Monday, August 29, 2016

Mecha Ace Review


Mecha Ace is the latest interactive fiction that I finished reading.  I haven't read one in awhile, but these are the interactive novels put out by Choice of Games LLC and I've found a bunch over the past few years that I like.

Mecha Ace is all about being a Mech pilot fighting for the rebellion against an evil empire.  Sounds like a fairly standard setup but the actual missions and choices in the novel are fantastic.  I loved this author's work and I need to find out if he's written any other interactive fiction that's been put out through Choice of Games.

I really like finding good ones put out under the Choice of Games label, but honestly the hardest part is finding a good author and then finding their other content.  It gets buried under the general catch all label too often.

Anyway, Mecha Ace is really good, so if you're into interactive fiction or have ever enjoyed a choose your own adventure game you should give it a shot.  You can read/play it on many platforms if you click through here.

Friday, August 26, 2016

S1E28 - Hype and Media Coverage - “OMG SPACE DINOSAURS!”


Hype and Media Coverage
In this episode:

  • In the wake of No Man's Sky, we're talking about pre-release hype and gaming media in general.
  • Hype generally makes us avoid games because so much of the pre-release media is blown out of proportion. Expectations can be raised that aren’t met very often. But we do love being a part of the discussion after a game is released.
  • When we were younger, however, we both used to get super excited and consume all pre-release media as a kid. Gaming magazines were a much different hype machine than the current state of the internet and social media.
  • When do we pay attention to pre release media and when do we go on media blackout? Basically, if we are interested in a game, we will consume all the pre-release media until we decide if we'll buy it. Then totally tune out the rest. If there is a game we somehow miss (such as Stardew Valley), we listen to trusted friends and gauge our purchases on their opinions.
  • We also talk about what games lived up to the hype, as well as which ones gloriously failed to. But you’ll have to listen to hear which is which! (I know, mean, right?)
Weekly Geekery
Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

D&D Monster Manual Thoughts


After reading the Player's Handbook, which I talked about yesterday, I immediately jumped over to the Monster Manual to see what the world of NPCs had to offer.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Unlike the Player's Handbook, this isn't a book you can sit down and read cover to cover.  It's a detailed reference for all the major monsters, creatures, beasts, and beings in the game.  It's basically a combination of a world building tool and an encounter building tool for a DM.

I scanned through the whole book, stopping to read about the monsters that most interested me.  It was fun!  And now I can definitely see how much of a tool this book could be for campaign building.

One of the things I found most interesting was that every monster is given a challenge rating.  That rating is basically a "normal" difficulty rating for a party of four characters at that level.  So, for example, if a monster has a challenge rating of five then a group of four level five characters should be able to defeat it without dying.  It's a great way to gauge the challenge that you're setting up for your adventurers.

I'm glad I have this book to flip through for fun.  I think I'm more likely to run a pre-made adventure whenever I start out, but this will be great as soon as I get beyond that.

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
Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!
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