FarCry Primal Review (Xbox One)

Let me tell you of Takkar…

FarCry Primal, the 10th installment in the FarCry series, dFar_Cry_Primal_cover_arteveloped by Ubisoft Montreal, places gamers in the Land of Oros, in 10,000 BC, at the end of the last ice age.  We assume control of Takkar, the game’s protagonist and warrior of the Wenja tribe.  Primal opens with Takkar and a group of hunters journeying to Oros, and preying on a herd of Woolly Mammoths.  Group member Tensay provides background to Takkar on the Wenja people.  The flesh-eating Udam tribe, and masters of fire; the Izila tribe, have brought darkness to Oros.  UII of the Udam has destroyed the Wenja village, scattering the Wenja throughout Oros.

While on the hunt, Takkar’s group is attacked by a Sabre-toothed Tiger, causing the group to flee. Tensay and Takkar are cornered and forced over the edge of a cliff.  Takkar survives the fall.  Tensay is not so lucky.  Tensay spends his final few breaths pleading with Takkar to continue to Oros to find members of the Wenja tribe, rebuild the Wenja village, and bring light back to the Land of Oros.

FarCry Primal is a first-person action-rpg set in an incredibly vibrant environment.  While it follows the mechanics of most open-world action-RPGs, setting apart FarCry Primal from other games within the genre is the rich experience of navigating its primitive world.  Ubisoft’s ambition is splendidly executed.  You will trek through photo4mountainous peaks and grassy valleys.  You will search through treacherous caverns, hunt along rivers and lakes, leap over waterfalls and endure the elements while attempting to survive nature’s primal gauntlet of predators and tribal warriors.

Main missions task Takkar with seeking out lost Wenja, each with unique skills or abilities to enhance the Wenja village.  Complete objectives to bring each tribe member back to the Wenja village.  Each objective allows Takkar to build huts for those he has saved, unlocking new skills, abilities, weapons, and resources along the way.  Players improve Takkar through a standard skill-tree, with each tribesman representing a set of unlockable skills and abilities; hunting, gathering, crafting, and beast-master (taming the predators found in Oros for cooperation) abilities are amongst the categories used to enhance Takkar on his journey.  Looting is a big part of the experience.  Gathering resources from deceased warriors, skinning beasts for food and crafting purposes, grabbing plants, clay, and rock from the land are consistent parts of the action and vital to giving Takkar the necessary skills to progress through the entire game.

photo6The most unique element of FarCry Primal is the ability to tame beasts.  Upon unlocking Takkar’s beast-master ability, players can distract beasts with bait, sneak up on them and through holding the X button can perform the tame action.  This allows Takkar to be in control of the animal as it hunts alongside you, protecting you from other predators.  There are varying degrees of predator ferocity, ranging from Dholes, Badgers, and Lions, to Bears, Jaguars, Panthers, and even the mighty Sabre-toothed Tiger.  Takkar can also learn the ability to ride atop a Woolly Mammoth, making for some awesome stampedes through rival villages.

Takkar can instruct his companion to attack rival tribesman or other beasts while maintaining cover, giving the game an element of strategy and espionage.  Takkar can even learn the ability to summon an Owl to scout areas ahead, placing markers to track enemy tribesman or attacking them without triggering suspicion of Takkar’s presence.  The animal interplay in FarCry Primal is an engaging element.  Watching a Sabre-toothed Tiger duel to the death with a Mammoth that has been isolated from his herd is quite awesome.  

Don’t worry if your Tiger isn’t up to task; if your tamed beast is killed they can be both revived or summoned again.  Once you have tamed a beast you can summon them again if you have thephoto5 necessary resources in your inventory; such as the rare plants found throughout Oros.  As long as you maintain a focus on looting all of the resources you see around you as you complete objectives, you shouldn’t find yourself without the necessary resources to enjoy all of the game’s mechanics.  I didn’t run out of what I needed at all throughout my play-through.

Takkar has plenty of weapons of his own at his disposable.  He uses clubs, bows, spears, firebombs, sting-bombs (a hive of bees that swarms and kills tribesman in it’s vicinity), and berserker bombs (throw this to turn an flesh-eating Udam against his own people).  Secondary weapons include projectile shards, traps for larger predators and a sling.  Takkar is also equipped with a grappling claw to ascend to hard-to-reach peaks throughout Oros.  Each weapon can be enhanced with fire if you have the necessary resources. If at long-range; shoot an enemy tribesman with a flamed-arrow for extensive damage.

There are numerous dynamics found in FarCry Primal that make the game continuously engaging and versatile.  The Wenja, Izila, and Udam all speak in unique dialects and are dressed in unique gear with distinguishable face-paint and mannerisms.  

