Sunday, August 30, 2015

There and Back Again - Console and PC gaming

This is my story of starting out as a console gamer, becoming a PC gamer, and going back to being a console gamer. It's a boring, but interesting perspective into the many different ways we can play games and what I ultimately found is my personal favorite way to play them.

Console Gaming Rise and Fall:

As a gamer of the late 80's I grew up during a time when Nintendo exploded out of the shadowy grave of Atari whom nearly took the entire gaming industry with them, I was locked into being a console guy. At the time, I presumed computers were only meant for making spreadsheets or it was a glorified calculator. I didn't get a PC in our house until 1998 and I was just a few short years from high school. My first game on it was some pinball games that I couldn't get to work on it. I abandoned the idea and went back to my N64. Eventually, I came to discover Final Fantasy 7 in the infamous TV spots they had for the game making everyone think the game looked like the greatest looking thing ever. I bought the PC version of the game, again having no idea if the PC I had could run it. Luckily it did, and I was able to play one of the greatest games of all time.

I didn't think much of it though, the novelty of playing a game on a PC. I just figured it was a good way to play games my N64 couldn't play. Fast foward to near the end of the Gamecube era, when nothing was coming out for it, and everyone was enjoying release after release while Nintendo spends a year transitioning to their new console and ignoring their current one as they always do, and I sit twiddling my thumbs trying to get more life out of Smash Brothers and Mario Sunshine.

Having nothing new to play, I started playing around with my new PC, that I bought for college. I heard about a game called Lost Planet, and it looked gorgeous, and I knew Nintendo would never get it on their new system the Wii, because it wasn't capable of running it. I didn't want to buy an Xbox though, at the time I was quite a Nintendo fanboy. I still am, but I'm not against a system anymore because of who makes it. But at the time I was totally that way, I wanted nothing to do with anything Xbox. Then I discovered Lost Planet was out on PC, so I searched to discover how to get it on my PC.

That's when I discovered Steam. My very first purchase on Steam, was Lost Planet. I had no knowledge of PC gaming though, literally none. I tried to run Lost Planet and it would barely launch. After some research, I learned I needed a graphics card. Didn't know anything about those either, so I bought one that was $150 and figured I'd be good. I was good luckily, the game ran great. I also learned how great it felt to do my own handy work on a PC and get things running. Also, I really liked using the mouse to aim and shoot. It felt way better than controllers.

Still being the Nintendo fanboy I was though, I tried my best to get through my gaming needs with the Wii and would use the PC sparingly for games I couldn't get on the Wii. It wasn't long until I learned Nintendo didn't care about a gamer like me anymore, and was busy making casual games with crappy waggle. I defended it, tried to work with it, forced myself to like it. But something in me knew I wasn't happy. I even bought a Playstation 3 when it came out. Buying the Playstation 3, and having a Wii at the time I did, was what drove me away from console gaming to PC. Neither console had any killer games on them for quite a while, what felt like an eternity. I got very impatient.

Emergence of a PC Gamer: 

 Then Crysis became all the rage. A game to end all games in terms of sheer beauty and action and only PC gamers would be getting it. I obsessed over how I would play it, what did I need, etc. I wanted to spend as little as possible, and did everything I could to limp my cheap computer along giving it new graphics cards, and a new processor, more ram etc.

I learned a lot about PC's trying to get Crysis to run. I finally did, and I was rewarded with a really good FPS game. I also now had a PC that was on par with a PS3 and Xbox 360. The 360 was getting a lot of great games the PS3 either wasn't getting or was getting sub-par horrible ports. From Bioshock to Oblivion, I started collecting games on PC. I discovered modding, old RPG's I never heard about, and the infamous Steam Sale. The value of PC gaming was compiling, and I was drawn in. I still bought console games, but I was ready to actually build a fully fledged gaming PC and pour some real money into it.

I built a great gaming PC. It was more powerful than current gen systems, I could mod games, the load times were superb, the system didn't update every time I wanted to play since it did that stuff in the background. The interface of Steam was just so perfect. I started to notice PS3 games ran jittery or would lag making me start to concern myself with frame rates. Playing on PC these same games ran smoothly, like Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2. Developers were seemingly making games barely able to run on the consoles they were developing them for, but the PC could with ease. It became apparent to me putting forth the effort on PC gaming rewarded me with the gaming experience developers were intending on their games.I started buying games on PC first before considering consoles.

