Showing posts from June, 2015

Halo Spartan Assault

I picked up Halo Spartan Assault for a few bucks when it was on the Steam Sale the other week.  I didn't really know anything about it, but I've had fun in the Halo universe many times in the past so I figured it couldn't hurt. Well, I played it and found a fairly mediocre twin-stick shooter.  It plays fine with either mouse+keyboard or gamepad.  It's set in the Halo universe.  You move with one stick and shoot with the other.  All the weapons and enemies are themed on Halo. And that's about all there is to it. I guess I was expecting more.  It truly underwhelmed me.  If you're a die-hard Halo fan who loves twin-stick shooters then this game is perfect for you.  If you're anyone else you shouldn't waste your money here.

Massive Chalice

I finally went through some of the Kickstarters that I kickstarted and grabbed the keys for games that are finally finished.  Massive Chalice is a game I was really excited for, so I plugged my key into Steam and jumped into the game. I was met with disappointment. I don't want to do a long analysis of why I didn't like the game but it basically came down to two reasons.  One: I hate the visual style.  Two: I hate the tactical combat.  The visuals didn't click with me at all and the tactical combat felt super derivative and just not fun at all. There's a lot of game here for people to dig into if it clicks with them.  I have to admit, I did like the strategic level of kingdom building in this game.  Building keeps, defending the realm against increasingly difficult odds, and playing matchmaker to create new bloodlines of heroes were all fun.  If I could have done that, automated the tactical battles, and had a new visual style on this game I think I would

Return to Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm launched officially at the beginning of the month. I played it extensively in Alpha and loved the game until they made a change that totally changed the game for the worse, at which point I drifted away.  I heard from my friends that they rolled back that change almost right after it happened because the community hated it, but the spell was broken and I was on to other games. Now that it's officially released and I know my progress won't be reset I started playing again.  It's easily my favorite MOBA on the market.  I've been playing a little bit each day to finish the daily quests and earn gold.  It seems to be a good balance for me.  If I were to sit down and play it for an entire evening I would get burned out, but a few matches each day is perfect. It's the most approachable MOBA on the market.  If you've ever been interested in the genre but scared away by the horror stories, then this is the game you should check out.  There

Mostly Unscathed from the Latest Steam Sale

Outside of major releases that I really want to grab on day one, I get most of my games during Steam sales these days.  It's amazing how fast game prices fall on PC.  Wait six months, look at the next Steam sale, and that game that was a full-price AAA title is probably half off. Which is starting to skew my perspective.  I'm not even jumping on deals like that anymore.  $30 for a $60 game that released six months ago?  Not good enough.  I can always just wait for the next Steam sale because it will probably be discounted even more. This steam sale I spent under $25.  I didn't pick up any games over $10.  That's kind of the tipping point for me now. It helps that I've purchased all the games I've been interested in during past Steam sales so I don't have a huge backlog of games I'm interested in.  But I do have something like 35 or 40 games on my Steam wishlist that I'll pick up once they fall in price. A lot of games on my wishlist right

Heavensward Is Here... If You Can Get In

The first expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, Heavensward, launched yesterday!  I've been really excited for this expansion and I don't know if I've ever felt this invested in a MMO before.  I'll write up some more extensive impressions for my Final Fantasy Project later, but for now I wanted to talk about launch week. Although Heavensward technically "launched" yesterday it has really been launched since last Thursday.  Anyway who preordered the game could get into the servers starting late last week and get to the expansion content.  That includes me and a lot of people in my Free Company.  It's been fun being in this early access phase but it's also been frustrating. The frustration comes with trying to log in to the game.  If you can get into the game and log on to your character the servers are rock solid.  But, what often happens, is you try to log into your data center (the step before character selection) and the server doesn't respon

