What we REALLY want!

4ec

 

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The the Line Drawn in the Sand

Recently, a few articles popped out at me.  One was briefly about the Steam network banning the title, “Rape Day”, which was a hit to their unstable company to customer relationship, in regards to censorship.  But I felt it was 100% RIGHT MOVE, on their part.  The game literally centralizes itself on gratuitous sexual violence.  So yeah, definitely not something we need as a game or really anything beyond what has been done already.

Personally, I think Rockstar crossed the line when they added a interactive torture scene in Grand Theft Auto V.  Sure, they weren’t doing it to push the boundaries, but maybe to see how a player would respond to torturing someone in-game.  It was sort like the Milgram Experiment, you didn’t necessarily have a choice unless you progressed.  Then again, maybe you did if you’d stopped playing.

GTA Torture

-Rockstar Games

GTA has always been the benchmark on how far games will go and I’ve yet to see the series or any other game (that wasn’t considered pornographic or hentai) add a rape as a gameplay element.  Why?!  Because that is where 99% of people will draw the “line in the sand.”  It’s one thing to have it portrayed as a negative point in a narrative, but a direct interaction is almost a perpetuation of the crime itself.

Now a couple days ago I read about Devil May Cry 5’s western censorship.

dmcv-censor-ds1-1340x1340

Courtesy of Dualshockers

All I can say is, WHAT THE HELL IS THE PROBLEM???  It’s just a woman’s bare ass!  Not only that, it’s more like a half-moon!  Go watch an episode of “The Simpsons” and you’ll see more nudity there, male and female.  For the longest time, nudity and sexual censorship has been a real head-scratching topic for me.  It’s probably because I was an amateur artist in my high school days.  Or maybe it’s the fact, that I learned about art from books about popular artists of the Italian Renaissance. (Like the painting by Rafael seen below)

the-triumph-of-galatea-19

Why is the human body, man or woman, so scary?!  Isn’t sex one of our many necessary functions as human beings?!

Now I understand that children are never to be associated with the coupling of two human beings, outside the subject of birth.  It is just something we don’t do, so we protect our children by parenting.  Which stems from the lessons of our history, that are projected through previous generations to keep us protected until we are ready.   However, parents and adults cannot protect their children forever, as the world has its ways of revealing the fact of life:  anatomy, death, sexuality and violence.  Which is why we should be there for them, to give them the proper guidance on the realities of life.

I was roughly 11 years old, when I had my first exposure to graphic violence.  It was a boring Saturday and I ended up crashing on my living room couch.  I’d slept a bit, to just about 9pm, when my brother and sister popped in the movie “Friday the 13th”.  (both were 15 and 19 at the time)  Before they’d started it, I was told to get out and that the movie was too scary for me.

However, I was a bit of a hard-head and thought that I was big enough to watch a scary film.  After all, I’d seen Poltergeist and The Ghostbusters, there couldn’t been anything scarier than that.  Clearly you know where this is going, right?

I spent the entire movie hiding underneath the pillow with occasional peaks at the screen.  But the pillow didn’t save me from the terrifying sound effects of Jason stalking the inhabitants of Camp Crystal Lake.  Which was further intensified by the screams that fell victim to him, until the inevitable conclusion of the film.  Hiding wasn’t an option, it was almost as if I was being stalked Jason himself.  Yet just when I was told “it was over”, but it wasn’t, as the final moments tell you – “he’s still out there”

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How many of you are looking behind your shoulders right now?

It was a harrowing first experience to nothing I’d ever seen before and it left me with nightmares for a while.  That is until I had a talked with my mom and dad, which quickly resulted in my two siblings getting their ass chewed out.  But after that, I’d realized that the movie was only fiction, just like any other movie or show.

The same thing happened when my mom found some of my nude sketches in my early-teens.  We talked and she gave me the guidance I needed to fully understand my own sexuality.  Her words were of encouragement; more for my art, than the sexual interest towards the body of a woman.

Turning back to how we view violence and sexuality in the modern media.  It seems as though a naked body or sexual relations are considered shameful, almost like Queen Cersei’s “Walk of Shame”  Which is why, I absolutely love HBO, Showtime and many other networks remember that sex and nudity can be an integral part of the narrative and art itself.  As a matter of fact, sexuality and our own bodily experiences come much more naturally than events of rage, trauma and violence.

