Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hype

So I’m trolling through the various gaming media outlets and creators I follow on Twitter and I came across this article on Gamesradar. The best upcoming games of 2017 and beyond (for those of you who don’t want to read the link).

Now, in principle, I don’t have an issue with talking about the upcoming games. But best upcoming games? I mean, come on. First off, this is total speculation. More than half of the games on the list are still TBA release dates. Which, in and of itself isn’t a big deal. You know, if the games had a substantial amount of info already released to the press or public, then one could at least make an informed decision on what’s available. But with the majority of these games, there is so little announced that one could barely interpret what to expect out of a tutorial…

I’m going to pick on Destiny 2 for the majority of this post. Why? Well, because it’s the easiest target.

Didn’t we learn anything from Destiny 1’s pre-release hype and subsequent launch? I mean, I would hope that the media at least would have the sense to treat everything about Destiny 2 with a grain of salt. But, nope. Here we are with this game already making the list of best upcoming games for 2017…

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Now, I don’t hate Destiny. I bought it. Hell, I even bought it for both platforms because my friends insisted I play with them on X-Box, and they paid the lion’s share. But what Bungie promised on Destiny 1 and what they delivered were worlds apart from each other.

Now here we are again: Bungie is making some big promises. So far I’ve seen promises of bigger, more diverse worlds that will feel substantial and different from each other. I’ve seen richer story with developed characters.

A lot of that sounds really familiar. I remember when Destiny promised to bring us total exploration. The ability to go anywhere you can see on the planet. How’d that work out? I also remember hearing about a big universe full of stories. Well, we did sort of get that, but definitely not in the game. And all Destiny really added was a bunch of really expensive expansions that didn’t change the overall play space.

So why are people getting themselves all revved up already? Why is the media leading people by the nose again? Fool me one, shame on me and all that.

Is the hype, the possibility of that sequel or that new game being exactly what we all want it to be worth the eventual disappointment? Because let’s all be real for a moment: Nothing is ever as good as what we build it up to be. I look at games like Insomniac’s Spider-Man and the new God of War game – and I know that those games are being made by studios who I have a lot of faith in. And I have yet to be disappointed by a God of War game. But the truth is: speculating and talking about how great they’re going to be without a shred of tangible evidence – well, that’s just begging for a let down.

Now, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe part of being a fan is buying into the hype. I don’t know. But what I can say for myself is that there is only so much I’m willing to buy into. I can anticipate and look forward to a new game. But what I won’t do is start telling the world that it’s going to be the best game of 20XX. From time to time, I’ll even buy into the hype. I will get more excited than I should. But there is still a vast difference from personally buying into the hype and selling it to the masses.

As always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Let me know what you think in the comments. Is the hype worth the risk? Am I just being too hard on Destiny?

– The Ego

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Trophies, why do I even?

The title sort of speaks for itself. In other aspects of life, like when I used to play hockey, I never cared for trophies. I actually loathed going to the ceremonies. And it didn’t matter to me that I didn’t win MVP, or most goals scored, etc. I didn’t even play hockey like the rest of the team. I was in it for the contact, not the goals (what a shocking stereotype – a Canadian who plays hockey *gasp*). Even when my team won 1st place, or I made All-Star and we won that game – I didn’t care about a hunk of plastic or a cheap medal that said I accomplished something that others hadn’t. And yet, when I game, man do I love that ding!

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So, if I don’t care about the accomplishment per say, why am I level 21 and constantly struggling to get the platinum?

Let me preface the next 500 words by saying, I’m not one of those gamers who buys the easy platinum games just to get the trophies. You won’t find Hanna Montana on my trophy list…I generally will only go through the (often painstaking) effort to collect them all on a game I really enjoy playing.

Right now, for example, I’m playing through Dishonored: Definitive Edition. I played the original on PS3, loved it, decided to play it again on my PS4. Now, I already got the platinum the first time, and this time is proving to be just/if not more difficult because I made a couple of mistakes on my playthroughs that meant my two playthrough situation is now a four playthrough situation.

Now for the reason why. Why I do it, even when it turns out to be way more effort than it’s worth (case above).

