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9:05 PM on 03.31.2015

Winner Winner Roadtrip Dinner (NVGR)

I'm writing this, extremely exhausted after just having gotten in from a four day sixteen hundred mile drive to Long Island and back for a job interview.  I've been to New York but never had to drive through it, and after my gps decided that it felt particularly evil, I was forced down 42nd to 2nd Avenue to the Mid Town tunnel on a friday afternoon.  There is no particular level of self mutilation I've ever enjoyed, but the masochistic experience that was Manhatten traffic and over eighty dollars in tolls may just bring me to the dark side yet.  

The interview was within the company I already do contract work for, it should of felt like a natural fit. Luck woudn't have it, traffic was so bad that the meeting I was promptly headed for and to arive at well before noon, didn't see me untill six.  The Interviewer called me at four fourty five to let me know that it just wasn't going to work out if I can't show up on time, to have a great weekend and that my current position would just have to be exactly that.  He displayed ttter refusual to believe my, in fairness, ridiculous misfortune.  So fuck the garden state and it's shitty turnpike, fuck the midtown tunnel, and fuck being stuck in manhatten for over FOUR HOURS.  Better yet I arrived, shaked the hands that I could, and had a quick coke with a few of my "coworkers" before I jumped back into the van defeated to try to drive back to the inlaw's just outside of Philly.  

Somewhere in Queens my alternator decided today was the day to die, and I managed to get to Jersey City watching my headlights dim and my radio die.  After sitting on the side of the road violently shaking my battery for half an hour, I managed enough juice to limp to a nearby Pep Boys, and attempt to sleep in the van till they opened in eight hours.  Jersey then decided to kick me in the nuts with a ridiculous cold snap, and freak snow flurry.  It was seventy degrees when I woke up that morning, so I didn't bring my jacket.  Most of the bitter morning hours were spent sleep standing in a twenty four hour gas station ran by a very confused Indian man.  Every quarter hour I would pay to refill my coffee to justify standing in his shop, untill he eventually ran me out and I found refuge in a greek diner.  The cook, Mario was completely compassionate to my story and made an amazing egg sandwhich on sourdough.  I'll remember that old bastard for a very long time I'm sure.

So I got my alternator fixed, begrudgingly spent some time with the inlaws, drove home today excited to pet the cat, and finally check my email.  Destructoid was a quick click into the usual routine of my usual my internet circles.  Philkensebben Mike Martin had Pm'd me to say hey, sloth anus is really funny, heres a free game.  So while it dosen't quite make up for one of the worst weekends I've had in recent memory, Saints Row is indeed downloading, and it may just be the power trip i'll need to smile and forget.  

So thank you Deep Silver for making such an insane game,  and thank you Destructoid for being such a cool bag of wackos who think that Meth addled Sloths are as funny as I do.  Bye for now, I think the xbox just beeped.

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10:22 AM on 03.22.2015

How I aquired a lesser known Atlus Gem

Unrelenting Optimism.  That’s how I approached this Avatar Tuner glaring at me as a teenager.  I had gone on an extended field trip, our Science Olympiad team had managed to qualify for state.  My teenage mind’s knowledge of fossils and physics had helped bring a group of twenty nerds to a tournament about passing exams.  Scholarships were on the line, the college threat was looming.  So to ease our young minds on the eve of the event we went to a mall larger than our home town.

My county didn’t have a Walmart.  We didn’t quite understand the still burgeoning creature called Gamestop.  I got most of my games from the flea market or a half hour drive away Sears.  This was a time of dial up internet, when getting a Penny Arcade comic to completely load was a highlight of my connection.  Hidden away in this capital city shopping zone was not one but two gaming specialty stores. While everyone wandered into Hot-Topic, I veered towards these meccas.

I had managed to briefly borrow a copy of Nocturne from a friend, and was immediately enthralled.  The experience bordered on religion for me.  A handful of second hand playstation Final Fantasys and Pokemon were the totality of any role playing game I had ever touched.  When it was finally pried from my screaming hands to become a trade in, I convinced him to let me keep the soundtrack and mini guide that came with it.  The pittance they offered him in credit was placed towards the latest Dynasty Warriors.  I tried to imitate joy as I slew countless soldiers with my spear alongside him, but I was a changed man.  Shin Megami Tensei warped the entire perspective I had for games.  There was a need for depth, for meaning, for questions.  It eventually lead to me reading the likes of Beowulf and Sandman, searching for something I still can’t quite see clearly.  A Japanese Playstation 2 game about fusing demons destroyed the assumption of existence the bible belt had built for me.  As you can probably tell, I’m a fucking huge fan.

So I had splintered off from my chaperone, meandered into one of these stores, and browsed the various sections.  I had originally been looking for something new to jam into my gameboy, when in an effort to shift my Leon S. Kennedy style bangs, it caught my eye.  Digital Devil Saga.  Shiny and new and sitting within reach, the art style was recognized, the Atlus logo raced through my mind searching for a home.  It couldn't have been, more of what Nocturne offered.  In excitement I got all the way to the counter before noticing the death sentence, a fifty dollar price tag.  I had been given sixty for food and entertainment across this venture, a small fortune my grandmother had shoved into my hand.  I was here, a few hundred miles from home to compete for college acceptance, maybe I had earned it.  The three twenties wrinkling, loose in my walletless pocket.  My stomach reminded me just how long three days was, that the hotel we were staying at didn’t have a complimentary breakfast.  The food court lo mein wafting through the fans caught the better of me.  I placed the game back, apologized to the clerk, and left vowing to get the game as soon as I could.  

We slept on itchy sheets, the cable programming bleeding through the walls.  My headboard seemed to vibrate with the sound of a Gunsmoke marathon from next door.  Most of the long night was spent trying to not think about the game I couldn't afford. In distraction, I poured myself into cheat sheets and a worn copy of fossils for dummies by the light of a GBA.  I had no interest in dino bones outside of enjoying Jurassic Park but I was going to be damned if I didn’t try to win.  The model trebuchet my team had built sat in the corner, ready to fling the tennis ball it was loaded with.  Tomorrow was a big day, thousands of students trying to prove who had read the most.  I dreamed of demons and retractable blades coming out of my forearms.

