That time I got my things stolen.

Ganbare!! Bon.9

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down and talk about video games. I’ve been preoccupied with things that I really enjoy doing and for some reason none of it actually involved picking up a controller (more on that later). That’s not to say that I don’t want to “game” in-fact I’ve been primarily on the portable devices for the past 5 weeks.

I’ve been playing too many things: Monster Hunter 4, Xenoblade Chronicles 3r-D, Tomodachi Life, Smash Bros, Mario Kart 7, all the picross, and Animal Crossing as well. Yet this is where the tale gets dire.

It’s been a great couple of weeks in my Animal Crossing town. Denare still bustling with familiar faces, a couple of new ones, and I’m happy that the horrible creatures have left town. Isabelle still blissfully ignorant of the world outside the mayor’s office, and no weeds to pull because of my forward thinking about how I don’t play the game that often.

It was a great couple of weeks, a time that I’ll never forget.

Until… I actually forgot about it.

Some time ago, a friday shin-dig was going down for the Journalism department that I attend at school. It was the big “five-oh” and I was more than happy to be the helping hand with setting up and knocking down, So I was very much preoccupied with the events of the evening.

Thinking nothing of it, I put my bag down beside the other expensive equipment because ‘What’s the harm, there’s a lot of people here’.

Till about 11 or so at night, I went to look for it, probably to check my street passes, but to my dismay the bag was gone. A hoodie, school books, external hard-drive, art supplies and a 3DS g’shtolen, ninja’d outta there like a bump in the night.. uh yeah.

I searched around, and couldn’t find it, so I asked those that were manning the doors all evening.

Someone caught wind of a shifty looking fellow walking at a fast-pace carrying a black messenger bag that seemed to fit my description. I’m going through the stages of having something taken away from me.

Worry, Sadness, anger, apathy.

In the end I set aside my problems with it, as most things in that bag, including the bag itself, were easily replaceable. Though I’m now out a hefty brand-spanking-new 3DS, the thing that bothers me the most, is that Animal Crossing was in that device. It could have been something I don’t care about, like Mario Party: Island Tour, or Tomodachi Life.

Now all I can imagine is a dark and stormy night. All the animals huddled into their houses because there’s something in the air that makes them uneasy… probably because they can sense danger. As Isabelle is burning the midnight oil while I’m away. A faint knocking is at the door.

She doesn’t notice it at first, but caught it at the end of the second time. Just as her ears perked up, the knocking happens a third time.

A smell starts reeking through the door as it is forced open the same time lighting hits the ground. The thunder rolls as a grinning hobo comes into focus.

“You’re not the mayor.” She whimpers…

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The Witcher III, on the other hand, I am enjoying despite it’s control. Not that the control is bad, I just never expected it to feel like I was playing GTA. Something about that movement just strikes me as far too similar.

In it’s early game it’s far more engaging for me in a way that Dragon Age: Inquisition never was. I remember a lot of my struggle with DA:I was that I didn’t want to be this leader that everyone was putting on a pedestal. I wanted to have the option to violently shake everyone and tell them to stop.

So it’s good that I started playing Witcher on the 3rd installment, because I don’t know. (On topic of not knowing, by accident I selected ‘simulate a witcher 2 save file’. So A character showed up and asked me a bunch of questions to scenarios I’ve never experienced. So that’s fun.)

At least, I’m looking forward to playing more of it, when I can.

In-terms of what I’ve really been up to for the past month, as I am a journalism student, some classmates and I have started a fun project called “Newsfriends” which is primarily a podcast but we also try to make a video a week. So I don’t know if news that doesn’t relate to videogames is your thing, but if you ever (for some reason) ask yourself “Why hasn’t Bon blogged lately?” at least you now know why.

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Sunset Overderivative

It’s a bit funny how something like this reeks of such ‘punk attitude’, but get’s stuck relying on a certain way to play. I’m pretty sure being punk and grinding on rails aren’t exactly the same, but it’s a little weird for a game that loves making fun of how much of a game it is. Between the lines of self referential banter is a constant reminder of how you need to play.

On the surface of it all, is a game with a personality not unlike Deadpool, the developers create a humorous game that includes you in on the joke if you’ve been playing videogames for any one period of time. It’s cute in a way and there is genuine laughs, incredible comedic timing (4Kim is flawless in reactionary humour), nothing too offensively ‘videogame-y’. but it feels like the writing team got a lot of their jokes from watching hours of let’s play videos and wanted to relate the the bodiless voices that play open-mic night to an empty room.

That’s fine though, there’s clearly a crowd for that kind of thing.

