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When playing a game, one of the things that tends to really stand out to me is its setting. We have such great variation in the games on offer to us at any given time so it comes as no surprise that there have been many unique settings along the way. It's easy to just have a game set in a world that doesn't stand out. Putting an rpg in a generic fantasy world or having your shooter set in a modern day city doesn't make it bad, but there are so many games that go that extra mile and take you to worlds that you never thought you'd see. Let's talk about a few of them!
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
All too often we get games that take place in some sort of post apocalyptic setting that feel the need to go the usual route of brown wastelands devoid of life. Thankfully Ninja Theory chose to go a different route with this unique take on the old Chinese fable. As Monkey you'll escort the lovely Trip through a world that no longer belongs to humans. You'll venture through a city that has taken the phrase “urban jungle” to a new extreme with it's large plants and strange wildlife. Enslaved shows that just because a world after the downfall of humanity is deadly and depressing doesn't mean it can't be beautiful in its own way.
Here is a game that really created a unique and intriguing setting for people to explore. Xenoblade Chronicles is a world that, in a way, is a world within a world. Long before the events of XC there were two gigantic beings fighting each other in what seemed to be a never ending duel. One day they each struck a blow that left the other unable to fight back, but connected to each other. Over time life began to sprout on these enormous beings. You get to explore a beautiful and unique world that takes you along the enormous bodies of the Mechonis and Bionis and it's a fascinating trip the whole way through. The idea that the characters you control in XC are actually life forms that exist on other, larger life forms is amazing, and it's one that I won't be forgetting about anytime soon.
I could talk about this game for longer than anyone would ever care to sit and listen. Transistor has many stand out features and its setting is no exception. Probably the most intriguing thing about Transistor's Cloudbank is that there is no way of know exactly what it is. This strange cyber world where the weather is controlled by computers and all the environments have the most fascinating color schemes is such a wonderful mystery, especially since you're introduced to it just as it has begun its downfall. It's such a shame that you're never allowed to explore the city in its full glory. Such a beautiful shame.
Both the original Bioshock and Infinite have incredibly fascinating settings. From an underwater city of people too smart for their own good to a floating city of holier than thou citizens following a less than sincere prophet. Each are presented in unique ways as well, with Rapture left for you to explore after it has fallen to its own selfishness and Columbia you get to see in its faux utopia state before and while it's plunged into chaos. People will have their preferences, but there's no doubt that each of these settings are intriguing in their own way.
A futuristic world where magic has manifested within people and evolution has brought orcs and elves into a strangely familiar and yet alien setting? What's not to like! If you already liked cyber punk and fantasy settings before you found out about Shadowrun then you must have been intrigued by the idea of having them mashed together when you learned about this. The fusion of tech and guns with swords and magic is an idea that I've always found fascinating, (It's one of the reasons that I've always been so into Final Fantasy!) but no one mixes it together in quite the way that Shadowrun does.
The fascinating thing about the world of Termina is how it compares to what you expected it to be going into the game for the first time. Zelda games almost always take place in the land of Hyrule, and while that setting changes with each iteration no game quite manages to throw you for a loop like Majora's Mask. Termina is essentially a strange and twisted version of Hyrule. I don't mean that in the way that the Dark World or Lorule were mirrors of Hyrule; Termina comes off as more of a manipulation of someone's dreams. The people and locations are familiar to you and yet somehow feel worlds apart from how they should be. And let's not forget about the moon falling from the sky! “You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?” This quote from the mask salesman is one that sticks with you through this game, because the whole experience can feel as strangely haunting as his words.
The Souls game never lack for an interesting world for you to explore, but this entry was probably home to the best realized one. To say that Lordran is on it's last leg would be giving it too much credit. The haunting country side is barely hanging by a thread. A place once inhabited by Lords and their loyal subjects is left in ruin. A lord of light hidden away underground trying desperately to keep his kingdom whole, a once powerful witch and her daughters left to suffer from the results of their own pride, a dragon who betrayed his own kind gone mad from seeking what eluded him... Melancholy is something the world of Dark Souls is all too familiar with, and it makes for a fascinating place to explore.