Fallout Shelter

I've been playing a little bit of Fallout Shelter since it was announced and launched on the same day during an E3 press conference last week. On one hand it's nice that they made a mobile game set in the Fallout universe that doesn't have any paywalls or annoying F2P mechanics.  You can purchase "lunchboxes" if you want but it's less critical than any other F2P game I've ever seen. On the other hand I've played this exact style of game before.  Build a little community of characters, get more space for them, get new facilities, upgrade stuff.  There's nothing new here.  The main thing the game has going for it is the Fallout branding thrown on top of it.  I've fairly confident this game would not have gotten the attention it has if it didn't have Fallout attached to it. I can already tell that I'm waning in interest on this game.  It's kinda cool that they made a nice F2P game in the Fallout universe, but there's real

Arkham Knight Pre-Order Madness

It finally happen.  For the first time, a game has stopped me from buying it with it's stupid pre-order bullshit. I loved the first two Batman Arkham games that were developed by Rocksteady and I was planning on picking up Arkham Knight on day one. (Ignore Arkham Origins, it was a different developer... and really bad). But then I started seeing exclusive content packs for certain retailers.  And then different DLC content for the digital versions.  Then some Harley Quin stuff that looked really fun to play.  And Red Hood as a playable character that looks badass. I did my research and found the only way to get everything is to buy a bunch of different versions of the game, or buy the $99 super crazy premium edition.  As someone who only buys games digitally  it was never an option to buy multiple versions from different retailers.  And no, I'm not going to pay $99 to get a "complete" edition of a game.  At worst it makes me feel scammed and at best I feel n


Nexus is a novel where I loved the premise but wasn't a huge fan of the way it was written. The premise is that there's a new recreational drug that basically allows you to connect your mind to other people.  Throughout expansion of the drug people start to connect to each other's minds and gain control of their own.  They even start running computer programs in their own heads. It's a really cool setup and I loved that part of the book, it just took a long time for things to actually happen. The pacing was not good.  There were some action scenes but they were divided by lots of scenes with characters just thinking about their actions in uninteresting ways. The worst part of the book was that there was no good conclusion.  I didn't realize this is the first part of a series.  It doesn't stand alone all that well and I'm not going to read through another book with that pacing.  So, I guess I'm done with Nexus and the follow ups. The premise

My Most Anticipated of E3 2015, So Far

There are so many great announcements coming out of E3 this year.  Here are the games I'm most excited for so far: Mario Maker The footage from the Nintendo World Championship really sold me on this game.  It's my most anticipated game right now.  If it has good sharing and community capabilities it could become one of my favorite games of all time. Star Wars Battlefront Star Wars is my weakness and this is the first real Star Wars game that we're getting under the new management of the franchise.  It looks gorgeous and the gameplay should be a ton of fun.  There's no question this is a day one purchase for me. Fire Emblem Fates I love a good strategy RPG and Fire Emblem was always on my radar, but when Fire Emblem Awakening came out it finally clicked with me.  I loved Fire Emblem Awakening and it was my game of the year for the year it came out.  Fire Emblem Fates looks like the next step in the same direction for the Fire Emblem

Moon Knight

After hitting a few runs of comics that I didn't much enjoy I asked a friend for suggestions within the Marvel universe.  I'm trying to make the most of Marvel Unlimited while I have it since I'm still not sure how long I'll keep it. He gave me some recommendations and the one that seemed the most off the beaten path was Moon Knight.  So, I started there. And I loved it!  Moon Knight is basically Batman.... if Batman was crazy... and didn't give a fuck about collateral damage.... or killing people who deserve it.  Also, he wears white so enemies can see him coming and he's the embodiment of an ancient Egyptian god kind of.  It's really weird, but it works. I read the whole 2014 run in one night and I wish there was more.  I might have to dive into the back-catalog and see if there are other runs of Moon Knight too. If you like heroes that aren't typical and you have Marvel Unlimited you should really check it out.

