Don't expect the Inquisition (We haven't done anything yet.)

It’s been a long day. The migration from Haven to Skyhold wore everybody out. Deciding to go deeper into the mountains was a huge oversight on everybody's part, as we’re all clearly underdressed. Now we have a little more than the common cold to worry about.

Cullen insists that we keep working to fortify our new home. I do not blame him, after our first run in with Cory I don’t think I could survive another attack with our group in this state. After a moments rest and a warm bowl of mushroom stew, I went up to Cullen to see if he needed some help.

I hope he didn’t notice.

~~~

There’s a lot of things that I’m not entirely sure about with the Inquisition. Well I mean... I know it’s purpose. An explosion causes a tear in the fade and all manner of demons pop out of it. So Cassandra gets a band of most-likely people together to stare a book down, enlisting the “Inquisition-rule” from the Dragon Age playbook (third edition).

I get all that. It’s all well and good, but what the hell am I doing being the leader? Starting the game as a prisoner to suddenly running the show seems absolutely insane! Turns out, the only reason why I’m head inquisitor is because these people can’t seem to shut up about Andraste. I’ve had to remind them how absurd it is, every single time they bring it up. Can they not see that my character is a Dalish Elf?

So this is the thing that bothers me a bit. There’s just so much to do that isn’t the main story, and I’ve already spent 20+ hours doing absolutely nothing. Perhaps Inquisition is too strong of a title, as I could have been perfectly fine playing “Errand-boy of Thedas.” Helping farmers, and grabbing minerals while closing rifts on the side.

We must Inquisit!

It just reminds me how the consensus for Dragon Age II wasn’t very good, it was vocally decided to be a bad game. And yet I keep looking at it feeling like it was a perfect balance. The only thing DAII was ever really guilty of was being a side story. A small compact game in terms of story (and assets), guiding you along through a narrative that just sits in the middle of Origins and Inquisition.

Regardless of what was thought of it, I played that game 3 times back-to-back because it flowed really well.

With Inquisition though, I just kind of look at the map and say to myself “I guess I’ll go over here or whatever. I’m too lazy to warp back to Skyloft and walk into the keep and walk into the war room and get distracted by all the little figurines.”

Another thing that I really appreciated about the second game, was that everything was more stylized. To put it to you this way. I usually take a liking to DA:O being the first movie in a franchise that didn’t want to worry about it’s costumes and makeup. Just wanted to create a really compelling story that will pull the audience in. Now that they have the audience, the franchise has a bit more money to spend on the costumes and makeup. So everything, though a bit more cartoony, looks really good. It now looks like a world fitting for the narrative.

Dragons

Inquisition feels like the franchise has decided to go back to the cheap costumes and makeup, and now everyone is looking really ugly again. I guess it’s just the “Realistic look” to the characters, that makes what they look like, and how they move, completely off-putting. (Someone from DAII LOOKS LIKE SUCH A MONSTER NOW.)

And what’s the deal with Orlais? Have those people always looked like 10 generations in the wrong direction? Are they really part of the same game?

I also feel like they’ve recycled character models from Mass Effect and just put ‘em in grubby clothes. I mean, of course they could really just take the art assets off human heads from one game and put them into another... but I think it’s just really strange if I can recognize them.

I guess, this is a game that could benefit from the story chiming in when it needs to, because the fatigue sets in pretty quickly. Not enough to keep me away from the experience mind you. But the amount of side stuff is so overwhelming, (and so easy to do instead) that I can’t help but shrug off the dire-importance that the inquisition faces.

____

On the subject of Dragon Age, I’ve been looking at the games that I’ve played and I’ve managed to make a decent enough list of favourites this year (though I’m debating keeping it just shy of 10.) I bring up Dragon Age, because a part of me feels like it’s too late to consider being part of any game of the year list. I mean yes, I’m sure it is out of principle, But given the time I’ve started playing...

I’m bringing it up as an interesting conversation, because I’d consider it to be too early to tell if it’s a good game. If you compare something like Dragon Age to other games that have come out earlier in the year I would find it difficult to declare DA:I top spot.

You know what I mean? I can’t really put DA:I too high on the list because I’m clearly not doing anything in the game.

Oh the drama of unnecessary dilemmas!

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The freedom to do nothing.

(Oh god, I had to play this part again.)

Part of rebuying GTAV on the PS4 means having to play through it again. That little voice goes on in my head that says “Do you really want to play through the single player once more?” The last open world game (of this type) that I’ve played on the PS4 was Watch_Dogs. And we all know how much of a disappointment that game was. It, in turn, wiped my positive memories of GTAV clean off.

With it fresh off my mind, it turned out to be a no brainer once I stepped into the EB and exchanged the old model for the newer one. I been on this kick where I will happily upgrade PS3 titles for the current gen. It’s a weird thing, but I just don’t care to go back to the PS3 at all. I want to think the reason I don’t is because there’s no backwards compatibility in the current console so I just don’t want to bother. There’s already too many consoles sitting in the living room, it feels like a hassle to go between so many.

These are excuses. And these excuses cost me money, but I don’t seem to care.

