From my time

As a sort of indirect follow up to my last posting regarding unfinished games, I wanted to give a bit of professional perspective to things.

Now, one of the big complaints about a lot of games these days is the lack of QA. Now, for those of you not in the know, QA is Quality Assurance. Every game goes through different levels of QA testing. Be it compliance (making sure that the release meets the standards of the specific platform Sony, Microsoft, etc), localisation (compliant with language standards of the region it’s being released in) and functionality (making sure, you know, that the game works and all).

I used to do QA testing for a living. And before people start getting all “wow playing video games for a living? AWESOME!” It’s not as cushy as it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, the company I worked for is definitely my favourite that I’ve worked for to date, but there is a lot to be said for the actual job. I’m not going to get into this now. If you want to know more, I’m happy to answer questions in comments or you can e-mail (theegogames@gmail.com) or tweet me.

What I want to focus on is how some of the issues we’re seeing become predominant in gaming arise.

The biggest issue, at least in my opinion: not enough time. The last big project I worked on was a AAA title for the PS3. Now, this game was a sequel and what I can tell you is that the original time from from start to release was approximately two years. The development cycle for the game I worked on: Nine months…Now, there are some things to take for granted like the fact that an engine doesn’t need to be developed for the game the second time around. But, where as the first game had a little over a year for testing/development, this one didn’t have anywhere near that kind of time. This one had about six months. Now, as a tester, you’re expected to find tens of thousands of bugs over the course of the project. Which, given how many builds a game goes through, isn’t really a challenge. But it is a challenge for the devs to be able to fix everything. There comes a time in a project, especially when they are rushed, that choices have to be made to decide whether or not it’s worth the time to fix said issue. Now, there are going to be a lot of small things that your average player won’t run into, the issue is when those things you don’t have time for, end up in the forefront. Like it did in AC: Unity, ME: Andromeda, etc.

The other big issue I ran into was devs butting heads with testers. Like any time you’re dealing with other people, you’re going to have clashes over decisions. For me, I can remember a series of what I considered extremely obvious bugs (one being a game breaker if you play like me) just being flat out denied (ignored too, but consciously) by the devs. I had to watch one of them play out during an E3 demo. There seems to be some level of animosity between the two stations, with the devs often feeling superior due to their more “prestigious” placement in the scheme of things. Sometimes the end result of a bug going un-dealt with is simply a matter of opinion or (sometimes) pig-headedness. One such instance I faced, having a background in writing/editing, I pointed out and corrected a number of text issues (grammar, spelling, etc) where rather than just copy/pasting my corrections (as emphasised by my supervisor and the functionality manager of the company) they chose instead to leave the mistakes in place.

Well, that’s a small glimpse behind the curtain and a bit of my experience. It definitely doesn’t answer all of the questions, but I hope it sheds a little light on things.

– The Ego

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Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

This last year has seen a lot in the way of end of life consoles and features. The Wii U is dead (finally), though frankly it was stillborn to begin with. PS3 will no longer support PS Now.

But this year also saw the release of the NES Classic console and a bevy of retro games (specifically on the E-Shop). And in the last couple of years, the “retro” 8 and 16 bit games have become increasingly popular.

But, how does this all stand up?

Don’t get me wrong – I grew up on the NES/SNES. Games like Contra, Zelda and of course, the titular Mario Bros games. And I do still love them. In fact, I recently got myself an SNES. But with the sophistication of current games – is simple nostalgia enough to keep us engaged?

I think of games like Mega Man. An absolute classic. I don’t think anyone could dispute that Mega Man 2 is easily one of the best games of the generations. That being said – how does it stack up next to say, Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3?

Obviously the older stuff isn’t as technically proficient. And, things like the controls are considerably more simplistic. But are those the deciding factors? Is there a way to say “X is better than Y”? Is that the question we should even be asking?

All I can say, from personal experience, is a lot of those games just don’t hold up like I (and I’ll say we and speak for some of you) would like them to.

I think of picking up the NES Classic, but then I look at those games and think: Do I really want to spend 80$ to play Bubble Bobble? Or, is the real fun of Bubble Bobble, in my mind – I mean, the memory of playing it side by side with my friends (and in my case, my grand mother) as a kid?

