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December 31, 2014

2014 Year Retrospective

Hello everyone! Welcome to the KVR Gaming 2014 Retrospective. This post will be as straightforward as possible, taking a look at this year month by month and then detailing the events of the year.

Y'all ready? Okay, let us begin:

January:

Kicking off the year was one of my favourite reviews, the one of Hotline Miami. While unbelievably gory and nasty, Hotline Miami is unforgiving, grueling and insanely difficult, pushing you and taunting you to try and conquer it's short but very sweet campaign.

After that came a review of Left 4 Dead 2, originally slated to be a "Duel Review" of Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. However, after seeing that one review was best, I went with that option instead. 

Shortly thereafter, because I was playing so much L4D2 and loving every moment of it, I started a short-lived series where I review the levels of the entire game. This proved to be far too demanding for me, as I had already come down with a huge depression in January, one which I spent the better half of the year in denial of.

Capping off the month, was another one of my favourites: Ryse Son of Rome. Quite surprisingly, I enjoyed this game's story and hero, and it's genuinely effective (if basic) ending. Maybe it's just nostalgia, but it's actually quite a memorable game, in spite of the flack it gets.

February:

Hoo boy, this was a tough month. I started off February with a review of an obscure free game called Serena. I loved the atmosphere and story of the game, but also reviewed it because I had way too little energy left to actually do something "bigger", if that makes sense.

Later the month, I did a review of Papers, Please, yet another "easy" game to review, because of it's simplicity and lack of much content. Afterwards, I continued with my unfortunately short-lived series of "Level Reviews", which I sincerely wish to continue at some point.

March:

Abandoning the Level Reviews due to my ever-present anxiety, I did a Content Rundown of Thief, a game which was average in just about every way, but it was passable and not too demanding, at least.

Afterwards, I quite clearly had a struggle with anxiety and couldn't find any games to review. (Quite hilariously, I had three update posts where I consistently made poor excuses for why I couldn't post that week.)

Finally, I did a Content Rundown for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Not the most memorable game, partly due to it's short length and the fact that it's a freaking full-price demo!

April:

Ah, South Park: The Stick of Truth. The most vulgar, disgusting and downright repulsive game you'll ever come across. Of course, it's job is to purposefully offend people with ANY boundaries and beliefs, which it succeeded in doing and then some.

After that, I did a Content Rundown of Infamous Second Son. A lighter game for once. Around this time, I also bought A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay. Probably one of the best music albums I've ever listened to.

The month ended with a Content Rundown of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a game which I've never played, only watched, and yet still thoroughly enjoyed it because of it's story and cinematic qualities.

May:

Well, I did up a rather embarrassing injury this month and got thoroughly burnt out from work and anxiety, so no review was posted that entire month. However, it was also very good for me, in the regard that I finally saw just how valuable my little blog was and decided to make a plan in getting it back off the ground.

June:

First thing after getting back from my hiatus, was to make hilarious excuses for my anxiety and make a review of Watch Dogs, one of the most boring games I've ever played, even if it did have a bright moment here and there.

Deus Ex followed shortly after, which featured me experimenting with my review structure and then abandoning the concept altogether shortly afterwards. Not one of my greater moments.

July:

The month started off on a rather dour note for me personally, the details of which I'll divulge only when I'm far more comfortable doing so. However, I did manage to squeeze out a Content Rundown of Wolfenstein: The New Order, which received high praise from me because of the experience.

I've yet to actually play the frigging game, but I still like it immensely, haha. Shortly afterwards, I did a decent review of Half-Life 2, although it took some effort to actually play the game due to Kyle's Anxiety Syndrome, a rather annoying condition which the author suffered from at several points, mostly affecting his ability to actually make decent blog posts. 

I finalised my Content Rundown of The Wolf Among Us and decided to make a hard decision: To change my review schedule from once a week to once every two weeks, in order to help myself recover from anxiety.

August:

Hilariously enough, it didn't really help, as I only managed to post a single review...A ReMix Review, nonetheless. One of Batman Arkham City, which had been promised by me long beforehand and finally posted in August, a month of intense stress for us as we prepared to move from our home into a new one.

September:

After moving, I finished up a review of The Walking Dead Season 2. I noticed that my enthusiasm for reviewing increased as I reviewed something which I genuinely enjoyed playing.

I also did a Content Rundown of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines based on a request by blog reader InfamousPotato. The only thing I have to add is this: Feel free to request again, bro. ;)

October:

Lacking funds, I decided instead to do a Content Rundown of The Sims 4 instead of a full review. The Sims is a series I enjoy as a whole, and as such, doing a Content Rundown for it was far from a chore or a bore.

I initiated a Content Rundown of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, but my returning anxiety hindered me, especially after my friends lost some of their own friends to sickness. Three friends of friends died in the span of a very intense week, the last death of which was a rather hard knock for me as I had been praying (at the request of my friend) for the guy in question.

November:

I discovered very quickly that Japanese games are incredibly difficult to review, mostly due to the fact that they're needlessly hard to describe in terms of content. It didn't help that The Evil Within lacked a compelling story, so there was no real drive for me to finish the review beyond my stubborn commitment to reviewing.

COD: Advanced Warfare was also released shortly thereafter and I did my obligatory annual review of it, and wouldn't you know it? It wasn't completely unbearable.

