My life as a closeted bisexual. Updated X2!

Update: Today (the Wednesday after the original post) I came out to my dad. He was surprised, but that's about it, so it went well. I've left the rest of the post intact, but thought it was worthwhile to add this.

Update 2: I have also now come out to my mom! She was less surprised than my dad, but it also went really well. Just thought that was worth updating this, on the odd chance that someone else stumbles across this in the future.

So, today's been a weird day. I woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and logged onto Giant Bomb. All the stuff I usually do. I encountered this thread, and went in, because a thread about people's secrets seemed intriguing. I didn't even have any intention at all of actually saying anything. Instead, what happened was that I saw another Giant Bomb user say that his secret was his (well, I don't know that he's necessarily a dude, but I hate it when people use "they" or "their" for a single person of unknown gender) being bisexual. And, being the rational person that I am, I decided then and there I was going to do the same, and came out of the closet as being bisexual. And I figured I might as well mention it on Twitter, so I did.

What followed was a bunch of people saying really nice things, and being really supportive, and it couldn't have made me happier. I mean, I shouldn't have been surprised, given that Giant Bomb is usually great community, and the people that follow me on Twitter (many of whom I consider to be friends) are of course going to be supportive, but still. It warmed my heart. And then I figured that I should write up something proper and lengthy about this, my experience with this, and being in the closet for so long, because I like writing and it seemed like the thing to do.

I guess I should begin at the beginning. Obviously no two people are the same, and my experience isn't going to be the same as anyone else's, but it took me a long time to figure out that I was bisexual. I mean, I knew I was attracted to the opposite sex at the "normal" age (early teens-ish), but it wasn't until 2009 that I realized I was bisexual. I was 18 and a half. If you read the stuff I write on the internet a lot, this next part will make a lot of sense.

It was Metal Gear, of all dumb things, that helped me realize it. If you're not familiar, the series features several bisexual characters. Almost all villains, and arguably not portrayed well, but nonetheless, it has bisexual characters, which is more than most video game series can say. But this wasn't a case where it introduced me to the concept of bisexuality, and I instantly realized my own sexuality. No, instead I played MGS2 in early 2007 (featuring Vamp, the most prolific bisexual in the series), then MGS3 in mid 2007 (with Volgin, another bisexual), and then MGS4 in 2008 (where Vamp returns). But it wasn't until about a year after MGS4. I was lying in bed, trying to sleep, which, as you may have guessed, often leads to me thinking about Metal Gear.

I don't remember the specifics, but eventually my train of thought led me from MGS4 to bisexuality, and somehow the thought, "Am I bisexual?" popped into my head. It was like an epiphany. Suddenly a lot of things about my life, the way I thought about certain people, reacted in certain situations, made a lot more sense. I wasn't convinced, because, at the moment, I thought, "Well, I'm tired, it's late, and I'm a crazy person, so maybe it's a fluke." So I did what I could to "check." I won't go into the details, but I'll say that some time on the internet helped assure me that I was indeed bisexual, and for that moment in time, I was happy.

It's no secret that I'm prone to feeling pretty depressed. I have been since my early teens. I had already been on an upswing, as it was my last year of high school, where I had finally started opening up, spending more time with people, etc. But, for that moment in time, this was like... a lighthouse? Like, a beacon leading me to... Okay, I'm bad with metaphors, that's why I'm a novelist, not a poet. It really made me feel a lot better about myself...At least for a little while.

Because then I was faced with a question: Do I tell anyone? Given the fact that this was five years ago, you can probably figure out what happened. Aside from one friend of mine, who I told, I kept it to myself. (And hey, friend of mine, I do appreciate that you've been there for me all these years, I only hope I've been a good enough friend in return.)

But when it came to whether or not to tell my parents, well, it wasn't so simple. Because it took me so long to realize it, I had spent years telling people I was straight. And for whatever reason, every year after I entered my teens my mom asked me like two or three times if I was gay. Not because I was acting stereotypically "gay" or anything, it was because I wasn't out dating anyone, or showing much interest in girls (though I can say with authority that I was in fact, interested in girls). Even beyond that, my relationship with my mother has been strained at best ever since my early teen years, even to this day (though it's certainly better now than it has been at times). Anyway, between my general inclination to hide things from her, saying that I was straight for years, and that specific time being when my relationship with her was at its worst, I just didn't. And my dad? I don't really think he'd care either way (he's certainly always been open minded about everything, and loves me (to be clear, my mom also loves me)), but again, I just never found a way to say it.

So, I told myself, "Well, if it comes up in conversation, I won't lie about it." Which is why a couple years later when my mom was driving me somewhere, and talking about my cousin, who was bisexual, I of course, lied and said I had no interest in men when she asked. So...yeah.

We don't exactly live in a world that's completely friendly and welcoming to LGBT people. And as time went on, and I kept hiding the truth, I became more and more accustomed to just trying to keep it a secret. To trying to suppress it as much as possible. And since I'm bi, and not gay, it's not like I couldn't pursue "normal" relationships. I could have theoretically never told anyone, met a woman, gotten married, and lived a perfectly "normal" life. And there's nothing saying that parts of that won't happen, but clearly the keeping it a secret part is gone.

But keeping a secret like that starts to wear away at you. I did, at one point, try finding some means of contacting other bisexual people, through totally anonymous internet stuff. It was certainly helpful, and enlightening about other people and their situations (so if people ever tell you that Omegle has done no good, it's a lie), but I was still keeping it secret. Aside from that one friend (who I never mentioned it to again, and he may well have forgotten (I don't blame you if you did)), I was just bottling it all up.

Like I said before, I've been prone to feeling really depressed at certain points in my life. The last year especially has been rough. Between lingering worries about my future (financially), the passing of Ryan Davis, all my medical problems that started appearing last year (Crohn's Disease), and a bunch of other things, it's been rough. And having my bisexuality at the back of my mind, just sitting there, reminding me of how different I am, how weird I am...it didn't help. Especially when there's people out there denying that bisexuality even exists. Of course, those are mostly the same people that think that people just choose to be gay, or bi, and those people are both horrible and horribly misinformed, but they exist. You can even find gay and lesbian people out there that deny and shun bisexuals if you go digging deep enough into parts of the internet that I wish I had never found.

And honestly, there's been times when I wished I could just choose to be straight. That I could forget all about it, and be "normal." I couldn't, obviously, but I don't think I have to go into details about how trying to deny a part of yourself exists is bad for your mental state of being. And I was having thoughts like this within the last year, so it's not like this is something I got over a long time ago. Hell, even with the incredible reaction I've gotten (you guys are the best), there's still a part of me, even though it's very small, but there's a part of me that wishes I could be "normal." It's probably the smallest it's been since those thoughts first appeared, but it's still there.

And that sucks. Maybe if I could ever bring myself to actually come out to my parents, or if I got into a better state of mind about the rest of my life, I could finally drive those lingering thoughts out. Probably not, given that I live in the US, a country that I still love with all my heart, despite how awful it can be to LGBT people in certain states. Even here in Massachusetts, there's plenty of horrible people out there that, well, I won't go into the specifics, but you know how awful people can be.

But, thankfully I have a community like Giant Bomb's there to support me during my low times, and there to pat me on the back for my arbitrary and rash decision to say these things today. The GB crew, and the content they've made have cheered me up more times than I can count. Any time I've felt down, they were always there with some Quick Look of a terrible game, some play through of something idiotic, or some incredibly long podcast about the most inane and hilarious things imaginable. I wouldn't give the stupid and hilarious conversations I've had on Twitter with the people I've met on Giant Bomb for anything. Same goes for all the discussions and outright arguments I've had with people on the site itself. Well, maybe for a world without hate against LGBT people, a cure for Crohn's Disease, and a few billion dollars. Then I'd think about it.

But seriously, you guys are the best. The absolute best. Though, really, I should be thanking the person that introduced me to Giant Bomb (that same friend, oddly enough), because I can't imagine what my life would be like today if I hadn't found it. What it'd be like without the friends that I've made. Matlock, Chabbs of Abkhazia, Krummey, Fattony, Josh the Miku fan, Abyssful (I'll never forget, Liam), Little So Crates, Mento(s) and Diet Coke...There's too many to name! I'm sorry if I didn't mention you, but I love you all, and I'd give you all hugs if I could, and wasn't worried about germs (damn health issues).

So here I am, writing the most heartfelt and introspective thing I've ever written. Trying to describe the last five years, and the emotional roller coaster that's been. Even now, hours after I made the initial comments (never mind how I mentioned my bisexuality on a Ground Zeroes thread a month ago (totally in context and to make a point) just to see if anyone would notice (they didn't, aside from the one person I was directly addressing)), I'm still nervous. There's still a part of me that would rather clam up and keep this all to myself. But screw that!

It's been a long road. And if anyone reading this has had similar experiences, or has any questions, feel free to ask (just be reasonable with the questions). If you're not ready to tell everyone, PM me, if you want. I'll take your secrets to the grave. If the things I've written here help a single person, either understand his or her own problems, or helped a "normal" person understand what LGBT people go through, then I'll be ecstatic. I'll feel like I've helped give back to this wonderful, amazing community of the best people on the internet. And ZombiePie. That guy always says every blog I write is my return to blogging, and F that guy for that. (I'm kidding! You know I'm kidding, right?)

So that's that. I'm bisexual, and I'm out loud(ish) and proud(ish). I'm in good company too, with people like David Bowie, Sammy Davis Jr., Freddie Mercury, Obi-Wan Kenobi, etc. At least according to Wikipedia, which has a list four pages long.

Oh, and I tried my hardest to come up with a good pun for my bi-line, but I couldn't, so I opted for a normal sounding title. Guess I left my puns in the closet, I'Ll Get Back To you later if I think of some.

116 Comments

Second Son, Second Souls, and Second Guessing.

I beat inFAMOUS Second Son a few days ago, and earlier today I beat Dark Souls II. I was meaning to write up a blog about Second Son last week, but I never got around to it. By which I really mean that I started several times, but couldn't do it. Been running into that a lot lately. Start trying to write something, but then I just don't have it in me. Even now, this isn't "flowing" anywhere near as well as it usually does. It's not that I don't have anything to say, it's more that... Ah, never mind. Forget I said anything.

