Sampling the Borderlands

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For the better part of 2 weeks the only games on my gaming menu have been Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre Sequel. For better or for worse I’ve been bouncing between all three games depending on which one of my friends are on to play. I played Borderlands when no one was around, I played Borderlands 2 when Jay was around, and I’ve just started a play through of the Pre Sequel with Jay and CC.

I wasn’t interested in Borderlands when it first came out in 2009 on the account that I was really into the Nintendo Wii at the time and didn’t like the FPS genre all that much. I remember my friends in high school were eagerly awaiting it’s release. I didn’t even really know what it was until a few years later when I started playing it with Jay. By the time I played it with him he had played it 7 times over and new where do go and what to do andd ended up dragging me through the game. We kept restarting to play new characters and I don’t think we ever got farther than the second boss.

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Fast forward to a few days ago when I decided to fire up the PC version of Borderlands I got from one steam sale or another. The game is brutal I spent more time at the revive station than actually shooting some times. By myself there’s no other focus for the enemies so I’m the one absorbing every bit of damage. It was still fun though if not challenging. It was the first time I actually paid any attention to the story and it turns out I wasn’t missing out on that much. As fun as it was I’ve made it to level 15 where we had stopped in the past and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to finish it.

I bought the Handsome Jack Collection to play with Jay about a year and a half ago and we still haven’t beaten it. Borderlands 2 is much like Diablo 3 where I get in a mood to play it and then it becomes my main game for a few weeks until I get bored. So every few months or so we’d pick it back up and get a lot of story done and some DLC and then we’d stop.

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It’s always been a struggle to get myself psyched to play it that first time after a long break because the co op game play is a lot of fun but the story is kinda boring even with a great cast of characters. And after a few hours the dialogue gets overdone. I love spoofs, puns, and pop culture references in games but when its all of that 24/7 it gets a little tiring.

With that being said me and Jay are currently working through BL2’s DLC Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragons Keep and it’s fantastic. I especially enjoyed a quest line spoofing Dark Souls and the whole setting of being in a tabletop game. In fact both the DLC’s that we’ve played through have been much more interesting than the rest of the game.

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Now we’ve just started the story in the Pre-sequel and it’s nothing new in terms of story telling or game play. But the Pre-Sequel, despite the story outshines the other 2 in terms of co op for one reason. I can be ClapTrap who is simultaneously the trolliest and most supportive character all in one. I can dish out tons of helpful buffs and abilities to my allies one moment and then turn us all into bouncing rubber ducks the next moment. Much to the chagrin of my friends. Since the game is set on the moon there’s very little air and apparently there’s a mechanic my friends keep talking about where they have to fill up their air canisters every now and then or they die….but I don’t really know because as a robot I don’t need air.

So after this intensive few weeks of the crash course to the Borderlands series I can say that its much more fun to play with friends than alone, the story is nothing to write home about, but the game play and co op is top notch. Your always one drop away from a gun that will change your entire play style or make you super overpowered for your level.

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Matching Colors and Slining Arrows

I always forget that PS Plus gives me access to games every month and isn’t just payment to play online with my friends. Sure, I get excited and look at what’s coming next month to PS Plus and then I forget all about it. I end up remembering to add games to the library right before the next ones come out.. On the PS4 all you have to do is go to the PS Plus tab and hit “Add to Library” and the games are there for as long as PS Plus is active. They don’t even get downloaded to the console so it’s easy to forget about them As I result I haven’t actually played most of these games.

Since I’ve had the Vita I’ve grabbed a few games but they’ve stayed untouched as well. This weekend I saw that there were 4 Vita games this month and decided to try them out for once.

The Swindle

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This is a procedural generated rouge-lite stealth game. Scotland yard is about to developed a machine that will put an end to thievery in 100 days. Your goal as the leader of a band of burglars is to steal as much money as you can before the 100 days are up and hopefully destroy the machine all together. All of this with the steampunk setting and TONS of robots.

Each heist eats up one day even if you fail. If you fail you lose all the money you’ve collected in the level and you have to start over with a new thief. So far I haven’t noticed any differences in the thieves but I’ve only played the first 15 days or so. There are upgrades like the ability to hack computers, set bombs to blast through walls, and increase the difficulty for more money.

I like it so far and would like to try a full go of all 100 days at some point. The only real problem I have with the game is that some times there are rooms that are impossibe to get into or out of if you don’t have the right upgrade. This leads to having to cut ites with your employee and abandon them in a highly guarded warehouse and forfeit a day.

Azkend 2

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This game was my favorite out of the batch which I wasn’t expecting. It’s a match the colors game that utilizes the touch screen of the Vita. It plays a lot like a mobile game and it has a story mode and a few challenge modes.