Assassin's Creed Unity capped off the month, the story of which was interesting enough for me to actually want to review it, and as such, the quality improved. 

December:

And last but not least, we get this little month of wonders, where I was finally able to open up about my anxiety and take small but highly effective steps to dealing with it.

While I only did two games from Telltale Games this month, this is was done primarily as a means to recuperate and plan for the next year. Matter of fact, I'll have to work out a review plan for the entire year and see where I can fit what in.

Lastly, before I end off this rather scatterbrain post of mine, I would like to thank all of my loyal readers for supporting me even in this incredibly tough year. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you guys stuck with me in the midst of a horrible year and helped me through it.

I'm genuinely touched by every single one of you's undying support, and pray that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will bless you richly for all you've done for me and the blog by extension. :)

I can't promise things will get better next year, but let's just say that this little blog has made it this far, and you can rest assured that it will survive for many more years. Unless I don't, then this blog's pretty much kaputt.

But anyway! Thanks for reading this post. Enjoy the end of the year. Many blessings to you, and have a wonderful 2015!

December 29, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 68: End of the Year

Hola amigos! I'm typing this post from a monitor which is bizarrely flashing stark red colours at me right now. It's weird, unsettling, and downright nightmarish, but I'll make do, even if it is with a suddenly villainous monitor.

This post is going to short and simple: I won't post a review this week, because I wanted to give myself more time to get my mind recharged for the coming year. Instead, I'll be posting a retrospective on the entire year, the developments the blog through, what happened in my life at that stage, and so on.

Once again, I apologise for not posting often. I've just recently come to terms with the fact that I struggle with depression and have been taking steps to deal with it. The blog definitely helps, and as such, I'm turning it around to make things easier for me to review games more often, as I mentioned in the previous blog journal.

Thanks for your support, my people! I will see you Wednesday with a quick retrospective and then bid you a great new year! Tune in then...

December 22, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 67: The Sims Legacy

So, on the heels of admitting my struggles with anxiety, I've decided to recalibrate and reset when it comes to reviewing. Not too long afterwards, I glanced through the list of posts still in draft mode, reviews I started but have yet to finish.

After realising that it's far more important to review games which I like and consider critical for review, I decided to start a review of a game I "recently" acquired for free: The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection.

This game represents a bit of a challenge, due to the vast amount of content and expansion packs, stuff packs and overall overdose of...stuff. Packs. Stuff packs.

Anyway! The Sims is possibly my favourite gaming franchise, so stay tuned for a big review of The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection. Also, a possible review for The Sims 3 Late Night expansion pack, but no promises on that one.

See you guys next week, hopefully with a rather big review. Adios hombres!

December 15, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 66: Of Utmost Impotence

Hello all! Kyle here yet again with another update. This time, I'm going to just share two things with you, and that's it.

Just two things. You can sit down now. Thanks.

Anyway! The first thing I want to share is that I'm reorganizing my reviews based on IMPORTANCE, as opposed to POPULARITY and NEWNESS.

What does this mean? It means that if I have to choose between a review of Manhunt 2 and one of Far Cry 4, I'll choose the most important one (Manhunt 2) over the newly released one (Far Cry 4) any day. This is done specifically to avoid burnout.

As a result, I've decided to put a Content Rundown of Far Cry 4 on hold, until I can get one out under less stress, and when I have more internet on hand to download videos. (We have capped internet at the moment, you see.)

Secondly, I just want to mention that I've been struggling with recurring anxiety, which I've had on and off for the past three years ever since starting the blog, but as of this year, it's gotten far worse.

If you've ever had significant issues with anxiety, you'll know that it paralyses you and makes you unable to function normally. As a result, I find it difficult to do anything constructive, including reviewing.

So if you've been wondering why there's so many schedule changes and big delays this year, that's why. Fortunately, I've discovered that giving myself space and time away from work doesn't help in the least bit, as time to myself only makes everything worse.

That's why, I've decided to get on top of this issue and decided to change my blog to something that better suits me as a person, and doesn't stress me out NEARLY as much.

Also, I'm pretty sure you'll have a Game of Thrones Content Rundown this week but if I can't make it, NEXT WEEK. (We have CONSTANT power outages, so that's why I might not be able to post it.) 

Sorry for the constant delays people. I'm trying very hard to get the best of these anxiety struggles and God willing, we'll get through. :)

December 08, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 65: Far Cries and Throne Games

Just a big update for all of you: I am busy with Far Cry 4's Content Rundown, it's just really obstructed by a whole bunch of stuff.

Not really. I just need to get off my backside and start reviewing. That's all. Yep.

In other news, I'm also doing a Content Rundown for Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice. I'm somewhat familiar with the show (never seen it) and know that it contains some pretty strong content, but we'll see how much of that is in the game.

After these two games are done, I want to take some time off from the mainstream and review "smarter" games, as blog reader Kamil defined them. I also have two reviews of older games, staring at me accusingly, waiting to be posted.

I'll leave them a surprise until they're revealed. By being published. With no warning. Yep.

Anyways, my time's up. Hope you guys have a great week further. You'll have a new review next week, as this week is a bit too hectic for me to work on a review. Sorry guys, but you'll have a review soon enough.

Go well, and God bless!