Well the obvious answer is it definitely promotes a sense of accomplishment. In a time where most aspects of life don’t offer that, seeing that complete list, knowing that you put in the time and dedication to complete something (and complete it well) is a really fulfilling thing. The simplest thing I can juxtapose it to would be the futility of trying to keep the gaming section in order when I used to work for Bestbuy. Even if I got it to the point where I thought it was perfect – all it took was a day or two before it was torn asunder. And constantly working on it was Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Part of it may be that I have some OCD tendencies. There is just something really satisfying about seeing a completed list of trophies for a game. That 100%. That nice platinum. All of the (intended to be seen) artwork the developers produced for the trophy images. Mmmmmmmmmm. Seeing the games completed, knowing that I’ve done it all and never have to look back, and to some extent – more importantly, I can look at that list and not have to say “Oh, I just need that last trophy to finish” and have it eat away at me while I do other things. Yes, I have admitted I have a problem when it comes to gaming. If you read this regularly, you already know this.

Finally, I’ll say this: It can be really fun. Some trophies, I know I’ll never get. Games that requires 100 hours of online play (especially fighting games…I’m looking at you MK9!) will almost certainly remain blank. But those trophies that require you to learn the skills the game has to offer and then use them in an application that isn’t fundamental to the core game itself – fun. I also really like the trophies that reward you for exploring the game beyond the linear path. Because nearly 30 years of gaming has taught me there is always something around that corner or on that floor that you could otherwise skip.

So there you have it. A peak behind the curtain of The Ego and his eccentricities. Let me know why you do or not, in the comments.

– The Ego

 

Prey for me

I know from time to time we all get at least a little excited – delve into the hype so to speak – over a new game. One of those games for me was Kingdom Hearts 3. When it was announced, I was going absolutely nuts. Waiting for it though, has softened that blow a bit in the interim. But Kingdom Hearts isn’t what I want to talk about today.

Today I’m going to talk about my new hype wet dream: Prey.

Before I get into it, if you haven’t watched the new footage released by Arkane Studios, do it now:

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Arkane Studios is one of those up and coming game makers – well that may be under selling them a bit. Having released both Dishonored and its sequel – I think they’ve made it. But what I mean is – they haven’t got a lot of titles under their proverbial belt. But everything they have put out has met critical and financial success and has been extremely well received by fans.

And in comes my newest obsession: Prey. Now, when they released the first trailer at E3 last year, it piqued my interested. And, in my spaghetti against the wall method of pre-ordering games, Prey was one of those games. I mean, worst case scenario the game turns out to look bad or I lose interest, I cancel. But I can say right now – this is a day one buy and play. And, saying that about any game for me is basically the highest praise I’d give it. Even if I hadn’t pre-ordered it at a discount, I would happily buy this at full price on day one.

The game seems to carry with it tropes from a variety of different and amazing games. The one that strikes me the most from the onset is how similar it looks to Bioshock. And, given that Arkane did assist in the development of Bioshock 2, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. I digress. The similarity in level design and the HUD, play style are all great things. Arkane may end up turning Prey into the same giant success that Irrational Games was able to do with Bioshock. Of course, the story of Prey will determine whether or not it is able to reach those same heights. Prey also seems to be going along the same sort of upgrade RPG path as games like Deus Ex – using body modifications to upgrade the protagonist’s abilities. Of course, neither Bioshock nor Deus Ex had cool features to their RPG upgrades like Prey is currently boasting. As you’ll see in the video – using the alien mods  too often can bring about, shall we say, uninvited guests.

The thing that interests me the most about Prey is that even though it seems like a game we’ve seen before, it’s still showing that it has it’s own unique spin. There is still something that separates it out from the rest of the FPS and RPG games. And I don’t know if it’s the graphics or the style, but there is something about Prey. Maybe it’s the ingenuity it provokes the end user to employ to find creative solutions to progressing through the game. But it has that special quality that only truly great games possess.

Now, will it live up to the hype? That’s always the question that one has to wait out. Games like No Man’s Sky have proven that going too far down that road is extremely dangerous and leads to ethical and legal issues (despite being exonerated). Though, Arkane is good about letting just enough slip about their games to keep the appetite whetted but not enough to gorge ourselves on. And, like pretty much all Bethesda released titles, it will almost certainly be worth the wait.