Anyway, before I put my foot in my mouth too many times, let me get started on Second Son. I'm kind of torn on this game. I really loved the first two inFAMOUS games, and I really like this one. And on paper, this game is better than the first two in most meaningful ways. It plays better, it looks (hell of) better, and I can point to this game and say, "This is why I paid $400 for a PS4" with a straight face.

And yet, it feels like half a game. It feels like there should be twice as many story missions, or maybe 30% more, I don't know. It's just, compared to the first two games, and what open world games usually have content wise, it feels pretty light. You could race through this game pretty quickly if you wanted to, and even 100%-ing the game didn't feel like it took very long. But, coincidentally, I don't think there's any in-game way to see how many hours have been spent playing it (I could be wrong though).

As I was getting to the final mission, it felt (to me) like I was where the half way point of the game should have been. That's not to say that the game doesn't wrap up the story, as the story is quite wrapped up at the end (at least with the good ending). I just wish there was more to the game. Which, I suppose, can be seen as a good thing to say about a game. It's better to be left wanting than to be left wishing it had stopped hours earlier, I guess.

But I'm willing to forgive the game's "shortness" (again, compared to the first two at least) because of two things. The first is that the game play is absolutely spot on and rock solid, and because the game looks absolutely amazing. I try not to use the word amazing (or at least I think I do, I don't know that it would hold true if you actually looked through the things I usually say), because I think you should actually be amazed if you use that word. I was amazed at how good this game looks.

After thinking about it, it's not too surprising, though. Before playing it, I had only ever seen videos of the game online. Videos at resolutions lower than 1080P, and on screens not as good as my TV. Everything ends up looking better on my TV running in the full resolution than it does in video form on my computer. I probably shouldn't have been so amazed, but gosh darn, does this game look good!

Well, most of it, at least. The colored lighting, particle effects, explosions, and wet pavement all look incredible. The facial animations? Stunning. Frame rate? Almost always solid (and even when not, it's less than a second and barely noticeable). But, there's some clipping. And the pedestrians don't look so good. And I noticed some shadow detail draw-in stuff. You know, the kind of thing where...Eh, forget about it, I'm nitpicking at this point.

I'm a sucker for colored lighting, sunsets, and sunrises, and this game has all of them in spades. If only there was more of it!

The story missions are all fun, but the side content is mostly not so good. There are enemy truck-generator-things that you need to blow up, and fighting past the enemies to get to them was always fun. And there is a spray painting mini-game that despite existing solely to make use of some of the controller's gimmicks, I actually enjoyed. You have to hold it sideways (like a spray paint can), and tilt to aim the paint. And when you pull the trigger to spray, it makes a spray painting noise out of the controller. It's really gimmicky, and kinda dumb, but I enjoyed it. It helps that the graffiti was usually pretty good, and often humorous.

But the rest of the side content is lame. There's no "side missions" in the sense of getting a quest from someone and then going and doing it. Well, unless you count that "buy a new copy" stuff about "what happened between inFAMOUS 2 and Second Son." Actually, if side missions in this game would have ended up like those, then maybe the game is better off without them. But the non-new-copy-code side stuff is about finding audio logs, shooting cameras, and chasing down a dude hiding in a crowd. Yawn.

It's a real shame, because something cool could have been done with all the powers in the game beyond the main mission stuff. And even then, the missions are either free-form enough that you can just use whatever power you have at the time, or they gin up some story reason to give you smoke (so you don't have as many traversal powers and can't just run over all the walls and get out). It would have been great if there were missions where you needed to have a certain power for one part, but then needed to switch on the fly to solve some other problem. As it is, I generally tended to just stick with neon unless I needed to get somewhere else really quickly, at which point I went to video (it has more flying-ish powers).

Also, and I guess this is slight spoiler territory, so I'll white it out, but you don't get the final (fourth) power until the final boss fight. I anticipated this happening, so I left one district of the game full of side stuff so I would have something to use the power on, but I think that's weird. Then again, it feels a little half-baked and unoriginal compared to the other three powers, so maybe that's why. Also, if it's a concrete power, how come I can't refill my power meter off concrete sidewalks? Or anything other than defeated enemies?

But overall I did like the game a lot. The core game play is fun. Fighting enemies is thrilling, and the simple act of traversing the world is a joy. If only there had been more reason to explore, and more things to do. But, as it is, it's the best PS4 exclusive, and that alone is enough reason to warrant anyone with a PS4 to pick it up. And with the binary good/evil morality stuff, there's good reason to play it twice, which I will do at some point in the near future. I played it good first, because that's what I always do.

Like I said above, I also beat Dark Souls II. I already wrote a blog about that, so I won't go into a ton of detail about that, but I do have some more things that I'd like to say on the subject. Like with Second Son, I'm a little torn about this game. On the one hand, the minute to minute game play of DS II is as fun and gripping as DS I was. But, it's just not quite as good. I'm not really sure how to put it into words. I guess part of it is that DS II is easier.

It's not just that though. DS II does get quite a bit harder in some of the game's later areas, but even then, it kinda feels like it's just aping the first game. Well, aping sounds cruel, and I don't want to sound cruel, because I still loved Dark Souls II. Just, not as much as the first one. I wrote a lot last time about how the world of DS II doesn't feel anywhere near as connected as DS I, and now that I've finished the game, I feel confident in saying that's true of the entire game.

For example, in DS I, the game was designed in such a way that there would often be one bonfire, and you'd later open up a shortcut to it (like in Undeadburg). DS II, conversely, is usually designed in such a way that the levels are, well, just that, levels. They start on one end, and you progress through it until you get to the next bonfire, and keep going to the next bonfire. There's definitely shortcuts to be had, but it's not like the first one, and I feel like the game is missing something without stuff like that.

I don't think the bosses are as good either, but I can't really get into that without going into details about the bosses in DS II, and I'd rather not spoil anything, so I won't. I do know (and I didn't notice this until a friend of mine pointed it out) that a lot of the bosses in DS II are "tall guys that you can just circle around and hit them." I'm paraphrasing, but his words were something like that. Which is not to say that bosses like that can't be fun (a lot of them are), but it is a running theme through a lot of the game's bosses, and it makes them feel a lot more generic (so thanks for pointing that out, KRIS).

And the final boss is too easy. Come on, you know better than to do something like that, From Software. I'm also not really sure why that boss was the final boss. In DS I, you were pretty clearly working toward a specific goal, and then the boss at the end made sense. Here, the boss is in a seemingly random place, and it's a "thing" (again, not trying to spoil too much) that didn't seem like "it" was important to the overall story until that point. But maybe I'm just missing something.

Don't get me wrong, there's a thing or two near the end of the game that are really cool/kind of crazy story wise, but aside from that I'd say I think the first one had a better story overall. But I could just be missing stuff. Well, I'm probably missing stuff, this is Dark Souls, after all.

In the end, it took me just under 70 hours to get to the end. The game lets you keep playing after the credits, so I might try to clean up another optional boss or two before I go into new game plus. And, after all this, I think that's what you should take away from what I'm saying. Despite not thinking it's as good as Dark Souls I, even after 70-ish hours, I want to go back in for more. I didn't have that feeling after DS I. That's kind of because there weren't any areas in DS II where I thought, "Well, that was fun, but I never want to do that again." DS I had several of those, and maybe that's the thing that DS II is missing.

There's no Sen's Fortress. There's no Anor Londo. There's no areas in this game that made me feel like I had accomplished the impossible after getting through it. That's what this game is missing. That feeling of doing the impossible.

I do wish that I had managed to do some jolly cooperation with that same friend of mine, but I'm afraid that now I'm much too high level (180s) for him. Yeah, that's another thing about this game. It's almost impossible to get into a game with a specific person. We tried, and tried, and tried. We did everything the internet said would help. We made sure we were within level range, we bought a ring to help connect us, we even joined the same covenant! Nothing worked. I did get to help some other random people, and even summoned some others for a couple of the boss fights. But nothing with my friend. Oh well!

Aside from these two games? I've played a bit more of Ground Zeroes. Still really enjoying the game part of it, but the more I play it, the more I realize just how little Kiefer Sutherland talks in that game. I'm really getting worried that this might be representative of The Phantom Pain, and that's a bummer if it is. What was the point of paying all sorts of money for Hollywood talent if he's going to talk so little that it starts to seem out of place during some vital story scenes? Hopefully I'm wrong, and he's appropriately chatty in The Phantom Pain.

Also, before I move on, I have a few things (game play wise) that I think HAVE to be changed by The Phantom Pain. I won't dwell on them though.

  1. There needs to be less clipping, especially with Big Boss's character model and his weapons.
  2. They need to do CQC animations WITHOUT Big Boss's guns just disappearing the second the animation starts.
  3. Weapon customization needs to be done BEFORE the missions start (this is the one I have the most hope for actually being addressed).
  4. Big Boss's shadow should have hair. Right now his shadow is mullet-less.
  5. Load time on the iDroid needs to be non-existent, there's no excuse for the map not loading for several seconds some of the time.
  6. The music for the helicopter arriving shouldn't reset to "no music" every time I turn the game off.
  7. Enemies should actually speak when you put a knife to their throats and demand information out of them.
  8. Draw distance needs to be improved.

The worst part is that several of these things shouldn't even be issues. This is the year 2014, clipping and hairless shadows shouldn't be in games with production values like this, and every line of dialog should be spoken, even if it's throwaway lines like "You'll find ammo over here."

That's about it for game related stuff that I have to talk about. I've been trying to work on my next book, but I haven't been able to get anything done. It's a combination of second guessing the direction I'm taking this one in, and of not thinking that any of this novel writing stuff is worth the time and effort I put into it. I mean, no one is buying either of the two books I put on Amazon. Granted, these are electronic books being published with no advertising, and from a "unknown" (I quote because if you're reading this, you are aware of me) author. I shouldn't be expecting killer sales, but it's next to impossible to put that much work into something and not feel real bad when I can't even get the people that read my blogs and follow me on Twitter to buy it (aside from a couple, and I appreciate them greatly).

I also feel like I've said this before. Several times. Deja vu? My whole life is just trudging through endless circles, doing the same stuff over and over and over and over...

I'm not even going to bother linking to either book. You can type "The Allegiance of Justice" or "SPACE COPS 5000" into Amazon. Or not, that's what you're probably going to do.

I'm going to end this now before this turns into me complaining about my life and how depressed I am. Wait, crap.