Primal’s dynamic time makes the experience very different depending on whether it is day or night.  During the day you may see a herd of Mammoths peacefully drinking from a waterhole, or deer galloping through the hilly Oros landscape.  At night, apex predators lurk in darkness.  Packs of wolves prey on Takkar, and can even be seen in the distance pack-hunting rival tribe members.  The night is aptly far more dangerous for Takkar, though various camps scattered throughout Oros allow Takkar to rest until the light returns.

Though I don’t typically play many first-person games, (this was also my first experience with a FarCry game), I thought the first-person perspective was perfect for Primal.  The in-your-face cut-scenes with exchanges of dialogue showcase the fantastic detail of each character.  Their body language and dialects bring a very unique visual experience to the game.  You must tread carefully at night, as predators may ambush you from behind, a situation far more suited to first-person view. The perspective adds to the overall experience of the game.

photo1Aside from the game’s main objectives, there are numerous side-missions and location-based events to help Takkar unlock the entirety of his skill-tree.  You can unlock the majority of Takkar’s skills through the main objectives and through collecting animal skins as you travel throughout Oros, but the secondary objectives give the game a good degree of replay-value once you have progressed through the game’s main storyline.  As I played, I focused initially on collecting all of the rare animal skins for crafting, but I could have shaved 10 hours or so from the 40 hours it took me to complete the game had primary missions been my focus.

I did not find FarCry Primal difficult.  The main missions are mostly quick missions, not the lengthy, time-consuming endeavors found in most open-world titles.  I thought this was a smart approach by Ubisoft, as it kept me interested in the game and not bogged down with an eternity of repetitive tasks to complete in order to finish the story.  It is a game any level of gamer, casual to hardcore, can enjoy and complete.  Once I got into the meat of the game I couldn’t put it down, it was an enjoyable experience from the opening cut-scene until the final credits.  I would recommend FarCry Primal to anyone interested in experiencing the primitive Land of Oros.

– All in-game photos and clips were captured on my initial play-through. FarCry Primal was provided by Ubisoft for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Ubisoft.  

– Ryan Kosinski

Disneys “The Jungle Book”

I’m so excited to share with you the first film clip from Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK

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YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/OD3CLzPER34

http://thelawofthejungle.com/

#JungleBook

This is one amazing cast;

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Scarlett Johansson / Kaa

Kaa is a massive python who uses her voice and hypnotic gaze to entrance Mowgli. The man-cub can’t resist her captivating embrace. “Kaa seduces and entraps Mowgli with her storytelling,” says Scarlett Johansson. “She’s the mirror into Mowgli’s past. The way she moves is very alluring, almost coquettish.”

 

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Idris Elba / Shere Khan

Voiced by Idris Elba, Shere Khan bears the scars of man, which fuel his hatred of humans. Convinced that Mowgli poses a threat, the bengal tiger is determined to rid the jungle of the man-cub. “Shere Khan reigns with fear,” says Elba. “He terrorizes everyone he encounters because he comes from a place of fear.”

 

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Sir Ben Kingsley / Bagheera

Bagheera is a sleek panther who feels it’s his duty to help the man-cub depart with dignity when it’s time for him to leave his jungle home. “Bagheera is Mowgli’s adoptive parent,” says Ben Kingsley, who lends his voice to Bagheera. “His role in Mowgli’s life is to educate, to protect and to guide. My Bagheera was military–he’s probably a colonel. He is instantly recognizable by the way he talks, how he acts and what his ethical code is.”

 

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Lupita Nyong’o / Raksha

Lupita Nyong’o voices Raksha, a mother wolf who cares deeply for all of her pups–including man-cub Mowgli, whom she adopts as one of her own when he’s abandoned in the jungle as an infant. “She is the protector, the  eternal mother,” says Nyong’o. “The word Raksha actually means protection in Hindi. I felt really connected to that, wanting to protect a son that isn’t originally hers but one she’s taken for her own.”

 

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Christopher Walken / King Louie

King Louie is a formidable ape who desperately wants the secret of Man’s deadly “red flower”–fire. He’s convinced Mowgli has the information he seeks. “King Louie is huge–12 feet tall,” says Christopher Walken, who voices the character. “But he’s as charming as he is intimidating when he wants to be.”

 

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Giancarlo Esposito / Akela

Akela is the strong and hardened alpha-male wolf who shoulders the responsibility of his pack. He welcomes Mowgli to the family, but worries he may one day compromise their safety. “Akela is a fierce patriarch of the wolf pack,” says Giancarlo Esposito, who voices the character. “He believes the strength of the pack lies in what each and every wolf offers. He’s a great leader, a wise teacher.”

Like THE JUNGLE BOOK on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyJungleBook

 

Follow THE JUNGLE BOOK on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheJungleBook

 

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Visit the official THE JUNGLE BOOK website here:http://movies.disney.com/the-jungle-book-2016

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK opens in theatres everywhere in 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D on April 15th!