The morning came, as we were shuttled to the campus we were so desperately trying to attend.  I hadn’t given up hope on saving towards the game, so I charmed a classmate into sharing half her muffin, and a pilfered Rockstar from a newsstand.  They had just started manufacturing the orange flavor, the veritable breakfast of champions.  Jolted from more caffeine than any child should ever hope to ingest, I attended the various events.  My afternoon was left with a massive hole, a round of free time until the awards ceremony.  After a long walk around the university I found a quiet patch of shade on soft grass, and passed out.  The sun had all but disappeared in my slumber, I was kicked in the ribs by the muffin sharer, the group had been looking for me for hours.  We arrived slightly late to the awards ceremony, where amongst forty some odd schools and fifty events, the best we did was an eighth place placard.  Our model tennis ball slinger had managed to impress just enough to be noted, but not enough to warrant scholarships.  We left hoping for next year to be better, at least we had made it to the state level of competition.  

Dinner time came, with the teachers allowing a democratic process.  I made a brief campaign to return to the mall, but was outvoted, in favor of an Arbys.  Not all hope was lost, the sandwich shop happened to be across from a Blockbuster.  The stoned employee had no clue of the game I was in search of, he “had like never heard of it, man.” Of course it wouldn't be here, this wasn’t the kind of game you rent (with no intention to return, RIP BB).  I snuck back onto the bus and scarfed down the remainder of the muffin sharer’s fries.  She later made it clear that her multiple food offerings were more affection than pity, and that evening bus ride managed to divert my attention from devils, at least for a little while.  She does something with dolphins now.

Sunday morning, picked up by my consoling mother.  I guess I appeared more distraught than I realized, as she comforted me that winning the medal wasn’t everything.  In truth my mind was far away, plotting how to get to the nearest store.  There was forty eight dollars left in my pocket, and with a rifling through the laundry and couches I had amassed enough coin to cover the rest of the bill.  I managed to convince my still Dynasty Warriors playing neighbor that he needed a new game, and he managed to convince his mother she needed to go to the bigger grocery store thirty miles away.  We latched on to the car ride, gleeful to pick up our new toys.  With luck the adjacent Gamestop I would later manage, and daydream about burning to the ground, happened to have one last copy of Digital Devil.  The normal rule of refusing the gutted case would have to be ignored, and after what seemed like an eternity of reading and rereading the booklet, his mother finished her food acquisition and signed off on my mature rated purchase.

I rudely lept from the still moving car as we passed my house.  I didn’t want to share the experience with the same person that deprived me of Nocturne weeks earlier.  I shouted something about not feeling well, and ran inside to play my game.  Later I managed to push the sick card just like Ferris Buellertought me, and got Monday off to recover from my adventurous weekend.  

Digital Devil Saga is a storm that I haven’t experienced since.  Even the sequel, while still good, didn't quite reach the same magnitude of events.  Something like the Buddhacarita meets Ghost in the Shell.  From beginning to end it bathes the player in blood, and philosophy.  Characters fight, argue, and truly evolve.  The writing bares on anime tropes but still manages to find meaning.  It is a world of quite literally eat or be eaten, that wholefully questions if it is worth living as a predator.  Pride, lust, envy, jealousy, greed, the Devil title grows to mean nothing about the monsters the protagonists turn into, but rather the creature that man is.  The demons are at least predictable, they’re driven solely by hunger, but the humans are filled with the worst parts our world has to offer.  

The classic turn based gameplay is methodic and repetitive, but every other aspect holds true to this day.  Boss Fights and Dungeon designs are consistently challenging but fair.  Graphically DDS manages to stylize its way into look like it could belong on the Vita, and the soundtrack is dripping with Bollywood inspired guitar riffs and electronic beats.  The deep story and attempt to tackle topics like religion, dictatorships, and love, place it alongside the likes of Final Fantasy VI and The Last of Us.  Jenna Angel deserves to sit with Sephiroth at the big villains table.  For ten dollars on the PSN you couldn't beg for a better story.

It is with great pleasure that my new station in life allows me to afford the occasional game that catches my eye.  Unfortunately as I age, treasured experiences like I’ve had with the Atlus titles are fewer and farther between.  Here is hoping Persona 5 holds a candle to its forefathers, the world could sure use more virtual stories worth digging for change in the cushions over.  

Until then I’m off to go finish my replay.  All this reminiscing has made the nostalgia itch too hard.

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11:03 AM on 03.20.2015

Schrodinger's Final Fantasy

I didn’t want to see that awesome Ramuh summon.  It was the faintest meow leaking from the box.  My experiment is forever tainted with a shred of hope.  Final Fantasy XV deserves to be treated, by going in blind.  Expectation is after all, part of what left so many disappointed with Destiny.

This a special time, when right before the release, the imagination runs wild.  I saw a magazine ad as a child, a full two page spread of colorful and intimidating creatures called Pokemon. they demanded to be caught.  My young mind raced with thoughts of throwing nets over the giant gun toting blue turtle, or swinging a butterfly net over a resisting and furious dragon.  What I had expected Pokemon to be, was actually more like the later released Ape Escape.  I would do just about anything for a Pokemon branded Ape Escape.  Blue was still a blast, it’s just magic balls wasn’t the capture experience I was expecting.   

 

Final Fantasy is hard to predict what the next one is going to be about.  They have their parallels, but each and every one is wholefully different.  The protagonists, the leveling system, the world they walk around in.  This is a chain of games that covers a shakespearean age on a technological breakthrough in Ivalice, as easily as it deals with an angst ridden military academy fighting a witch on Gaia.  Who the hell knows what to expect from the next installment?  Who could have predicted IX’s cartoon melodrama after the previous two’s attempt at subjective realism? XVI could be a about a high fantasy stylized portrayal of a group of teenagers being lead by a Ms.Frizzle clone, waging war against a clothing manufacturer, that is using moogle fur and chocobo leather.  Actually, I hope that is exactly what XVI is.

 

I flipped the switch on the most recent Dtoid podcast.  I wanted to listen to Kyle’s dulcet tones and Laura’s unflappable ability to lead any conversation into being about bottoms.  I just wasn’t ready to have XV's potential be modified by opinion, good or bad.  I’ll swallow that it will one day be time to read the official review.  Hopefully i’ll be reassured that it is earnestly worth my sixty.  That time however, is far from now.

