Showing posts from September, 2015

Revisiting Armello

The release of Armello snuck by me earlier this month.  Granted, my month has been crazy busy.  I was looking through my current Steam games the other night and saw that Armello was no longer listed as early access. Since then, I've jumped in and played a bunch of games.  I thought it had potential when I bought it in Early Access and it's definitely come a long way.  Things are much more clear and make more sense at a glance now.  They done a lot to improve how information is displayed to the player and it goes a long way toward making this a great game. It's still an interesting blend of board game and video game with a unique aesthetic style.  It feels the way that a tabletop/videogame hybrid should feel.  It's very cool. I even branched out from the AI and played a few games with real people online.  Those were actually much more compelling than any of the AI games I had played.  The AI seems overly smart and vindictive against a single player playing the

Call of Duty Black Ops II

I have liked Call of Duty games in the past.  These days it's extremely hit or miss for me.  That's why I typically wait until they get cheap to try them out. Black Ops II fell to under $20 on Steam sale and I picked it up to try it. Unfortunately, what I found was just another Call of Duty.  Nothing interesting or special going on here.  It didn't grab me or make me excited to play at all.  I know some people love the Black Ops series of Call of Duty games but I should probably come to the conclusion that they simply aren't for me. After playing it for around half an hour I knew that I was completely done with the game.  This is where Steam Refunds come in. Have I mentioned how much I love Steam Refunds?  I love them!  Now I can actually try out games that I'm unsure about.  As long as you play less than 2 hours of the game you can return it and get a refund no problem. And that's what I did.  I refunded Black Ops II and now I have the money back

Star Command Galaxies

This is one of the games I was referring to the other day when I said I needed to catch up on Steam games. Star Command Galaxies is a game I Kickstarted.  It just released in early access to backers so I grabbed my key and jumped in. The premise of the game is great.  You're the captain of a starship and you get to explore the galaxy doing whatever you want. The execution of the game leaves a lot to be desired.  The tutorial is mostly broken, and super boring.  But jumping into the main game without being able to do the tutorial means that nothing quite makes sense.  It just feels clunky and broken. I know that it's still early days for this game.  It even says Alpha right on the info on Steam.  I hope it gets better, because my short time with the game was nothing but frustration. Star Command Galaxies is going way onto the backburner until it gets itself figured out.  Hopefully this game will be interesting eventually.  For now, stay far away from it.

Rainbow Six Siege Beta

I finally got around to checking out the Rainbow Six Siege Beta.  I've had access since earlier this week but today was the first day I got to sit down and play it for awhile. The main mode of the game feels a lot like Counter-Strike.  It's a 5v5 setup with terrorists and counter-terrorists.  The defenders are trying to protect an objective while the attackers are trying to find it and disarm it or gain control of it. That being said, the pacing is slower than CS and the environmental interaction is cooler.  You don't move as fast in this game and that leads to movement throughout the environment that is more thoughtful.  But the most fun part is the interaction with the environment.  As a defender you can construct barricades and re-enforce walls/floor/ceiling.  As the attacker you can use weapons or breach charges to blow open walls, doors, windows, floors, ceilings, really almost anything you can see.  It makes for some dynamic gameplay moments. In the end I wa

The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle is a game that keeps popping up on my radar.  I haven't seen anything about it from major publications but there are bloggers and podcasters that I trust who have said it's worth checking out. And it is! The Magic Circle puts you into an incomplete game where the developers are fighting over what should happen in the world.  You quickly break out of the shackles of the pre-scripted game stuff and start messing with the game under their noses. But it's not just one game.  It has all the assets they ever created for the game... and you can find them.  And exploit them. It's a fascinating look at game development from inside a game still under development.  It's hard to talk about this game within a game but also outside of a game... but that's kinda what it is. Ultimately, The Magic Circle was worth checking out... but then I got bored.  I logged out as soon as boredom started to creep in and Steam said I had played for 62 minutes.  