I was going to put in a picture from Goat Simulator, which I haven't played, but would if I had a computer than could handle its majesty, but I didn't immediately find one when I searched the site, so I'm not going to declare the successor to the Year of Luigi to be The Year of the Goat. I guess Waluigi will have to do, for now.

38 Comments

Some Dark, Unfinished Business.

Oh, video games! You continue to be the sole ray of light in my dark and depressing life! Wait, that didn't come out right.

Oh, video games! You continue to be the sole ray of darkness in my happy and wonderful life! Well, that one's just straight up false. How about I just skip the preamble and start ambling? (More like rambling! Zing! (Did I just zing myself?))

Anyway, I started playing Dark Souls II last week. Now, normally I like to finish games before I write about them, but this is Dark Souls. II. If ever a game could warrant multiple blog writings, it's this one. I'm not even sure where to begin. How about I start with the things I like first. That seems good.

I still absolutely love the core of this type of game. The combat, the general design, the thrill of defeating a boss after multiple attempts, all while my heart is pounding because even the slightest mistake could lead to instant death! It was that last thing, during the game's first boss (at least along the "main path," I don't know how much freedom there is in this game with regards to the order to beat bosses in, at least that early on); that was the moment when this game really clicked for me. Until then, I was starting to doubt myself. Doubt that I had actually enjoyed Dark Souls the first. Had it all been a dream? Is this new game just not for me? HAVE I LOST MY MIND?

Aside from that last one, I can confirm now that those aren't true. But I was still struggling, because of one of the "new" features that I don't like. Namely, the fact that max health ticks down every time you die, until it gets to half. I never played Demon's Souls, but I doubt I wouldn't have liked it there, and I definitely didn't like it here. But I eventually found a ring that made it min out at about three quarters instead of half, and since then I haven't been having a ton of trouble with the game.

I have other problems though, but they're mostly minor ones. I really don't like having to warp back to town to level up. I get that was a thing in Demon's Souls, but it's bad game design. I get not being able to level anywhere like most other games, but having to go through two loading screens just to level up (that's one to load the town, and then one to load back to where I was) is just obnoxious. It's a waste of my time, especially when the level up lady says the same thing every single time I talk to her (unless I have an Estus shard), and then sometimes the game takes longer than it should to load the level up menu after I try to button through her dialog.

But that's just an annoyance. My biggest complaint with this game, and granted, this is something that I can't say with 100% authority until after I've finished the game. But, I feel like the world of Dark Souls II (Drangleic) isn't as connected as Dark Souls I's world (Lordran) was. In Dark Souls I, it felt like every new area was built around the last one. The way I like to describe it is that every road led to Undeadburg. Some of my favorite moments in Dark Souls I were when I realized that this bizarre new area I was in was really just thirty feet away from some other area I had been in hours ago. It felt like tons and tons of time had been spent making this whole world connect in dozens of different ways.

I'm not getting any of that from Dark Souls II. It feels more like it's a bunch of levels that are connected together, and in the case of the Lost Bastille, it's literally separated by a loading screen. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the Undead Asylum and the end game area were the only two parts of Dark Souls I connected by loading screens. Technically you had to take a cut-scene into Anor Londo, but it was so short that I think it was still using the game's regular level streaming stuff.

In one way, it's not a huge deal. I mean, in the moment to moment of Dark Souls I, the level design wasn't anything so astoundingly amazing that it blew everything else out of the water. But, it did lead to a lot of situations where you would be opening up shortcuts to previous bonfires. Dark Souls II isn't built that way, and instead there are WAY more bonfires than there were in the first game, and I'd say it's to the point where there are too many bonfires. At least thus far, I feel like I'm not going nearly as long as I often did in Dark Souls I without running into another bonfire. Granted, that could all change later in the game. I have my doubts, but it could.

I think that's all that I want to say about this game for now. I haven't really played it as much in the last few days as I had before. Why? Well, I think you know...

You know, I had actually prepared a screenshot from my PS4, but for whatever reason I'm having trouble getting it into this blog, so I just took one from the Ground Zeroes page.

Either way, it's finally here. Ground Zeroes has finally become a thing that people can play. I wish I could say that I'm 100% behind it and absolutely love it, but that would be a lie! I have one substantial issue with this game, and it's something I never thought I would say about a Metal Gear game.

There's not enough story.

When I finished the main mission (which took me two and a half hours, largely because I was trying to stretch it out, and also I got really lost once), I was rather stunned. Not at the darkness of some of the goings on (more on that later), but rather at the abruptness. The game has a ten or eleven minute cut-scene at the very start, a couple of short cut-scenes during the mission (about a minute for one, less than a minute for the other, give or take), and then eight or nine minutes of cutscenes at the end. Not counting the credits, which did have a little bit of dialog over them, and a little more after the credits finished.

But that's it. I was expecting something closer to thirty or forty minutes of cut-scenes. I was expecting some lengthy-ass discussions about things, and bit of a clearer idea as to what was happening than what is actually in the game. I mean, I already knew most of the main arc of this game because of the stuff in the trailers, but there's stuff in those trailers that isn't really even in this game. I mean, I figured this game was going to end with (I guess here it's spoilers if you haven't seen the trailers, but come on) Big Boss in a coma, and then some dialog from Kaz about that or something.

Instead, (now this is a legit spoiler for things that happen in GZ, so I'll white it out) it ends with an explosion near the helicopter that Big Boss, Kaz, and Chico are in, and then it goes to a black screen with some text. What? And then, after some more black screens with text and the credits (which is more black with text), there is a straight up trailer for The Phantom Pain, including some of the footage of Big Boss and someone that looks like Miller (but had a different voice in that trailer (so I'm still thinking there are two Millers)) in the hospital. But way less footage (and also no intelligible audio from that guy that looks like Miller but was voiced by someone else in that trailer). And then it ends with a logo for The Phantom Pain.

I thought all that was pretty lame. Which is a shame, because I like most of the other story type stuff going on in Ground Zeroes. I know some people have complained about the voice acting (Jeff was doing it during the Quick Look after a lengthy bit from Kaz during a mission), but I still like the voice acting. Robin Atkin-Downes (Kazuhira Miller) and Christopher Randolph (Huey "Papa Otacon" Emmerich (I made up that nickname)) are still doing what they do, and I like their voice acting. Aside from being a sadistic and horrible person (more on that soon), I like Skull Face's voice acting. And, most importantly, I really like Kiefer Sutherland as Big Boss.

But there's not even much of him in the game. And I'd say that at least half of his lines are hidden in audio tapes that can be easily avoided without even realizing that they're there. It's a real shame, because like I said, I really like him as Big Boss. I'm sure there will be plenty of him talking in Phantom Pain proper, but for now it kinda feels like it's the absolute bare minimum, almost like they only had him in for a short time and could only do a few lines.

But I know that's not the case. I mean, they did all that facial capture stuff, there's obviously the next game coming, and there's lines that he did for the Deja Vu mission on the PlayStation versions of the game. They had him re-record a handful of "classic" MGS1 lines like "LIQUID!" No, seriously, they had Kiefer Sutherland re-record a bunch of goofy-ass lines from MGS1 for a bonus mission that only appears in half of the versions of the game. I think that's absolutely hilarious.

And speaking of goofiness, I might as well cover the part of Ground Zeroes that is dark. I don't mean the lighting (but the lighting is fantastic). I mean the, well, by now you probably heard that there's some messed up stuff in this game. Specifically, there's a cut-scene that is not for the queasy (or people with intestinal health issues), and there's some audio tapes with some...stuff on them. I won't spoil them, you can find the thread on GB about that stuff to see what it is. I will say that it got the game the second "Sexual Violence" descriptor in the ESRB's history, and I'd say it's deserved.

It's dark, it's disturbing, and I'm surprised that Kojima would put something like that into a game. But that's clearly the point, it's in there to make the players understand that messed up stuff is happening, and to show how much of a freak Skull Face really is. And I'm a also surprised at that part, because MGS villains are usually the sort of villains that you, well, not quite root for, but can at least sympathize with a little. I mean, what MGS fans out there don't like characters like Ocelot, Liquid, or Solidus? Hell, despite being an antagonist in MGS3, The Boss is basically portrayed as being the most heroic character in that game.

Skull Face though? Nope. There's nothing heroic about what he's doing. It's a different approach for MGS villains, and I'm interested in how it'll be handled in The Phantom Pain.

Yeah, this guy. He's the worst. Also, the guy that did his voice was in a couple episodes of Star Trek TNG and Deep Space 9. I know that because I've watched a lot of those shows lately. I'm almost done with Deep Space 9, and that makes me sad. I don't want it to end.

And speaking of things I don't want to end, boy the game play... Okay, I'm sorry, that was a terrible segue. Anyway, while there isn't nearly enough story in Ground Zeroes, I couldn't be happier with the game play. Not to say that it's perfect, but I do think it's fantastic. I'd go so far to say that in terms of pure mechanics, it's the best video game stealthing I've ever played. I can't honestly call it the best stealth game ever, when there is so little of it relative to other, larger, and full priced games. But the potential for The Phantom Pain? MAN.

Basically what they've done is further modernize the controls, add a button dedicated to diving, and put it in a big wide open area. Kojima likes to call it open world, and it certainly is compared to the previous games, but it's not the giant open areas that are supposed to be coming in The Phantom Pain. Even as big as it is, and as fun as it is to explore and mess around with things, I only wish it was bigger. I want big open spaces to drive those trucks around it. I want to use those binoculars from across vast distances to scope out an entire base before I even set foot in it.

It's not perfect, mind you. I found a generator in one part of the base that I could turn off, and cut power to nearby lights and security cameras. But, then the commanding officer of the base sent someone to turn it back on. So, I figured, I'd set some C4 and blow it up permanently. Sadly, that didn't work. And I don't really see any reason as to why that shouldn't have worked. Hopefully there won't be issues with things like that in The Phantom Pain, but I still think it was worth mentioning.

The AI is good, but not so good that it makes the game unfun. At least on normal, I haven't really played too much on hard yet. It's also not perfect though. One time I left an APC in the middle of the road, and after doing some stuff, I came back to see that it was still there, and there was a truck nearby that someone had parked while he went to go do guard type things. But then he got back into the truck, and proceeded to sit there in the road, not driving anywhere because the APC was blocking the way. I didn't stay to see what happened next (as I had places to do and things to be), but that seemed like something only a video game person would do.

