Backlogged: The Fall

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Time to Finish: 3.5 hours

I’ve had The Fall recommended to me many times over the years. It’s the kind of sci-fi story I like with philosophical questions, a lot of atmosphere, and robots. Who doesn’t like a good story about robots?

I picked this up a week or two ago when the Indie MegaBooth sale was going on. For the low price of $2 I got a short little game with a solid story. It’s a point and click adventure game with some light combat elements.

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Things I Liked:

Story: The game follows A.R.I.D an AI onboard a military-grade combat suit. After falling from who knows where and landing on an unknown planet, Arid wakes up with the sole purpose of protecting its pilot. We later find out that Arid has crashed on a domestic robot manufacturing facility and anything deemed faulty is disassembled. To get to the medical bay Arid must pass eight tests designed for domestic AI as a military AI.

Arid: It’s a cool idea to have the player be an AI controlling a suite with an unconscious human inside. As an AI, Arid has a set of directives it must follow: Must not misrepresent reality, must be obedient, must protect the active pilot. Arid does all of these things but in a “creative” way. There are a lot of systems locked behind “organic operator approval” but these can be unlocked if Arid finds a way to make them necessary to protect the pilot. Things like getting shot at by a turret to unlock the camouflage system. Technically needed because the pilot’s life was at risk but it’s also a contradiction to put the pilot at risk to protect the pilot. This game is full of interesting decisions made by Arid to achieve its objective.

The Domestic AI Tests: These tasks take up the middle of the game. In order to leave the facility, Arid has to be marked as a domestic AI and in order to do that, it must pass eight tests. Things like cleaning, getting a baby to stop crying, walking an old woman across the street. Except Arid is a military AI so it goes about solving these problems in a “unique” way. I don’t want to give anything away here but if there is one reason to play this game it’s the creative ways Arid gets through these tests.

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Things That Could Have Been Better:

The Controls: First and foremost this is a point and click adventure game. There are a lot of items to interact with and places to put them. But you can only see these when your pistol and flashlight are out. Eventually, you get a laser sight for your pistol to make it easier to aim. You lose the ability to see the interaction points when the laser site is out so I found myself constantly switching between modes which I found slightly frustrating. Also, while interacting with objects you have to select the X in the middle to get out of the interaction menu. But if you forget that and hit the escape button instead it doesn’t do anything. Which is fine, until you leave the interaction menu the correct way and the main menu opens…this was really the most irksome thing about the controls for me.

Combat:  It’s playable, it does its job, but it’s not great. You can take cover and fire your weapon. It all seems a bit clunky but luckily you don’t have to engage in combat often. I wouldn’t let the combat dissuade anyone from playing the game.

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Other Things of Note:

This is part of a trilogy. This game came out in 2014, its sequel The Fall Part 2: Unbound came out in 2018. The third game is not out yet and I couldn’t find any information on its development.

With that said, this feels like a complete game. It has an ending that feels final and feels like it could continue at the same time. Some episodic games have a tendency to leave cliff hangers to get you on board for the next one. I would rather have a complete story with room for more. The Fall does this very well. I could never play the other game and feel like I got the whole story.

The puzzles could be challenging at times but I got through them without looking at a guide!

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Backlogged: Tales of Berseria

Time to Finish: 49 hours

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This is the second 40+ hour RPG I’ve beaten this year. I can’t tell you the last time I put 2 of these away so quickly, relatively speaking. I think the last long RPG I played before Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning earlier this year was Tales of Zesteria in 2018.

Tales of Berseria is the prequel to Tales of Zesteria. Besides being set in the same world, a few character cameos, and one re-occurring character, you wouldn’t know it. Tales of Berseria is it’s own game even if you didn’t play Zestiria. That said, I’m glad I played Zestiria first because the little references here and there were fantastic.