There are so many amazing worlds that I've gotten to explore in the many years that I've been gaming. With enough time I could keep you here for ages listing off fantastic settings like those of Oddworld, Dishonored, Shadow of the Colossus, Remember Me, and so many more. But since I don't want to keep you here all day, how about helping fill in the blanks by telling me some of your favorite settings. You guys never fail to bring up great examples that I overlook, so don't let me down this time either! Oh, and thanks for reading.
For thousands of years one question has plagued mankind. I can't answer that question, but there is a question I can and will answer: just who are the sexiest people in the Destructoid Community?! I have developed a foolproof system to determine the answer to this question using a combination of science, math, and a little bit of witchcraft. No staffers or part timers here, just good old community members. Let's get down to business!
5: Its About To Get Gay In Here
IATGGIH is like a one man video game version of the Onion. No one else brings you breaking news stories like the kid who was able to fake happiness after receiving Duck Dynasty for Christmas, or gives you the purchasing info that you really need such as the smaller New 3DS shipping to America with its buttons sold separately. If you dig that kind of info then you'll also want to jump on the DLC that the mysteriously gendered writer recently announced for his/her blogs; you're gonna want the full experience! Dtoid as a whole could stand to learn from this dedicated reporter of the gaming news that really matters.
The manly mustached Seymour comes along to grab the number 4 spot, and rightly so! Last year he gave us a lovely look at his experience at the Alamo City Comic-Con, where he met many interesting people both famous and otherwise. The friendly fella also posted other well written pieces on interesting topics, such as why it's okay for games to do things that “aren't okay,” and how he learned to take it easy in 2014. He's also constantly in the comments ready to give folks a sensible chuckle. As entries on this list go, Mr. SeymourDuncan17 is probably the most reasonable.
If you hung out in the news articles on Dtoid last year then you know this guy, or rather the feminine pokemon he represented every chance he got. The Era of Gardevoir on Destructoid was one of highs and lows, of love and loss. It came to an abrupt end when Jawsh shocked the world a few weeks ago by posting what amounted to heresy for many: his true love was not Gardevoir at all, but rather the inferior Persona waifu Chie Satonaka! They say that there's no accounting for taste, but in reality your choice in Persona waifu actually accounts for 36.2% of your ranking in my patent pending sexy calculation system. Lucky for Jawsh he has been remembered for so much more than this one revelation. Everyone makes mistakes, and the number 3 spot is proof that he can be forgiven of this particular one.
Dreamweaver is a strange guy. I say that with love though! In a community of gamers talking about games this fine fellow put up his middle finger to the man (What man specifically is unclear. Probably Andy Dixon though.) and followed his passions. His weird, fucked up, amazing passions. He gave us interspecies erotica of a pokemon nature during the Era of Gardevoir, he gave us hentai manga that far too many of us fapped to, and he's recently graced the C-Blogs with a 3 part epic about the adventurous and romantic exploits of the Ice Climbers, aka that Smash Bros character that people like in public but really no one bothers with because Ness/Lucas are obviously cooler. This man is a visionary, and is highly deserving of the number 2 spot.
He's beauty. He's grace. He probably has a face. He also has many interesting fetishes, one of which apparently being learning other people's fetishes. In fact you might call him the originator of the fetish blogs around here, so you've probably got him to thank for what is likely your most popular piece you've ever written.
I mean let's face it, you know what gets you by in the C-blogs? Hilarity. Silliness. Hentai. I mean for fucks sake I've been writing about video games every week for half a year now and what do you people like the most out of all that? Terribly written fan fiction that's what! You know how painful it is to make that stuff purposefully bad and full of not very funny jokes? PAINFUL. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE WHY WON'T YOU JUST LIKE ME HAEDLKFAJDLKHFAO;DIKFJA;SDKL
...Ahem. He also is the strongest advocate for the spread of Naoto love on this website, which is something we could all strive to live up to. He's even an overall nice dude! I mean, I guess he is. I don't actually know the guy. I almost played video games with him one time though. But the Fenriff system's numbers don't lie, and Gajknight runs off with the number 1 spot.
Did you not manage to reach one of the highly sought after spots on this list? Then maybe you should try to be a little sexier in 2015. I mean if you're gonna make a new year's resolution then it should be something meaningful like putting these five people to shame. Is your name Occams or Bbain? Then you get a gold star sticker because you've moved on to bigger things at Dtoid and were unfortunately disqualified for this list as such. Congratulations to the winners of this very important event! Now go say something in the comments that may or may not actually relate to this and perhaps I will respond to it. Go on!