Yet, I can play the remake of Resident Evil 2; where limbs are shot off, people are torn in half and crushed to death.  (Not saying the portrayal was a bad thing, the remake is PHENOMINAL!)  I’d say this game is, the 2nd most graphic depiction of violence I’ve ever seen in my 30 years of gaming.  (Whereas Mortal Kombat X is #1)  But the violence depicted really suits the game and truly amplified the horror experience.  Now God forbid that we see a bare-naked lady’s ass, genitalia or a full-on sex scene in an M-rated video game!  Because that is just too graphic for us compute.

The line in the sand is drawn only few meters when I step onto the beach in regards to sexual content, yet the other line is being washed away by the tide.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ON THIS?

Prepping up for holidays! Part 1

Yeah, yeah, its not even past Halloween and I’m talkin’ Christmas right?!  No one wants to hear about the long-ass lines to see Santa/Black Friday/parking/food/decorations/slash (lol!), do Christmas cards or deal with the family events.  But if you’ve got little ones, getting your shopping (or a planned out lay-away) over time is the way to go.

Personally, Louie and I went to Toys R Us and got it locked down last week.  Frankly, its a good strategy if you haven’t done it before and really doesn’t cut a hole in your wallet/purse.  That and we dodge all of the BS, while still ACTUALLY DOING the shopping.  Sure, I could do everything online and get a sweet deal.  But it just doesn’t feel the same.  Actually doing the legwork for me, seems to have a weird sense of self accomplishment to it.  Go figure on that one.

I know, ZERO care factor from ya’ll!

Overall, Grace is getting a pretty nice haul for her presents from us.  Most notably, she’s getting a 2DS with a few Mario games.  (With me quietly getting Smash Bros for it!)  🙂  Right now, I do feel she’s pretty young for it, but it seems that she gets on the phone a bit and plays Mario Run too much, along with the usual My Little Pony and Learning games.  But that is where we’re putting a limit on our mobile/gaming time to rainy/cold days, when we need a break or half hour here or there.

As of now, we’ve been pretty light on enforcement with the rule.  But I’d rather she spend her childhood outside, doing activities and less gaming/phone time.  Hopefully it will turn out that way, as I’ve always been a good balance of outgoing and a homebody.

But I really didn’t get any inspiration to write anything down about making a list until I read about the upcoming Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.  Which is one of my must-plays for the upcoming year.  For those that haven’t been following any of the upcoming titles, I’ll give a few bits about them.

1)      Wolfenstein: The New Colossus

If you grew up playing PC games, there is NO WAY you’ve never heard of Wolfenstein 3D.

It was the game that started the First Person Shooter (AKA FPS games) genre and got its reputation for its kill all Nazis gameplay.  The New Colossus is a direct sequel to both Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Old Blood.  (I know, confusing.  The latter is a DLC expansion that is just as good.)

What’s so special?    –  Well, The New Order is a phenomenal game that plays very simplistic.  With its single player only, story driven, shootfest that gives you the option to go stealth until the shit hits the fan.  Its gameplay barely penalizes you for just doing a kill em’ all type of run-through.  It plays just like it used to, when it came out way back in the 90s but runs smooth and combat is tense and satisfying.  That and the story is great take on an alternate-reality of the World War II.

The New Colossus is a clear continuation of that story and gameplay.

This isn’t Call of Duty, I assure of that!

Why am I excited?  –  The new setting and how the events changed things that happened from the previous entry.  It has a brand-new engine by Id Software, which is known for making some powerful engines that rival Unreal and Crytech.  (Which are what MANY of the games we play, run on.  In case you didn’t know.)

That and killing Nazis in Wolfenstein is way better than CoD:  Zombies, without question.

Also, I enjoy a truly mature gaming experience.  Which is where the title has no censorship, the violence, gore and nudity/sex is used correctly and not forced or thrown on a canvas like a trashy painting.  Wolfenstein did that.

Release Date October 27th

2)     The Evil Within 2

The sequel to the former director/creator of Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami.  The Evil Within was a pretty frightening game to experience.  Although it seemed to rely way too much on the mechanics of one of his older titles:  Resident Evil 4.  Which is a classic survival horror game, but most people saw TEW as a clone.  In response to that, The Evil Within was a GOOD CLONE gameplay wise, that did have its moments where you had more bullets than the enemies you were fighting.  But had MANY twisted, tripy and frightening moments.  The first game made me feel tense and on edge throughout my first playthrough.

What’s so special?  –  The first game left a lot more questions than answers, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It just left everyone that enjoyed or cared about the story, with a big fat, SO WHAT’S NEXT?!  Most likely, survival horror fans will pick this up, especially if Resident Evil 7’s move to 1st person didn’t sit well with you.  Which was a solid and well executed move for that series.  The Evil Within plays like Resident Evil 4, except on acid.  So you’re in for a wild ride!  It’s release is THIS FRIDAY THE 13th, so it’ll be a no-brainer for a great Halloween title.