Dungeon Defenders II

Dungeon Defenders II is an Early Access game that I picked up on a Steam sale sometime in the last few months. I kept seeing a couple of my friends pour hours and hours into this game even though it's only in alpha.  I figured there must be something worthwhile here if they're playing it that much. And there is!  It's a fun tower defense and third-person shooter hybrid of a game.  It's much improved over the first Dungeon Defenders.  It's easier to play and more fun in the moment to moment gameplay. Right now my main problem is that it's ok with random matchmaking but it would shine with a premade group of four friends over voice chat.  And no one else I know owns the game. I'm guessing hype will rise for this game when it enters beta and then finally releases.  This is going to be one that I let sit on the backburner until I see more of my friends pick it up.  I can tell that it'll be a lot of fun with a premade group once more people are pl

Gaming To-Do List Check In

After having a crazy busy September all the way until now I thought it would be a good time to check in on my gaming to-do list that I started for Blaugust last month.  Let's see how progress is going: Persona 4 Golden - I really need to make time for this game.  I loved playing it.  It's just been on hold.  I must make time for it! Hearthstone - Still doing my dailies and playing enough to get weekly/monthly rewards . Fire Emblem Awakening - I want to get back to this eventually, but with new Fall releases coming out I don't know when that will be. FFX-2 - This is right up there with Persona 4 Golden.  I need to start carving out time for RPGs before all the Fall game releases drop! Super Mario Maker  - Almost all my gaming time (which has been very limited) has gone into this game lately.  I don't regret it at all.  This might be my game of the year! [adding to list] Star Wars Uprising  - This mobile Star Wars game came out earlier this month and I'

Crazy Schedule and Respect for Single Parents

A bit off topic today, but that's ok.  It's my blog.  I choose the topic :) I've barely had any time to game at all since I got home from PAX at the beginning of the month.  For those of you not looking at a calendar, that's 23 days ago. I got home, had one day with my family, and then my wife left for a trip to Europe where she was gone for a little more than 10 days.  The same day she left I had 4 clients all contact me that needed things ASAP and were in a panic. I quickly went into overdrive for work and parenting.  I watched my two kids (both under age 5) and worked more than my normal work hours while they were resting/sleeping.  I basically did nothing but work and take care of my kids for 10 days straight.  That's including Labor Day weekend. This is the trade-off of being a freelancer.  I normally get flexible hours, but if I get slammed with work I'm the only person who can do it.  I don't have any teammates or co-workers to cover for me so

Laura Croft Go

Laura Croft Go is a continuation of the Go series that Square Enix has started on mobile devices.  The previous Go game was based on Hitman. I didn't know what to expect going into Laura Croft Go, but I'm always willing to check out new games on my iPhone.  I do enough mobile gaming that I'm always trying to find the next game I can sink a bunch of time into. What I found was a puzzle game with a Laura Croft wrapping.  You move Laura around the level on a series of nodes and try to figure out the correct order of actions that will get you to the end of the level. If the level indicators on the main screen are accurate I played through about two thirds of the game.  In the end I stopped because of the difficultly curve.  It was honestly way too easy for too long, then there were a bunch of levels that had a good difficulty set, and then they started getting really hard.  I got stuck on a puzzle and the only way to progress was to pay $5 to unlock the in game guide.

Assault Android Cactus

The other night I saw a retweet on Twitter.  The developer of Assault Android Cactus was looking for any bloggers, podcasters, or non-traditional media people that were interested in trying the game out.  It had been on my radar for awhile, so I reached out and said I was interested. Surprisingly, the developer gave me a Steam early access key!  So, I've been trying it out. Assault Android Cactus is a twin-stick shooter where you get to be an android trying to destroy swarms of evil robots.  I think there's some sort of story, but it's very loose.  Mostly this game is about crazy twin-stick shooting action. I've honestly been really disappointed in the twin-stick genre lately, most games haven't held my attention for more than a couple minutes.  With Assault Android Cactus I've found myself going back to play almost every night. At times it's a shooter where you're absolutely demolishing swarms of enemies.  Sometimes you're falling back a