Things I Liked:

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The Story: The story is long. It involves a lot of characters. It has so many moving parts. It’s engaging but it’s not overly complex. The main thread is that Velvet’s brother was sacrificed to a god by her sister’s husband, Arthur, to “save” the world. Velvet got turned into a demon and Arthur became the Sheperd, the savior of the world.  Velvet’s single motivation throughout the game is to kill Arthur to avenge her brother. Along the way she meets a cast of characters with their own goals that line up in a way that helps her reach her goal.

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The Skits: Everything in Tales of Berseria is voice acted and its voice acted well. There are optional “skits” that pop up everywhere. The skits are usually banter between the party or an event that serves nothing more than a bit of fluff. But these skits are what I like most about Berseria.  I get to know the characters better through these inane conversations and it never feels like a waste of time. There’s also voiced NPC conversations that do nothing more than provide a little flavor to the world. I stopped to listen to each one and I never regretted it.

The Characters: In the beginning, I liked the characters but I didn’t think they were as good as the cast of Tales of Zestiria. As I got further into the game I started to like them more. By the end of the game, I genuinely will miss spending time with these characters. Which is exactly how I felt at the end of Zestiria.

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The Combat: In Zestiria, the attacks were on the face buttons of the controller and on the D-Pad meaning you could have 16 attacks on each face button depending on which directional button you pressed. Tales of Berseria has attacks mapped to the face buttons which leaves you with 4 per button. It’s simpler and some might say that’s a bad thing. I found it easier to remember combos and which attacks were coming next. I enjoyed it more because I had a better grasp of what I was doing and I wasn’t just mashing buttons and hoping I was hitting the right attacks.

 

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Things That Could Have Been Better:

The Mastery System: The first time I tried to start this game I completely missed how this system worked. This second time around I actually read the tutorial and its not your typical RPG armor system. Each piece of equipment has a mastery bar. When filled it gives a permanent stat to that character. If multiple characters can wear that piece of armor then each character has to master it. This leads to a ton of swapping armor around characters for the stats and also leaves you equipping much lower level gear for the stats. I felt like I was constantly having to equip weaker items and that just didn’t make sense to me. Even at the end of the game, I was picking up items that were worse than what I was wearing. The final dungeon I equipped everything with the highest stats and disregarded the mastery system.

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Some Interesting Statistics:

There are these titles you can unlock when certain requirements are met and some of the requirements provide some interesting stats I’ve never seen before.

Skits Viewed: 361 – I watched as many of these as I could I knew there were a lot but that was a much higher number than I would have guessed.

Total Encounters: 750 – This is the number of times I was in combat. First of all, how great is it that it’s a nice even number. Second, that’s a much lower number than I would have guessed.

Battle Time: 405 minutes – Out of 49 hours I was in combat for 7 of them. Each battle lasting around 1.5 minutes

Menu Time: 265 minutes – This is the one stat I’ve never seen before nor gave much thought to. Out of 49 hours of gameplay, I was in the menu for 4 and a half hours. I wonder how much of the time I spend in the menus of other games…

Here’s the kicker if you add up the battle time and menu time you see just how much of this game is watching cutscenes and running around. 11 hours of the 49 hours were spent in battle and making decisions in the menu. That leaves 38 hours of cutscenes and world exploration. I can tell you I definitely spent far more time in cutscenes than running around. And I’m ok with that. It gave this game feel very much like binging a good TV show.

 

Backlogged: Epistory -Typing Chronicles

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Time to Finish: 7 hours

I didn’t learn to type until the year after I graduated from college. I had a job that required a lot of data entry and it was frustrating relying on the ole’ hunt and peck method. It turns out, typing wasn’t actually a hard skill to pick up I just never put in the time. It would have been so helpful in college, especially since I majored in history, so much time would have been saved on papers. Oh well.

This might be weird but I find typing oddly…relaxing. So when I found a game that relied solely on typing I wanted to try it out. I had played this before for about 2 hours. As always, I thought I had gotten farther but my original profile was only on chapter 2 so I decided to start over from the beginning.

