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3:05 PM on 07.02.2015

Band of Bloggers: June Recap! (+Mini Update)

Another month has come and gone, which means that another Band of Bloggers topic has done the same! This month didn't have quite the usual haul of entries, but with it being the month of E3 and everyone being focused on whether or not the non turn based FF7 will stay turn based I suppose it's understandable. That doesn't diminish the folks who did take the time out to participate though, so before any updates let's get straight to the recaps!

Bring it on down to Cyrodil by RadicalYoseph (Part 1 / Part 2)

The ever rad RadicalYoseph takes this month's topic as an opportunity to tell us the story of the famed khajit merchant Yoseph, who is a famed khajit merchant. It's a gripping tale of exploration, ignorance, and being a khajit merchant of the famous variety. You thought you knew the tale of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion? Well you haven't heard it told like this! Oblivion isn't my favorite Elder Scrolls game, and truth be told the series in general often leaves a bit to be desired in comparison to other open world games, but I certainly remember playing it for the first time and being overcome with the urge to see everything and make my own stories.

A Republic Far Far Away by James Internet Ego

I don't know who James is, but his Internet Ego has some very extensive thoughts on a series of games that means a lot to him, as well as many others. Ego takes the chance to explain to everyone in great detail why he feels that the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games are among the best around. From the impact of the player's choices on the world itself to the intricacies and meaningfulness of the sidequests; KotOR is a game that obviously resonates strongly with him. I haven't played either game in a very very long time but I can certainly remember being absolutely enthralled by both of them. I was never a huge Star Wars fan in general, but those games really managed to pull me in and become invested in the lore. Good stuff!

Exploring Fantasy by Retrofraction

Retrofraction comes along this month to talk to us about the classic Final Fantasy VI. This blog in particular is less about the game and its world and more about Retro's personal experience and attachment to it. It's quite an interesting read about his personal life and this game's place in it and it's got some top notch gifs as well! Final Fantasy games generally aren't considered open world as they're more about the illusion of open-ness, but in the case of FFVI rather than being able to just go back to where you've been before towards the end, it presents you with a whole new world to explore half way through that really does lean more towards "open world" than other entries. Personally FFVI is easily my favorite in the series and one that means a lot to me, so it's nice reading about others' experiences with it.

The story of how I killed my wife... by n0signal

n0signal apparently managed to get just enough signal this month to post a very interesting blog about his experiences in Skyrim, and much like his Elder Scrolls blogging brethren Yoseph, he also does in the form of a story. This story is about n0signal's romantic (or lack thereof) endeavors and his quest to find a worthy spouse. Unfortunately his search for love doesn't have the happiest of endings, regardless of how many times he tries. It would seem that the dark elf mage just has a habit of letting his magic do the talking, and as we all know; fire doesn't make for a great conversationalist. Another example of the main thing that Elder Scrolls games excel at: letting you make your own story. God knows the story the game actually gave you wasn't anything to write home about. Maybe Bethesda should call up Yoseph and n0signal when it comes time to write Elder Scrolls VI.

 

And that, my friends, is another month of BoB, but don't leave just yet! There are a couple of things to be brought up before this comes to a close. First off, I've been picked for a 'junior reporter' position over at G4 @Syfygames (which you may know as the place that Brittany Vincent and TheScholarlyGamer now reside). I haven't started yet, and it's just a basic entry position, but that leads into the second thing to be brought up: the future of Band of Bloggers. While I may not be doing as much actual blogging in the days to come, I'll still be dropping by Dtoid to comment and whatnot, so I would assume that starting a topic and recapping it each month will be doable. However, if that turns out not to be the case I'll try and find someone willing to actually take over rather than leaving this community even to rot. I helped start this and I'd hate to see it disappear.

That being said; if you have recommendations for July's topic or are interested in taking over Band of Bloggers in the days to come then feel free to comment or shoot a private message my way. And as always: thanks for reading!

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2:55 PM on 06.11.2015

I Do Not Enjoy Devil May Cry 4

You may notice that the title of this piece is a bit more straightforward and to the point than usual for me. That is for a couple reasons; first of all because Devil May Cry is a series that has always been near and dear to my heart, ever since its first iteration was originally released, so the statement I make with it does not come easily. The second reason is because ever since DmC's release the series has become one that has sparked numerous flame wars in comment sections across the internet and rather than have this piece devolve into one of those I'd like to make it as objective, fair, and understandable as possible. You may not agree with what I have to say, but then I didn't get into writing to sit quietly in the corner and keep my opinion to myself, now did I?

I first played Devil May Cry 4 around 2010 or so, a couple years after its initial release, because that was when I was finally able to afford a PS3. I remember feeling mixed about it at the time but I had such a huge library of games to catch up on with my new system that I just simply moved on from it and didn't really give it much thought. A couple of days ago I found myself in need of something new to play after finally finishing off my platinum for Witcher 3 and decided that since I knew I likely wouldn't be able to afford the PS4 remaster of DMC4 coming out this month that I'd simply go ahead and replay the original release. I did not enjoy my time with it.

Coming back to this game has provided me with one of the most up and down gaming experiences I've had in recent years. There are numerous reasons for this and I'll do my best to go into detail about all of them, so let's start at the beginning. DMC4 is a 20 mission long game during which you play as 2 separate protagonists. For the first half of the game you play as Nero, and while I was iffy about playing with him at first I got the hang of it pretty quickly. He only has one melee weapon and one gun so while that means less overall variety it means he's designed in a straightforward manner and that one melee weapon is reasonably fleshed out. This is good, especially for learning your way around the game. His devil bringer provides some great ways to keep combat fluid with your ability to always keep yourself near enemies.

Playing as Nero provides one major flaw though, you're forced to make use of the poor dodge system in place in this game. If you want to dodge you are to hold down the lock on button, press sideways on the thumbstick, and then press the jump button. Fairly straightforward sounding, except for two main problems: the first being that it means you can only dodge left or right and trying to go forward or back will simply result in you jumping like an idiot, and the second being that locking on to an enemy does not place the camera behind your character, meaning that pressing “sideways” on the thumbstick becomes up for interpretation because you have to press sideways from whatever direction your character happens to be facing at the time.

Even were you to overlook the first problem, the second is tied directly to one of the biggest problems with this game: it consistently uses set camera angles. 4 titles into this series and the camera is still being treated as if you're in Resident Evil. Having to fight enemies and do platforming in a game that will change the direction of the camera without warning is simply abysmal. Lock On provides little relief when there are times that, due to the fixed camera angles, you may not even be able to actually see the enemy you're locked onto. Having the camera be behind your character while you're holding down lock on shouldn't be lacking in a game that requires you to press directions in relation to your character's facing direction. Even something as simple as swapping lock on targets can be a chore at times when the enemies are near each other.