As always, if there is a topic or game you’d like to see covered, let me know here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook. Until Monday, enjoy your weekend and game like it’s your last.

– The Ego

Best and/or Brightest

The new. It’s something I, and I assume others, struggle with. Always wanting that new thing. The latest and greatest. This mantra seems to apply pretty evenly across a bunch of aspects of the industry. From the latest consoles – which even seems to apply several times across a generation now, to new fads like Virtual Reality and even to updates in games like new characters. And that’s where I want to start.

I exist inside of paradox where I both understand and am baffled by people’s desire for the new. So let’s start with the small stuff.

As I’ve said a lot lately – I’ve been playing Overwatch again. And, in Overwatch, Blizzard has recently release a new character: Sombra. Now, I get that everyone, to an extent, is always going to want the new characters and everyone is going to want to play that character. But come on guys. Like everything – there is a time and a place. This is one of those paradoxes I was talking about. I understand wanting to play as a new character after a year of playing with the same 20. But at the same time, playing it in competitive mode where ranks are decided and team composition is important, is not the time to learn how to play the new character.

VR. That’s a big one for this generation. The proverbial toe in the water. VR is fancy, and it’s new. And, as such, carries a price tag that matches its status. But is it really that exciting? Or, I guess the real question to be asked is: Is it worth 700$ plus the applicable taxes to find out? It’s an interesting foray into an undiscovered medium – I’ll grant it that. And I think in time it will prove to be the next major leap that games take: Total immersion. I mean, we’ve seen it in science fiction in books like Neuromancer and TV shows like Star Trek’s Holodeck. It’s the logical progression.

Lastly – consoles. Now, in the past – and we don’t have to go back that far to see it, the PS3/360 generation had it – we’ve had multiple versions of consoles be delivered throughout the life cycle. PS3 started fat, with a small hard drive and it was backwards compatible. Then we go the slim, which offered a significant improvement on design, HDD size, over all size of the console and better functionality (i.e. less burnout). And the 360 saw several iterations of the same concept. But they were all effectively the same system. More or less, anyway. But this generation is funny. We’re being “treated” to several versions of the console, some with “vast” improvements.

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Now, how vast that improvement is is definitely based off of what kind of tech you have supporting the console. If you’ve got a 4K TV and you’re fully set up with the next rung of Blu-Ray discs, then consoles like the Xbox One: Scorpio are definitely what you should be aspiring to. Now, that’s to say, if you don’t already have a console from this generation. Because, if you do, and you have all of those supporting pieces of tech, the reviews are pretty underwhelming. Anyone with a good 4K TV will tell you, the upscaling that the TV does, regardless of whether or not you’re running the PS4 Pro, Xbox One: S or (granted this is an impression at this point) the Xbox One: Scorpio, is going to provide a significant improvement in graphical quality. Of course, the rest of the tech specs and in the case of Microsoft, the added 4K Blu-Ray player is something to consider I suppose. At least until things are developed in native 4K.

But I leave you with the question – is newer always better? Does it have to be the latest and greatest to keep you happy, or are you good with what you’ve got?

Sound off below or hit me up on one of the social media platforms that I’ve linked below.

Twitter. Facebook. YouTube.

– The Ego

Just when I thought I was out…

What’s enough to bring you back to a game. And I don’t mean a franchise. I covered Second Chances on Monday. I mean, you’ve got a game, you probably bought it a year ago, but it’s being published by one of those good studios who keeps giving you content (for free no less). But it’s been sitting on your shelf for the better part of the last year. So what kind of content is enough to bring you back?

Take Diablo 3 for example. Now, Blizzard is renowned for constantly updating and providing new content for all of their franchises, and Diablo has been no different in this respect. Here we are nearly four and a half years later and they are still giving us the goods. Recently at Blizzcon, they announced a new playable character and a new mode.

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Yup, it’s the Necromancer from Diablo 2.

So is that enough? I know it’ll be enough for me to dust off the game. And frankly, if I’m willing to, I bet a lot of others will be too. I got the platinum for the regular release on PS3 and I got the platinum for the re-release on PS4. So suffice it to say, I’ve dropped hundreds of hours into the series already.