Overall, Epistory is a solid game with a fun mechanic. If it taught me anything it’s that I’m good at typing 3-4 letter words and anything more trips up my fingers!

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Things I liked:

The Narration: As you progress in Epistory, the narator will often pop in to give you some story tidbits. Combined with the visuals, this makes it feel like your playing a pop-up storybook. It’s a really neat effect.

Typing Combat: It’s like stressful Mavis Beacon software but in a good way. The monsters spawn with a list of words above their heads. To defeat them you have to type all the words. You end up with four abilities: Fire, Ice, Spark, and Wind that all do different things to the monsters. Fire will burn the next word in the list for that monster making it easier to kill them. Spark will jump to bugs and erase the next word on their lists. Ice will freeze the monster and wind will knock them back. Where it gets really fun is the nests where your stationery and have to fight multiple waves of enemies before you can progress.

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Exploration: It’s just fun to run around the zones and find the collectibles and new areas. While it’s still a fairly streamlined experience there are a lot of chests that require a bit of exploration to get. I didn’t end up getting all the collectibles in my playthrough but went out of my way to find most of them. It would be a much shorter game if you just went from dungeon to dungeon without looking around a bit.

The Arena: There’s an arena mode where your just fighting waves of enemies for a high score. If you find that you enjoyed the game and want more this is the perfect mode,

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Things that could have been better:

The Story: While the narration makes it feel like a storybook the story itself feels jumbled. It could be because there’s a lot of time in between the narration that I just forgot what happened last time. It didn’t bother me too much though. I figured a jumbled story fits a game that focuses on typing random words very well. I will admit, I didn’t see the ending coming.

The Controls: The movement keys are E,F,I,J. It’s so that your fingers rest on the home keys and you have an easier time typing quickly. It took me half the game to finally understand how to move in this new way. It wasn’t until I finished the game that I read switching the movement keys to ESDF would have the same exact effect!

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Backlogged: Little Nightmares

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Time to Finish: 3 hours

That’s right, 3 in a row finished!

To be fair here, I only had about an hour of Little Nightmares left from my previous attempt to finish the game. I’m not sure why I stopped, I probably got stuck in a room and never went back. I’m horribly impatient with things like challenging puzzles that are not retally apparent…I do give things the ole’ college try but there’s a point where I no longer feel bad for looking something up. That goes double for a game I’ve taken a 4-month break from and straight-up forgot some of the mechanics!

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Things I liked:

The Setting: It’s both creepy yet wondrous. It reminds me a lot of the movie Coraline. It also has the same kinds of themes as well, like how growing up can be scary especially when we come across things we don’t understand. But where Coraline is definitely on the more whimsical side, it’s a kids movie after all, Little Nightmares sides with the creepy. And I do love creepy

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The Lighting: This goes right along with the setting but I feel it is its own thing.  There’s some really great contrast between light and darkness that creates a fantastic atmosphere for a horror/suspense game. It also leads to some fantastic screenshots.

The Sounds: Little Nightmares not only puts you on edge with its stealth mechanics and chase scenes but also the sounds of the game. Traiser Studios somehow found a way to make the sounds of washing the dishes not only scary but actually revolting. How about this: Do you want to listen to the lovely sounds of people scarfing down food as fast as they can? You can get that here!

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Things that could have been better:

The controls: I both loved and hated the control scheme at times. If you’re going to play this on PC I would highly recommend a controller. I have no idea how it plays with a keyboard and mouse but the controls on my PS4 controller felt really good. I especially liked how the right trigger was for grabbing objects and if you needed to hold onto an object you needed to hold down the trigger. It leads to a lot of intense moments of do I hold onto the key and make a run for the door or drop it and climb this pile of books to hide from the monster. But it also leads to times where I was trying to climb under a table and ended up pulling on it and getting captured.