But with the games I’ve been playing in-between now and the last time I’ve played GTAV, I felt as though it was totally valid to go back to it and replay. You can’t ask me how much more improved the visuals are. You couldn’t ask me about the first person mode, but go ahead and ask me about all my fabulous shopping trips.

Now that school is over for the term, I’ve really just wanted to casually play stuff. So to do this with GTAV, I give myself down time in-between missions to do absolutely nothing. I’m always impressed by the amount of nothing that is in a game like GTAV. There’s something strangely wonderful about climbing a mountain just to do yoga. Or going on a bike ride to the movie theatre and watching whatever hot-garbage is currently showing.

It seems boring but I like stuff like this in an open world game because it’s different from the thing I already know I can do. The mayhem is the given-part, the thing I already know is the part of the game. So for me, the boring option seems a little more interesting for a change of pace.

To be even more casual, I caved in and bought Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for the Wii U fun device. Easily some of the coolest levels in Mario 3D world, made even greater, just by existing as it’s own thing.

As far as puzzle games go, they’re surprisingly easy so far (as I’m halfway through the game already.) but I don’t mind, because I still have the option to 100% every stage (which I just haven’t been thinking about doing yet.) There’s a lot of personality in this title, both in terms of how the level is designed and also in how they use the gamepad.

"Toad you idiot, let go!"

As with Dan’s review, I have to agree that the current price of the game is too much for the content that it is. I’d have been much more comfortable at half the price. But I’m a garbage person that throws away my garbage money so I don’t have too much footing to complain about something I so willingly went out of my way to do.

Hey… Can we talk about Toadette for a second? Toads are asexual. But Toadette clearly wants to identify herself as a woman. I get that the Toad people clearly have some kind of Smurf thing going on, but it just kind of strikes me as odd to not actually think of it as a female, but as a Toad that just likes to wear pink.

And if that’s the case, how do Toads reproduce? Are they actually fungus growing from the corridors of Peach’s damp/murky castle? There’s probably deeper nonsense to the lore of the Mushroom Kingdom that Nintendo hasn’t even thought about, so I just makes me curious if Toadette is another Birdo situation. One day a Toad just decided that being Lady-like was for him.

One things for sure, Toadette definitely has bigger balls that Captain Toad. (and they dangle from her hat too!) (I’m surprised she never trips over them.)

If you have no problem with spending money but are still on the fence with Captain Toad, then you should probably pick up Mario 3D world, if you haven't already. it's like a free demo tacked onto the side a full-and-awesome experience. Another reason why I also bring this up, is because it gives you a nice bonus for playing that game.

And it's the little things like that which make this game all the more sweeter.

...

Also. As we look toward the end of the year, I have yet to think about any of the games I've bothered to play this year, and I half wonder if any of them were actually good. Have any of you wondered about this, or has your year been chalk full of so many amazing games and you just know deep down in your heart what some of the best ones were.

I'm going to do a lot of thinking about it, but I'm pretty sure it's been a heavy year of Nintendo for me.

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Ubisoft's current list of employees 2014

The more I play these games, the less I actually want to jump around. It’s a hassle to move up, down and around structures. Though they make the assassin swifter, and savvy, the problem of gameplay feels especially prevalent in Unity because I don’t recall ever having going up and down split into two separate buttons. It’s petty, but counter-intuitive to gameplay I feel should be seamless.

So instead of taking the supposed shortcut of traveling across rooftops, it felt less of a hassle to just run down the streets of France to get to where I needed to go. Sure the streets are much busier, and there’s too many people just standing around, but all too often I’m actually pressing the wrong button when parkouring, and fall to my death, or jump to the wrong thing (or sometimes nothing at all).

But on one hand, it’s interesting to watch my laziness in gameplay form. Putting in as little effort to go anywhere and do anything is probably a metaphor for the series (at least for me). But I keep sitting here and giving every next game a chance. Maybe I’ll like it more than I think I do? But I don’t. I can’t help but feel like Assassin’s Creed 2 is the only time they found a perfect balance, and every game since then has just a delusional focus group of what the company thinks people want more of, and then beating the horse to death.

It bothers me that I keep coming to the conclusion that maybe Ubisoft is really just out of touch. I’ve talked about it with a friend over the weekend, in which I actively compared Ubisoft to Electronic Arts. Though EA gets flack for being a terrible company, they actively do try to deliver a game worth playing. Whether it’s something new or something annualized, I really do believe they’re trying to make a game worth your while.

With Ubisoft I never see that... Perhaps the reason why they have a large majority of the company working on every single game is because each person is responsible for one little thing that the company believes works and are too afraid to actually take chances with franchises old and new. So maybe that’s why every game feels far too similar. Why objectives, maps and side-things are all across the board. (The Crew is really just assassin’s creed, but instead of climbing on everything, you drive everywhere. and you drive yourself through the ranks to get an apple or something. What if a Sage is the leader of the 5-10s? Is that even what they’re called? I kind of forget, I played the Beta of that game a little bit and the driving bothers me SO MUCH. I don’t think I’ll care to play it when it comes out.)