But aside from stuff like that, my only other complaints are nitpicking type stuff. Things like the clipping. I admire that the game has a more realistic inventory system, and that Big Boss keeps a rifle dangling on his side like it's attached to something. But, the end result is that the gun is almost constantly clipping through the ammo bags on him. Even worse is that when he CQCs someone, or picks up a body, the gun just disappears. What's even the point of showing the weapon(s) on him if the only solution to clipping is to make it disappear? I mean, this is the year 2014. There shouldn't be awful clipping like that in games any more. It's ugly, and it detracts from a game that otherwise looks fantastic.

But it's nitpicking. In the heat of the moment, I don't notice most of that stuff. That said, if those same things happen in The Phantom Pain, I'm going to be really disappointed. You can figure this out Kojima. The PS4 and Xbox One can handle guns that don't clip. You guys can figure it out.

While I have finished the main mission (twice) and all the side missions (some of those twice too), I have no plans to stop playing this game. I still had audio tapes to find (even if I don't really want to listen to them because damn are some of them unpleasant (intentionally so), and it's fun. Besides, I'm a Metal Gear Addict. This is what I do.

Here's to you, Big Boss. Hopefully that robot arm and motorcycle treat you well in The Phantom Pain.

So, what else has been going on? Well, I'm at the point with my Crohn's Disease that I'm taking a long term treatment, and the doctor's think I'm doing well enough to not have another appointment for the next six months. Hopefully nothing will go horribly wrong on that front.

Speaking of things going horribly wrong, Space Cops 5000 is still an electronic book that you can buy, read, and then tell your friends to buy and read it! I may be a decent author, but I'm not a good salesman, if these sales (or the lack thereof) are any indication. I'm not surprised, this is exactly what happened last time, with my first book, but it doesn't stop it from being demoralizing. I'm already prone to being depressed-ish as it is without lack of sales reminding me that quality work doesn't mean a damn thing if you aren't in a position where large numbers of people do what you tell them to. And I'm not going to try to claim that it's some masterful work of fiction that will be remembered throughout all time, but I'd bet every cent I own that it's better than a lot of best sellers out there.

Here's some links, should you change your mind and want to buy it. US, UK. Or search for "Space Cops 5000" on Amazon. Or search for "The Allegiance of Justice," which was my first book.

I know I usually try to keep my internet stuff positive, and I don't want to turn this blog into me just whining and moaning about my life, but... Sometimes I get really depressed, and I just thought I'd put that out there. I'm not an optimist, and between my lack of a job, lack of prospects for getting a job, incurable medical condition that is just bad enough to be unpleasant (now with the added bonus of my treatment making my immune system really weak), and the part of my brain that will never let me forget all the stupid mistakes I've made and things I've missed out on...

Well, let's just say I'm glad that I have video games to take my mind of things, and weirdos on the internet that at least take the time to read the nonsense I write. Well, the free nonsense that I write, at least.

But enough talk, I think this has gone on far too long as it is! And, now that the (fiscal) Year of Luigi is finally over, I present to you... Uh... Hm... Well... I, er...

Ah, good. A skull based villain that isn't a complete psychopath.

1 Comments

Striding and Tomb Raiding.

Today may be the release of Dark Souls II (which I have), but I've been playing other videos games too! And finishing them! But first, a message from our sponsors:

You should buy my new electronic-book, Space Cops 5000. I know this probably won't convince you, so I won't dwell on it. Here's some links: US, UK, and it's available elsewhere too. Just search for Space Cops 5000 on Amazon.

Okay, here's what I thought of Strider. The new one.

So, after listening to Jeff go on and on about how great the NES Strider was, and only give Strider 3 stars in his review, I was going to wait until Strider went down lower than $15 before I bought it. But then I watched the Quick Look Throwback Bombastica for NES Strider, and realized that Jeff was horribly wrong about that game (well, that's a hyperbole), so I went and bought the new Strider.

And I'm glad I did! It's a really fun game. I almost want to call it great, but I think the game falls just short of being great. The core game play is great, I can say that without hesitation. Running and jumping feels good in this game, and that's more than a lot of games can say. Especially when the game is about a future ninja fighting through fake future USSR. There's something satisfying about running through groups of enemies whilst mashing the sword button and tearing them to shreds.

The problem I have with the game is that the world built around those great core mechanics isn't as great. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what it is that makes it not as good as something like Shadow Complex. Part of me wants to say that Strider should have had some more puzzles, or something along those lines. But I don't really remember Shadow Complex having puzzles. Or did it? I dunno! I can say that Strider lacked that special something to propel it to true greatness, but it's still a really fun time, even if at the end of the day it's maybe just a little forgettable.

Okay, let me try to find the right way to word this. When I was playing Strider, I really liked it. I was having a ton of fun. But I haven't played it in over a week, and I find myself struggling to find the words to describe it, because it all kind of blended together. There aren't really any standout moments. There's no, "Oh man, I just did this rad thing" moments in the game. It's just kind of 7 hours (if you play like I do, and try to find everything) of the same thing. At least until the final boss, which (now that I think about it) was absolutely insane. I mean, it looked like it came straight out of Bayonetta. It's that kind of weird. Just not as fun. The boss fights weren't great.

It's fun. You should probably play it if you like fun. I like fun. There's a few goofy things, like how Strider climbs up walls one handed (with his sword in the other hand) that I really like, for the goofiness.

There's my end game completion screen. I would have gotten 100% if the non-upgrade collectibles appeared on the map. I don't know why they don't. It's like they didn't want me to find that concept art, those Strider skins, and those challenge mode thingies.

Along with Strider, I had been playing a lot of Killzone Shadow Fall online. I don't really have much to say about that, other than the two matches in a row where I was #1 at the end of both matches! That was cool.

Last week I started playing the Tomb Raider reboot, because it was free on PlayStation Plus. I think this game is really great. It's kind of like Uncharted, if Uncharted's set pieces weren't as good, but it had a lot more exploration, and also you play as a lady. That last one just led to some not great hair physics, but at least it was one big clump of hair, rather than a mess of weightless strings, which is what the TressFX hair looked like to me in videos. While I'm on the subject of things I didn't care for that are mostly aesthetic, I might as well mention that the facial animations weren't great. But, you know, it's a last gen game, and hopefully more games will be doing LA Noire or MGSV facial capture type stuff.

In terms of the actual game part of the game, I really liked it. I think the game has a nice mix of combat and puzzles, though I would have liked more puzzles. But then again, I think that about most action games with puzzles in them. Well, most action games with good puzzles in them, at least. The types of puzzles in this are mostly the type where you have to figure out how to get through an environment, or trigger the thing that will open the path. You know, the kind of stuff that you'd expect from this type of game. None of it is super difficult, but it was fun anyway.

It's not a stealth game, but it does that thing where (usually) enemies aren't alerted to your presence when you enter an area, which I really like. If you're good, you can stealth kill and arrow your way through a decent chunk of the game without them noticing. And you can arrow through a lot of the big firefights too, because the AI isn't great. I noticed more than a few instances where an enemy was just standing out in the open while I drew my bow back and aimed at his head. Later in the game it got difficult enough that I actually had to use guns every once in a while, and move from cover to cover, so it's not like the game is broken or anything.

Now that I read over what I've written, it doesn't sound very convincing, does it? What if I said that I liked the collectibles? The voice acting? Robin Atkin Downes plays at least three different characters in it, one of which was Japanese (and still clearly him (if you're like me, and in deep enough to voice actors to know his voice, you can tell)). Lara Croft's voice actress did a much better job than I expected, not so much because I doubt the skills of Camilla Luddington (I had never heard of her before I waited through the credits to see who voiced her), more because it's Lara Croft. Even with it being a serious reboot, I still wasn't expecting a decently told story. If only it had had better facial animations.

Hey, another game that has a really well done female lead character that could have been a dude without really changing anything (never mind it being a reboot)! After Remember Me, I'm on a roll! Anyone out there have suggestions for another that I could play? My next book has a female lead (or, protagonist, if you will), and as a dude, I've been spending a fair amount of time thinking about that kind of stuff. I'm trying to go for the "Hey this is a lady just because not because there's some critical story thing like she gets pregnant or some crap like that" type of thing. You know? I'm not explaining it well, am I? It's, I'm trying to do different things in each of my books. Eh, whatever.

Granted, books are not games, and there's no shortage of books with female leads, but it bears mentioning: Not many games out there with female leads. And even fewer with ones that are decent characters that wear proper amounts of clothing while adventuring, shooting dudes, that kind of stuff. Eh, whatever, I don't want this to turn into one of those things where I'm preaching about this. Just an observation. (Of course, you could argue that Lara's tank top isn't a proper amount of clothing for adventuring, but at least she wore pants this time.)

Maybe I'm just not in the right mood for writing after a few hours of Dark Souls II. I'll refrain from writing about that, for now though. I will say that after writing those couple paragraphs about playing as ladies in games, that I made a male character. There are proper beards in Dark Souls II now. But they disappear when you die and aren't human? It's hard to tell.

The only other thing I want to mention is that the mechanic of having to warp back to the town to level up is already annoying me. Maybe it'll be less of an issue later in the game when it takes a lot of souls to level, and I'll be going longer between wanting to level, but right now it's a pain. Especially given how long the load times are (on PS3 at least). For all I know maybe there's a "level at every bonfire" item. I hope so. I don't want anyone to spoil anything for me (I'm still super early on), but if there is such an item, I wouldn't mind a little wink or nudge to let me know.

I think that's about all I have to say. I've written a few chapters for my next book, so that's going well. After spending so much time just editing my last book, and not doing much actual writing, I had lost sight of how much I enjoy writing. I mean, it's not like this. I enjoy writing blogs, but it's not the same. I'm not creating worlds, writing dialog, or thinking up ways to entwine different subplots together. If only my books would sell so I could make at least something resembling money off of this! Oh well, at least it's fun to write.

Praise the sun seems to have been replaced with Hurrah for light, or something like that. It's just not the same. I haven't gotten to a boss yet, but I feel like YOU DEFEATED isn't going to be in Dark Souls II.

I had been going to declare this year the Year of Solaire now that the Year of Luigi is ending, but then I remembered another thing from Dark Souls II that I wanted to mention, so screw it, here's Luigi again to close off this blog.

8 Comments

I finally (self) published my second book!