December 01, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 64: Operation: Get Back Into Gaming (Part 3)



Before we start the journal, here are a few updates on upcoming reviews:

-Tales From The Borderlands: A surprisingly funny and entertaining entry into the Borderlands franchise. Proved my doubts wrong. The Content Rundown just needs some editing, but it will be posted soon.

-Far Cry 4: Once again, haven't started with the Content Rundown. Will download all the videos for this walkthrough soon.

Game of Thrones: The newest Telltale episodic series is coming this week, apparently. Will do a Content Rundown as well. :)

***

In this instalment of Operation: Get Back into Gaming, Kyle describes probably the craziest game ever made and why exactly he went into game-burnout.

Hallo Leute! Welcome back for some more of the Blog Journal. This time around, it's going to be set more in the present day and less in the past.

I started playing Borderlands 2 a month ago. I first played it late last year, December time, and distinctly remember not liking it one bit. I felt it was repetitive and just not fun at all. The character of Zer0, an awesome concept, was just uninteresting and frustrating to play as. Stealth in Borderlands is not an easy task.

After redownloading it, for the purposes of actually giving it a chance this time, I started up the game, and decided to play as an assault character. The results were clear: I fully enjoy playing Borderlands. Matter of fact, it's really addictive once you get into it.

The zaniness of the characters and the thunderous mashup of RPG, Shooter and Open-World genre elements proved to be an effective combo. Yet again, this was the trademarks of a cult classic: You either hate it, or love it with a passion.

The latter is where I'm at. And it's awesome!

Now, before I end off this rather short series, let me explain why my game burnout started in the first place: I was (and still am) under constant pressure to get my life up and running.

I always feared that my video game playing and movie/TV show watching was detracting from actually getting my life in order, so as a result, I would get stressed out whenever I started playing a game or watching a movie.

I'll let you guys know that getting back into movies is actually quite simple. You only have to rewatch films you previously enjoyed and slowly branch out to similar movies. I recently watched Monsters University and thoroughly enjoyed it. Pixar films are really easy to get into. 

My plan to get back into video games follows the same pattern. I'm going to replay several games I enjoyed as a kid and try to recapture the "spark" when I first played them. Then, slowly but surely, I'll branch out to other games.

It's also hard to play games or watch movies when you're stressed about personal issues, and that contributed to losing my joy when it came to games and the blog. It's nothing about this site in particular; I'm just paralysed with anxiety over things in my personal life, and it's really hard to write reviews when you're fearing the worst about a situation you're in.

But, whatever the outcome, it won't help to take it out on video games. So while things are terrible in the real world, the virtual world is a great escape when stress gets too much, and it also helps you learn some valuable lessons.

Speaking of which, it's time to spread more positivity when it comes to my game reviews. I'll try to look for good messages and heroic traits of characters more actively, even in the most vulgar and disgusting video games you can find.

People need hope, and it's not something they can find on their own. Let's all work together to make a difference in each other's lives. Because now, more than ever, we need hope.

November 26, 2014

Assassin's Creed Unity Content Rundown


I have no idea what the title is supposed to mean since there's absolutely no "Unity" to be found in the game but oh well...

Reviewed By: KVR (Head Writer)

Verdict: Caution Advised (For Strong Bloody Violence and Sexual References)

Release Date: November 2014

Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

Genre: Action-Adventure


November 24, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 63: Operation: Get Back into Gaming (Part 2)


Before we start the journal, here are a few updates on upcoming reviews:

-Assassin's Creed Unity: Almost done. Just needs some editing and it's ready to be posted.

-Far Cry 4: Still haven't started with the Content Rundown, but it's coming soon.

-Giants Citizen Kabuto: It would be a bit hypocritical of me not to review this game, so this one's coming soon as well.

***

In this instalment of Operation: Get Back into Gaming, Kyle describes the game of his childhood, the appeal of cult classics, and going back to basics.

Hallo Leute! Welcome to another instalment of the blog journal. This time around, I'm going to be talking about a game, if not THE game, from my childhood: Giants Citizen Kabuto.

Now, the first question you might have might be along the lines of "What the what!?" Don't worry, it's perfectly reasonable to be confused. Citizen Kabuto was not a mainstream game at release, and pretty much faded into obscurity over the years.

The only reason I got the game, was because it came bundled with a display card my dad bought. (I can't recall which card it was.) While the game was violent at first, I eventually started playing it, and loved every single moment of it...right up until the end.

However, after going through some religious teachings, we decided to get rid of a lot of stuff, and Giants was unfortunately one of the many games I had to sacrifice for the sake of "holiness".

Almost a decade later, I decided to sacrifice holiness for the sake of "Giants". While that's not necessarily how I saw it, the logic behind throwing things away to attain God's blessing was ridiculous, legalistic, and most of all, judgmental.

I dismissed it, and got my favourite game back. However, it also fell victim to my chronic game-somnia, and as a result, I didn't play it much.

After taking medication for my disorder, in the form of a tasty pill known as Far Cry 3, I started the long process of sorting things out. It was around this time where I also started learning Deutsch. (German.)

The combination of exploring two parts of my heritage was effective. Giants: Citizen Kabuto made me giggle all the way through, just like it did when I was ein kleines Junge. (A little boy.) W√ľnderbar, ja? Oh, you don't speak German. Shame. 