But speaking of ‘out of touch’ The Evil Within is another such game that gives me that feeling. I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand it as a survival or even horror game. I’ve played enough of it to see it’s just been one long story driven ‘horde mode’ and I don’t feel anything beyond that. I enjoy the game for the constant parallels I keep drawing (for myself) to the Resident Evil series. It gave me drive to continue playing it, as long as I was mocking it along the way.

I hoped to have fun with it, and to an extent it’s ok. In terms of the actual gameplay, you’re already familiar with it. Playing anything like Resident Evil 4 to Shadows of the Damned, and it doesn’t really evolve concepts that are already established in those types of games. You bundle that gameplay up with a nonsensical story that “won’t tell you what’s really happening”, which is more than likely “crazy for the sake of crazy.” And the whole attempt at the game feels lazy and makes you wonder why this game even came out like this.

I really love me some Shinji Mikami, but it makes me wonder if and when he started phoning it in. Survival-horder games, are not interesting. But I have to hand it to the Evil Within, it makes Resident Evil 6 look pretty friggin good.

But let’s get down to business. How has everyone been enjoying their new Smash Brothers game? I picked it up at an early launch, at the nearby eb games. It always seems like a good idea at the time, but then I end up standing there for longer than I want to listening to children talk hot shit about video games.

But the pain was soon over as I picked up Smash boys, along with a Link Amiibo (whom I’ve affectionately called 'SocialLink’) and I can honestly say I’m impressed with how fun the game has been. I never had any doubt considering I picked up the 3DS version of the game, and played that for many hours, but I’m impressed with the quality of the online.

It did have it’s hiccups at first. Bits of lag here and there that sometimes resulted in someone getting booted (or one evening it didn’t even boot me, it just moved me to a separate lobby), but I’ve had plenty of successful matches with friends online.

It couldn’t have come at a better time with my term coming to an end, and all these silly exams that I have to study for, which I don’t have the time for because I’m enjoying playing smash bros. again.

When she was first revealed, I felt an overwhelming sense of duty to main Wii Fit trainer. I’ve been very confident with that decision (except for whenever my friend Dolphin plays Dr. Mario. That Doctor is a REAL MONSTER, and should never be trusted with your health) the normal attacks seem to be her tricky part that I’m yet to utilize, because she happens to be able to attack behind herself just as much as she punches forward.

A close second is Zero Suit Samus. I’ve really been enjoying the way she plays, and actually have a tendency to abuse the down special if only because I want to be a nuisance. I also prefer to play Lucina over Marth because of her speed, and out of principle. The Fire Emblem roster should have really just been Awakening characters.

Which is actually the caveat I have with this game. This smash definitely has a problem with having too many characters from the same franchises. It does feel like there’s too many Fire Emblem characters, too many Pokemon (with Mewtwo on the way), too many Marios and Zeldars. If people view this as a celebration of Nintendo history, then why don’t they take bigger chances with the roster? Some of those assist trophies could have easily been a playable fighter. Heck, Duck Hunt was probably the coolest inclusion to the game (in terms of Nintendo history).

despite the fun that this game is, the roster is definitely feeling padded and lazy, and it makes me wonder if the inevitable future game in the franchise is just going to be a larger roster that is more of the same.

Now I really have to plop this blog post down before I sit on it for another week. I really should get back into the habit of this.

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One for the Ganon-dork in me.

Mind you, I’m still a bit livid about the whole “Not getting the awesome scarf pre-order bonus. As far as ridiculous swag goes, that has probably been the coolest thing, and in Canada, the most practical.

Instead I settled with DLC costumes for my favourite Nintendo villain.

Not that I really cared about any bonus I’d be getting, mind you. I’ve been looking forward to a game like this way back in April of last year. During an old episode of the TL;DL podcast we talked about ways we could change the Zelda formula, and I excitedly expressed a Dynasty Warriors style game in which you play as Ganondorf.

So you can bet upon first mention of Hyrule Warriors, I’d be on the edge of my seat in anticipation. But I guess there’s a lot of you out there that want to ask why this is so exciting for me.

First of all: Yes, it’s exactly the kind of game that you think it is. Dynasty Warriors with Zelda characters instead of a Chinese Dynasty. You hack and slash your way through hundreds of enemies until all of the red dots have disappeared from the map. To do that you capture points and kill generals and blahblahblah you-know-what-Dynasty-Warriors-is…

On-top of that it’s not necessarily hackneyed, but it does deliver you the type of story you’d expect in a Zelda game. Actually there were moments where it felt like the characters knew they did this so many times, and were just making sure they hit every beat that presented itself.

But to the average person that plays the average game, something like this is going to seem absolutely boring to them, and I understand that.

Growing up, Brawlers were one of my favourite genres to play. I’d waste many hours on the Final Fights, the Streets of Rages and the Ninja Turtles. I always felt there was something absolutely satisfying about mindless button mashing to progress through stages.

But my tolerance for monotony is incredibly high. While I could enjoy something with a little bit more complexity like Diablo III or the uphill battle that is EX fights in an MMO, I really appreciate the kind of game that lets me turn my brain off and get rid of all the red dots.