Why am I excited?  – Years back, Shinji Mikami made a claim, that he was, “going to bring survival horror, back to its roots”.  Personally, he didn’t really do that in the first game.  Hopefully, he pulls this off and the second one is a phenomenal experience and succeeds on the market!

3)  Star Wars Battlefront II 

Two years ago, DICE released the first Battlefront and the gaming community went apeshit in the WRONG WAY!  Sure, it was DICE’s Battlefield sort of gameplay with everything done up in a beautiful Star Wars fashion.  But a large majority of its gameplay was focused on the multiplayer aspect.  Which is great and all for a military shooter, but this is STAR WARS we’re talking about here!

Seriously, where the HELL was this in the game?! Oh wait, it wasn’t.

The fan base for the series is MASSIVE with only Trekkies and comic fans being the only groups to rival that demand!  So they completely failed in catering to casual gamers that just wanted to boot it up and play a story/reenactment of the series.  That, and it lacked in content or was paid DLC.  (Albiet pretty good DLC)

I’ll admit, there was a lot that was done right about the game, too.  Walker Assualt was pretty cool and the Death Star DLC is pretty badass.  All of the content that was present was faithful and true to the series.  Space and X-Wing/Tie Fighter dogfights were a blast! (Pun intented.)  Battlefront II is set to surpass this in spades and remain true to fans of both shooters and the Star Wars series.

What’s so special?  –  Well it’s Star Wars, with plenty of vehicles, blasters and gadgets to use.  Also, it’s going to be a clear improvement over its predecessor.  Not only will it cover ALL three Star Wars generations, (prequel, original and sequel) it will feature a new story campaign that will cover the period between Episode VI (Return of the Jedi) and VII (The Force Awakens) using an original character.

Yesterday, I sunk my teeth into the Multiplayer Beta.  From what I saw, it looks to be a solid improvement.  The content has been TRIPLED and it seems that EA/DICE is doing away with paid DLC for this.  (SOURCE)  All of this covered by a teaser video featuring John Boyega (AKA Finn)

Why am I excited?  –  The beta is kinda making me a Day 1, which is NEVER what I do.  But this may be the Star Wars/Battlefield experience I was looking for in the first!  I’ve been a Battlefield veteran since Bad Company and Battlefront 1 was the only DICE title to let me down.  (But the DLC did make the game better!)  It comes out November 17th

  • That and well THIS!

MORE TO COME ON PART 2

 

 

Who we play as cuts deeper than we think!

Why is there such a deep connection with us and the characters we play as?

Every time we sit down and load up a title on our weekly play.  Many of us really don’t stop to realize.  Why are we fascinated with an Italian plumber in a red cap and suspenders or an over-muscled Greek demi-god.  Sure, it may go back to what we learned in high school English class about, “the hero’s journey” and how we all wished we could experience such feats.  In a way, that’s clear and present in our minds as we infiltrate an enemy base or raid a building for supplies.  We experience the journey first-hand, albeit in success and failure.  Yet there are underlying reasons as to why these avatars of our digital are so identifiable with us.  Like Spike Lee once said, “It must be the shoes!”  In reality, it isn’t just the badass war paint or double barrel shotgun.  Let’s take a look at some of the more memorable characters throughout our not-so daily grind.

Doomguy (Doom)

Credit – Id Software

This unfortunate Marine, is thrown into the bowels of hell right from the start, with only 10 unbloodied knuckles, a full magazine of ammo and one serious case of paranoia.  We all know where this goes; all of his war buddies draw their guns in the wrong direction (his).  This only leads to their last gasp and post-mortem gurgles.  By the first level’s end, he’s armed with a shotgun and chainsaw in hand –   From there, it’s all on us to do the rest.

GROOVY!

Doomguy is in a situation we’d never want to be in, where it’s everyone against us.  Yet it’s a first-hand account on how we’d survive it.  Laying down buckshot into a cacodemon’s face and watching tumble with on three percent health hits home with us.  Because it was at that moment, we’d that could been the end and it wasn’t.

All of us experience this at some time in our lives, where death comes close in the flesh and almost taps our shoulder.  Be it, by narrowing being hit in a pedestrian crosswalk while the light was clearly red or accidentally cutting your hand pretty bad while dicing onions.  That impeding sense of Doom that is right around each of life’s corners.

Sure, we’d continue to get that same adrenaline kick with each Team Deathmatch session or CoD/FPS game.  But the feeling you’d get, is irreplaceable to that of the dark and bloodied corridors of hell itself.