 

Sticker Star was a similar creature, one that we eventually found rotting in the box, at least in comparison to its brothers.  After a high like Thousand Year Door the possibility was endless.  Why the hell doesn't the Wii U or 3DS just give us Thousand Year Door again?  That cat metamorphosed into a lion during it’s time in the dark.  Having developed a franchise is a double edged sword, your hardest competition can very well be your previous efforts.

I don’t even want to touch the demo.  I’m not against it being tied to the purchase of a lesser known title, Square has been using that trick for ages.  Yuna’s new affection for legshow did convince me to purchase Unlimited Saga once upon a time.  Post trial I’m at best, now anxiously waiting for the full game, hoping that it bares a resemblance to the cherry picked content.  At worst, I’ve seen a future where Squeenix fumbles another core release.  Fourteen was a pleasant surprise because I went into it blind.  Luckily I didn’t get sick on the undercooked meal brought to the table the first go round.  It even managed to luck out, releasing right as Pandaria's year of silence began.  Entire clans were flocking to the new MMO because of it’s development cycle.  Every couple of months, Realm Reborn manages to shake a new carrot in front of us, every season I’m left debating re-subscribing, something WoW only manages to do once a year.

 

I don’t want to pre-order, the hype train has left the station with me on the platform waving goodbye to all my friends.  The teamspeak channel is muted or flat out left on muttering the topic.  The link to the Ramuh summon managed to get me to watch it purely by surprise.  Joy at that bald bastard making the return he deserves was the only reason I finished it.  Don’t misunderstand me, I went to the counter, I asked the conductor about the different rates and where the hype could take me.  It’s fear of the crash that keeps me from using public transportation, at least in my own box I can control the speed and the radio.

 

Maybe I’m projecting myself on Fifteen.  It is blatantly out there, spinning a flag and trying to convince people that Squeenix is still the craftsman it ever was.  I’m hiding in my shell, refusing to acknowledge it until I can quietly dissect it in the safety of my own home.  The game can’t afford my mind to assumptively connect the dots for it.  I’m not the confused and wondrous child with a copy of Blue anymore.  I’m now the pessimistic grown man who may very let the affectionate nostalgia of X, beat this game down before it even has a chance.  So many of us assumptively cut XII to ribbons for no reason.  Balthier couldn't convince me to love him untill he sat next to Lightning at the bar and winked knowing he was the lesser of two evils.  I call Dibs on discussing butts with Laura come FFXII’s HD re-release.  I could write an odyssey on Fran’s wedgie and Ashe’s thigh to cheek ratio in that cherry mini skirt.

Fifteen gets to sit in a quiet ignorance of potential.  Four bros out for a spin in the Bentley.  That’s all I want to know about it pre-release, the slew of trailers have already shown too much!  The game rests on the verge of something I’ll gleefully pour a hundred hours into.  I plead that it doesn't become the shameful trade-in the next week, because I’d rather just watch the cutscenes on youtube.  XV still has every measure of capacity right now, and I’m not ready to solidify this electron by observing it yet.

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12:16 PM on 03.18.2015

Soothing Menthol Games

Every time I turn on the most recent dosage of Hotline i’m left feeling jacked.  There is a testosterone release that cranks up the machismo, something akin to the first time watching 300 or Rambo.  Like a gym rat who just squatted a new max, I need to take a walk.  Cooling and calming myself from the chain of techno enthralled murders before I attempt to rejoin society is a must.  Here are a handful of games I enjoy taking that stroll in, because the great outdoors is scary.

9.03M  

There is a game here, an objective wrapped up in a nice little bow.  Unfortunately I couldn't care less about finding the butterfly, not unlike a cat I prefer the box to the actual gift.  Blue Serene beachside in a twilight hour.  A soft piano chimes against the salt water. As someone who lives hours from the coast it can be easy to forget the ever flowing motion. Be careful, it becomes far too easy to /Sit on the sand and look at the rocks change shape in the tide.  Far, far away are the ghosts and memories of those who once enjoyed this scene too.  Perhaps I will climb over the next dune and learn their story, eventually.

Proteus

A flock of wild chickens scurry away, their feet clanging sharp but still pleasant notes into the soundtrack.  Each tree is a reverberating key, every encounter with the peaceful wildlife a joyful surprise.  If you’re lucky enough to find one of the animal statue sites, the night begins exploding with shimmering white spheres each demanding your attention.  A skyfall of comets, a pixelated sunrise, getting caught in a warm thunderstorm.  Finding the firefly laden areas and watching what magic they work on the world.  The seasons change, the trees and animals alongside them.  No failure state, nothing to do but walk amongst a pastelle Eden.  Miami is a million miles away the moment I’m left to swim ashore on this garden island.  

Grinding in pretty much any RPG.

There is a strange relaxing process to the repetitive pressure on the experience bar.  Most Final Fantasy games have a grind oriented zones where you can  endlessly whack away at non threatening monsters.  The Calm Lands and its renamed copies have made an appearance in the ps2 and forward era games.  FF13’s Gran Pulse could even be considered the highlight of the game.  Whether it’s chasing down Audinos in pokemon, Slimes in dragon quest, or fodder demons in Nocturne, I can mellow and enjoy the most boring part of these games.  Like sipping at a vintage wine, you just might catch me on the couch mindlessly pressing X to a turn based classic after a hard day.  Overleveling is just so satisfying.

World of Warcraft.

A whole lore about demon blood, Orcs, and constant looming death, makes for a not exactly peaceful place to raise the kids.  The core gameplay is a consistent uphill fight against pretty much everything.  In this off and on decade long relationship, I’ve had a persistent logging out zone,  Exodar.  A crashed crystal spaceship on a cold island.  The entire realm is instanced and extremely out of the way,  rarely do you see another player.  It’s extremely uncommon for it to be raided in world pvp, and my Draenei shaman will always be my main.  I’m not sure if it’s the color scheme, the kind faces, or just the lack of a crowd at the mailbox, but Exodar feels like home.  In a world where the capital cities are being assaulted as the focus of whole expansions, the Naaru waits quietly for the war to be over. Soon her beloved people can finally rest in the peace that has illuded them for millenia.  Pandaria and Draenor were nice to visit, but I’ll take Azuremyst Isles over them anyday.  May the warcraft stay far away from this hidden land.