Also, I dare say that after playing a lot of Dynasty Warriors games in my time, it’s interesting to look for any moves or animation reuse. It may be hard to notice because there’s the part of your brain that wants to believe it’s all original animation and combos for characters (and don’t get me wrong, there is.) with so many iterations of that game over the years, it’s entirely possible that they'd be cutting corners in that way to save development time.

Setting aside my strange feeling of Deja Vu, it’s great that every character plays completely different. Each moveset has a different groove that you have to find the rhythm of, which can be strange when you play with standard characters like Link, Impa and Shiek before jumping to niche ones like Agatha and Midna.

The variation could be enough for some of those that don’t like getting too comfortable with any one characters combos.

Along with standard modes you’d come to expect in a Warriors game (like Free and Challenge), the adventure mode is a really cool idea that ends up being a big chunk of the game after you finish the story mode.

Unlocking and exploring parts of the old 8bit Zelda map; Collecting items, and other characters is fairly engaging. Each part of the grid is a different challenge, like “Kill 300 enemies/Kill All the bosses” or “Quiz fight” to name a few. There’s enough in there to make it challenging, as you try to get the best rank possible.

As much as I am enjoy this game based on my own playing habits, I know I can’t necessarily recommend it to people. You can practically view the “Warriors” franchise as Madden at this point. The same game keeps coming out and you always wonder why. Every once in a while they put a new skin on it and tell you it’s a different kind of game, but deep inside it’s the same game that it’s always been and you know you can’t be fooled.

Hmm… I’ll say this. There’s a certain amount of Novelty that makes it worth playing. It breaks the convention of Zelda in a way that could give enjoyment alone….

… But at the end of the day, it’s still Dynasty Warriors and you either like that or you don’t.

How about I sit here and talk about Destiny for a tiny bit.

Good old Facegurl, or should I say "SPACEGURL"?

Since it’s release I’ve only played it a total of three times, and each one of those sessions were between 40 minutes to an hour. Each time I’ve been playing it by myself. With that in mind, I haven’t been able to enjoy it.

To me, it doesn’t feel like a game that I want to play alone. The atmosphere feels too isolating, even if I do see other people running around on the map with me. But I also wonder what others experiences have been like.

I remember during the alpha, playing it with Xeiphyer and Dolphin Butter and actually enjoying that time, even if some of the missions were a little too monotonous. (coming from a guy that just wrote a little too much about Hyrule Warriors) But I guess it’s true for online games, in that communication/co-ordination with others is always the biggest draw.

When I played it on my own, it’s presentation is just completely uninteresting and it really bums me out. Maybe the people on my friends list will make me tag along with them.

I’m just a guy that wants a little company on that desolate waste land.

If you ever want to play a fun social experiment with the internet, then make sure to play Fibbage with random people online. After a session of that game over the weekend, I’ve become really curious about the identities of some of these kids over the racist/homophobic humour they’ve opted to type in. (and I’m only assuming they do this, because they try hard to be funny.)

The game itself is totally interesting though, and definitely recommended to play with a full group. Just… make sure you know the people, as random internet user might be the one guy at the party that makes everyone want to leave.

---

I can’t be bothered to write about video games anymore, frankly I shouldn’t be doing so in the first place. I’m 5 weeks deep into Journalism school and I’m totally enjoying my time learning to be a newsie. (And getting along with people that are totally making me feel old in the process.)

I’m not sure if I can classify myself as one of those people that have “always had a passion for writing stories” or “I’m going to be that one asshole that changes the news.” but’s a nice and “equally unrealistic” change from farting around in the film industry for 5 years.

But you know, at least I know where I want those skills to take me. So I’m looking forward to the next couple of years.

So if you excuse me, I have a hell of a lot of reading I need to continue doing so I can at least pretend I've been paying attention to current events, and not just playing Videogames.

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WE DID IT! (Fitan Titan to the extreme. and Dancing Dancing)

Well, if you've followed along from the last one, we once again attempted to fight that rock hard abshole known as Titan. It was gruelling. We practically used the entire hour to best him! It was amazing though, when it finally happened. In our last attempt having 11 minutes to spare! But I'm not going to relay what happened to you with terrible descriptions, and weird pictures. Instead I'll offer up this video that was recorded with the power of the Playstation 4 home entertainment computer device:

You could imagine at the very end, with the achievement popping up... I pop out of my chair and shout relief, collapsing to the floor in happiness-filled tears. The neighbours can't tell what's going on, but are curious about the boisterous laughter.

I don't know. I don't know if I'd ever want to do it again. It marks the 3rd time in a row where we've successfully beaten Titan while I'm dead, so perhaps that's telling me something. At the same time, I've learned a lot about the fight; What to do, what not to do. So I'm sure a part of me would be okay with going if my arm was twisted enough.

I think I'm going to have to lock that part of me into a deep, dark cellar and make sure nobody goes near it.