And it’s not like I don’t have other games to play. But I’m curious. Plus I feel like when companies go out of their way to provide free content and support after this long – I owe it to them to at least check it out. Plus the idea of playing the old Diablo on my flatscreen should be pretty cool. I wasn’t privy to the original Diablo games because I didn’t have a PC that could run any kind of games when I was growing up.

Rockstar and GTA V are another good example. Now, I have friends who play GTA Online and only GTA Online. Granted – it can be pretty fun. There’s a whole slew of things to do there. But after a while, I feel like greener pastures are calling. Playing the same sorts of missions against/with the same sorts of people gets dry and requires a break. But then they release major updates like Heists and Bikers. Again – for free.

With major updates to the game the likes of Bikers (giving you the ability to form a Motorcycle Club and buy and manage illicit businesses, run MC missions and purchase your own clubhouse) it’s a real game changer. And, again, something worthy of blowing off  the dust and popping the game in for another run.

Then again, there is also examples of games like Destiny. Where the running joke seems to be “People still play Destiny?”. They seem to be putting out a combination of free and paid updates to the game, and it seems to be a harder and harder draw towards maintaining and bringing back their player base. Though, that probably has more to do with the initial offering than the applicable content.

But is that enough? Is new content a good enough reason for you to come back or is playing the game while it’s new and fresh the only joy that can be derived from the medium? Especially in this trade and play culture that we have set up all around us. Once beaten, does it get dropped off for something new and shiny? What about when it’s not free? Are you likely to pick a game back up if it requires you dropping another 24.99$ to access the content and play with friends? Where is the limit as far as price goes?

You can sound off in the comments below, I always respond. You can also now find me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So please like, subscribe, follow, etc. Everything helps. And as always, if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered here, just let me know. The new plan is to release content on here every Monday and Friday. This will allow me consistency.

– The Ego

Just a few days behind

Red. Dead. Redemption. 2.

YES. OH MY YES.

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Sorry, I’ve got a hold of myself now. The funny thing is that the reaction isn’t even based off of the trailer. Which, granted, was pretty exciting though incredibly brief as per the Rockstar usual. But it just looked so amazing. Waves of nostalgia just swept over me. Back to the end of the first game and that heartbreaking moment and for the first time I saw GTA V.

And yea, I know this came out a few days ago, and I’m just getting to it, but I wasn’t writing then, and I am now. So lets talk RDR2:

Watching a true current-gen offering from Rockstar is like watching Cirque de Soliel for the first time. It’s beautiful, unique and stirs up a million questions. What can we expect? Unlike the majority of the articles that are kicking around the web, I’m not as concerned with the whole “Is it John Marston?” debate. Whether or not it ends up being him, or if the game focuses on a new/series of protagonists, is secondary in my opinion. What I want to know is: What has Rockstar got up it’s sleeve this time? How, pray tell, could the possibly out do themselves this time around. I mean, Red Dead Redemption is iconic. There are few games that have come out in my lifetime that are so universally loved. The only other series that has generated that kind of universal acceptance and admiration is the Elder Scrolls series.

So what can they add? The online was prolific for the time. It was one of the first online games I actually engaged in. The range of activities was pretty vast, and of course had the standard “oh look, there’s another person, I better just shoot them”. So, I’m not sure what they can add to improve it. I mean, I’m sure they’ll have something new in the offline game that will translate over to the online. My big concern with the online side is that they go the same was as GTAO has. Where only the online aspect of the game gets all of the DLC. And this is coming from someone who actively plays the online in GTAO. And given the extremely high quality of the DLC for Red Dead. Undead Nightmare – despite being yet another zombie DLC in a time where that had sadly become the norm – was incredible.

So far the single player looks like it’ll be true to form. The hunting will likely return and looks like they’re putting a greater emphasis on it. Of course, everything at this point is speculation. More of the same would really hit the spot. I trust in Rockstar. I know a lot of people have gone down the path, likening Rockstar to companies like EA and Cashcom – only being about the moolah via micro transactions. But it’s not the case. I mean, I know GTA hasn’t gotten any single player DLC like they did for GTA 4. That being said – every piece of GTAO DLC has been free. And let’s face facts – they haven’t disappointed so far. I haven’t played a Rockstar game since GTA 3 that wasn’t good.