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And I know, for whatever reason, nostalgia is a huge part of this generation (age group). So I, by default, should be in love with all of the retro stuff coming out. And part of me is. But it’s just nostalgia for nostalgia’s purpose.

I think I’m more interested in where we are, and where we will be potentially over the course of the next few years. The potential in the gaming industry right now seems virtually limitless. VR, despite it being an early incarnation, has some very interesting possibilities. Games, in general, have gotten more complex in terms of actual gameplay, graphics, stories, etc. Even games that I thought there was no hope for the series – like Resident Evil – have surprised me and put out some super high quality games. Which is especially amazing, given the proclivity towards the retro, since Resident Evil 1 was easily one of my favourite PS1 games. In that sense, this nostalgic indulgence is definitely a positive for the future of the industry.

Ok, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that indie developers are reaching back to our roots and showing us where we came from – and are doing some things to make them new and innovative. I also think it’s great that consoles like NES Classic exist for those who never had the opportunity to play through Zelda when it came out.

But this focus (read: cashing in) on the nostalgia of our generation isn’t something I can really get on board with. As far as my consumer dollar goes – I will be laying it down for the new and truly innovative. That is to say, there is nothing wrong with working on something new with a nostalgic twist to it. Every new Zelda has been as good or better than the last – with a few exceptions.

What do you think? Are we better off looking to the past for inspiration and fun, or keep our eyes on the horizon and wait to see what breakthroughs are sure to develop – some in the near future. Let me know in the comments.

– The Ego

Christmas Wish-list

With a ton of great games already slated for 2017 – games like Horizon: New Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2 and of course the Nintendo Switch – and with that being said this list is not about that.

What I want to get into today is to talk about the things I would love to see (at least announced) in the next year.

1)  Resident Evil 7 to be a solid game: I played the demo and I admit I’m impressed. The game looks great and it plays in such a different way than the last few that I played. I can only hope that this is a return to the glory that Capcom once was known for.

2) A new Darksiders game: This series has been something that I have loved for a long time. I bought Darksiders for Xbox 360, then again for PS3 and of course the collector’s edition of Darksiders 2 and both remasters on PS4…With Nordic games taking over the franchise – and then subsequently re-branding themselves as THQ Nordic – one can only hope that their re-masters are just a first step towards furthering the IP. I know everyone else who loves this series is waiting for the same thing – a four player co-op with the last two Horsemen.

3) A story expansion to Overwatch: Arguably the games only real failing is the lack of a some kind of campaign mode. The game is amazing and Blizzard is doing a great job at supporting it. And yes, we have gotten some insight from the character videos, but nothing on the level of really showing us what is going. Blizzard has shown the ability to create some PvE content – so if we can get Junkenstein’s Revenge and the Mei Snowball Fight – then we can get some classic battles from the early days of Overwatch. Let’s see the Omnic Crisis, etc. If Injustice can do it – surely the Game of the Year from Blizzard can accomplish something better.

4) A release date for Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Fantasy XV is finally out. And the team who had been working on that project are now free. So how about letting us know when to expect KH3 Square Enix? I know that 2.8 is due out very soon after the new year, so hopefully that means an announcement is likely to follow soon thereafter. But I’ve had this game pre-ordered since 2013 – so I’m eagerly anticipating this game coming out.

5) More Marvel: So we’re getting an Insomniac Spider-Man. That’s a huge step for the Marvel Universe. It’s the first (hopefully) of many towards having a series that’s equivalent to the Rocksteady Batman games. But now we need to expand it. Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Daredevil – there are a ton of great characters to choose from who would adapt themselves well to video games. And there are a ton of great developers who could make them: Insomniac is a great start. How about Sucker Punch, Bethesda or Gearbox? Sucker Punch already showed they have the chops with the amazing Infamous: Second Son. And, while we’re at it…

6) How about another Infamous game: Second Son was so amazing. And frankly – it has been one of the flagship titles of the PS4. They proved with Second Son that they could put in a completely new protagonist, take it out of the game world already created (to an extent) and placed it in the real world (again, to an extent) and still produced a successful game in every way. So, with that in mind – where are we at?

7) World of Warcraft for consoles: I know this one is a huge stretch. But a lot less than it ever would have been. Blizzard has taken IPs like Diablo 3 from the purely PC world and put them on consoles. And no one ever thought it would work, but it did. Some would even argue that it’s better on console.