Those that are familiar with what Jet Set Radio is are in for a bit of a treat as the core idea of the gameplay is centered around grinding on rails. They want you to get around the city that way. Once you start doing that though, you immediately realize that something is missing.

Why can’t I do tricks?

The STYLE METER points this out just by it’s sheer existence. The more cool things you do, the more style you have, the more badass you become. There’s not a lot of things you do to build up any amount of style (grind, bounce, kill). Granted, it’s something that builds up quite easily when you’re not paying attention to it (while being busy trying not to die).

But often times, I find myself asking “Why is there no trick system?” Is this game trying to appeal to the Pro-Skater crowd without having the thing that appeals to the Pro-Skater crowd?

Tangentially, constant grinding is the games biggest flaw. It’s a means to survival, constantly having to move around to avoid attacks. If you don’t have that much coordination with controls/awareness of your surrounds, it could take a while to attack the larger enemies (at first).

I suppose we could also sit here for hours wondering why a game like this is even bothering with tower-defense scenarios. “The player will be moving around so much so ‘fly’, that we have to include a mini-game that really utilizes the frustration of getting ahead of yourself so you don’t lose.”

----

But let me get into the part of the game that has made it a strangely positive experience:

First off, when it comes to games with ‘create-a-character’ modes, what do you do with it? Do you put yourself into the game? Do you create the person you want to be? Do you just want to create eye candy? How about creating the character that fits the world?

Xbone doesn't have screenshot functionality. Augh!

There’s a character that I fell in love with a long time ago, in the days of the Pro-skater franchise. THPS3 had a well realized (for the time) create a character mode, she was a punk-ass lady named Facegurl (named that way because of the special move called ‘The Jackass’. you know, the one where you kick the skateboard into your face). I grew attached to the character so much, that I would often make it my mission to see if I could make that character in anything else with a create a character mode.

When I have something so specific, it makes it hard to recreate that same person in another other game that wouldn’t allow her look. I’d either have to fit her into whatever context I can (as a robot in most Sci-fi games), or just not create her at all.

But even still, she was always destined to be a joke character. Let’s face it, most games where you create your character you, want to imagine that they fit the world. An awkward skateboarder doesn’t make sense as a Grey Warden, Space Bounty hunter, or Barbarian.

When I made her in Sunset Overdrive, I can admit that it was just for the sake of making her. But the more I played with her, and the more she spoke, everything just kind of fit. It’s a nice feeling to see a character behave in the exact way I imagined her. Regardless of how I felt about the humour as a whole, it’s those reactions coming from her that made total sense for me.

It helped me enjoy Overdrive more than I probably should have.

Before I go, let’s talk about our Amiibo collections. How far deep are you wading through them? Have you collected more than you should, or are you showing a hell of a lot of restraint?

I figured I was going to stop at Link. When I picked up Smash Bros on launch day, I told myself “Well obviously, I should get one too see what it’s like… And also because I have Hyrule Warriors.”

I enjoyed it for what it was.

Some time later I received Zelda as a christmas gift. I didn’t expect it at all, but I guess my friend assumed that I was really into Amiibos (again, we’re probably thinking in a Hyrule Warriors frame of mind here).

Having both Link and now Zelda, I get to thinking “Well I should probably just wait until Ganondorf is released then.” At least then, I’ll be waiting it out for the next one and not buying things when I see them in store. I’d basically be completing the ‘Tri-force’ as it were.

But then I got to thinking, that I should probably get some variety.

My reason behind that is, I’m really interested in where the future of these Amiibo figures leads. Because of that, I can’t really expect every game to use every Amiibo all the time, there’s bound to be some games that will only relate to the certain franchises.

I bought Luigi today, because I wanted to have at least one thing Mario related.

Now with the three Amiibos under my belt, (and if my friend comes back from his trip with a WiiFit Trainer, that’s going to make it four) I’m wondering if this is really becoming the start of a collecting craze, even if so far, I’ve only been getting the ones that I want.

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Uncle Lapti's GOTY thing for 2014

The above image credit goes to Imacetra on Deviant art. I just did a google image search and stuck with it.

2014 ended up being another year for me where I didn’t play a lot of video games. Whether or not I actually had that space available to me this year was besides the point, I did a lot of personal things that I’ve wanted to get done, and even found myself going back to school for something I’ve always been interested in.

Because of this, a lot of my time in gaming was just to have something to sit down and play without getting too deep into it’s narrative or characters. I could bring myself to get invested in the lore of something… Frankly I think a lot of game’s stories were really bad this year. Aiden Pierce having zero redeeming quality, Destiny basically being written by children, And the disconnect I have with going from terrorism suspect to leader of an Inquisition in Dragon Age.