Making Marios

My kids and I have been playing a ton of Mario Maker since it released earlier this month.  I love this game. It has immediately jumped up to my number one evergreen game.  Whenever I'm not sure what to play I jump into Mario Maker and I have yet to walk away disappointed. I still haven't mastered the level making, and I don't think that part will hold appeal for me long term.  But, I'm been playing Mario since I was 3.  As a 28 year old I'm really good at it by now.  I've beaten every Mario platformer.  Now, for the first time in years, I can find levels that are actually challenging for me. You see, you can sort the levels by difficultly.  The system looks at the percentage of people who were able to finish a level and assign it a difficulty of easy, normal, or expert.  Whenever I sit down to play alone I play expert levels and I have an amazing experience. The flip side of this is that easy levels are actually easier than levels in a regular Mario

Star Wars Lost Stars

Lost Stars is the greatest Star Wars novel I've ever read.  You need to understand how big of a statement this is from me.  Here's a partial look at what the old (now "Legends") timeline looked like: That's only a partial list of books and I've read almost all of them.  This book is better than those. The new timeline only has a few novels in it, and Lost Stars is the one I expected the least from.  It's the one that turned out the most amazing.  Last week I said that Aftermath is the best of the new books.  That's before I read this one.  Lost Stars is so much better. You see, Lost Stars is billed as a young adult romance story.  The other novels that have come out are more traditional for Star Wars books and they deal with either the main characters of the movies or slightly expanding the timeline beyond Return of the Jedi in an adult book fashion. Lost Stars is about how the events in the Star Wars universe look from the perspective

Star Wars Aftermath

Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig is the first novel in the Path to the Force Awakened series.  Basically, starting with this one, there are novels coming out that fill in some of the timeline between the Return of the Jedi and the Force Awakens. As you all probably know by now I love Star Wars, so I picked this up on release day and had it finished by the end of that weekend. This is the first really good book in the new canon universe of Star Wars.  The others so far have filled in gaps between movies that we already know, but Aftermath truly gives us new information on how the galaxy is progressing after the fall of the Emperor, Darth Vader, and the second Death Star. I've read all the new canon novels as they've been released, but you can honestly skip them all and jump right to Aftermath.  It's the best use of your time. The galaxy is in turmoil after the events of Return of the Jedi and the rebel alliance is in the process of becoming the New Republic.  

Hearthstone Devices

I've been playing a lot of Hearthstone lately.  On top of the daily quests I'm also keeping up with the weekly Tavern Brawl and working my way through the class challenges in Solo Adventure. One of the best things about Hearthstone is that it's available on basically every modern device.  You most likely own something that you can play it on.  I actually end up playing it on a bunch of my devices including PC, Mac, my iPhone, and my tablets. In my experience the game is smoothest and looks the best on PC.  On Mac it doesn't feel optimized.  It's not something I would have ever noticed if I hadn't been playing many versions of the game. It runs the worst on my Android Nexus tablet.  It's super annoying and almost unplayable.  I also tried the game on my brother's modern Android phone and it was also laggy.  It's easily the worst version of the game, but it's still playable which is something. The platform I end up playing the most on i

PS Plus Games for September

I got around to trying out the Playstation Plus games for the month.  It's always interesting to see what offerings we get.  Some are great, some are flops.  Either way, I always look forward to getting some games at the start of the month from Playstation.  Thanks PS Plus! Here are some quick thoughts about the games for September: Xeodrifter - is a game designed like a super hard Metroid game but with no guidance.  It was really frustrating to not know what to do or where to go.  This game needs to work on it's level flow big time. Teslagrad - a 2D platformer with some interesting style and a magnetic gimmick.  I save most of my platforming for Mario games these days, but if you're a platforming fan there's a lot you could like in this game. Grow Home - This game is both the most interesting and the most frustrating.  The concept is really cool.  You're a running/jumping/climbing robot trying to grow a giant plant into the sky.  You climb and platfor