Mario

 

Credit – Nintendo

He’s our favorite red and blue plumber, whose on-call for all the wrong reasons.  (Seriously, have we ever seen him really fix a sink or toilet?)  Mario has more skill with eating mushroom and jumping to Shaun White distances.  With a smile that never drops and the nerves of diamond, he stomps Bowser and his crew every time.  (Provided we succeed!)   As a reward, he gets the girl and simple peck on the cheek, as gratitude.

 

Doing what Mario does and how we get him to the nice green and white flag, takes a lot resolve.  Avoiding the turtle shells, bullet bills, bomb-oms and flames pits can seem like an impossible task.  Eventually, we make it through and the success doesn’t seem any sweeter.

Mario is our perseverance, the will to adapt and overcome through the chaos and dangers very similar to us.  Some challenges are greater than others and vary to our own lifestyles.  Tight deadlines, balancing the household checkbook, being a good parent, taking extra classes; can seem like those same impossible feats.  Still, we move forward, try our best and make it work, even if we fully succeed or not.  In our later years, that perseverance pays off, with less or no debt, a home that is ours and the true reward for all of our hard labor.

Sheperd (Mass Effect 1-3)

Credit – Gamespot

Three epic chapters of space exploration weren’t enough for many of us.  The recent entry Mass Effect: Andromeda left deep yearns of space exploration and saving the universe from rapture.  Regardless of how well your experience was with that title, there was one big thing that wasn’t the same – Ryder.  As a replacement, to the neutral character of the original trilogy, Shepard became Ryder.  Both were open to be either a male or female option, with each having their own personalities depending on the choices you made.  Shepherd had options that could lead you into firefights, a resolution of a conflict or even convince someone to commit suicide.  Sadly, Andromeda’s Ryder was never given the same sort of ability of true conflict resolution.

Like the Star Trek multiverse, Mass Effect focused on the fragile relations of the intergalactic races of The Milky Way and beyond.  Many instances Commander Sheperd ends up being right in the middle of a bog of diplomacy.  Depending on how the Commander responded, the end result could be successful or disastrous.  Ultimately, it could always be finished with good firepower and biotics (space magic), though.

Sheperd is our free will, the choice is unique only to the player and leaves permanent results, much like you and I.  Our real lives have confrontations and disagreements where an outcome is dependent on what comes out of our mouths.  Very much like Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Natural Law, “for every action there is an equal or opposite reaction.”  Our free will to speak holds the gravity of infinite possibilities of our own future.  (Pun intended)

Tommy Vercetti (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City)

Known as the 80s anti-hero and narco druglord in the fictional metropolitan, Vice City.  Tommy was given the short end of the stick, even when he became a made-man in the Forelli crime family.  From the moment he stepped out of the taxi cab, Tommy was bound to end up as a chalk trace on the hot pavement.  Guided by his own actions and rage, Tommy took Vice City for himself, piece by piece.

Almost everyone that booted up Vice City, knows that you really didn’t play for the missions or story.  It was great excuse just drive around like crazy, solicit a prostitute then get a “return” of service, blow up the cops and beat down pedestrians.   Causing this sort of havoc is what really coined the term “sandbox” in gaming and we loved every minute of.  At least until our parents found out after hearing hours of police sirens coming from the bedroom.

Tommy is the underlying rage and frustration we have inside us.  Much like Fight Club’s Tyler Durden, no one wants to admit they have an animalistic urge to channel their aggression.  Grand Theft Auto was one of our first real punching bags to the stresses of teen adolescence, work and life as a whole.  Gaming is hobby and an escape for many of us, regardless if you want to believe it or not.  Perhaps we aren’t bound by our desires and impulses, like Mr Vercetti.  But we all know that you cannot keep it all bottled up inside.

Sometimes it’s just best to seek help…right Michael?

 

Beyond Expectations. Biohazard Resident Evil 7 final impressions

 

I’ve finished my Biohazard: Resident Evil 7 experience. Gotta admit, this was a GREAT game! Sadly, this is NOT a Resident Evil game. (Yeah…yeah, I know we’ve heard this before from SOOOOOO many haters/fanboys/political lobbyists/fake news.)

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This is NOT Resident Evil!!!     (NERD SAIYAN 3!!)

I’m gonna be straight with you. Like I said in my previous entry, ALL of the elements of a Resident Evil game is here…save for one exception.

 SPOILERS………………………………….THE RESIDENT EVIL STORYLINE.