That's right! After, geez, over a year of work, I've finally finished Space Cops 5000. It's actually been close to two years since I first got the idea to write Space Cops 5000, but I was mid-way into writing my first book, and I don't like writing two books at once. That's biting off more than I can chew.

One book at a time, though? Totally manageable, and also a lot of fun. Since I don't want the mods to instantly shut this down for being an advertisement on the forums, I'm not going to get straight to shilling for the book, though this sentence may have just given my plan away. Oh well, if you're reading this, then don't touch that dial!

Anyway, when I started writing The Allegiance of Justice (you know, my first book), one of the main reasons why I was doing it was to see if I could write a full novel. Not only to see if I could be diligent enough to stick with it and finish it, but to see if I had the skill to write a cohesive narrative that was entertaining. And while the book hasn't really met with spectacular sales, or even good sales, I'd like to say that it's developed a cult following in the time since its release. I'd like to, but it wouldn't really be honest. But that's neither here nor there, it's not like someone stole my idea for a religion based around Batman from that book and is using it in a movie that people will associate with Batman-based religions even though I thought of it first. Oh, wait...

I kid of course. Terry Gilliam will get what's coming to him once I amass fame and fortune from my works.

So, back to Space Cops 5000. After I was done with Allegiance of Justice, I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to do with the universe that I had created. It was going to be a trilogy, because everything is a trilogy, and I had a good idea of what I wanted the second part of it to be. But, since I now knew that I could write a full novel, I wanted to challenge myself again. I didn't want to just crap out something quick and easy, I wanted to try to do something bigger, and bolder.

See, if you haven't read Allegiance of Justice, then you wouldn't know, but it's not a super complicated book. I intentionally went with a mostly straightforward story. Without spoiling too much, I'll just say that it involves the characters embarking on a quest to go get some, well, they're macguffins, to be frank. But like I said, it's just these characters moving along toward a clearly stated goal. There's twists and turns along the way, but it's pretty simple, overall.

I didn't want to do that again. So, instead I wrote this mystery crime novel that is in space. It's actually quite a bit different than what I originally envisioned. At first it was going to mainly be about a private detective, but as I got into the book, the story ended up shifting to have a heavier focus on the police stopping an assassin and the nefarious organization backing him, so it became more about police detectives. If you read it, you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, even though the final product is not what I was expecting, I do still think it's good. I would say that it's a better book overall than my first one. Maybe not as funny, but I wasn't really trying to cram in jokes like I was with the first, because it has a more serious tone overall. What with it involving an assassin and some other, fairly dark stuff later on (that I shan't spoil).

At least that's what I think, I don't really know how people will react to it. At a certain point, when you've worked on something like this for this long, and it's a product of solely your creation, you begin to lose perspective on it. I forget things like what the jokes were. No, seriously, at a certain point I had re-read the stuff in this book so many times that I had to remind myself that some of the things I had written had been intended to be funny, and that's why they were in there. Maybe that's not something I should be saying here, but whatever.

When I wrote the first book, I managed to convince myself that of course it would sell, because it was a good book, and good books get good sales. I was wrong, and I'm not coming into this second book with that same level of hubris. If it sells, then great, I'll be ecstatic. Aside from maybe five of the people reading this that will buy it, I don't really expect sales, especially not on the level that I'd need to actually make money off this thing.

This is not to say that lack of sales won't make me feel bad. I mean, I poured my heart and soul into this book for over a year, and of course I'll feel bad if all that work was for naught. But my saying that probably won't sway anyone, will it? What if I give a sob story about medical bills? I should probably wait until after I get my long-term treatment Crohn's, and see how bad they are, huh?

I'm not going to lie, I want people to read it just so I can know if this stupid book is actually good or not. When I wrote the first one, I got a couple of my friends to read through it and critique it for me. It helped shape a lot of the book in re-writes, and for the better. Not so much because I changed things, it was more that I added things to make the book better, based on their feedback.

But, for whatever reason, they were too busy to actually read through Space Cops 5000. To be fair, it's not a short book. With my formatting, it's just over 400 pages long (402, I think), and contains over 150,000 words. It's no War and Peace, but it ain't short. To put that into perspective, using one of the only book franchises I've actually read, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is 160-something thousand words long. So it's mid-range Harry Potter length.

At least they say that they were too busy, I have a feeling it has more to do with the book itself. I mean, you can't say that something is better than the first, and then proceed to not finish it, even though you finished the first. Both of them did exactly that, and I know that one of them is reading this (because I linked it to you, Kris), so don't take this as a complaint, or an insult or anything. I'm just letting my audience know up front: No one else has read this thing to completion besides me, at least before publication.

With that in mind, I now get to the actual shilling portion of today's program. If, after reading all this, you too would like to read this fine electronic book, you can purchase it on Amazon. No physical version, because I still haven't actually attempted to get either of my books actually published (I will some day, maybe).

Either search Amazon for "Space Cops 5000," or follow one of the handy links below. I have it priced at $2.99, which I think is a fair price for what you're getting. Honestly, I think it's worth more than that, but I can't start charging famous novelist prices until I'm famous.

If you're not in America, then the price should be whatever the equivalent is in your homeland. No, that's not video game price equivalents, where they hell of over-price the Brits. I don't remember what the UK price is off hand, but I remember it was under two pounds. Amazon has an option to just auto-set other countries to the equivalent. You know, so the Mexican version is something crazy like 39 Mexican dollars. I'm not joking.

Links:

US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan?

Check your local country's Amazon store if I didn't link to it here. I don't know what Amazon's e-book situation is in Scandinavia, but they didn't provide me with links or anything. Maybe buy it through the UK store if you're Swedish or Finnish? Or Norwegian, I don't want to leave them out!

It's only in English, so don't go expecting a translation if you live outside an English speaking country. But I have a feeling that if you are reading this, you can read English.

If you buy it, then thanks! As much as I'd love actually getting money from this, just knowing that someone might actually be reading and enjoying is enough. For now, at least. I mean, some day I'll have to stop living with/mooching off of my dad, and get a real job, and then the added income would be lovely, but I figure I've still got some time before then. I can probably write a whole other book before then!

For the latest on news on my literary works, you can follow me on Twitter. It's the same as my user name here, and there's the "Official" Twitter account for Space Cops 5000. Make sure to follow that and spam your followers with my "Official" hashtags, #SpaceCops5000 and #SC5K. Also, links to the appropriate pages on Amazon can also be spammed to your followers, or anyone, really. I encourage it.

That's all I have to say, so I'll leave with an "official" "endorsement" from a "trusted" "celebrity."

"I'm-a Luigi, and I say, buy-a this book!"

23 Comments

ReMetro Last Light...Me?

As you can see, I remain skilled at combining the names of different games together in an attempt to create a "clever" blog title. And for once, I think there's actually some thematic consistency between these games, even though it's kind of not obvious at all and I'd have to explain it. Aside from these both being games that I got "free" on PlayStation Plus.

Anyway, I played the first Metro game (Metro 2033) in early 2013 (I think) because it was $10 as a download on Xbox Live. And despite paying less money for Last Light, I enjoyed it quite a bit more, because my biggest issue with 2033 was fixed in Last Light. By which I mean that Last Light is actually a competent shooter. Well, that's not to say that 2033 was a bad game, but it was definitely a game where the atmosphere was the draw, and not the game play.

Then again, whilst playing through Last Light, I couldn't help but feel that even with the improvements, the atmosphere stuff was still the main draw. To be fair, I really like post apocalyptic stuff. Just conceptually, I really like the ideas behind the Metro universe. Using bullets as money is still a fantastic idea, even if there aren't a ton of places to actually spend bullet money in the game. I think the game might lean a little too heavily into the weird mutant monsters though. Not that I think there shouldn't be any of them, I just think that some of them can get a little silly. Like the giant crawdad things. Those weren't especially fun to fight, either.

Toward the end of Last Light, I kept thinking that the game was right about to end, but then it kept going. And going. I mean, it's not a super long game, it's still a modern/linear first person shooter. But I think that the game could have, and should have, ended sooner than it did. At a certain point the story wasn't moving forward at all (which is a little ironic, given that this part of the game was specifically about the main character moving forward to get to a place), and I just wanted to get to the end. I didn't want to fight yet another group of monsters, or yet another group of humans.

Speaking of which, I did like that most encounters against humans are set up as being built around stealth. I also like that the game has a Trophy for beating the game without killing any humans (aside from ones you're "forced" to kill, according to the Trophy). I didn't like that the act of trying to sneak through the game wasn't great. The AI isn't great, and most of the areas are so dark that I couldn't see well enough to actually sneak around. Granted, that's actually more realistic than a lot of stealth games, but not really fun. I think there is some sort of night vision goggles in the game, because there's a thing on part of the HUD for them... But I never found them. Unless that's only in easy mode? I honestly don't know.

Aside from the game going a little long, and some AI issues, I did enjoy the game a lot. I think the voice acting wasn't great, but what am I going to do, play the game in Russian? Never!

And then I played Remember Me. This game and Last Light have two things in common: The first is not great voice acting, and the other is that the style and atmosphere is WAY better than the act of actually playing the game. Especially in Remember Me. While Last Light is a competent game, well, Remember Me... I feel bad calling it incompetent, because I can't really bring myself to call it broken. It's bad though. Remember Me is a bad game. The combat feels bad (and gets very frustrating when fighting invisible enemies), and the platforming is mediocre at best.

But it's not really broken. Then again, this is the first game in a LONG time that I decided, mid-game, to turn the difficulty down to easy. Not because I didn't think I could beat it on normal. I was just getting so angry, and thought I would enjoy it more on easy. What really happened was that I disliked it less than I had before. And that's a shame, because there's some interesting ideas in Remember Me.

For example, you can customize the combos in the game to give various bonuses during the fight. One is extra damage, one is healing, and one recharges special moves faster. That's all great in theory, but there's only four combos in the game, and the combat isn't fun. The measured and slow pace that you have to use to get the combos out just wasn't fun. The special moves help spice it up a bit, but you have to hold L2 to use them, and for whatever reason, using a DualShock 4 with the game works, aside from L2! And probably R2 too, but I don't think R2 was using in the game. So I had to switch back to the DualShock 3, which I didn't like.