Star Wars Dark Disciple

Dark Disciple is the latest in the new Star Wars extended universe books.  They're slowly adding to the new extended universe after wiping out the old one and it's been interesting to see what they concentrate on. Dark Disciple takes place near the end of the Clone Wars and obviously draws it's inspiration from the Clone Wars TV show.  The two characters that are given the most focus are Ventress from the Clone Wars TV show and Jedi Master Voss, who is the main character for the majority of the book. I'm glad this book mostly stays away from characters from the movies since they obviously have plot immunity.  They are present, but they aren't the focus.  All the tension and character growth happens through Ventress and Voss. The book is all about grey force users.  I've always thought that grey force users are much more interesting than either Jedi or Sith.  Trying to ride the line between light and dark while giving in to neither is extremely fascinat

I Tried an Oculus Rift

I tried an Oculus Rift... and it was ok. I'd been looking forward to trying one for years and when I finally got the chance I thought it was a neat little gimmick.  I was hoping it would blow me away. I think the problem wasn't necessarily the Oculus Rift but the environment I experienced it.  It was in the middle of PAX with tons of noise and activity around me. I loved the game I played, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.  It was my favorite experience from PAX and getting to disarm a bomb with my brother was so cool.  But, it wasn't a game that needed an Oculus Rift.  It could easily have been done with a regular monitor as long as the second player couldn't see it. I'm still excited for the potential of VR but I think that the next time I get a chance to try out a VR headset I want a quite space with good headphones and a lot of time to play around.

Windows 10

Was going to pull the trigger on a Windows 10 upgrade in the next few months but I was kinda waiting to see how it shook out.  A lot of the time early adopters can get screwed or run into bugs or have something horrible happen (like killing all your files).  But it has been a few months since the free upgrade started rolling out and I've heard nothing but praise. Gigantic was the tipping point for me.  I got a beta key from playing at PAX and Gigantic is Windows 10 only, so I did the upgrade from Windows 7. Overall, I'm so glad I skipped Windows 8.  Windows 10 takes everything good from Windows 7 and Windows 8.... and the takes out all the bad decisions from Windows 8.  Windows 10 is basically what Windows 8 should have been.  Just like Windows 7 was what Windows Vista should have been. Microsoft has a tick tock with Windows and they always have.  Every second version of Windows is a good release.  If tradition continues we should expect Windows 11 to be horribl

Telltale is Consistently Great

I sat down and played both of the latest episodes from Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones the other night last night.  Telltale keeps knocking it out of the park. As long as you're even semi-interested in the setting of the game Telltale will give you a story and characters that you care about.  They'll also put some interesting and difficult decisions in front of you every time you play. After playing through a bunch of their games I'm starting to see the similarity and the formula behind them, but I'm still enjoying all the ones I'm playing right now.  It honestly all depends on if you can buy in to the setting. Telltale Games I've played and would recommend: Walking Dead Season 1 Tales from the Borderlands Game of Thrones Not to mention that Telltale is making a Minecraft Storymode game.  It was on display at PAX but the line was always super long.  I figured I was going to pick it up when it releases anyway, so I would save the

Hidden Information and Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles has been a slow burn for me.  I've been playing it slowly but consistently since I first tried it in December.  It's been a fun strategy RPG. But, I've gotten to the point where I'm fed up with one aspect of the game.  They do the thing where they have unfair hidden information moments in the game and they can often instantly end a mission.  This is horrible in missions that can span 30-90 minutes. I've had so many times where I get more than half an hour into a mission and get instant failed because of some bullshit thing that was never explained or choreographed.  I made it close to 75% of the way through the game but I'm completely fed up with it.  It's basically to the point where there's no way to beat a mission on the first try.  Often it takes 3 or 4 attempts before even seeing all the hidden mechanics in a mission. I love the moment to moment gameplay and the story has kept me very engaged, but I can't deal with

