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  • Psychonauts from a Guy who Barely Knew it Existed

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    Psychonauts from a Guy who Barely Knew it Existed

    Truth be told, after beating a game like Nier: Automata I really needed to play a bunch of shorter, more lighthearted games. And that's what I am currently doing. Psychonauts simply seemed to be a top tier candidate for the job. Now I don't blog about every game I play, actually I tend to just write about the long ones that shock and amaze. However I definitely feel like talking about Psychonauts. So that's exactly what I intend to do.

    I imagine there will be some mild spoilers in here. If you haven't played this 12 year old game yet. Like me.



    Psychonauts came out in 2005. Which should have been more than enough time for this old man to play it. But thats simply not how it worked out. The PS2 was one of my favorite systems, arguably the favorite. Its full of some of my all time favorite games. Despite this though, there was simply no way Psychonauts was ever going to be played by me back then. When it came to PS2 titles, pretty much all I would play are RPGs, JRPGs and Action games. If I wanted a Platformer/Adventure game, thats what Nintendo consoles were for. Thats the limit of my gaming comfort zone back then. So a Sony Platformer was never going to happen. Its simply not who I was.

    That being said, its not like I didn't know what Psychonauts was all this time. I had a basic concept. But lacked any sort of urge to dive backwards into an older title. Up until I met my best friends who have long help forge my gaming perspective over the years. A couple of them had very positive feelings for Psychonauts, so earlier this year when Steam was having one of its fantastic sales. I picked up Psychonauts real cheap. Worst case scenario it was worth it to try it, but best case it could be a great experience. Lucky for me, it was the later.

    The first 10 minutes of Psychonauts is... Perfect. It's so perfect that I paused the game first chance I got and mentioned it to my friends. Psychonauts is a game that takes place in a Psychic Summer Camp. Where a bunch of young children with psychic powers go to learn how to use them. Couple this unique setting with the cartoony brilliance that is Psychonauts' style, dialogue and voice acting and you have yourself a borderline peerless intro. I couldn't stop smiling and was well on board with the game before I ever got to the gameplay. And by the time I got to the gameplay I was more than ready to play as the young Razputin(Protagonist).

    Being "unique" is Psychonauts' defining trait. Ans I am going to be mentioning it multiple times I am sure. But before that, before I get to what I loved about the game. I gotta "sin" it first. And there is one major gripe in Psychonauts that needs to be addressed.


    Razputin crashing the camp's introduction speech was too good for words.

    Psychonauts... Is so incredibly clunky to play. And its mostly focused around a few aspects of the gameplay. As for the most part when you are running around, jumping, attacking as Razputin, its mostly pretty clean. Very basic gameplay but it works. Its when the gameplay shifts into "different modes" that the game starts clunking around.

    To describe what I am talking about, think of a 3D Mario game. There are instances where Mario has to tight-rope walk over a large gap. Also instances of where he has to climb poles to reach higher areas. Psychonauts does these too. Now think of a 3D Sonic game. Where Sonic grinds down a railing like he is wearing roller skates. Psychonauts does this as well. And its in these moments where patience for the game can wear thin. When it comes to tight-rope walking, making Razputin jump towards it. He is literally going to fall through that rope 20% of the time, not registering that its even a rope to walk on. Climbing poles, you are gonna have to jump towards it 2/3 times just to get him to grab on. And then its entirely possible he will randomly let go because you have a bad camera angle going on. And grinding on rails is the worst by far. Half the rails in the game will end up stopping Razputin somewhere mid grind. Leaving him dangling in a grind animation until he gets knocked out of it. Most of the time it will let you jump out of it, but there are a couple animation sticks that seem to ignore button presses on whole.

    This just scratches the surface. But this is a basic idea of what you can expect while playing Psychonauts. And I'll be 100% honest. It didn't bother me that much. Because there is very little in the way of "punishment" in Psychonauts. Very few pitfalls. Very few things in general that give game over screens. When these errors in the gameplay occur, you generally will just fall to the ground, walk back up the 5 second tower and reach where you fell again. Not a big deal. But its in the last 15% of the game where all of that goes away.

    Towards the end of the game, Psychonauts starts demanding very precise platforming from you. At this point you have all of your abilities so that makes sense. The problem lies entirely in the fact that precision platforming in Psychonauts is impossible. Its less about "trail and error" and more about "trial and I hope the game lets me succeed this time". There are a few specific instances in the late game where I was actively annoyed to be playing. And I was super conflicted between being fascinated by the end game and hating myself for forcing the gameplay on me.


    Despite this, the boss fights are actually pretty decent. Which is weird looking back on it as those are the first to go usually.

    That being over with, that is actually all of my problems with Psychonauts. I could probably start nitpicking it. Because there is this odd sound design issue where sound effects simply don't land. There is no impact in attacks, fanfares or the like. But that would be nitpicking it. Its a small issue that affected the experience very little. So lets get on to talking about what Psychonauts did correctly.

    First is simply the unique setting and themes Psychonauts has. The setting begins as a summer camp for magical children. And that alone is fantastic. For a good third of the game you are roaming around the camp ground and enjoying the young and silly dialogue of young children. But also experiencing the councilors and their psychic seniority over you. But its more than that as well.

    The "stages" in Psychonauts are all the minds of individuals. You hop into the heads of your councilors and crazy people, and their thoughts are you stages. Psychonauts plays on this theme of inner mentality perfectly. One of the first real stages you enter is the mind of a conspiracy theorist. And his world is a mess of conspiracy theory tropes. Including but not limited to, cameras randomly popping out of everywhere and taking pictures, girl scouts being spies and an entire neighborhood being in on a secret the poor conspiracy theorist isn't privy to. It was a fantastically fun stage to experience. Add on to this that the game even makes its collectables fit this theme. Such as your collectables being "Emotional Baggage", "Figments of Imagination" and "Mental Cobwebs". And you have yourself a really well put together setting.


    It really plays on the theme perfectly. And I loved this statement most of all.

    Next its time to mention just how ridiculously charming the characters and dialogue actually are. And it must have been a fine line, because making children characters in video games doesn't always work out for the best. Let alone having well over half the cast and your protagonist being young children. But Psychonauts pulls this off very effectively. The setting itself is perfect for them. The cartoony dialogue plays on the concept of young kids continuously. And the voice work for the kids is actually some of the most believable voice work for child characters I have ever heard. Its good stuff all around.

    I would find myself making sure I heard all of the dialogue simply because it was that good. All the kids having short story arcs around the peaceful summer camp, its worth seeing them all. Because being kids, there are just tons of silly concepts floating around. Such as a girl coming between 2 friends. A bully and his sidekick eventually becoming the bullied themselves. The term "make out" being throw around as the ultimate sign of adulthood. Etc. Even more so there is the simple seniority the councilors have. They are adults after all, but also fully fledged powerful psychics. In comparison to the kids they tend to be a mystery. And once the game gets going and Razputin starts diving into the minds of random crazies to help "save the world", there is always a focused theme that your protagonist is a young boy. He is doing his best to sound cool, come off as mature and complete his mission with tact. Even if it only rarely works out that way.

    The humor of Psychonauts is a style of crude humor to say the least... But I would describe it as the most innocent style of crude humor. Everything is perfectly fitting from what you would expect from young children. The children are easily read and come off as very silly fun. But also the adults play to their strengths of experience. The first swear word to happen in game came from one of the councilors. And it caught me off guard, because the children don't swear. But it makes sense that one of the adults did. It was a realization of where the setting and characters brought me to.


    That's... That's not how to sound cool.

    And finally I am gonna mention the unique pacing style Psychonauts uses. Quite frankly the first third of the game is simply tutorials. Its teaching you how to game for a significant portion of the game. The meat of the game happens in the second third. And the last third is the climax and ending. And this is not a negative, this is actually a really great way for the game to play it.

    The first 4/5 stages in Psychonauts are really the councilors teaching Razputin how to harness his psychic powers. And this makes sense thematically because you are at summer camp for those very reasons. Calling the first third of the game tutorials is an accurate description, however it probably comes off as misleading. The stages themselves are fully fledged stages with very little hand holding. Its not like they are on rails. They also serve to build up all the terms the game uses. You learn about the collectables like Emotional Baggage and such here. Also about all the psychic abilities you'll probably be learning later. But the first third is also about the characters around the summer camp. This is where all of their side stories and such take place. Because once the game gets going and tragedy strikes, there is no time for the peaceful summer camp activities. Its a strong reason why the pacing of the game is so good.

    The first third of the game shows you how to play the game in fun levels, but also shows of the majority of the fun characters and dialogue. The second third is the meat where all the themes, gameplay and story expand in grand ways. And the last third is where your story wraps up, characters reunite and pretty much all you knew comes together in fantastic ways. The game is humorous throughout. And the constant change in environments, both in gameplay and progression make sure you are never bored.


    How could anyone be bored with this many colorful crazy people to help through their problems?

    And thats my take on Psychonauts. It was totally worth the money. Despite its clunky gameplay there is a very unique and strong experience in there. Its fun to watch. It fun to play most of the time. And its certainly fun to use a "realistic" menagerie of Psychic powers. Where as Psychic powers tend to be shown off in fiction as entirely magical. The Psychic powers in Psychonauts are subtle in how they effect the gameplay and influence the silly setting.

    I am totally looking forward to whatever Psychonauts sequel is in the works currently. And I hope they can recapture just how unbelievably charming the first game actually is. I totally recommend it.

    The End

    I really wanted to write out a shorter blog. As my last one was Nier Automata and it was crazy long. Psychonauts was the perfect candidate as it was a fun experience all around. This also opens the doors to me potentially writing about more games besides the long epics that greatly impress me, as I play a lot of little games and such in between these epics. Also hopefully this one will get me to stop procrastinating and write the Splatoon 2 blog I still haven't finished yet. So if you have anything to add, anything at all, even if its just yelling at me for having crappy tastes in games 12 years ago, feel free in the comments below.

    I am the Milkman.
    My milk is delicious.

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    Psychonauts from a Guy who Barely Knew it Existed Truth be told, after beating a game like Nier: Automata I really needed to play a bunch of shorter, more lighthearted games. And that's what I am currently doing. Psychonauts simply seemed to be a... More
  • Nier Automata from a Guy who was Over Depressing Yoko Taro Games

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    Nier Automata from a Guy who was Over Depressing Yoko Taro Games

    Automata is a game I have been stewing on for awhile now. Having beaten it a couple weeks ago. But I almost feel like it was necessary, because Automata as an experience requires a lot of thought. Its so much to take in. And even thinking on the game for the past couple weeks, I am not sure I can do it justice. Not in a way that I'll be satisfied with. For me personally, this will be the hardest blog I have made so far. And I will be doing my best not to ramble and deliver a pleasurable read. That being said -

    There are literally all the spoilers in this blog. I am not holding back at all. I've noticed on my other blogs that I tend to not spoil anything major, even though I list spoilers in the intro. But that is not the case here. So leave now if you aren't ready for them.