---

On the lighter side. The Moonfire faire has started, and you get the chance to play with fireworks, run around in a fancy assortment of Yukatas ( plus questionable swimsuits) and learn a brand-new dance. If you haven't played this game yet, you're basically missing out on some of this game's goofiest moments (but you could probably say that about a lot of MMOs)

For how long I've played this game, I think this was the first time I've been to an event at the very moment it starts. So I wanted to make an effort to do so by showing up to the amphitheatre in Old Gridania, and waiting for the thing to pop into existence.

Dolph and I ended up being 1h 12m early... I guess I was a little too eager.

But much like the time we sat around the Adventurer's Guild and chatted it up, we just kind of sat at the benches and waited.

It wasn't too long until people started showing up around us.. er, rather showing up around Dolphin. (I guess Cat guys are cooler than Old Elf dudes) As others started to show up, the party got started.

The Pre-event Dancing/Light Show began (I'm somewhere in the middle):

And yes, as you can tell by the end of the video, Your Duders at the Giant Bomb Free Company were sporting Yukata and dancing the dance that we joyfully learned. Then took to the beach to Praise the night sky.

--

Whelp... as of typing this, it's 4:27 am and I should definitely go to bed, so the obligatory photo album is going to have to wait for another time. I just had to follow up from the last blog and relish in the fact that I may never need/want/haveto/maybe fight Titan on extreme again.

OR maybe we didn't really beat Titan, BUT are DEAD and doomed to wander Ul'dah as GHOSTS:

This is probably going to be a mystery for another time.

Sorry it's more video heavy than usual.... That might not happen again.

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Wake me up (from this nightmare) before you O'Ghomoro.

Sometimes you get that feeling that you need to do it. You need to take on that one monster that is in no way nipping at your heels. You can avoid him all you want. Abandon the quest and never look at it again, because it is completely optional.

You tell yourself the first time that you’re doing it for fun, to humour a friend. But then the beast beats you down, over and over again. The morale is down, you have 9 minutes to go, but you still find yourself getting up.

You have to do it, you have to beat it.

Titan is such an insufferable prick.

Out of all the primal fights in FFXIV, I could never enjoy titan. My reflexes aren’t as good as they should be sometimes, which is crucial to the fight. One wrong move and you’re flying over the edge into the lava pit below.

It’s been a hate filled relationship in which each battle I’ve ever had (even when winning) met my end about halfway through. It’s enough to make a person feel useless, though I only play the monk class so I’m sure I’d have been a bigger burden to the team, if I wasn’t there to heal or tank.

Why the hell am I trying to beat Titan extreme?

I ask myself that all the time. It’s two parts, bene jokingly inviting me to do it and there is a quest giver handing me this quest so it’s obvious that I have to. I suppose If I’m also getting an achievement out of it, is another reason to act so begrudgingly.

So we’ve done it two nights in a row with very little (albeit no) success, and it’s grown on me. I’ve developed a need where I have to see it through, because we’ve found inches of success with every attempt made.

I’ve come to understand why people do these kinds of things in MMOs. When you get a good team together that is incredibly well coordinated, then it actually becomes fun. Shouting at Titan, and mocking him as I punch his heart for the 7th time. dodging plumes, landslides and bombs every which way, was more fun that I ever felt willing to admit.

But here we are.

One day Titan, I will have my vengeance.

For the most part, my days have been about nothing but chopping trees and carpentry. Two job classes that happen to compliment each other, so that’s all I happen to be doing with the majority of my time. I suppose it’s good to get gil out of it, but the process takes much longer (especially when it comes to crafting.) as I don’t want to go the quick and easy route of buying stacks from the market place. I would much rather waste a couple of minutes here and there warping to all the places that have the necessary materials and then wasting even more minutes gathering them.

The bulk of my game playing experience revolves around tedium, which is how I enjoy most games anyway. Though I’ve found a good balance of tedium and dungeon runs/raids with friends. So yeah, FFXIV is still pretty alright.

Another thing that I’ve gotten a kick out of, is just being in the environment. They have all these seats and tables around, yet I rarely see people sitting in them and hanging out. Well I guess adventurers have more important things to do, but what about that downtime.

I guess I’m a bit of a dork to think “Let’s hang out at the adventurer’s guild in Ul’dah instead of standing around with hundreds of others. So Bene, Dolphin and I sat around a table and just hung out, toying with the emotes and watching the characters talk as we typed something.

Then a miniature crowd came our way.

We regaled takes of bagged milk from the lands of Canada, and the ridiculous debate of “Peach vs Daisy”. Y’know, the normal stupid shit that people just type into their Free Company chat boxes. There was just something about giving it a physical scene, that was really fun to do.

Maybe deep down I’m a RPer. Given the kind of things I like to write about, I suppose it’s no surprise. (that, and early days of the internet... that's a story for another time) But that whole experience has given me the idea to do something with that amphitheatre in Old Gridania. I just wonder how well a stage-play in a video game is going to fare, yet I feel like the sheer novelty of it is what'll make it exciting.

Here's to more weeks of FFXIV, I ought to play as much of it as I can, until school calls my name and I forced to take up all that free time with learning.