Another one of the biggest problems with this game is that the controls are inconsistent across characters and weapons. You spend over half the game playing as Nero, becoming accustomed to his playstyle on levels that are very obviously built around you learning how to use that moveset to defeat enemies as new ones are introduced. Once you make it to mission 12 however Nero is swapped out for Dante; a change many were probably begging for by that point. Unfortunately swapping to Dante provides its own set of problems.

First off his basic combos are inconsistent with Nero's. For example: as Nero you could do an uppercut style attack with your sword by holding backwards and pressing attack, rising you and the enemy into the air, do an aerial combo by pressing the attack button while airborne, and then slam down into the ground with forward and attack. As Dante, you can no longer even perform an aerial combo at all unless you happen to be in Swordmaster style which then relegates the basic aerial combo to the style button rather than the attack button and now simply pressing the attack button at all in the air forces the downward attack. You spend the first 11 of 20 missions being told “this is how you do a basic aerial combo” and then suddenly are told “oh no, now it's like THIS, also being able to do aerial attacks is now a privilege and can only be performed in one specific style.”

Those controls aren't even consistent across Dante's own set of moves. If you swap to his second weapon, a pair of fist weapons, your rising uppercut move is now accomplished with forward and a button press rather than backwards. To perform the exact same move functionally with the two separate weapons you have to do two opposite button combinations. What makes matters worse is that not only are you now over halfway through the game with no idea what your moveset is anymore, the game doesn't even seem to acknowledge that anything has changed. After a single small room of enemies you're thrown into a timed “escape from this place” level against even more enemies than before except now you don't have the major combat mechanic you've been using in the form of the Devil Bringer so you're left to decipher an entire new moveset halfway through the game against enemies that the game presumes you already know how to battle.

And unlike Nero's moveset, Dante's is nowhere near as intuitive. Nero doesn't have a whole lot of variety, but what he has is easily understood. The challenge of mastering Nero comes in actually mastering using those abilities in different scenarios and combining them. Mastering Dante's moveset is more a matter of trying to overcome a poorly thought out control scheme. DMC4 brings back Dante's Style system made famous by DMC3 and it does not do so with grace.

In DMC3 the style system was an interesting idea, but at the end of the day all it did was restrict what you could do at any given time. You could only have one style active at a time, meaning that if you wanted a proper dodge button then you gave up having a more varied attack set. It comes off more like they had a bunch of moves they wanted to implement but couldn't think of a way to properly fit them all on the controller. DMC4 seems to think it's fixed that problem by simply assigning one style to each direction on the d-pad and going “See! Now you can use everything!” It might be fixed well enough if they had at least put more thought into the styles themselves rather than seeking to just copy / paste them over from DMC3.

If you want to keep the style system in place then fair enough, but at least put some thought into how they can be improved rather than going “People liked this in 3 so they'll like it in 4 and that's that.” The idea of an entire style that does nothing but giving you an actual dodge button is ridiculous. Likewise still having the basic aerial combo attached to Swordmaster like it's some kind of secret technique is also silly. Make basic attacks and movements apart of the basic character moveset and come up with interesting things for the styles.

Prop/Shredder is an awesome example of a way to use the Swordmaster style in a cool way, make the aerial equivalent something like Nero's aerial charge attack. Maybe make it so that you can have one defensive style and one offensive style set at a time so that you can choose between dodging and guarding and between swordplay and gunplay. I mean for fuck's sake when you're leveling up Dante's abilities the game literally won't even tell you what you gain by leveling up a particular style. There's a spot for a description but the description is just “Upgrade Swordmaster level to Level 2”. That tells me nothing! I can't believe I'm saying this but I actually had more fun playing as Nero because overall he felt like more work was put into making him a well rounded and intuitive character from a gameplay perspective.

Other problems with the game are those you've likely heard a million times by now. The level variety is severely lacking and when you gain control of Dante all of his levels are just him going backwards through levels you've already done as Nero. The unique bosses are few in number and you're forced to fight most of them 3 separate times. The bosses are, for the most part, interesting at least, with the first (a large fire demon named Berial) actually being the most enjoyable to fight in my opinion as that fight provides the least downtime, but they're definitely not worth having to fight 3 times in one playthrough.

So for better or worse that's my spiel about Devil May Cry 4. A lot of people are excited about its upcoming remaster, but after this replay of it I just don't really want to touch it again. It's a shame going back to a game in a series that you love and having such a sad time with it. The original Devil May Cry was the game that made me realize my love for action games and DMC3 was one of my favorite PS2 games long before the Special Edition was even released. I suppose that's just a part of life though. Hopefully I didn't make you too ragey with this breakdown of the game and if I did then hopefully you at least made it to the end before telling me in angry words why I'm wrong in the comments. I welcome your counter points and personal opinions, so don't be shy. Thanks for reading.

 

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3:55 PM on 06.01.2015

Band of Bloggers: May Recap!

Another month has come and gone and with it another Band of Bloggers theme. This month we broke the law and took what didn't belong to us. The lovely people who took part all had something interesting to say about a wide array of games. If you missed any of them then you've come to the right place! Without further ado I present to you the blogs of May's BoB.

Invisible, Inc. by Avtr Spirit

Our first blog was by AvtrSpirit who took the opportunity to tell us about a very interesting looking title that released recently by the name of Invisible, Inc. I'd heard of the game in passing a couple of times in the past but didn't know much about it. The idea of having a heist themed game that puts you ever closer to being caught with each turn is certainly an interesting one! AvtrSpirit definitely has an appreciation for it and hopefully one day I'll get to see firsthand how worthy the game is of it. You can always count on the indie scene to present some fascinating smaller titles.

Have Heart, Will Listen by Wutangclam

Your friendly neighborhood Wutangclam took a unique approach to this month's theme and spent his blog praising a very interesting mechanic of a very interesting game. Many people played and loved Dishonored when it came out but how many really delved into the brilliantly designed world and backstory that you had to go out of your way to fully experience? The focal point of Wutang's blog is the fascinating heart that you acquire that allows you access to the most personal belonging of all: people's inner thoughts. A fascinating piece about a fascinating game.

Sailing Under a Black Flag by El Dango

Our next piece is one of swashbuckling and pilfering from El Dango; which as we all know is Spanish for...uh...The Dango. Of the many theft themed games at his disposal he chose what is probably the best entry of the series and has plenty to say about it! His tale of sailing seas and looting everything in sight is one that I can relate to wholeheartedly as I myself spent a large number of hours in that game, and far more of them were spent pirating then assassinating. Whether you're taking on other ships, assaulting a fortress, or just hunting for hidden treasure, Black Flag has plenty of fun in it, even if AC isn't really your thing.