That’s right RE fans, all of your beloved characters are practically non-existant. Resident Evil has always been known for it’s misguided story and convoluted characters. Yet those characters are LIKEABLE!! So where are they?!?! They’re not here whatsoever. So how Biohazard: RE7 connect to the series?! As far as the base retail game goes, you pretty much get name drops and 30 seconds of “Ooooooh!! Look who it is?!”

Gotta admit, I’m a little mad AND disappointed in regards to the game getting the Resident Evil title. I can live with that, but I love my Resident Evil characters and many of the little stories they get involved in. It’s really a shame that we didn’t have any familiar faces involved in Ethan’s horror story

WITH THAT SAID!!!! RE:7 looked, felt and moved like a Resident Evil game. Hell, if you had VR goggles, probably smelled like Resident Evil. Playing through the game was tense at time, requiring that all too familiar tight item management. This balanced the combat well and in some cases could have made Ethan a little heavily armed for survival horror vets. Fortunately, there is a “Madhouse” setting, which is really where the challenge is at, if you’re up for it. Personally, I used Gamefly (I’m on a budget!), so doing another playthrough isn’t going to happen.

 

baker-resident-evil-7
Chainsaw, do you take this Shotgun to be your lawfully wedded….NOOOO!    (BOOM!)              –SOURCE

 

Throughout the first half, the mood sets in with well placed audio and visuals cue to bring the tension up. Then as the first bits of action sets in and Ethan fights a losing battle against his soon to be nemesis, the Baker family.  All I can say, is that it’s one HELL of a ride!  Almost the same way Shinji Mikami became inspired by many of the 80s horror films to create the original games; the creators of RE7 took a page from films like The Ring, Saw and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Fortunately, it works and plays well with how the Baker family interacts (or terrorize, toy, beat or cut) with Ethan. (the player character)

What makes RE7 soo enjoyable is that twisted characterization of the family and the story’s simplicity. Granted there are a few things aren’t explained and they leave a few questions left. To be honest, it’s a Biohazard/Resident Evil game; which pretty much entitles all the unexplained parts to be explained somewhere in the optional text files.

Sometimes, simplicity works and here survival horror fans are treated with an excellent title, despite it leaving the fans of the series wanting a continuation of the regular series.

Just so you know, there are subtle mentions of the Raccoon City incident occurring and a teaser of ONE character from the main series… This means only one thing, the RE main story will continue, just not while wading through the Louisiana bayou.

 

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Hey buddy!!!  I think your marshmallow is a little too TOASTED!!!           –SOURCE

The Prince I Never Cared For

Today I got my platinum trophy for Final Fantasy XV, not because I couldn’t get enough of the game. (Which is what normally happens with the ones I do.) It was just that playing through it was such a breeze.

After spending almost 70 some hours total doing BORING side quests and the occassional fun monster hunt. I decided to finish the story and all that remained left in the game. Sadly, I’d have to admit this was worst Final Fantasy experience in all of my days playing them. Before I begin, you’ve gotta know, I’ve been playing the SNES version of Final Fantasy IV (then titled Final Fantasy II). So I know my FF games, including the random spin-offs Square has been spitting out since the post Final Fantasy X days.

IT’S KIND OF SAD WHEN THE FISHING IS MORE EXCITING THAN THE ACTUAL SIDE QUESTS!!

In the end, I will have some lighter things to say about the title. But lets finally get all the bad shit outta the way.

FFXV’s world is a beautiful thing to see, with all of it’s greenery, mountain trails, lakes, mystical caves and dungeons. The enemies interact with the environment and the on-foot music is pretty sweet. But 50% of that is ruined by the repetitive commentary of the “four friends”. (Which is barely what they seem like to each other! But I’ll get to that!) Couple this with the sparse placement of NPCs and lack of real reward for exploration. I get that developers made the side quests to encourage exploration. So why the hell wasn’t there more to hear from the team than “ohhhhs and ahhhs”, “take a look at that” or “whoa”.
It seems that the relationship between the four guys is always strained and never about being real with each other until too late in the game. By that time, the player is so prepared for the end-game, that you’d rather not hear about everyone’s personal demons or why a certain event happened to this guy. Noctus (the primary protagonist) was protrayed as a spoiled whiney emo kid. Okay, I get that; why?! It wasn’t just because his daddy never cared about him, cuz if you pay attention to the story you can kind of feel that King Regis was a good father. Also, I get that he was bummed out with getting hitched soon and all the other crappy things that happened to him. So why didn’t they eleborate on it put in some real scenes with the guys. I mean, for fuck’s sake, the only time Noctus truly sheds tears is in the final camping scene with his “buds”. Even then, it seems like there is sort of a male psuedo-social repression thing.