It was a magical time. I got the better versions of games like Dragon Age, Metro 2033, I got PC exclusives like Civilization 4 and Diablo 3. Apart from console exclusives I got all I needed out of my PC. Load times, modding, mouse control, all digital games no need to change discs (yes I'm lazy), cheap game sales, etc etc. I felt like the future of gaming was PC.

Driven Out of Paradise: 

Jump to today and PC gaming is in shambles. Negative after negative of being a PC gamer rears its ugly head. From having to maintain expensive parts, to rampant online cheating, to baron online games, and the most egregious non-functional PC ports.

Starting with expensive parts, I've never been a good judge of being able to future proof. I'm too cheap I guess. I kept buying graphics cards that were just good enough. Then a new game would come out that I could barely run, and force me to buy a new card. This has happened about 4 or 5 times, and it's REALLY expensive to keep making those mistakes.

Baron online games is another good place to show the cracks of PC gaming. The PC gaming community is small, and I didn't expect it to be as small as it actually is. Today, if you're not CSGo, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Star Craft etc, the tip of the iceberg of games on PC, then you're going to struggle finding games to play with others online. Battlefield Hardline was when I first noticed this problem. The game died in less than a month. $60 completely down the drain, you literally cannot find a game online to play on PC for that game now. I had this happen with Street Fighter x Tekken also. And believe it or not, it happened with Call of Duty AW on PC too. You can find games, but only TDM and it takes a long time, sometimes there are no games.

After finding no games in SFxT, I popped in my copy on PS3 and there's an abundance of people still playing it. It's then I realized I really shouldn't buy multi-player games on PC unless they cater to the PC crowd who seems to like free to play type games, MMO's, or games that if you put thousands of hours into you can unlock hats and shit. The PC crowd is just too small, and too picky. They'll hold onto their 15 year old Counter Strikes and 10 year old World of Warcraft and not embrace new games like console gamers do. They are just not the crowd I can relate to. I can't play a game more than 50 hours anymore it feels like before I move on to another game.

Lastly, non-functional PC ports has been the last straw. Two series specifically caused the straw to be the last one...that broke the camel's back? Anyway...Assassin's Creed and Batman are two game series I bought exclusively on PC from the get go. They looked great, they ran even better. Then Unity and Arkham Knight came out...I'm not sure I even need to go into the gory details of those suffice it to say Arkham Knight is still not available to purchase anymore after being taken away for how broken it was on PC and no one could run Unity properly even if they had a $4,000 PC. I've been lucky enough to not have bought any of these broken messes of PC port games because reviews come out fast and hard on Steam warning me of them. Mortal Kombat, Watchdogs are two other notable PC port debacles, as was Dark Souls and Final Fantasy 13 (both have mercifully been fixed).

I shudder to think how Mad Max will run or Metal Gear Solid V. I can only presume they'll be awful on PC, the track record in the past year has been appalling, and I can't with confidence buy any of these games on PC like I can on PS4. In many of these instances, the core development team has nothing to do with these PC ports. They are hiring contractors to port these games to PC, and on the cheap because the return on PC isn't as good as console. They are treating PC gamers like a dog and throwing them table scraps. It has made me give up on treating PC as my first choice for new games.


So, as I sit here reflecting on gaming in general I find myself disappointed. The potential of PC gaming is so high, the heights of which console gaming wishes it could do, and it's being ignored because there's no money in it versus making a game on PC where you can sell digital hats, or digital cards. I understand it, that doesn't mean I have to like it, so I return to my roots, back to console gaming where making a buggy mess of a bad game is punished with reduced sales and angry people on twitter and your sales suffers because of it. They're just not as afraid of when that happens on PC because they don't need as many sales to make it profitable.

If PC gaming keeps going this way, the progress made will quickly contract. Steam was growing at a very fast pace, but this kind of behavior from developers will ruin PC gaming further than it already is. To wrap this article up in a nice little bow as I pretend to be a good writer, this is what Atari went through. They released a deluge of buggy, non-functioning, or complete garbage games that drove players away and stopped trusting that their $50 would amount to anything more than buying a plastic paperweight thus culminating into the video game crash that Nintendo eventually swooped in to fix. It was also the very reason they had what was called the Nintendo seal of quality badge on their boxes, to ensure customers they were buying a quality game.

This isn't the road you want to go down PC developers, you're going to lose us.

*That picture is us leaving...not literally on a ship mind you...figuratively speaking...thought I'd explain that...seemed important...yeeeeeaaahh....*

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Yahoo Game News...Just Stop It...Please!

