop it would be a solid 4/5 but I don’t really see that happening.
Medium – DarksterMedia
Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 17mm f1.8 Unedited
I have been using the 17mm (34mm equivalent) Olympus 1.8 with my EM-5II and have been enjoying it. I said this on a few other articles about how versatile the 35mm focal length is but there is something about the 50mm focal length that is special. It is the go to focal length for most people. I would call it the most popular overall focal length of all time. As a street photographer I find myself having a hard time trying to pick between the two. After getting both I would say the 35mm gets more use from me and is what I find to be my preference for street shooting. That being said I would always have my 50mm with me at all times when shooting. I feel when you need a 50mm you really need a 50mm.
The build isn’t the best. You cant expect features like weather sealing and full metal construction here for a lens that costs so little. (It does have a metal mount just in case you were wondering) That being said I have felt much worse which cost much more. The build of this lens isn’t very different from the Olympus 25mm 1.8, but that lens is about $200 more. Having owned that lens I would say the Panasonic Lumix 25mm 1.7 is equal in build quality if not slitty better. It opens up 0.1 more which isn’t huge but counts for something and also comes with a lens hood like the Olympus 25mm.
The Panasonic Lumix 25mm 1.7 is an excellent value for what you get. Honestly just for the price alone I would recommend it. 50mm is a focal length I find is a must. When you need 50mm its difficult to find an alternative for it. That being said you might not be in love with the focal length. Why drop a crap load of cash on something you like but isn’t a must for you? This lens validates a really nice sweet spot when it comes price and function.
The lens is beautiful. Solid sharp images with lots of bokeh if you want it. I find it to be a little softer than my 17mm Olympus when it comes to street photography but there is a lot of movement and timing to account for in street photography. Also the Olympus 17mm is a solid $200 to $300 more. I would expect it to be a little better here and there but it isn’t by much. I would say it comes more down to preference here than anything else when I compare the two focal lengths. That being said I feel the value alone kind of validates this lens.
If you already have a 50mm and you are happy with it than you are not missing out, but if you don’t than I would have to recommend this lens for your Micro Four Thirds system. Especially if you are a street photographer. I have linked a gallery below of my visit to the Toronto Aquarium which I went to just to test out this lens. There should also be a link to some street photography I did that same day. I hope this article helped, feel free to link this to your friends and read some of my other articles also linked bellow.
I was with 2 or 3 others, either me and another male and 2 females or me another male and 1 female. We were at some location we were not familiar with. I want to say we woke up there but I’m not sure. There was a old kind of creepy looking house behind us. I don’t want to call it creepy but it wasn’t pleasant either. It was right there in the middle. I can’t remember if we woke up in it and came out or if we just woke up in front. Regardless we didn’t go inside it and we woke up facing away from it to a very wide path with tall dark trees that reached high into the sky. I and the others seemed to know each other but I really can’t recall who they were or if they are people I ever knew.
We questioned where we were and what was going on and we realized we had powers. It was one of the girls that noticed it first and was surprised/ scared. Her hand suddenly produced lightning sparks and she was able to shoot them out. The other guy was also able to do something too but I don’t remember what it was. I had some kind of smoke/fire power. Similar to the power the main character of Infamous: Second Son. That whole smokey flame thing. As we stood and tested out our new found powers I noticed that I was really able to push mine more than the others. Blasting my flame smoke far into the sky. I then started to notice that I can change my power altogether.
I started to use a power similar to the lightning girl but at a much more powerful level. To the point I was calling down lightning and thunder from the sky instead of my body. They asked how I can do this and I said I don’t know and continued to test the extent of my powers on the open path in front of us and the sky above. Even now wide awake writing this I can still feel it. The essence of the powers from the dream. I feel like if I stood up and imitated my self I can do the same….no, nvm. Tested it, didn’t work. As I tested the extent of my abilities in the dream it kept getting stronger. I would sway my arms behind me and then throw them in front and gale force winds would blow through the sky and down the path. The tops of the trees would shake and the clouds in the sky flew away with the wind, revealing the large bright moon.
I decided I will bring the clouds back just then. I swirled my hands around me with strong footing on the ground. As I spun and pulled huge black clouds appeared hard, loud and fast swallowing up the view of the moon. It then started to thunder. I can still feel the shocks and force behind those bursts of thunder throughout my body. I called down lightning and rain and wind. The thunder and lightning crashed repeatedly faster and faster in front of me. I kept calling it down harder and faster.
Then I herd the people I was with yelling at me to stop and I did. The rain and storming continued but the lightning and thunder stopped like I flicked a switch. They were scared and worried about what I was doing. I told them I’m in full control of it and to prove it I said see and cleared the skies with a push of my hands. Right about then is when I woke. I still feel it. The rush, the power. I didn’t realize it was a dream at any point. I had full control of the universe but never noticed. I wish I could have tried some more things. Like maybe pick up the house with my mind or fly, stuff like that. All I can say is it was epic, would dream again.
Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 17mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom
If you are reading this you are most likely one of a few people, the first being someone looking for their first lens. Another being someone who has either a 35mm or a 50mm and wanted to see what its like to be on the other side. Maybe you are looking for a single prime to take on vacation. Lastly and most likely you might just be one of those gross creepy street photographers like myself. Whoever you might be, I hope I can help you out a little here.
Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom
I am a former exclusive member of team 50mm. I still love the focal length and it is still probably my favorite overall focal length. That being said the 35mm focal length is damn good too. I was never really a fan till now where I forced myself to get it and use it. I herd up until this point from other street photographers and other photographers in general about how great the 35mm focal length is. How it’s the perfect all-around focal length and how its great for traveling. If there was anyone lens to do it all it should be the 35mm. I believed it, I just never got the chance. I felt the 50mm was pretty much the same thing but I was able to get more shallow depth of field with the tradeoff of not having as wide a shot. Truly that is what the 50mm is and it is great for that. That is part of why it is considered “Standard”. The 35mm, on the other hand, comes off as much more “normal”. (See what I did there? No? Don’t worry about it.) A better way I would put it is that the 35mm comes off a lot more natural. I feel it covers more ground. Gives you more options including a little bokeh.
Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 17mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom
So which is better? Well, I say both. I’m sure thats not what you want to hear so ill go into detail. The 35mm is a swiss army knife, a jack of all trades. It does it all and it does it well. The 50mm, on the other hand, can be a little fancy. It just makes the subject look nice. You cant go as wide sure but on the other hand, you don’t have to go as close to the subject. It’s just at the curve where portrait lenses start so it can double as a portrait lens too. Sure the 35mm can do most of this but you can really make some models uncomfortable with how close you need to get.
Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom
Let’s look at it this way. The 35mm is a grey suit and the 50mm is a black suit. This might be going over a lot of heads now since I’m going into fashion territory here but it is openly considered a grey or charcoal suit is much more versatile to wear than a black one. You can mix and match with a grey suit a lot easier than you can with a black one. You can wear a grey (charcoal) suit to a funeral or to a party and not look out of place. All that being said, damn does a black suit just look good. Not as versatile, no. The question is does it need to be? It just looks so good that who cares? So which suit should you buy? For travel get yourself the 35mm grey suit. It will do everything you need it to do and it will do it well. For your first lens? Either one works here. If you plan to take more portraits and such the 50mm black suit. Maybe more into landscapes? Then go with the 35mm grey suit. If you have a 35mm grey suit and you are looking at that 50mm black suit don’t worry you are not missing out. Same goes the other way around. That being said I think all men should have a black suit and a grey suit. To my street photographers. Same deal. You can go either way and be happy but again I think all men should have a black suit and a grey suit.
Twitter – @DarksterMedia