This game took me by suprise. I fired it up not knowing what it was, saw it was a match the colors type of game and thought well I’ll try a level or two. 3 hours later I completed it and still wanted to play more.

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There are a variety of game modes that have you match as many of the same colored tile together as possible for different effects. One game mode has you match tiles near fog to get rid of it, one game mode has you match tiles near bugs to damage and squash them, and the classic mode has you match colors to turn all the tiles on the board over. The story starts off with a ship being pulled into a whirlpool and the woman on board discovers another world deep below the surface of the ocean. Every chapter has a few puzzles to complete to gather pieces of a tool that the MC needs to move forward. Each of these tools also becomes a power up for you to use later on.

After each chapter there is a scene depicted and you have to find specific details in the scene to get a bonus for the next chapter. Some of these were frustrating because a scene would be mostly grays and browns and it would want you to find a specific gray blob in the image but on some of the more colorful scenes this was a fun mini game.

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I’ve always liked puzzle games and matching games so I shouldn’t be surprised that I like this game so much. I think what threw me off was that this was for the Vita and not for my phone. It’s also on PS4 so I was curious to see what it had to offer. It was a solid game play experience from beginning to end and while some of the levels were challenging, nothing was impossible after experimenting with different power ups and passive skills. The story was even pretty good and the background art was awesome.

Titan Souls

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This is a streamlined rage factory. It’s in the same vein as Dark Souls and Furi where the extreme difficulty is part of the fun. Your tasked with taking down a whole temple full of bosses with your trusty arrow. Yes, just one. You can shoot the arrow and pull it back to you. If you’re touched by the boss it’s lights out and you can go back to the start and try again. Over and over again.

I didn’t care for this game. I got passed the first boss and tried the next 2 but I didn’t see any amount of fun to be had in the future. Especially since the area you start back at is just far enough away from the boss doors to make it annoying. It may also have been the control scheme on the Vita that I didn’t like and I’ll have to try it out on the PS4 to see if it’s any better. For now I can say this was my least favorite this month.

Day of the Tentacle

While I didn’t get around to trying this one out I’ve heard really good things about it and will have to make time this coming weekend to try it out.

 

 

Backlogged: Final Fantasy

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The story is relatively simple. Four warriors of light appear in the Kingdom of Coneria each holding a darkened orb. After meeting the the king sends them on a quest to rescue his daughter from the castle next door. Here the warriors fight Garland, an evil night, and save the princess. Once they return with her the king is inspired to build a bridge and the warriors of light go on their merry way. After roughing up some pirates and stealing their ship they go on a bunch of fetch quests until they learn about uniting the crystals to save the world.

After collecting all the crystals and defeating the big bad boss monster, my time with the first installment of Final Fantasy has come to an end. What can I say about such a classic game? I’m still not really sure I had fun playing this or if the curiosity of how games used to be got me through this.

There were parts I genuinely enjoyed. The first couple of areas were fun and scratched an itch for a really simple turn based combat game. I liked the first quest where the four heroes had to save a princess from Garland. The few adventures we had along the way were also really fun. Without a map I was stumbling around the wilderness just praying my heroes could survive until we saw town again. It probably took a lot of extra time but I think that was the best experience I had with this game

Some of the dungeons are tough as nails. I didn’t think an 8-bit rpg could give me so much anxiety. In Grugu Volcano after I defeated the boss my party was in bad shape. the white mage was dead we were down to our last precious health potions. As the party made its way back to the entrance the monk and the red mage were picked off. Enemies only hit my warrior for 1 damage each turn and he had a lot of health as long as he wasn’t poisoned. 3 squares from the exit a pack of adders spawned which poisoned the warrior and then destroyed his remaining health. That was an hour of playtime gone. It was disheartening but nothing a little grinding couldn’t solve.

It was around the 10 hour mark that my interest/enjoyment started to wane. It was right around the time I actually decided to follow a map. It’s frustrating when you don’t know where your going or who the last NPC was that had some useful information. The story became not so entertaining as I was flying from point to point on the map wondering  when I would run into the next crystal.

Around the 15 hour mark I was bored but it looked like I was almost to the final location so I buckled down and pulled up a walk through for the final dungeon. Even with a decently leveled party and full inventory of items I barely made it through on the first try. The walk through explained a lot like that the healing staff could be used as an item to lightly heal the whole group.

It also gave me a map of the dungeon which would not have been fun to figure out on my own. I know it’s an end game dungeon but there are so many dead ends. This final dungeon has you face all of the previous bosses and then the big bad horribleness. I almost lost this fight. By the time I got there even with the walk through I was out of my 99 healing potions and my white mage was on his last leg. What surprised me was that he only had one form which my master and his fists of overpoweredness were able to dispatch easily.