Banished

Let me specify, only brand new games in Banished.  I’ve day dreamed about running away from it all, and living the simple Amish life.  Banished gives me a taste of the humdrum existence settlers had three centuries ago.  The simple music loop, the progressing town, time moving at a crawl.  Watching an orchard finally bloom before your eyes.  The experience is just so zen, until the farmers run out of tools because I didn’t notice the blacksmith died and no one replaced him.  Watching your carefully grown village starve to death is more enraging than any other game, but hitting restart slowly calms the nerves.  This time the village will have two smithys and maybe just maybe I’ll get real big, nope we all died from cold.  Fuck Banished i’m more angry then when I played Hotline.  Better break out the big guns before I have an aneurysm.

Journey

Literally a walk in the sand, Journey is a puzzle platformer that shines its best, when it does nothing at all.  Skiing down a golden slope or flying through the ruined temples, every moment tries to be memorable.  The internet may choose to throw a fellow traveler at you, but companionship is mostly unchanged by their presence.  With nothing more than symbolic pings to greet each other with, you’re left in the revered silence of a near magic soundtrack.  I’m not sure if it was the intense brightness, the touching moment, or the onion I was peeling, but the ending left me fighting tears.  Beating the game lets you fly through it on a replay, but ignoring all the pesky conflicts and difficult puzzles if you so choose.  A half hour sand scrubbing almost makes me forget my blood soaked misdeeds and failed mayor attempts.  

This is a genre I could heartily use more of.  My most enjoyed parts of sandbox games is the travel, seeing each little pathway and house, finding something new.  How games like Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto manage to bog it up with dragons and bank robberies I’ll never understand.  I hope that For every Max Payne, a Flower, for every Dead Space, we get a Sim game about some mundane job.  Any other games I should be getting my chill on with?

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10:40 PM on 03.14.2015

Criss Cross Applesauce.

There has been some grief in the air over the recently announced DLC inclusion of Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees into Mortal Kombat X.  There seem to be three main camps, those annoyed with pre release dlc announcements on principle, those annoyed that Jason is in the game at all, and those excited to cleave Scorpion in half as the masked machete himself.  Let’s talk about how its completely unfair to be bitching about any of those things right now.

The war on DLC is over, consumers have chosen.  Call of Duty has over forty percent of customers purchasing the season pass.  Short of the cash grab Evolve presented, dropping more money on games we enjoy seems to be a natural process.  At least most have adopted a butcher shop style of selling their product.  GOTY and bundle packages often come out after the game’s meat has aged past the shelf life. This strategy lets even the most stalwart of objectors get a taste of the complete product.  Arguably the genre that has the most defendable reason to release anything downloadable, are Fighters.  When the characters are the game itself, getting a new dude can completely revitalize the experience.  On the other hand you have to offer a large enough meal before bringing around the dessert cart.  Paying sixty dollars to be told that a harim of characters are available for purchase, external to the damn thing you just bought, is a sure fire way to piss me off Street Fighter X Tekken.

With this in mind, lets look at the new Mortal Kombat’s established roster of over twenty characters.  We’ve got most of the series regulars and a handful of interesting newcomers vying for our attention.  On top of that, each character is (just like in Deception) getting three fighting styles that differentiate their special moves, and even basic attacks completely.  Characters that were killed in the revival of the series are receiving homage this way, or just being inexplicably resurrekted as zombies. With an ongoing cast of over seventy across the previous nine games and twenty five years,  this is a franchise with roster roots older than most graduate students.

So why include Jason? His popularity and sequels were still running strong around the time we were dropping quarters to punch Johnny Cage in the balls. Or maybe its the fact that Freddy was the highest selling DLC character in MK9.  A horror icon outsold Kenshi, a series favourite, who would have guessed?  How dare Nether Realms attempt to please their fans and sell their DLC?  Obviously by making it about something people obviously want.  I desperately desire Frost to make a return but I can swallow the fact that I’m probably in the minority.  Pleasing the minority, unfortunately, doesn't make nearly as much money.  

But a man can hope. and i'll buy her icicle daggers day one.

We have to remember that this is far from the first inclusion of a non canon character.  Playstation customers were ripping spines out as God of War’s Kratos not to long ago.  As much as I’d like to forget it, the DC universe has wrestled with Scorpion more than once.  Deception even featured a poorly conceived custom fighter in the form of Shujinko, who could abuse any combination of other character’s moves in the game.  Mortal Kombat has tried for nine games to recreate the instant classics found in the prime release.  In one of the most convoluted lores in all of gaming, they could introduce a cleaver wielding teletubby and succesfully blame it on Quan Chi’s magic.  I would main Tinky Winky without even flinching, forget Frost. 

Similar roster complaints happened recently with Super Smash Bros.  So many threads wormed their way to the top of the forums whining about the same things. Where is Mewtwo?, Pacman doesn't belong! I won’t buy the game without Wolf or Snake!!?!  If a singular bullet point truly defines your enjoyment of a whole list, then you’re doing it wrong.  Why argue over nothing more than empty threats, because we all know you still bought the damn game, probably twice. It's just people climbing on a soapbox to breed contempt without a leg to stand on.  Why not have the same mentality as refusing to move forward from Smash Bros Melee for tournaments?  Nobody should give a shit about an almost fifteen year old game that was never supposed to compete in a hardcore setting.  There have been two sequels since then, that both outsold it!  Move on, or in another fifteen years you’ll be shamefully trying to defend a three decade old title to a new generation of tweens, while the staff at Golden Corral asks you where your nurse is.

You know what?  Scratch that, play whatever you want to play.  Popularity shouldn't define your personal happiness, and video games should first and foremost be about entertainment.  I’m the go-to guy to be caught swooning over the golden age of gaming, and a willing customer every time my Wii U chirps about a classic Mario i’ve already beaten.  If you would rather play an older version of MK because the tier list changed from the last game, or because Jason “Shouldn't” be decapitating Sub Zero, then no one has any right to tell you otherwise.  However, don’t you dare load up Soul Calibur 2 and pick Link, Heihachi, Nemesis, or Spawn, on penalty of a distasteful look worse than that time my Jewish grandmother caught me alone with bacon bits.  


I would have rather her seen me masterbating.