This happens to ALL of the characters, which is garbage, as there could’ve been so much potential to have a social affection system for the four, much like many other RPGs out there nowadays. There are hints of it here and there, but it never seems to really be something that would get you to like the bond they all have.

For example, take the little morning adventures Noctus’ buds call him out to do. They are too sparse and you’ll probably engage in about 10 total in your entire playthrough. Considering as much as the team camped and toured the world, that chance to interact was WASTED IN A MONUMENTAL FAILURE. Especially, when the team begins to visit the big cities in the game and truly get to enjoy the sites. Where were the welcoming parties, festivals (the lil’ DLC “Moogle-Chocobo Festival” doesn’t count, as only Noctis gets to enjoy it solo, which was also a bad move. Despite the DLC being a nice touch from the developers.) Honestly, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this.

What bothered me the most was the bad portrayal of some of the cultural references throughout FFXV’s worlds. Particularly during pit stops along the highway, where you’ll experience a seriously disenfranchised version of Western American culture. (BTW, not even gonna touch the whole Cindy the mechanic thing.

All I can say is, Noctus’ team acted VERY TAME to how it really would’ve went down! CAN SOMEBODY SAY DIXIE HAZARD RIP OFF!! Okay, fuck it, I touched on it and you guys would, if you were a customers at Hammerhead, you’d be tryin’ to WORK IN HER GARAGE; MARRIED OR NOT!!!! BTW, Square must’ve had a few former Koei-Tecmo staff members join their character design staff. This is included terrible voice work used to to imitate American back country yokles. It almost seems as though the development team, spent more time on the road during their research and less time trying to communicate with the local cultures. Sure there the areas are captured respectfully in a visual sense. (Again, visuals are Square’s speciality, they NEVER have a problem making things PRETTY! I can talk about how good they are until the cows come home!)

Now there are some exceptions, like the big cities which are probably the best parts in the game. Yet again, there was so damn much potential for further story arches, additions to the story, chances to strengthen the bond with the “four friends”, have memorable side stories, etc. (Mind you, would’ve helped want to love the four guys even more.)

In the end, the story stumbles to catch up with most players who are either burnt out from over-questing and exploration or giving us a story with more holes than a buckshot-torn target. Sure, the ending does leave on a high note, but it end up being unremarkable and too ambiguous as to Noctus and company’s fate. (In the end, I kinda did care to see what actually would happen to him and his mates. It is a story I invested $60 and 80+ hours of my life into.)

As a conclusion to this quasi-rant, (Okay, it’s more of a full-on, one) the is are some great qualities to the game I loved. Visually, this was the most beautiful open world I’ve seen in a game, thus far. The surrounding world outside of the lengthy roads, tunnels and rest stops; is vibrant and seems to breath on its own. The floura and fauna blend perfectly with the fantasy creatures well know and love.

Magic and summons are sparse in terms of variety, but they truly are spectacular to see and use. (FYI, summons can to used ANYWHERE and were fairly common during my journey. One badass instance in particular was in the Tower of the Tall and Ramuh used his Judgement Bolt, right into the fuckin’ dungeon!!! (New animation and all, as opposed to the regular one used outside.) Another part I liked, was when a certain dragoon NPC jumps in during some of the later more difficult, night time battles and helps you win, when you might be in a pinch.

The last thing I did love about the game were the dungeons!!

Typically, most RPGs have made the dungeon sections either a chore or the enjoyment made strictly to the battles.  FFXV DOES ONE THING RIGHT, it makes the dungeon crawling a full adventure with its mixture of the atmosphere, monsters and the Four Friends’ reactions.  For example, the first dungeon you go into, you’ll run into goblins.  But it’s HOW you run into them, is what makes FFXV’S dungeons some of the most we’ll thought out scenarios since Atlus’ Persona series.
I loved that I was able to customize the Regalia a bit, was cool and didn’t try to steal the show. Save for the post game ability to literally tranform the Regalia. All I can say is, it ended with my in a ball of flames, a GAME OVER and me falling on my ass in histarical laughter. 

Honestly, it would’ve helped if we had access to it BEFORE THE FINAL CHAPTER, cuz by the time you get the upgrade, it’s loses it’s charm after about ten minutes to a half hour.

Ultimately, I left this experience with caring less about how the characters turned, but more about the adventures dated in dungeons and the rare unique hunt, like fighting a behemoth for the first time.

Had the story been on part with anything on part with ANY of the other Final Fantasy games I’d probably loved the experience more!