Dear Yahoo,

Please stop trying to inform me on gaming news, you are terrible at it, you've always been terrible at it. I have used this blog on several occasions to point out how awful you are at delivering game news. You used to write your own articles with crappy sources, wrong information, and even worse opinions, but these days all you do is repost other gaming sites, or sites that have something to do with gaming. I actually applauded you when you stopped trying to write your own articles, you figured out that you didn't understand gaming in the slightest. You used to repost from decent sites like IGN and Gamespot. But lately....what happened? Did your repost robot break? It is reposting from sites like Vox and Gamefaqs!

It doesn't surprise me that you don't know Gamefaqs isn't a gaming news site, but what's worse is your robot is reposting message boards...yes that's right MESSAGE boards. The one you see above was written by some random nutter on the internet (much like myself) who declares his passionate hate for Indie games littering the PS4 store. It is an uninspired opinion at best, and at worst not entirely thought out either. It surely didn't deserve a front page on Yahoo's website. But if that's what Yahoo finds compelling for gaming news...far be it for me to judge.

And Vox? Really? You need to stop reposting Vox stuff. All Vox is that I've seen, is a website that absolutely hates white people and America, and anything capitalist or remotely right wing. I am about as liberal as you can get, but to these guys I probably sound like Rick Santorum. Still, they have absolutely ZERO insight into gaming culture or gaming news. They write click-bait articles designed to point out how atrociously "unprogressive" the gaming industry is by wagging their finger at random things in games, and getting offended by anything and everything they can attempt to spin to sound offended. I'm picturing a guy working for Vox who has the unfortunate task of writing this tripe googling video game images to learn about a game and then trying his damnedest to loop in a way to be offended to have an article in before lunch.

I think this is where you and I need to part ways Yahoo gaming. Before I used to be able to make fun of your articles, you're just a robot reposting things. It's not funny anymore, it's like making fun of an answering machine.

*PS - Feel free to repost this Yahoo*

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Assassin's Creed and Bandwagons

Make no mistake, I am a fan of the Assassin's Creed games. I think they are really fun and well crafted, and just damn pretty to look at.

With that out of the way, the new Ass Creed as I affectionately refer to them as, was announced a SLEW of hate from gamers on nearly every board I looked at. This new Ass Creed is getting Call of Duty levels of online hate (yet still bought by millions) and it's not exactly sudden. This has been brewing for some time with fans lamenting how "samey" the games feel and I can understand the sentiment. It's never been quite THIS overwhelming though, so what changed?

Unity happened.

Even die-hard fans of the series bought Unity and it was practically unplayable for about a month or so. This is about the worst thing you can do to a gamer. Blue balling them by delaying the game is one thing, but when you have the game all lubed up inserted into your system for easy penetration and you're still blue ballsed? That's a slap in the dick face.

So it's no wonder really why gamers are so outraged and skeptical over the newest entry, but, I feel as though they are far too harsh if not riding a bandwagon of hate. Looking over Ubisoft's gaming career, when has something like Unity ever really happened before? Something on that scale of unplayability? I can't name another time this happened from them. They didn't have some awful track record like EA with its long list of anti-consumer policies that drove gamers away by the truck load. This was ONE game, ONE instance, unless you were one of those gamers who felt lied to over Watchdogs marketing the game wrong, there hasn't been too many instances where Ubisoft has annoyed fans...except for Uplay also...ok...ok so there's a bit of a list here!

I am getting a sense of bandwagon hate here, it just seems too overwhelming in the comment sections. Sales of the series still being fairly high indicates to me that I'm not alone in liking them. Same goes with Call of Duty or Madden, people do like them, but you'd never know it if you only read comment sections. I almost wonder if the lack of positive comments is related to people being petrified of the recent waves of internet bullying from people with holier than thou opinions on literally every topic. I feel like this is where the internet has gone, and the "conversation" has become extinct. Everything has to be blue or red, right or wrong, Chinese or Finnish (I'm obligated to mention minorities in every post now...yeah I know right?....thanks Obama)

I guess where I'm at with I just don't care. I love the series, I love the settings, I love the adventures, and the music, and at the end of the day Ubisoft is giving me what I want as a gamer and I just don't feel entitled enough to ask for "more" when I barely know what that would be. I actually asked angry fans what they wanted, and MOST of them said they didn't want a buggy game. Beyond that, they couldn't articulate how they wanted the series to change or evolve, instead they're just tired of it, which is something I understand, but it's not something that ever happens to me. If they made Mega Man 1 million I'd be the first in line to buy it. What? I love Mega Man dammit!