Grand Theft Auto III Retrospective by Nanashi

Nananananananana Nanashi took this month as an opportunity to write more about a series that he loves: GTA! This entry isn't about the most recent and fabulous entry though, it's a retrospective of GTA III, which it seems has not stood the test of time so well. It's fascinating to read about the older titles of this series in detail because they're not games I really got into growing up. Everyone knows the gist of GTA but the details of individual entries have passed me by. Learn about what this older entry did right and wrong by clicking that there link!

The New Order of Karras by Rudorlf

Rudorlf the red nosed blogger took this month's theme as a chance to write about what he considers one of the finest stealth games ever made! Big praise! I've heard a lot of high praise about the Thief series over the years but never delved into any of the older entries in detail, so Rudorlf's blog on Thief 2 (Burglar Boogaloo) is that much more intersting to read! Just the fact that it's made by Looking Glass Studios should be enough to give people a bit of interest, but if you want details then look no further! I unfortunately have only gotten to play the reboot myself, which I had a hard time getting into for one reason or another. His comment about the beauty of rope arrows did remind me of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic though, which was a pretty interesting older first person game. I'm going off track more by the second. Quick, go read his blog before I get out of hand!

Klepto-game-ia: Memoirs of a Virtual Thief by Fenriff

Some asshole wrote about his virtual kleptomania. Oh woe is him. Read it if you want I guess.

 

And that, my friends, is another fantastic month of Band of Bloggers! A huge thanks to everyone who participated! You are the people who keep this thing running. I will do my best to have the new theme up by Friday, but have yet to nail one down. I've been considering an open-world type of theme what with Witcher 3 on everyone's minds, and I know we'd see some fascinating different worlds. Not sure though, so if you have any suggestions be sure to leave them below. Thanks for reading!

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3:02 PM on 05.30.2015

[BoB] Klepto-game-ia: Memoirs of a Virtual Thief

It's human nature to want what you don't or can't have. Walking down the street and seeing a necklace in the window and having to convince yourself that you just can't afford it is the kind of experience everyone has at some point. It's no surprise then that when dropped into a video game the majority of us are more than happy to bust into people's houses, take everything that isn't nailed down, and continue down our merry path thinking ourselves heroes. There are rarely any repercussions and when there are you're simply a reloaded save file away from reversing them.

We've all done it. We're all guilty of theft done at our own will at some point in some video game. Whether you looted with wanton abandon in Skyrim or whether you just smashed people's pots for rupees in a Zelda game. But just how deep does your kleptomania go? How thorough are you in cleaning people out of their goods and gold? Do you just take what happens to be in your way? Are you thorough at first and then calm down as you become loaded with loot? Or are you like me...

Because I take fucking everything.

I don't know when or how it started. Probably fairly innocently. Smashing pots for rupees, rummaging through the occasional dresser in Dragon Warrior/Quest, that sort of thing. But somewhere along the line it escalated; I stopped being a casual thief and developed a problem. The earliest example I can remember is Morrowind.

This was my first foray into an Elder Scrolls game. I found the game interesting enough and the world really made me want to explore, but the mechanics of the game consistently impeded my enjoyment. But this isn't a piece about interesting worlds or the consistently poor combat of Elder Scrolls, this is about theft and my story begins right at the start of the game. When you start a new game in Morrowind you create a character, have an old man question you about your stats and the sign you were born under, and then are guided straight into your first town.

As you exit the port side house and find yourself loosed upon the world there is a building right next to you. A sort of warehouse with a heavily locked door. A door that is locked for good reason, for behind that door are goodies galore. There are two things I remember doing consistently in Morrowind: trying to create the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden as my character (my favorite book character as a kid), and taking the Tower sign so that I could break into that building and rob that glorious vault blind. Weapons, armor, drugs; all there and mine for the taking. The number of times I went far beyond over encumbered and slow walked my way out of that building are beyond recollection. That was probably the catalyst for a lifetime of virtual theft.

That naturally carried over into the following Elder Scroll games and I'm sure many of you can relate to the glory of covering a shop keeper's head with a bucket and taking all of their goods right out from under them. Maybe it's something about games being in first person that makes it so much more satisfying to rob people. Seeing through the character's eyes as you force him or her to take what doesn't belong to them, whether in Elder Scrolls, Deus Ex, or Dishonored. Filling your pockets with loot just gives you that feeling that you're doing everything right.

Then you've got games where stealing is a primary goal. Games like Black Flag. Let's be honest, these games know what they're doing. They knew how much we'd love to get behind the wheel of a powerful ship, decked out in cannons and swashbucklers, and set out to a sea where every single other ship is a target for you. It doesn't matter whether you board the enemy ship or sink it, what matters is that you take what once belonged to them and will now be used to fuel your filthy habit. Jump onto their ship and take out their sailors and you can have everything in their hold, but you can also just sink the damn thing and watch their loot float up to the surface in crates where you can just pick them up as you sail past the wreckage of your victim.

Fast forward to present day; to the most recent game to indulge my complete lack of self restraint: The Witcher 3. I don't know that a game has ever so desperately BEGGED me to steal everything in sight in it like this game has. Activate your witcher senses and everything that's lootable will glow yellow and your mouth will start to salivate. Maybe just me with that last part.

The true beauty of stealing everything in the world of The Witcher though? Almost everything is useful in some way. Money let's you buy things, food and drink restore your health, herbs will make potions and bombs, alcohol refills those supplies, metals and leathers can be used for crafting, and even the insignificant junk can be broken down at a blacksmith into useful components. Butter knives? Mine. Broken rakes? Dibs. Dolls? Gimme that shit.

It's not even logical at times. In the first area of Witcher 3 I took a contract to kill a noonwraith that was keeping locals from accessing the nearest well. Upon taking it out and returning the poor fellow who had put up the notice he tried to give me the money he had been saving up for his daughter's dowry as it was all he had. I told him to keep the money, feeling bad about the poor guy's situation. I then walked around his house and looted every box, bag, dresser, and shelf in sight. There's some kind of separation of the characters and their belongings that happens in my head and I'll be the first to admit it's just not right.

I obviously have a problem, though I suppose I should be happy that I have video games to use to fulfill my desire to take everyone's belongings rather than resorting to it in real life. But how do the rest of you compare? Are you a better person than me or do you also often find your pockets filled to the brim with others' belongings? Let me know! And above all, thanks for reading.

 

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10:55 PM on 05.12.2015

Fen out of Ten: A Review of Me, By Me, For You!

 

Hello dearest readers! My name is Josh Barnes, known to most of you as Fenriff. You may know me from such unread classics as “Selective Memory: A Look at Nostalgia” and “one of the first full length and finished reviews of Divinity: Original Sin on the interwebs.” Who am I kidding; I'm the dude that wrote the godawful Dtoid Fanfiction about Dreamweaver and Gajknight saving their uncle Chris Carter from Andy Dixon.