Video games have always been something of an escape for me. The world is a frightful place and until recently video games have done a satisfactory job of drowning it out, of placing themselves between the world and myself. A shield of sorts, but I suppose that kind of thing works both ways, because while it shielded me from the world that I never felt a part of it also probably kept me from adapting to that same world.
As I'm sure you've guessed this is about depression; something I've struggled with for a long time but over the past couple of weeks has been really gnawing at me. I don't really know what the point of this piece is, but I felt that maybe writing this all out might do some tiny amount of good. I do not share my feelings easily so doing this at all is incredibly difficult for me, but after almost 26 years on this planet of keeping things bottled in...well, let's just call this an experiment in opening up.
I am incredibly introverted. If you're someone who feels that the word is simply synonymous with being shy and quiet then I regret to inform you that is incorrect. I wish shyness was the extent of my problems. It's the sort of thing that leaves me feeling alone in a room full of people, even when I know every one of them. Simply being close to someone is difficult because it's not a simple matter of someone being nice to me or having an interest in similar things, it becomes something deeper. I don't place myself in someone's hands easily and if I do it's a big deal in my mind.
Just having friends is one thing, but friends often feel like people I just have around. There's a step after that which is difficult to achieve, and that role becomes harder to fill the older I get as I become less and less interested in people's bullshit. A “friend” is essentially anyone that speaks to me whose company I don't find disagreeable, and just reaching that plateau is apparently difficult. Becoming close to me is something else entirely. It's something that really requires me to feel connected to you. Like you're the one person amongst the bullshit that I WANT to be around and to speak to; the one person that isn't just another distraction for me.
This way of looking at people probably seems selfish, and it most likely is. If someone who sees me as a friend were to read that and think “Wait, so I'm just a distraction to you?” I couldn't really fault them for that. In a way they'd be right. It's nothing personal though, it's just the way that my brain works. You would assume that the knowledge that I treat people this way would be the first step to working it out, and again I wish it were that easy. Over the years I've made many attempts to push through that curtain of constant loneliness that surrounds me; to reach out and force interactions with people I didn't know but seemed like people I could stand. For the most part these fail, though whether that is the fault of me not trying hard enough, my brain getting in the way, or simply the other person not wanting to deal with me is difficult to say.
You wanna know the absolute worst possible outcome for my situation though? Think of what I have described to you of how difficult it is to become close to people, of how someone wanting to be around me isn't enough. Think of the difficulty that comes with having a brain (or heart I suppose) that forces you to wait until it decides that it has connected with another person for you to feel for them. Now imagine your brain and your heart eventually, finally make that connection with someone...and that feeling is not returned.
I don't simply mean like when you like a girl or guy and that person doesn't want to date you, I'm talking about something deeper than friendship or romanticism. Something that is required in my brain for you to really become either of those things. Then to make that feeling worse, part of you knows that you can't blame that person. You KNOW that you're asking a lot of that person and that, placed in their shoes, the pressure of that role would probably not be so desirable to you either.
As I mentioned at the start, I spend a lot of time trying to drown out this part of my brain. I surround myself with friendly distractions and immerse myself in video games and write gaming related articles every week that feel more and more forced every time. Gaming is a true passion for me, as is writing. I connect with it and it's because it's so important to me that I'm able to drown everything else out with it. Unfortunately though I recently hit something of a brick wall. I found myself becoming disinterested in nearly everything.
I had no desire to play, I had no desire to watch. I found all the suppressed loneliness welling up inside of me, ready to burst out and plead with me to just fucking stop. Just please stop wasting my time and just be happy. Just for a bit, just long enough to feed me and keep me running. I had been running on fumes for too long and now I was broken down on the side of the road and needed to push myself to the gas station, with no idea which direction or how far away it was.
This was about two weeks ago. I am an almost 26 year old man living in a small town in Georgia and I will be damned if “getting out” isn't the most difficult goal I've ever set for myself. I live in a town where the extent of going out is heading to the movie theater or the local Wal-Mart. I'm currently jobless as well, and while I'm sure that does not help, fixing that problem is also difficult. Most of the jobs I've had have made me more depressed than I was to start with, leaving me feeling the need to be incredibly picky in my search for work.