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Things that didn’t fit in a nice category but were also not things I wish I knew sooner:

  • I liked this game but I didn’t love it. I didn’t get to the end and say “Wow I want more of that” So I’m going to be passing on the DLC.
  • I found myself looking up a video after trying everything I could think of. Usually, the solution was something I probably wouldn’t have thought of anyways. I completely forgot you could throw objects which lead to some frustration in a seemingly locked bathroom.
  • I still hear chewing noises when I close my eyes…thanks for that Little Nightmares.

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Backlogged: Old Man’s Journey

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Time to Finish: 103 minutes

A short post for a short game.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this. I don’t even know how this game ended up in my library. Which probably means it’s from a humble bundle of some kind. From the screenshots, it looks like some sort of point and click adventure game. But when I actually go into the game, it was more of a puzzle game, and one with a surprisingly sad story.

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Things I liked:

The Length: This is not a long game and it doesn’t need to be. I found the length to be a huge bonus for the fact that I could finish this in one sitting. I was engrossed the whole time, solving puzzles to lead this man further on his journey and get a few more bits of his life story..

The Artwork: This is a beautiful game and since there are is no dialogue the visuals have to carry the story. When the story starts off everything is bright and colorful. As the story takes darker turns, the world becomes bleak and rainy.

The Sound: The soundtrack was great and each piece fit right into the scenes. I also enjoyed the sound of the sunken ships underwater when you moved them. They were oddly soothing noises.

The Puzzle Difficulty: They might be on the easier side for some but I found them to be just the right difficulty. They weren’t so easy that I solved it quickly every time but they weren’t so hard that I felt like I needed a guide to figure them out.

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Things that could have been better:

The Controls: This one’s kind of nit picky but the controls bothered me at times. I know this is available on the App Store and Google Play store and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a mobile game first. Dragging the hills around seemed like it would have been better with touch controls over a mouse. I constantly found myself grabbing the wrong path. But it didn’t hinder the game too much. I’m glad I played this on PC because the colors are amazing on my monitor.

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Backlogged: To The Moon

To the Moon

Time to Finish: 3 hours

I went into To the Moon with very little knowledge. You see, I pride myself on my uncanny ability to avoid spoilers aka I know when to stop reading things…So the only thing I knew going into this game was that it was an RPG Maker game and it was about two people going into a dying man’s memory.  A lot of the times I find myself interested in games, movies, and books solely for the ideas they possess and not so much the story. So I’m kind of surprised I’ve been sitting on this game since 2015. Traveling memories is such an interesting idea to me and I’d say the game does a great job exploring some of the nuances of that.

Things I Liked:

The Story: There isn’t a whole lot of gameplay here so the story has to be on point which it definitely is. The story was nothing like what I thought it was going to be. I had heard this game pulls on your emotional strings and I can, in fact, confirm the story is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. There are sad scenes, mixed happy scenes, and the two main characters provide some much needed comic relief when things start to get too depressing. Some times the dialog can seem a bit out of place, like random Dr Who references and some poorly executed jokes, but for the most part, I thought it was really well written.

The Gameplay: One of the things I hate in point and click games is when the gameplay gets in the way of the story. I would rather get to the next scene or story beat than hunt around for 20 minutes trying to solve some puzzle. There isn’t too much gameplay here and honestly, I’m totally ok with that.  Every scene has you hunting around for memory fragments to jump to another memory and solve a light puzzle in order to jump.

The Music: I still find myself humming the theme to this game…Sure, it may be a bit repetitive but the music fits each scene perfectly.

Things that could have been better:

RPG Maker Engine: I know I’m not the only one who has Steam filter out RPG Maker games. Most of the time they’re stock asset games that probably shouldn’t be sold. In fact, To the Moon is the only RPG Maker game I’ve heard of that’s worth playing. I’ve played around with RPG maker in the past and it’s fun for little personal projects and as a learning tool but probably shouldn’t be used as a production engine.