Darkest Dungeon

I know I'm late to the party with this one, but I finally got around to trying out Darkest Dungeon.  It was on sale a few weekends ago so I grabbed a copy for $13 and tried it out. Darkest Dungeon has style in spades.  It's dark and stylistic and looks amazing.  I can see how the setting alone would appeals to a certain kind of person. While the style is amazing, the gameplay isn't what I'm in the mood for.  It's a dungeon crawler with turn based battles and positional combat.  Your characters stand in a line and the enemy characters do too.  All of your abilities are only able to reach certain places in your line or the enemy's line.  It's interesting, but I didn't love it. I can see why other people like it, but it's one of those games that's just not for me.  I think it's an interesting game, but I don't see myself playing it much.  I think I'm going to get a Steam refund for it and use the money on another Steam gam

C-Wars Early Access

C-Wars is a game that I was a Kickstarter backer for last year.  It recently came out in Steam Early Access for backers so I checked it out. I was super excited for this game.  It seemed to be a turn based grid combat game with sweet pixel graphics. Now, having played the game, the only thing about that which is true are the sweet pixel graphics.  It's a real time combat game with horrible controls and un-fun combat.  Wow.  I seriously regret Kickstarting this one. Luckily for me, today is the day that Super Mario Maker comes out and it's my most anticipated game for the rest of the year!  Expect to hear about that soon.

Martian Hype!

I'm so excited for this movie! Out of all the books I read last year, The Martian was my favorite.  I've been recommending it to everyone I know who reads books or listens to audiobooks.  I read it and then immediately listened to the whole thing to experience it a second time. It pushes all the right buttons for me.  It's a space adventure where things go wrong and people need to use their intelligence to get out of the bad situations.  It's also semi based in real science which can be fun when done well.  And it's done very well in the book. If you haven't read The Martian and you're an avid reader you really need to get around to it.  It's great!  Even if that doesn't interest you, maybe you'll get as hyped as I am for the upcoming movie!  I can't wait!

Catching Up on TV

Having watched my backlog of movies I figured it was time to move on to TV.  There are a bunch of shows that I've been meaning to try out.  I watched the first couple episodes of each to see if they would stick. Humans  - In the near future there are androids (called synths) that are sufficiently advanced to pass for human.  A few of them seem to be on the verge of consciousness and that's where the tension of the show resides.  And this show is full of tension.  Instead of the deep philosophical look at humanity I was expecting instead I got a show that's trying to be subtle drawn out horror sci-fi.  The first few episodes are all about setting up the tension between the synths and the humans, but with no payoff at all after watching hours of the show I had to give up.  If Humans had picked up the pace I would have kept watching. Dark Matter  - Six people wake up on a spaceship as the life support is failing.  They don't remember who they are or how they got there

New Headset

Playing on so many different gaming setups at PAX made me realize that I needed a new gaming headset for my PC.  The one I have is showing it's age and I've made it last for a really long time. After that realization I started paying attention to what headsets I was using on the show floor.  It was actually a fantastic opportunity to check out real hardware in a real gaming situation.  My brother helped me too once he knew I was hunting for new hardware. I came away from the show really liking the Astro A40 headset, which you can see above.  It was the most comfortable, best sounding, and most noise insulating headset that I used at the show by far. I got home and jumped on Amazon to look it up only to realize there are 2 set ups for it.  One with just the headset and one with the mixer.  After reading a ton of reviews I decided that if I'm going to get the headset I'm going to get the mixer.  I really wanted the 7.1 Dolby surround sound because I've

Movies Movies Movies

Still catching up on movies.  I'm also still looking for more movie recommendations.  So, send them if you have them.  Let's get into it: Rise of the Planet of the Apes - This was a mixed bag for me.  I didn't like the first half of the movie.  There was a lot of bad things that happened to animals along with some straight up animal cruelty.  I know it's all fake, but it still bugged me.  The second half of the movie where (spoiler but not really) the hyper-intelligent apes rise up and fight for freedom was a lot of fun.  Now I'm tempted to check out the next movie in the series. Mad Max Fury Road - Everyone has been talking about this movie like it was one of the best action films ever.  I thought it was kinda meh.  Yeah, there was action, but without much context at all.  I never felt invested in any of the characters, not even at the end of the film.  Because of that the action had no weight to it.  Basically the movie was one giant car chase scene... in a ba

