Destiny 2 Video Game

Many people give the Borderlands franchise credit for the creation of the “Looter Shooter” genre as we now know it, but I think credit should be given to Destiny for how Bungie has been able to perfect it. Destiny 2 is going free-to-play on September 17th of this year. That means that you won’t have to purchase or check out the game to play the base game on your console of choice. Swing by the Davenport Library and check out the game before that date to get a head start on your friends!

Destiny 2 is a Looter shooter, that means you are going to be shooting a lot of aliens, robots and alien robots. As you are blowing up those bad guys, you are going to level up and get newer and shinier equipment and weapons so that you can continue to blow up aliens, robots and alien robots. This grind is made even more fun if you have a few friends to tag along with. Co op in Destiny 2 consists of 3 total players (or 6 if you are trying to tackle Raid content) and I think the game is the most fun when tackled by a full party.

There is also the competitive crucible mode that pits players against each other in a variety of modes that cap out at 6 v 6 competition. Being that Bungie are the initial developers of the Halo series, the gunplay is quick, smooth and very well executed.  There is something for everyone’s playstyle in Destiny 2 and it is a great game if you are looking for something to sink a lot of time into. There is always something to do in Destiny 2 and it is constantly being updated with new DLC expansions.

If grindy loot quests are your cup of tea, then look no further than Destiny 2.

State of Decay 2 Video Game

I remember playing the original State of Decay on my Xbox 360 and I loved it. Scavenging, surviving and strategizing with my own group of survivors gave so much freedom and options for how to play without it being too overwhelming. The one glaring issue that I had with the first game was that I couldn’t play it with friends. It was single player only. This is an issue that developer Undead Labs aimed to remedy with the sequel.  Multiplayer play is the biggest feature added to State of Decay 2 and it works beautifully.

State of Decay 2 is an RPG mixed with some strategy game elements  like community and base management. You play as any of the survivors that you have recruited into your community and establish bases, outposts and form alliances (and conflict) with other communities that you come into contact with in the open world, all while having to fight off the hordes of the undead. State of Decay 2 has a feature that is unique for current games. Permadeath. If one of your survivors dies when going on a scavenging expedition, they stay dead, no respawn, no returning to the last game save. This creates a sense of tension and intrigue even on the most mundane of errands that takes the player outside of their base.

If you played the original State of Decay, then this sequel gives you everything from the original but a lot more of it. With three full fleshed-out maps to build your community of survivors in, you can put hours and hours into just going through each of the areas and clearing out zombie infestations and blood plague areas. There is also a story mode that follows the quest to create a cure for the zombie plague. Once you complete the story missions on one of the three maps, you are given the option to relocate your community onto one of the other two maps and continue playing through the story there.

I recommend State of Decay 2 for anyone that is a fan of RPGs or the zombie horror genre, and I doubly recommend it if you are someone like me who is a fan of both. It has a ton of replay value, just enough depth to keep the player intrigued and the multiplayer options make the game a million times more fun to play.

State of Decay 2 is an Xbox One exclusive available at the Davenport Public Library.

Racing to the Finish by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Racing to the Finish by Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t just about racing, it is about learning when it is time to quit. Wanting to go out on your own terms is something that every competitor in every sport discipline can identify with. After years of physical punishment and concussions, it was time for Jr. to retire from his #88 ride at the end of his 2017 season, in this book, Dale explains why.

Concussions have long been a specter in motorsports, no amount of safer barriers and HANS devices can fully cushion the blow of an impact when you smack into the wall at 200+ mph. Dale goes over how his injuries have affected him throughout his racing career, experiencing concussion symptoms after a wreck, then shrugging them off to get into the car the next week. Concussions and the lack of understanding around them affect sports of all shapes and sizes and Dale Jr. does a phenomenal job of going over how the concussions presented themselves from within the car and in his personal life.

Dale also goes over the recovery process after his final concussion at Michigan International Speedway in 2016 and how he decided after that crash that, if he recovered, he would only race one more season in NASCAR. This story not only goes over Jr’s history of concussions but also goes over his drive to recover in those months leading up to his final season. A great insight into a legendary driver with a very personable voice. The narration feels like Dale is right there talking to you about his struggles. It truly is an insightful book that I recommend to anyone that is a fan of motorsports or sports in general. This book does a great job of bringing attention to the problem of concussions in sports and how little they are talked about or understood.

 

Crash Team Racing Video Game

Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled is a remake of an original Playstation Kart racing game called Crash Team Racing. However, this remake has much more content than what was included in the original. This game includes all of the race tracks from the original Crash Team Racing as well as every track from Crash Team Racing’s sequel for the Playstation 2 Crash Nitro Kart.

In Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled, the player plays as a character from the world of Crash Bandicoot. Whether that be a giant tiger named Tiny, or an mad scientist with a rocket lodged into his head named Dr. N. Gin, there is a wide variety of cartoon racers to pick from and even more customization when it comes to the kart that the character drives.