Just remember, it’s nothing new, we’ve been getting crossovers since the moment we had two things to cross.  Hell, thats all some games even are. 

Feel free to whine when Predator gets officially announced, I’m sure I could remaster this post by then.  I might even charge for downloadable comments.

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11:29 AM on 03.13.2015

Oblitus Review

Spear Chucking Simulator 2015

After Volgar the Viking, Adult Swim Games proved they are out to publish the interesting and the inspired.  Oblitus for all its pratfalls definitely checks both those boxes.  Now if only the Harbinger’s journey wasn’t such a harsh one.

Oblitus manages to portray a fairly simple game with one objective.  Find the only NPC that isn’t trying to kill you, and murder the goliath that has pissed him off most recently.  There isn’t much more meat to it than that, but the bones of the game are solid enough to justify a purchase, especially on a sale.  Despite some of the more restrictive design choices, the world manages to convince you to give it just one more go.

After a short introduction to the controls you’re thrown right into the fold.  Roguelikes be damned for promoting the recent uptick in painstaking difficulty, nothing is held back.  There is an intimacy to the timing of when to attack, or block.  You can use your spear to jab, removing your defences temporarily or choose to throw it, allowing you to still hold your shield up, but leaving you without your weapon for a few clutch seconds.   Expect to die a few times learning the varied attack patterns of your enemies,  which normally wouldn't be such a hassle if you didn’t start you all over right from the beginning.

Baring your artifacts, everything resets with each death ala Hardcore Diablo. This can lead to some beyond frustrating backtracking as even the world changes with each spawn.  The gear upgrades are largely random both in location and ability granted.  Boss fights stay in generally the same place, and you’re all the wiser for having done them before, but you’ve still done them before.  With no in game map, remembering where the various key locations are, is of the utmost importance.  Sprinting around to get a handful of the easily acquired upgrades each life cycle is essential to progression.  I don’t want to even try to defeat some of the larger enemies without the lightning spear, which just makes the ranged attack a much faster projectile.  Destroying any of the three simple bosses rewards you with a damage focused upgrade, making the Lizard men that plague you easier to defeat.

You’re not the first Harbinger, Mudd warns you, and you won’t be the last.  Finding the slain corpses of your predecessors restores your health, and each kill giving you a meager few points.  Your health bar is a never quite full glowing green ball in the corner, reminding you that death is only a failed block away.  I’ve never been so happy to see a dead ally in my life, then after a long hike through bear infested caves.

Struggling to stay alive is still a beautiful experience, the hand drawn style is fantastic to look at, like a flash cartoon homage to pastel impressionism.  I was mobbed by frogmen for enjoying the beauty of their river once.  Even the simplest enemy of the game can remind you to keep your eyes off the scenery or be forced to restart.  

While dealing with the various beasties you’ll find yourself in one of four biome inspired worlds with their own distinct flavors.  The Forge in the Sky, The Village Jungle, and the Mountain Caves serve as the bulk of the adventure.  At the start of a fresh life, Mudd’s whisper in your skull tells you to go to one of the three lands and meet him face to face. Each area gets its own eerie synth music that does well at setting the mysterious and tribal tone. Traversing to a different zone is marked by a loading screen of a stylized mask similar to the one the protagonist wears.  Don’t attack the barrier where you first awake or you’ll find yourself in the final level, The Underworld, being drained of your health with no capacity to return to clean air.  The enemy types vary in each location, the giant Eagles in particular were a fun surprise, shooting them out of the sky before they dive bomb you continues to be a highlight.

Each life educates you on something new in the game, whether it be how to properly roll, where upgrades might be, or just teaching you not to piss off one of the various minibosses.  The first encounters with the Bear or Golem leave you truly terrified, unsure how to defeat such monsters with nothing but a pointy stick.  Oblitus isn’t a game about the character leveling up, rather a game about the player learning all the tricks of the world.  Eventually that first boss that killed you a few times becomes nothing more than a quick way to get a buff, the seemingly endless caves becomes nothing more than a shortcut.  There are hours of gameplay here, wrapped into a package that taunts you with an achievement “beat the game in under 25 minutes”.

So for those who push through Dark Souls wondering where the difficulty is, or if you ever wished Megaman felt more like Zeno Clash, Oblitus is begging for your expertise.  If you fall in both categories, be sure to add a point to the review score.

6.5/10

This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.

 
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10:38 PM on 03.08.2015

Dictation numero tres

It’s a bright and warm spring day you friendly hentai consumers.  Plug your audio device up and get ready for some poorly edited news content in bad joke form.




Haha! What a ridiculous premise for a show, two white geeks telling people things they already know.  Enough of that, lets discuss Final Fantasy Ten.

Meg Ryan’s most successful role is predominantly defined by the hair.  With more layers than an onion I’m not sure how the poor boy isn’t eaten by ogres.  While Tidus played for the Zanarkand Abes, he was the spokesperson for an off brand Swiffer. They had made a wet mop designed specifically after his signature style.  The endorsement finally helped to pay for the addadictomy his father had been recommending for years.

Final Fantasy Strike’s story really picks up when Tidus awakes in the middle of a carribean blue sea, still hungover from a night of binge drinking with russian jews on a nuclear sub.  Suddenly he’s hit in the head by a Blitzball, or as the locals call it a water wobbly. His concussed throbbing skull sees a Palm tree with a speech impediment waving in the distance.  Tidus and the Palm tree become fast friends, as they both love cutting holes in coconuts for mastebatory purposes.  The Palm tree tells Tidus he’s probably retarded or was in a cult or something, and introduces him to his three friends, Furryblue, XxsokawaixX, and Belt Tits. 

XxsokawaixX is on a trip to learn enough geometry to qualify for some sort of quiz bowl at her high school.  Tidus decides to join them as they venture to Miami for spring break.  Along the way there, they all eat a bad patch of shrooms, and shoot a bunch of harpoons at a whale.  Belt Tits is the only other character besides Tidus to ever be seen conversing with the Palm tree, so he assumes she’s hiding the good shit in her cleavage.  This explains why she’s always bending over to pick up imaginary dolls.  