Anyway, it was also around this time of replaying my childhood classic when I discovered the appeal of a cult classic. Most people define a cult classic as a movie/game/TV show with a small but dedicated following.

This may ring true about most cult classics, but there are specific genre elements which also make said movies/games/TV shows cult classics:

-Ambitious Mixture of Genre Elements.
-Irregular but Memorable Characters.
-Evokes a Nostalgic Feel.
-You Can't Help But Love it in Spite of it's Flaws.

Giants Citizen Kabuto? Checks all the requirements of a cult classic. And let me tell you, it was a classic indeed. It doesn't really have a huge following anymore, but it will always remain a classic in my books.

So did going back to basics help my condition? Somewhat. While I was getting back into the groove, something was still holding me back: An overwhelming emotion of seriousness which made having fun with a game an incredibly difficult task.

Solution? To play the craziest, most bombastically silly game you could ever find: Borderlands 2.

November 17, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 62: Operation: Get Back into Gaming (Part 1)


In this weekly instalment of the Blog Journal, Kyle van Rensburg makes amends with his first ever love in this life, Gaming, and discovers what it truly means to be a gamer.

Hey kids! Guess what? These posts were originally called "Blog Journals" because...they were supposed to be like journals for me! Wow!

Jokes aside, I want to give you guys more insight into my daily life at this stage, especially in regards to gaming. First off, I'm going to do a series on getting back into gaming, something I'm trying to do with a whole lot of commitment and effort.

Without further adieu, let's get started? Cool. So as some of you may be aware, I've been posting significantly less often as the year's gone on. This happened as a result of issues in my personal life, and it's been causing me to burnout.

After we moved in September, things have been slowly improving. However, I found that I still could not get myself back into gaming.

I had a huge pile of games in my Steam library which I'd yet to finish, and I was rather indecisive about which game to start. I would start up a game, play for a few minutes, only to switch it off in disgusted boredom.

After a friend of mine suggested that a certain game would be the catalyst for me to get back into gaming, I decided to give it a chance. I'd been struggling for months to get the game in question downloaded, but after some commitment and effort, I solved the problem and managed to install the game.

Let's just say that Far Cry 3 is a modern masterpiece.

I would start up it every single day and just play the game in peace. It's actually so much fun to just do what you want and not have to do any side-quests or anything. The fantasy of being in a video game returned in full, and it was fun from back to front.

At the end of the day, gaming is not about winning; it's about exploring different worlds, being the hero of several epic stories and, most of all, pushing through the steepest challenges.

However, using this strategy as a means to get back into gaming came with one small caveat : I was playing a high quality blockbuster, designed for easy access and play, not a game designed for the committed or incredibly skilled.

Far Cry 3 is a brilliant game and poses a great challenge, get me right, but it wouldn't help me get back into all genres of gaming, especially not obscure Indie games or JRPGs for that matter.

So, while I made some progress in my quest to re-gamer myself, there was still a lot of progress to be made. How did I solve this? 

Enter Giants: Citizen Kabuto.

In the next instalment of Operation: Get Back into Gaming, Kyle describes the game of his childhood, the appeal of cult classics, and going back to basics.

***

Assassin's Creed Unity: Just started with the Content Rundown for this guy. It won't be done by this week, but that should give me enough time to polish the Content Rundown more.

Far Cry 4: Going to start soon. Will let you guys know closer to posting time.

Both of these games are interchangeable. One could easily be posted before the other. Stay tuned!

November 12, 2014

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Content Rundown


"Guys, we changed it slightly! Love us, please?"

Reviewed By: KVR (Head Writer)

Verdict: Caution Advised (For Strong Bloody Violence and Language)

Release Date: November 2014

Developer: Sledgehammer Games

Publisher: Activision

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows

Genre: First Person Shooter 

November 10, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 61: Where The Road Never Ends

...And there you have your pointlessly poetic phrase of the day. Welcome back everyone!

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare: Yes, yes, there is a Content Rundown of this game, and it's going to be posted this week. Stay tuned.

Borderlands 2: First off, a ReMix Review is not guaranteed. I'm more playing this game for fun and to help me get back into gaming. But hey, don't dismiss the possibility just yet!

Giants Citizen Kabuto: Having finished the game for the second time in my life, spanning a decade, I'll have this review up sometime in the near future.

Fallout 3: After I'm done with the rest of the reviews, I think it's about time to finish this one up. About time!

StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty: ABOUT TIME I FINISH THIS REVIEW UP TOO!!!

November 05, 2014

The Evil Within Content Rundown


What is this? I don't even...

Intro: Look, I don't like reviewing Japanese-made games. No, that's not because I'm racist in any, way, shape or form. It's nothing personal in the slightest. The reason why I don't like reviewing games by them is because of how HARD it is to describe content accurately.

I have no idea how they scripted or wrote these things, but I seriously take my hat off to them. Because one thing's for sure; it's not easy trying to create a mental picture of the content. Not following? Look at my Resident Evil 6 Reviews. You'll see what I mean.