I just.. I didn’t care this year.

So in all likelihood my tops list is all about the playing experience than any narrative that a video game is trying to accomplish.

7. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

Case and point, the first game on this list. Captain Toad is nothing more than a collection of new stages based off those side stages in Super Mario 3D world. The very concept of them then, was enough for me to constantly think about how Captain Toad needs to be it’s own game.

What would you classify this game as? Puzzle? Platformer? Maze game? Whatever it is, it’s an absolutely engaging experience that keeps you going from one stage to the next.

6. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

I played a serious amount of this game when it was released on the PS4. Which is technically unfair to say because I was already playing a serious amount of it on the PS3. But the game really opened up for me this year as I’ve had a lot more friends playing it, which only improved my experience so much more.

I’ve never been much of an MMO player considering the last one I’ve played was FFXI it’s fair to say that I was going to heavily favour FFXIV as my next big online game. Though I’m somewhat of an apologist for version 1. A realm reborn is an amazing experience that rivals WoW. the class system is smart, the dungeons fantastic, and it has some of the most memorable boss fights and side quests that I’ve experienced this year.

5. Wolfenstein: The New Order

I haven’t actually played a Wolfenstein game since the original Wolfenstein 3D, so I’ve never experienced a lot of supposed caveats that one would have with the franchise as a whole. ( Or what I hear about them, I guess?) What I love about Wolfenstein is it’s focus on being a single player experience with tremendous level design. Characters that aren’t ridiculous caricatures of Nazi stereotypes, helped realize the world that it was trying to create. The whole presentation from top to bottom was absolutely fascinating.

I’m not really big on shooters these days, probably due to what feels like an over-saturated market. but it’s been the best argument for a single player experience I’ve ever seen in a long time, and an even better argument for how a modern Wolfenstein game should be done.

4. Banished

I put a serious amount of thought into whether or not I should buy the latest SimCity game. I kept being on an off over the idea, to the point where I almost bought it if not for a problem I encountered with a gift card and for some reason the purchase would never happen.

Before I eventually made that purchase, Banished became the answer to scratching that itch, and probably gives SimCity a run for it’s money. Managing and growing a town full of outcast travellers became an engaging chore, a lot of the problems I would encounter for a dying town felt so petty, but in a way that was absolutely realistic. Though there were many times that I thought everyone in the village would die, there was a little ray of hope and suddenly civilization was back to thriving.

That push and pull of everything being fine and then suddenly not, really grabbed me in a way that I would not stop playing a session until everybody was happy again.

5. Mario Kart 8

Top it off with a fairly solid online experience, and I found myself playing this game a lot. Tracks are built amazingly well and novel, even from slight remixes older ones. DLC also breathes longevity into the game in a way that they’re not just selling you a bill of goods. Tracks especially based off of other Nintendo Franchises are absolutely fascinating and worth the price alone.

It's an extremely well done Mario Kart game, that keeps the momentum of the 'Kart racer' going a little while longer.

2. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/ Wii U

I’m bundling these two together because regardless of the platform it is essentially the same game aside from some modes and stages. Being a long time fan of the franchise I guess it’s not that big of a surprised to have this game so high on my list, but if it wasn’t for the highly improved online mode I’m sure it would have been a forgettable experience.

Single handedly the online breathes life into the game that makes me care about it again, and new characters from the roster makes me deviate from picking the same two over and over again. Though a bit of the roster is also quite questionable as it feels like it has a problem with adding too much from the same franchises it’s not a deterrent because the roster is quite huge to begin with.

It’s a party game, a fantastic party game, and one I’m going to keep playing for (hopefully) years to come.

1. Hyrule Warriors

Though a bit ham-fisted Dynasty Warriors is definitely a gameplay concept that can be befitting for a Zelda game. Having not just Link, but OTHER characters of the franchise being playable tickles me in a way that has kept me playing it. If not (Most Importantly) for the Ability to play as Ganondorf.

Really, If I ever imagined a game where Ganondorf would be a playable character this is definitely the number one thing that comes to mind.

It’s packed with egregious amounts of mind numbing stuff, but considering my year, this is exactly the kind of thing I needed in a video game. It’s crazy, It’s hard to recommend something in which the popular opinion is super indifferent. Yet, I can’t recommend it enough as a game that makes me think, what can we do differently with the Zelda franchise, and how can we make it work?