My past couple weeks have consisted largely of sleeping irregular hours, drawing poorly, writing my weekly piece, and trying to watch random things online to take my attention away from the real problems. I binge watched the entire first season of Psycho Pass last night solely to get through the night. I enjoyed the show, and it distracted me from what I'd been feeling while it lasted, but as soon as it was over it just all sunk right back in.
Needless to say the whole situation is less than agreeable. I'm not sure what steps are necessary to work through this, or if maybe it's just something I need to soldier through until I can cheer back up and get back into a “getting by” state of mind, but I really wish that would come sooner rather than later.
I don't know what has really been gained in writing all of this out, and the fact that I'm posting this here at all is shocking to me. If you've somehow made it through all of that and reached this lackluster conclusion then thanks for at least taking some time out of your day to read my venting on strangers and sorry for the massive wall of text. I mentioned earlier that friends to me were distractions that I shared interests with; people who kept the loneliness just far enough at bay to keep me going. I guess in that way Destructoid as a whole is something of a friend to me.
Replayability is a quality that many of us look for in games that we are considering spending our money on. For a lot of people it's hard to justify spending money on a game if they're only going to play it once. Thinking about it though, just what constitutes good replayability in a game? I'm sure many of us have different ideas on that, as I myself seem to take a different stance on it than many others I've seen online, so let's talk about it!
By definition replayability is the ability of a game to be replayed, but it's obviously more than that because any game CAN be replayed, so what you're really looking at is the incentive a game gives you to play it more than once. For me personally it's more important that a game give a reasonably entertaining amount of content the first time through and if the game has added replayability then that's just a bonus. When it comes to actual replayability though there are a few different ways it is typically achieved.
The first (and probably most sought after) form of replayability is when a game offers choices that change the way you experience the game on each playthrough. The first example that springs to mind of this type is The Witcher 2, in which the entire second act of the game changes (including the area it's set it) depending on a choice made in the first act. This scenario assures you that you will get to experience new things on subsequent playthroughs. The excitement that comes with the knowledge that you have shaped your playthrough with the choices you've made is part of what makes Bioware's games so popular.
People want to try extra playthroughs of games like Mass Effect and see what it's like to be a renegade female instead of a noble male or vice versa. This kind of expectation is also part of why people like myself were disappointed in Telltale's The Walking Dead series, because the game hammers home that your choices are important and then betrays your trust if you ever attempt to play through the game differently. Don't get me wrong; it's perfectly okay for a game to have choices that don't largely impact the game, but it's not okay to have choices like that while you're shoving it into the player's face at the beginning of every episode that their choices are a big deal.
Another form of replayability is when a game just has so much content that you can hardly get through it all on one playthrough. This type is one where in a way you're creating your own replayability, because you COULD try to get through everything on one playthrough, but a part of you wants to save it to enjoy later. For instance, you're not likely to have done everything on one playthrough of Skyrim, you probably saved cities or regions for another time. I myself intentionally didn't do everything available to me in Dragon Age: Inquisition because there are far more areas than necessary to reach the final mission, so I left like three entire zones untouched so that I could explore them as different characters.
The “loads of content” style tends to work best when in conjunction with another kind of replayability: having more than one way to play. This is one of the biggest ways to get me to play a game again, if not THE biggest. Having different styles of play that reasonably change your experience is always welcome in a game for me. This is the main reason that I've played DA:I three times. I've played as a dual wielding human rogue, a qunari mage, and an elf archer; and each playthrough has felt unique in such a way that I didn't mind that there were times I was doing the same content. The playstyles of each of those classes are sufficiently different and the game already has such an enjoyable combat system that I've thoroughly enjoyed each of those playthroughs.
The final major form of replayability that I want to talk about is probably my least favorite but it's one that many others seem very fond of: the “try to do better than you did last time” kind of replayability. This is essentially where a game grades you or times you or gives you score based on how well you did and expects you to play the game more to one up yourself. There are ways of implementing this that I find enjoyable, but they're relatively rare. For instance, in Devil May Cry I enjoy it because the game is constantly rating you while you're playing. You can see how you're doing as you're doing it. If you do a really good combo you will immediately see the ranking on the top of your screen and you can watch it climb or decline based on your performance in the moment. However if you look at a game like Bayonetta, which has a very similar style of play, the scoring is handled just differently enough to take away my interest.