Evolve Free Weekend

I really wanted to play Gigantic beta this weekend but their registration system seems messed up right now. Then I saw that Evolve is free this weekend so I jumped into that instead. I was really interested in this game before launch, but then it launched at $60 plus tons of in-game purchases.  I didn't want any part of that.  And now that I've played it I'm glad I never bought it. The game isn't that great.  It's ok.  It's not... bad.  It's just kinda another competitive first person shooter.  There is the gimmick of having 4v1 since you have 4 hunters versus 1 monster, but after you get over that the game doesn't have a ton of new stuff to offer. The main mode is super frustrating.  There's a huge open map, the monster wants to stay away from the hunters while killing random wildlife and leveling up.  The hunters want to find that monster as fast as possible before they level up all the way and become super powerful.  It sounds interest

PAX Thoughts Wrap-Up

Here are all my PAX thoughts and impressions in one convenient location! Dreadnought Gigantic Eon Altar Cosmic Star Heroine Star Wars Uprising Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes D&D Sword Coast Legends Square Enix Games Blogger Lunch Mini Metro Most Played Game of the Show Some Flops I had a great time at PAX!  I hope I can go to another PAX sometime in the future!

Finishing my PS3 Backlog

I realized that I only had a couple more games on my PS3 that were part of my backlog.  My PS3 has been moved to a different room than my other consoles ever since I got my PS4.  I haven't touched it much since then. I thought I could try out the games, see if any of them grab me, and if not then I could retire my PS3 to my game storage in my closet.  It feels like it's usefulness is almost at it's end.  So, I did.  The other day I talked about Lightning Returns.  That was the second to last game on my PS3 backlog. The last game on my PS3 backlog was Ni No Kuni.  I tried it out, and that game has style in spades.  It's impressive what they've done visually and with the art style.  But the gameplay and setting ultimately failed to pull me in.  For me to commit to a super long RPG I need to either love the overall series or absolutely love the game within the first few hours.  Ni No Kuni failed to grab me in any meaningful way.  But don't get me wrong, the

Movies Galore

After catching you up on my Sci-Fi movie kick yesterday I thought I'd touch on some non Sci-Fi movies today! 500 Days of Summer  - This is a movie I've seen before, but I remember liking it.  I rewatched it for the first time in years and still like it a lot.  It's a relationship movie without being a relationship movie.  At times it almost feels like a rom-com, but it definitely isn't.  It's a movie about different people's perception of the same relationship.  It feels a lot more grounded in reality than most Hollywood relationships movies.  That's probably why I like it so much. Wreck it Ralph - I completely missed this one in theaters but I'm glad I got around to it.  Wreck-it-Ralph is an animated Disney movie that stars arcade game characters in an old-school arcade.  I loved the premise and the visual style of this movie.  And come on, it's a video game movie that doesn't suck, of course that appeals to me. Casino Royale, Quantum of S

PAX Thoughts: Most Played Game of the Show

And the winner of my most played game of the show award goes too.... *drumroll*.... HEARTHSTONE! Surprise!  Or not. I played Hearthstone every morning and every night that I was in Seattle for PAX.  I would have played it in lines on the show floor too, but the network connection in the middle of the convention center was horrible. I'm still loving Hearthstone.  I've been doing my daily quests and climbing my way up slowly in ranked mode.  It's been fun seeing how the new expansion is throwing the meta into disarray too. The best part of Hearthstone is still how many devices I have it on.  It's always within an arm's length from me.  I typically play a couple games throughout my day.  It's great for waking up, taking breaks, and going to sleep. I expect I'm at the peak of my Hearthstone hype at the moment, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is an evergreen game that I consistently play in one form or another for a long time.