Eventually they arrive in Miami, and Tidus realizes he thought they were going to Orlando the whole time.  The group parts ways, and Tidus gets stabbed by a cuban in a dive bar for bragging about his skee ball skills.  Eventually Edward James Olmos, the stepfather Tidus always thought about right before he came, rescues Tidus and takes him to the hospital.  The palm tree and all his friends show up in the ICU, telling Tidus that XxsokawaixX had totally learned how to do polynomials that summon demons.  Tidus agrees to join them on their adventure to Georgia after Olmos tells them that Tidus's dad is in Greenpeace.  Along the way they pick up the russian jew who Tidus remembers snorting molly with on the sub.  She turns out to be XxsokawaixX’s cousin and her name is Kairi.   They all have a great laugh about it until they get to Atlanta.  Unfortunately it has been turned into a test site for the governments new Heat Lightning bomb.  Then I stopped playing because I couldn't press X at the right time to convince the electricity to leave me alone.  But at least it is in HD. 9/10

A sequel was made about XxsokawaixX trying to find herself on summer vacation one year.  She joins Kairi, and her college roommate Cuts Mcselfie as they steal her dads’ private jet. They travel all over the world looking for the hot new drug Spheres.  Spheres turn out to just be half coke/half ritalin in perforated faberge eggs that you put up your butt.  The rest of the game takes place in the fever dream XxsokawaixX has as the doctors try to resuscitate her.  It was pretty good if you can believe Metacritic, who gave it a 26.35 out of 31 possible Baskin Robbins flavors.


That’s the story of Final Fantasy X X-2 HD remixer, join us next week as we discuss Final Fantasy Twelve, the one about the playbunny who tried to run from Hugh.

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9:04 PM on 03.07.2015

Homosexual Stereotypes in Overwatch.

In Human nature we develop a social definition of what is common.  A Majority of the populace grows up in same race family units, featuring one man, one woman, and a 1-3 variable of their offspring.  Unless you’re below the poverty line in the south, and then you have to break four before your mother will stop asking when you’re going to give her grandchildren.  I’m fairly confident at this point the schoolgirls I grew up with vaginas’ also double as log flumes in the summer.

Dollywood is a magical place.

There is a lot of interesting opinions flying about around Overwatch’s most recent addition Zarya.  Common descriptors include Tumblr Incarnate, Bull Dyke, and a host of other derogatory phrases.  How is a pink pixie cut gathering this much attention?  This buffed version of Blizzard employee Tamara Bakhlycheva isn’t the character we should be discussing.  I couldn't care less about her sexual preference, unless she’s willing to hold my particle cannon between those thighs.  The particle cannon is my penis.

The real issue is why have none of us questioned McCree’s orientation?  I see a cyborg Clint Eastwood with an oral fixation and everyone else is too busy forum posting about some chick’s outlandish hair style.  Blizzard isn’t going to comment either way, but McCree checks off plenty of the boxes my Republican Pastor gave me.

  1. Does he actively have a woman in his arms or a wedding band?
  1. Nope
  1. Is he wearing assless chaps?
  1. Yep.
  1. Are these assless chaps part of an overall fashion ensemble?
  1. -Is a belt buckle that abbreviates Bad Ass Mother Fucker fashionable, Father White Collar?
  1. That depends my son, is he black?
  1. No sir, he seems partially hispanic, or maybe just very tan.
  1. How low is the belt buckle?
  1. Low enough to lead the eye downward father.

Then we have ourselves a homosexual parading as a cowboy my son.  Feel free to stone him if he ever crosses the Mason Dixon line.  You poor misunderstood robo-cowboy.

Now I’m the first to admit that Father White Collar, as a South Carolina resident and religous leader, is probably gonna have a lopsided view.  However in comparison to Overwatch’s other characters, we have Frasier the Gorilla, Vanille as a Scout, A James bond villainess with an ass that doesn't seem physically possible, half a dozen Anime rejects, a midget from ironforge 40k, and Aisha Tyler.  In this roster of the ridiculous, doesn't McCree come off a little too plain? A little too western?  There is a secret here, and everyone was distracted by a young woman who hit the whey protien a little too hard.  Not that McCree's sexual preference matters anyway, because I’m going to be playing the asian guy so in tune with the ways of his ancestors he can use a bow to better effect than any gun.

 

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6:45 PM on 03.05.2015

Dark Arena or Darkest Arena?

Warhammer 40k has always held a twinkle in my eye.  As a preteen, a school friend had invited me over for a slumber party.  His middle class parents had showered their only child in every toy he could  have ever wanted.  This of course led to him having a literal bajillion of Games Workshops figures in all three of their massive universes.

The majority of the Saturday sleepover consisted of me learning how to play the official rules with these figures.  How startling it was to learn that making gun noises and saying “boom you’re dead” isn't how adults played army men. Such began my adoration of the universe of 40k, the Grey Knights and Chaos Gods in particular were enthralling.  A dozen video games and years later we're looking down the barrel of another Mobile Online Battlefield Arena game in their most popular setting. Good thing I know something about these kinds of games.

Keep your panties on, I'm taken

Mobas have been the smash hit genre to replicate for a while now.  Of course why woudn’t they be, Dota 2 and LoL are making money hand over fist.  If you've never played a moba, you could try to define it as 5vs5 action/strategy game where you only control one hero and the goal is to kill as many of your enemies in the coolest costume you can afford.  No joke, that is the main business model, for both Riot and Valve’s ongoing titles. I have no statistic for exactly how many of the most recent twenty dollar Sona skin were sold, but I haven’t played a match without seeing it in a week.  Judging by that kind of information, maybe the future of fashion design is in the digital realm.  Lina and her orb breasts pull off most dresses better than any model.

Lina is best dota lady.

So Mobas have a huge potential, that is, when they are handled properly.   Guardians of Middle Earth took a movie release and one of the most beloved lores in history and it barely got off the ground.  Electronic Arts closed the doors on DawnGate not too long ago, and  Infinite Crisis can feel unwieldy to even the most adoring of Batman fans.  Perhaps Heroes of The Storm  will make its own when Blizzard decides to price it reasonably, but for now let’s look at the new bread on the table.

