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

 

 

FFXV – Quite the surprise! Moogle Chocobo Carnival

Booted up the PS4 this afternoon with Grace and Louie, to play a little FFXV and got the newest update downloaded.  To my surprise, SquareEnix put out a nice little present in this update!  “The Moogle Chocobo Festival!”

Unlocked once you reach Altissia, the festival transforms the already amazing city into a full-on carnival…which brought a smile to my face and got Grace all excited to see all of the Chocobos.  Which is kinda cool when your 4-year old daughter says, “Look at all the Chocobos, SOO CUTE, AWWW!”  FYI, she likes “playing” FFXV, even though I help her out. (Usually, she’s just moving the player around, riding on chocobos and sitting through the car rides.  Any battles she gets into, the AI usually handles, but hey she doesn’t know that.)

As for the carnival, it’s a nice little distraction and gives you an excuse to run around ever inch of Altissia.  There are plenty of minigames like Whack-a-Cactuar and turret minigame to keep you distracted.  They have a slight challenge but you should be able to complete the side quest in an hour or two.

 

Honestly, the fun part is just seeing how the city has transformed from the base game.  It kind of reminds me of Chrono Trigger’s Millennial Fair.  Which was simple, short and sweet.  It’s worth checking out if you’re still trailblazing through FFXV’s world.  As for the special item (the Dream Egg) you get at the end of the side-quest, I’ve got no clue what it does.  It’s probably a fair assumption to think it may be usable, in later DLC.

You see, this is what DLC should be, bite size morsels given to the players as “thanks for playing!”.  NOT an, “Oh yeah, you gotta get the new DLC pack!!  Only $24.99 and you’ll get 10 hours of re-hashed gameplay!”

Have fun ladies and gents!

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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!!!)

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE LIKE, SHARE AND COMMENT!  THANKS!

-RACCOON DADDY

 

 

Resident Evil 7 – Welcome?! My Ass!!

The time has come…Resident Evil 7 in all of its 1st person goodness, is here! If you’re a fan of the series like me, you’ve run to the toilet bowl to go throw up a few times because of its move into 1st person. (Trust me, I NEVER wanted this and somehow Capcom has gone and done something that may ruin the series.) But after putting 4 hours into the game. I’ve gotta say, Resident Evil 7 is a GOOD GAME!! It plays well, it’s a fun and enjoyable experience. Still I’m not convinced yet, being a purist fan of the series. Let me explain.

First off, in regards to the story canon of the series being blended into the game, I’m not seeing it. Save for a few familiar names mentioned in files, it’s just not there yet. I know, I know, it gets better as I move along, but for now…nothin.

Cutting to the chase, combat is smooth and tense, but movement and reaction is paced in order to balance the tight quarters you fight in. All of the Resident Evil elements are here to accompany the game: blind corners, well-placed scare moments, old-school RE item management (limited inventory with a storage box), very limited ammo with more baddies than you can unload on.

So far…Resident Evil 7 is disturbing is a good way. Scenes are so vivid in their portrayal, I kinda of feel It’ll be hard trying to forget them. Encounters are designed to make you feel uneasy, keeping you on your toes and never leaving you comfortable in your surroundings. It’s kind of like a bloody glove that fits you, it feels nice but the
blood on your hands isn’t getting off by itself. Lucky for you the cops are banging at the door..so what do you do?!  That’s what it feels like!

Gameplay wise, this reminds me a little of Clock Tower, which was a game that kept the player running and hiding. Except here, you can fight back most of the time, even if you’re in a losing situation; which is essentially WHAT survival horror is. That is why RE7 hits its mark so well, as it goes back to it’s core purpose.

A few months back, I read an article about how The Evil Within was nothing but a Resident Evil 4 sequel under a different name. At that time, I’d disagreed with the author’s stance and believed that The Evil Within was it’s own experience despite it’s similar gameplay. As you played it, the game did play and feel like Capcom’s Resident
Evil 4. (After all, the director of the Resident Evil 1-4, Shinji Mikami helmed the production.)

The story had an overall feel that was grander than anything Resident Evil 4 had been. Sure, the similarities were there, but it was it’s own game. What struck me the wrong way, was how the company and Mikami were trying to sell the game. He and the company tried to say that it would bring survival horror, “back to it’s roots.” Now looking at Resident Evil 7, I truly believe that The Evil Within failed in doing that. Resident Evil 7 feels like Survival Horror’s return to form. 1st person view or not, this feeling different, a good different. As a fan, I’m not welcoming it into what I consider a true continuation of the series or a respectful sequel, UNTIL I’VE FINISHED IT!
But for now, it’s good, tense and frightening; which is GREAT!!

I’ll keep you posted!

The Last of Us 2, THAT came outta left field!!

Maybe I’ve not had my ear to the ground to hear the oncoming earthquake in gaming news.  There were rumors, fake news sites and scuttlebutt on forums. But now we have a solid.  A real trailer of “The Last of Us 2” by the phemoninal Naughty Dog.  My excitement shows no bounds.  