PAX Thoughts: Mini Metro

One of the really cool things about PAX was getting to actually chat with the developers of the games either immediately before or after playing them.  That in itself was an amazing experience. One of my favorite interactions with a developer came from the Mini Metro booth. I started to talk to a guy that was standing near the booth about how I loved the game and I've had it for awhile in early access on Steam.  I told him I was super excited to see an iPad version of the game on the PAX show floor because I think that's the most natural platform for the game. Then I realized that the guy I was talking to wasn't someone waiting in line to try the game, he was the lead developer! He was a great guy and it was really fun to talk to him casually for a few minutes. Like I said, I'm super excited for the iPad version of this game to come out.  He said he's hoping to have it out in the next few months!  I'll be sure to pick it up once it releases.

PAX Thoughts: Blogger Lunch

Liore organized a blogger get together over lunch for a bunch of us that interact through blogs and Twitter.  It was awesome getting to meet people face to face! Thanks for the great conversation everyone and thanks a ton to Liore for organizing everything! One of the weirdest parts for me was finally putting faces with voices and Twitter icons.  I mostly chat with these people over Twitter and know them by their screen names.  But a few of them are on podcasts I listen to so I know their voices too. It was an interesting mix of people.  It's awesome to see how diverse we are as a community.

PAX Thoughts: Square Enix Games

I walked by the Square Enix booth a bunch during PAX because of where it was located by one of the main entrances.  Over the course of the convention I watched a bunch of live gameplay from Square Enix games on the floor and got some hands on time myself. Quick impressions of their offerings in no particular order: Final Fantasy Explorers  - I got hands on time with this one.  It's one of the only games they showed off that's releasing soon.  It's shaping up to be a fun little handheld action RPG.  I'll probably pick it up when it comes out. Just Cause 3  - If you're a fan of Just Cause games then you're going to love this one.  Otherwise it's kinda generic and meh.  I fall more into the later group, but I know people will be nuts for this one. FFXV  - Still looking good, but it seemed like they just had the demo on the floor that I had already played at home... twice. FFXIV  - They had a special Revana fight set up where you could win a t-shirt.

PAX Thoughts: Some Flops

I played a ton of new games that I liked at PAX.  I found new games that I had never heard of that are now very much on my radar.  I saw games that I know and love being played.  I saw games that I've known I'm going to buy on day one for a long time. I also saw some letdowns. In no particular order: World of Warships - It didn't click with me at all.  Slow and clunky.  The controls and playstyle were much more annoying than even world of tanks.  At least I got a sweet pinny arcade pin. Some Indie Games - Most of the indie sections were awesome but some had games that looked super derivative and generic.  I'm not going to pick on any one in particular, but some sections of the indies were a letdown. AAA Lines  - We decided not to wait in any super crazy 3+ hour lines for the triple A games.  I'm looking at you For Honor, Halo 5, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Battleborn, Rainbow Six Siege, and a few more.  I pretty much already know what these games will

PAX Thoughts: D&D Sword Coast Legends

D&D Sword Coast Legends was another game I had never heard of before PAX.  My brother had heard a little bit about it and wanted to check it out. We finally got to the game on the last day of the convention and it ended up being a cool experience.  You could be forgiven for thinking this is a generic action RPG set in the D&D world.  I certainly thought so until we got half way through the line.  Then we were made into groups of 5 and asked who in our group wanted to be the Dungeon Master.  No one else jumped at the chance so I volunteered... and I'm so glad I did. I think I might have been bored being one of the players, but being a DM was amazing.  I got to control the dungeon and tweak it on the fly.  I could add things and take them away.  I made their first encounter easier which got me some DM currency to make a later encounter much more challenging.  I laid traps in tricky places.  I dropped monsters in behind them when they thought they had completed an enco