The one thing I hope for is more fun little things like some of the trophies and the horses of the four horsemen. Dastardly  was probably one of my favourite things in the entire game – and that’s not just because I always root for the villains in the movies. Hunting the Chupacabra, tracking down the pale horse – also pretty damn awesome. I always find it’s the little things that make Rockstar games great. Like when you realise that Donald Love is a cannibal in GTA 3.

So this week past begins the countdown to fall 2017. That’s the one thing they do that I can’t deal with – tease (in the most literal sense) a game a year in advance. It’s hard enough waiting in between releases, but it’s worse when they give us just enough.

– The Ego

 

To be(ta) or not to be(ta)

Let’s begin class.

I generally prefer not to take part in betas. Having spent some time working on game testing, I know what a game before release looks like. Something unfinished is never what you want it to be when you try it out. But, what can I say: Someone e-mails me a code to a closed beta and I say “what the hell?”.

Today, we’ll be talking about The Division.

I’ve been sitting on the game since release. I wasn’t sure when or if I’d actually play it. Why? Because I played the beta. Now, I’m not saying that the beta was bad. Well, actually, I am saying that. I can’t believe how boring it was. The cover system, the game play, all of it. All of the things that they tried to show off as the crowning achievements of the game. But when I tried to check everything out – closed for beta, closed for beta, closed for beta. Yup. I ran around, and there were moments where I was having fun. And, in the games defense, I didn’t really have time to make it into the Dark Zone. So, maybe that’s what I really missed out on? What I did learn from the beta was that the highly-anticipated Division, played poorly. The controls were janky, the enemies were bullet sponges and there didn’t seem to be a whole lot going on. I honestly didn’t expect a lot story wise from the beta.

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I clearly missed out on something. Because when the people who I generally play games with played the open beta, all I heard was how amazing the game really was. So I didn’t cancel my pre-order. The urging of the people around me is the main reason I kept it.

So my first impressions of the game (well, first since the game went gold, anyway) is that I wasn’t wrong. Now, that’s not to say the game doesn’t have some aspects that aren’t enjoyable.

I didn’t think, coming out of the beta, that there would be any redeemable aspects to the game. Maybe I just didn’t do enough, maybe there wasn’t enough access, but it didn’t do it for me

Going into the live game, I didn’t know what to expect. But here’s what I think so far:

Mechanics: It’s not Destiny solid, but it’s good. The game handles better. It doesn’t offer a lot of variety. Stats differ from gun to gun, but the feel is similar. It is also a little ridiculous that I can pour boxes of bullets into someone’s head and watch them walk away.

Story: So, I’m not all the way through, and I’ll reserve full judgement until I see how it all plays out, but it’s kind of bizarre. Sleeper agents among the populous, but instead of the usual terrorist fare, they’re actually secret agents? Um, okay.

Gameplay: Again, I’m not top end, I haven’t done any of the Dark Zone PvP, so I’m reserving full comments until I get through it all, but…if I’m the last line of defense keeping society from totally falling apart and devouring itself, why am I shooting and looting the people who are doing the initial shooting and looting? I know this is a common complaint, but, yea. It makes sense. Lastly: Upgrades. The choices for what one can upgrade in terms of gear slots defy usual RPG choices, and are quite odd. Scarf slot? Holster? Yea…Upgrading both your base and your character also seem to lack imagination.

I think, and I’ve said so from the beginning, that this is probably one of those games that requires friends. Failing that, there isn’t much exciting about it. When I cap out, I’ll get back to you.

On a side note, I have to say: The Tom Clancy releases were the games I was most excited about during the E word, so far they’ve been pretty disappointing. Let’s hope Ghost Recon has something to offer…well, next year.

– The Ego

 

Rumours rumours everywhere but not a drop to drink

Playstation 4.5, PS4K. It’s a nice idea. Well, not really, actually. Nope.

Trust me, no one would love to see a console output in the stunning 4K resolution. I love seeing my game broadcast in such beautiful clarity. That being said – I’m starting to wonder what’s going on over at the Sony offices? I’m worried they might be coming down with Nintendoitis.