    Automata was a interesting game to get me into. At the start of the year I legit had zero intentions to play the game at all. Despite one of my best friends playing it and praising it early on, I vehemently rejected the notion of playing Automata. Because playing another game by the "crippling depression" master Yoko Taro did not interest me at all. I had more than enough experience to know this.

    My first Yoko Taro game was Drakengard back on the PS2. And for whatever reasons I had going on in my life at the time, I pretty much 100%ed the game(Despite it being terrible to play). And even still to this day, the protagonist, Caim, is one of my favorite characters. Almost entirely due to the fact that I pity him more than any other character I have ever known. Caim is a psychopath for all intents and purposes. And this doesn't really stand out as nearly every character in the game is a terrible person for one reason or another. But Drakengard's story is more or less about systematically taking everything away from Caim, because he is the definition of self destruction. He begins the game with a lot to lose. Forms a pact with a dragon he hates. And then by the end of the game he has nothing left. But the icing on the cake is that he learned to love his dragon partner by the end. Only she has to sacrifice herself for the world, not for the world's sake, but for Caim. And all Caim is left with is fulfilled revenge and not an ounce of comfort. Drakengard is nothing short of painful to witness.

    Which leads to Drakengard 2. Of which is often hated more than the first, due to having a typical Japanese Protagonist over Caim. Caim however does get to be the antagonist, and is the main reason why anyone should play Drakengard 2. Drakengard 2 possesses the one scene in Video Games I cried the hardest at. Caim's goals as the antagonist are nothing more than saving his dragon from the cruel fate she chose for herself at the end of 1. And after many more terrible acts, he gets his chance. He asks the protagonist of 2 to kill her for him. To free them both from their hell, because if one dies, they both die. And once he does, this scene plays. I remember vividly having to step away from the game. As the culmination of Caim's pitiful existence ending in such a beautiful scene effected me greatly.

    Which leads to the last of the 3 Yoko Taro games I played. Which is the original Nier. Nier came into my life at the wrong time. As I could not stand to coddle the subpar to bad gameplay enough to actually appreciate what Nier did right. Hell, I can't even remember the music being good, despite the fact that its the one thing everyone praises about it. There were things I liked, though. Such as the protagonist being an adult father. His sidekick Weiss being hilarious. And Kaine being the most endearing edgy character of all time. But the bad gameplay won out in the end. And looking up what the endings were, I noticed that they all end in travesty. Which is just depressing. And I knew I didn't care to see it after Drakengard.

    Didn't want to rant on too long over games that aren't Automata. But I do feel its relevant to explain where my stance on Yoko Taro games was. And its not that I didn't appreciate them. On the contrary, I probably appreciate what Drakengard did right more than most. Caim's character arc affected me a lot as a younger Heropon. But Yoko Taro's heavy handed story telling style is hard to swallow. And as an adult, I had no interest in doing that again. But like so many other times this year, my friends kept playing Automata one after the other. And they all loved the game for what it chose to be. The general consensus being that its "so much more than his other works". So I strapped on my boots and dived into Automata. Inevitable depression be damned.


    Just rewatching the scene from Drakengard 2 filled me with a nostalgic sadness.

    The beginning of the game is actually fantastic. Its a really strong opening for a lot of reasons. Not just because it works wonders from a visual and gameplay standpoint. But also because it makes you think, long before you have any strong feelings for the setting or characters.

    The game opens as the protagonist 2B and other Androids make an aerial attack on a Robot factory. Androids Vs Robots is the basic concept of the Automata story. She is the only one to survive and reach the surface. Soon after she meets up with her ever constant sidekick, 9S. And they proceed to give you a basic tutorial setting with some fun dialogue. The main take away from this is nothing more than a simple exchange between the two. 9S respectfully calls 2B "Ma'am". 2B thinks its unnecessary, and asks him to call her 2B instead. And so he does. This continues up until you reach the end of the opening. Where there is a massive boss fight and 2B and 9S have no chance of victory. So the two Androids self destruct, killing themselves and their foes with a huge explosion.

    The very next scene you get after this is 2B staring out into space on the Android's space station. 2B herself fully aware of "dying" just a little while ago on the Earth's surface. Because 2B's memory was uploaded to the space station, and she simply had her memories put into another body so she is ready to go. She then bumps into 9S, who only recalls the events on Earth because he was told them in a briefing. What had happened, was 9S uploaded 2B's memories. But he didn't have enough time to upload his own. And this sinks in hard, because the scene ends with 9S calling 2B "Ma'am" once again. And it just felt painfully wrong.

    And this is the core of everything Automata is. Existentialism. Does that 2B exist anymore? The one from the tutorial? Perhaps. But does 9S, or is he just a copy? What would it even mean to copy a life? And somehow the game plays on this theme without ever becoming pretentious.

    Before I move on to the mess of praise I have for the game. I gotta complain about what it does wrong first. I won't be mentioning anything minor, but the two things I will mention REALLY bothered me.


    Even if you don't care for my existential babble, the intro is still crazy cinematic and fun to watch.

    Firstly the smaller one. But its the sections of the game where your protagonist is "damaged" and moves slowly. Which can easily catch you with a game over screen if you play it incorrectly.

    Now what Automata does is set everything for the player "in the eyes of an Android". Everything from the interfaces, to menus, to the numbers you see on screen. Its all part of what the Androids see. This also plays part in things such as Status Effects. If you acquire a typical "Blind" status effect, what it actually does is blurs, statics and distorts the players screen. Because what is happening is a virus is interfering with the Androids visual sensors. Same goes for all Status Effects in the game. This even goes as far as to the player having the ability to kill the Android by removing their "OS Chip". Because Chips are special abilities and effects you can equip when you find them. And you can set a certain amount. However, always equipped is the OS Chip. And removing it from an equipped state nets you a bad ending/game over screen. The detail pumped into this part of the game is very cool.

    Now this leads to the problem. There are parts of the game where 2B, 9S or A2 are damaged, hurt, or simply being tampered with through viruses/etc. This generally leads them to not being able to attack and moving extremely slowly. Pretty much every time the game does this, it is for story reasons. And I am cool with that. The problem lies in the fact that these portions of the game are treated EXACTLY the same as any other portion of the gameplay. So enemies have every ability to decimate you as you are entirely helpless. In the first case it happens, it happens at the very end of a boss fight. And you have to survive the boss' Bullet Hell style of combat while moving at 10% speed, and deal the last quarter of his HP this way. It was pretty damn obnoxious. Second time where it actually got me killed, was at a very passionate and cinematic portion near the start of Route C. Where 2B is slowly dying, and you have to walk her through enemy infested hell to get to your next destination. And it low key ruined the mood, which is terrible.

    The simplest fix in the world for this is to not make these sections gameplay oriented. Make them mostly cinematic, where the player walks 2B through an enemy infested hell... That won't kill the player and ruin the moment. It doesn't need to, its not why the scenes are powerful. And this accounts for the boss fight as well. You didn't need to fight him at 10% speed to sell the end of the fight. You just needed to know what the Androids were going through as they finished the fight. And fundamentally cutting off the players hands while expecting them to perform is not the answer.


    I understand that the weapons were broken and their bodies could barely respond... But lost my I Chips here and had to reload the game because of this dude.

    Secondly its the big one. I have no small bone to pick with it. Its the fact that you, the player, have no idea what Side Content you NEED to be doing.

    All of Automata's story, lore, and setting blends together effortlessly. Not only with one another, but with the gameplay and everything the player sees and does. This is important. What this means is that so much of the game is relevant to the entirety of what the game wants to be. The Side Quests specifically are so good and important that everyone needs to do them... Most of the time. Because 50% of the side quests in Automata are tied directly to the story and lore of the game. Doing these quests makes you understand themes and dialogue later. They develop the characters. They make you feel. Its imperative that every player does these quests. The next 25% are side quests that are lore related and fun. They add depth to the world and comedic aspects. If the lore of Automata speaks to you as you play, you owe it to yourself to do these. But the last 25%, these are the problem. These 25% are side quests that have no more purpose or relevance than a typical MMO styled Fetch Quest. They often give you rewards such as Weapons, which are admittedly the best type of reward you can get in Automata. But in comparison to the others, they are terrible soulless husks.

    The problem with this, is the MMO Fetch Quests will give off the idea that you don't need to do all of the side quests. Which is dumb because you really need to do the important relevant side quests. And this didn't effect me, because I go into games with the mindset of doing everything. Now I never do everything, I am no completionist. But I make an effort and if something is feasible I tend to do it so long as I am having fun. What this lead to was me taking 3 times as long to beat Automata as my friends, but I did 90% of everything there is to do. And its with my friends where this became my problem as well.

    The biggest example I am going to give is the most annoying thing to happen in my Automata experience. There is this one side quest in Route C. Route C being after 2B has died, and player controlled 9S is slowly going crazy. 9S is asked to collect Dog Tags of fallen Androids. And for all intents and purposes, this sounds like a fetch quest. So I go around finding all of the Dog Tags... and its basically a fetch quest. I take them all back to the guy, and he gives a lot of really cool dialogue about how this could have been him who died. At the end he talks about an old human tradition of "sending the dead off with flowers". And the quest ends... But it doesn't leave the quest log. The quest takes you to another destination. It takes 9S to the Lunar Flower garden you found earlier in the game. And in this room he makes 2B a grave among the flowers, sending her off. This is just beautiful and fantastic. After I finished, I went to gush about the side quest to my friends... But literally none of them had done this side quest. They had no idea what I was talking about. Because each and every one of them thought this quest was a pointless MMO styled Fetch Quest. And I can't blame them, I thought it was too. I only did it because I was having a good time playing the game. And this is just painfully unacceptable. No one should miss this.

    The Fetch Quests in Automata actively undermine the concept the game has, where everything is relevant. And its true, so much of the game IS relevant. NPC dialogue, side quests, Weapon/Enemy lore, etc. Its worth reaching out and doing/reading as much as you can. I just can't understand why among all this peerless world building, there are MMO Styled quests that offer nothing besides weapons/items you don't really need. The fetch quests needed to either look different from the world building quests, or be removed entirely.


    It is entirely wrong to miss this.

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    Nier Automata from a Guy who was Over Depressing Yoko Taro Games Automata is a game I have been stewing on for awhile now. Having beaten it a couple weeks ago. But I almost feel like it was necessary, because Automata as an experience requires a lot of... More
  • Overwatch Hero Releases: Ana and Sombra > Orisa and Doomfist

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    Overwatch Hero Releases: Ana and Sombra > Orisa and Doomfist

    Overwatch is a game that has defined itself with a cast of lovable characters from all across the world. And its probably why I am still paying this game over a year later. As August 8th started my second hate/love relationship with Lucioball. lol - The game began with 21 heroes. And I honestly loved most of them. They stuck out and were likeable right off the bat. And as you dig deeper into the lore and story of Overwatch, they become even more enjoyable. And for the first 2 new heroes we got in game, they fit in perfectly with the rest of the cast. But for the last 2 I have far different feelings for. Thats what I will be going over in this blog.