Display Size: Thanks to RPG Maker this game can be played in Full screen or in a 640 x 480 window. Both leave a little to be desired as windowed is too small and full screen leaves things looking a bit stretched.

Screenshots: As you may have noticed, this post lacks screenshots. That’s because RPG Maker doesn’t support screenshots through Steam. I didn’t realize this was something i cared about until I spent a good 15 minutes trying to figure out why my F12 key wasn’t doing anything except pausing the game

Things I wish I knew sooner:

  • You can swap between windowed and full screen by hitting alt+enter
  • If you want to take a screenshot, use the Print Screen key and paste it into a program like MS Paint.
  • There’s a sequel that doesn’t get mentioned as often.
  • The story really is that good!

 

Have you played To the Moon? Love it, hate it, want to play it? Let me know!

Backlogged: Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning

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Time to beat: 52 hours and 55 minutes (Main Story and as many side quests as I could find.)

Now you might look at this and say I disliked more things than I liked and objectively that’s true from the list below. However, I really enjoyed my time in Amalur. The story, the little lore spread throughout, and the fully voiced characters helped tremendously to convey an interesting story in an interesting world. The combat got stale towards the end but I think that was because I choose to go full sorcery. When I play through the DLC’s I’ll be respecing to try out the other class trees. A lot of the time you’ll see this game brought up when people are looking for single-player games that feel like MMOs. I’d agree with that there are enough fetch quests and kill 10 whatever quests to qualify. But there’s also an expansive open world with a lot of little secrets and cool locations to find.

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Things I liked:

The World: The world of Amalur features a number of interesting locations. My favorites being the cities of Ysa and Rathir, the Gallows Tree in the Midden, and Nyralim the oldest living mortal who happens to be a giant tree.

 

The Lore: I went out of my way to learn about Amalur. I went through dozens of conversation options with hundreds of NPC’s and quest givers. I read all the books I could find and found all of the Lorestones in the zone for added stories.

 

The Side Quests: Kingdoms of Amalur shines with its storytelling. My favorite series of quests were the Faction Quests for The House of Ballads and The Scholia Arcana. Both were interesting and complete stories in their own right that outshined the main story. My favorite side quest included helping a local Nobel fake his own death by dueling a war hero and then shipping him off the continent. Only at the last minute his mother showed up and paid me to ship him to the war front instead!

 

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Things that could have been better:

The Loot: By the time I went to Klurikon and until the end of the game I didn’t find anything better to equip than what I had. The last 10 or so hours of the game I kept the same armor and weapons. It got to a point where I just stopped picking up loot and opening boxes. There were far fewer styles of armor and weapons in this game than I thought there’d be. It leads to a lot of items being stat upgrades but looking exactly the same as the thing you just unequipped. Even the purple named weapons which had a variety of flavor text ended up looking like common weapons.

 

The Combat: The combat starts out strong with a good mix of dodging and a fairly quick time to kill. As the game progresses and you’re given more skills and more armor dodging doesn’t do much except ensuring you can get your skill off. Halfway through the only thing that could damage me was a big creature, by the end of the game even the bosses had a hard time denting my health bar. I played on normal difficulty and perhaps the sorcery tree is a bit overpowered. At the end of the game, I cast 2 AoE spells that pretty much killed everything in one or 2 hits. I had stacked enough spell cost reduction that the only spell that cost me anything to cast was Heal because it relied on a percentage of my MP instead of a set number.

 

The Dungeons: The gameplay loop of KOA is getting a quest, going into a dungeon, kill whatever is in there, then get another quest. It’s all well and good until the dungeons start looking the same and don’t have any unique items at the end of them. The worst is when they don’t have an exit at the end of them and you have to run all the way back to the beginning of the dungeon.