The point at which I start actively hating a company is when they actively stop making video games I find fun, or selling me a broken game that they refuse to fix, and so far Ubisoft has yet to do that.

*Is it in yet?*

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Holy DLC Batman!

Something weird happened in gaming news this past week that has me completely befuddled, flabbergasted even. A bunch of gaming news outlets like IGN, Gamespot, Yahoo (if they count) commenting on the press release they got from Warner Brothers about the newest Batman game having a $40 season pass. So, immediately my first reaction to this news is, ok yep nothing new here...mooooove along. But then...something happened. The titles of these articles were of outrage! $40 Batman DLC! Nonsense! Blasphemy! Outrageous! MUUURRRDDERRR!!

Ok, I went a little overboard there on the last reaction. But the message was clear from gaming news sites. They weren't going to stand for $40 Batman DLC! Solidarity with gamers! I guess...? Wait...I thought we all liked DLC...Didn't we? I wrote a very unpopular blog years ago that was rebutting a post made by the head guy at CTRL ALT DEL who was defending DLC and how great it is for gaming etc. And his opinion was reflecting the voice of gamers at the time, most agreed with him that DLC was fantastic. Getting more content out of a game you love? Great! Pay for it.

That's not the aspect of the argument I disagreed with however. What I hated was the practice I was seeing where developers were clearly done with certain things they were charging separately for like maps in CoD (especially "retro" maps that they've already done for previous games), or characters in fighting games that were already ON THE  DISC WHEN WE BOUGHT THE GAME (Capcom SFxT). I went through a diatribe about the shoddy practices of DLC, and lamented at days of yore when a game was sold to me for $50 that it was done and that the full experience was thus rendered to me as intended. Instead the full experience is now segmented behind pay walls that were otherwise unknown to me upon purchase. Now, it's just expected to see something like a Season Pass like what we see here with Batman.

Except, though, now suddenly gaming news sites are angry. Why? We've dealt with the $50 CoD Season Map pass for well over 6 or 7 years now, Borderlands had its $50 season passes all over the place. Bethesda would split its DLC into $10 or $20 increments with the expected Game of the Year edition to be released less than a year later for $60...which is what normal gamers paid for the game without that extra content initially....So it comes as a complete shock to me, utterly surprising that suddenly my complaints about DLC are being reverberated by gaming news sites. But why now? It's awkward timing isn't it? The whole gamergate thing has finally died down, many sites changed their policies as a result, lots of people were fired, the backlash was felt, and made waves.

Are these sites suddenly being more receptive to their audience now being against these anti-consumer practices like this DLC crap? That's my only guess why they're doing this, because otherwise it's entirely hypocritical to have never brought it up before this. This has been going on for years after all with plenty of other developers doing it openly and freely and the only real backlash I ever saw to it was against Capcom for Street Fighter X Tekken when we found their DLC on the disc we already bought. Somehow Bungie got away with it when people found their DLC on the disc of Destiny and posted videos of it though. No one complained about that.

The inconsistency of all of this is what pisses me off though. So far they've been fine with Activision, and EA shoving $50 map packs at them, but SUDDENLY Warner Brothers has the gall to charge $40 for a season pass and everyone flips their shit. I don't get it, I can only speculate, and that's essentially the point of this rant. I'm just looking for some consistency here, that's all. Will this be a trend though? We'll see...a new Call of Duty comes out in November after all. Then there's god knows what DLC going to be attached to the new Star Wars Battlefront.

Will they complain about it, or will it get a pass like usual? Who knows. They're probably getting paid off by them and Warner Brothers forgot to cut the checks for this one most likely. 

*Gamers keep whining and I keep whining about them whining*

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Why I Don't Care about Amiibo's

Nintendo are a smart bunch aren't they? A bit slow sometimes though...especially when it comes to change that's forced on them, rather than change they can control like the smart phone situation. Amiibos are a result of Nintendo looking at Skylanders and saying, hey...we can do that! Amazing that it's taken them this long to come up with it, though it's not like they haven't dabbled in this sort of idea before with their Card Reader attempts. Clearly though, people like tiny statues more than a pack of cards that unlocks otherwise useless game additions as not to alienate people like me that don't want a tiny statue so I can re-skin Kirby in his game or whatever. I don't buy skin packs in games for 99 cents, why would I spend $13 dollars to do it?