    To clear the air at the start, I am not digging deep into gameplay. Gameplay is a factor of the characters for sure. But I am not gonna defend a character solely because they brought new gameplay mechanics. Overwatch characters are more than their gameplay, so while I will mention gameplay, that alone does not define how memorable they are.



    Overwatch's successful characterization comes from many different factors. But the reason why I think it worked out so well, is because of how different all the characters were. And not only that, the reasons you love them were all different as well.

    For the original cast, you love characters like Soldier 76, Reaper and Mercy because of their deep connection to the story and lore of Overwatch. Their dialogue with each other and others is usually the most interesting because they are driving points of the story.

    You love characters like Winston, Tracer and Reinhardt for their genuine personalities. They are pure hearted super heroes for all intents and purposes, and this inspires a sense of comradeship among the characters.

    You love characters like Widowmaker, Genji and Hanzo because of their deep backstories, mostly unrelated to Overwatch's main story. They posses tragedy that underlines the bright atmosphere of the game, and its an important dynamic to have.

    And you love characters like Lucio, D Va and Junkrat, not because they are important at all. But because their personalities shine harder and louder than any of the other characters. They are boisterous and lovable, which is another important dynamic to have.

    Not to undersell the characters at all, this was a very basic explanation of why the characters are appealing in their variety. Because each character also has a healthy amount of tropes and quirks that endear them to the player. Through their personalities, gameplay mechanics, and even as far as what the Fandom has created as "head canons" for the characters. The characters of Overwatch have been and will always be the best part of Overwatch. This isn't to say that the characters are perfect, or that the entire cast was equal. But to describe them any less than this would be a disservice.


    I mean, how do you not love these scamps?

    Now when Ana released it was an exciting time. It seemed to almost come out of nowhere, and to have a new hero was amazing. However looking back on it, its so easy to forget that Ana was a new hero at all. Because she blends so effortlessly with the original 21 heroes. Ana was a missing puzzle piece of sorts. Being senior to Soldier 76 and Reaper, she brought the concept of the war that happens prior to Overwatch into focus. And all the characters have a sort of unspoken respect for Ana, even Reaper in his hatred for his old friends can't even escape this fact. Ana is a war hero. Her back story was incredibly interesting and tied to Soldier 76, Reaper, Widowmaker and Pharah. Expanding upon those characters as well. Her personality and design sparked a mess of fantastic "grandma" jokes. Her gameplay mechanics were unique and incredibly powerful. And she is given focus as a main character in the Overwatch universe.

    There was so much about Ana's introduction that was done correctly. She added so much to Overwatch, from gameplay to lore. Fitting in with the original 21 characters of Overwatch should be the primary concern for any new heroes, as it would be incredibly easy for a new hero to be overshadowed by the original cast. And Ana never had this problem at all.


    It's actually crazy how much Ana added to the game.

    Now we move on to Sombra. Whos release was not... As smooth as Ana's was. Long story short, there was a long winded game Blizzard was playing with the Overwatch community on who Sombra was. Tons of Sombra related Easter Eggs hidden everywhere for the players to find. It made sense to play an online game for Sombra, as Sombra is a hacker. But ultimately the game went on WAY too long. And it only felt like a burden with no pay off by the end. Luckily Blizzcon 2016 comes around, and they finally release Sombra with the animated short "Infiltration".

    Now I will argue that Sombra is the best hero release in Overwatch for a few reasons. First is that she had a strong build up. It did last too long, but the build up was worth it in the end. Second, is that her gameplay mechanics were super interesting. Stealth was 100% new, as was removing enemy player abilities. And third and most importantly, her presence in the animated short Infiltration was incredibly powerful, and extremely memorable. Sombra "hacked" a video introduction at Blizzcon 2016 and played Infiltration. But Sombra herself in Infiltration was the best part. She has the advantage characters like Lucio and D Va have, as her personality is loud, proud, quirky and hilarious, being a top class troll to her unamused partners in crime. But she also has the advantage characters like Soldier 76 and Reaper have, by being extremely connected to the main story of Overwatch. Because she clearly has the most answers and knows the truth.

    Mixing all that together, Sombra not only fit in with the rest of the Overwatch cast, but she immediately became one of the best characters in the game. And thats high praise to just immediately sit atop of the previous 22 characters. And since that point, Sombra has only been equally important. She carries that same character as the story of Overwatch progresses. And even attempted to troll Doomfist in his own comic.


    Most characters can't aspire to have this much personality in an entire game, much less in 6 minutes.

    And now we enter the next character release, who was by far the weakest one, and one I only have a handful of nice things to say about. Orisa. Now for Orisa, she was teased a couple weeks before she was released. But she was originally teased as Doomfist. People thought we were getting Doomfist, a character that has been hyped up to impossible degree, and we got a robot horse instead. And thats a bad start. But her build up, after it stopped hinting at Doomfist, it started hyping up another character in the Overwatch universe. An 11 year old girl named Efi Oladele. A prodigy in the field of mechanics. And Orisa was a creation of Efi's to help protect the world from threats like Doomfist.

    Now my main problem with Orisa is what I am gonna start with. Its the fact that she never should have existed at all. Now I am not talking Doomfist, he never had to be this hero release. But my problem is, they spent 2 weeks hyping up this 11 year old girl, and now she is entirely irrelevant, because we got Orisa instead. Barely even mentioned by Orisa in game. And I know what you are thinking, we can't have an 11 year old girl as a playable character because shooting an 11 year old would be wrong. And I agree, with the vibe and aesthetic of Overwatch, having an 11 year old on the battlefield is not fitting at all. But she wouldn't have to be on the battlefield. Why isn't Efi the character we got, remote controlling the Orisa robot from the safety of the spawn room? Her voice giving little kid lingo and mannerisms through the Orisa robot on the battlefield. It could have added some hilarious and original vibes throughout Overwatch. And she would have fit in nicely with the rest of the cast.

    The characters in Overwatch are each so original and memorable. Their main advantage is that none of them step on each others toes from a characterization stand point. But Orisa, she steps on Zenyatta's toes by being a monotone robot. And the only other aspect to her personality is that she acts like Baymax from Big Hero 6. Only she doesn't have the charm to make her that lovable, presumably because they had all of her build up given to her creator, Efi. Orisa's best parts are her gameplay for sure. There is something very pleasing about using a gun arm and going "Barret" on people. And despite people complaining she is weak, I still feel like her gameplay mechanics are nice to have. That being said, I only rarely use Orisa, simply because other characters are more lovable. There was very little about this hero release that was done correctly.


    You taunted us with Doomfist. Built up the 11 year old. And then gave us someone loosely related to both.

    And finally we get to Doomfist. Now lets clear the air right now, Doomfist could never live up to the hype people created for him. They wanted Doomfist to be the perfect Terry Crews personification, with perfect charisma and jokes. As literally everyone thought Terry Crews was gonna voice act him. But that simply wasn't the case. And I don't hold this against Blizzard or Terry Crews at all. And lets clear the air a second time. Tons of people love Doomfist right now, because his gameplay mechanics are shaking up the meta of Overwatch so hard. And I am NOT going to spend this blog complaining about why I am not one of those people, because I think he is too strong. I can appreciate that his gameplay is super unique and spices up the game. But there are simply other parts of Doomfist's release that are not good.

    Look at it this way. Take Doomfist as he is now. He is the "Lawful Evil" guy with a powerful disposition, large intimidating frame and sees everything through his warrior eyes. Honorable in his own evil ways. Now instead, think of Doomfist as a "Chaotic Evil", bat crap crazy kinda guy. With a charismatic voice, clear dark intentions, and a presence entirely off putting. And which one of these is more appealing for our main antagonist in the Overwatch universe right now? The Overwatch universe where powerful, colorful personalities are vastly abundant, and our main antagonist is extremely cookie cutter. Its just not anywhere near as appealing as it should have been.

    The main problem with Doomfist is that he doesn't compare to the rest of the cast. Hie stoic-ness isn't as appealing as Soldier 76. His dark intentions aren't as interesting as Reaper's. His warrior attitude isn't as colorful as Reinhardt's. Etc. This isn't even to say I dislike Doomfist. I like him for who he is, for sure. But I mean... He is our main villain. And right off the bat he is in the bottom 10% of the Overwatch cast. And thats not where someone as hyped up as Doomfist should be, not when he is such a relevant character in the Overwatch story. Outside of what he offers in his gameplay, his fighting game references, and pretty great animations. Doomfist is just not a top tier Overwatch character.


    Actually I take it back, the best thing about Doomfist was his animation where he fought Genji, Tracer and Winston. Nothing else can compare.

    The reason why this matters is that no new character release should be underwhelming. A new character is exciting as hell. And not living up to the hype is incredibly disappointing. Not only that, but having more characters means there are less resources to go around. Take the fact that poor Hanzo has very few Legendary costumes right now. Adding more characters to Overwatch is just gonna make it take longer for Hanzo to get his dues. And this counts for everyone. Because Orisa has to get equal share as everyone else. So by adding in lackluster heroes you are taking away content from the characters that were already perfectly appealing. And not even that, by focusing on character releases, we also get less game updates. Such as new maps and game modes. Even balance changes. And all of this would be 100% ok, if the characters were worth it. But if you would have offered me 5 new maps or Orisa and Doomfist? I would take the 5 new maps every time.

    The End

    Now for the most part this is just an opinion. You could be in love with Orisa and Doomfist's characters. And thats perfectly ok. I am just saying why I don't think they compare to Ana or Sombra even remotely. I do think there is too much focus from fans for Blizzard to add more characters though, when I feel like adding game modes, maps and aesthetics would be better for the game on whole. The characters are already amazingly high quality. So making the game better to play should have been the focus this year. But I digress. Its all hot air regardless huehue - So if you anything to add, anything at all, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

    I'm en fuego! Ugh... I can't believe I just said that...

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    Overwatch Hero Releases: Ana and Sombra > Orisa and Doomfist Overwatch is a game that has defined itself with a cast of lovable characters from all across the world. And its probably why I am still paying this game over a year later. As August 8th... More
  • Tales of Berseria from a Guy who was Done with Tales of Games

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    Pretty much every time a villain speaks it inflicted me with nothing short of pure suffering.

    Next is just how much I enjoyed the reoccurring themes of the game. Much like Order Vs Chaos, Berseria has may reoccurring themes that I enjoyed watching. Some light hearted, some tugging at the heart strings. So I'll just name a couple of my favorites.

    First there is the concept of "The good of the many over the few" being proven wrong. This actually happens a few times, involving some of my favorite scenes in the game. Obviously the villains, the exorcists, the Abbey, they preach this as scripture. And the Abbey are in control of the land, far larger standing than any nobility such as kings. But the royal family were still used as figure heads on occasion. One of my favorite sections of game is when the Prince of the land allows himself to be kidnapped by your merry band of pirates. 100% by choice. The Prince was a lonely man who lived for his role as prince. No friends. But he was an adept falconer. So his best and only friend is a Falcon. Now his Falcon was used in the Abbey's schemes, turned into a demon in the process. So he allows himself to be kidnapped, under the condition that your Party protects his friend from the Abbey's cruelty. Putting all of his subjects in danger in the process. Because all of the responsibility in the world doesn't amount to the value of a life long companion.