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Ganbare Bon: Game related things I've felt like typing about.

Final Freetasy Weekend.

It’s been a while since I set foot into the world of Eorzea. I kept telling myself that I need to go back and do as much as I can, before the school season reels me in. The free weekend seemed like the perfect excuse to do so whenever the TV/PS4/My time would be free. I was actually grateful for it, because there didn’t seem to be a shortage of things to experience.

As it’s single player campaign led me towards dungeons and Primals to fight, Kieriko Gauldev fought on with swift fists. Punching at kicking my way to item level 80, no matter how tacky the drops make me look. (At least I can cast glamour.)

It always gets to a certain point in MMOs where I start losing interest. When there’s nothing left to do but raids and daily dungeons for drops, I get bored. Then I soon find myself only logging in to hang out, and never doing anything productive or worth-while in the game.

Yet, it’s nice that it feels like they’re always rolling out never content for the game at a steady pace. rediculous sidequests and harder versions of dungeons are surprisingly interesting, and I like coming back it it. But I suppose it’s even better that I’m doing it with friends.

Marning Dartar.

I swear, it has nothing to do with THE INTERNATIONAL. Ossi and I (+Tiwi on occasion) have been humouring ourselves with one match of Dota 2 in the morning. Personally, why I’m even playing in the first place is because I’ve wanted to play League of Legends recently, but it hasn’t worked properly on my computer. Looking for something else to scratch that itch, I went to Dota.

I don’t like it. Well.. I’ve never liked LoL either, but it’s something to do. With the matches I’ve played, I have a better understanding of the game (even though I still lose). Regardless of my opinion of it, I enjoy it for what it is, and I seem to have success in some of the characters.

Nyx has probably been my favourite pick, but for the most part I favour the agility class overall. You can tell, because my other favourite picks have been Phantom Assassin and Vengeful Spirit.

Though it still feels like I’m making due with what I have, because I know deep in my heart I’m waiting for Dota to make a Wukong Equivalent. The one character that keep calling out to me, and I should probably go back to LoL and have a better experience. ( Sure, there's a certain amount of affinity for one or the other with people. But from my experience, League of Legends is actually easier to play. Having played a fair amount of both, I've come to appreciate LoL after various matches of Dota 2.)

Game Club

So a recent project of sorts that has been fun to at least think about. Amongst the group of people that I hang out with, we have that tendency to talk about the classics. So for my idealoclast blog, I had the idea to do a weekly game club.

It’s a short podcast (around 30 minutes or so) where we just talk about things in the game. What we like or dislike, and memorable things to note about the game. It started with Soul Blazer, because I felt like it was one of those classic SNES games that may be very underrated. I gave myself and a guest time to play (just a week) and then regardless of how far we are into the game we just chat.

I do miss the days of the TL;DL podcast, and enjoy the video game chatter with all the people involved. Yet I needed to have something that requires very little effort to manage, so this little project is a nice fun start.

Next episode we’ll be talking about the original Mega Man, and I definitely look forward to talking about it.

What else.

Aside from video games, I’ve been taking the time to write a book this summer. It started as a means to take a break from the Panel Show that I’ve been working on. Daniel Wyke is the story of a guy that inherited his dead uncle’s estate and the entire thing pretty much spirals from there as he unlocks the mystery surrounding it.

I’ve been writing the entire first draft online, so you could read every part of it should you desire. If you do I welcome any criticism about it, though I guarantee it’ll all be grammatical errors. (Try as I might, it’s my kryptonite apparently.) It was fun, because I’ve always wanted to write a book but never had the motivation to complete one (I’ve tried at least 3 other times.) And the world it inhabits is really interesting and I found myself excited to think of other ways to visit it. comics, music, film. All of it.

Come to think of it, out of curiosity, how many of you other creative types are out there, and what kind of things have you done (in terms of stories to tell, no matter the medium) Being in a video game community surely there’s been plenty of aspects about it that have inspired you to create something of your own.

Before I forget.

I’ve been forcing myself to play through Fire Emblem: Awakening. I suppose the recent additions to the smash bros. roster has helped to remind me that I own that game and still have yet to finish it. Jumping back in has reminded me why I probably stopped in the first place. That nagging need to level up characters as well as their relationships with others eventually burned me out last time.

This probably has something to do with the amount of characters I have, but I know I’ll never have the patience to level up all of them, let alone use them. From a look at my save file, I've definately been playing favourites.

I do feel like I'm close to the end game, so I really ought to make myself hunker down and finish the thing. It was one of my favourite games to play on my 3DS (far more than most) which I kind of feel is saying a lot considering I've never really enjoyed the series.

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You can look at the dogs, but you probably shouldn't play with them.

There’s not a lot on my PS4 plate that gets me too excited about it. Save for the likes of Best Friends 4 and the last good Final Fantasy game (in a long time), I’m still craving that one title that’ll make it all worth it. I figured that’s where Watch_Dogs would come in. I enjoy open world games immensely, AND Having a profound affection for the movie hackers, I liked the idea of what Watch_dogs wanted to accomplish.