But with that out of the way, I'll try my best, and I hope that the end result will be informative. God bless. :)

Reviewed By: KVR (Head Writer)

Verdict: Mature Gamers Only (For Strong Surreal Bloody Violence)

Release Date: October 2014

Developer: Tango Gameworks

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows

Genre: Survival Horror


November 03, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 60: Unexplainable

The Evil Within: Okay guys, be prepared for a less than stellar Content Rundown; I constantly ran out of words to describe the content in this game, because it's just so surreal and weird, as is often the case with Japanese games.

Nevertheless, for those who want to check out this game, I prepared a Content Rundown. It's not the greatest ever, but I hope it helps.

Thief and System Shock 2: These games have been shelved. Sorry people, I'm changing things up on my blog and my YouTube channel, namely focusing on reviewing games I KNOW I can finish and not sit with a huge heap of unfinished stuff.

On the other hand, Giants Citizen Kabuto is the game that defined my childhood, so it's review will be done for certain. Stay tuned for that!

Upcoming Games: Yes, yes, the COD will have a Content Rundown and so will Assassin's Creed Unity, Far Cry 4, and possibly Alien Isolation.

October 27, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 59: I got the Need...To Review!

Need for Speed Underground: Good heavens, this game is difficult! Definitely not for the faint-hearted. I won't have a review up this week, but look out for this review in the future.

The Evil Within: I'll be starting with the Content Rundown for this one soon enough. Here's hoping it doesn't turn out anything like my Resident Evil 6 Review...ugh...

Retro Games: I have a few retro games on my list of POTENTIAL reviews, including Thief, Giants Citizen Kabuto, Alpha Centuari, Tron 2.0, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, and so on. 

We might also have some ReMix Reviews of games, such as Call of Duty Black Ops, Team Fortress 2, Mass Effect 3, Sleeping Dogs, and so on.

No promises, but I really want to make this a weekly thing again, but using a smarter reviewing schedule this time.

Question Time: Time for another review request! Which games would you like to have reviewed? Give me one of two categories: Old (Pre-2010) and New (2011 and Onwards).

Enjoy the week ahead. I'll see you guys, next time! :)

October 22, 2014

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Content Rundown


One game to rule them all?

Intro:

Wow, been a long time since I actually had an introduction to one of my Content Rundowns/Reviews. Anyway, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor was of particular interest to me, after recently becoming a LOTR fan.

The mythology Tolkien created for the series is mind-bogglingly vast, with detailed histories for characters, places, languages, cultures, civilizations, and a whole lot more. A game or extra couple dozen movies set in this universe would not be out of place at all.

Therefore, it's great that someone decided to flex their adaption muscles and take a chapter out of the big book of Tolkien, creating a video game set in between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

Does it live up to the aforementioned works? Well, let's find out.

NOTE: Since this is a Content Rundown and not a Review, due to me not being able to play the game and watching video walkthroughs instead, the story, atmosphere and overall "feel" of the game will be looked at, as opposed to gameplay mechanics and player interaction. The Areas of Concern will still be as complete as possible.

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg

Verdict: Caution Advised for Strong Gory Violence

Release Date: September-November 2014

Developer: Monolith Productions

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows

Genre: Open World Hack and Slash


October 20, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 58: 3 Years!?

Blog: Before I get to anything else...let's just say that I entirely forgot that my blog, as of October 4th, has been active now for 3 years! Thanks to every single one of my fans for making this possible. I know things have been very rough as of recent, but I just want you to know that I appreciate all of you. :)

Shadow of Mordor: It's not the most intricate of games, so my Content Rundown was finished pretty quickly. Tune in Wednesday for the Rundown.

Weekly Reviews: It seems like this might be possible again. Don't get your hopes up; Bi-Weekly reviews are still going to be the default schedule, but I want to put up a review every week again if possible. 

Kyle: So, my family has been going through rough patch as of recent, and of all the things that could possibly happen, we're dealing with a potential stalker. Ugh. But, we're hoping to get things sorted out soon enough.

Otherwise, I've been learning German (Ich leren Deutsch), got back into gaming through Civilization V, and replayed Hotline Miami. Still just as epic, but also still just as cringe-inducingly gory.

October 13, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 57: Burnout

Apologies for the slight delay in this post. The internet decided to kick out JUST as I was turning in an assignment online. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy about it.

But enough about me for the moment, let's get to the update: First of all, Shadow of Mordor is coming along...slowly. I haven't even started watching the first part yet. I know, that sounds very lazy, but I've had a really rough week.

A friend of mine asked me to pray for a friend of his, who passed away a week later. It was pretty hard for me to hear that, because I did really care about what happened to the guy, but alas, that's what happened.

I find myself sitting in front of the computer, ready to start reviewing, and I just can't. I distract myself with every single thing imaginable so that I can just get away from reviewing. Don't worry, I'll try my best to get the review out soon.

As for the reviews and the site in general, I think I'll schedule reviews weeks in advance. I'm currently playing Need for Speed Underground and want to get a review out of that sometime soon, in between the new releases.

In any case, thanks for your patience with your difficult author, hehe. I will see you soon with more reviews, here on KVR Gaming.

October 08, 2014

The Sims 4 Content Rundown


Now with half the features and twice the drama!

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg (Head Writer)

Verdict: Teenage Gamers (For Sexual Themes and Death Scenes.)