This year has been a strange and rough one. In all honesty 90% of it has been an absolute disaster! As I was sitting here, debating trading in a bundle of games to be able to grab the Witcher 3 next week and coming to the realization that I'm going to have to suck it up and get one of those god awful “normal jobs” very soon to give my depression a real kick in the nuts, I had an epiphany! In times like these they say that it's important to look at the bright side of things. Focus on your positive aspects. Don't worry, be happy. Easy, ready, willing. That last one may not actually apply here.

In any case, it's important to always remember that you're worth something. So as such I've decided to remind both myself and you all of a very important fact: I am a god damned criminal mastermind! Wait, no, that's not right. I'm getting a bit carried away. What I am though is one damn good writer and person overall! Most of you don't actually know me personally, in fact I'm fairly sure next to none of you currently reading this do, so you'll have to take the second part of that on faith. I'm good for it though, I swear.

Just look at this beautiful bearded bastard! He's no Dale North but he's no slouch if I do say so myself! But looks aren't all he's got going for him, oh no! Did you know that Mr. Josh “Fenriff” Barnes here poured his heart and soul into a video game related article every week for 8 months and then shared them across multiple websites? Hooo doggy, that there's impressive I'd say! Enough of the third person. Barely a paragraph and I'm already tired of it.

Here's some more fun facts! Of all those blogs I wrote over that time period: 1 of them was front paged on Destructoid, 7 were given front page treatment over on Kotaku, and 2 of them were put on the front page of IGN. Interestingly, of those statistics (all of which I'm quite proud of) the one shared to the front page here on Destructoid, which is also one of the two shared on IGN, is one of my “man I really need something for this week” pieces. You know what I mean, one of those where you really want to make something to be proud of and you come away thinking “Ehhhhhhhhh it's not my best work.” But I suppose beggars can't be choosers, so I digress.

In fact not all of those blogs have been winners. I've still got at least one blog that I know of on here that to this day never got a single comment (though I have JUST learned that it did get a fap at some point over the year it's been here). But some of those were damn good, and I mean DAMN good. My Persona 4 piece? Shit was heartfelt as FUCK. I almost cried reading it and I wrote the goddamn thing. How about that time I played every Breath of Fire game over the course of two weeks (during which I also played Earthbound and Mother 3) and then did a huge retrospective on the series? Fuckin' baller. I won't be using that phrase again.

I also wrote a preview of Warlords of Draenor from a level 100's perspective, that apparently I may as well have called a review considering that 9/10 reviewers apparently thought it was okay to level to 100, do two 5 man dungeons, and then post their 8's and 9's out of 10 before the first raid had even popped up in a game that's primarily focused on raiding at end game. That's right, I'm calling you people out. You people who are most certainly not reading this piece on the community section of a website which, if memory serves, did not fall into that pit thank god.

I even helped bring into existence the much talked about Band of Bloggers craze that's been sweeping the C-blogs! Though many of you assumed that it was just ScholarlyGamer, which is fine. I mean I may have gotten a bit salty but let's be honest, you don't create something entirely designed around inspiring others to write and then crave approval for it, that's dumb. Speaking of which I actually haven't heard from old TSG in a good bit, despite messaging him on Twitter a couple weeks ago, sooooo that might be totally in my hands now? You should probably fear for its existence if that ends up being the case.

At the end of the day though you are what you eat! Wait, no. You are what you believe yourself to be. It's all about exuding the persona that you want others to see. No one is going to want to tell you you're awesome if all you ever do is say that you're shit. Well, some really nice people will, but you probably won't believe them anyway. Be the person you want to be, and know that you ARE that person. Me? I'm one mutha fuckin hell of a writer, and I will continue to be because you don't find work writing by not writing.

 

Basically, this post can be interpreted as a question, to which I have an answer. Will you be seeing more of me in the future?

You're goddamn right.

 

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1:49 PM on 05.06.2015

May's Band of Bloggers - Thick as Thieves

Hello dear friends! Sorry if this is going up a bit late, but better late than never I suppose! A new month deserves a new Band of Bloggers, because seeing you lovely people write about video games brings me joy. If you're unfamiliar with the idea here, basically we give you a theme and you will play a game fitting the theme and come tell us about your unique experiences sometime before the end of the month. At the end of the month I'll gather up all the participating blogs and recap them in a place they can be easily found by everyone! This month we're forgoing hard work and just taking the things we want from those more fortunate! For the month of May we'll be Thick as Thieves!

So what game will you be playing for this? Whatever game lets you take everything you want for yourself. Want to gather some friends and rob a bank in Payday? Want to roam the streets of Los Santos stealing cars, money, and whatever else you can get your grubby hands on? Want to be a pirate on the high seas taking all the booty (ha, booty) you can find? Have at it! As long as it lets you klepto your way to wealth and happiness you can play it for this month's BoB.

Take what ya can, and the only thing you need to give back is a blog about your less than noble adventures! Just come back sometime before May is over and give us a nice blog about your adventures. Get creative with it! Make it as wacky or serious as your heart desires. Just throw "Band of Bloggers" or "Thick as Thieves" in the title if you want to ensure that it gets seen and then add whatever real title you want. As always I look forward to your submissions and I thank you for reading!

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4:54 PM on 04.05.2015

A Beginner's Guide to the Souls Games

At the request of reader Rudorlf and in a never ending effort convince everyone possible to give these games an honest try I've decided to try and put together a beginner's guide to the Souls games! I won't go into anything TOO complex since this IS a beginner's guide, but any specific questions you still have can be asked in the comments below! I'll also include Bloodborne in this because it's the new hotness right about now. So let's get started with a few basic questions you may have!

What are the Souls games?

These games are action rpg's. What that means is that you'll be controlling one character from third person PoV with an attack button, a dodge button, etc. You'll kill enemies and be rewarded with “souls” which serve as both currency and experience. When you die you drop these souls at the spot of your death and you must return to that spot to pick them back up. You spend X amount of souls to increase your level by one, which gives you one extra point to put into your attributes, and then the number of souls required to level will increase each time. The Souls games are characterized by the many different ways you can play them, and different playstyles will require different stat allocation.

This can seem daunting, but if all else fails then a simple Vitality, Endurance, and Strength (or Dexterity, your choice) spread will give you your basic sword and board Souls experience in any of the 3 Souls games. The basic playstyle in these games is generally with a melee weapon in one hand and a shield in the other, except for in Bloodborne where your shield will be replaced with a gun that is used to interrupt enemies and set them up for counter attacks.

Do these games have a story?