It’s a shame that the game ended up so far away from what I had built up in my own imagination.

I found Aisha Tyler

The thing that kind of bothers me, is that Aiden is not really a hacker. Well is he? He’s a fixer right? and what a fixer is… is a hacker that spends more time outside than a typical hacker, who probably just goes to the rainymood website to get their fill of environment. But one day after a tragic accident, he’s started using his fixer powers for good and became the city’s vigilante. ( They call him Fox. And he looks a little bit like Matthew Fox. So good on the fictional people of Chicago for making that connection.)

So here comes the part where I stop believing he is a hacker of any sort. ctOS is a city wide security system for the mystical land of Chicago. It is a singular operating system for EVERYTHING. It’s in your webcams, it’s in the traffic lights… It’s even in your grenades and waterpipes.

It’s “complex system” actually seems overly simplified. And with so much “hackers” in Chicago, I’m more inclined to believe that BLUME (the company behind ctOS) designed it to be open source, and the Apple app store is riddled with hundreds of apps for your phone that let you do anything you want in the city at the click of a button.

Maybe BLUME shouldn’t have attached a NFC to your plumbing.

Man pile.

So Aiden runs around the city staring at nothing but his smartphone to accomplish all of his goals. Hard for cash? There’s 30 people in a 10 foot radius that have all the money that you don’t even need. Push a button. Trying to walk through this door? Ghost Trick your way through security cameras, until you see the box that's locking it. Push a button.

It’s these simple maneuvers that make ctOS incredibly flawed and you really start to wonder why Chicago would even agree to have it run the entire city.

Especially the amount of people that just sit at home and masturbate all day, and frequently order hentai. Or how about the family of Cannibals enjoying a nice 100% organic meal in-front of their webcams, or people making Death threats to loved ones as they sleep. This is data that is circulating through ctOS’s security system and the police can’t even do their job.

It’s the worst place to live, and yet still comes out seeming better than Detroit.

Also, Aiden isn’t any better than the world he inhabits. He’s a dick to everybody he works with. Which MIGHT have something to do with the events that took place at the beginning of the game, but there’s not a single amount of compassion in his voice. Aiden is an avid fan of the Chris Nolan Batman films, and nobody has the heart to tell him that it stopped being funny years ago. Or maybe they have but he insists on still doing it, which is probably why he’s so distant and cold to everyone. He doesn’t exactly have the best sense of humour either (The kind of person that goes to a party recalling all those old, dated memes. Thanks a lot electronic Billboards.)

Found Aisha Tyler again

Maybe at some point Ubisoft didn’t really understand what game they wanted to make. It started feeling like that in the first hour and I noticed how a lot of of it's elements felt a little too similar to previous Ubisoft titles. An open world where you're a hacker DOES sound exciting, but there’s a way to implement that stuff without making the city an over-simplified Deus Ex Machina ready to go when you ask it to. It doesn’t need you constantly trying to shoot your way out of an area, or relentless chases disguising themselves as engaging gameplay either.

The game's issues as a whole, are something that @dannyodwyer nails perfectly on a previous episode of The Point.

If you give Aiden strengths, then make them his strengths, don’t give him an app for his phone. I want to do a little more hacking than ‘connect the dots’. Even if it does take place in an open world, there's nothing wrong with concentrating your efforts on gameplay that has nothing to do with it. (L.A. Noire seemed to pull it off just fine.) There's a chance that... if that stuff gets figured out, then maybe you can find a way to use the city in a more significant manner.

Despite my petty grievances, Watch_Dogs is an open world game like every other; It’s got driving and mini-games to play around the city. Sub-missions are plentiful as well, but they all do nothing more than the same thing. So aside from the main campaign there’s really not much else to do.

But I guess, if you want to make excuses, you can always check-in to your favourite locations every hour till you become mayor.

But... Let's be honest here. You should be playing Sleeping Dogs instead.

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Uncle Lapti's Top Whatever of 2013

I didn’t really play too many games this year. Sometimes life just really needed to get in the way, and I’ve found myself having to attend to a lot of nonsense that just prevented me from even dedicating an hour of my time to saving a prince--ah… person. So I have compiled a list of the games I’ve played this year. Even though once again, it's kind of small... maybe even smaller than last years?

Turns out, a lot of the games on this list were released closer to the end of the year. Go figure.

Despite what royalty might desperately try to beat into you. Fire Emblem is kind of a bad game. I could never get into it for the longest time, maybe I didn’t have the brain for it? Maybe I’ve spent so much of my life playing Final Fantasy Tactics over and over again, that Fire Emblem’s rock-paper-scissors approach to Strategy was just borderline insulting. Honestly when you get stuck on a 20 grid with hints of 2 to 3 scattered all over the place, how the hell are you supposed to know where anything is.

So I’d play the same puzzle constantly, waiting for the ‘hint’ to give me a sweet spot to work off of.

I don’t really imagine that this game is too different from the rest of the series, so a switch must have flipped in my brain. It’s got enough characters for you to care about. Enough puzzles to keep you busy for a fair amount of time (assuming you don’t get addicted, then it'll be over QUICK.) and I finally feel like I’m good at something that I’m sure everyone else is already better at.