If there is one strength 40K has,  the game will have no drought of character inspiration.  There are miles of lore behind the Eldar, Dark Eldar, Space Marines, Inquisition, Tau, Necrons, Chaos, Sisters of Battle, Orks, and Tyranids.  Keep in mind each have dozens of splinter factions that change their core gameplay.  Chaos alone has four gods you can worship to change the entirety of your army's power and strengths.  One of these  gods was willed into existence by a massive Millenia long BDSM orgy, and no, you can't make this stuff up.  If you want to see some wicked shit, google Slaanesh.

You could fill the current one hundred and twenty four League of Legends roster with just named Space Marine captains from different factions. The ridiculous part is that they could be fundamentally different in gameplay.  The Emperor's finest cover so many fantasy tropes:  Rogues, Monks, Vampires, Werewolves, Rebels, fire breathing black guys, cyborgs,  and what may be the finest fan-fiction ever written, the Angry Marines.  It's as if 4chan was a militia in the space future.

If the lore doesn't fulfil it, the gameplay has already lent itself to the style.  Last stand was one of the singular best parts about the most recent Dawn of War.  It featured you and two other friends playing as a Captain of a faction, fighting off near endless waves of random enemies.  If that particular mode doesn't make a return into the new moba i’ll cry.

So what could cause this game to fail?

 Off topic,  How with EA as the publisher and with a name like DawnGate, was it not aMass Effect prequel.  So much wasted potential, being caught in the middle of that turbulent universe pre Shepherd would have been amazing.

Balance is the first major hurdle to come to mind.  Dawngate failed in part to a huge lack of champion balance for such a small roster.  Most of the games I played turned into who can get the largest Voluc,  as with proper gear you could solo entire enemy teams.  The game felt too unoriginal, and unfortunately came out under the EA banner, turning many off at the start.  Players will need to feel they can play their favourite factions rather than just what’s meta.  I completely expect their to be small issues with the roster, just don't make every match feel like it features the same five bruisers.

Speaking of roster size,  how many people expected more out of the new Smash Bros despite a massive character pool?  Dark Nexus is going to have to launch with as many champions as it can, or risk never getting the Opportunity to grow into the other factions not available at launch.  I can already hear the cries that the game is too small with only three factions available.  As long as the player is working towards learning something new, they are having a good time.  Once we run out of new experiences, most will go back to LOL.


On a side note, Cho’gath is totally just a Tyrant.

The shop is the next bridge we have to cross destroy for the Emperor.  No I'm not willing to suspend belief that a chain sword is going to increase the damage of my ranged Tau carry.  Or that a space marine would ever disgust his God-King by using an ork weapon.  Which actually leads to an interesting potential.  Make the shop unique to each faction.  Rather than a universal pool, create an individual experience to each faction's item choices and menus.  Even if the items are the same stat wise, just have different pics and flavor text.  Such a small thing could go a long way to the existing fan base.

There is another shop we have to worry about; the in game purchases.  You can’t release champions at twenty dollars a piece or an inconceivable amount of time earned currency.  Heroes of the Storm has pissed off everyone I know with their pricing model.  Somewhere in between League’s (earn it or buy it) and Dota (Barbie is free, but her purse is $2.50) rests a perfect slot, where you have to work towards owning a champion, but it isn’t out of reach.  We’re not going to drop whole paychecks or lifetimes on this game, because there are other mobas offering more for less.  I’ll play the Adventure Time moba before I let myself feel forced to drop a benjamin on this game.  

There’s an Adventure Time Moba for some reason.

If they get all this right, then we have to worry about the flow.  Dark Nexus doesn't have to break the mold, just find its own niche in gameplay.  The twin stick shooter approach sounds fantastic, 40k needs to feel frantic and consistently under fire.  Ideas like that prove there is room for more, but imitation isn't always the sincerest form.  As long as Dark Nexus finds its own footing, and doesn't just feel like a reskin of the competition then it has a chance.

That is if Gears Workshop lets it thrive.  They aren't the smartest bunch in handling their IP.  We could talk for hours about the Metal to Plastic transition, and the huge increase in figure cost in the last decade.  Hopefully they just back away and let the game grow their fanbase.  My largest concern is to how that contract is written, because I would hate to see the servers turned off on the game two years from now because GW wants a huge stipend to continue using their lore.


Finally, they will have to deal with my lawsuit.  I totally interviewed with Games Workshop a year ago, four interviews actually.  At the final handshake, sitting with their head of recruitment I was asked how the company could improve.  I expressed the potential to push the property into a more digital space, that tabletop gaming was a small market in comparison to the digital realm. Perhaps they should make a MOBA or MMO to help grow the franchise and bring more people to the board.  He was completely unaware that the company even had video games based off the universe, and my shock and following argument probably talked me out of a job.  However the fact remains that Dark Nexus was totally my idea and I deserve a piece of the pie, or at the very least alpha access and some store credit.  Please?

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10:08 PM on 03.03.2015

Cut Scenes, A Comparison

Cutscenes.  Which on paper sound like horrible additions to video games.  Games have one thing for them that no other art form can touch, Interactivity.  Cut scenes take out the strongest part of gaming and turn it into a television show for a few minutes.  Let us explore why.

Perhaps there are layers to the story that we aren’t visible through just gameplay.  The cut scene use to be a treasured moment when the graphical curtain would peel back and show a highly rendered reward.  Final Fantasy seven and onward just wouldn't function without their videos.  The series in particular uses them as breadcrumbs to drive forward the slower and sometimes repetitive gameplay.

In a modern era of in game renders, do we need classic cinema?  Does the story not unfold itself better in games like Half Life or Bioshock because of the first person immersion? Are we bound even in storyless shmups to watch minutes of droll conversation?

Maybe it’s about setting the tone.  Skyrim does a decent job of showing you what the game is about in the opening act.  Who doesn't love long walks to various dragon infested locations?  Modern Warfare 2's intro spins us on our heels.  Expecting to Rambo our way through a tutorial level, we are instead shown just how weak a soldier can feel.  The game defines itself on reminding us that death is only a misstep away from the intro onward.

Some become parodies in length and pacing.  Xenosaga as a trilogy has a over thirty hours of just people talking.  No control, just more than a day’s content of Chaos talking about his most recent hair cut.  It stretches past most animes at that point.  So perhaps Xeno would have functioned better just as a serial.