I’ve not felt this excited for a game since I saw the concept art in Gamepro for Resident Evil two or articles about Final Fantasy VII.  

Maybe Sony will live up to their “great awaits” slogan.  I’ll stop typing, enjoy the trailer.  

“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!

Yo’ bud!  I just raided your tomb what ya gonna do about it?!  – Return of the Tomb Raider (post game!!)

Everyone’s fan video game rebooted fem fatale is back!  So does Lara Croft get down n dirtier (LITERALLY!) than her previous adventure?!  From my experience?!  Not really, from my perspective…

Lara gets right into with a trip to the Himalayas which takes a turn for the South.  She’s put right back in that survive or die mentality.  With her trusty bow she trudged throw the snow in search of father’s legacy – the secret of eternal life!!

                            DAAAAAAA  BEARSS!!  Oh Yeah BTW, GO CUBS on breaking the curse!                                 (G’damn I have ADD, don’t I?)

Obviously, I’m not going to go deep into the story because that just ruins everything right…right!  But I am going mention is, that fans of the previous title that liked the darker and gore-filled caved will be disappointed.

Square dialed it back, in favor of more combat scenes.  (Yet, the combat can be challenging on the “seasoned raider” and up difficulties.)  ROTR doesn’t avoid the feeling of isolation overall, but it does tend ignore it over a more story-driven game.  It wasn’t trying to be Uncharted, but overall tone missed the mark with me.

Overall, the main story us great, but not mind blowing.  I am liking Lara’s character even more now.  She’s no longer the eye candy smarty pants in polygonal form, she’s real and identifiable.  Hell, she’s easier on the eyes even with the dirt and blood.  I’ll admit, I like a lady that isn’t afraid to get hands dirty.

You’re such a dirty girl, you!  (gets pistol whipped) Owww!  F*ck it’s just a compliment!!      Jesus, Lara

Ahem!!!  Anyways, nearly 100% on the game and IT doesn’t feel like a grind!  So, ladies and gents.  Pick it up when you got some time!

ONE HUGE WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!  

If you got the PS4 release or a GOT edition/season pass.  DO NOT open the card packs in the store UNTIL  finished the game!!!  It’ll unlock the more powerful weapons IN STORY MODE way too early in the game!!  Making Lara a little OP’d before you should be.

Next time, I’ll go over the extra content!!  Why?! Cuz it’s pretty f*cling good, that’s why!!!

My true fear!!  

Funny story.  Most people face their fears in situations that either place them in near-situations or situations that are beyond their ability to flee.  Mine was the latter, nearly four years ago.

I was working as a front clerk at a local pharmay and was not at the register at the time.  One of my  co-workers knew about my isues with…clowns.  

Just my luck that get a guy in his full clown outfit at the checkout.  All I knew was that I froze.  I didn’t know what to do and before I almost had my manager down my throat; his 60-year old wife came over.  

She seemed pretty ordinary and I then began to realize that the clown was just a man.  A 70-year old man, in a clown costume.  I’m still not over my fear, but athe least I might stand a chance of living; should I ever get in a fight with a clown.  Just sayin’

Softening the Stone

SPOILERS OF THE DLC FOR “THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT”

Today I concluded Hearts of Stone and walked away more than satisfied.  Sure, all if the content takes place in Velen.  However, everything you experience is new and undiscovered.

Geralt finds himself taking the usual simple contract, which ultimately leads to him slaying a giant frog.  As he stands over the dead creature, he discovers a trail that leads to the greatest curse; immortality.  This curse finds a way to absorb the Witcher into a contract, which places his very soul on the line.

Bound by contract, Geralt undergoes multiple trails in order to satisfy the man who binds him.  These trails led him into strange altered worlds that defy death and try mend the past.  Moved by Geralt’s success, the man praises him yet feels no true happiness.  He is the man with the stone heart, undying and unfeeling.

As with all of Geralt’s journeys, a curse must be either ended by silver or ceremony.  To free both himself and the man of stone, he undertakes a challenge from the devil himself.  Should he not solve the worlds greatest riddle, by the last grain in the hourglass, Geralt dies.
Going beyond all of his abilities, the Witcher emerges victorious with both his soul and stone man’s life freed.

This adventure really does go beyond from what I expected from the normal downloadable content.  

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this and it inspires you to check this out.  It’s by far my favorite DLC and will stay with me.  

There’s a whole lot in here, with just the right amount of mystery, intrigue and little bit of horror thrown in.

Getting a little hung up!

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I’ve got a little extra money on my PSN account and noticed that both The Division and Dying Light: Definitive edition are on sale for $29.99.  I’m torn on which to get.  If anybody would like to chime in and tip the scales for me.

(Also note, my brother who doesn’t live with me, but has both on Xbox One, but I may be able to borrow it in the near future.  So the possibility to just save the money for another release is available.)

What should I do?!