Release Date: September 2014

Developer: The Sims Studio

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platforms: PC

Genre: Life Simulation


October 06, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 56: You Only Play Dice

The Sims 4: Being an avid Sims fan and being unable to actually play The Sims 4, most of the Content Rundown has been constructed from videos I watched and just the overall experience I get from The Sims. While it may not be 100% comprehensive, I'm sure you guys will find it useful regardless.

Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor: I recently became a LOTR fan after finishing the trilogy. (I watched the first movie thirteen years ago, but I only watched the other two a few months ago.) 

Shadow of Mordor is set within the same universe, and I'm very excited to see what the team behind one of my favourite games of all time, Tron 2.0, have come up with.

Need for Speed Underground: One of my favourite games of all time, NFS Underground is a joy to play and just an all-round fun racing game which doesn't take sacrifice nail-biting speed for aching realism. (I'm looking at you, Shift.)

Civilization IV: A great strategy game I recommend for any serious strategy fan, although I would have to warn you about the time-sink that comes with playing the game. Pace yourself; it can get very addictive.

Medal of Honor Airborne: Just a funny game for me to run around and smack Nazis in the face with my Tommy Gun. Oh, and it actually took a very good concept of letting you decide where to start on the battlefield, a concept I wish was explored further.

COD Black Ops 1: ReMix Review anyone? While the first edition of the review was a fun experiment, it went way too far and provided an overdose of detail. It was really enjoyable making it, but I think I can do it one better. COD Blops 1 is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. Will see if I ever get around to redoing the review...

Tron 2.0: Reviewing a game by Monolith Productions reminded me of how much I loved this game. It demands to be replayed, and be replayed soon!

September 29, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 55: The Faux-People

The Sims 4: Straight the point! While The Sims 4 is far too expensive for me at this moment in time, and doesn't seem worth the price in any case, I'll simply do the best I can and make a Content Rundown based on videos, wikis, and the like.

Please Note: I won't be able to get everything and will exclude player created aspects of the game for obvious reasons. (Far too many.)

Other Games: I've made a pact with myself (lol) to not make promises about various games I've been reviewing. I'll simply state what I'm busy with at the moment, how far I am and if I'm reviewing them. Okay?

Racing Games: I've realised that, besides Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, we've done very little racing games. I hope to change that soon with many reviews of racing games.

Assorted Games: Look, I've got far too many games to finish and way too little time to finish them. I'll see which ones I get done, but for now, let's stick with the most current games. Like The Sims 4.

September 24, 2014

Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines Content Rundown


...Good heavens, that's a long title!

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg (Head Writer)

Verdict: Mature Gamers Only (For Dark Themes and Very Frequent Suggestive Content.)

Release Date: November 2004

Developer: Troika Games

Publisher: Activision

Platforms: Windows

Genre: Action Role-Playing


September 22, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 54: Vampire!

Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines: Good gosh, that's a long title. Anyway, I finished up the rough draft for the Areas of Concern for the Content Rundown. 

A bit of a note to InfamousPotato: Unfortunately, I had to rush through the videos a bit so not *all* of the content will be mentioned, but the vast majority will be. Sorry for the lack of completeness, I was just very busy with work and the like.

The Sims 4: While the game itself seems to be considerably stripped down from the previous instalments (to a fault), the content seems to have gotten slightly worse, with sims able to develop romantic relationships all on their own without help from the player...which may be a problem for those looking to avoid homosexual relationships.

Anyhoo, I'm not gonna dwell on that topic for *obvious reasons* and will just say that I am gonna start with a Content Rundown for The Sims 4 A.S.A.P!

Blog: Sorry if this blog and Lyriticus are quiet as of late. I've just been through an incredibly crazy year and need to recuperate. Every year is getting tougher than the last and I sincerely hoped this one would be different, but no. Things just get harder.

In any case, Lyriticus may face some down time due to a lack of time to work on it. I know the blog has a huge amount of potential, but you can't fly two airplanes at once, if you catch my drift.

The bottom line is that I'm sincerely trying to keep the blogs afloat, but due to things happening in real life and burnout from other responsibilities, it's a bit difficult. This is not an excuse and I WILL keep the blogs alive, but just understand that I can't always post and when I do, it may not be as fresh as it once was.

September 14, 2014

Magic (Coldplay) - Song Review


Muggles beware!

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg (Head Writer)

Album: Ghost Stories

Artist: Coldplay

Release Date: March 2014

Genre: Pop

Verdict: 13+ for Mature Themes



Areas of Concern:

Violence/Gore:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Video:

--We see bruises on a woman's arms, implying abuse by her husband. We see him yelling and throwing objects at her and verbally humiliates her, reducing the woman to tears. At one point he throws her on a bed with the intention of smacking her but he is interrupted.

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Video:

--The video depicts a young man rescuing a woman from her abusive husband, ending in their (adulterous) romance.

-We see some suggestive artwork in the backgrounds, like nude female statues and a drawing of a topless woman with her hands over her breasts.

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Nothing.

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive 

--The video depicts a man to be an alcoholic; we see him drinking, walking around with a whiskey bottle and being a drunk.

Spiritual Content:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive 

Lyrics:

--References to magic, in the sense of things getting better in a broken relationship. The narrator mentions several times that he believes in "magic", meaning "miracles."