This game is a ton of fun for anyone looking for an arcade karting game that isn’t Mario Kart from Nintendo. It looks beautiful, this remake really shows how far graphics have come in the 20 years since the release of the original Crash Team Racing.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled includes the Adventure single player mode from the original game, an online multiplayer mode as well as split screen support so you can bring a whole bunch of friends into your living room and race against each other there.

There is a ton to do in this arcade kart racer and even more fun if you have friends to tag along and do it with you. I highly recommend this game to fans of the original or fans of kart racing games in general. Even though it is a remake, it also serves as a reminder of why this game got a remake in the first place. This game holds up even after 20 years.

Forza Motorsport 7 Video Game

Forza Motorsport 7 is a racing simulator developed by Turn 10 Studios for the Xbox One. This Xbox exclusive is the latest in a long line of games that date back to the original Xbox console. Forza Motorsport 7 is one of the most robust racing games on the market with a plethora of ways to play and have fun for all experience levels.

The single player campaign follows the Forza Driver’s Cup, a series of 6 championships that are further broken down by divisions and once you beat enough divisions in each championship, you unlock the next one. Throughout this process, the player is continually unlocking new things. Cars, upgrades and even driver suits. Hours of racing can be spent in this mode alone.

Customization another mode that players can sink their time into and that doesn’t even involve racing. Like Forza games before it, Forza Motorsport 7 has deep and robust customization features, you can create practically any paint scheme you can think of or create new ones. Hours can be spent tuning your car and making it look as cool as it can be and that is all before you even hit the race track.

Online multiplayer is still receiving regular updates with new hoppers and modes being added every month with new competitive features being added in June. This game is constantly receiving new content that keeps the racing fresh for players looking to battle it out with racers from around the world.

If this sounds like a fun time, we have Forza Motorsport 7 available for check out on the Xbox One at the Davenport Public library.

The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey

The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey is a standalone dark fantasy novel that takes place in the dystopian eastern-European inspired steampunk city of Proszawa.  This novel follows the escapades of Largo, a drug-addicted bike messenger from the slums of Lower Proszawa as he tries to ascend out of the slums and into the ranks of the elite of Upper Proszawa. Kadrey is a master at worldbuilding, with every delivery and errand that Largo goes on, the reader is given clues and information about the world of Proszawa. As Largo attempts to ascend the socioeconomic ranks of his world, he begins to discover a plot that could unravel the very fabric of the city and plunge his world into another Great War.

The city of Proszawa is dark and gritty. Drugs, sex and hedonism run rampant. The city parties as robots called Mara take the jobs of the working class. The world is one that is recovering from the effects of a massive industrialized Great War. This setting seems one that is vaguely reminiscent of the German Weimar Republic after the First World War except with Stempunk Androids and genetically engineered creatures littering the streets. The plot is an engaging one but my opinion is the strength of this novel is the world that Kadrey builds. Proszawa has a lot of the trappings that we have come to expect from Urban Dark Fantasy but it is utterly unique in execution. The discovery of the world is almost just as important as the progression of the plot.

Another huge strength of this story is the romance between Largo and the actress Remy.  Remy is an actress for the Grand Dark, a theater in Lower Proszawa that serves as the home for Remy and Largo. The Grand Dark theater is also  where the mysterious antagonist of the book Una Herzog is a regular patron who plays a key role in unraveling the fabric of Proszawa and laying the groundwork for war. Kadrey’s excellent world building can be seen in the portrayal of the Grand Dark theater as well. The pacing of this novel is a slow burn, this serves another level to the character development and world building. We as the reader get to experience Largo’s world through his eyes.

This story is one that gives a very particular view of a dystopian society, starting from Largo’s street-level perspective and eventually elevating it so that we get glimpses of the entire city. Kadrey does a fantastic job of having the reader experience his world through the eyes of his protagonist and I highly recommend The Grand Dark for any reader looking for a dark fantasy world to plunge in to.  Though the pacing of this book can be slow, especially in the first third of the novel, I would argue that this pacing adds to the story, and doesn’t take away from it.

Just Cause 4 Video Game

Have you ever wished that you were a star in an action movie where the normal laws of physics don’t apply to you? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grappling hook yourself to a plane as it gets thrown around in a tornado and then use your wingsuit to fly safely to the ground, fighting bad guys as you do it? If you said yes to any of that, then Just Cause 4  might be the game for you.

In Just Cause 4 you play as Rico Rodriguez, as he looks into Project Illapa, a program aimed at controlling weather patterns in the fictional South American country of Solis. This action-adventure game has you fighting against the Black Hand, a private army tasked on seizing control of Project Illapa and using its powers for nefarious means. While the story is a continuation of the story from previous games, it isn’t necessary to have played the previous entries to enjoy the frantic and chaotic gameplay of this most recent addition to the franchise.

This game features new advances in developer Avalanche’s Apex game engine that allows for extreme weather patterns such as sandstorms, thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards and more to feature prominently in the open world gameplay. The open world also features a range of diverse locations and biomes to traverse such as ancient ruins, thick tropical jungles and as well as cityscapes.