 

The Housing/ Mining Operation/ Investment Banking?: By the time I finished Amalur I had 4 or 5 houses with maxed out facilities. Unfortunately, I never had any reason to visit them. There’s a mining operation in Detyer that you end up taking over and will net you profit over time. After I finished the main story I went back to the mine and was rewarded with 4k gold. Considering I have about 1.5 million on me it’s not a ton. You can have a Gnome invest for you in Adessa…it’s something I’ve never encountered in a fantasy RPG so I’ll give KOA credit for that.

 

Crafting: Crafting doesn’t seem worth the effort. I invested heavily in sagecrafting to make gems to augment my weapons but I didn’t use it much. Maybe blacksmithing is better but I didn’t see the point in making weapons when there were so many lying around

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Things I wished I knew sooner:

  • Tasks are repeatable quests and ususally can’t be completed so they stick around on your quest list slowly driving you crazy as you complete everything else. I’m looking at you “Gathering Flames”.
  • The Fateweavers can reset your abilitie points, destinies, and skill points for very little money. This would have been nice to know sooner as I spent a lot of skill points on sagecrafting which I didn’t end up using.
  • Fast Travel is your friend and it is a time saver for all the back and forth fetch quests you’ll be doing.
  • Max Detect Hidden as soon as you can. You’ll find hidden doors and chests, enemies will show up on the mini map, and the final point will show you the location of Lorestones on the map. I didn’t realize any of this until about 30 hours into the game.
  • The end of the main story is worth getting too even if the game loses a bit of it’s magic in Klurikon
  • The PC version of this game is full of bugs. But they’re the kind that make you laugh not the kind that breaks your game.

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Backlogged: Pokemon Shield

This is a rare event indeed. Not only did I buy Pokemon Shield but I played it all the way through with very little breaks. Yes, my dear friends, I have become the Pokemon Champion of the Galar region in just a few week’s time!

This year (or rather last year) my wife and I got each other a Switch for Christmas. You see my wife only likes to play “cute” games and who has cuter games than Nintendo? No one that’s who. I, on the other hand, wanted a pokemon machine. Ok, and a play indie games on my couch instead of at my desk machine. Not nearly as catchy of a title though.

Ever since I played Pokemon Blue on my cousins’ couch at 9 years old I’ve been hooked on Pokemon. I was a child of the late 90s and early 2000s so I didn’t stand a chance from avoiding the Pokemon hype train. Those were some prime Pokemon years. It was everywhere and every kid in elementary school was watching the show, trading the cards, playing the games. Oh, and of course there were the spin-offs. Remember Pokemon pinball? Pokemon the Trading Card Game The Game? And who could forget Pokemon Snap?

But you know, as great as it was to pretend to be Ash I always wanted to play Pokemon on my TV. Even in the old days with 2d sprites and 8 bit music I always the experience would be enhanced if I could just play it on my TV. Also not having to change batteries and having to find a light source you had to angle just right to see the Gameboy screen would have also been a plus. Man handheld gaming was hardback in the day.

Then there was Pokemon Stadium for the N64 and that really gave me a taste of what I wanted. But that wasn’t enough for me, oh no, I wanted a mainline Pokemon game on my TV. You know what I got instead?

  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Pokemon Colosseum
  • Pokemon XD
  • Pokemon Battle Revolution

Sadly, I’ve had to wait 19 years for a pokemon adventure I could play on my TV. And you know what? It was worth the wait!

To tell you the truth, I had fallen out of love with Pokemon games ever since finishing Pokemon Y. Pokemon y was the first time I experienced 3d pokemon battles in a mainline Pokemon game. That alone had me hooked until the end. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire did not inspire the same level of excitement. Neither did Sun and Moon. I’ve bought these games but I lost interest about 2 hours in.