©Disney. All rights reserved.

 

Amazing Matzo Cracker Recipes

I’m not Jewish, but I’ve enjoyed eating Matzo Crackers with butter or cream cheese since I was a young girl. This weekend, my local grocery store had a coupon in their flyer for a 5lb box for FREE if you purchased an additional amount of items, so I picked up my free box. Then I got home and quickly opened one of the many sealed packages and melted some butter to spread on top of it. I loved every bite, but quickly thought how I would easily get sick of this and I needed to find other ways to incorporate the other 4 1/2 lbs of Matzo crackers into some recipes. So I did some research and these were the best I found! Check them out, I can’t wait to try them all. Click the photo for the recipe.

Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crack(ers)

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Grilled cheese

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Lox & Cream Cheese

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Matzo Brei w/Roasted Peppers

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Matzo Nachos

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Spinach and Ricotta (Matzah) Lasanga

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Margarita Matzah Pizza

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I cannot wait to try all of these wonderful, simple recipes. If you’ve tried any of them, comment below with your thoughts!

Spring Break at Sahara Sams!

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Ahh, it’s that time of year! Almost Spring break and I was thinking of something fun to do with the kids. Then it hit me! Spring break reminds me o . The good ol’ days, warm weather and beaches. It’s a really early break this year with Easter being in March, and it’s still chilly out. We are going to go to Sahara Sams for Easter this year! It we get to wear our swimsuits and bask on 80+° weather, what could be better then that?!  Thinking about going to?

My family and I had the chance to visit Sahara Sams Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water park last year and here is what we did! Check down below for a DISCOUNT CODE for my readers!

The drive there from my hometown, which is just off of exit 10 via the turnpike was an hour and 15 minutes. It was an easy drive, and the kids kept occupied in the back the entire time with the exception of a few “Are we almost there?”s thrown in. Sahara Sams is located in West Berlin, NJ right off of exit 4 on the NJ Turnpike. Had I known there was this amazing family retreat so close to home, I would’ve gone a lot sooner!

When we went, Sunday January 25th, it was a perfect day out. 44 degrees, and blue-grayish skies above. We were bundled up tight with our winter coats and hats on and our bathing suits on underneath, with our beach bags by our sides carrying beach towels and changes of clothes. I know… it felt just as silly as it sounds. We arrived at just about noon and there was ample parking throughout. Parking is free, first come first serve.

When we entered into the place through the front doors, our whole atmosphere totally changed. You can feel the slight burst of heat hit your face, and see all the fun games ahead of you with bright colored lights and sounds. There is a worker at a table directly in front of the door waiting to check through ALL of your bags to ensure you aren’t carrying any weapons, or any outside food or drink because it is not permitted in the park. He did let us keep 1 bottle of unopened water, and the “check in” went pretty quick as there wasn’t a long line at this time. Be prepared – you need to bring an ID card to the check in counter. There are signs stating this prior to reaching the check-in desk as well.

Another ‘know before you go’. My youngest son is only 2 years old, and children under 2 are FREE. If you have a child under the age of 3, make sure to bring proof of age if you do not want to pay for them. Yes, they said they needed a birth certificate or anything proving age. I do understand this because of the issue of people trying to get over and pass their older children off as 2 or under, but I believe it should be stated somewhere in the ticket purchasing section or online somewhere “Children 2 and under FREE with proof of age”. The gentleman at the counter was nice about it though. He also explained they may go to a height restriction instead for the free ticket – such as any children under 34″ free” or something along those lines. To be safe, just make a copy of the child’s birth certificate and bring it with you prepared to show it if younger then 3 for free entry.

They have the option of purchasing a locker for a fee, or you can rent a private Cabana which looked really cool for $85. Cabanas must be reserved in advance which can be done over the internet.

OK, so onto whats INSIDE! It is an understatement for me to say that once we walked into the actual Indoor water park section, I immediately felt like I was on vacation somewhere beautiful and definitely NOT in NJ in January. Did I mention it is a steady 84 Degrees in there? It was so great to be so relaxed and WARM! My 2 year old was initially scared of the giant bucket that dumps tons of water down, but eventually he forgot about it. My 6 year old, on the other hand, was ecstatic to see that giant bucket!

One thing I must note, is that for ALL of the attractions, the life guards were on their “A” game. They were extremely attentive, and did their jobs well. It made me feel so comfortable with my 2 young children there and other children all over as that can sometimes feel overwhelming.

The first thing we did is head over to the CONGO BONGO which is essentially a lazy river. They provide tubes for you to use and float around a winding path filled with tropical surroundings and fun sporadic sprays of water and waterfalls. It was not crowded at all when we were in it, although later in the day it did get a bit more crowded. We went on this 3 times. Once, and then another 2 times consecutively around. That is one of the great things. It is a “free for all”. You can go around as many times as you’d like without being kicked out. I’d imagine there would have to be some type of limit if it was overly crowded, but that wasn’t the case this day.

