Wednesday, August 24, 2016

D&D Player's Handbook Thoughts

I wouldn't really call this a book review, but it kind of is?  I finally got around to reading the Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook!

I've only played three sessions of D&D in my life but I watch some YouTube series and listen to some podcast series that are basically ongoing D&D campaigns.  I've been doing this for years now.  I thought it was finally time to actually pick up a copy of the D&D books for myself and sit down to read them.

I actually loved reading the Player's Handbook and I basically read it cover to cover.  I didn't read every single stat of every single spell, but that was the only exception.  I found some clarifications to the rules that helped me understand the game better than what I've picked up over the years.  But, best of all, I got to read all about the races and classes in the world of D&D.

The world building contained in the race and class descriptions along was just amazing.  I especially loved the prompts with questions about how you want to play the class/race.  There were so many great jumping off points that you can take and run with to make a unique character.  Not to mention the examples they give.  It's amazing how different one player can be from another even if they have the same race/class combo.

Although I don't have a group to play with at the moment I'm still very happy I took the time to read the Player's Handbook.  Maybe I'll be able to find a tabletop group eventually, but I think it more likely that I'll be able to DM for my kids some day soon.  So, this one is going on the shelf for now but I'm super excited to pull it back down and put it to good use once my kids get just a little bit older.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fire Emblem Fates Conquest Review

I finally got back around to my Fire Emblem Fates Conquest campaign and finished it off!  I really liked it!

I was sitting at around 60% done with the campaign.  I had jumped into it right after finishing Birthright in the first week that Fates came out and just gave myself burnout on the game by playing so much.  Now, coming back to it, it only took me another two days to finish off the campaign and wrap it up.

It's really cool to see the other side of the story.  Birthright covers siding with the Hoshido side and Conquest is about picking the Nohr side.  This is definitely the darker story.  Hoshido is more conventional and you get to be the "good guy" pretty clearly.  The Nohr side sees you trying to change things from within an evil kingdom even though you're trying your best to not be evil.  It's actually more interesting because of that.

But, it's also the harder campaign by far.  Birthright has some challenges but most levels see you trying to clear the field or defeat the boss.  Conquest has much more varied objectives and it's better for it.  But, some of them are super difficult to actually pull off.  I had fun with it, but this would be a bad place for a Fire Emblem newbie to start.

If you're thinking about grabbing Fire Emblem Fates and you never have played a Fire Emblem game before then definitely get Birthright.  If you're a Fire Emblem veteran and want a challenge then grab Conquest.

As for me, I'm probably going to pick up the Revelations campaign soon and play my way through to see the final "true" ending.  I just have to be careful to not immediately jump into it and give myself burn out on the game again.  Because, honestly, this is one of the best games on the 3DS.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dragon Quest 8 Impressions

After writing about Dragon Quest 3 last week I followed it up by trying on Dragon Quest 8 on iOS since I already owned it anyway.

It's better.  It changes up the exploration, look, and feel of the game a bit because of it's transition from 2D to 3D.  I thought because of this it might hold my attention for awhile and maybe it could even become the second Dragon Quest game I finished fully.

But after only a few hours with it I was done.  It was quickly obvious that the same exact battle system and underlying mechanics are the same here as they are in every other Dragon Quest.  There's nothing new and exciting to switch things up outside of the jump to 3D graphics and that's just not enough for me.

It looks like I'll mostly be sticking to Final Fantasy games when I want to go back to older JRPGs and not venture much more into Dragon Quest.  One of the core concepts of Final Fantasy that I've always loved is the constant reinvention of itself.  Sometimes it works better than others, but there's always something new to explore.

Friday, August 19, 2016

S1E27 - No Man's Sky - “You Can’t Take The Sky From Me”