Things I Liked:

I think that break helped to make this Pokemon installment that much better. I was constantly discovering Pokemon that I’d never seen before only to find that they were a generation or two old. I only found one pokemon from this newest generation I wasn’t a fan of (Carkol I mean it’s a cart full of coal with eyes…) but I thought the rest were solid additions. My favorite by far was Centiscorch which had a place on my team ever since I found her. Oh and can we please talk about Sirfetch’d. This pokemon right here is the reason I have to berate my friends with Sword to trade with me.

The graphics worked for me. I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t 3DS pokemon blown up to TV size. I had no issues with the way the pokemon looked or their animations. It all made me feel like I was in a season of Pokemon ripped from straight from 90s TV.

The length of the game was perfect for me. I completed it in just over 21 hours and througholy enjoyed my whole time with it. I haven’t done the post game story yet but I’ll get to it eventually. I never was into the endgame of pokemon. Grinding EVs to battle online and looking for shiny’s never did it for me.

The way the story was presented as a tournament was a nice change of pace. I liked the way the “Elite 4” of this game were just the same Gym Leaders with stronger pokemon. At the same time, I did miss not having the Elite 4 to take on at the end.

Showing which moves are effective against the type of pokemon your facing.  I lost track of strengths and weaknesses in like…Gen 3. So this was a welcome addition. Of course, you have to fight the pokemon once to have this show up.

Character customization. Tacking on dress up to a pokemon game was not something I knew I wanted until I had it.

Things I Didn’t Like:

The difficulty: I don’t expect a lot of challenges from a Pokemon game but I expect to have some close calls and need to level a little bit. I tore straight through Shield without doing any leveling and was always a good 10 to 15 levels ahead. I lost once at the end of the tournament to the Champion. That was the only time I had a total party wipe. Though this could be because I wasn’t cheap this time around and spent money on potions and status restorers

I could take or leave Dynamaxing. While it was cool the first few times, after a while, it was just kinda there. Oh that gym leaders on their last pokemon? They’re gonna Dynamax and we’ll have to finish the match with the big pokemon. It was hilarious to Dynamax Inteleon. He’s already tall and when he’s Dynamaxed most of the time I couldn’t see his head.

Other Stuff

The team I used to beat the Champion:

  • Inteleon – because I have to keep my starter always
  • Centiskorch – my favorite out of this gen
  • Heliolisk – because I’ve never used it before
  • Eternatus – Because I have to use the legendary even if it is basically a god. Props to the developers putting in a line about the strongest trainer using the strongest pokemon when you face the Champion.
  • Tyranitar – Found her at level 60 but she didn’t end up being that useful
  • Drifblim – Ended up being one of the staples of the team. His description in the Pokedex though  “It grabs people and Pokemon and carries them off somewhere. Where do they go? Nobody knows.”

On a side note, I didn’t realize the internet was all up in arms about this game until after I finished it. Mostly of the “they sold us an incomplete game” variety. Even more, so that DLC was announced. I felt this was a complete game even without 800 pokemon. 400 pokemon is plenty of variety for me.

On the side side note: This lack of screenshots brought to you by the Swtich being a pain to get screenshots out of without an SD card.

Backlogged: Borderlands 2

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Me and Jay have been playing Borderlands 2 on and off for 5 years. As of Saturday night, it took 5 years to beat our first playthrough.  In fact, it probably took more than that, I think we started a playthrough on PS3 before the PS4 version came out. Our playthrough predates this blog. I had just moved into my second ever apartment, and I was working like 3 jobs. 5 years later I’m married, I have an actual full-time job in a field with a career path, and I feel like I’m somewhat established as an adult.

When we beat it Saturday, we both breathed a big sigh of relief. It’s been on the back burner for so long, one of those games we said we’d play and then we don’t. In the beginning, we were on track. I bought it when it first came out and we played it almost nightly. At some point, we got sidetracked with DLC. I will say that I think Gearbox makes way better DLC than they do games. There is still a ton more DLC that we could have played but Saturday we were determined to get to the end.