Video:

--The video is about two magicians battling each other over a girl. Several magic tricks are performed during the video, many of which are implied to be "real", like lifting a spin with telekinesis, a man floats in the air by himself,

Mood:

Moody Upbeat: Ghost Stories is a Concept Album focusing on the end of a relationship and the subsequent grief. This song represents the narrator still being in the Denial phase, but he seems to be somewhat "angry" in the song.

The actual rhythm and melody of the song is somewhat moody, but ultimately uplifting.


Review of Song/Album/Movie:

After the success of the grandiose Mylo Xyloto (grandiose according to fans, at least), Coldplay unanimously decided to strip down their next album to create a softer, more "acoustic" focused offering.

The first single from the new album "Ghost Stories", the aptly titled Magic made it's way into the musical world shortly after news of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's "conscious uncoupling" from each other.

Since the relationship troubles and subsequent break-up served as inspiration for much of the album, Magic found itself in the awkward place of being a man declaring that things will resolve themselves for the relationship to become whole once again when real life says the exact opposite.

But I'm getting off-topic here: Magic is a strange offering from Coldplay, returning the soft roots of older "Parachutes", yet having the electronic flavouring of newer "Mylo Xyloto".

The odd mixture of old and new works, being one of the softest songs Coldplay has ever made. Even softer than the excellent Everything's Not Lost from their debut album. Magic does overdo the sentiment a bit, ironic for such a subtle song.

The "Poppy" beat and sappy message, combined with an equally saccharine music video is ultimately too sweet for me, especially when it's so disconnected from reality when Coldplay has always been firmly in tune with the real world and not fairy tale land.

Nevertheless, people looking for a softer offering to play on a long family trip which even kids can appreciate, might find something worth looking for here. Coldplay's magnum opus it definitely ain't, but it's not so bad either.

Give it a listen.

Quality Verdict: Good (B)

Coldplay fans might find the song too whimsical instead of enchanting, and realists might find it incredibly cloying, but for those looking for the perfect relaxation song, it's "Magical" indeed.

Conclusion:

Now, now, before you get your pitchforks and torches, Coldplay's song Magic has got nothing to do with witchcraft and the like, at least not in audio form.

The (somewhat silly) music video, however, depicts two dueling magicians and ends with the main character getting the bad guy's wife. Some may argue that this is acceptable because the bad guy is abusive and therefore, doesn't deserve her anyway, but it still ends up being adultery in any case.

The song is also about the end of a relationship and the "denial" aspect of it, as the main character struggles to accept that it ended.

Overall, Magic is a song for more mature listeners and something many people can relate to. In my humble opinion, this song should be acceptable for older kids/teens.

Content Verdict:
For Mature Themes

September 10, 2014

The Walking Dead Season 2 Full Review


The sequel to the saddest game ever made has arrived! Details for every single episode inside...

Verdict: MA: Mature Gamers Only (For Potentially Upsetting Violence and Strong Language)

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg (Head Writer)

Release Date: December 2013

Developer/Publisher: Telltale Games

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Ouya, iOS, Windows, OS X

Genre: Point and Click Adventure Game

September 08, 2014

Blog Journal Volume 53: The Waking Dead

Good news everybody! I'm back on the internet after moving and ready to get back to reviewing...in spite of being sick. Yep. 

The Walking Dead Season Two: Now that all the episodes have been released, I can finalise the review of the whole season and post it. Tune in this Wednesday for it.

System Shock 2: No, I've not forgotten about this game, I've just gotten distracted and unable to finish up the review and by extension, the game itself.

StarCraft II Wings of Liberty: I'm just never able to finish this game. Let's hope I can change that sometime before the year ends.

Fallout 3: I've yet to finish this game as well, but once again, I've not forgotten about it and it will be reviewed soonish.

Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines: This one may take a while to finish up, but rest assured, it will be done as well.

September 07, 2014

Ghost Stories (Coldplay) - Album Review


"I used to rule the world...Seas would rise when I gave the word. Now in the morning I sleep alone...sweep the streets I used to ow-" 

Oh wait, wrong album.

Track Listing:
  1. Always in My Head
  2. Magic
  3. Ink
  4. True Love
  5. Midnight
  6. Another's Arms
  7. Oceans
  8. A Sky Full of Stars
  9. O
Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg (Head Writer)

Artist: Coldplay

Release Date: May 2014

Genre: Electronica

Verdict: 13+ for Mature Themes



Areas of Concern:

Violence/Gore:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--Metaphorical references to being cut in half, falling hard, having a lot of pained emotions, bleeding from thorns, literally being torn apart by a break-up and wanting to die in a lover's arms. (In the non-sexual way, for anyone familiar with the famous Cutting Crew song.)

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--Several references to a romantic relationship, alluding to physical contact, a strong emotional need for each other and grief caused by a break-up. 

-The song "Another's Arms" seems to speak of a man longing for physical intimacy, especially with the repeating (slightly varied) line: "Pull yourself into me. Another's arms, another's arms..."

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Nothing.

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Nothing.

Spiritual Content:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive 

--Much of the artwork relating to the album features extensive references to angels, churches, solar systems, praying, and, of course, ghosts.

-As the song's title suggests, "Magic" references, ahem, magic several times during it's length, where the main character says he believes in "magic" (miracles) in regards to bad events getting better.