Was it fun? Yes, for a little while but it got old after the first 3rd. My total play time was 20hrs I felt like I got my moneys worth out of this one though. It was interesting to play through a game that is one of the pillars of classic RPGs. It wasn’t as basic as I thought it would be. I was surprised that I got to form my own party in the beginning. On top of that,I could pick different classes too. It really made me miss tool tips, item descriptions, and quest journals a lot.

Since I got the Origins edition for the PS Vita I also own Final Fantasy 2. I’ve heard some terrible, awful, horrendous things about FF2 and it’s weird leveling system. I’m excited to try it out. How bad could it really be?

 

 

Backlogged: Titanfall 2

 

Titanfall™ 2_20161201103021The last time I thought to myself “you know what I need in my life right now, a multiplayer fps” was in 2007 when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare came out. Well after a 9 year hiatus I decided I needed a new shooter in my gaming rotation. Enter Titanfall 2.

OK maybe it hasn’t been that long, I played a lot of Destiny’s multiplayer, I played Battlefield 4 for a while and I did get Rainbow Six Siege at the beginning of the year. Destiny was always kind of a side thing when I was bored of the PVE, I didn’t really play Battlefield 4 all that much, and my time with Rainbow Six Siege was mostly spent in the Player versus AI Terrorist Hunt. I will admit this was kind of an impulse buy. I wanted something with quick matches and I wanted to shoot things with Mechs. Plus, who’s game would capture the feel of Modern Warfare better than Respawn, the guys who made Modern Warfare.

It came out on the heels of Battlefield 1 like just a few days after. Kind of a weird plan releasing right after one of the most anticipated shooters of the year but it looks like its doing OK. I really hadn’t heard much about it before release. but afterward the internet was hailing the campaign as one of the best in years and praising the multiplayer for fixing the problems the last game had. The internet was also full of “lol this game will die in 6 months gg scrubs” predicting the fall off of players that plagued the first game.

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The campaign took me around 10 hours to beat. I’ve never been great at shooters even against AI so I died a whole lot even though I was playing the easier difficulty. The story is pretty forgettable, as in I beat this 3 weeks ago and faintly remember what its about. It’s story of a generic solider turned elite Mech Pilot who has to stop the bad guys from using a weapon to destroy the world. To Jack some credit, he was training to be a Pilot before the battle that wiped out most of the landing party. His mentor, the Pilot of the lovable Titan BT-7427 doesn’t make it and gives Jack the reins to BT seeing as he’s the only one still alive there isn’t much of a choice.  BT is your typical computer AI that takes everything too literally but he’s endearing and I never got tired of hearing him talk. The banter between BT and Jack is great.

So you may be wondering, if the story was meh why has the campaign been getting all this praise. Well, it’s the levels, the levels are really unique and I haven’t played anything like them. Each level comes with a mix of shooting things, stretching your platforming muscles, wall running, and using BT to shoot even more things.My favorite two are the factory level with all of its platforming goodness and the time travel level which adds something wholly unique to Titanfall 2.

One of the best things about the campaign is collecting all of the Titan Kits as you progress. These correspond with the Titan load outs in multiplayer so you can get a feel for each Titan before diving in. It’s also really fun to switch load outs on a whim in the campaign. One titan not working for the particular boss fight? Switch to a different one. Since theirs not cool down penalties for switching in the middle of a fight you can pull off some interesting combinations. Too bad you can’t do this in multiplayer.

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Speaking of multiplayer, Titanfall 2 has an interesting take on it. I didn’t play or follow the first one so when I jumped in to Attrition, the main game mode, I was  surprised to find AI enemies as well as other players. This really helps less than talented players, like me, contribute. They may not give as many points as an enemy player but they stand still long enough to shoot. Later in the match they seem to gain the ability to aim and do plenty of damage where they can almost kill you which just adds to the fun. At that point you most likely have your titan and are ripping through them anyways. The movement is really well done and it constantly makes you feel like an elite solider wall running and sliding around the battle field. There are constantly those moments of “whoa did you see what they just did”.  From my experience, even if your at the bottom of the score board you’re still getting your titan pretty often in battle which is nice because I don’t feel like I’m missing out on part of the game because I’m not doing well.

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All in all, I’m happy with my purchase. The campaign was short but fun and the multiplayer is fun even if your bad at shooters. The multiplayer definitely has that one more round feel and the matches are short enough that you can’t get too mad about losing. I’ve been playing for a few weeks and learning and improving has been the main hook. But that level up bar is always fun to watch fill up at the end of the match. Who doesn’t love a good level up bar?