Square Enix Press Conference

I'm pretty disappointed in the Square Enix press conference.  It was full of talking heads, pre-rendered CG trailer videos, and not much concrete information. Almost none of the games were being released in 2015 and there were barely any release dates given.  Most of the press conference was men in suits saying, "We're making this game and we hope you're excited to find out more but we won't tell you more now." I guess I was expecting a big announcement, like Final Fantasy XVI or a new Chrono game or... something.  Instead I got some trailers for games we already knew were coming and the announcement of some mobile games. I'm disappointed. The biggest announcement for Square Enix was done yesterday at the Sony press conference when they announced a Final Fantasy VII remake. The thing is, I know a lot of the Square Enix games they talked about today will be good, but they were just presented in such a boring manner that it was disheartening. I&#

Nintendo Press Conference

Ah!  The Nintendo conference is over and I only have 7 minutes before the Square Enix one starts.  Quick!  Thoughts! Nothing revolutionary announced.  They're holding off on talking about the new system until next year. Lot's of gameplay from games releasing later this year or early next year.  Things like Star Fox and Yoshi's Wooly World look to still be on track and fun. I'm super excited for the new Fire Emblem which now has an English name, Fire Emblem Fates.  I loved Fire Emblem Awakening, so I'll definitely be picking up this one.  That Fire Emblem cross over on the other hand... looks a little crazy.  I'm not sure what to think about it. A new multiplayer Metroid for 3DS just got announced.  I hope Metroid fans are happy.  It didn't look all that appealing to me, but that's ok, I'm not a huge Metroid fan. The new Triforce Heroes Zelda game for 3DS is more my speed.  I'm not sure if I'll have people to play it with via multipl

Avengers (2012)

I don't always know exactly how to refer to the comics that I've been reading on Marvel Unlimited.  There are so many comics with such similar titles about the same heroes.  After reading a bunch of character centered comics that started in 2012 I also decided to try to get into the Avengers comic that was started at the same time and used those same versions of the characters. I thought Avengers (2012) would be a surefire hit for me.  I loved the ensemble cast in the movies with the friendly banter and inter-squad tensions.  I think they make for great storytelling.  But now I'm realizing that a lot of that might be because Joss Whedon knows how to write dialog and not because the Avengers themselves are a great plot device. The Avengers comics that I read didn't click with me.  They brought in so many different characters that I couldn't keep track of them all.  I hadn't even heard of most of the characters that were in these comics.  The core team tha

Sony Press Conference

Wow.  Wow.  Just Wow. Final Fantasy VII is getting a remake.  There were a bunch of other bombshells in the press conference but this is all I can think about.  Nothing else seems to matter much right now. If you didn't know, I'm a huge Final Fantasy fan .  I'm so excited for the remake!  And they announced another Final Fantasy game too!  But seriously, that FFVII remake is just dominating my thoughts. It's going to take some time to decompress after all these press conferences.  Wow.

Ubisoft Press Conference

The Ubisoft Press Conference was mixed for me.  There were a couple games that piqued my interest, and of course I'm always excited for a new Assassin's Creed (it's a weakness) but I didn't really see any games that are a guaranteed day one buy for me. For the most part I'd like to hear more about these games from the journalists who will get to play them this week on the show floor. I want to know more about Rainbow Six Siege, The Division, and Assassin's Creed.  Hopefully we'll get to read some good impressions as the week goes on. The thing that impressed me the most with the Ubisoft press conference was the amount of real gameplay footage and live demos.  It seemed like almost every game had real gameplay footage to go with it.  They're not hiding behind pre-rendered CG trailers for their games and they deserve applause for that. Now I'm going to wait for the Sony event to start.  I'm really excited to see what pops up in that one.