That's the short of why I couldn't care less about Amiibos. The long of it is a bit more nuanced, and much more personal than practical than my short reason. I'm not writing this to convince anyone, by all means please go out and enjoy your tiny statues, it doesn't affect me in the slightest. Frankly, I'd prefer people did buy them so Nintendo can keep making my favorite games. 
 So...wait why am I writing this? I guess I hate fads, especially bad ones. I also consider myself a gamer who sees the funds he has in increments of "games." For instance, 5 Amiibos is the value of 1 AAA game. 3 of them is worth more than half of a game. Putting myself in my own shoes standing in front of a store shelf littered with tiny statues of Mario, and Super Mario 3D World and not wanting to leave the store spending more than $60 the choice is clear as day to me, and any other choice is baffling to borderline offensive to my senses. Clearly, I am choosing to get the Mario game. In the game Mario can do so many more things than take up desk space, that alone trumps the uses a tiny statue can provide me.

Obviously, taking the game centric view that I have about it that I do, the conclusion to buy a game is always the choice and the only choice and not everyone is like that, which again is why I am perfectly fine with people buying Amiibos if they want them. Though, the other layer to this is the fad craze that rubs me completely the wrong way. Nintendo is doing what Nintendo does and making the Amiibos in limited quantities to drive up demand. I can't blame them for this successful tactic, and I won't, but they have been...well...way too successful at it this time. These Amiibos have become another Beanie Babies as many have noted. The thing that irks me most though, is this time we KNOW what they're doing and people are still buying into it like moths to the flame. When the Beanie Baby craze happened there wasn't the internet telling us we're all stupid, we just had Fox News bringing that revelation and after they did that, the Beanie Baby madness stopped. Instead, these Amiibos were PREDICTED to do this to people, and it's still being written about on other gaming websites as it happens. People are being straight up informed their stupid lizard brains are being manipulated into buying these silly things and yet, they're still all the rage. I'm not sure whether I should be annoyed by the very effective marketing that's taken place here, or the collective masses who are most likely going to have buyers remorse years later much like the Beanie Baby collectors did.  

But, I don't really care about them and I'm pretty sure they don't want me to care about them while they enjoy their tiny statues, I'll use my money on things I want. That's how the market works after all, but I can't help notice the sheer amount of manipulation going on here to get people to think they want something they otherwise wouldn't want. It's the pet rock scenario shaped like a cute little Pikachu or Mario...god dammit they are cute aren't they...NO no...must regain control, yes...ahem where was I? Yes, so the point of all this blather I guess is to serve as a bit of a warning. As someone with a marketing degree, who's seen this all before, really ask yourself if what you want are tiny statues, or if you are being told you want tiny statues. If you don't really care either way, that's fine too, ignorance can indeed be blissful as they say, there's no actual harm here after all. Unless of course these things are a massive terrorist brainwashing plot conceived by Nintendo to rule us all! Think about it...follow the money...etc etc

*Nintendo: Allah Akbar!*

Final Fantasy Type 0 Review - Do You Hear the People Sing?

Final Fantasy Type 0 is not an ordinary Final Fantasy game of recent years, because this game is actually good, a big departure from the last 10 years of FF games. It still has some flaws, some kinks it needs to work out, but overall it is pretty good fun. You also have to tone down your expectations a bit as this was originally a PSP game, so graphically it's not the best. But let's go over this one a bit. Also, you should be checking out my stream as I played the whole thing on Twitch =)


As mentioned the graphics aren't great, it's a PSP game blown up and retextured quite a bit to make it even remotely viewable. This isn't your ordinary HD release though, you can tell they put a lot of work into making the game workable for the big screen. There's only so much you can do though, and its hardware origins shine through with jaggies abound. It's perfectly tolerable though, and the frame rate never dips unlike the FF15 demo that came with the game which runs at a consistent 15FPS...Still, there's nothing here to impress graphically speaking except of course, some of the jaw dropping cutscenes that are done in CG.

Story (spoilers): 

There's not much to say on this game's story unfortunately, and mostly I have a negative opinion of it, however the game does contain some of the best scenes I've seen in recent Final Fantasy memory. There are three scenes in particular that bring a bevy of emotions in the beginning, middle, and end of the game. They are so powerful, and so moving that they make the otherwise completely boring plot tolerable. The ending of this game is probably my second favorite FF ending ever just behind FF9. Again, that's not to say the story was good though sadly.