PAX Thoughts: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Defusing a bomb with my brother was one of my absolute highlights of PAX.  Let me explain. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a game where one person (me in this case) wears an oculus rift and is put into a room with a virtual bomb.  The other player (my brother) sits next to them with a bomb defusal manual.  You have five minutes to defuse the bomb or else you explode.  GO! We didn't quite know what to expect but it ended up being amazing.  We were communicating back and forth so much.  I had to relay what I was seeing and answer questions for him about the bomb.  He had to make sure he found the correct instructions for the correct bomb modules I was dealing with. What I didn't realize (because I was in the oculus) was that a crowd was slowly forming while we were playing.  We had a lot of trouble with our second bomb module.  We used two of our strikes (three strikes and you go BOOM) on the second module before deciding to leave it and move on.  We defused the res

Lightning Returns

Lightning Returns opens with some beautiful cutscenes.  Square still knows how to make some gorgeous pre-rendered stuff. After that the game almost immediately becomes incomprehensible.  Throwing around a bunch of terms that don't have any relevance to a new player.  Final Fantasy XIII had this problem too, but in different ways.  Lightning Returns uses words that we know but in ways that are obvious different in the game.  God, Chaos, Ark, Savior.  They're used in a specific way in-game that doesn't actually map to the real-world terms. I actually hate that they're using these characters from FFXIII but they aren't actually the same characters at all.  They've changed so much that they might as well have been wiped clean and replaced with all new characters.  Snow is a king or something.  Lightning calls herself a savior un-ironically.  Hope is here too but he's some kind of coordinator for Lightning's adventures and he's young again... even

PAX Thoughts: Star Wars Uprising

Star Wars Uprising is the first game to officially add to the new Star Wars canon universe since the old expanded universe was wiped out last year.  That alone has me excited. Uprising takes place between Star Wars Episode VI and Episode VII.  It's part of the media push to span the gap in time between the original trilogy and the new trilogy that is being released this December.  I'm really interested to see where the story takes us as players. While I think I'll like the game, the PAX floor demo kinda fell flat for me.  It seemed like it was just the first 10 minutes of the game.  There was a tutorial and then I got one special ability and defeated an easy boss.  It wasn't nearly enough time to figure out how engaging the full game will be. On the other hand, it was enough time to see the influences Uprising pulls from.  It's a beat em up game in the style of Diablo or Torchlight, adapted for mobile controls, and with a touch of KOTOR flavor thrown in.  

PAX Thoughts: Cosmic Star Heroine

Cosmic Star Heroine was a game I almost kickstarted.  I don't remember why I didn't pull the trigger and jump into the Kickstarter but now I regret my decision. On the floor at PAX I was taking a shortcut through the middle of the Sony booth and Cosmic Star Heroine was sitting there... playable on a TV... with only one person at the controller and no line.  I instantly remembered the Kickstarter and jumped over to check it out. I love the way this game is turning out.  The moment to moment gameplay feels like the best parts of Chrono Trigger mixed with modern gaming sensibilities and a Sci-Fi setting.  In the first few moments of playing I knew that I would buy this game on release day.  I love a good RPG and  I love Chrono Trigger and  I love Sci-Fi. A few minutes was all it took to convince me that I'll like this game. If you're a fan of Chrono Trigger or miss the golden days of classic RPGs you should really check out Cosmic Star Heroine. Now, I su

PAX Thoughts: Eon Altar

Eon Alter was a game I heard a bunch about from my blogger/twitter friend Talarian .  That's because he's a member of the dev team! I had heard a bunch but I hadn't ever seen the game in action or gotten hands on time until PAX. It's a really cool concept. Eon Alter is a multiplayer simultaneous turn based RPG that you control with whatever phone or tablet you have on hand. My brother and I played it together, me with my iPhone and him with his Android phone.  All your controls are on your smartphone/tablet screen but the action is actually taking place on the main computer monitor.  All the enemies simultaneously take a turn, and then the players all get to take their turns simultaneously too.  That means that even though it's turn based you're never waiting long for the next thing to happen. It's obviously still in early access since it's a bit rough around the edges but it's easy to tell the core hook of the game is there and work