There was a certain point where the fandom just killed this franchise for me. You know how it is, when you really enjoy a game, you subconsciously start paying attention to the community that surrounds it. So you join in on the phpforums, and livejournal posts...

But then people stop talking about how awesome the puzzles are, then suddenly just become rapey over ID:N-46 “French Doll”. It turns me away because I enjoy things at my own pace, and a barrier just turns on when they start talking about what they would do to Pheonix and Miles.

Many years later, I took the plunge with Dual Destinies, and even though I haven’t played anything past the 2nd game, everything is familiar to me. Half of the characters I may not know, but I’ve liked the game enough before, to know that I just get it.

Though it’s endgame suffers from constantly stalling the story by everyone repeating each others dialogue, it’s a welcome edition to the series. I’m very much 'ready and willing’ for more.

I have a history of playing Grand Theft Auto quite casually. Aside from the missions, I tend to spend hours at a time in that sandbox doing absolutely nothing. Turning on the radio, driving around. Sometimes I challenge myself to see how fast I can do a puzzle I’ve already done, soon after I do it. It’s surprising how I never really remember where any of the blocks go.

The history between Trevor and Michael is the drive that kept going for me, and It was the first time I ever became actively interested in doing puzzle after puzzle, just so I can unlock the next painting. Rockstar has really outdone themselves with this one. So now that they’ve practically mastered how to tell a story, I can only hope they get better with gameplay.

I’ve been saying this for years, probably even on the TL;DL podcast. Animal Crossing works better as a portable game. Since it’s set up to play out at 24-hour days, there can never really be that many hours to dedicate yourself to staying home incase something happens. But if you’re out and about, you can pull out the 3DS and knock out a couple of puzzles here and there.

Sheer convenience.

Though your spurts can feel short lived at times, which is the necessary way to play it. If you try to do as much as you can, you quickly become burned out. Or you’ve dried up the well and it feels like there’s nothing left to do except the same things over and over again… and you have to wait for the next instalment. (which I hear is not that far, but I have 4 of these games already if I feel the need to jump around and keep playing. But honestly, I’m always excited for more. I am willing to keep giving jupiter money.)

Oh yeah, and If you ever get the chance to have Wolfgang as a villager, tell him I said hi. We go way back.

I’m firm believer in just choosing one FPS franchise and sticking with it. There’s no point in playing all these different variations of the same thing if you have to keep relearning that feeling over and over again. There’s a couple of free to play browser based games, that when I give them a try, it’s just not the same.

I don’t know why that is, because they’re honestly all the same fucking thing. But Battlefield has kept my attention for so long, that it’s the only one I’ll ever want to play. Even though I’ve indulged in CS:GO a couple times this year, Battlefield is the one game that I keep coming back to, asking for more.

So it’s no surprise that battlefield is the only game I wanted when the PlayStation 4 came out. Though Multiplayer is really lacking with this game at first (and honestly, how can you even do multiplayer with this game.) It’s a welcome edition to the franchise.

This is the best Zelda game I’ve ever played so far. Honestly, the only reason why I’m saying that is because, for years I’ve had this feeling that the game just needed to be changed up for so long. Who would have thought that the change I was looking forward to, was for Nintendo to go Full Nostalgia on your ass. A Direct sequel to the Link to the Past, that fleshes out dat lore a little bit more, is something I’ve never known I needed.

Though it still plays the same that as always has, it manages to change up the gameplay in an exciting way. When it introduced the Mega Puzzles, suddenly solving them became 10 times more ambiguous, and with no fail state I would sit there for 30 minutes to an hour trying to figure it out.

I highly recommend this game to anyone. Love or hate the franchise, there’s something in it for all. Though I must confess that I look even more forward when they cross this game with Dynasty Warriors on the Wii U. That is probably going to be my ultimate guilty pleasure.

Full Disclosure: If you couldn’t follow along it’s because this is last minute and horribly written, but it's also because I’ve been playing waaaaay too much Picross this year. Infact the elaborate ruse was a way of saying that I've been playing Picross the most the year, and Mario's Picross + Picross e1, e2, and e3 are all together my one true game of the year.

what can I say, I REALLY like puzzle games.

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TL;DL Podcast 34: Electronic Entertainment Crossing

Hey kids! Us wonderfully video game savvy people at TL;DL, have decided to do a delightful E3 Edition podcast of our own. Here's the kicker though, the audio only version will have to come much later, I have a little under a week to have a show prepared and I can't be caught dead giving myself time to edit a podcast for a couple of hours. Hell I shouldn't even be giving myself time to play Animal Crossing (which is an amazing game by the way.)

So without further ado, I'll just present you all with the archived video from the googles hang, it's a two parter (because at some point we invited @xeiphyer into the mix.

NOTE: Podcast doesn't actually start till 15:15 in the first video.

THANKS FOR WATCHING, NOW I HAVE TO GO AND BE BUSY NOW! KTHNXBAI

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