Actually, despite popular opinion, these games do have quite intricate and interesting stories! The stories are simply not thrust into your face and explained for you. If you want to get the most out of a Souls game then you'll want to talk to every NPC you meet multiple times (until they start repeating dialogue), read item descriptions for everything you pick up, and most importantly pay attention to the world around you. If you finish one of these games and find yourself wanting to learn more then there are many people on youtube who make lore videos designed around teaching you all the great stories in these games that you may have missed.

Just how hard are these games?

The Souls games are challenging but they are by no means unbeatable or only for the most pro of gamers. I find that the main thing that keeps people from trying the Souls games is how difficult they hear they are, and that's a shame. You'll have heard that they're super hard or that they'll make you break your controllers, it's popular to play up the difficulty of these games, but at the end of the day if you give it an honest effort and are willing to learn from your mistakes then anyone can make it through a Souls game. The only thing that will stop you from beating a Souls game is giving up.

Do these games have multiplayer?

Yes! But it's a bit of a unique kind of multiplayer. Simply being online will connect you to others. You'll see messages that people have left (and leave some of your own!), you'll see ghostly figures of others who are playing at the same time, and you can summon others in to help you or be invaded by someone looking to kill you. The specifics of how multiplayer works depends on the game you're playing. Generally you can only summon help while you're in human form, meaning you haven't died recently or have used an item that restores your humanity.

You won't be inviting a friend into your game to help directly, instead by being in human form you'll see glyphs of the ground where other players have left their “summon sign”. By going up to one such sign you can summon the creator of it into your game to help you for a bit. By opening up yourself to co-op you'll also be opening yourself up to be invaded by other players who'd like to come kill you! If that kind of thing doesn't interest you then you can play offline.

Which game should I play?

The obvious answer is whichever looks most interesting to you, but that's probably not much help. Instead I'll tell you a bit about the strengths and weakness of each game so you can decide on your own what order to try them in! The release order is Demon's Souls (DeS), Dark Souls (DS1), Dark Souls 2 (DS2), and Bloodborne. If you wanted you could simply play them in this order and have a good time. Otherwise here's a breakdown of each:

Demon's Souls

Demon's Souls, as the first game of its kind, is probably the most creative and unique of the Souls games, particularly in regards to its world and characters. Locations and people from DeS have influenced every other Souls games, to a surprising degree. Unfortunately DeS also suffers from being the least enjoyable to pick up and actually play through. Its weapon upgrade system is complex to an unnecessary degree and on top of having a pretty harsh equipment burden you also have an inventory limit, meaning that you can only carry a certain amount of stuff with you on your adventures. Dying in this game will also revert you to “soul” form, where your max health is cut in half until you kill a boss or use an item that gives you back your human body.

It has a consumable based healing system, meaning that you'll acquire different types of herbs by playing and you'll use these to heal yourself. There are A LOT of healing items in this game though so you're not likely to run out. It's world is also more disjointed and presented in more of a level by level gameplay experience in that you'll visit world 1-1, 1-2, 2-1, etc, though each world can be done in whatever order you choose. To make up for this, each world is fairly expansive and has shortcuts for you to find and open up to ease your exploration. You also have access to a hub world called the Nexus where you'll return to level up, purchase things, store items, etc.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls 1 takes much of Demon's Souls and tries to perfect it. Many locations and events are inspired heavily by DeS, but this time around the world is a large connected one. The world of DS1 is a layered one, with areas on top of and next to each other that connect back to each other in surprising ways. In addition to upping the weapon and armor variety significantly, it removes the inventory cap, allowing you to carry as much as you want, and makes its equipment burden more lenient and easier to upgrade through leveling. The healing system in DS1 becomes a hybrid experience. You gain an item called an Estus Flask which holds multiple healing charges which refill automatically when you die or sit at a bonfire (Dark Souls' version of checkpoints), and you'll find items called Humanities which can be consumed at any time to give you full life.

Dying in DS1 doesn't cut your health down but instead makes you “hollow” which has no negative side effects other than taking away your ability to summon co-op help. The weapon upgrade system has been toned down a bit compared to DeS but can still be a bit daunting and require you to look up info online if you want to delve deeply into it, though that's not really necessary to get through the game. Having one large world can make it easier to get lost and not know where to go next, but it also does a much better job of rewarding your sense of exploration and discovery.

Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls 2 replaces the layered world of DS1 with more of an expansive world, similar to a Zelda map, where you'll strike off in one direction, come back to the center, and then go off in another. DS2 seeks to tame some of the needlessly complex systems from DS1 while also adding to the variety of playstyles on offer. If you want a playground of different ways to play then DS2 will likely offer you the most variety in that regard, with its addition of powerstancing (viable dual wielding), a smarter pyromancy system, and dark magic as its own style.

DS2 keeps the hybrid healing of DS1 so you'll still have your Estus Flask but instead of the full heal humanities you'll get life gems which are closer to the herbs of DeS except that they heal slowly over time instead of instantly. DS2 also introduces a system where your max health will slowly decrease each time you die, but will never fall below 50% (75% if you have a special ring equipped), but there are numerable items in this game (called Human Effigies) that will restore your max health. Where DS2 falls behind is in its characters and its boss design. While DeS and DS1 have many memorable characters, DS2 has only a couple, with others that should be interesting but feel unfinished. It's bosses can also lack the wow factor of previous installments.

Bloodborne

Bloodborne, while not technically a Souls game, takes the core bits of those games and applies them to a new and focused creation. If you want to get the most straightforward and understandable (from a mechanical standpoint) experience then Bloodborne is the way to go. The weapon upgrade system is incredibly straightforward and there is no form of equipment load. This game replaces the playstyle variety of the Souls games with a fast paced, in your face style of combat that handles its weapon options in a “quality over quantity” fashion.

Healing in Bloodborne is done via the use of Blood Vials, which can be found in the environment, dropped by enemies, or purchased at the vendor. You can only hold 20 at a time but any extras you pick up are immediately sent to your storage and auto refill when you die. The world is most similar to that of DS1, in that it wraps around itself, but its setting is wholly unique and fascinating. You also have the return of a hub world with the Hunter's Dream, where you'll level up, buy items, and upgrade weapons. If you find the sheer number of different ways to play the Souls games a bit daunting and want an experience that is build around a specific style of play then Bloodborne is the way to go.

In Conclusion?

Overall you can't really go wrong with which game you choose to play first. They're all fantastic games with different strengths and weaknesses. If there are any more specific questions you have then feel free to ask. Otherwise I hope this has been of some help and will convince some people to take the leap and give these games a shot. Thanks for reading!

 

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7:20 PM on 04.03.2015

A Fen Update, Bloodborne Talk, & More!

Hey all, sorry I haven't been around very much lately. It's been a very strange and rough few months for me. I wanted to take the time out to tell people what's been going on with me, partly because I wanted to say things to SOMEONE and partly because I really wanted to get something posted since it's been so long. This blog will be part personal and part gaming stuff so maybe there will be a little something for everyone.