    And now probably my favorite reoccurring theme. But its still really important. Its how your Chaotic party members influence the Good party members on your team. As I said before you have 4 members who are neither good nor evil. But the other 2 represent "Neutral Good". As opposed to how I figure most games would handle this, its not the Good party members that influence the Chaotic ones, its the Chaotic ones that influence the Good ones. Eleanor, the exorcist party member was a reoccurring boss before she joins the team. And when she joins its not pleasantly. She is a good person, and your party does their best to not act that way. On top of your team consisting of demons, the enemy of her Abbey. But the more she travels with the party, the more she sees the truth of how the Abbey acts, the more she sees how not all Demons are evil, she changes her stance on a lot of things. She has one of he best character arcs in the entire game because its pretty non typical. She was a spy at first, planning to betray you. But the event never happens and she even admits that she was a spy to the party later. Because she figures out who she should be, instead of acting like an Abbey puppet.

    This really comes off the last one, but its simply too humerus to pass up. Its how bad of an influence your party members are on the impressionable Laphicet. It goes without saying in a game with 5 VERY strong personalities that is your party, they don't always get along. And most them don't get along at all for the first half of the game. However, every character enjoys Laphicet's company. Being the impressionable young boy, not possessing a strong personality at all for 80% of the game, every other party member kinda takes up a role to steer Laphicet in the right direction. But since the party often acts like terrible people, this leads to humerus situations where you can't help but feel bad for the poor boy. The best one was simply when Eleanor joins the team. Velvet doesn't like her, nor trusts her. But Lapicet and Eleanor get along fine because they are both good people. Velvet notices this and tells Laphicet that he shouldn't take her words at face value, "women are deceitful creatures". This confuses the poor boy, and leads to multiple other conversations with the rest of the party. And ultimately the results of him trying to figure out what this means, the Chaotic party members all agree women are deceitful, and men are too stupid to be deceitful. Eleanor can't believe this is a conversation they all had with a child, and Laphicet is more confused than ever. It was priceless.


    Chaos isn't suppose to make sense, boy!

    And finally I am gonna talk about how great the characters and their dialogue are. Because its the most unprecedented part of the entire game. Never would I have believed you if you had told me I would like an entire cast of a Tales of game. I probably would have laughed in your face. But not only was its party members amazing. Villains intriguing. But the NPCs that you run into and become low key party members are really memorable as well.

    Because as the game goes, and you recruit Eizen, the pirate. Your party becomes pseudo members of the pirate gang. You aren't officially pirates, but you are certainly honorary ones. Considering how much they help and respect your party. This leads to the pirates having interesting things to say throughout the game, but not only that, you also add to the NPCs that follow you around throughout the game by recruiting more of them. A multitude of NPCs become relevant and honorary pirates also as you play the game. And they surprisingly have good dialogue and add to the situations at hand. In example, there is this one demon sailor you have to kill early on in the game. Only Velvet sympathizes with him, and enlists his aid instead of killing him. That very same sailor is around once you beat the game, and he added a lot of depth to the NPCs that follow your party around. The NPC pirate crew are a great way to give the feeling of more party members, without detracting from the growth of your actual 6 man party.

    But for party members, I'll have to go over each of them because they all left an impression. Eleanor is as I said before, an enemy exorcist turned turncoat. I already explained previously why she is a good character, and its because she has remarkable, believable character growth. Rokurou is the vagrant demonic samurai. He probably has the least development, but its because he is a simple man. He likes battle and drink. Not an intellectual, but entirely sensible. He adds comic relief and is often a clever mediator of the team. And Eizen is your pirate, not captain, but is an extremely passionate man. The best part about Eizen is how he and Velvet speak the exact same language, so to speak. In times where one act too emotional, the other often coldly swats the other back down to reality. And you can see the healthy respect between the two. One of the best scenes in the game are with Rokurou and Eizen. Where they share drinks and talk about why they follow the unpredictable Velvet into harms way. And they come to the conclusion that while they are both fools, Velvet is vastly more a fool. And that is precisely what inspires them about her.

    To spiral off into her own paragraph, Its time to mention the Witch Magilou. Now she was an interesting case, because I knew ahead of time that "anime fans" fawned over her existence. And this is not often a great sign, as I have a bad relationship with anime and anime tropes. But I was pleasantly surprised that she was a fantastic character. She is the jokester of the team, and cares little for anything besides jokes. Nothing hurts her feelings, and she enjoys antagonizing the party. She even originally only follows Velvet to watch her revenge story crash and burn, as no one would actually think she has any chance are killing Artorias. I often compare her to The Joker(Batman) for these reasons. She is The Joker if he wasn't evil. And thats a fair comparison. Because her jokes and dialogue are very cleverly written. And her backstory is even thought out and relevant to the story. Her growth is the most unexpected, and surprisingly, the most welcome when it happens.


    I realize comparing this very anime-d girl to a character as iconic as The Joker would probably trigger some people. But I don't make the comparison lightly. Its entirely fair if you played the game.

    And to wrap up my character talk, and blog on whole. I have to talk about Velvet and Laphicet. Or "Phi", as he was lovingly nicknamed. Because Velvet and Phi ended up being two of my favorite characters of all times and thats really impressive to me. Velvet is a broken person for a significant portion of the game. And Phi is a person who has no understanding of self worth. Velvet adapts to a sisterly role over him, he reminds her of her murdered brother(Also named Laphicet, for the record). She teaches him to respect himself. And in return, Phi is the main cause of Velvet's softening of personality. Its a lovely therapeutic relationship for both of them, and as it was a main focus, really meant a lot to me. And late game this relationship reaches its highest point. As Velvet has been mentally broken by the villains, played like a fiddle in all ways. She all but gave up fighting... Until Laphicet snaps her back to reality with one of my favorite scenes of all time. Near the very end of the game, the two of them share a very peaceful scene. Where Phi is combing Velvet's hair. Velvet talks about all the cruel actions she had done up to the end of the game, and shows remorse of how the climax of her actions will affect everyone she knows. Phi trails off slightly, and wraps up the conversation with a simple "I forgive you, Velvet". And I had to choke back the tears, real talk.


    Its arguably the cutest relationship I have ever seen in fiction. And if you don't like it I don't like you. Huehue

    And thats all I wrote. Well sorta. Either way I look at it, Tales of Berseria really tugged at what I love about Video Games. Its a great medium for telling stories. I wouldn't say Berseria is as good as other games I have played this year, like Final Fantasy 15, Breath of the Wild or Persona 5. And soon to be Nier Automata(Next Blog spoilers). Because the gameplay just didn't live up to the standard. HOWEVER. As I said before, the characters, the dialogue, the story, the setting, the themes. These all lived up and equally shined as those games did. And that says a lot. Berseria did nothing but blow away my expectations and 2017 continues to be the best year of gaming I have ever had.

    What bothers me about Berseria though is, it came out early this year. And I don't recall heavy praise for it. We live in a time where everyone wants progression in their video games, and I don't disagree. We should reach a point where there isn't any need for it, all walks of life are depicted in games and fiction equally. But the thing is... Velvet is one of the best and strongest protagonists I have known in recent memory, and I can't understand how Berseria was not praised for this. She isn't "one of the best female protagonists", she is one of the best protagonists I have known, period. She is passionate and flawed, and overcomes her flaws with great effort. These flaws resonate with the player. Her passion inspires the player. And her inevitable success fills the player with a rewarded experience. And thats what a protagonist should do.

    The END

    I am glad I finally finished this blog. I really dragged my feet with it and procrastinated heavily. But also, I started Nier Automata BEFORE beating the last 3 hours of Berseria. Which is one of the stupidest things I have ever done. It made this blog harder to write, and I had to stop playing Automata on whole to beat and write about Berseria. A stupid mistake I will not make again. lol - So if you anything to add, feel free in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you.

    ...Arthur.

    I finally have an answer to your question "Why do you think that birds fly?"

    Birds fly because they want to fly.

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    Tales of Berseria from a Guy who was Done with Tales of Games Tales of is a series full of way more misses than hits for me. I love a couple of them to death. But the vast majority are filled to the brim with anime tropes and poor story telling. And recent... More
  • Tekken 7 and a Fighter's Passion

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    Tekken 7 and a Fighter's Passion

    I feel like Tekken 7 is probably up there in the two games I waited longest to play. Up there with Xenoblade X and its obnoxious release schedule. Tekken 7 had an excuse, as fighting games like to release in Arcades a significant amount of time before releasing on consoles. So I waited patiently for the console release. And I can't say I was disappointed, but I realize that is part of the problem. I didn't expect anything out of the ordinary from Tekken 7, I expected it to be exactly what Tekken is. So there was no way to be disappointed when thats exactly what I got. Some people would argue thats a good thing, but I intend to argue otherwise. There will be "spoilers" in this blog, if somehow spoiling the hour and a half story mode is a spoiler to you. huehue



    I enjoy fighting games. They have such limitless potential how I see it. The gameplay technicalities are fascinating. They are fun to watch. They are an adrenaline rush to play. And they possess an intimate setting of one gamer Vs another that other genres just don't capture. That being said, Fighting games almost never live up to their potential. Because they have all of this and only cater it to their elitist fanbases whom care nothing for the health of the genre, only for keeping everything exactly the same from game to game.

    My examples is pretty straight forward. Tekken 7, its basically Tekken 6 with less single player content. Because Tekken 6 had some unique modes that were fun to play alone. But the fanbase reacted negatively to it, and now they are just gone. Another example would be Soul Calibur 3. Which had a really stupid and fun strategy RPG mode in it. It wasn't polished at all, but it was great to waste some time. However its just another thing that was hated by the fanbase and thrown away. And there are plenty of examples of fighting games attempting single player content and then eventually giving up in sequels. As a 28 year old who has seen it happen many a time, its just gotten really depressing.

    Fighting games are a niche genre because casual gamers want nothing to do with them. They are NOT inviting at all. And its hard to see this changing anytime soon. There are recent exceptions, Injustice 2 and ARMs are entirely inviting and capture the interests of those not interested in fighting games. But for the core, established series such as Street Fighter, Tekken, etc. They seem all but doomed to stagnate in mediocrity. And its not that I ever see the series dying out. Its more than I just don't ever see them meeting their potential. And thats an equally sad fate.


    I mean I am not saying it was a great mode, but it was interesting. And could have been great with some tender love and care.

    Tekken 7 brought all of this up because of its Story Mode. For single player content there is a 2 hour story mode. 20 assorted 5 minute battles for each character that didn't appear in story mode, equaling about 2 minutes of character development a piece. And a handful of Vs AI modes that are super grindy and couldn't be less engaging. But the story mode though, it made me write this blog because it was surprisingly good for a quickly done, exposition ridden, continuation of the Tekken story. As I remembered while playing, Tekken's actually really fun when it comes down to it.