The one game part that is good is the memory remixing. But as much as I enjoyed going back and forth through memories trying to change them to meet whatever the goal at the time was, they're all really easy. And there's only four of them in the entire game. But if they had made a game that was mostly those memory remixes, and the rest of it was an adventure game, that would have been rad.

As much as I didn't like the game play, I loved the style of the game. Remember Me's vision of Neo-Paris is fantastic. Everything from the beautiful streets of the upper class zones to the filthy and disgusting sewers of the lower class zones was perfectly realized. Again, as with the post apocalypse, I'm a sucker for futuristic cyber-punk type settings, so admittedly this game is right up my alley. But it's still realized better than most game worlds are.

Oh, and there's a character named Kid X-Mas who is a bounty hunter with a TV show. He brings a holographic wrestling ring around with him that he summons whenever he finds and fights his target. Whatever you think of Remember Me, you have to admit that is rad. Or at least very silly in a good way.

If you have PlayStation Plus, and haven't played either of these games, go play them now. Just set Remember Me to easy first. It's definitely a game to be played for the world, and the art, not the game play.

Oh yeah, you play as a lady in this game! I wasn't going to mention it, because it was well done and she was written in such a way that the character didn't HAVE to be female, and thus was a woman just because the developers thought it'd be cool to play a game as a lady, but then I remembered that almost all games and game developers are sexist monsters who intentionally discriminate against women, so I thought I would mention it.

That's about it for "new" games that I've been playing. I've also gotten back into Need for Speed Rivals. Back last year, before being hospitalized (over that Crohn's induced abscess) ended most of my game playing for that year (and a lot of January), I had beaten the cop career in Rivals, but not the racer career. I still enjoy playing as a cop more than as a racer, largely because of the Dark Souls style losing of Speed Points when you get busted as a racer, but I think I'll stick with the racer career this time. At least long enough to finish it.

And I think I'm getting into playing Killzone Shadow Fall online. I played a few matches this morning, and I'm glad that I am. The campaign of that game isn't great, so it's good to actually get my money's worth. Which is not to say that I regretted buying it in the first place, because I needed to have a really good looking game at launch to justify my purchase of a PS4. So, yeah, Shadow Fall is a fun game.

I still have yet to beat Olmec in Spelunky, and I'm taking a break from the game. I just... I called it an abusive relationship on Twitter, and I think that's accurate. I mean, I ALMOST beat Olmec once, so I know I could do it. But I just don't have it in me to keep trying. For now, at least. I'll be making more attempts in the future, after I take some time to get away from it, and try to clear my head of Spelunking.

That's been it for games. Unless you count the Strider demo, but I didn't buy the game and start playing it, so I don't think that should count. I've also been playing D&D with friends (that same quest that we started last year), and now my sorcerer is powerful enough to fly through the air and shoot lightning (that does lightning AND fire damage) at the same time. So that's fun.

Oh, and I finished my second novel, Space Cops 5000! It's not up for purchasing just yet, that'll be next Friday, the 28th. I still have a little more formatting to do, with regards to meeting Amazon's requirements for publishing on Kindle. It's specifically making links in the Table of Contents lead to the chapters in the book. That's harder to do than it should be. Or at least it was on my first book, but luckily I've managed to forget what I did to get it working last time, so I can look forward to figuring it out all over again! Don't worry, it's not the kind of thing that could lead to a delay. It's not THAT hard.

I'll probably do another blog here once I get that up on Amazon. You know, to advertise for it on the forums here on GB, because advertisements are not only allowed on the forums, I hear that the mods encourage it! I kid, of course, but you can't stop me, mods!

Health wise, I'm still alive. I'm going to be getting one of two treatments for my Crohn's, both of which involve injections. One is at the hospital every 8 weeks, the other is at home (I'd do it myself) every 2 weeks. But I don't get to decide which, the insurance company does. Yay USA? At least the doctor thinks that both will be about the same in terms of effectiveness, and side effects, so it doesn't really matter in terms of my health, unless I'm allergic to one of them.

Next week Lords of Shadow 2 and Thief are coming out. I'd like for both of them to be good, but I feel like Thief won't be. I'll play LoS 2 if it's good or bad, but I'll wait until it goes down in price if it's bad. Then next month is basically New Christmas, with all the games coming out. Ground Zeroes, Dark Souls II, inFAMOUS Second Son, other games that I won't play but will hopefully be good for the people that do play them, etc.

It could be a while before my next video game related blog, unless I get LoS 2 next week. Just warning you.

Now that we know the actual end of the Year of Luigi (some time in March, I don't remember), I figured I'd go back to Luigi before the official end.

9 Comments

I understand Capcom just a little better today.

So, as you probably already know, Divekick is going to be getting a lot of changes soon. I won't recap them here, you can read them here.

But, I, after reading some of these, and seeing some of them on the Divekick Esports hour (I missed the beginning), I have to say, I'm upset. Angry, even. Angry in a way that makes me disgusted with myself for being so upset over something dumb like Divekick.

But... I... I'm still angry. Not that they're changing the game, but because they're changing the game so much, and not giving the option to stick with the original. I mean, The Baz is almost a completely different character now, and I'm not going to say that one version is better than the other. I can't, I haven't played New Baz.

I don't like that they're just getting rid of Classic Baz in favor of New Baz. If I patch Divekick after this goes live, then Classic Baz is gone. Forever. So, I could just not patch the game, but that's lame. And it got me thinking, wouldn't it be better if The Addition Edition of Divekick was a wholly new game?

You know, like what Capcom has been doing forever with fighting games.

And... The fact that I now think that Capcom's method of re-releasing games has... left me rethinking life. I mean, I learned at the doctor's today that I'm most likely going to be on medicine for the rest of my life for my Crohn's Disease. I have a fairly serious medical condition that will be with me for the rest of my life, that will likely require a whole lot of nonsense and frustration...

But Divekick is causing me more stress. This re-evaluating of how I perceive changes games is changing how I think about these things.

I'm not saying these changes are bad across the board. I'm not saying anything about them, other than I don't personally like the sound of a lot of them (like how the YOLO gem no longer makes Jefailey's head grow). I'm just saying that the option should be there for people that don't want to change. Whether that means making Addition Edition a new game, or having an option in the game to go by the old version, I don't know. I'm just saying that the option should be there, and even though I never realized it before, Capcom had come across the solution years ago.

I just never realized it because I never cared before.

Divekick is dead. I hate you Dave Lang.

14 Comments

Blog Blog Blog: Outlasting Outlast, or Metal Gear Something Something.

Ah, video games. They refuse to go away, and I refuse to stop playing them, so here I am writing about video games! Once again!

So, Outlast. As the "free" PlayStation 4 game of the month, I played it. I'm actually surprised by how I feel about this game, which is to say that I wound up kind of liking it. See, last year, when the game came out on PC, I ended up watching Patrick Klepek play, I think almost all of this game in his Spookin' videos. My impression from watching that stuff was that it seemed like a bad stealth game. And I still think it's a bad stealth game, but I still kind of liked it.

There's basically two different types of "game play" in Outlast. There's the parts I like, which involve just walking around through spooky areas. I think those are terrific for the atmosphere, the lighting, etc. I mean, the insane asylum in this game is absolutely filthy and disgusting. It's gross, but in a way that I totally dug. If this was a puzzle-solving adventure type game, I would have really loved exploring this asylum, and trying to look into every last horrific nook and cranny.

But the problem is that a lot of it is a bad stealth game. Far too much of the game is about sneaking past an enemy (or a couple enemies) to push buttons, find things, or whatever. Now, I like stealth games. I LOVE stealth games. If you follow me on Twitter, you're well acquainted with my Metal Gear Addiction. But I have two problems with the stealth in Outlast. The first is that the AI isn't great. I'm not going to sit here and say that the AI in every stealth game I love is great (cough, Deus Ex Human Revolution, cough), but bad AI doesn't help.

The bigger problem, is that there's no combat. I get that's the point. I get that this is supposed to be a "scary" game that forces you to run from enemies instead of fighting them. I didn't like that. I also don't think there's a logical reason as to why you can't fight back. There's no reason why the dude you play as can't pick up a thing and fight back. There's no reason why he can't even punch, or kick enemies to at least stun them. Again, I know the real reason is game design, but it would have been nice if it made more sense within the game itself.

Conversely, I did like how the game does a great job of making it hard to know where the enemies are at any given time. Even with headphones on (because I don't have any sort of surround sound speakers for my TV), it was tough to tell where the enemies were. The headphones helped, don't get me wrong (and I highly recommend using headphones when playing the game, especially with that handy headphone hole in the DualShock 4), but between the music (which I like), and the main character breathing, it made it hard to even hear what direction enemies were coming from.

I know that may sound counter productive, but I feel like modern stealth games go just a tad too far in the direction of giving you too much information at any given time. When I played Splinter Cell Blacklist last year, I intentionally never turned on the mini-map because I thought that would make the game too easy. Now I've gotten off topic though.

Anyway, I'm not really very good at playing stealth games in the first person. Now, I know I just said that I liked how I liked the small amount of information Outlast gives you, but I don't like what happens when that lack of information leads to being found. Again, that lack of combat hurts the game for me. The only option is to either give up and die, or run. And if you run, all you can really do is just hope that you break line of sight, and then find something to hide in. One of my favorite "new" mechanics in modern stealth games is the ability to knock a dude out via melee before he can raise the alert.

But then again, there's no alerts in Outlast because the game doesn't need them, because you can't take the enemies out in the first place. I think the part where this whole endeavor really falls apart for me is that while you can technically save anywhere, and any time in Outlast, it only actually saves your last checkpoint. I'm not saying that every stealth game should let you save anywhere (MGS games and Blacklist don't), but I think it would have made this game better. There were a couple parts where I got stuck because I kept dying, and that wasn't fun. Sure, I suppose I could have just used more skill, but at that point I was trying to brute force my way through the game because I wanted to get to the next non-stealth part.

So there's my mostly-rambling thoughts on why I don't like that part of the game. But that atmosphere! Not many games use darkness as well as this game does. It has very impressive lighting, but even more impressive darking. Especially with the game's dependence on night vision. While I don't think the battery system in the game is realistic at all, I do think that forcing most of the game to be played through a crappy camera with a crappy night vision mode is cool. Especially when the goofy light on the controller changes color when you turn the night vision on. Yeah, I liked it when the light turns from white to green, and it even flashes a little when the camera's battery gets low.