First let's get the dumb personal stuff out of the way. As many of you may remember I put my weekly writing on hold earlier in the year. After going about 8 months straight of writing every week I was in desperate need of a break to recharge my creative spark. Unfortunately I was also going through some very bad depression at the time and that hasn't changed by much. If anything not having that bit of creative productivity to look forward to every week may have actually hindered more than it helped.

So, depression. Actually I don't want to go into a whole lot of detail about it, but basically (at least here lately) it's that gnawing feeling of knowing that you're just not accomplishing fucking anything. No matter how hard you push it seems like the only avenues available to you are the shit ones that make you feel like you're giving up and taking the boring way out. I'm gonna do my best to get writing again, even if it's not on a schedule, because I really need to get back that satisfaction from seeing people read what I wrote and discuss it. The feeling of creating something and have it posted on a front page somewhere is one that I got to experience more than I ever thought I would when I first started, but between Dtoid, IGN, and Kotaku I got so many great chances to see what thousands of people thought of my work.

It hasn't just been mental problems though, I've also had some shitty technical problems of late. Basically my PC has reached it's last leg and has become fit for nothing more than internet browsing and the like, because its capacity to game has become nonexistent. Luckily I'm someone who's fucking obsessed with gaming so I have so many other places to play games, but it's a bummer nonetheless. I've also been incredibly sick over this past week which has just been the exact opposite of joy. I'm sure there's other personal stuff that's been holding me down but I honestly can't think of it right now. In any case that means we can talk about the fun stuff! Enter: vidya gams!

So obviously what I've been playing the most lately has been Bloodborne. Holy shit guys that game is a fucking masterpiece. It's beautiful, it's detailed, it's complex, it's horrifying, but most of all: it's fun! To give you an idea of just how much I've played it lately, I have already acquired the Platinum Trophy for the game. (see pic above!) That's 100% achievements for you non-PlayStation folks. I did my first run through as a Skill build (the new Dex) with a weapon called the Threaded Cane, which was a cane that turns into a fucking bladed whip and it is the sexiest weapon in NG.

I beat the game after taking my time to explore fucking EVERYTHING (like seriously, I somehow managed to find all bosses in the game on my first playthrough just from sheer full on hardcore exploration) and then went into NG+ and did it all again with the scythe. For those of you who don't know how NG+ works in these types of games, you keep all your levels and gear and whatnot, but the enemies and bosses get more health, armor, and damage to stay a threat. In Bloodborne's NG+ bosses can actually take longer to whittle down than they did on your first playthrough in many cases.

By the time I completed NG+ I had also already done all the required Chalice Dungeon stuff for trophies and I had originally planned to start an entirely new character for my final trophy run, but upon getting thrust into NG++ I found myself stricken with a terrible, amazing question. “How far do you think I can get in NG++ without dying?” I asked myself. The answer? Most of the way apparently. In fact I began speed-running the game and did not die until reaching the second to last required boss of the game, whom I only died to once and then proceeded to beat NG++ having only taken an hour and some change overall. So basically don't buy Bloodborne, it can be beaten in an hour. Go spend your money on The Order 1886 where you get at least 6 hours of play time! I kid, don't do that, buy this fucking game.

I still standby my previous statement that it is not a Souls game though. If you tell someone that they're getting a Souls game they're gonna have certain expectations that are simply NOT going to be met. You are NOT going to have a million build options available to you, you're not gonna have a bunch of different playstyles, you're not gonna have slow, patient gameplay. Bloodborne is what you WANT from a fantastic developer, it takes the core of their best work and applies it to something new and focused, and what it delivers is phenomenal.

I also played Final Fantasy Type 0. Now that...was certainly a video game. The combat was pretty awesome, and the character models were surprisingly detailed considering its PSP heritage, but that story is just BEYOND insane. It doesn't have very pleasant story telling. The “war documentary” kind of theme it has is very cool, but once I reached the end of the game I still had no fucking idea what had been going on. They were still throwing around words like “agito” and I still had no idea what they meant. At the end of the game one of the main characters said “My head hurts!” and I said “Me too bro, what the fuck is going on here? Why does everyone in this game know what's going on but me?!” Apparently you're supposed to play it a second time to understand it better, so maybe I'll do that at some point.

That Final Fantasy XV demo though? HNNNNG. SO GOOD.

So what else? Hmm. Well I went back and finally completed Xenoblade Chronicles a few weeks ago! What a fucking awesome ride that game was. Other than how annoying the aggro management can be in that game it was a real joy to go through. The story went delightfully nuts towards the end. Much love to that game. Currently on my third attempt to get through Xenogears on my vita. Let me tell you something guys, that game is NOT written well. I mean WOW. There's a part early on where Citan and Sigurd are talking and Sigurd is like “I sensed a darkness in her” and Citan goes “No you must be wrong!” and he fucking says “Remember I was always really good at predicting things like this.” Are you fucking serious with this shit? That's like fanfiction levels of foreshadowing.

The music is pretty rad though, I'll give it that. The combat is kinda interesting is well. But the real reason I decided to go back and give it another shot? I just wanted some crazy mech action. I watched a show called Knights of Sidonia on netflix a few nights ago (it was alright, has potential but some weird problems as well) and it had me itching for some mech gameplay. Not sure what I'll play (or watch!) next. After Bloodborne and Xenogears I may have to play something nice and happy for a change! Who knows!

Edit: Forgot to mention that I've got 20 bucks left over and was thinking of grabbing either Axiom Verge or Helldivers on PS4. Any recommendations? Both look awesome, but with Helldivers I'd have to find people to play with.

Anyway, that's all I can think of at the moment for this update. Hope this has shed some light and maybe been entertaining to read. As I said I'll try and get writing again soon in some capacity because I think I really need it for myself. See you guys soon! Thanks for reading!

 

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7:59 PM on 04.02.2015

BoB Recap for March!

Hey all! Terribly sorry that you haven't heard much from me lately. There have been many reasons for that and I'll do my best to post a write up tomorrow for those curious about what's been going on with me. For today though let's wrap up last month's Band of Bloggers event. Unfortunately we didn't really have many people take part directly in our event, but since I'm the one writing this (and I'm currently sick as hell) I have decided that in my infinite power and wisdom I will include anyone who wrote about anything Zelda related. I'll also be awarding points to anyone who took part. And if you didn't take part? SUCK IT! NO POINTS FOR YOU. Let's get started!

GoofierBrute's Wind Waker Analysis

First up is a write up about the fantastic experience that is Wind Waker. If you haven't played Wind Waker at this point then it's probably because you just can't be trusted to do anything. I mean Jesus Christ people. This game is like 12 years old. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING? In any case you can count on GoofierBrute to give you a fun break down about all the fine little details that make Wind Waker a great and unique experience in the Legend of Zelda mythos. On account of Goofier's lovely write up, using my Hello Hyrule title, and calling me rad, I award him... a whole bunch of points!

n0signal's Moon Man Masquerade!