The advanced physics systems also makes combat far more interesting and fun. You are able to use the grappling hook in even more crazy ways than in previous games. You can use the grappling hook to hook together a helicopter and a tank and watch the chaos that ensues when you do. You can even use the grappling hook to latch on to a rocket and shoot yourself across the map that way. Your imagination is the limit in this sandbox of a game. The new weather features and upgraded physics engine make this a fun game to check out if you want to live out fantasies of being an action hero.

This game is available on both the Xbox One and PS4 at the Davenport Public Library.

 

Getting Ready for Call of Duty Modern Warfare

This years Call of Duty game has been announced. With the most recent installment in the 16 year franchise, Activision announced the return to the Modern Warfare series releasing later this year with Call of Duty Modern Warfare.  It has been 8 years since Modern Warfare 3 released in November of 2011 and 12 years since the original game in the series, Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare, was released in 2007. With this new installment in the series on the horizon, why not play through those old games to get yourself up to speed on the newest game coming this fall? I am here to help you do just that.

The Davenport Public Library has all three of the original Modern Warfare games for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. But, if you don’t want to have to break out your old consoles to play these games, there are some alternative options. The Xbox One allows for backwards compatibility play for some of their games.  Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare (COD4) and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) are two of the games that are currently on Xbox’s backwards compatibility list so all you have to do if you own an Xbox One is put those Xbox 360 disks into your console and you are ready to go! Sadly, Sony has not implemented a similar feature for playing PS3 games on your PS4 so if you want to play the original PS3 games, you are going to have to use a PS3. With Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) , however, you will have to play the disk in the original console that they were intended for on both the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

The Modern Warfare series is a military-style first-person shooter that spans the globe following Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish and Captain Price among others as they fight against Russian agents and rogue terrorist groups around the globe. Each game has a campaign that follows the story of these characters in bombastic Micheal Bay-esque, explosion and action-filled fashion. Each level is filled with excitement with each game upping the explosions and over-the-top action with the 3rd game culminating in the player experiencing the destruction of an entire city while fighting through it.

Both MW2 and MW3 offer cooperative play options for if you want to play with your friend. MW2 has a spec ops mode where you play through levels with a partner. MW3 also offers a spec ops mode similar to MW2 as well as a Survival mode where you and a partner fight off waves of progressively harder enemies to see how many rounds you can make it before falling. I would be remiss if I did not mention the Multiplayer modes for these games as well. All three of the Modern Warfare games have great competitive multiplayer options. It might take you a little bit to find a lobby now that the games are so old but they still have active communities so getting a few games in should still be possible.

If any of this sounds fun to you, or at least makes you feel nostalgic for when you played these games before, feel free to stop by the library to check one of (or all) of these games out to play!

Lego DC Super-Villains Video Game

Lego DC Super-Villains is a Lego game from Traveller’s Tales. If you have played Lego games in the past, this one should seem familiar to you. You break stuff, get studs, solve puzzles, and build stuff, all while playing as some of your favorite characters. This coupled with the Lego game’s signature coach co-op means that you can play through the game by yourself or with a friend. This game shifts the focus away from caped crusaders to the nefarious super villains of the DC universe.

There are over 170 playable characters, both villains and super heroes, for you to play as. These range from characters that you know and love such as The Joker, Lex Luthor, Batman and Aquaman, to more obscure DC characters such as Clock King and Condiment King.

This game is unique because of how it integrates the character creation feature into the story. Usually in Lego games, you play as your favorite characters and get to play as them throughout the game. In Lego DC Super-Villains, however, you get to make your own villain named The Rookie that you get to play as an upgrade as you progress through the game.

Another fun game for the whole family to enjoy from Traveller’s Tales. Lego DC Super-Villains is available at the Davenport Public Library for both Xbox One and PS4.

 

Can’t Get Enough Thanos?

If you loved your experience watching Avengers: Endgame when it came out back in April and you want to learn more about the Villain of the film, Thanos, then I have great news for you. The Davenport Library has a plethora of resources that you can sink your teeth into.

The Infinity Gauntlet  is the original graphic novel that inspired the events of both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

If you are more into a recent comic that features Thanos fighting the Avengers, we have you covered there too. Infinity  is a graphic novel that came out in 2014 that follows Thanos and his invasion of Earth while the Avengers are fighting an intergalactic conflict at the same time and earth’s mightiest heroes are spread between the two conflicts.

If reading novels is more your thing, we also have the novelization of the film Avengers: Infinity War written by Liza Palmer that covers all of the events from the movie entitled Destiny Arrives.

If you want to learn more about Thanos as a character, there is also the graphic novel Thanos: Titan Consumed available to check out. This graphic novel follows the origins of the Mad Titan from when he was young until he begins his quest for the Infinity Stones and gives insight into how the character became the galaxy-conquering destroyer that we see in Endgame.

All of these resources and many more are all available at your Davenport Public Library.