I feel obligated to point out (though not sure why) that I don't like found footage movies. The only one I've seen is Cloverfield, and I think that Cloverfield is a TERRIBLE movie. But as a game? I think the concept works here. I also think that a sequel, or perhaps a similar game in the hands of a different studio could make it work even better.

I think that's everything I have to say about Outlast. Well, I should say I didn't find it scary. I knew I wouldn't fictional stuff doesn't scare me. I'll be honest, this is the first game since that part with the dogs jumping through the windows in Resident Evil 1 to make me jump a little, but that's not a scare. That's reflexes. Doesn't count.

I really love being able to take screenshots in PS4 games. So dumb, yet useful!

What else is going on? Well, I've been playing Metro Last Light, but I haven't finished that yet, so I'll write about that later. Still playing Spelunky, but I haven't beaten that either, and I already wrote about it. Uh... Working on Space Cops 5000, that's getting close to done. Feel free to tweet hashtags like #SpaceCops5000 and #SC5K all the time, constantly.

Oh, METAL GEAR! I knew there was something I wanted to talk about. Yeah, I saw that Ground Zeroes is two hours long. Now, when I first saw that, I was crestfallen. I had somehow managed to convince myself that Kojima was hiding something from us, that there was more to that than just the Cuban prison camp. But it seems like there isn't. But let me be clear, I have every intention of playing this game. I can't not play this game. Why?

It's because Metal Gear means so much to me. Twin Snakes shaped a lot of what I liked back in my early teen years. Yeah yeah, they changed it from the original, shut up. I was 8 when MGS1 came out on on the PS1. I was 11 when MGS2 came out on the PS2. But 14 year old me couldn't get enough of Twin Snakes in 2004. I love spy/espionage stuff, because of that game. Because it was the right game at the right time in my life. And then I kept playing the games, and only fell more in love with the series (well, more so with MGS3, because as much as I like the story in MGS2, I think MGS2 is a bad video game).

These games have been an important part of my life. They helped me get through some tough periods in my life. They helped form a lot of what I like about a lot of other different things. I wouldn't be a stealth game junkie without these games. I wouldn't be into that aforementioned espionage stuff. And, obviously, I wouldn't be into the story of these games.

So when I look at Ground Zeroes, based on what I've read, heard, and seen, I see something that is easily worth my money. It's where I've wanted stealth games to go for years. I would spend huge amounts of times in MGS3 scoping out areas with binoculars while meticulously figuring out how I would work through the area. In retrospect, the areas in MGS3 were pretty small. But this prison camp in Ground Zeroes is HUGE compared to that stuff, never mind all the changes to the core mechanics of controlling Big Boss as he sneaks about.

I also see the next chapter in a story that I care about. I story that is incredibly well produced, well voiced, and often ridiculous in ways that I adore. So is all of that worth my money? Yes, of course it is. Sure, I might get through that main story once in two hours, but then there's the side missions. Then there's the part where I played MGS4 14 times and will probably play this one even more. I have a lot of free time. Part of that is that I'm a college graduate with a poorly thought out degree, and part of that is my on-going health issues (which seem to be going well), but like I said, I have a lot of free time.

Conversely, I don't have lots of free money. Even with health insurance, there's still health related bills to pay. I may be only paying part of that $1850 bill for one MRI, but I'm still paying part of that. I may not be paying $800 for a prescription, but $25 for a month of pills is still $25 (yes, apparently they cost $800 without insurance). And when I'm totally dependent on my dad, who I know would complain if I paid $40 for a game I beat in 2 hours, well, that is an issue.

Eh, whatever. It's $40, maybe $30 if I'm feeling "frugal." It's not going to kill me. Probably. Hopefully. If only my literary career would be more than two people on Twitter buying my book a year because I pestered them. Then I wouldn't be spending too much time worrying about explaining to my dad why I paid $30 or $40 for a two hour game because I feel bad using his money when I don't contribute at all because I made bad decisions in college and then happened to have bad genes that led to Crohn's disease.

So that's my life! Well, you could also throw in a bunch of other stuff that I worry about/can't get off my mind, but I shan't be writing about that here. I certainly could, but I just get angry at myself for even thinking about that stuff, so I won't be sharing it. You can look forward to a blog in the "near" future about Metro Last Light, and maybe even Remember Me, assuming I remember to play that after it becomes free on PlayStation Plus.

Sometimes I feel like I'm just banging my head against a wall. Not literally, I don't get headaches very often. Figuratively. I also feel like this blog is a rambling mess, but I think I usually have that feeling. I know my life feels like a rambling mess, but enough about that.

1 Comments

Spelunkin' with Blood Dragons and Brothers.

As nothing continues to happen in my life, aside from the odd visit to the hospital (you know, from my ongoing health issues), I've been CONTINUING to play video games! And now I'll end this meaningless preamble and actually get to the point.

I've had Spelunky on the mind for quite a while now. In retrospect, I find it a little odd that Patrick happened to start his Spelunky videos a week before the game was $3.75 on PSN, but I'm smart enough to know that Patrick wasn't paid off. (Or am I?) Anyway, between all of Patrick's videos, and actually playing the game myself, it's been on my mind more than most "small" games like this do (especially given everything else on my mind these days).

There's a lot going on in Spelunky. All the hidden little secrets, all the alternate ways to complete the game (well, there's like two, but still), all the hidden items, the way the sacrificing system works. It's kinda crazy. And I love it! I hesitate to compare it to Dark Souls, because I think there are more differences than similarities between the two, but there is an almost Dark Soulsian quality to the obtuseness of some of these things. Like using the key to get the eye to help you get to the black market, where you get the ankh, which you need to...Well, trust me, it's complex. And if you've been keeping up with Spelunkin' with Scoops, you already know all this.

Oh yeah, there's also the game part of Spelunky, which is fast and furious (RIP Paul Walker), and a ton of fun. I do think that the randomly generated nature of the level design can result in some crappy levels, but for the most part that's fine. I do, however, think it might be cool if there were a series of handmade levels using the stuff in this game, because the mechanics are so tight that levels made by a person could be fantastic. I'd go so far as to say better than what the game generates on its own, but obviously those don't exist (but wouldn't user created levels in Spelunky II be amazing?).

It's hard. Not so hard that I feel my spirit being crushed, like something like Ninja Gaiden II, but still hard enough that there are times where I feel like I have to stop playing for the day after doing something horrendously stupid. Okay, so maybe it does crush my spirit every once in a while, but not too often. I've gotten better at the game, but I hesitate to call myself good, when the farthest I've ever gotten is the ice caves. But I'm improving, both in terms of my tactics of how I tackle scenarios, and in my reflexes. I've found that a lot of my deaths have come from simple not reacting quickly enough, but I think I've gotten better at that. I think.

I do wish I had more people to compete against on the Daily Challenge, but I also don't want to clog my friends list just for this one game. I'm fine beating Chabbs almost every day, and having no one else on the leaderboard.

Oh, and pugs rule. Pug damsels for life.

I don't know when this screenshot is from, as the interface is different. Hm. This reminds me though, I really wish this was a PS4 game. If it was, I could take my own screenshots and videos, which would be cool. Shut up, PC Master Race Jerks, I know. Be quiet.

Also on sale for $3.75 the other week on PSN, was Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. I almost bought this game last year, but while playing the demo I got a little disgusted at some of the profanity strewn things Rex Power Colt was spouting after killing enemies (something about c*ckf*cking, I think, which I thought was probably offensive), and I didn't. But then I bought it this year, and while I still found those few lines disgust worthy, I ended up enjoying the game a lot.

Game play wise, it's Far Cry 3, but crazier. You know, giant lizards that shoot lasers out of their eyes, four barreled shotgun that shoots fire shot, and VHS tapes as collectibles. Otherwise it is literally Far Cry 3, which makes sense, given that Far Cry 3 is in the title of the game. And I am totally fine with that, given that I liked Far Cry 3 a whole lot. But much like the original Far Cry 3, it's not without fault, and the fault lies mostly in non-game play stuff.

I really like the style of this game. I really like what it's trying to do, but I also think it betrays itself by letting in stuff that doesn't jive. The game is trying to have the feel of a bad 1980s direct to video movie. For the most part, it nails it. But every once in a while it betrays itself with things like having Colt throw D20s (twenty sided dice) instead of rocks. Rex Power Colt doesn't play D&D, would never play D&D, and would likely insult anyone who did. So why does he throw D20s? I dunno. Someone, somewhere, thought that would be funny, and others agreed. Personally, I think it would have been funnier if he threw cyber-rocks, or 8-Track tapes. How funny would it be if, in this game, 8-Track tapes were so prevalent that they were as throw-away as rocks? Funnier than throwing a D20 and having an in-game AI call Colt a "nerd."

There's other things in the game that betray that sense of style too, like references to modern internet things, and other dumb stuff. But then again, the game has this:

I can forgive a lot of things when a game has something like this in it. It's a fun game, and I hope there's a sequel in the works. I just hope they stick to the 80s thing a bit more (or do a 90s thing). No dumb internet jokes, no D20s. More 8-Tracks.

And then, I did it. I finally went and played... Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

I didn't like it.

I didn't like the controls, I didn't like the puzzles in the game (which I feel like varied from poorly designed to boring), and I didn't even like most of the art design. About the only positive thing I have to say about the game is that I think the water looked nice. And it was short. I don't know that I would have been able to put up with much more of it.

I feel like I should have something more profound to say about this game. I mean, I didn't just find it boring. I actively disliked my time with this game. It's things like making up a gobbledy-gook fake language, and not subtitling it. I don't know why, I just didn't like it. There's just something about the...I'm having trouble thinking of the right word. Style? No, essence? Hm...Well, I couldn't think of it, but there's a word that means what I'm thinking, I'm sure of it. Anyway, there's something about the game that just felt kind of... I couldn't think of the right word, but then a synonym search for "pretentious" (which also isn't the right word) came up with "highfaluting," which is also the wrong word, but I'll go with that.

A lot of it comes from everything that (many) people have said about the game since its release. Mostly Brad Shoemaker. I just don't get what people liked about this game. Is it (spoiler) that the brother died? I don't get it. I don't see what people think makes this game special.

Whatever, I'm not the type to appreciate something like this. Oh, and I made this list. You should read it.

I do think that water looks really nice.