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See, I like Borderlands as a whole. The looter shooter aspect is compelling and the dialog is off the wall, albeit sometimes kind of annoying. But I’ve felt like I’ve been held to it for too long. It’s always been nagging in the back of my mind when we decide what we want to play.  Most of the time, I didn’t want to play it because I don’t like shooters on PS4. I’ve never been good at aiming with a controller, it frustrates me. But the time was right to beat it now before Borderlands 3 comes out. And we are 100% getting it on PC.

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We were going to try and play through the DLC that ties 2 to 3 that came out in June. That is until we discovered it was no longer free. I’m trying to phase out purchasing games for ps4 so I wasn’t about to buy it.

All in all, I had fun with Borderlands 2. I would have liked it a lot better if I hadn’t spread it out so much. I would have liked it a lot better if it was on my preferred platform, but 5 years ago I didn’t have a capable PC. We had some good times with it over the years but ultimately, I’m just glad it’s finally over.

I am very much looking forward to Borderlands 3. I will be beating this game much quicker this time around.

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Backlogged: Oxenfree

 

Oxenfree 7_5_2019 10_18_33 AM.pngOxenfree was, uh, free a few weeks, maybe months now, ago on the Epic Games Store. Jay has been telling me for about 2 years now how good Oxenfree is. So I immediately picked it up and, in true fashion, didn’t play it for a month or two. He’s also the one who recommended SOMA to me and that is now one of my favorite games of all time. While Oxenfree doesn’t fall into the same caliber of the game for me, it was very good.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A group of teenagers go to a haunted island to drink and party. There they discover a mysterious cave and set off an event that has them being chased by an evil entity the rest of the night. There’s a mystery, time travel, and scary ghosts in the PA system! Yes, it’s a generic horror plot but Oxenfree’s biggest strength is it’s cast of characters.  Every line of dialog is voiced and the characters are written so well that I actually started to miss them after the credits rolled.

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Oxenfree isn’t a game as much as it’s an interactive story.  Like a TellTale game (RIP) with less quick time events. There aren’t a lot of choices to be made other than what the main character, Alex, will say next. It’s a very on-rails experience and while I’m sure I could have taken a slightly different route and had a slightly different experience I didn’t feel the need to replay it….until I went to go take screenshots for this post.

I completed the game in 2-weekend play sessions. In all, it took about 8 hours from start to finish. Like I said, I loved the cast of characters and the story had some fun twists and turns. Playing through Oxenfree felt like binge-watching a very good show, I just had to know what was going to happen next. The setting is a tourist island that seems to be closed for the season. The only full-time resident has recently died so you will end up in her house looking for answers. The characters manage to awaken some sort of ghost trapped in what appears to be a radio signal. Throughout the night this ghost possesses Alex’s friends as it tries to get back to the world of the living.

The visuals in Oxenfree are perfect for the story it’s trying to tell. Everything is lacking just a little bit of detail, it’s colorful, but also mostly covered in fog. I found that it set a great atmosphere for the whole story. I think if they were any more cartoony or realistic they wouldn’t have been nearly as effective. I also love that the loading screens show the polaroids that are taken in various parts of the game. These add a little more detail to the graphics and always feel like an intimate moment between the characters

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There is a bit gameplay in Oxenfree besides choosing dialog trees. Alex carries a radio with her that when tuned to certain frequencies can trigger events. Each zone on the map has some unique radio stations that are interesting to listen to, so it’s worth pulling it out when you enter a new area. Also, there are a few collectibles. I found a lot of them but I didn’t go out of my way to look for them all. I’d would recommend Oxenfree if you’re looking for a laid back game with a very good story.

 

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Alright back to the screenshot thing. See there’s a little detail I missed after the game returned to the screen. What I assumed was the new game button actually said “Continue Timeline?”. I needed screenshots so I went back in for some pictures and the opening scene was a little different than I remember. So I played on…for another few hours actually. I may need to go back and go through the whole story again and see what I can change the second time around.