Well that’s my list. Tell me yours in the comments or hit me up on Twitter or Facebook. Till next week my faithful readers.

– The Ego

The Candy Man can

My, oh my.

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What can I say about the PSX 2016? Well, a lot actually:

Let’s start with Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite. Another game surrounding the Infinity Gems just sounds amazing. I know it’s going to focus pretty heavily on the MCU properties, which means a lot of movie heroes (and probably their likenesses). But that seems to be upsetting a lot of people. Here’s the thing: I’m reading a lot of what people are saying about the game and there is so much concern over the inclusion of the X-Men. Now, I get it. Wolverine (especially) is a staple in the series. Seeing him going head to head with Ryu is gratifying in every way possible. But seeing comments like “Marvel’s B-List” fighters just upsets me. There are tons of great characters in the MCU and comic universe that aren’t mutants. And, frankly, what people should be concerned about is how Capcom abused that property (and frankly most of their IPs). I want this game, but I’ll wait for the Fantastic Super Ultra Mega Deluxe Complete DLC Collector’s Edition MvC4…

The Last of Us Part 2: Oh man…The song in the trailer was so good I want to make it my ringtone (Edit: Done). Now, Last of Us was a great game. I didn’t fall in love with it the way that everyone else seemed to (especially IGN who for some reason gave it a 10/10). Granted, part of the reason I didn’t fall in love may have been how frustrating I found the hardest mode. But the story was incredible. And this one looks like it’s going to be even better. If there is one thing that Naughty Dog does well, it’s a story. I’m curious to see where they’re going to take Joel and Ellie next. I think the part I found the most gratifying was watching the reveal at the expo, and hearing everyone else freak out at the parts that gave me goosebumps.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: This game just needs to come out already. Seriously. Stop teasing me. I remember when I was working retail and seeing the original trailer for this game posted side by side with ReCore. And I was excited for both games. Well, I’ve played ReCore. So give me Horizon! Everything about this game looks stunning and innovative. It seemingly offers the same ambitious prospects games like Assassin’s Creed 3 did, but this one looks like it will actually pay off. I cannot wait to take down a mech T-Rex with a spear while riding a mech caribou.

Honourable mention goes to Bulletstorm re-master. I absolutely loved this game. The story was amusing, the characters and writing in general were funny. But what made this game great is the trick shots. The one thing I didn’t get a chance to do was try the multiplayer. By the time I had gotten around to it on the PS3, nobody was playing this game any more. So, being able to play it in 1080p, and get a chance to pull off some of those tricks with friends – count me in once again.

Finally, some thoughts on the the rest of what I saw:

Power Rangers Mega: Putty sounds are great, but half of the game is apparently avoiding minivans.

Wipeout: Right…Wipeout. Totally looking forward to that…

Ni No Kuni 2: I have brought dishonour on my family by never having played the original despite it being on my shelf…

Resident Evil 7: Gods help me, but I might actually buy this game.

Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 PS4: Yet another way for Cashcom to rake it in from that one game. Enough is enough already. Stop. Milking. It.

Knack 2: The sequel no one asked for.

Let me know what you thought of things. You can post a comment here, follow me on Twitter and post in the Facebook page I set up. And as always, let me know if there’s something you’d like me to discuss.

As always – your Playstation loving blogger.

– 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

Second Chances

So Watch Dogs 2 came out this week. And, frankly, I haven’t paid it too much attention.

Actually, I haven’t watched much other than the “Before You Buy” video from Gameranx. As an aside, if you haven’t checked out their videos, Gameranx and Jake Baldino are pretty fantastic.

So I have a pretty vague impression of the game so far, but what I do know very well, is how Watch Dogs 1 performed. So the question I ask today is: Do you give second chances to franchises that seriously under preform?

To start: This is Ubisoft. They have a track record of new IPs that stumble start, but end up being pretty fantastic. I’m of course referring to the Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2 debacle. For those of you un-aware of what I’m referring to: Assassin’s Creed 1 was an amazing concept with an incredibly flawed delivery. When Ubisoft came around to releasing 2 (and subsequently the whole Ezio saga…which was re-mastered and released this week) they took the concept and fixed all of the problems.