Best Music: The Neumond recordings in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

If you were going to ask me what would take this category on merit alone, I would have been convinced it was Drakengard 3’s soundtrack. But as a way to help realize the world of The New Order, the team went out of their way to create songs to make the world so much more realized.

The very idea that they looked at music that was popular in the era and thought about what the Nazi-Germany equivalent would be is absolutely fascinating, and it was a soundtrack that stuck with me for most of the year.

Bad Game that I found a way to enjoy: Watch_Dogs

It’s bad. I mean, it’s not offensively bad, but I couldn’t find myself enjoying it as much as I have GTAV or Sleeping Dogs. playing this game felt especially boring after coming away from GTAV, and there was so much about it that bummed me out.

Maybe, if the game made a stronger case for hacking it would have been an interesting game that could take the open world into cool direction, but so much of it fell flat.

That being said, as some point I found myself enjoying the game through the PS4’s share functionality, and I created fun for myself in the form of incredibly dumb youtube videos that have no-one but myself to tickle the funny bone. So in a way, yes Watch_Dogs is really bad, but thanks to PS4 share, it became so bad it’s good. so thanks for that #PS4share.

Biggest Disapointment: The Evil Within

Sure, I could giggle at all the parallels to Resident Evil that I’m pretty sure this game wasn’t trying to make, but that just wasn’t enough. The gameplay wasn’t fun, the characters were terrible and the narrative never made any cohesive sense. If Shinji Mikami was trying to return to his roots, he seemed to have forgotten was his roots were and the end product wasn’t even something you could call a poor man’s Resident Evil 4.

But you know, It makes Resident Evil 6 look pretty good.

Delightful Surprise: Terra Battle

I never even realized that Mistwalker was taking time focusing on phone games. I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon it in the first place, but wow! It’s a fascinating concept of Puzzle and strategy that progressively gets challenging in a way that makes you think about the strategy you need to win, and along the way you learn tricks from your own skill level which makes you play faster and smarter.

I recommend this game based solely on the principle that once Terra Battle gets 2 million downloads, they will create a console game based on the lore. I’d be curious to see them reach that goal, if only because I want to see if they’ll make gameplay that is just as intiative and engaging.

How come nobody told me about this? (2014’s 2013): Rogue Legacy

Technically a game that came out this year because of it’s release on the PS4, but it also technically isn’t, because it’s just a port that doesn’t really change anything from the original release.

I wish I played this sooner though, because holy crap!

The controls are so tight and responsive that not a lot of games accomplish these days. Dodging enemies and traps were so exhilarating to the experience. The very idea that every generation of your bloodline is a different way to play, and spending money at the beginning of every generation to see what you can unlock is enough to hook you into another run. It’s these qualities that made playing addictive all the way to finishing the game.

Why isn’t there an english version of this yet? Pictlogica

Seriously. If you looked at my GOTY list from last year, you know that the entire thing was really a front for the Picross e series on the 3DS. While you can easily download Pictlogica from the App store anyway, it really doesn’t change the fact that I have no real understanding on what the game is.

I mean yes, it’s part Picross and part turn based FF game, that I’m find with and played a lot of it, but I’m pretty sure that’s only 20% of the game. I think it’s in Squenix’s best interest to release an english version, even if there is an incredibly niche market for it. Heck I could probably argue for this in a way that most people would argue for Yakuza 5.

But it is what it is, and even though it’s not in english it has enough going on that doesn’t stop me from playing what I’ve lightly come to understand about it.

Best Character: Edea Lee

I’m really happy that I’ve had the chance to play Bravely Default. I don’t think that it’s got a strong story, but it definitely has a beautiful presentation and it’s delightful to play. But when I think of this game, only one thing really comes to mind and that is one of the party members Edea Lee.

Possibly the BEST voice acting performance that game had to offer as the Justice-Bent Stubborn-Minded, Edea was totally brought to life in a way that I couldn’t help but enjoy. and definitely stood out as the most interesting character in the game.

Most Memorable Moment: Titan Extreme (FFXIV)

I can’t really say that I love these kinds of things in MMOs. fighting a boss and being done with it is going enough for me, and I really don’t like going out of my way to fighting a harder version of it, (especially if I didn’t like that boss in the first place.) But this year I was willing to get suckered into doing Titan Extreme in FFXIV, and though it was an incredibly painful experience from top to bottom, when we finally pulled it off and beat his ass, I’ve never felt so relieved in my entire life. If only you could have heard the skype call as Titan was delivered the final blow, biggest/best moment out of anything 2014.

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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!

Start the Conversation

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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