Oh, and I've started playing the Devil May Cry reboot on Son of Sparda. That game's quite a bit harder on that, but also really fun. I've been dying a lot more, but I like the challenge. That's a really, really great game, and I love that the developers went through the game and made different enemy encounters for this difficulty level. That must have been a lot of extra play testing to make sure these encounters were also fun and everything. That's dedication.

But that's been it for my video game playing. What else have I been doing? I'm on a bit of a short break on working on Space Cops 5000, but I think I need to get back to that tomorrow-ish. I think, unless my test readers actually finish it and have some serious issues, I've gotten it to the point where all I need to do is fix typos. I also feel like I've said that several times before, so who knows. I NEED to finish this, because I really want to get going on my next book. I've got so many ideas floating around my head for that, but I can't start working on that before finishing Space Cops.

Oh, and I've been going to the hospital a lot. All for just talking with doctors, doing tests, that kind of stuff. I had a colonoscopy last week. The conclusion seemed to be that I have Crohn's disease, which is bad, but not really that bad, but the doctors are still looking at some biopsies they took during the procedure, so who knows. I'm feeling mostly fine though (some minor pain now and then), so I'm getting along. As always, I'll keep you guys updated.

Oh, and in case anyone asks, the colonoscopy itself wasn't bad at all, they had me pumped full of sedatives and painkillers, so I didn't feel a thing. I wasn't as loopy as the nurses made it sound like I would be, which almost ruined my plan of watching Face/Off (for the first time) while loopy after I got home, but I watched it anyway, and man, that is a great, dumb movie. Also, I think the first John Woo movie I've ever seen. I'd say, as an experience, that I enjoyed it more than John Woo Presents Stranglehold.

The day before the colonoscopy? Well, THAT was not fun. But I'll let you discover that for yourself, if you ever need one. But if you do, don't start that day by playing Brothers. Do something fun, instead.

It's time. We need the Year of Waluigi. He is the saviour of Nintendo; the chosen one. Trust me.

5 Comments

[Insert Witty Blog Title Here.]

In typical fashion it's been some time since the last time I wrote a blog, and blah blah blah, you know the drill. I've played some games, and done some other stuff, including going to the hospital again. I had an appointment yesterday, and have several more in the coming weeks. You know, relating to that abscess I had to have drained. The drain was taken out a while ago, but now I've got such wonderful things like an MRI (which I just learned today has been scheduled for tomorrow) and, you guessed it, a colonoscopy. That's next week. Hopefully this is the last time I mention it on the internet.

Generally speaking, I'm feeling better than I was, but I've still got some pain in my abdomen that pops up several times during the day. Nothing too bad, but it's still pain. Well, hopefully with these things coming up they'll figure out what's wrong (they're thinking Crohn's disease, but won't commit to diagnosing it yet), and come up with some sort of treatment.

But enough about that, I've been playing games, and doing other things. Like Trine 2! I don't really have much to say about that game. It looks nice, and it's fun. I played the PS4 version, I should say. Uh...Yeah, I guess I could talk about how the puzzles aren't the best, but I kinda liked brute forcing my way through some of them by messing around with the physics. I wouldn't call that good game design, but it was fun.

But under the category of games that I liked quite a lot, I also played the Devil May Cry reboot that came out last year. It was free on PlayStation Plus, and I can't resist the price of free. Well, I can if it's something that I don't want at all, but that was not the case here. Full disclosure, when the redesigned Dante was revealed a couple years ago, I was one of the people voicing concern over the direction the series was taking. I word it that way because in the time since I've realized that those people were crazy, and obsessing about something really dumb, and would like to distance myself from them.

And even despite having close to a year of seeing things on the internet saying this game is good, I still went in with not high expectations. But then I ended up having all of my expectations completely blown away, and I really liked the game. Heck, I'd go so far as to say that I loved the game! I would say that it was one of the...six best games of last year. Or, rather, one of my six favorite games of last year. I enjoyed this game so much that I actually felt bad for not buying it with money, instead of getting it free on PS+. Oh well, too late now.

One of the reasons why I liked this game so much is that it, more than any other melee focused action game I've played, gives good reasons for actually switching up weapons and tactics during combat. In games like God of War, Bayonetta, REVENGEANCE, and even the past Devil May Cry games, I never really found many reasons to switch to other weapons. Not to say that I never did (DMC3 was all right about making weapon switching viable, if I remember correctly), I just mean that you could get through without much switching. But this new DMC features three different, polarities (for lack of a better word) of weapons. Neutral (sword and the guns), devil (axe and rock fists), and angel (scythe and ninja-star-boomerang-glaive-thingies). Most enemies can be felled by any of these weapons, but there are ones that can only be damaged by specific polarities. It's kinda Ikaruga-ish. Not quite, because that was a damage boost, not straight up doing no damage (so far as I remember). So I guess it's more like that platformer game that came out a few years ago that I can't remember the name of.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that you HAVE to switch weapons mid-combat in order to deal with these enemies. It makes for some good variety, especially because the weapons are pretty different from each other. The devil weapons are really slow and powerful, but the angel weapons are fast, have sweeping attacks, but are a lot weaker. And that can lead to things like using sweeping attack to deal with a lot of weaker enemies, and then switching to a devil weapon for a bigger, tough enemy. Contrast that with something like God of War, where you just use the chain blades all the time because you have good reach and decent power, or REVENGEANCE, where the sword is just straight up the best weapon in the game, cause the others are kinda lame.

The rest of the game outside the combat is fairly standard stuff, some light platforming, not much in the way of puzzles. The story stuff is pretty decent, I liked the voice acting, and the events of what happens are appropriately ridiculous. I don't think I got quite as much out of the much heralded "Raptor News Network Boss" as other people did, but I still enjoyed it. I still think I preferred REVENGEANCE's end boss, if we're talking boss fights in games that, well, you probably heard the discussion in Giant Bomb's GOTY podcasts, so I don't need to add more to that.

I think I might go and replay this game on a higher difficulty at some point. I was playing on normal, because it was the first "challenging" game that I played after "recovering" from having that drain in me, but it wasn't really that hard, and I was over-estimating how much my gaming skills had desegregated from spending a bunch of time not playing games.

Speaking of which, before I briefly talk about Don't Starve (well, all I really have to say is that it's neat and I like the art, so that's done), let me talk about my general thoughts on the PS4 now that I've had it for a couple months.

I still like it. But it still needs improvement. For one thing, I still think it needs folders to organize my games. I've been spending a lot of time watching Star Trek TNG, Arrested Development, and other assorted things on Netflix, and I think the Netflix app is mostly fine (though I'd prefer the system level keyboard for searching over the Netflix one). But I think the way the video apps are organized on the PS4 is a little not great if you only ever use one of them. They're all filed under a TV & Video thing, which means I need to move down a level and over a couple spots to get to Netflix. Granted, it's only a few extra button presses, but I'd prefer if I could just put Netflix on the central level with my games. I wouldn't mind this set-up if I was also using stuff like Hulu Plus, Amazon-what's-it, and some of the other things in there, but I don't. And I probably won't, because I think Netflix has me covered for the foreseeable future. I mean, I still have over two seasons of TNG left to watch, and then all of Deep Space Nine. And while I'm at it, I might as well watch Voyager too, right? I liked what I saw of Voyager repeats back when I was in middle school. Only ever seen one episode of Deep Space Nine, though.

Got off topic. Hm, what else about the PS4? Well, this is something that can't be changed with firmware, but I'm still disgruntled that my "500GB" PS4 only has about 407GB of usable space. I know, I know, this is how all hard drives in these things are, but I think that's kind of too big a gap between what's being advertised and what's actually usable. I'm just saying that these companies should be more honest in the future about hard drive space, even though I know that they won't.

I wish the Share stuff in the PS4 would let me just upload a bunch of screen shots at once to a thing somewhere, because I'd prefer that over doing it one at a time on Twitter. You know, if I ever need a bunch of screen shots for a game. Actually, maybe just let me copy all that stuff onto a USB drive or something. Well, for as much as I know, that might already be a feature. I could have tried that, but I didn't.

The last two things I think they should change before I stop this stream of complaining are that they really need to give us some sort of ETA on when Standby Mode will save my game in progress, and that Sony should patch in official support for the DualShock 4 onto the PS3. I really liked playing DMC with the DS4 (and a couple other games that I'm still in the early stages of, to be blogged about later), but it'd be nice to not be tethered. As it is, I have my PS3 on a little laptop table thingy as close as I can to the couch. I know I could just use a DS3, but I don't want to go back.

Here's something I don't understand. I got my 360 in 2006, and my PS3 in 2007. Before then, I had never owned a Sony system, and had only had very minor uses of Sony systems in the past. Yet, I somehow spent most of my video gaming of that generation on the PS3. At no point during that would I have claimed that the PS3 controller was better than the 360 one, yet I spent most of my time on that system, with no controller complaints.

I've had my PS4 for a couple months, and while I think it's a better controller than the 360 controller, I don't think it's a MUCH better controller. Yet, somehow, the DS4 has made me never want to hold a DS3 ever again. What I don't understand is why the 360 controller never did that. I don't see any logical reason behind it. Maybe it's just the console warrior in me that I thought I had killed years ago that was tricking me all this time into thinking the DS3 was worth using. I don't know, that's the best answer I can come up with.

That beard is my favorite thing about Don't Starve.

That's about everything I that I have to say. Still working on Space Cops 5000, hopefully that'll be done within the next month, month and a half-ish. I'm pretty sure I would have had it done by now if it wasn't for the health issues I've been having, but that's largely out of my control (at least I think so, Crohn's seems to be a hereditary/genetic thing), and what am I supposed to do when the hospital calls and says that I "urgently" need an MRI the next day? Oh well, I'm still feeling better overall, and hopefully that'll continue to be the case.

Either way, I'll do my best to keep you guys updated both on my health, and my novel writing "career." Maybe this next one will sell. I hope so.

So now I'll leave you with...Well, I don't know. I mean, I think I brought the Luigi thing about as far as I can, with that Luigi themed choose your own adventure game of the year Moosies thing. So what'll be the next thing? Well, I'm not going to force anything. I kinda want to do something involving my own screen shots from the PS4 share thing, but that obviously won't work for anything I play that isn't on the PS4. I dunno!

Is it time for the Year of Waluigi? If it was the opposite of the Year of Luigi, I'd be all for it.

5 Comments