    Heihachi Mishima and his son Kazuya Mishima have basically spent the entire series of Tekken seeing which one of them is the bigger ass to the world. As they try and kill one another. And its actually hilarious seeing what level of terrible people they are. Heihachi killed Kazuya's mother, threw Kazuya to his death, Kazuya awoken demonic power, and they have been fighting ever since. Enveloping the entire world in war. Along the way they messed up plenty of lives, and nearly every playable character in the Tekken series hates the Mishima family for one reason or another. Tekken 7 seems to be the climax of their conflict. And what it actually made happen was endear Heihachi to the player despite 6 games of him being the worst person ever. 2 hours of story mode and I liked Heihachi way more than I did when I started. And thats actually an accomplishment.

    Fighting games have the perfect setting to create and show conflict between 2 characters in a way that other genres can't compete with. Its surprisingly a great way to tell a story. And it makes me sad that I seem to be in the minority of those who likes this sort of thing in their fighting games.


    Unless you hate how absolutely cinematic Tekken 7 was. huehue

    To briefly touch upon the character episodes, where they set up a scenario for each character not in the story mode, force one fight on you, and then you get an ending of the character acting silly for about a minute. These were also surprisingly entertaining. And its simply because the characters of Tekken are stupidly fun. Minus the main characters being deathly serious about killing one another, the handful of side characters who want to kill them, pretty much everyone else is a comical vision. From obese Bob and his super hero sense of justice. To Lili and her obsession with Asuka Kazama, driving Asuka crazy. Kuma being a bear that speaks bear, with captions of talking like a real person. And Paul and Law getting into random trouble and running away from it. I love seeing all of it. I could endlessly watch the Tekken cast antics. But ultimately, between the story mode and the character episodes, there is just a disappointing amount of related content.


    Though admittedly, the narcoleptic vampire was by far the character who gave me the most sensible chuckles this time around.

    And I have heard all the arguments before. "Who plays fighting games for the story" "Who plays a fighting game for characters" "Who plays fighting games for single player modes"

    The answer to those questions are pretty simple. Most people who would play Fighting Games.

    There is this clear notion in fighting game communities that their fighters don't need basic concepts most genres have. Whether its story, character development or single player content. They vehemently reject the notion that these things would help their games. And it baffles me just how much they demand things stay the same. Fighting game devs are forced to choose between expanding their audiences with casual experiences, or keeping things the same for their elitist fanbases. And for the most part its safe to keep things the same. The fanbases will continue to keep the series above water. But by staying the same and not reaching for the vocal casual audience, they won't ever enter a reality where fighting games are no longer a niche genre. This will hurt the popularity of the competitive scene, which would only blossom with larger audiences. Hurt the overall content of the series because of less money to throw at sequels. And stagnation could very well even affect the passion the devs have for the series. And that would just be the saddest part of all.

    I love Fighting games. I'm not any good at them, but the fascination is there. There is a noticeable difference between recent fighters and fighters back 2 Gens ago. There was focused interest in lore, backstory, characters and single player content. And much of that has disappeared now. Previous generations made me fall in love with fighting games, and I am grateful. But I am in no way content with where fighters are going in recent memory. Fighting games are a great medium of story telling, because they possess compelling gameplay along with powerful 1 Vs 1 settings. And the potential is not unlike RPGs. But that potential is pointless if no one demands that it gets used.

    THE END


    Just a small blog on what irks me about a genre I appreciate greatly. Denying the potential of Fighting games is extremely narrow minded, as is denying the progression of the genre. But its literally everywhere. I love Tekken 7, I really do, its super fun. But I am not content that its as cookie cutter as I expected it to be. Which is why this blog exits. One of my friends asked which game they should buy, Injustice 2 or Tekken 7. I thought about it for like 5 seconds, and said "Dude, unless you like Tekken, there is no reason to buy Tekken over Injustice." - And thats just the sad truth of it. Injustice 2 provides tutorials for playing, single player content and it strived to be an open experience for new players. Tekken 7 doesn't do any of that. So unless you love Tekken, like me, the choice is obvious.

    So if you wanna fight me on this topic, agree that fighting games would be better off with casual audiences, tell me I am a filthy scrub, or simply ask that I take back calling you narrow minded(I won't do it huehue) feel free in the comments below!

    You think you're tougher than me?

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    Tekken 7 and a Fighter's Passion I feel like Tekken 7 is probably up there in the two games I waited longest to play. Up there with Xenoblade X and its obnoxious release schedule. Tekken 7 had an excuse, as fighting games like to release in Arcades... More
  • Persona 5 from the Most Skeptical Fan

    Persona 5 from the Most Skeptical Fan

    Having beaten Persona 5 a good week ago by this point, I would say its about time I started writing my blog about. Now I don't blog about every game I beat individually. However I will admit to being overwhelmed with how near perfect an experience Persona 5 actually was. SO! If you aren't entirely tired of hearing people talk about Persona 5 yet, sit back and give this aging gentleman a few minutes of your time. There WILL be SPOILERS. Probably all the spoilers, as I write as candidly as possible.



    To start off, the title needs a bit of explanation. I am a loose Persona fan. Because while I have played the series since 3, I am pretty bitter towards most of the titles. And that bitterness lead to no faith in Atlus as a company. So for all intents and purposes I expected Persona 5 to be mediocre. Now there are reasons for this. Persona 3, the original, is a pretty bad game. The gameplay is dreadful, everything is made as obnoxious as possible, and the characters and dialogue don't capture you like later games do. They later release Persona 3 FES, which is a "complete" version of P3 with quality of life improvements. But even then it wasn't enough. It took them until Persona 3 Portable to make the game good. Sadly, Portable also changed the style of the game into that of a Visual Novel. Which undeniably took away from the experience. So there is just no version of 3 that won me over.

    Now for Persona 4. Persona 4 was one of my favorite games ever... that had so many gameplay issues I had to question why I loved it as much as I did. But in truth, I was more than justified. Because Persona 4 captured the essence of what Persona 3 was touching upon. Which is ridiculously well written dialogue and characters. Written so realistically that you can't help but endear them to you. Hell, thats the series' foundation after all. And Persona 4 nailed it. Much to my happiness, they made a better version of Persona 4. Persona 4 Golden. Which is easily, no thought required, in my Top 10 games. It not only has more quality of life changes than anyone can ask for, but added extra scenes, story and relationships with the antagonist and last boss. Its so good. BUT. This did add to why I firmly believed that Persona 5 wouldn't live up to the hype.

    Thats how Atlus does business. Persona 3 and 4 NEEDED at least one remake to live up to its own potential. Atlus's standard gameplay doesn't hold weight, and is often chastised even by its biggest fans for being unbearably brutal. And from my own bias on Persona 4, there was no way they could capture that level of "magic" again. I had no hype for Persona 5. Much like Final Fantasy 15, it was a game where I needed my friends playing it before me and regaling how great it was, to convince me I should play it ASAP.


    There was just very little hope that it could inspire as much accomplishment that Persona 4 Golden did. Especially the ending.

    Persona 4 had its share of failings, but much to my surprise Persona 5 seemed to learn from most of them. As the intro to P5 is one of the best intros I have ever seen. Full of so much intrigue and style that by the time the game slows down and gets campy, you don't mind because you are already heavily invested. And I say this coming off of Breath of the Wild, which also had one of the best intros ever. The game is so peerless at creating the setting for the entire game, but unlike 4, it did it without boring the player. How perfectly realistic Tokyo looks. How great the characters are. The animations. The high definition Persona summons. There are just so many good things I could talk about. But I am only gonna talk about the major ones. The things that take Persona 5 to another level. But as to keep to my style, I have to talk about whats wrong with the game too. And in truth, I have a couple complaints about the game that need to be addressed.


    The interrogation room is haunting, and after the high speed intro makes the player wonder how the MC ended up here.

    The first thing I gotta talk about is there being no reason to acquire the highest level Persona. Now Persona games have a plethora of mythological creatures that the protagonist's can summon with their powers. And in a lot of ways its similar to Pokemon. You can power them up and make great Persona even out of weak ones. But Persona are capped in a way that you can't create Persona until you are equal level as their starting level. So many Persona are out of your reach until you progress far enough. Problem in 5 is, is that I beat P5 at level 70-ish. Crushed the entire last dungeon and boss without any need for level 75+ Persona. And that is 25 levels of Persona that I had no reason to even see. Because no enemy is powerful enough to need those Persona.

    Now to be fair, you CAN create Persona higher level than you once you get certain requirements. Alice in example is one of my favorite Persona of the series. I love everything "Alice in Wonderland" related so that makes sense. In 5 however, she is a level 79 Persona. So I had to create her while being 10 levels lower. And only for the last dungeon. So yes, technically I could have created the rest of the high level Persona, but the core of the problem is still there. There is no point to grind that much just to see them, because you don't need them. I created Alice simply because of preference. Realistically, she casts Dark elemental magic only, and 90% of the enemies in the last dungeon resist that element, so she was useless anyway. And the whole idea that a 1/4 of the Persona in Persona 5 being useless throughout the story really irks me.

    Persona 4 carries you to nearly level 99 naturally as you play the game. Its entirely likely that you could have had most of the Persona if you were diligent by the end of the game. So I really don't understand why Persona 5 ends the game at an average level of 75. Its such a missed opportunity to me. Persona crafting, swapping, fusing, is one of my favorite parts of the series. This problem won't really bother everyone. But for me it felt like a poorly planned out part of the game.


    Persona 5 presents no reason to be that strong. But I will take this chance to mention how great the high quality Persona models look in Persona 5. Alice is adorable. And each Persona is either cute, cool or sexy depending who they are. They are beautiful. Except for Mara. Mara is not beautiful.

    And the second and last thing that really grinded my gears in Persona 5 is something I expected and knew was gonna happen. Its Atlus's "unfair" combat/gameplay. And I say unfair specifically. Because Atlus games are from my experience, not hard, but infuriating just the same. They use enemy mechanics where they can kill you(or other various annoyances) and you cannot stop if you are unlucky enough. Because the combat is still heavily geared towards "RNG". And I am talking a ridiculous amount of RNG that would put even old fashioned tabletop RPGs to shame. I don't quite understand the appeal of having events entirely out of the players hands that makes it appealing.

    And pretty much all of the pain of these problems comes from a single aspect in Persona... If the Protagonist dies in battle, its instant Game Over. Regardless if there are revival items, spells, or other party members alive. The protagonist falling is the end for whatever reason. This leads to things like random enemies having instant death magic without your knowledge, casting it on MC and getting hit with 25% odds. Reload. Or enemies that cast "Fear" status effect on the whole team, then using the skill that kills any Feared member of your team on the same turn. Its good fun(sarcasm). And the one that pissed me off most personally. Was fighting a random enemy of the third dungeon. He attacked first, cast a hit all element skill, hits the weakness of one of my party members, goes again, critical hits the MC, goes again, kills the MC. Start to finish and I had no turns. Lost 20 minutes of my life. Thats terrible design..

    Being entirely fair, and I will. Persona 5 is cheap far less often than Persona 4 was. And Persona 3 was worse than both of them combined. So I have to give Persona 5 credit for ruining my mood significantly less.


    Foolish end indeed. I never game over-d a single time because I was outplayed. Only because something stupid happened.