It mainly revolves around Class Zero a group of students who have been tasked with stopping one of the three kingdoms from gathering all 4 Crystals to take over the world. It's told very dryly, with some very basic politics, and weirdly your own commander hiring one of your group to spy on the person that gave your team power.

No one's actions besides the evil empire kingdom makes any sense at all. Namely, the two characters you meet at the start of the game Rem and Machina who are essentially the main characters of the game. They join Class Zero to fight the good fight. Machina is tasked with spying on Class Zero (even though he's told this later as some kind of "revelation" to him (how the hell did he forget?). Machina never really seems to care about this, and this plot NEVER goes anywhere meaningful either. His main concern is to protect Rem at all costs who is dying from what appears to be a minor cough...., and he gets...well decidedly evil while trying to do so. Think Anakin Skywalker going Dark Side to learn how to be powerful enough to stop people from dying. Anyway, so Machina is hateful toward Class Zero even though they try to help him, he's just VERY mean overall and later becomes a l'Ce in hopes of gaining enough power to save Rem. This, again, never really goes anywhere. He ends up FIGHTING against Rem and stabbing and killing her at the end...which he then cries about....after HIS mask comes I guess his mask made it so he couldn't see who he was stabbing? It's very unclear and another point against characters performing actions that don't fall in line with their character or just don't make any sense at all.

Anyway, he turns Crystal as l'Ce sometimes are want to do and that ends up saving Rem after they come out of Crystal stasis like...a few hours later. That's when the ending starts, and I'm not going to give it away, the game does that for you leading up to the final battle anyway, but I cannot recommend seeing it enough. It's very well done and the whole thing reminds me of Les Miserables if you've ever seen that play. Class Zero are the Students, they just are, 100% the same feeling. It's quite good.

I will point out one other aspect to the story I thought was a missed opportunity. Machina was clearly made out to be a villain, yet Class Zero never confronts him, you never fight him. Yet we really should have, it was a huge missed opportunity.


This was the most solid aspect of the game. The gameplay is very basic yet very deep. All 12 characters from Class Zero have a special way to play, they are ALL very different and fun. Everyone gets skills that suit their class type, Trey can rain arrows with his bow, Cinque can use her mace to cause an Earthquake, King shoots stuff with guns...etc. You'll find use for each of their unique move-sets throughout the game. Or you could play the way I did and discover Ace is good for every situation and wrecks everything in his path. The game is decidedly too easy if you over level any of the characters. Also, don't worry about over leveling for the final area all the enemies are level 16 for some reason...and you'll likely be in the high 30's by the end.

This brings me to the biggest complaint I have about the game. The end boss is effectively a QTE battle. It's not...really QTE....but you can't die, yet at the same time you're supposed to die. It makes sense for the story but as a gameplay element it makes no sense why you don't have a real fight at the end. If you play it you'll understand. There's literally no reason they couldn't have made this a legitimate battle. So yeah, this game falls prey to horrible boss sequences newer games seem to be doing these days for no reason at all. From Dying Light, to Far Cry 4, and Shadow of Mordor, developers have no interest in making final bosses anymore, even if they've made perfectly serviceable bosses earlier in the game. So it's not like they're incapable of making good boss fights, it's just that...they don't want to? Lazyness, budget concerns, I dunno why this trend continues but it's getting on my last nerve.


Amazing, get this soundtrack, one of the best FF has produced in years. It's that good.

Final Thoughts:

Type-0 is in unorthodox game with its mission structure, strange time limit system between missions where each thing you choose chops off a certain number of hours leading you to "mission day," and paradoxically a terrible cast of characters surrounded by absurdly well directed scenes that make you want to care about them ever so slightly. This is the closest we've moved forward in the FF series since the dark ages of 12 and the 13 series to having something feel 'epic' again and filled with emotional value where the characters are invested as much as the player again. Kudos to them on this game overall. It's steps in the right direction, not leaps and bounds, but, certainly, it's good enough.

*FF's good enough*

Friday, February 20, 2015

What's Wrong With Destiny

A while back I wrote an article about how much I was enjoying Destiny and having a blast with it. Well, rose tinted glasses aside jump to...what 4 months later, and I couldn't hate the game more now...There's several reasons for this, but most of them have to do with how much Destiny has changed and what it's "evolved" into and in some cases what it's refusing to do.