On the Burner…

Apologies for the dark period yet again. Let’s just say I write when it comes to me. In terms of personal daily routine, I’m losing more personal time, as I’ve mostly taken the reigns on the Monday-Friday dinners. That’s right, not only am I an avid and knowledgeable gamer; I’m a pretty good cook!

nurungji_disk
Even though, I’m good at cooking most things, rice was just never one of those!  Thank God for rice steamers! – SOURCE

Honestly, I’m still learning how to prep more difficult dishes like cooking seafood and frying things. Mind you, that takes practice and a few throw away long sleeve shirts. Over the course of 3-4 months, I’m kinda pround of myself. I get plenty of compliments from the my two biggest critics, Grace and Louie. (Sans a few blunders, like last nights fries were terrible, as they were fairly frostbitten and had no flavor left in them.)

Still, I miss Louie’s cooking, I gotta be honest she just has a better flavor profile with her dishes. (Shrugs)
But know I’m way better at grilling than her! (Face it babe, it’s a fact!)

The second thing that has been eating my time up has been Grace’s behavior. For those who don’t know, she’s 4 and clearly speaks her mind when something challenges her desire for something. Recently, I’ve felt that our progress is tetter-totering between progress and retrogressive behavior. Yet, in terms of how she behaved 6 months ago, she’s been better. But listening to instructions and following us is a hit or miss honestly, despite than my wife and I communicate on an even plane about her behavior. If anyone’s got a few pointers, please let me know, it would be REALLY HELPFUL!

Last is simply because I wanted to spend more time playing Resident Evil 7 (Which I just finished Madhouse difficulty and a No Box/Health item run) and finishing Final Fantasy XV. Which I did and will have some more to talk about both in a couple days.

 

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Yep…I get it!  –SOURCE

 

BAD DADDY! – Heihachi

Heihachi Mishima, Tekken series.

When it comes to dear ol’ dads, Heihachi isn’t winning any annual awards. CEO of the Mishima Zaibatsu corporation, master martial artist, father to Kazuya Mishima and grandfather to Jin Kazama. (All of whom were taught in the same art as their father.)

When we first meet his son Kazuya, he’s fighting in the “King of the Iron Fist Tournament”, to remove his father from power in the company.
Defeated and powerless Heihachi exacts a vendetta on his own son in a second tournament and captures him.

As a way to ensure his position is never challenged again; Heihachi carries his unconscious son to the peak of an active volcano and drops him in. Yup…hot mag-ma, Dr Evil much?!

 

 

Needless to say, he’s made other attempts at being a better role model. He took in his grandson and raised his pet grizzly bear and trained it to fight like him. (I’m dead serious, his name’s Kuma.) Which he failed, because well…he’s evil. Badass, but evil.

That and everyone in the tournament hates him. Including a teenage school girl Ling, whom he promised to build an amusement park for her. Only to build in his image and likeness. What..A…d*ck!! (See video below)

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Final Fantasy XV – ARE WE THERE YET?! NO!!!!

During the holidays, I lucked out and got a copy of Final Fantasy XV. (for $40 mind you) Which is the eighty millionth entry in the series, but only the fifteenth to be named with a shiny new roman numeral. Mind you, this title was initially named, “Final Fantasy Versus XIII”. Even better, the theme of the game is inspired by a great American past time; road tripping!! What the fuck SquareEnix, stop smoking the blue crystal, cuz it sure as hell ain’t magical!!!

 

Anyhoo, XV is a journey involving a young prince (Noctus, AKA Super EMO prince) and his three “bros”. Ingnis, the smartypants and iron chef wannabe. Gladio, the soft-hearted macho man and Auron’s bastard son (not really) and Prompto the social butterfly/wimpy kid.

 

Just remember, guns don’t kill people, Prompto’s bad selfies do.

 

As a team, the “four friends” work well together, combat is super simple to play and chain attacks. Each of them, complement with Noctus’ movements and comment during the battle, to keep things fresh. This is great, that is until you realize, you can HOLD either the attack or defend button and never have a problem…which serves no challenge to season vets of RPGs and Final Fantasy. However, enemies are either serious over-powered or one hit wonders. Thankfully, the visuals and solid boss fights make up for mediocre gameplay.

 

 

Magic kind of gets skimped on and the whole system of using status, time and white magic is condensed into added effects. Using fire, ice and thunder you mix and add potentcy to the elements by mixing in items and other elements. Sadly, the system seems very basic and looks like it could’ve much more exciting. On the up sides, summons do return, even though there are only a few, they are MARVELOUS to watch!!

