REVIEW / Arizona Sunshine (PSVR)

For the past few months my PlayStation VR has collected dust sitting next to my PlayStation 4. I’m not sure if that’s because I don’t want to take the time to set everything up or if there just aren’t any PSVR games that I want to play. What I do know is that with all the buzz around Arizona Sunshine since it’s launch on the HTC Vive, I could not wait for the PSVR port of the game.

Arizona Sunshine is a zombie-thriller made for VR. While that genre may seem over used the past 10 or so years, Arizona Sunshine has something special that kept me intrigued the entire time. You play as a man (unnamed) who wakes up in an Arizona river valley that is littered with beer cans. From there your adventure begins as you explore your surroundings, kill zombies, and eventually find a radio that has a weak signal in which you faintly hear a human’s voice.

The story as a whole exceeds anything I’ve played on my PSVR to date (I’ve not yet played Resident Evil 7). From the moment you find the radio signal on, it is filled with mystery and excitement as you track down the source. While short, the story was both exciting and intriguing. That’s not to mention the fact that the entire thing is playable in Co-op. Co-op is one my favorite ways to play games so this was a huge plus for the game. Being a zombie game, Arizona Sunshine has its fair share of jump-scares and creepy scenes which I very much both appreciated and hated.

Mechanically Arizona Sunshine plays just about as good as any VR game can play on the PlayStation 4. I found little to no problems at all when it came to tracking my motions. Also, I did not feel even slightly sick a single time, despite having played 4 hours straight one night. While aiming down the sights of a gun there are no problems for me.There are some people having problems with this, but it may be that they have not calibrated their systems properly. The weapons all feel very natural to use with the Move controllers. My favorite weapon in the game is easily the sniper rifle. Using both hands to hold the gun up and also looking through the scope felt so natural that hopefully there is a  sniper simulator come to PSVR in the near future.

Aside from being able to play the game cooperatively, the team over at Vertigo games added a horde mode. This was one of the weaker points of the game. While the mechanics and weapons all play nicely, the maps for horde were very small and restricting. You and your team are essentially trapped in a small bunker while waves of zombies attack. This mode would benefit greatly by adding larger maps.

Overall Arizona Sunshine is a great buy for anyone looking to play a good story on their PSVR. Hell, if you also have a friend with a headset I’d strongly recommend you both pick this up. Horde maps aside, Arizona Sunshine may be one of the better games available for the PlayStation VR.

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Pokemon Go Fest Chicago

July 22, 2017. That’s the date of which many Pokemon Go fans gathered at Grant Park in a little town called Chicago, Illinois for the first ever official event at Pokemon Go Fest. That is also the date that many were let down by Niantic because of Pokemon Go Fest. As many of you who may read this have heard, Pokemon Go Fest was a bummer for many. Grab your Pokedex and get ready for one bumpy ride as I go over both the bad news and the good news. Which would you like first?

Let’s get the bad news over with first. When I arrived at Grant Park around 8 AM Saturday morning I was able to enter the fest almost immediately after picking up my media pass. As the gates did not open until 9 am for those who had early entry badges and 10 am for general admission, I find myself extremely lucky to have been granted early access. This is especially because while the official start time was at 10 AM, there were many attendees who didn’t even get into the park until around 11:30 because of the long line. This was the first strike for many. They waited all morning just to get in the park. The single entrance only had about 6 people checking bags and about 10 scanners to scan your wristband upon entry. With better planning, Niantic could have easily had more than the single entrance to get attendees into the festival more efficiently.

One other downside of the festival, which is the biggest one, is that Pokemon Go was almost completely unplayable the entire day. While people that were not near the park could play, the amount of people at Grant Park prevented anyone from being able to connect to the game. Those that were able to play on and off throughout the day, myself included. This is a major problem for a festival revolving around a mobile game, because nobody was able to play the game as expected.

Towards the end of the day a spokesperson had this to say to the small group of press that was present,“Obviously they can’t completely make it up to all the people who have come out to Chicago today, but they want to extend the fact that they’re extremely apologetic and unhappy with the process and the results,” a spokesperson told a small group of press on behalf of the development team toward the end of the event. “So hopefully this is something that we will never see replicated again, learn from this and move on.” He went on to say,“I’m super sorry guys — I’m really sorry especially for everyone who traveled international, East Coast, from all over. So this clearly was not what we were hoping for today. Thanks for your patience.”

Amidst all the chaos of the fans nearly booing the CEO, John Hanke, off the stage and chanting things like, “WE CAN’T PLAY” or “FIX THE GAME” I wouldn’t say that all was terrible coming out of the event. For one, it was a gathering of like-minded people who not only like gaming, but are crazy for both Pokemon and Pokemon Go alike. This was one of the coolest aspects of the event. The number of people I talked to at Pokemon Go Fest just because we all had something in common was pretty remarkable. Many of those that I spoke with said that while the day wasn’t ideal, they were making the best of it enjoying the company of their colleagues.

While the event was supposed to to come to an end with a mystery event around 7 PM, the festival was cut short at about 5. I think this is mainly because what Niantic had planned (legendary raid?) simply was not possible because of the “Network Error” or “Failed to Login” notifications upon logging in to the game. Niantic cut it short by announcing that we at Grant Park, and those playing around the world, had managed to unlock the bonuses associated with the gold tier. Along with these bonuses, everyone who had attended the event and successfully redeemed their unique QR code would get a free Lugia in their account. They also went on to let everyone at the park know that $100 worth of Poke Coins (in-game currency) would be deposited to the accounts of everyone in attendance along with refunds of their tickets. The refunds are a great touch, but there were people who paid hundreds of dollars for their tickets who are only going to get $20 back, let alone those who traveled across the country, or the world.

In the end there were many people left with a bad taste in their mouth because of how the entire event unfolded. However, not all was bad. The interaction between everyone there was a great thing to witness. The team at Niantic that worked on both Pokemon Go and the arrangement of the Festival itself are onto something great. Had the game actually worked as planned throughout the day, there is no doubt in my mind that Pokemon Go Fest would’ve gone down as one of the greatest gatherings of like-minded gamers to date. Let’s hope that the first attempt at Pokemon Go Fest helps Niantic learn from their mistakes and make the next Fest something very special for all in attendance.

First Few- Destiny 2 Beta Story Mission

Watch the video below as I make my way through the story mission that is included in the Destiny 2 Beta. I’ve been trying to build my channel so please feel free to head over to my YouTube channel and like and subscribe there. Thanks!

Also stay tuned both here, and on my YouTube channel for more on the Destiny 2 Beta and the full release of the game in the near future.