Every so often Bungie will release a new update to the game, something that gets me excited and interested in the game again. Then they'll shit all over it by changing something else that I did like about it. To really understand where I'm at with this game we'll have to look over the history of it briefly.

Destiny has done some things right and some things wrong from the get go. The gun-play has always been good, and the multi-player competitive modes have always been pretty fun too. You could play the game solo, in a group, or do the competitive modes and have a blast and get the gear you needed, though it is arguably slower in multi-player to find the gear you needed. You could even farm a cave of infinitely respawning enemies for gear too. This wasn't just some random gear either, you were going for the legendaries, to have the best stuff available like in any game of this type. It was rewarding and fun, though super grindy but not unexpectedly so. You would also level up your gear by getting items found in the world, and you'd break down other items for those components too. It was simple, and easy and wasn't too ridiculous to do.

Jump to today....and it's a fucking mess. Philosophically speaking, the game gave players a choice initially like I outlined, letting you choose to play with a team or solo doing competitive modes, etc. However, the way that gear is obtained now the best items must be acquired through the Raids, which wasn't the case when the game first came out. This means grinding anything other than the Raids is pointless. Which, isn't a terrible thing, except that this game doesn't have match making. Bungie has stated many times they'll never add match making to the Raids because they feel you have to coordinate too closely with people and doing this with strangers wouldn't be any fun. They are, entirely full of shit however. Who just has 5 other friends lying around with nothing better to do than to romp around some online game for 4 hours on a Tuesday night? Maybe it's because I'm nearly 30 years old and most of my friends have moved to new States, or have kids now that this bugs me. It would be impossible for me to find 5 friends with the same schedule as me to get these raids done. That's why EVERY other game you can think of has match making. And Bungie is either arrogant or entirely stupid to think that people aren't just gathering random ass people on Gamefaqs or their own forums for teams. So instead of providing a sensible service like match making, they're making players do all the work for them. I find this to be either incredibly lazy, or incredibly ignorant, and in both cases it's not amusing to me.

I've been playing Diablo 3 for the past week and, honestly, it has only highlighted even more why Destiny is such a fucking failure. First of all, to find the items I need in Diablo 3 to make my character build work I don't have to have a team at all. I can play all the content Diablo 3 offers solo if I choose to. But it's built as a party game right? Of course it is, just like Destiny is supposed to be, except the major difference is I can join any game I want in Diablo 3 without signing into the Diablo 3 forums and begging to be on someone's team to fucking do it. You know what you have to do in Diablo 3? You click "join," and then you start playing.

Then the fanboys defend Bungie by repeating their rhetoric, "oh, it would be really annoying to play the Raids if a few people in the team suck and can't beat it." You know how Diablo 3 solves that very problem? A vote system to kick the player out. It works EVERY time without fail. If someone isn't pulling their weight, you kick them, it's done, and a new guy joins within seconds.

Why I'm SO incredibly pissed about this is because the game has "evolved" into forcing players to play the Raids if they want the best gear, or even SERVICEABLE gear now, or EVEN to get to the MAX LEVEL mind you. Which is utterly retarded. You know how I get to the max level in ANY game not named Destiny? I kill shit until I'm there. Done. I wouldn't be this incredibly upset if they kept Destiny's philosophy the way they intended. I would have no trouble playing their competitive multi-player and just saying screw off to the Raids and Weekly's. But no, you can't do that now. The competitive multi-player component nets you complete SHIT in terms of gear now. It's incredibly useless outside of just being fun. But for character progression? No, fuck that you have to do the Raids.

Outside of flat out hating the Raids in general for being butt-fuckingly horribly designed and boring, you can only do them ONCE a week anyway. What kind of grinding is this? If I want gear and I'm willing to play for it why am I being forced to pause the game every week? WHY? What kind of grind game is this? Diablo 3 doesn't make me pause the game for a week, I play it whenever I want to like any sensible game.