    [PageBreak]

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    Persona 5 from the Most Skeptical Fan Having beaten Persona 5 a good week ago by this point, I would say its about time I started writing my blog about. Now I don't blog about every game I beat individually. However I will admit to being overwhelmed... More
  • Breath of the Wild from Someone who doesn't like Zelda Games

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    Breath of the Wild from Someone who doesn't like Zelda Games

    Much like every blog I have ever written. Its contents come in far too late to be of any relevance whatsoever. This comes from 2 factors. One, because I procrastinate A LOT. Two, when I play games, I spend so much time messing around that it takes centuries to get to the progression of the game. lol - There will be spoilers in this blog of course, but considering all of you have beaten BotW already, I doubt it concerns you.



    I should probably start off with my history with Zelda. And just hearing the title "someone who doesn't like Zelda Games", you would probably assume that I hate Zelda. Which just isn't the case. I have been playing them since the SNES and I pretty much play all of the 3D Zelda eventually. Its just they don't hook me in like they do the fans. For me, Zelda interests me about equal amounts as it annoys me. Where as the charm of the lore and world is equally ruined by boredom or aggravation at obnoxious dungeon design. People are in love with Ocarina of Time, but I disliked it for the most part. Twilight Princess attempted to constantly put me to sleep. And Skyward Sword, while one of my preferred titles, I still felt like I was fighting against poor gameplay design throughout.

    The exception to this is Wind Waker which actively captured interest with my love for Zelda charm, but with a setting that really shined with Zelda gameplay. Wind Waker was the Zelda game that wasn't a Zelda game to me. Because it was so elegant in what it wanted to be. Even strayed from typical Zelda fare by giving Link tons of emotion. There was so much appeal with WW and its ability to pull you into the adventure. I will note that I played the HD remake only, which probably saved the game with quality of life changes for me. Because I will admit that while I loved WW, from 50% completion to 90% completion was significantly worse in quality than the first 50%. The dungeons became obnoxious and overlooked what made the first parts of the game so great. But hey, the last 10% of WW is borderline perfect, so I can't complain too much.

    Outside of 3D Zelda I just don't play much 2D Zelda. I don't really like handheld gaming to be honest. And thats where 2D Zelda reign supreme. My brother plays them, and tells me tales about why they are so much better than 3D Zelda. But I just don't have experience with them... Save for Link to the Past on SNES for obvious reasons.


    Despite it being mostly water, Wind Waker's world had more character than most.

    So that brings us to Breath of the Wild. Right off the bat with the gameplay trailers, I was pretty excited to play it. Because it seemed very different in nature to any other Zelda. For me, I like Skyword Sword and Wind Waker the best out of the series because they aren't like Zelda. SS was very unlike Zelda due to its linearity and character focus. And I would argue that WW is the actual first "Free Roam" Zelda game, because its sense of exploration and adventure blew all others out of the water(pun). But the interest in BotW wasn't solely because it looked unlike Zelda. The real interest was in that it looked like Nintendo was bringing their "AAA" game. And Nintendo putting on their big boy pants and attempting to create a masterpiece was long overdue.

    Breath of the Wild opens up with the "Great Plateau", a self contained area high above ground level which serves as one of the best tutorials I have ever seen. There is a fair amount of intrigue, dangers and visuals to keep the player interested in the Great Plateau, all while teaching the player pretty much all they will need to know to make their way through Hyrule once the game gets going. And for me, just at the start, there was so much stupid antic potential even on the Great Plateau that me and my siblings were laughing constantly. Even when doing what you are suppose to be doing, its actually really hard to not smile while playing BotW. The style is fantastic. The gameplay is smooth and consistent. And playing the game is not mindless, nor is it mind numb-ingly hard. Every thing really works together well, especially at the very beginning of the game. Eventually after completing the Great Plateau you get to jump off it. And you can jump off it in any direction, into tons of potential danger, the mood of unrestrained adventure is really peerless after the tutorial.

    I am not gonna give a play by play account of my BotW adventure. There is plenty of reasons why that alone would make a great blog. BotW is one of those games that it would be hard for any two players to have the exact same experience after all. But for me, much like my FF15 blog, I would really prefer to talk about my problems and what I loved about the game. These are the things that shined the hardest. And they deserve mention.


    The actual start of BotW with this view, its really damn cool.

    My first problem with the game is a rather large one. And its that the enemy variety is pretty poor. You have a few different types of "mob" enemies that tend to attack in groups. Moblins, Bokoblins, Lizalfos, and their skeleton counterparts. A few different types of "nuisance" enemies like Keese and Octoroks that die in one hit. And a larger assortment of mini-bosses. But thats really about it. Granted, there are variations of these enemies. Different colors and a couple different attacks. But its just not nearly as appealing as it should be. Considering how different the locations of Hyrule are. I don't want to be fighting just Lizalfos in the snowy areas, unique enemies to the area would have done wonders for the game.

    Now I didn't list every enemy in the game, but its not far off. Which is the problem. The fact that all you do is fight the exact same "weak" enemies throughout Hyrule gets really stale, especially towards the end. Now, despite the "mob" enemy variety being awful. I will say that the mini-boss variety is a lot better. Mini-bosses aren't everywhere, so when you encounter one it tends to feel exciting regardless. But its not perfect either. In the desert area of Hyrule, there are giant sand bosses called Molduga. And just this one boss spiced up how I felt a lot, and was super fun to fight. There are 4 "main" areas of the map for story related purposes. The desert is just one of these. Now if each of these areas had a unique mini-boss roaming around in them, I probably wouldn't have had any problems at all on the mini-boss front. But sadly, we only got the Molduga.


    I did forget to mention wizzrobes. But come on, nobody likes them. lol

    My next problem is something similar to the last one, but not completely. Its the enemy HP vs the bare bones combat of BotW. Breath of the Wild is at its best at the beginning of the game. You pick up a stick, you kill Bokoblins in a combo or two, higher ranked versions in a few combos, and its fantastic fun. But its way more than just the combos, because strategy of blowing up explosive barrels, dropping boulders on the enemy, etc. Its all super relevant to how effortlessly you beat each confrontation. But it doesn't flow this way halfway through to the end of the game. The bare bones combat is fantastic at the start, but only because the enemies work with the combat. You have a basic combo, side step attacks, a plunge attack, a charged attack and thats it for your melee. And it works, because you are also shooting arrows, using traps, etc. But there is a reason why it doesn't work at the end of the game...

    You get to the Silver variations of the "mob" enemies, and even to some degree the Black variations, and its just you hitting them with a combo after combo with almost nothing else of value that you can do. The combo hits them, they fly backwards, you wait for them to get up, and you repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Strategy is thrown out the window, because explosions, lighting them on fire, tossing boulders at them, pushing them off cliffs. It does no damage in comparison to the end game weapons that you need to actually inflict damage on them. And once you remove the strategy, you have removed what made Breath of the Wild's combat fun. And I consider this to be the worst part of the game, because 50% of the way through BotW, I stopped fighting "mob" enemies entirely.

    Now I will say that the Black and Silver versions of the mini-bosses aren't a big deal in comparison. Because mini-boss fights don't flow like "mob" fights. You fight a Sliver Lynel and hit him with a combo, he is still standing there waiting for more. Or more likely, ready to attack you. Mini-bosses are all about evasiveness and knowledge of enemy attacks, the whole strategy of "mob" fights never applied to them in the first place. But they are fun regardless because you need to stay focused and your attacks don't slow down the battle by toppling them. I still fought mini-bosses half way through the game.


    The face of excessive time waste.

    Next would be something that probably didn't get everyone. But it actively made me annoyed while playing the game. And its that the Champion Weapons break. The fallen 4 Champions are super important to the story and are the main focus for most of the game. Upon completing each of their sections you are awarded their weapons for freeing each region from the tyranny of the Divine Beasts. The only problem is, the Champion weapons break just as hilariously fast as every other weapon in the game. Now before anything else, I want to say that I love the weapon durability in BotW. Because it gives you the ability and reason to pick up a Bokoblin's weapon and hit him with it. Thats grand fun. And ultimately, I feel like having to constantly rely on different weapons added to the gameplay a lot. But the exception is the Champion Weapons, which are literally the most useless reward in the history of video games.

    You acquire the weapon of a former friend, only to have that weapon break on the third Lizalos that gets in your way. And its awful. Not only because you have broken a priceless heirloom with tons of emotional attachment. But also because if you want another one of these weapons you have to bring a Diamond to a weapon crafter to remake it. Now for story reasons alone, I can't will myself to use the weapons. But for gameplay reasons I didn't have any incentive either. Because the Champion Weapons just aren't that good. They aren't worth Diamonds. And granted, I beat the game, I realize how trivial finding Diamonds is late game. But there is no reason to slow down the game and use Champion Weapons when they don't give you any benefit that random weapons on the ground do. And hell, endgame, the Champion Weapons are actually way worse than random weapon spawns.

    And there is an unbelievably simple way to fix this. The Master Sword in BotW is a weapon on cooldown. It "breaks" but it can be used after a 10 minute cooldown. This allows you plenty of incentive to use the Master Sword, but also continue using BotW's random weapon spawns. They should have done this for the Champion Weapons as well. I would have loved nothing more than using the Lightscale Trident when I fought a hard battle, and then it going on cooldown so I don't over use it. Having just a single weapon slot for carrying a cooldown Champion weapon would have added unique-ness and reward to the Champion Weapons. As is, the Lightscale Trident is one of my favorite weapon designs of all time... That I never used because it sat in my house the entire game. Minus when I took all the Champion Weapons to hit Ganon in the face. Its a damn waste.


    Here Link. Take this heirloom of the loved Princess and your sweetheart, I am sure you will treat it with ca- and its broken.

    Now for the last of my problems that I felt are worth mentioning. Its gotta be the lack of unique rewards for exploring/side questing/ect. Because exploring in BotW is some of the best exploration in VG history. And doing side quests for the fun NPCs is super fun. And finding unique locales hidden among Hyrule is full of intrigue... But you are rewarded for your efforts with literally nothing. Exploration gives little save for ingredients you can find everywhere. Doing stuff for the fun NPCs is rewarding only in the sense that you made them happy. And finding unique locations only rewards you with Shrines to bolster your Hearts and Stamina for the 100th time, or Koroks with of which you stop needing after 100 of them.

    The best parts of side activities are the very rare shrines/quests that lead to an actual unique reward. Such as the Climber armor. The Warrior armor. Finding Link's/Zelda's/Ganon's horse. Or unlocking the Monster shop. But its few and far between as most side activities simply reward you with a handful of Rupee. I feel like the reason for the lack of unique rewards has a lack of possible rewards to blame. There are obviously not many Zelda unique items like Empty Bottles, Boomerangs or even "Magic" to acquire in a capacity like former games. This along with having Weapons completely out of the unique reward loop, leads to pretty fruitless exploration.

    There are obvious ways to fix this. Adding more armor. Adding more cooldown weapons. Adding a couple of item mechanics like bottles. Adding the ability to acquire mounts besides horses. Ect. There is tons of value in the exploration and side activities that BotW offers. But it should be far more rewarding that it actually is.


