E3: Three Games I’m Hyped For

This is the first year I really paid any sort of attention to E3. Usually I have a vague idea whats slated to come out for the end of the year holiday season and maybe a few titles in between, but I’ve never been able to get hyped for a game years in advance.

I’m also not into sitting down and watching a press conference so I poured over a list of games “revealed” at each conference. I’m not sure how this thing usually goes,I’ve heard this years E3 has been lack luster, but I found a few games I’ll be looking forward to for the next year and a half.

 

Monster Hunter World

I had to reread the list to make sure I was still scrolling down the Sony reveals on this one. I’ve been waiting to play Monster Hunter on something other than a handheld since Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii.

My first experience of a Monster Hunter game was on the PSP with Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, and to be honest I hated every minute of it. The camera was awful and you couldn’t lock on to anything. I don’t remember why I decided to give it another chance on the Wii but I fell in love with it. I must have put hundreds of hours into it over a few summer breaks. Then came the 3DS releases which was a system seller for me even before Pokemon.

While the 3DS were great I always wanted the franchise to come back to the big screen. The PS4 has some offerings in the same vein as Monster Hunter, namely God Eater and the Toukiden series. But neither of them quite as exciting as Monster Hunter. Ya I know I could have bought a Wii U for Monster Hunter 3 but there wasn’t anything else for that system that I wanted to play.

Either way the trailer looks slick, the graphics got a much needed update, and if this turns out to be as good as the last few handheld games I can see my friends and I putting in long hours hunting.

 

Marvel’s Spider-Man

My favorite super hero game of all time is Spider-Man 2 which I played on the Gamecube. It was my first open world game, one of the first games I ever beat without a guide. And one of the first games I’ve taken the time to hunt down all the collectibles.

We’ve known for a while that Sony had a Spider-Man game coming out for a while now and I enjoyed the new trailer for it. There are a lot of criticisms about it having so many quick time events but I didn’t think it detracted from the game that much. If anything it added a more cinematic feel to the whole thing.

The one concern I have with it is the stealthy looking game play in the beginning. It looked very much like the Arkham games which I’m in the middle of playing through. While that style of play works for Batman, Spider-Man has never  been a stealthy hero to me. He’s more of a flashy, I’m going to make fun of you while beating you up, kind of hero and I didn’t see a lot of that in the trailer.

Regardless of how it turns out I’ll probably pick it up at some point. The swinging and wall running look to fun to pass up even if its full of quick time events and stealth missions.

 

Anthem

Let me start out by saying this game looks awesome. It’s got sci-fi Iron Man suits, it’s got squad based combat, and it’s apparently got RPG-like progression. It’s Bioware’s Very Pretty Destiny and Oh You Can Have A Jet Pack Too.

But I know how these things go and while all of it looks and sounds great when it’s first announced theres always that thought in the back of my mind that says, how are they going to screw this up. This looks like the poster child for the hype trains next wreck. But I’m hopeful and out of all the games I’ll be following the news on this one closely if only to temper my expectations for how insanely awesome this looks like its going to be.

 

January Recap/February Goals

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On the FFXIV front:

January Recap

  • After about 9 months and 300 hours later I’ve finally gotten myself through ARR. It’s not that I didn’t like the content or the story but I couldn’t decide what class I wanted to play, I had to try them all and after I found one I really liked and leveled to 50 I’d find another I  liked and start the process over. I really got to know all the ARR dungeons well after leveling a White Mage, a Bard, a Dragoon, and a Ninja to 50 before I completed the Main Scenario.

February Goals

  • Finishing the 2.XX content and getting into Heavensward: Its only been 3 months since I installed Heavensward, it’s about time I actually get to play it.
  • Level Monk to 42: I keep seeing that Mantra is a good cross class skill for a lot of dps classes.While I’m not particularly loving the pugilist right now it is fun to punch things and I’ll be using my Leveling Roulettes on this.

On the Backlog Front:

January:

  • I finished 3 games this month which is more than I’ve finished in a while. I now have Final Fantasy 1, Azkend 2: The World Beneath, and Risk of Rain under my belt.

February Goals

  • Finish a Steam game: I’ve been playing a lot of games on my PS4 and PS Vita but my steam backlog needs some love. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue with my steam games organized by game length or not but there are some games on the sidebar that I’d like to play so I’ll probably pick one of those.
  • Start Final Fantasy 2

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: 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?

PS Vita the Impulse Buy of the Year

I don’t buy new electronic things often. When I do it usually takes me a month or so to research, weigh the options, look for deals, read the tea leaves, do a rain dance, that sort of thing. It’s a process, usually.

Two weeks ago I started looking into the PS Vita. Why, you may ask. Why would you want to buy a 5 year old handheld gaming device that was abandoned by Sony and has more games cancelled than a baseball team during hurricane season? The short answer is JRPGs. The long answer is, SO many JRPGs. It’s the first time that I’ve wanted a console not for upcoming games but for it’s backlog. While the Vita itself has a lot of games and more still coming out, it also boasts a huge collection of PSone games and PSP game. Not to mention it has all of the final fantasy’s from 1-10 in some form or another and I’ve never played any of them. But after playing Omega Quintet (it was $3 ok?) with Jay over the PS4’s share play, I’ve been reminded of how much I love JRPGs.

Vitas are surprisingly hard to find in good condition in my area and apparently in most of North America. Gamestop doesn’t sell them, the local game store down the street sells some that look like they’ve been chewed on by a family pet, come to think of it I don’t know when the last time was I even saw a Vita game for sale anywhere. I had to go to the mystical department store in the cloud known as Amazon to find the thing. Unless I wanted to import it from Japan with 3 week shipping that probably costs more than the device itself, I had two options. The first, a Certified Refurbished model (whatever that means) for $130 or for an extra $30 I could get a brand new  in the box one. New things are shinier and who doesn’t like shiny things right? Still they seem kind of expensive for a  5 year old piece of tech.