Mood:

Downbeat: While not very depressing, the album's a notable step down from the cheerful nature of Coldplay's previous album. The album does eventually end on a note of "acceptance", which is subtle yet very effective.

-Midnight is a very edgy and dark song alluding to a faint glimmer of hope in a world filled with depression. The voice of the narrator is distorted, the atmosphere "lonely" and lyrics crying out for someone to "leave a light on" in the "darkness before the dawn."

-Another's Arms refers to the depression caused by losing a significant other in a break-up. The narrator sounds desperate at one point and the recurring "angelic" voice only adds to the sad atmosphere of the song.

-Oceans is about a man waiting for his lover to "call" him again, but she never does. This song signifies the man finally letting go of his lover.

Review of Album:

Three years and one break-up later, Coldplay returns with it's newest album Ghost Stories, attempting to undo the overproduction of Mylo Xyloto with some serious underproduction.

Jokes aside, Ghost Stories gives fans exactly what they were expecting, with a more stripped down album focusing on soft, electronic acoustic songs. This album is even softer and smaller than their debut album Parachutes and that's saying something.

In light of lead singer Chris Martin's separation from his wife of 11 years, Gwyneth Paltrow, the band decided it best for some reason to dwell on a painful event such as divorce or the end of a marriage and give us a surprisingly effective concept album focusing on...Yep, a man dealing with the end of a relationship.

The album starts softly, with Always in My Head focusing on the denial aspect relating to the break-up. It's a soft, almost cheerful yet subtly confused song. It's silently effective and a great album opener.

The second song and lead single, Magic, is a bit more desperate and slightly more brooding, yet still a bit "happy."
The song sees the narrator struggling to accept the situation, falling into the anger and denial phases of grief.

While rather un-Coldplay-like, if I were to mercilessly slay the English language in an attempt to describe my feelings about the song, Magic is easy-going, gentle and surprisingly memorable.

Next, we get the two (relatively) weakest songs on the album, Ink and True Love. Ink is a drum-based song and while it does it's simple task effectively, it falls squarely under the LEAST-MEMORABLE section of Coldplay's vast song catalogue.

True Love starts out sounding almost identical to Titanium by DJ legend David Guetta, except swapping out the bass drop for subtle drums and a haunting atmosphere, showing the narrator's descent into the bargaining phase of grief.

After these two "softies" fade away, we get the album's darkest track: Midnight. The song finds the narrator sinking into the depression phase of grief in full. The subtle atmosphere is hopeless, the electronic instruments and dark feel is heavy...and it's brilliant. By far the best song on the album and a worthy song on it's own.

Another's Arms continues the depression phase with a softer song which sees the singer desperate to renew the relationship but accepting that it won't happen. A rather intense yet soft song at the same time. Powerful stuff.

Oceans yet again features the singer in the depression stage of grief, yet the end seems to suggest acceptance. This song might just be the most emotional on the whole album, with Chris Martin's vocals suggesting that the narrator is wailing in pain.

A Sky of Full of Stars falls firmly in the acceptance phase. Stars is by far the album's most divisive song, sounding more like Avicii-lite than Coldplay. Yet, it still manages to be very catchy, uplifting and emotional all at the same time. So while Coldplay die-hards like myself may dislike the direction the band took with this song, it's still a great tune and one that I find myself listening to a lot.

O is basically the epilogue to the story, a soft song which doesn't fall into any of the grief stages, just a gentle, friendly goodbye to the relationship which brought the narrator here in the first place.

Not the biggest or grandest of albums, that's for sure, but Coldplay has always been a band who gave us songs straight from the heart, for better or for worse. Ghost Stories is the very essence of that, and nothing more.

A Rush of Blood to the Head will always be Coldplay's finest achievement and the bar against which we judge all their further accomplishments, but Ghost Stories does give us another solid album for fans to add to their music collection.

Quality Verdict: Great (B+)

Hardly Coldplay's most triumphant album nor it's weakest, Ghost Stories nonetheless makes an impact with it's stripped down, acoustic-focused direction and continues to show the world why the Britpop group is here to stay.

Conclusion:

Okay, so the big area of concern: This album is a concept album. (If you don't know what that is, it's an album where the songs all have an overarching theme or narrative. Basically, it's a "story" album.) The theme is the end of a relationship, so this is understandably not the lightest or most upbeat album you'll ever listen to.

Chris Martin's widely publicised break-up with his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow is the biggest influence on the album and it shows. Martin's depression, anger, loneliness, questioning and eventual acceptance are all conveyed through the language of music.

From a quality standpoint, it's very effective. From a "moral" standpoint, well, it is cathartic to write about your feelings or express them through art, even if those feelings may be negative, negative, or, you guessed it, negative.

Music is a powerful medium, one with the ability to move an cheerful person to a pitiful wreck of sobs with a single song. As such, I urge caution to every person seeking to buy the album. A single song can trigger a very deep depression in you if you're not careful.

Me, personally? I love this new album and while the themes are heavy, some of the songs spoke to me in regards to other areas of my life. It's actually cathartic to listen to a song which describes your feelings at the moment.

And that, my friends, is the power of music. It speaks where others are silent. It makes noise where there's normally silence. Finally, it brings out the best and the worst of human emotions and looks at them from an objective angle. Music can help us understand ourselves, and in that regard, this album really shines.

Content Verdict:
For Mature Themes