No Man’s Sky
In this episode:
  • No Man's Sky is out! And we’ve played a bunch! We were both excited for the game, but avoided a lot of hype and details being released because we wanted to experience the game for ourselves. That said, we have mixed feelings about the game.
  • The first 10-15 hours of the game are brilliant. The first time you see a new element of the game, it is breathtaking and truly a unique gaming experience. It takes about 15 hours of playtime to start to see the limits of the procedural generation, which takes some of the wonder away.
  • The game is basically a survival and gathering game more than exploration. You gather resources, craft upgrades for either yourself or your spaceship, travel to a new planet/solar system, and repeat the process. Inventory management is a big part of the game, which was a letdown for us, but that didn’t take away from the wonder we felt at discovering new aspects of the universe.
  • Our favorite things? Glad you asked! Aliens! Ruins! Leaving a planet and seeing space gradually appear is amazing, and coming in from orbit and seeing the entire planet take up more and more of your view is equally astonishing.
  • It's basically a single player game, and we love that. Multiplayer would be awesome in some regards, but the idea of being alone in this vast, uncharted universe is too appealing to want to share it. The online community for the game is growing, but we are glad that it’s an experience, more than a game at this point.
  • Ps4 vs PC  (controller vs keyboard and mouse). The PC controls seem to be more intuitive than gamepad because of the virtual mouse you have to control with an analog stick on PS4, but the tradeoff is being able to lounge on your couch and explore a new universe. So it’s kind of a tie.
  • Unlimited exploration actually takes the pressure off for completionism. You can't complete the Galaxy, unlike most open world games. Your first landing on a new planet is always super cool. The unknown is fun, and that’s the best part about the game. They got the feeling of discovery down. The problems come in that there are always colonies and structures scattered on the planets, which even makes the idea of “discovery” feel iffy. We would prefer totally barren planets that we could be 100% alone on.
  • Also, you can’t name your ship. Seriously. Patch this in. Patch. This. In. Do you hear us, developers? Patch. This. In. Now. KTHX.
  • In the end, it’s a strangely compelling game that neither of us actually can say if it’s fun. But it’s an experience that we’re happy to have had, and we intend to keep on playing it. Sometimes, games can be about the experience and not about winning. And that’s kind of what No Man’s Sky is about. Or could be, given a few polish patches.
  • So who’s it for? Well, it’s an indie game that was marketed like a Triple-A title, and somehow, that makes it fall between the two markets and be slightly disappointing. It’s  kind of slow if it's the only thing you're doing, so it goes great with audiobooks and podcasts or riding the exercise bike over the winter. If you’re a space junkie, grab this game now. If you like crafting and survival games, pick it up. And if you’re just curious and want to see what the game has to offer? Wait until it’s $30. It would have been a stellar game at $30, but at Triple-A $60, there are just too many nits to be picked. When it’s either cheaper or patched up, that’s when the game will really hit its stride and find its audience.
Weekly Geekery
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Music by CarboHydroM

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dragon Quest 3 Impressions

After loving the Final Fantasy series so much I thought I should go back and check out another famous JRPG series with Dragon Quest.

I played around with Dragon Quest 1 and 2 awhile ago and wrote about them.  While I liked DQ1 and finished it when I got to DQ2 it felt like more of the same, only paced much worse.

Whenever it was that I bought these I also picked up Dragon Quest 3 and 8 since they're out for iOS too.  I finally got around to giving DQ3 a try and... it's ok I guess.

It again feels like more of the same.  Nothing new or innovative.  Nothing close to the reimagining that Final Fantasy undergoes with every entry.  But it's ok I suppose.  I played it for a few nights, leveled up my party and completed some objectives... then set it down.  I probably won't pick it back up.

Most people I've talked to about the series say that it doesn't change much from game to game and that's part of the appeal.  I need more variety than that.  But, since I already own DQ8 on iOS I'll probably give it a shot before completing giving up on the rest of the series.  DQ8 is the first game in the series to be 3D, so maybe it will be different enough to hold my attention.  Maybe?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Netflix Original Voltron

I don't really watch cartoons and haven't since I was a kid.  That's why it totally caught me off guard when I had a ton of people recommend the new Netflix Original Voltron series to me.  These are people I trust who know my taste, so I gave it a shot.

And... I really liked it.  I didn't think I would, but I did.  I watched the entire first season that's available on Netflix right now and I'll definitely dive into a season two if they decide to make one.

It's fun and it's a throwback to when I was a kid and everyone needed the color coded power to transform into better versions of themselves and then get giant mechs.  Although I was more of a Power Rangers kid and Voltron passed me by I still see enough similarities in this new one to truly enjoy it.

I can easily recommend this show to anyone who likes cartoons, Sentai shows, or was a kid in the 90s.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

999 Review

999 is a game I struggled to get into on DS and eventually gave up on.  The final game in the series came out recently so I went to take another look and a friend mentioned there's a visual novel version of 999 on iOS that would fix most of my problems with it.

I tried it out and found it mostly enjoyable.  The main problem I had was with the overall quality of writing and dialogue between characters.  They never use one sentence to explain something when they could use fifteen instead.  But the plot hooked me enough to push on to the end.

And then I found out it had different endings, six in fact.  And a flowchart to let you jump around the story and get to all the different endings easier!  So, I finished all the endings and unlocked the "true" ending.

That's when the game totally jumped the shark.  A bunch of stuff happens that doesn't make any sense and then right when it feels like the game might explain itself... it ends.  With no real explanation.

So... I'm left with frustration.  I know this series has two more games but I'm super hesitant to pick them up.  If the writing and pacing is anything like this game I know I'll get frustrated by how slow moving it is.  And if they pull this kind of crap again and don't explain themselves after even more games I would just be extremely mad that I wasted my time on it.

I think for now I'm done with this series.  Maybe I'll come back another day, but at the moment I seriously doubt it.