    Honestly though. I really would have liked an eternal boomerang of some sort, considering the boomerang mechanics are so fun.

    More
    Breath of the Wild from Someone who doesn't like Zelda Games Much like every blog I have ever written. Its contents come in far too late to be of any relevance whatsoever. This comes from 2 factors. One, because I procrastinate A LOT. Two, when I... More
  • Heropon's Top 30 Video Game Songs

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    Heropon's Top 30 Video Game Songs

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    Heropon's Top 30 Video Game Songs I will disclaimer now that there are spoilers in this blog. If you see me mentioning a game you don't want spoilers for, just skip over that section of the blog. Music is powerful. And its one of many tools that... More
  • Overwatch and a Rekindling of Childlike Wonder for Video Games

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    Overwatch and a Rekindling of Childlike Wonder for Video Games

      Now lets be honest, no one really needs more blogs or praise in general saying what a great game Overwatch is. People who play Overwatch can and already have appreciated the sentiment, and everyone else hates the game simply because the people who do play it never shut up about it. And trust me I understand mindlessly hating something because its popular. I hated Undertale for the longest time for that very reason. So I can't blame you. lol

    That being said, I do want to talk about the game from a personal standpoint however. Because I realized not all that long ago how special it actually is for me. For me, there was this long period of time between 2013 and early 2016 where I just didn't love Video Games anymore. I was as burnt out on them as I had ever been. It was an odd feeling, after 23 years Gaming meant way less to me, I couldn't seem to get into it like I used to. There were just so many disappointments in that time. Games like Fire Emblem Fates, Tales of Xillia/2, Dark Souls 2 and a near endless amount of mediocre Warrior games, all served to make games I considered obvious purchases and turn them stale. Even series I love made games like Yakuza 5, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, Monster Hunter Generations, and even though I "liked" them they were still really disappointing.

    And don't get me wrong, there were still games I liked, even loved throughout those years. Dragon's Dogma, Dead or Alive 5, Shantae and the Pirates Curse, Diablo 3, Hyrule Warriors, Fantasy Life. All games I had fun with. But for the number of games that I would actually put on a pedestal? Games I would count among my favorite games ever? Splatoon, Xenoblade X, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Wonderful 101 and maybe a few others. Combined its just not a great number. And the amount of disappointments, games that simply left me bitter or unsatisfied far outnumbered them. I got to the point where I started replaying older games simply because playing newer stuff wasn't anywhere near as appealing.


    In Monster Hunter Generations for example, 80% of the monsters you could fight in the game AREN'T fun to fight. The series has created tons of fun monsters, they just chose to not include any of them in this game. Does anyone in the world like fighting Glavenus? Anyone?

    I don't actually remember when I first noticed Overwatch, but it was before it released. I knew it existed, it was in testing, and then I was recommended the gameplay trailer for D. Va on Youtube. So I watched it and was intrigued enough that I looked up gameplay videos on literally all the characters. I wasn't exactly sold but it was fun to watch. Then I remember advertisements for the game and Widowmaker and Tracer shooting at each other during commercials. I learn of the Beta coming out and I work up the courage to download it. For me it was a pretty big step to do so, I was never particularly comfortable playing online games, and honestly if it wasn't for Splatoon I might not have made the jump at all. I played D Va and had tons of fun with the game. Enough fun so that I bought Overwatch day one and the rest is history.


    The appeal of tossing your mehca and blowing up the enemy team was too appealing to not start out with.

    There are two things that really make Overwatch a pleasure to keep pumping time into, even after this long. Its not the gameplay, no game, no matter how great the gameplay is has ever held my attention this long. What makes it a pleasure to keep playing is the vast lore/story and how it is ever expanding. It was around August when the Bastion Animated Short released. And it was pretty much when I realized that I was into Overwatch for the long haul. The short was beautiful and focused on a character with literally no backstory, no dialogue and no real reason to love them... Only I did. And nothing made me happier than to learn the origins of this previously "empty" character. The Animated Short turned the most annoying character to play against, the one with no character to speak of, and turned him into a lovable R2-D2 of sorts. But not only that, it expanded upon the Overwatch world in a wonderful way, as all new lore and story does. And its made me have a never ending desire to know more.


    I still get misty eyed watching Bastion's short. Stuff is great and super well written.

    But I did say there are two reasons. And the second one is equally amazing. Its the fandom that creates never ending comics, art, head-canons, discussions, etc. All with a deep love for the story/lore/gameplay as a whole. And having people to share that with is a huge boon. Now I am not talking the salty people online who blame you for loses, the crap talkers who are the poorest sports of all, nor the people on the official Blizzard forums who are literally never happy about anything Blizzard does, despite them having a better fan oriented work ethic than any other company I can think of. You gotta ignore these people, these people are always gonna be around. No, what I am talking about are the people who care about Blizzard's efforts. The ones who give constructive criticism. The ones who participate in antics with you mid-match. The ones who passionately pump out new fanart the moment Blizzard shows off something new. The ones who create humor and inside jokes(in many forms) that only Overwatch fans can understand. These people add a crazy amount of joy when it comes to playing Overwatch. And they deserve praise and mention as well.


    Daddy 76 memes have been my vice of choice for the last 6 months

    Now I would be remiss to say its JUST Overwatch that re-lit the candle of love I have for Video Games. Its what the title may imply, but that's not the intention. Video Games are a lot better in recent memory than they have been for a long time. Games like Uncharted 4 posses and undeniable air of quality to them. Kirby: Planet Robobot invokes so much old nostalgia that I could barely stand it. Resident Evil 7 and Final Fantasy 15 breathed life into series that have been decaying for the longest time. Tales of Berseria is apparently a good Tales of game, that hasn't happened in almost a decade. And now we have the juggernaut that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This isn't even speaking of the future which actively looks bright for not only Sony, but Nintendo as well. For me there is no contest, the spike in quality over the last 12 months has been significant. 2016 did have a lot of misses for me, but it recovered very well. And 2017 has already left me consistently hyped.


    Are you not excited for this? Really? REALLY?

    And I do understand, everything I have said here is subjective. I am certain not everyone was as displeased with the last 3 years of gaming as I was. More so I doubt everyone would agree that 2017 is already shaping up to be better than the last half decade. But all this is, is some insight on how I felt as a burnt out gamer for the last few years. I do think its possible I have myself to blame for this as well. I made too many gut purchases instead of actually putting in thought if I needed all the games I bought. Maybe my tastes have changed a bit, and I should try some introspective. Or maybe I was just acting like a bitter old man for years?

    Either way, Overwatch changed a lot of things for me. It was a reminder of why Video Game are my favorite form of entertainment and fiction. I've gotten into the game like I use to get into Kirby/Final Fantasy when I was a kid. And thats really saying a lot. Playing Overwatch has become a daily ritual for me, at least 5 days a week I play it for an hour or two. And I play it even more if there is an event going on because I need all the pretty costumes. So I thank Blizzard for making something so amazingly high quality. And I thank Nintendo for at least pretending to try at the start of 2017. And I thank all the rest like Square Enix who have given me a steady stream of hope and appreciation for my hobby. It was something I really needed for awhile now. Its a good time to be a gamer.

    The End

    Felt the need to make a blog about Overwatch for awhile now. Just a short one. It is one of my favorite things after all. But I figured my unique perspective on the game was probably more interesting than if I just made a blog fanboying about it. I will say that anytime during this blog I started listing games as examples, I never listed them all. Just prime examples as I didn't want to go off too long on all the games that made me feel this way. So if you enjoyed my romantic rambling, want to chastise me for being an Overwatch floozy, or simply tell me all the games I forgot to mention from 2013-2017(good and bad), then feel free to in the comments below.

    Never accept the world as it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it could be.

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  • Final Fantasy 15 and the Man who Ate his Words

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    Final Fantasy 15 and the Man who Ate his Words



    Now I know, Final Fantasy 15 is "old" news at this point. But in my defense, I had literally no time to play it in December and in January I had pneumonia throughout the month. So February was the first month I really had time to pump into the game. So if you are like me and have waited as long as possible to play FF15, there are SPOILERS in this blog. Literally all the spoilers. Run away if this bothers you.

    There may not have been anyone who crapped on Final Fantasy 15 as much as I did. What you have to understand is that me and my brother were following the game the entire 10 years it was being developed. And every delay, every problem, changing its title, whatever it was, me and my brother got laughs off the failure. There wasn't even a pretend hope that the game would be interesting. It was like watching a disaster but you can't look away because its too funny. And what made all this worse... Is that we hated Final Fantasy 12. Final Fantasy 13, 13-2, Lighting Returns, we considered to be the biggest of jokes. And I don't even want to mention the edgy edge-fest that was Final Fantasy Type-0. Square Enix did not "amaze" me often throughout that decade, but even more, what they were doing to Final Fantasy gave no hope that Final Fantasy would ever be good again. I will admit that I enjoyed Final Fantasy 14 despite it being an MMo, but a successful MMo means nothing towards the future of a good single player experience.


    At least Final Fantasy 14 looked like Final Fantasy.

    And all of this made me sad. Final Fantasy is my childhood, Final Fantasy 4 and 6 are some of the games I am most passionate about. FF5 I played later in my life, but its quality is equal to 4/6. FF7 is fantastic. 8 is ok. 9 is good. 10 was great. But after that the series really started to die for me. And my confidence in Square Enix waned, not just from bad FF titles, but from other games and choices through the decade. So by the time FF15 released I had no hope that I would like it. Not with it taking a decade to release, not by Square Enix's hand. And then something unprecedented happened...

    It all started with the general opinion of reviewers and the like, where FF15 was well received. But I don't personally take a lot of stock in reviewers and review sites, I prefer to hear opinions from people I know/follow personally. So with that my friends, who like Square Enix games, got their hands on the game and they really liked. I was pretty happy for them, because what they had to say really lead me to believe that FF15 was in no way as bad as I thought it would be. But the real clicker was when one of my best friends, fellow GI member MightyMagikarp played the game, and he really had a good time with it. Because Mighty doesn't like Japanese games, not ones filled with anime tropes, his tolerance threshold for these kinda things would be well below my own. So with all of this information to take in, I started to hope that Final Fantasy 15 was not only a success, but something I would enjoy immensely.

    And it really was. The first thing I enjoyed right off the bat was the aesthetic for the game. If you take FF7, its mixing Fantasy with Sci-Fi. Same goes for 8. Etc. But what FF15 does is create a "present day" environment, that just happens to take place is a Fantasy world. So you get things like phones and mobile games, street signs and fast food joints. Literally everything you can see in the real world right now, just in a world that is fill to the brim with Fantasy imagery. And it is so damn appealing. And second thing I noticed was the animation quality, especially for the 4 main characters is so unbelievably realistic. Its like viewing real people, even when Noctis(protagonist) is doing magic and teleportation antics in battle, the way he holds himself is just 100% believable.


    For real, animations in this game. So good. Will judge all future games based of Final Fantasy 15's animations.