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Then, we headed over to the LIZARD LAGOON which is an area geared toward toddlers. My 2 year old had so much fun going down the water slide, and on the tiny bungee swings. My 6 year old even had a blast in this area going down the water slides helping his brother. It was such a safe area and so cute. You have to just watch the stairs, because they are wet, and there are many toddlers trying to get up them at once. There is a lifeguard at the top of the stairs, and the bottom of the slides as well.

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Onto the SAMS SLAM DUNKER pool! The boys, including my husband, had a blast shooting some hoops in the pool. The pool was 3-4ft deep and it was so warm. We actually kept coming back to this throughout the day to just hang out. It did get crowded at times, but still fun. The only concern I had with this, is they use REAL basketballs. 3 of them.They are heavy in my opinion to be tossed around above heads of others including young children held by their parents. It would be much better if the used pool balls or something lighter like a small beach ball. They had a blast in here though.20150125_123943

My 6 year old couldn’t get enough of going on a real, big water slide by himself in the TIM-BUK-TU area. It is the same area with the giant bucket. It has a smaller park like slide for younger children, and some do-it-yourself spray sections that kids can control the spray bursts on each side. I got hit a few times with water unknowingly, but it was all in fun.

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The CROCODILE FLATS is an area sectioned off from the slam dunk pool that has lily pads for kids to try to walk across while holding onto a net above. Unfortunately, my 6 year old isn’t a great swimmer yet, and wasn’t tall enough to really reach the net yet, so he couldn’t try it but it looked really fun!

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My favorite part, the ADULT ONLY Warming pool. Hubby and I had to take turns going to this because it’s 18+. That is what makes it so great. A little retreat to what feels like a giant tub. You have a view of the Congo Bongo, and can just kick back and relax with no kids splashing around. It isn’t a Jacuzzi, because the water is the same temperature as the rest of the pools, but because it is much smaller, it feels a lot warmer, hence the name “Warming pool”.

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Across from this is the adult pool-side bar on one side, or the doors to the food court on the other side.

The FLO-RIDA section looked really cool. It is a simulation of surfing, but we didn’t get a chance to try it this visit because the kids are too small and wanted to keep busy with other attractions. I definitely plan on trying this one out my next visit!

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There are some additional attractions we did not try out due to once again, the kids wanting to be on the other attractions, but they’re geared more towards older kids and adults. There are also outdoor attractions including a splash area, some more giant water slides, and a RIP-N-ROLL wave pool I can’t wait to try!

After the water attractions, we wanted to dry off a bit and let our hair dry before going back out into the cold so we got dressed and hit up the Arcade. The arcade is all digital. You load money onto a card, and then use that for the price of each game. The tokens also load onto the card as well and can be redeemed at the reward counter which is much easier then carrying around a handful of tickets.

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I am definitely planning to visit again this Summer so I can check out the outdoor section and their neighboring Diggerland (a construction site with sand for kids!) My 6 year old already proclaimed that he is having one of his birthday parties there in the future.They have a great birthday party package that include an annual full year membership for the birthday child! We had such a blast and miss it already. I highly recommend it to everyone!

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DO Bring your own towels

DO NOT BRING floatation devices or pool toys

LIFE VESTS ARE PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE

Check out their website to see details about each attraction and more pictures and videos – SaharaSams.com

Use promo code SPRINGJFM and save $5 on full day tickets purchased online through April 16th. Just in time for Spring Break!

Here’s the info for Spring Break hours;

Spring Break at Sahara Sam’s

A Day out with Thomas – Phillipsburg NJ

Ku0zN7KYLjgw5gp2eAaAR3MJnOwHCa3z_ftHczkuYrAsXZ_USYrSzs0aemPFOvCK5GIvj1apehMjxI0hFyzpTM,ekj5gSLUxbc61Hd1f-hjqpofur6uez5zfB-X5PzUTesThomas The Tank Engine to visit The Delaware River Railroad Excursions – July

Peep! Peep!Thomas the Tank Engine™ is celebrating friendship at Day Out With Thomas®: The Celebration Tour 2015, and families across North America are invited aboard!

Little engineers everywhere are invited to join Thomas when the #1 Engine pulls into The Delaware River Railroad Excursions July 10-12 and 17-19 for Day Out with Thomas: The Celebration Tour 2015, presented by Fisher-Price and sponsored by MEGA Brands and all inclusive Hard Rock Hotels.  

This fun-filled event offers little engineers and their families the opportunity to take a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, star of the popular Thomas & Friends® series. In addition, children will meet Sir Topham Hatt™, Controller of the Railway and enjoy a day of Thomas-themed activities including arts & crafts, storytelling and more.  The tour, now in its 20th year, will…

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