EA Press Conference Mostly a Flop

They should have compressed the EA press conference down to Mass Effect teaser, Unraveled, Mirror's Edge, and Star Wars Battlefront.  It would have saved about an hour and 15 minutes of sports games, driving games, and mobile crap. But omg, Star Wars!  Mass Effect!  Space operas!  I'm so excited!  I'm sure you'll be able to google footage for both very soon.  You should.  If I had videos available right now I would embed them for you, but I don't. Seriously, go look up gameplay for Star Wars Battlefront.  Watch the teaser trailer for Mass Effect Andromeda!  Most of the rest of the EA conference is easily skippable. Now to wait for the Ubisoft conference to start!

Microsoft E3 Press Conference Thoughts

I had a lunch meeting so I'm a little behind on E3 today, but I just blasted through the Microsoft conference and have a couple minutes to write before the EA conference starts. It was a solid showing, but not enough to get me to buy an Xbox One.  There are a lot of games that are interesting to me, but most of them are on both Xbox One and PC.  I much prefer to use my monster of a gaming PC instead of spending more money on hardware I don't need.  It seems like I won't miss out on too much. The Xbox One exclusives that did  interest me are Halo 5 and Thieves of the Sea.  Halo 5 is fairly self explanatory, but I really liked the ODST vibe it gave off.  That has always been my favorite Halo game.  Thieves of the Sea looks like a sweet stylized pirate MMO that I would play in a heartbeat if it were on PC, but for the moment it's staying as a Xbox One exclusive. They showcased a lot of games and hardware announcements, I'm still kinda decompressing.  Here are a c

X-Wing Wedge's Gamble

Marvel Unlimited and comics have derailed my normal reading patterns for the past month or two, but I'm slowly drifting back toward my normal amount of book reading. In doing so I finished the second book in the X-Wing series, Wedge's Gamble. This continues to be a great Star Wars series in their Legends universe.  I loved these books as a kid and they're still holding up now.  I'm surprised that they are as good as I remember. I think I read them as they were released so I never realized how closely the series is tied together.  The first two books flow right into one another in a way that's great.  A newcomer could pick up book two and start with it, no problem.  But someone who has read the first book will see more connections and get more out of it. In Wedge's Gamble Rogue Squadron is tasked with taking down the shields surrounding Coruscant so that the Rebels can occupy it.  The Rebellion is looking to finally overthrow the Empire's seat of

Bethesda Press Conference

I think I'm just going to write up E3 thoughts whenever they strike this week, instead of waiting for my normal posting schedule. I just watched the Bethesda Press Conference and it was... ok?  I have to fess up, I'm not a huge Fallout fan.  Or Doom fan.  Or Dishonored fan.  I don't even think I like the Elder Scrolls as much as most people. Honestly, I usually play a Bethesda game for a week or two, grow bored of it, and move on with my life.  That's where I'm coming from, so keep that in mind. I watched the press conference anyway because it's E3 and I'm interested. To me, Doom looked super generic and bloody but not all that interesting. Dishonored 2 was basically a pre-rendered concept trailer so who cares.  I'll hold off having real thoughts until I see gameplay. Elder Scrolls card game looks like it wants a piece of that sweet sweet Hearthstone money.  Now that Blizzard has proved there's a market for mobile digital card games it

Nintendo World Championship was Awesome!

The Nintendo World Championship just happened and it totally lived up to the hype.  I watched the whole thing while talking to my brother over text and my Twitter friends over Twitter.  I had a great time. The main rounds were modern games played competitively and the "underground" rounds were classic Nintendo games done as speed runs or score challenges.  The variety and game selection were fantastic. Nintendo even revealed a new game in the middle of the event and then immediately had the competitors play it for the next round. The best part of the event was watching the final round with the competitors playing Mario Maker levels that Nintendo Treehouse employees had designed.  It was strangely captivating watching them figure out the levels in real time. The event just wrapped up but it looks like it's already posted on YouTube.  I highly recommend checking it out.  I'll even embed it below, for your convenience.

E3 Week!