For those new to this, and a reminder for those who read but forgot: I love my PS4. I am a Sony guy. When people ask me what to buy, that’s what I tell them. When a cross-console game comes out, and I’m excited for it – I buy it on my PS4. All that being said: Let’s talk about the future.

Sony couldn’t have this rumour floating around them at a worst time. Just last month the Playstation VR was announced. Here in the great white north, the bundle packaging in everything you need to take advantage of this “amazing” new technology is a whopping 700$. Now, I don’t have a problem with the VR fad per say. However, I think that that one release announcement is sufficient for the time being. Especially one where fans who want to invest into some new hardware are going to be footing an especially pricey bill.

And hey, if you like VR and you want to spend the money – all the power to you folks. That being said – the console just came out. 2013 isn’t even a full three year window yet guys…Now, once again, as much as I’d love a native 4K display from all of my games, just don’t do this to yourselves. It’s going to burn when you shoot yourself in the foot.

I understand the hesitation to put the hardware necessary to run a true 4K image back in 2013. Less than 1% of the population owned the kind of TVs necessary to make use of it. Now it’s set to over take the 1080p as the standard resolution probably in the next two years. But a new console is a terrible idea. The big issue is you’re going to do to the fans what Nintendo has been doing for years. In case I need to explain it: Nintendo likes to release a console, make a slight improvement, and release a minor upgrade, and then start working on whatever their next minor upgrade will be.

 

Now, I’m not saying Sony is going to do the same. But I think releasing an upgraded console 2.5 years in is a bad move. One I know people won’t like.

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Now, if Sony did something really smart, they’d have some kind of trade in program. But let’s face facts – that’s not going to happen. The worst of it is, putting in that new hardware, that’s not going to be cheap. So the price drop we already got? Kiss that goodbye. A new console, with new, competitive hardware, that’s going to bring the new price well above the original release price.

And hey, all of this is fine for the people who have yet to adopt. I know there are likely still a large contingent of PS3 owners who haven’t made the jump. I doubt this is what they’re waiting for, but they’re out there. But Sony has been running the race in first place for a long time. Stats I read put the sales at somewhere over 35 million. 35 million, Sony. Bear that in mind before trying to tell your base that they need to upgrade already.

Even though it’s not something I’m going to get into – I think you need to devote your energies elsewhere – like the Playstation VR. Don’t let that become another Vita. Not that I bought the Vita either, but a lot of people did. And a lot of people were extremely disappointed.

Continue making new games, work on getting top end servers and protect your assets better.

Expect more from me. I’ve dropped off a few times, but I have every intention of writing regularly again.

– The Ego

 

Glad tidings

So my faithful readers, Christmas – the gift giving part at least – has come and gone. I hope you all had a great day, ate well, lived life and did what makes you happiest.

The question I have is: What games were underneath of the tree this year? Being that, as I usually do – what with me being an addict and all – I purchased the majority of the games I wanted this year long before the Christmas shopping began. So when it came time to grab that special game – well, I already had it. But there was a game that almost became a throw back and a forgotten game. That game is Sword Art Online: Lost Song. It didn’t review very well. And, for what it cost at release, it seemed a little hard to justify the price tag for something Gametrailers gave a 6. But, it’s Christmas. And, in the spirit of the season, I decided to give it a second chance. So it’s sitting back in my apartment just waiting to be opened. Being a huge mark for the anime, I feel like the game will have to work pretty hard to earn my ire. I just hope it holds up well enough to get some enjoyment out of.

This year saw me buying and trying a lot of games that I had already said no to, or, never considered at all. Along with SAO, I had thrown back Destiny at one point. I gave up on it, having played through the beta twice, I didn’t see myself stepping back into those space shoes. However, I had some people I like peer-pressure me into buying it. Which, normally, wouldn’t work for a second. But, we all have to fold occasionally. I have to say – I don’t regret it. Playing with them is fun, and the game really does have a lot going for it. I reserve the right to pass final judgement on it when I actually hit the level cap, but so far, so good. Only thing I wish Destiny had of kept from its initial run: Dinklage. Don’t get me wrong, Nolan North is great at what he does. That being said:

1. I love Peter Dinklage
2. I would love to play a game where Nolan North doesn’t voice a character

Nothing exceeds like excess. There is such a thing as too much. Right? Destiny boasts an all-star cast of voices from Idris Elba, Nathan Fillion, Lance Reddick and Peter Stormare. Why couldn’t they just keep Tyrion? I’ll admit, there are times having watched the video below that I like what North did better in terms of his take on the dialogue, but the complaints people had about Dinklage (mostly that he was too dry) make more sense than the animated persona done by North.