The problem with Watch Dogs, I think most people would agree, was that it was incredibly over hyped. We’ve seen a lot of that lately

The game itself was okay. I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t love it. The hacking could be pretty fun. And the online aspect, having the ability to infiltrate someone else’s game and mess with them was incredibly fun. But the rest of the game was monotonous at the best of times. The description of Aiden Pearce as a “revenge man” is apt. He was one dimensional and so was his struggle. The gameplay was lacking in most areas – especially combat and the driving was a poor GTA imitation.

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Okay, yea, I’m being pretty hard. But to be fair, it was a pretty big let down. I’ve always liked Ubisoft as a company, and for that reason, I gave them the benefit of the doubt by buying their games at release, instead of waiting till Christmas time like the deal-hunters and watching the game drop 2/3 the price.

So, do you give second chances? If a franchise is really bad from the get-go, how do you handle it? In the case of Assassin’s Creed; I did give the IP a second chance because the conceptual stuff was so spot on and really hit a niche of my interests that it was worth it for me. And in that case – Assassin’s Creed 2 paid off. (Aside: We’ll forgo commentary on the current state of the series until they comeback with their re-worked game.)

And I know this isn’t a blanket moratorium on second chances. Because let’s face facts, giving something a second chance doesn’t always mean it’s going to work out. I recently started eating a lot of vegetables I hadn’t eaten since I was a kid – but I’ll be damned if you think I’m going to eat eggs.

I ask myself, and you dear reader, what does a game have to do to redeem itself in your eyes? Does it have to go the route of Assassin’s Creed 2 and completely fix all of its mistakes before you’ll give it another chance? Or is it a burned bridges sort of scenario?Once ruined, the earth has been salted.

I think the biggest thing I look for is a company’s willingness to hear out the fans and the critics. If they demonstrate the ability to take in criticism, and at least strive to make the changes the people playing their games ask of them – then I am generally willing to give them another shot. And, as I write this, I’m looking up reviews and articles on Watch Dogs 2. If I see it – that spark – the touch as light as butterflies wings that shows developers heard the issues and worked to correct the direction the series was taking, then I will likely grab Watch Dogs 2 and give it another try.

If you have topics you’d like covered, hit me up on social media.

– The Ego

First Final Fantasy Foray

In an uncharacteristic show of competence, Canada Post delivered my copy of World of Final Fantasy first thing in the morning Thursday. Granted – it was two days late – but that was Amazon’s fault. I digress.

I know I don’t traditionally do reviews (they’ve reared their heads a few times) but I was pretty excited to check this game out – it was the outlier in all of my pre-orders for the next year or so. I’m only about 10 hours in, but I think I’ve got a good grasp on it.

Pros:

So this game plays extremely well. It’s a combination of the standard Final Fantasy trope and Pokemon. Basically you need to be constantly hunting down, capturing and leveling creatures called Mirages (basically Final Fantasy Pokemon).

The mechanics are solid, once you get used to them. The whole concept surrounds catching different typical FF monsters and recruiting them to your party and then creating stacks with your own characters. Once you dig into the way the whole thing works, you can come up with some pretty cool combinations. The only problem is that there are too many cool mirages to pick from! The battle system works somewhere in between some of the more recent Final Fantasy games (like FF13) and classic FF and it’s all turn based. I mean, you can use their new battle commands where you can short cut everything, or you can change it back to the old menu – which is what I’m obviously using. The other really cool thing worth mentioning is the appearance of tons of classic FF characters. Cloud, Squall, Sephiroth – just to name a few show up as “champions” which function as one of the summons in the game.

The music, for any old school fans, is something worth paying attention to as well. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a lot of classic tunes remixed for the game.

And so far – the story is pretty solid. There’s enough intrigue to keep me hooked, and the characters are interesting and believable…with a few exceptions. I mean, this isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s classic FF. Classic JRPG.