It's E3 Week!  A time to get hype!  A time to be skeptical.  A time for many things. But mostly a time for fun speculating and dreaming. I love the current format of E3 because all the big press conferences are livestreamed to everyone.  I used to dream about attending an E3, but now there is no point.  I can get the best E3 experience by sitting at home, watching the livestreams, and keeping up with my RSS feeds. What news are you guys most excited about hearing?  Any particular press conference or game you're looking forward to? For me, I can't wait to hear more about VR.  It seems like 2016 is the year where VR systems are actually finally releasing to the public as retail products.  That means this is probably the last E3 before they are released.  I'm so excited to get my hands on an Oculus Rift or a Steam VR. How about you guys?

Armello Early Access

Armello is a video game, but it's also very much a digital board game.  Everything from the aesthetics to the gameplay feel like a board game while the game has all the conveniences of a video game.  I picked it up on Steam for PC but it looks like it's coming out on PS4 as well. The game sells itself as Game of Thrones via animal avatars... and it's kind of right.  You won't get any sweeping narratives here but you will get an unpredictable contest for the throne of the kingdom.  You see, the king is filled with corruption and is slowly dying.  When he finally dies one of the animal Heroes in the world will become the new king.  It could be you. There are a handful of ways to become king.  Kill the corrupt king, cleanse the king of his corruption, or just end the game with the highest standing in the realm when the old king dies. Like it says up their in the title, this game is early access.  It truly shows in the new player experience.  The tutorial is no

Invisible, Inc.

I've been on a big turn-based game kick lately.  Invisible Inc is the latest in a series of games that I've enjoyed but failed to put a lot of time into.  It's kind of weird that I know I love turn-based strategy games so much but lately none of them can seem to keep my attention for long. Invisible Inc is really good.  Out of all the turned-based games I've been playing lately this is the second best.  Only Valkyria Chronicles has a one-up on it. In Invisible Inc you navigate a team of spies through a procedurally created enemy complex.  Your mission might be to get new equipment, rescue other agents, retrieve intel, or a number of other scenarios.  It allows you to push your luck by staying in the enemy complex longer while you search for more loot, intel, and gear.  But the longer you stay in the enemy facility the higher their security level gets.  It's really fun! I like the game a lot.  I've had a bunch of nights where I'll play this game for hou

Splatoon Single Player

I love the Splatoon multiplayer and my whole family has been getting into it.  I wrote about that yesterday.  Today I want to touch on the single player experience. It has it's ups and downs.  The levels that are in the game are great.  It has the typical Nintendo level of polish and level design sensibilities.  Challenges build on each other in a progressive manner that makes perfect sense. The single player levels are really good!  Unfortunately, the overall campaign is fairly short.  It's obvious that most of their focus was put into the multiplayer mode of Splatoon.  It was sad for me to see how short the game is compared to other Nintendo experiences. The other thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is that 75% of the single player experience is locked behind Amiibos.  I wouldn't have realized this if I didn't pick them up, but now that I've seen that each Amiibo has an entire campaign behind it's paywall I'm kind of worried about the futur

Splatoon Multiplayer

The Splatoon multiplayer experience is awesome!  This is one of the few games that has gotten my whole family involved.  My wife, daughter, son, and I are all playing this game on an almost daily basis.  It's full of charm and fun.  It's super approachable.  I'm so happy that the first new Nintendo IP is such a success. This game feels like Mario Sunshine re-mixed into a fun third person shooter. I love the color and the style in Splatoon.  It's so bright and cheery.  It's super inviting.  You don't really think about it often, but those console FPS games tend to be gray/brown blah.  All of them run into each other stylistically to the point where you don't even notice their differences.  Splatoon breaks this mold in the best way possible. I love that the goal is to cover an area with your color ink and not just destroy enemies.  It makes the tactics and strategy so much more interesting.  It also means you don't have to have super fast twit

Puzzle & Dragons Z

Although I hadn't played the Puzzle & Dragons Z version of the game on my trip, I have done so since then.  While I ended up liking the Mario Edition side of this game I didn't find Puzzle & Dragons Z quite as interesting. It's the same core gameplay but wrapped up with tons of unskippable story content set in a world similar to Pokemon... but less interesting. After getting familiar with the core puzzle gameplay I was really disappointed to see how much extra fluff there was in between actual gameplay in this version. If you really felt like Puzzle & Dragons was missing a story or if you're super obsessed with the Pokemon formula you might find something here.  For the rest of us it's probably better to stay on the Mario Edition side of this game.