Anyway, that was a bit of a diatribe, but it was something I’d been thinking about since I bought the game, so I wanted to get it off of my chest.

I think the main reason 2015 was such a great year for the industry was that it really felt like the current gen consoles really hit their stride this year. Which, I think, is the most important thing we should take away with 2015 closing out next week. The reason being: 2016 now is going to be (and really, has to be) the year where the new platforms have to show us what level we should set our expectations on. 2015, along with some extremely good games, showed us a lot of remastered games. It’s definitely an important step. Showing us what we have compared to what we just gave up. But now it’s time to hit the ground running. Bust out those new IPs everyone is waiting for. Show us that our collective faith in Sony and Microsoft (and to a lesser extent, Nintendo) wasn’t misplaced. Not that I think many people feel that way. But it’s time to make the nay-sayers and hold-outs get on board.

Merry Christmas.

– The Ego

A friend indeed

So for a year before Destiny came out, I was super excited to play the game. I pre-ordered it the day they demoed it at the E word. When the beta came out, I sat and anxiously awaited it to finish downloading so I could jump in – especially given that I had just a short period of time to check it out. When I got into it, I was impressed right away. The game looked great – easily one of the first games of the then “next gen” games that made real use of the hardware.

But then some of the realities started to trickle in…

I got to the beta level cap pretty quickly. That was disappointing. What was worse though, was that the story was basically non-existent at the time. Just a few lines of dialogue spouted out from Peter Dinklage. But even that (which normally would be a deal breaker for me) wasn’t the reason I was so dissatisfied. No, the coffin nail was the co-op aspect. The MMOFPS part. Now, I’m not an MMO virgin. I played WoW from the vanilla beta, through basically all of the content (missing some portions here and there). What was brutal was the nightfall areas. Getting stuck with people who you’ve never met, players who aren’t matched on some kind of skill level or some other relevant statistic. Nope, it was just a random match making system. Now, I’m not going to say I’m the world’s greatest gamer – especially not at any competitive level. You won’t see me at any Esports competitions. That being said, I’d definitely consider myself “hardcore”. So, knowing that my playing the game – my ability to progress and gear my character was hinged on playing with random people whose skill levels were likely not on my level – that’s when I knew the game wasn’t for me.

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Now, no matter how impressed I was with the mechanics of Destiny – and frankly, I’ve said it many times, I think Destiny is one of the best shooters (mechanically) that I’ve ever played – I struggled with actually purchasing it. I had written it off as a game I would likely never buy, regardless of how many people tried to talk me into it. And there were many.

But during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, the Legendary edition of Destiny dropped to 50$. At that price, the DLC alone is more expensive than the game itself. I had a co-worker and friend buy the limited edition console, and I let him convince me that picking up the game was a good idea. Even at that, it took some doing to convince me.

But I bought it. I know. I know. I have a problem.

Tonight marked the first time in a while that I’ve actually played a co-op game with a friend. Now, I played the living Hell out of Diablo 3, and by its nature, I played a lot of co-op. That being said – it isn’t the same playing with familiar strangers online. This was a genuine, I know you, you know me and we can plan to do some gaming together kind of occasion.

Running through the beginning, granted – not much of a difficult section of the game – was an absolute breeze. When the beta was out, the first Nightfall area was an unadulterated nightmare. People with sniper rifles rushing the boss…Inevitably dying, and in such a place that no one can save them. Would communication have helped? Maybe. But there’s definitely something to be said for playing with people you know and you know play well.

All this to say: Playing with friends is just the best. Clearing zones, having a good time and a good laugh. Just the best. The downside to the industry now is that it seems like only about 5-10% of the games are couch co-op. That’s what I really miss. But, I’ll definitely settle for knowing that a good player and a good friend is just a button click away.

– The Ego