Welcome to Final Fantasy, Three of your Party Members are Probably Already Dead

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As much as I love playing Final Fantasy 14, I’ve never actually played any of the other Final Fantasy’s. Final Fantasy 7 in particular is one of those games I’ve never played but everyone I talk to has much like Zelda games. So Now that I have the means to play every Final Fantasy in one way or another I’ve decided I’d like to see what all the fuss is about. So naturally, instead of just starting with Final Fantasy 7, I started at the original Final Fantasy. I bought the Final Fantasy Origins edition for the PS one which comes with Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy 2 which upgrades both games graphics and audio but not much else.

So here’s the story of Final Fantasy. You have a group of legendary warriors and you have to go find the 4 crystals and save the world. It’s pretty simple, there’s not much too it but the thing that surprised me is that the first 10 or so hours didn’t have me searching fro crystals. Instead I was saving princesses, waking up elf kings, fighting vampires, and exploring castles. It’s rewarding to complete a task and a little bit more of the world or the story is revealed to you. Nothing is all that complex, combat is simple turn based combat without any gimmicky mechanics or timers. Just Monster and Man lining up and politely taking turns wailing on each other. There’s no complex crafting or stats everything is straight forward.

But simple doesn’t mean it’s not fun or stressful. There’s nothing like the stress of trying to get back to town to heal or out of a dungeon before your entire party is wiped out. At one point when I was in the Terra Cave I had just gotten the earth crystal after beating the boss. I had to walk back up the 5 floors of the dungeon to get outside to save in my tent. I had gone in with 100 potions and by the time I was done with the boss I had about 30 left. I began my accent to the surface slowly burning through my potions. I had to escape most of the battles, my team was being picked off one by one. I was on the last floor, only my warrior was left with 40 health to spare, most enemies hit for 1 or 2 points on him so I figured I was safe. It had been a grueling hour and a half from my last save. My heart was pounding, I was just 3 steps away from the exit. That’s when I the battle screen started and I was faced with 3 heavy hitting enemies. I tried to escape only to be hit with a devastating 20 point hit which left me poisoned and with 10 health left. At the beginning of my turn the poison took me out. The game over screen appeared and I was thrown back to the title screen, back to my save from an hour and a half ago.

I’ve died lost in forests circling around and around looking for town as my party is picked off. I’ve walked into castles and had every party member petrified on the first turn also leading to a game over. I’v had pary members one shotted during boss battles and die of poison when I ran out of antidotes. It’s not a friendly game at all and while these deaths don’t happen often when they do it’s when you haven’t saved in a while and think everything is going pretty well.

I’m 18 hours in and about halfway through. I have gotten the Earth Crystal and Fire Crystal and have two more to go. I got my hands on a map from the NES version and realized I skipped entire areas and am currently back tracking to the ice cave where I’m hoping the Ice crystal lives. The map is so incredibly helpful I wish I had it at the beginning.

October Goals

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Whoa it’s already October? September just flew by but that’s ok, October is one of my favorite times of the year. I can’t get enough of Halloween decorations, pumpkin spice things, and apple cider The weather get’s crisp, the hoodies come out, and the leaves start to finally change color. I can’t wait for haunted houses, horror movie marathons, and of course Halloween events in MMOs.

This month y goals list is a little shorter. After completing only 2 out of 7 last month it was time to trim down and look at what I might be able to accomplish this time around.

Final Fantasy 14 Goals

Level Dragoon to 50

Move into an Apartment

Backlog Goals

Complete a full run in One Way Heroics

Beat Final Fantasy 1

Other Goals

Read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Carve a Pumpkin!

 

 

September Goals in Reveiw

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Wow, I got nothing done this month game wise. Like at all. I’m not surprised thought I knew this was going to be a busy month of things in the outside world. I did do a few things I set out to do this month and decided to drop some all together.

FInal Fantasy 14 Goals

✓ Get Dragoon Soul Crystal: Hey I’m a dragoon now and it’s been a hell of a lot of fun poking mobs with sticks for the past couple levels

Get Monk Soul Crystal: Maybe I’ll come back to this some day but I just wasn’t feeling the game play of the pugilist and I’m guessing it doesn’t change a whole lot for Monk.

✓ Decide between Playing monk or Dragoon: Ladies, Gentlemen, this is the final rose tonight. I choose to give it too..Dragoon. Dragoon will be advancing in levels and hopefully getting into Heavensward one day,.

Complete the 2.XX content and get into Heavensward: Hahahahaha….I’m not even close.

Backlog Goals

Defeat the fourth boss in Furi: I think I’m done with this game, it was a lot of fun while it lasted but I’m just not into it anymore.

Get to the next system in No Man’s Sky: You know, the last time I picked up No Man’s Sky was 3 days after it’s release ad for some reason I still don’t regret the purchase.

Complete Unepic: What started out as a great game with a lot of RPG references turned into a mediocre game with too many RPG references. I’m shelving this one fr now and going back to my list of games on deck.