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate

Continuing with the handheld gaming backlog I sampled while traveling, it's Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate! This is an interesting game because it's an attempt to take a 3D free roaming game and translate it to a 2.5D platformer/beat-em-up. The problem I had while playing this game is that it's so close to the 3D Arkham console games that I love... but it's not a 3D game.  The controls and the structure simply aren't as strong as they are in a 3D world.  I played the game a bunch and it's not really bad but it's not really good either.  It's middling. The biggest thing this game has done is make me appreciate the other Batman Arkham games more than I did before.  I'm really excited for the next console Arkham game to release later this month with Batman Arkham Knight. I probably won't be coming back to the handheld game, but if you're a super die hard Batman fan you might find something here for you.

What is a Monster Bag?

Monster Bag is a game that isn't worth your time or money.  This is mostly a PSA. I had Monster Bag on my Vita for the trip last week since I had gotten it for free via PS Plus.  It's one of the worst free PS Plus games I've gotten. You are a monster that also happens to be a bag.  You jump from one unsuspecting person's back to another while avoiding people with evil eyes and throwing things also.  I probably just made it sound much more interesting than it is. Just a heads up.  Avoid this one.

Sword Art Online

Last week before my trip I watched my first ever season of an anime show.  As you can probably tell from the title of the post, it was Sword Art Online. I've tried various anime shows over the years but I've never been able to get past the first few episodes of one.  Usually the pacing is too slow and the show isn't visually interesting enough for me.  My brother has told me that modern anime is much better than what I tried to watch long ago, but I haven't had much time to check out any of the shows he recommended. Then, last week, I heard some of the podcast members on Aggrochat talk about the premise of Sword Art Online and I was very interested.  Essentially, Sword Art Online is a fully immersive MMO in an advanced virtual reality.  The premise of the show is that only 10,000 people were allowed a copy of the game at launch and as soon as they all log in on launch day they are locked in the game until they can complete it. They end up stuck in the game for

Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition

I discussed the possibility of picking up this game the other week... and I did!  I probably wouldn't have grabbed it if I wasn't looking for something new to check out while I was traveling.  In the end I'm happy I got the game. The Mario Edition did such a better job of easing me into Puzzle and Dragons.  The demo and the iOS version that I tried last week did a horrible job of teaching me what to do when playing the game.  Everything from team composition to special abilities and powering up characters are taught in a friendly and easy-to-learn manner in the Mario Edition. At this point I actually feel like I would probably like the mobile version now that I understand the game better.  I would download it again on my phone if it weren't for those F2P mechanics.  Just having that stamina bar and being able to buy my way to victory bugs me. But the Mario Edition did away with the things I didn't like and did a great job of explaining the interesting por

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

You're probably going to see a bunch of quick handheld game impressions here this week since I spent a lot of time on planes last week. The very first game I tried out when travelling last week was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.  I grabbed it on the PSN store for my Vita right before the trip.  All the talk about the Kickstarter for it's spiritual successor got me really interested in trying the original game. I've played a bit of Castlevania here and there over the years, but it's never been one of the series I go crazy for.  I had never touched this particular Castlevania game before.  But, it's supposed to be one of the best. And the game is actually really good.  I can see the underlying systems that make this game a classic.  I can see the exploration and the challenge that make people love this game. After a couple hours I could also see that this game just wasn't for me.  I think it's a combination of the setting and the power-up sys