    But I AM getting ahead of myself, I do want to speak about what I loved about the game. But I do want to go over what I disliked about the game first. I have a couple handfuls of "Small Problems" with Final Fantasy 15. There are just some really, really odd design choices. Like making the X Button do way to many actions, or the fact that the game likes to throw out absurdly high level monsters you can't possibly beat at you(Like MMo styled games, like Xenoblade). And while I do have these small problems I don't actually care to go in depth with them. As I said, I consider them small problems. But there is one I will focus this section on, and its one nearly everyone who talks about the game acknowledges... "The Story of the game is bad".

    If you listen to people they often say things like "The story was convoluted/bad/odd" and often bring up pacing. But thats actually an unfair and over simplistic take on the story. The Story isn't bad, and its certainly not convoluted. Its the Storytelling that you are taking issue with, because the Storytelling style is certainly "odd". The actual story is super straight forward and very simplistic, a boon to the Final Fantasy series after the mess that was the FF13 trilogy, which is why complaints of convolution are simply incorrect. Why it may come off that way though is because the Storytelling style is that 90% of everything you see, you see through the eyes of the 4 Main Characters. The 4 bros. There aren't much in the way of scenes that take place "somewhere else". There aren't many flashbacks, not ones that Noctis himself isn't witnessing. Which is why story complaints happen. There are tons of things, good and bad that are happening in the background of the world as you adventure with the 4 main characters. You just don't see it because the 4 guys don't see it. So at the end of the game, when the Empire(bad guys) have all been corrupted and turned into demons in Chapter 12, despite them still being human in Chapter 9, it comes off as "odd" because the 4 MCs didn't learn about the Demonic corruption until Chapter 12, so neither did you, the player.

    And this to me, is a double edged sword. Yes this creates problems, ones I will go into deeper in a moment. But the Storytelling style is also a strong part of the charm. What is most appealing about FF15 might just be that the game is a road trip between 4 best friends. And the fact that you experience nearly everything with them is a highlight. Which is why I don't consider it a "Big Problem", its just a little one. Because I see what they were doing with it, and it worked out great in some ways, and terribly in others. So I don't agree that the story is bad, quite the opposite really. But I did want to talk about my biggest problem with the game, and now that I have explained the Storytelling style, it will make more sense. My biggest problem with the game is the lack of character development for characters besides the 4 Main Characters, and even more specifically, Lunafreya, Noctis's wife to be.


    THIS. This is your story focus. Get used to it, its super comfy.

    The Storytelling style leaves way too much to the imagination of the player when it comes to other characters. There are a couple side characters who got a good amount of character development, namely Iris, Gladio's younger sister. And Aranea, the obligatory FF Dragoon, and non-evil member of the Empire. But for nearly all other side character and villains, they were shamefully underappreciated. For villains, I think there was one of the few "this scene is taking place somewhere else" moments in Chapter 2/3. And it displays Aranea, Lunafreya's brother Ravus and 2 other Imperial officers talking to the Emperor. But writing this now I can't tell you... Who the hell the other 2 Imperial officers were in the game. I just don't remember them, thats how irrelevant to the story they were. Now Aranea got character development, because she helps out the 4 Bros multiple times throughout the game. But Ravus, Luna's brother, is supposed to be this Rival archetype for Noctis, but you know literally nothing about him until Chapter 12. So he is nearly 100% throw away. And as far as the Emperor goes... He was in this one scene, and then you don't see him again until Chapter 13. Where he is a demonic boss. And thats literally it for his appearance in this game. Villains outside of Ardyn, don't stand for much in FF15.


    ...Seriously I played this game. I don't know two of these characters. How is this possible?

    And for side characters, man. Lets talk about poor Cor Leonis. He is this legendary officer in Noctis's kingdom, and he does nothing through the entire game. To be fair, he joins your team for like 10 minutes to set Noctis on his path to become king. And later shows up to apologize to Noctis for not protecting his father from the empire. But outside of that he offers nothing to you. And its really weird, because he has this honorable Sephiroth vibe going for him, the game just decided to not utilize it at all. But side characters not getting development, fine. They don't always. And villains not getting any limelight? Also fine, they don't always need any. But FF15 didn't just screw out the side characters and villains. It also decided to screw out main characters too. Look, there are 5 main characters in Final Fantasy 15. 6 if you include Ardyn, the antagonist. But those are Noctis the protagonist, Ignis, Gladio, Prompto and Lunafreya.


    You should be sad. Nothing I'm about to say should make you happy.

    Now Luna is the goal of Final Fantasy 15. Noctis wants to meet her again, wants to marry her because they are lovers through Doggy Email(Umbra). And Luna in the story/lore is an "Oracle", a person who is in communion with the gods, and ultimately another person destined to help the Lucian King(Noctis) into power. And through Chapter 1-8 of FF15... She means virtually nothing to you, the player. Her only screen time displays her as an omnipotent martyr trope, and could be traded out for virtually any other character of the same definition. I compared her to Jesus early on, because thats the vibe you get from her. The only feelings you have for her are feelings you have through Noctis, because Noctis loves her unconditionally, so through him you don't hate her. And it isn't until Chapter 9 where she finally gets some character development. She is given sass with dealing with the Empire. She is displayed as young and loving when you actually get to see her help Noctis with every fiber of her being. And for the first time she is far more than an omnipotent martyr. But just as soon as it happens, she dies in Chapter 9. Dies helping Noctis to succeed. And what actually shocked me is that I cared when she died. I didn't like her at all through Chapters 1-8, but in Chapter 9 she finally gets development and I give a damn.


    I was legit feeling here. And that was just the weirdest thing to happen all game.

    And through the emotional chapters that are Chapters 10-13, Lunafreya actually gets more character development. With flashbacks that Noctis witnesses through Fantasy magic. Luna was never omnipotent in nature, she simply acted that way because thats how people needed to see her. And she loved Noctis as much as he loved her. But honestly, since we are in the last 6 hours of the game at this point, its just way too late. Its attempting to give character development to a character that is already dead and hard to have feelings for because she was criminally neglected.

    Chapter 6 in FF15 is one of my favorite parts of the entire game. Because in Chapter 6 Gladio's sister joins the party for a little while and its fabulous. Iris adds a lot to the game, she adds more dialogue between the 4 bros, more actions, animations, different Photo opportunities with Prompto's photos. etc. She really spices up the game, and its nothing but awesome to see. And despite how much I love Iris's character and all the development she had and added through this small portion of the game... Final Fantasy 15 would have benefited more by having Luna join the team for a small portion of the game here instead of Iris. Iris is a side character who didn't NEED development, Luna is a main character who was starving for it.


    Don't judge me, I liked Iris's part of the game more than you. I'm just saying how it should have been.

    Now don't get me wrong, I realize that part of the 'tragedy" of the story is that Noctis and Luna didn't spend any time together, save for when they were children. But I am bluntly saying my way is better. Because if Luna was on the team for 2/5 hours of gameplay time, like Iris was, the dialogue she would have added, the camp outs with her, photos with her, etc. All would have added to how much you care when she dies in Chapter 9. And its not like this would have torn asunder the idea that Noctis and Luna barely spent time together. Its hard to have any alone time when you are cramped in a convertible with 5 people. The tragedy the game presents you does not compare to the tragedy that would have happened if you were emotionally invested in Luna's character. As is now, I liked Luna in Chapter 9, but if someone tells me they didn't really care I can't blame them. Luna is by far my biggest problem with the game, because she is my 5th favorite character, she was just starved for character development for well over half the game. And by the time she got any, it was too late.

    [PageBreak]

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  • Heropon's Top 10 VG Characters... Whom he Simply Doesn't Know

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    Heropon's Top 10 Video Game Characters... Whom he Simply Doesn't Know That title couldn't be more confusing. I've already done a Top 100 Character List, so this seems kinda irrelevant unless there was a giant gimmick... Lucky for you there... More
  • Video Games - The Importance of Having a Message

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    There are some mild spoilers for Xenoblade X and Breath of Fire 2 in this blog. I just like to give a fair warning.



    Video Games - The Importance of Having a Message

       Video Games are a truly wondrous thing, currently spanning to all generations and are ever more relevant to daily life. Video Games show no signs of slowing down in popularity. The reason for this is extremely simple. Video Games are an "art". And art has never showed any signs of being irrelevant, I doubt it ever will. The reason why art is great is because it comes from the passion of individuals, their beliefs, their fancies, what drives them, etc. Witnessing this level of passion is appealing in many ways, and when it speaks to you as an individual, it becomes an experience unlike any other. Are all Video Games as classy or "artistic" as any other? Absolutely not. But its like that for any style of art - movies, drawings, or music. And what makes art "artistic" isn't some posh ideal that only the upper-crust of society could appreciate. Its simply a matter of how much passion is put into it to make that art a reality.

    So what was with the winded rant on Video Games being art? Why am I even making a blog? It mainly has to do with Neil Druckmann, the creator of The Last of Us, saying that he will not avoid "Personal Politics" in The Last of Us 2. A lot of places I frequent on the internet are fairly angry at his comments, stating things like "He has already ruined the game" and etc. And I understand what they are saying(some of them), politics are a touchy subject, which should be obvious to anyone. But the existence of opposing politics/beliefs/ideals is not inherently a bad thing. And simply wanting your message, your beliefs to be displayed in your art is something that every artist should be afforded.

    And it all comes back to the title. What is the importance of having messages in your Video Game?...

    Well... Depends entirely on the game. If your game is something in the same vein as Mario, Kirby, Monster Hunter or one of the thousands of amazing(very simplistic) indie games... Then its not really important. Because the game is not fueled by anything to carry a "message". But if your game is built upon narrative, lore, story and even just character dialogue, the importance of having an over-arching message(s) becomes more relevant. But WHY is having a message important? Because it makes you think. For me personally the games that gave me pause, even if just for a moment, it makes me remember them more fondly in the future. And I am not trying to sound preachy, I'm not always learning some grand thing, I am not living through epiphany after epiphany. But any small amount of thought brightens the experience.

    To make an example, I remember playing Xenoblade Chronicles X. In this game, all people, all NPCs are lifelike machines with a living conscience. Their real bodies stored someplace else, safe as can be while their fake bodies experience the dangers the game has to offer. If they die, they'll simply have their conscience put into another expendable body. But what happens when you "die"? The sidequest NPCs had a way of dying in terrible ways. But they will just be "reborn" later... How much mental trauma would living through death place on you? I remember one side quest specifically where I thought on this a lot... There are these NPCs who get infected by an alien substance, the substance corrupts these individuals, turns them into monsters, and for all intents and purposes kills those NPCs. But then they would just wake up in a new body after experiencing one of the most gruesome deaths imaginable... The amount of PTSD in X would be absurd. And the concept is only briefly touched upon in game, it is in no way a huge point of plot. But finding the dialogue and doing the side quest really helps expand just how terrible the planet in X actually is, and how unfortunate the lives of the people trying to survive actually are. And what made it one of the most compelling side quests in the game is that it made me think about these things.


    Real talk, having an entire facility of your peers turn into monsters was horrifying.

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