Other games use their Vlogs as a  reason to exist.  No one can honestly say they were more focused on the combat part of Persona.  That game turns social media into the core dynamic.  Sure you may disguise that you were playing it for the strategic dungeons, but we all know it was about that next sweet, sweet conversation with Yukiko.

Hotline Miami crosses a bridge, where the rare occurrences where the game takes control out of your hands are after exhausting victories.  The only moments that can truly be classified as cutscenes are handful of eerie dream sequences that ask the player just why they are murdering countless thugs.  The question lingers as you return to the next breakneck speed gameplay.

Let us quietly discuss Quick Time Events because if developers hear us even whisper about them they will infest our every action all over again. Justifying your cutscene with button presses is rarely a good idea.  Resident Evil 4 handled it well, because Resident Evil 4 handled everything well.  The knife fight with Krauser was an awesome start to a boss fight, and running from boulders should feel that frantic.  Outside of the iconic zombie killer though, I struggle to think of another game that handled them with class.  Heavy Rain was hardly more than a drawn out press button now simulator, and functions far better as a let’s play than a game.  They’ve recently scarred The Order 1886, and I doubt it will be the last to suffer.  QTE’s feel as if they were born of a tired designer thinking pressing the elevator button multiple times should make it come faster.  If only that were true for the first Mass Effect.

Should the Cut Scene be defining?   How many games do we remember by their dramatic moments?  Some are praised for their gameplay, but many Role Playing Games seem singularly focused on their polished high moments.  Rose colored glasses take their hold, as games I remember being in awe of, are really hard to push through a second time years later.  How many of us have bothered with Bioshock Infinite more than once?  Maybe that is a poor example, I don't think I would bother sitting down for the Sixth Sense again either.

Perhaps I am being too hard on Cutscenes, after all they are Video Games.

They are also really easy to edit into saying silly things.

Totally a good way to blow over thirty hours.

 

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9:12 AM on 02.27.2015

Like it or Lump it, we did another one.

THIS TIME WITH ACTUAL BLOG!

Hey please watch the video so you can laugh before we discuss some stuff brought up in said video, that will only make partial sense if you just read and then watch the aforementioned video.  I’m not trying to tell you how to eat your sandwich, but the last time I tried to eat a PB&J inside out it was really sticky.




Haha! That was pretty fun, those guys should probably be showered in some combination of sluts and cash!  Now let's talk about why Dragonball Z, Call of Duty, Pokemon, and a dozen other franchises who get away with yearly releases.  I have taken the liberty of dressing them up as Metal Gear Solid villains, Because that series handles its sequels with respect and timing.

 

 

The lovers of. Fans are defined in the dictionary as an instrument for producing a current of air.  This isn't all that different from what we mean by the word in reference to pop culture.  In fact we can replace only one word in the definition and get our intended term. An instrument for producing a current of hype.

 

 

Hype surrounds these consistent releases before they are even announced.  Every newsbit of the next Assassin's Creed or the next Battlefield, gets hundreds of thousands of people desperately looking for more.  There is an endless list of theories, hopes, and fears posted for the assumed next title, before most have had a chance to even play the recent one.  We are instinctively bound to hunger for more of what we enjoy. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but it can control us.

 

 

If humans could be defined singularly, it is to consume.  Food, air, we even hunger for social connection. We hunger for more than we can ever hope to devour,  our eyes truly outpace our stomachs.  Downloadable Content has won.  It isn't going anywhere because the snackable map packs and costumes tide the the consumer over until the next big thing.  Desiring more of what we enjoy seems only natural, but slowly it defines us.

 

 

No, not a fan of Persona.  Your fandom becoming core to your life.  Anyone who will go to the lengths to dress up as the character, or tattoo the logo to their body, obviously loves the culture so deeply it becomes defining.  They have chosen a theme to help tell others what they are at their front.  These diehards sit at the center of the yearly cycle.  They are often the greatest perpetrators of the infection.

 

 

It oozes out of the already convinced, your friends and loved ones demanding you to enthrall yourself in their new obsession.  Their excitement for the entertainment rubs off and convinces you to try it, and potentially turn you into a fan.  The circle starts anew.

 

It takes a multiple massive derailments of one of these franchises to kill it.  Both CoD Ghosts and AC Unity were abhorred not a year ago for their failures.  However they continued to sell, and their next installment will as well.  Even in failure the games are pushed into becoming pop culture, drawing us to be apart of the much larger world that seems obsessed with this content.  The next game is already in discussion, before the current one is even fixed.  Who can blame us for falling into this restless cycle, we yearn to be a part of a much larger creation. We wish to understand our fellow man, to relate to their passions.  We have to believe the failures of today can grow into the amazement of tomorrow.  The perfect moment can be replicated or even improved upon.  Without this hope our lives lose meaning.  Either way millions of us promise our money to the company's next installment before even a whisper of it is explained.


So is it the publisher's fault?  Are EA and Ubisoft the monsters we sometimes paint them as?  Perhaps their own fears of falling into irrelevance drive them.  If even bad press is press, then why not push the game out early, buggy, and faulted?  The hungry buyers will consume every dripping bit of the next title without so much as a resistive outcry.  Even through bad reviews and endless criticism, the title will often sell in name alone.  Why trust in the unknown when we know exactly what pedigree we're getting with our favourite annual treat?  There is the reason I try to play so many indie titles, and maybe you should too.  It's hard to let the hype ruin the unknown and new.  It's also hard to be unreasonably let down by it.  

 

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8:44 PM on 02.23.2015

It's short, It's unfulfiling!

It's the best I can do.

Destructoid used to have a pretty cool little news show. We went to school to learn how to run a news station. Now I pull wire, and Ian is a mechanic, and we're trying to prove we didn't waste those formatitive years of our lives. This is my five inch dictation, which I rambled about at the tail end of Neiro's most recent blog. Hopefully I won't anger the recapper gods too much by just having these few sentances and this video.

 

While you're there watch some things about indie games on my channel, maybe even subscribe. We're gonna see if we can do one of these a week but no guarantees if you all tell me we blow ass in the comments.

We totally blow ass, just don't be such a dick and actually say it.

Oh and I completely started to play Fallout new vegas and be part of the merry band'o bloggers, but then I played alot of random greenlight stuff instead. His name was Unbuntu and he mostly threw spears, it would have been racist but he was asian. Maybe I'll go try to wrap that up.

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