Story-wise, I’m not impressed with it thus far. Which is mainly due to the massive amount of fetch quests and hunts you have to do in order to level up. It reminds me a bit of Fallout 4 and MGSV, how the quests, looting and exploration were so distracting that you really stopped caring about the main objective. Don’t get me wrong, this is WORLDS better than Final Fantasy XIII’s linear gameplay. At this point things are picking up, but it hasn’t reeled me in like Noctis’ fishing skills. (Yep, there’s fishing AND IT’S FUN!)

In terms of exploration, the world in FFXV is BEAUTIFUL!! Monsters are immersed into the world and naturally behave in it until the party gets into a battle with them. Exploring takes to different paths, first is using the Regalis (or the Noctus-mobile) which you can drive to ANY destination when you have access to the area. Initially, seems pretty sweet cruising and enjoying the view; that is until remember that sitting in a car is BORING AS FUCK. Let alone, a virtual car ride. Thankfully, once you’ve reached each area, you can fast travel!!! Then there is using chocobos (FF horses) or good ol’ hoofing it. I recommend you use chocobos more often, as they do give you a chance to truly enjoy the design of the world. (Something I learned to appreciate during my playthrough of The Witcher 3. Horses add depth…NO BULLSHIT!)

 

 

Towns are replaced with rest stops that pretty much just serve as outposts to recouperate, do side quests and hunt missions. Honestly, this may seem disappointing at first. That is, until you get to the bigger cities, which add a little spice to the world you’re in. Personal advice, do the side quests if you need curatives and the hunts for money and EXP otherwise, they are a worthless grind with no story or anything else. (Save a few exceptions)

In a nutshell, my experiences thus far, with well over 40+ hours in; if you are patient enough to sit throught the lengthy car rides. Then Final Fantasy XV is worth your time. Overall, it’s an improvement over the previous titles in terms of things to do and see.

INSERT MASSIVE IN-GAME AD!!!!!!!!!

CUP-O-NOOOOODLEE!!!!  (Which are actually REALLY gross!!!)

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-RACCOON DADDY

 

 

“When the Lights Go Down in the City!” – Dying Light

Ripped right from the development phase of Dead Island 2, Techland decided to part ways and make a 1st person zombie apocalypse game.  It’s called Dying Light and you know what, it’s better A LOT better!

I started off, by dropping into a zombie infested city a-la Solid Snake, parachuting in.  To this guy’s chagrin, he ends up getting ambushed by looters and zombies bite him during the fight.  Fortunately, a group of survivors save his ass and he’s pretty much obligated to help them out for saving his ass!

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TRUE DAT, TRUE DAT!!

To do this, your character Kyle Crane (who, by the way, is the same guy who voiced Chris Redfield in Resident Evil 5 and 6), has to learn how to vault and climb on the rooftops to avoid the hordes of zombies.  After a few missions, you get the hang of it and BAM!  you know parkour!

Dying Light surrounds itself around the whole crisis of finding an anti-zombie serum and helping the guys that saved you.  It may seem like a simple plot, but it’s not.  Dying Light goes that extra mile with an excellent and different performance by Crane’s voice actor.  There were some real tense and harse moments and I thoroughly enjoyed the story.  (Although I haven’t finished “The Following” expansion.)  Be prepared for a wild ride, fairly similar to how Farcry 3 and 4 play.

Fighting the horde is solid, but that isn’t the purpose in Dying Light, it’s all about moving and avoiding the numbers of hordes you encounter while scavving for supplies or trying to complete an objective.  Along with the combat, you’ll expand your abilities and increase the amount of combat moves, but how to craft new weapons and handy parkour moves that help you scale tall buildings and avoid being bitten.  Here is an example of the parkour in the game!

The whole fight or flight combat system works well especially when night comes in the game.  Night time takes an entirely different element of gameplay, where Crane be the hunted instead of the hunter.  I’m not going to go deep into and let you find out yourself, but needless to say; it’s fun and frustrating at the same time.  Here is a good example of fight or flight!

WOW! What a BIIITCH!

Also, like Dead Island, there is an on-the-fly co-op system where you can trade gear and money.  There is a multiplayer option, which lets you become an infected character that is more than capable of killing another player and pretty much ruining player’s game.  The whole idea of sabotaging someone’s game is cool and felt kind of underplayed, yet fun as well.

As for all the goodies you get with the Definitive Edition, which is what I have, you’ll unlock all of the DLC skins and three expansions.  Two are smaller, while the last, “The Following” is a continuation of the main story.

All in all it packs up pretty well!  Dying Light was a fun and frantic experience that had some decent jump scares, good dramatic story, interesting zombie types and fight or flight mechanic; that changes up the monotonous zombie gameplay we’re all bored of, in titles like Dead Island.

Pick it up, it’s definitely worth your time!