Now here’s the real kicker with the Vita, the memory card. Ah yes, I haven’t had to buy a memory card since I owned a Gamecube and honestly I forgot they existed. The new model comes with 1 gig of memory,  I haven’t seen a physical Vita game for sale in years so all of my games would be digital purchases. Here’s the kicker though, the Vita’s SD cards are proprietary so you have to buy Sony’s special snowflake of a memory card and these things aren’t cheap. A 16 gig card costs about $50 which is insane considering you can get a regular 32 gig SD card for around $15. No wonder no one wanted to buy this thing.

But I did. After only a week of researching and reading about it a few simple clicks and it was on it’s way from some warehouse in the middle of Pennsylvania. It was probably on a high shelf in the way back for a few years. I swear I saw dust fly when I opened the box.

I’ve always been a fan of handheld gaming. The first video game system I ever owned was a game boy advance and I took that thing every where. Consoles are great, and PCs are great but sometimes you just want to not stare at a giant screen in your living room and stare at a tiny screen in your hands. I have a 3ds,mostly bought for Monster Hunter and Pokemon. Other than that I haven’t had a lot of interest in its other titles, though thanks to the local library I’ve been exploring some. I had a PSP for a few years, and it was probably my favorite system of all time. Sadly I traded it in for the 3DS,  seemed like a good decision at the time.

I’ve had it for about a week now and I’m really glad I bought it. I picked up Final Fantasy Origins which includes Final Fantasy 1 & 2. I’m having a blast playing through the first one, there’s just something oddly addicting about it’s old school game play. The screen is nice and big and nothing looks too stretched out so far, which is one problem I have with the 3DSXL. Also it remote plays with the PS4 which I’m excited about. I’ve been testing a few different games and while the L2 and R2 triggers are usually mapped to the rear touch pad, most of my PS4 games play great on it. The other perk is I get even more out of my PS Plus subscription though this month and last month netted me 2 visual novels/ male dating sims…but what the hell it could be fun.

You know what plays surprisingly well via remote play? Final Fantasy 14. You would think the lag would be horrible considering its streaming video and inputs to and from an online game but it’s not that bad.When there is some input lag it’s not horrible and it rarely happens as long as I’m playing in my house. But for running some quests or completing the hunting log, it’s great and I can already tell it’s going to be awesome for crafting and gathering when I get back into that.  Of course, I won’t be running dungeons with the Vita, that seems inconsiderate to other people.

FFXIV-I Want to Be an Interior Designer

With the drop of patch 3.4 in Final Fantasy 14 came the addition of apartments and aquariums. Since I still haven’t gotten past the 2.XX content there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot else to be excited by in this patch for the time being. Unfortunately I can’t even do that. While I do have 1 character at 50 I’m nowhere near the Grand Company Rank to be able to purchase an apartment.

Now I understand why this is the way it is. Once again there are a limited amount of these things to go around so might as well make people work to get them so they’re not all gobbled up quickly. To be honest I haven’t ever been that interested in player housing in MMO’s in the past, I guess I just had other things to do. However, I love player housing in single player games, I played a lot of animal crossing as a kid. But it intrigues me now in FFXIV, especially when a lot of craft-able items are pieces of furniture that I previously had no use for. As for aquariums, it gives me even more of an excuse to spend my time fishing, for some reason I love fishing in game. The list of fish that can be placed is kind of small but there’s always room for improvement.

I guess this will give me another thing to work towards while I continue to level my Dragoon to 50. I’m sure it won’t be that bad, I just hope they’re not all gone by the time I can get one. Though from what it sounds like, if I’m reading the patch notes right, there should be plenty to go around.

 

 

 

The Hunt is Afoot

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For a while I’ve been craving a hunting game. Not a Cabala’s Big Game hunter sort of game but a Monster hunting sort of game. I’ve really enjoyed the Monster Hunter series on the 3DS for a few years I bought the last 2 installments but when Monster Hunter Generations  came out just a few months ago, I wasn’t all that interested in buying it.

Don’t get me wrong, Monster Hunter is awesome, It was the reason I played the Wii so long and the only game I bought the 3DS for. What other game has you go around killing giant monsters, carving them up wearing their skin, making weapons out of their body parts, and beating up other monsters with them to repeat the cycle. I love the idea behind the games like crafting new and powerful weapons and every fight being a boss fight. But the 3DS just isn’t that great of a device to play a game like this on. The screen is really small, even the 3DS XL feels claustrophobic after a while. For a game that requires you to put in at least 15- 20 minutes per fight, playing on a small screen for a long time can get tire some. So I started looking to see if there were any of these types of games for the PS4.

I turns out that there are actually quite a few of these types of games. Unfortunately most of them are on the PSP or the PS VIta. That’s when I stumbled upon the God Eater Series. I’ve seen God Eater 2 Rage Burst (ah I love JRPG titles) on the PlayStation store for a couple of weeks and decided to watch the trailer out of boredom this weekend. It was exactly what I was looking for, monster hunter-like game on the PS4.

I’m not the type of person to run out of my house and go get a game on a whim without a little research. Apparently if I bought the physical day 1 edition of the game I would get the first game, God Eater Resurrection, as well.t seemed like a really good deal 2 games for $60, so I drove down to the local Gamestop and picked it up. I’m actually glad I got the physical edition the case art looks so cool!

Right now I’m about 3 hours into God Eater Resurrection and loving every minute of it. It’s really scratching that hunting itch. I’ll write more about it once I’m further into the game.