Here's quite an interesting and unique take on the monthly assignment! Blogger n0signal decided to write about Majora's Mask, but rather than speak on the game itself he delves into the idea of the faced Moon and the things it may have been inspired by. You may be quite surprised to learn of older version of the creepily faced floating hunk of rock! The Moon was always one of my favorite parts of MM, not just because it has a creepy face but also when you get to visit it and it has this weird dream realm in it. Crazy stuff! For a unique write up and a cool Hello Hyrule logo on top of his blog, I award n0signal.... a bucket of points!

Preposterous Whitey's Earful

When you think of Legend of Zelda what's the first thing that comes to your mind? A princess in danger? An annoying fairy? HYAAAA? Well for Preposterous Whitey the answer is very clear: Bunny Ears! Have a seat and let PW tell you why having long glorious bunny ears is the most important part of Majora's Mask. I don't think I've ever heard such an endearing case for a headband with some rabbit ears on it but this man is dedicated! Personally I'm more of a Zora mask guy, I like the bone fish guitar. To each their own I say! For a fun and different take on the assignment I award Preposterous Whitey with... some points!

Noir Trilby Corrects the Mistake of Not Liking Majora's Mask

Noir Trilby gives us a more traditional write up about his experiences with Majora's Mask, but that's perfectly fine because he has some interesting things to say! NT weaves us a tale about his first time playing MM back on the GameCube release and not being able to get into it. He then uses the fantastic line “So, play the Song of Double Time to 2015” and tells us all about how he revisited the game in the recent remaster. It's always nice to see people gain appreciation for such a fantastic game! No game is for everyone, so there will always be great games that some people just don't connect with, but we can relish moments like these regardless. For his new-found MM appreciation, I award Noir Trilby... a cup of points!

Agent9's Story Time!

Agent9 drops by this month to tell us about his favorite part of Majora's Mask; the stories! Learn about the tales of Darmani, Romani, and more! One thing that Majora's Mask did fantastically was filling it with so many great smaller stories that you got to experience as you explored the strange landscape of Termina. The whole experience is very surreal, and that's one thing that I really dig in games. For a fun little story time I award Agent9 with... 9 points. But big ones. Like, palm of your hand sized points.

Rico the Penguin's Link the Lady

Our final write up comes from the mind of a penguin named Rico. Odd name for a penguin, but who am I to judge? Rico gives us quite a nice double write up. First he tells us his feelings on the subject of Link's gender and it's importance (a stance that I myself would agree with!) and then gives us a great little fan fiction of an example of how the legend of Link could be broken to experiment with new things for the story! It's a very intriguing piece and I quite enjoyed it. I've always thought it would be cool if we got a Zelda story that worked in a Serge/Lynx way from Chrono Cross where they swap bodies and you have to deal with everyone thinking you're the bad guy. Have Ganon steal Link's body and tarnish his reputation while you're stuck doing good deeds as Ganon. Could be cool! For Rico's lovely write up I award him...pockets full of points! Oh dear, do penguins have pockets? I sure hope so, your point total will depend on your pocket size.

Edit: I missed one! Terribly sorry Shade!

ShadeOfLight's SeaOfSights

 Good guy ShadeOfLight managed to sneak in a Wind Waker piece that flew right under my radar with it's title, but here you'll find a great write up about the biggest thing that makes Wind Waker great (from a gameplay perspective): the exploration! Exploring the Great Sea on your fabulous little ship is one hell of a beautiful and satisfying experience. You'll get to visit many different little islands and see so many sights that just really make this wonderful world feel that much more fleshed out. Sea exploration can be difficult to pull off in a game but Nintendo really managed to make something special in Wind Waker. As an apology for missing Shade's great piece in the original posting; I award him a single golden point. May you treasure it always.

 

And that's been your March roundup for Band of Bloggers! As for the future of the event, I honestly don't know. I've been going through a bunch of issues and Scholarly has his new job and I haven't gotten a chance to speak to Dream yet so I'm not sure what will come next, but if you have any ideas, suggestions, concerns, or whatever feel free to leave them below! Thanks for reading!

 

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3:22 PM on 03.02.2015

March's Band of Bloggers Event: Hello, Hyrule!

Hello my friends! Your regular host Scholarly Gamer is a bit busy and so I am here to introduce the new month's BoB event! Last month's Fallout theme had a solid turnout and we'd like to thank all of you for participating. We had so many people jump in initially and show their support for the idea and then some of you even managed to get some blogs written about your experiences, and each of those blogs was great fun to read!

We'll try to get a good recap of last month's blogs done soon, but for now let's get started on March's Band of Bloggers:

Hello, Hyrule!

With this still being a pretty new event we're trying a new approach this month. This time around we're just going to assign the Zelda series as a whole and you can pick and choose which one or ones you'd like to write about! Wanna write about your experiences in the Majora's Mask remake? Go for it! Wanna compare and contrast a few different ones? Even better! Write about as many of them as you like in any format you find interesting. You folks got incredibly imaginative with last month's assignment so we look forward to seeing what you can put together this time around!

If you're not familiar with what's going on then consider it a bit of a video game book club, except this month instead of us all playing a single specific game you have a whole series to choose from! Over the course of March we'd like you to go out and play any and all Zelda titles that your heart desires. If you've wanted to replay any older titles or have been putting off that Majora's Mask 3D run then here's your chance to join others and knock em out over the course of the month.

Before the month ends just come on back to Destructoid's Community Blogs and tell us about your experiences! Get creative with it! There are no rules set for your blogs, so just have fun with it and show us what you can do. As always if you have any feedback or suggestions for the event going forward then please let us know. Scholarly, Dream, and I want to make this as solid and enjoyable of an event as possible. So thanks for the support guys, and thanks for reading!

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10:34 PM on 02.27.2015

Band of Bloggers: More Like Fail-out New Vegas

Hey folks! It's been a bit since I wrote, so I apologize that this return is both a bit late AND a bit short, but by god I helped start this event and I will participate in it. A combination of physical, mental, and technical problems have made it difficult to play as much of Fallout as I'd have liked but with around 15 hours in my current playthrough I think I can say enough. So now, to offset the lovely things everyone has had to say about their trips through the wasteland, allow me to tell you why this game is fucking shit.

Fallout: New Vegas is an absolute mess. I got shot in the head, woke up in a doctor's office with a magic science machine that let me change my face, and answered some questions about inkblots that gave me perks that I immediately swapped out to things I would actually use. I ventured outside, sun blinding my fancy new eyes, and learned how to shoot a godawful rifle at lizard things and helped a complete stranger gather the town's forces together to fight off the evil prisoners from across the street.