Cons:

I only have three complaints:

  1. Graphics. Well, not the graphics persay, but the choice of art style. For some reason Square decided to go with a Nenodroid style of character for pretty much everyone in the world – including the PCs (except that you can also grow big to a normal looking character as well). Otherwise, the game is bright and colourful and looks great.
  2. For whatever reason (I’m assuming for comedic purposes) they made the male lead (Lann) a total idiot whose reactions to things are long past hamming it up. I mean, Shatner would shake his head at this guy on his worst day. Now, I guess it’s good that they didn’t just automatically make the sister (Reynn) dumb by default, but I think they could have skipped making either of them stupid in some poor attempt to make them “funny”.
  3. Finally: Tama. The dialogue coming out of this things mouth makes me wonder what Square was thinking? It’s so bad, it makes me wonder who I hate more. Tama or Navi.
    tama_world_of_final_fantasy
    If I were a religious man, I’d wonder if the devil created Tama to test my willingness to murder. Basically: Tama puts the word “the” needlessly in front of words that just don’t make a lick of fucking sense. As a writer, it baffles me endlessly. As a gamer, I want to see bad things happen to whoever thought it was a good idea.

 

Would I buy it at full price? Yes. The mixture of the two tropes works. Square was smart to capitalise on the Pokemon gameplay and the classic FF aspects just work. It’s a colourful and fun to play game that boasts a 50+ hour campaign. Despite what IGN said – I don’t find the battle system wears over time. All I can say is: If you weren’t prepared to grind – you’re in the wrong game IGN.

– The Ego

 

We built this city

No, not on rock and roll, but on a mountain of backlogged games. No, I’m not going to drone on for 600 words about how I’m backlogged to all Hell and how life is busy, etc. No, today I think I’m going to talk about what I am playing. I’d like to know what other people are playing. Are you staying current? I know I’m not. And frankly, till someone starts paying me to do this, I don’t foresee myself catching up. So here’s where I’m at:

Overwatch: Yup, I’m still playing this. I had taken some time off of it after the first competitive season – which kind of broke me. I just don’t understand why people who are terrible play competitive. Well, I do. There’s an exclusive item involved. Part of the problem with Blizzard games is that they’re grindy. You see a guy with a crazy high level and your normal reaction is to think “phew, someone who knows how to play” but really all you’re seeing (with exceptions, of course) is someone who dumped (likely) hundreds of hours into the game – win or lose.

Rant aside – it’s still a really fun game. I like putting myself to the test in games like that. And I like that there are over 20 characters for me to choose from. And I’ve taken to the most unlikely character too – Zarya. She’s a challenge to play well. Ever since I read the article about the Korean girl who ended the career of two pros, the character intrigued me. I even picked up this awesome print from Johnni Kok at a comic con:

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If you like that, you can find his page here.

All in all, it’s one of Blizzards best games. Definitely crushed poor Gearbox’s Battleborn. Like Blue Rodeo said – just bad timing I guess.

GTA V Online – I played a bit of this when the game first came out. Played more when I upgraded to the PS4 version. But since they released the Bikers update – I’ve been all over this game. Like many, I’m a huge Sons of Anarchy fan. And I’ve always had a soft spot for bikes. Runs in the family and I’m just waiting for the day I can buy my own and ride it across the country. I liked the Heists update. They are REALLY fun – at least the actual final missions anyway. The lead-ups are pretty tedious. Well, most anyway. But the Bikers expansion finally let me dress and ride like I have been trying to for the length time I’ve been playing this game in the first place. Plus the buying and running of the illicit businesses hearkens back to the good old days of Vice City. Now, they businesses aren’t as clandestine, or as “fun”, because you just straight up own a weed farm or coke lock-up, but it’s a fun addition nonetheless.

Lastly, I’ll drop a demo in here:

World of Final Fantasy: Played through the whole demo, and I spent some time just running around Grimoire trying to check out all of the monsters. At first – I didn’t get it. The whole stacking thing threw me off. But in the end – I loved it. It’s one new game that I’ll push my backlog back for. I’m a sucker for a good Final Fantasy game. Admittedly, it’s a bit too cutesy for me. But the core game and the mechanics are solid. I watched the IGN “review” just for giggles. I don’t disagree with everything – but their reviews are generally pretty bad. At least with the video version, I didn’t have to suffer through the typos…

Now – if only Amazon had the foresight to, I don’t know, ship my game ahead of time instead of making me wait till the end of the week. If I had it in hand, I’d be writing a review of it, instead of the demo. So, I guess once I sink a few hours into it, I’ll give you something more in-depth.

– The Ego