Defenders of the Raids saying how great they are need to seriously wake the fuck up too. Just because the Raids are different than the dreadfully repetitive shit you've been doing for 200 hours previous, does not automatically make the Raids well designed. Well...they suck, they honestly suck. Take the first Raid as an example. The first part is a mindless section where your team has to hold the area to make a door open. To be fair, this is the least offensive moment the Raid has to offer in terms of being horribly designed. The next section has us fighting off a bunch of singing...robot things...and if they sing too much your team gets cursed and obliterated if you don't walk into a circle of cleansing...that the enemy has provided for you in their home base apparently. This isn't such a bad concept but it goes on...and on...for like an hour. Then you fight a boss where 1 guy has to break his shield with a special weapon that once again the enemies provided for you (nice guys they are). This is a pretty fun fight actually, I have no complaints here. Then the game forces you into a stealth segment...the worst designed stealth segment in gaming history. Forget that this game isn't even designed to have stealth in it, and games that are designed with stealth in mind are usually pretty bad at it too, and you have yourself a shitty slow walk down a few hallways that makes me want to sniff used baby diapers for a half hour than EVER have to do this again. Next we have a large plat forming section which again is embarrassingly badly designed. Destiny is not a Mario game and it shouldn't pretend to try either, it just embarrass itself. Then there's the final boss...which when I played it was so fucking bugged you could push him off the ledge. Or you could have done it the fun way and encountered more lovely bugs like the portals not fucking working and causing your whole team to wipe because everyone got through but you and now you're blind and stuck on the other side....

YEAH...this is what Destiny fans call "fun." I call this a big fucking headache and I want nothing to do with it. Even if I did, I don't have the will power it takes to post on Gamefaqs for a squad to start one of these damn things. This is one of those commitments that would have to be started in a drunken stupor where I forget my own moral code and accidentally click a "join" button in the game....THANKFULLY Destiny doesn't have one of those! Far be it for a "social experience" to have a button labeled "join" right?

I hadn't intended focusing so much of this diatribe on the Raids, but honestly, that's Destiny now. You either Raid or you don't play the game because there's no other reason to play it. I'm just so pissed today because Bungie announced match making for the Weekly, and I got all excited and then they reiterated they're not adding match making for the Nightfall or Raids still. So like, wtf? That's like giving a starving man an apple seed while you walk away with a bag full of fully edible apples. Fuck off Bungie, seriously...

*Social Game Destiny....minus all those terrible social things in games like a decent chat system or match making. Enjoy!*

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Opinions Can Be Stupid

I learned something interesting today about the modern gamer, or at the very least one person in particular I had a debate with online. I have always held the belief that all opinions are valid as they are opinions but I'm struggling to find validation in one I heard earlier today. Someone had posted a comment that Sonic has been bad since Sonic Adventure because of the story, strictly because of the story mind you. For anyone who has been a gamer for more than a year of their life I would believe could point out how hilariously ridiculous this opinion is. Sonic has never been about story, he's been about game play and it's pretty clear. Sonic, like Mario became famous on well tuned game play and defined himself by being the faster edgier version of Mario. That's all we knew about Sonic really. He fought a guy who builds robots who...I guess was taking over the world? I dunno, it wasn't very clear but there in lies the entire point. We played those games because they were fun, not to learn some deeper meaning about golden rings or deformed flying foxes.

I don't need to beat this point into submission, it's fairly self evident if you're a gamer. If you aren't I'll set you aside and explain it to you better, lol. But the purpose of this blog is to ascertain whether this opinion is objectively stupid or not. The argument against it is simple enough. He could be a fairly young gamer who started out playing Sonic Adventure which had...some semblance of a plot I guess and he played it strictly for that reason. This is somewhat understandable given how terribly Adventure played (though still better than some of his more recent games), and yet I still can't help but call this opinion completely stupid.

If we just look at gaming in general we can see that it's a medium where the interaction between player and software is paramount. From the get go game play is king regardless of opinion, the very medium itself is about this. Games have indeed become more complex as we've grown and there are some that are more about the story than the game play such as Final Fantasy. But is Sonic one such game? Is the narrative so deep and compelling we can argue that's the reason we should play them? I've never met an individual that would argue this point until today. Frankly, if the story was so compelling why did it take nearly a decade to learn what the lead villain's real name was, Eggman or Robotnick?

Can we still argue that this person really does want to play Sonic for the plot? I mean, that is his opinion after all. But then we have to ask obvious questions. Should I be playing Devil May Cry for the platforming, should I be playing Tetris for its amazing AI, should I be playing Far Cry to improve my map reading skills? I think there can be a "wrong" reason for playing a game, and this would be one of those cases. If I were playing Devil May Cry for its platforming I would be ROUTINELY disappointed, but who's fault would that be? Would it be my fault for expecting great Mario-like platforming, or the game's fault for me not recognizing the game is about slashing demons? I think it's pretty clear, again. But maybe I have my blinders on? Let me know if I'm just crazy on this issue.