Now a fully fledged idol to the most boring shit town in the wastes I ventured out on my own, ready to begin my pokemon adventure! I walked across the street, saw more prison folk who were now none too happy to know me thanks to my (apparently quick to spread) reputation for killing their companions, and proceeded to murder them in self defense, gaining the dumbest nonexistant mechanic I have ever seen: KARMA! Murdering the inmates who may have simply joined the powder gangers because they had nowhere else to go gave me good karma. Stealing their stuff from the boxes around their corpses gave me bad karma. WAT. Murder all you like but please for the sake of all that is holy don't steal from them! What does karma actually do? WHO KNOWS!

There are other lovely mechanics that DO matter though, and boy are they fun! You very quickly learn from the game that you can only carry so much in your inventory. Don't wanna overburden yourself! Understandable I say. I'm only one man. I start to walk off and the game calls out to me “Oh, by the way! Did I mention that everything you use is in a constant state of decay and the primary way to repair it is to carry around multiple copies of the same weapons and armor so that you can use them to repair each other? So have fun carrying 4 shotguns around!” I'm starting to understand why my poor character is full of anger and ready to murder.

FNV is the story of a courier on the edge. By the way, did you know you played as a courier? Cuz I'll be damned if it was ever relevant in my time with it! I didn't get to deliver SHIT. If ANY game was gonna have fetch/delivery quests surely this would be the one! The most courier-esque job I did for anyone was a sniper lady who asked me to check out and report back on the status of a lovely whoretown called Nipton that was apparently on flames, and not of the rock and roll variety. No hurry though, take your time. Upon arriving at my destination I was met with crucifixions and a group of people who apparently really liked to cosplay as centurions.

They had decided to murder everyone in town for reasons and so I tried to murder them, but that didn't go well. Any of the 5 times. I made the tactical choice to be a little bitch and let the group go about their merry way and proceeded to loot the remains of the previous inhabitants, making my way through their houses and their rather large town hall, until something new happened. As I made my way to the top of the town hall and explored the mayor's room, I unlocked his closet and looted his stash of ammo and weapons to the point that I became over encumbered. I began dropping stuff I'd never use, but accidentally dropped a useful piece of armor which fell behind the mop bucket. I jumped onto the mop bucket to retrieve said armor and became stuck in the mop bucket.

After hours of killing deadly radioactive beasts and humans and solving problems, the biggest obstacle I met over the course of my time with the game was a mop bucket. I was unable to jump or move around. I attempted resting to see if it would maybe be fixed after waking up, but nope all it did was eat my autosave. Not content to load my quicksave from outside town I began tossing dynamite and grenades at my feet, at which point I discovered that my character was a fucking champ. Even in the face of point blank explosions he was perfectly fine to sit there and just grunt a bit. After many explosions I finally fell from the mortal coil and reloaded inside of the bucket. BUT WAIT! PRAISE CHINESE JESUS I COULD JUMP NOW!

I saved the shit out of that game and made my way outside town hall and began to finally finish exploring the town. Oh wait, no I didn't, because upon trying to walk into one of the small houses in town I suddenly began bouncing uncontrollably for no reason whatsoever. Just bouncing constantly, unable to stop, and unable to fast travel or anything because I couldn't “do that while jumping or falling.” I literally now had the opposite problem of what I had been suffering from just 3 minutes earlier. I bounced so much that my game crashed.

So why, through all of these things, do I still want to go back for more? I met all kinds of people and did all kinds of jobs on the rest of my trip through the wastes. I got Walker Texas Ranger pardoned so he could run a roller coaster town with his own brand of street justice, I helped some zombie folks fix a rocket so they could go to space to meet god or some weird shit, I helped a sniper lure a sweet old lady out in front of a t-rex so he could murder her because she was actually a pimp in the slave business apparently.

I did all kinds of stupid shit in that desert, and I'll be damned if I for some stupid reason don't want to go and do more. Fallout: New Vegas is a mess of a game, but it sure can be an enjoyable mess. Hope you enjoyed this incredibly dumb take on the blog assignment, and thanks for reading.

 

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3:07 PM on 02.09.2015

Season Finale: A Writing Update

Hey guys, it's your old buddy / internet acquaintance / random stranger Fenriff here with a bit of an update on my weekly writing. A lot of you may not realize this but I've been doing my weekly piece for about 8 months now! That's 8 months of writing a new piece every single week (with the exception of the one week my internet was out) and it's never been news or anything; it's all been stuff that I could think of on my own off the top of my head. I gotta tell you; it's starting to tax me a little bit.

Now don't get me wrong, I've had a fun time with it, and I've gotten WAY more feedback and comments and attention overall than I ever expected to. You guys have really gone above and beyond with your support, even those of you who just clicked and read without realizing that you were reading the same guy you've read before. Over the course of these 8 months I've been on the front page of IGN once (as well as being their Community Spotlight a separate time), the front page of Destructoid once, and the front page of Kotaku 6 times!

 

Even when I wasn't on a front page there were always those of you willing to have great discussions with me about my writing. I think my Breath of Fire Series Retrospective was probably the first time that I really felt like I was doing something right, because a lot of people came out of the woodwork to talk about that series with me. Which was a huge relief by the way because I played through every one of those games over the course of two weeks for the sake of writing that! I took notes!

I've written my thoughts on industry practices, my opinions on mechanics, I've poured my heart out about some of my favorite games, I've written lists, I even did full on reviews early on! So much writing and every week seems to fly right by and then it's time to write again. So what's all this about? Basically I've been starting to get a bit burnt out here lately. It's difficult to think of something creative and original to write about every single week and I don't want to get to a point where I feel like I'm forcing myself. I had actually written a whole piece about video game romance for today because of Valentine's this week and I just tossed it because it didn't feel like I actually had anything to say.

 

So what am I doing? Quitting? Not necessarily. It's important to me that this stay fun and engaging for me. The minute it starts to feel like I'm forcing myself to do it then it loses it's shine. This isn't something I do for a living, I've never gotten paid to write anything, it's just a hobby and a way to express myself. So I'm taking a break! Not from writing in general, just from doing it on a set schedule. If I sit and write something I want it to be because I felt inspired to do it and because I have something I want to say, not because I feel like someone out there will be disappointed in me if my blog doesn't show up that week.

So the weekly piece is on hold for a while. Season 1 of it has come to a close we'll say. You'll still see me around, creeping through blogs and probably leaving more comments on everyone else's stuff rather than worrying so much about my own. Whenever I come up with something I want to write about I'll write it, so when you see me pop up in the future you can know that I've got something to say and I'm not going through the motions. Thanks everyone for your support thus far and I look forward to writing more for you in the future!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

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