In Bayonetta you fight off enemies and are shown the out of context score numbers but aren't shown a ranking for how well you did to match that score until after the battle is over, when you may see a gold medal for your combos and think “Well damn, what part of the fight was I slacking on? Where should I have improved?” You're also ranked again at the end of the level based on your rankings received and then you lose points for the battles you missed out on, which is a bummer considering that many encounters are hidden or require you to do backtracking halfway through a chapter to find them.
In general score based games make me want to perform really well when I play them initially, but they don't really convince me to play them again. Leaderboards aren't generally something I personally strive for. In fact the only time I can think of that I really strove to do really well on a leaderboard was a bit after the launch of DmC when I noticed that I had happened to rank like 15 or something in the world on the final mission on one difficulty and so I thought “Hell, I can do better than that” and replayed it a couple of times until I was number 1.
The most interesting thing about the idea of replayability to me is that it is so incredibly subjective that I enjoy seeing what others feel is reasonable. Rogue-like games (or rogue-lites) for example are games that I always find very interesting but are rarely able to hold my interest for longer than a day or two. The ones that have systems built in that make your subsequent playthroughs more interesting such as Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy, or DungeonMans certainly help me stick around longer, but in general the content feels incredibly repetitive in these types of games for me. However I have seen a lot of people who have racked up MANY hours on these kinds of games, so it's all just different strokes for different folks I suppose.
So how about you my lovely readers? What does a game need to do to convince you to come back to it? Does it need to appeal to your need to be the best? Does it need branching paths or loads of content? Or are you like me in that it just needs to be a really solid, enjoyable experience? Let me know, and thanks for reading!
It's the beginning of a brand new year! There is so much in store for us in the world of gaming, and I for one am pumped for another fantastic year with my favorite pastime. We've already heard of many great things to look forward to this year and no doubt there will be many surprises around every corner as we make our way through the year. With that in mind, here are some things that I'm personally looking forward to this year!
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Xenoblade Chronicles was such a pleasant surprise when it finally came to the west back on the Wii. Enjoyable characters, an interesting story, a lovely art style, and unique combat all combined well to make an intriguing as hell experience! One of the few things working against the original XC was it's poor resolution due to being a Wii title, but what we've been shown of the newest installment is looking absolutely out of this world.
It's entirely possible we've just been shown bullshots and the like due to how ridiculously good the game looks for a Wii U title, but even if it just comes out looking competent the rest of the game is sure to make up for it if its lineage is anything to go by. This is one game I can't wait to get my hands on.
The Witcher 3
Here we are, the title sure to be on 95% of all 2015 posts, but for damn good reason! The Witcher 2 is one of the primary reasons that I got a gaming PC. It was a beautiful, gritty, and incredibly enjoyable game, and the books that the series is based off of have been pretty enjoyable as well! I've become so invested in the world and lore of The Witcher and all of his friends that I couldn't pass this new entry up no matter how hard I tried. To be honest though, even if I wasn't interested in the story I'd feel pretty compelled to grab this one with it's breathtaking visuals and impressive looking take on an open world.
KENPACHI RAMASAMA UP IN THE CLUB!
The sequel to one of my favorite games of all time? I will be there at midnight to pick this game up, I don't care how long I have to drive. If you've played P4 then you don't need me to explain to you why I'm hyped for P5. And if you haven't played P4 then your opinion doesn't matter. <3
I need this game so badly. The Souls games scratch a gaming itch that I never knew I had like no other series can. I've poured countless hours into Dark Souls 1&2, both of which have pulled me back in for so many different types of playthroughs. I don't think I've ever played a game in so many different ways as I have for these two. I've done full strength tank “block everything” builds, magic builds, faith builds, pyromancies, and nimble dex builds. Hell I did a no shield light armor powerstance playthrough of DSII and it was one of the most fun times I've had with the series. The great combination of challenge, varied gameplay, and intriguing lore all add up to make a style of game that I just can't stay away from.
The Legend of Zelda
Another title that needs no explanation. I have been a huge Zelda fan since I was old enough to hold a controller playing the original gold cartridge on my grandma's NES. So many great games in this series and this one looks to really bring something new to the table. Everything we've seen so far (little as it may be) has looked glorious and I can't wait to drown my life in the newest incarnation of Hyrule.
Final Fantasy XV
This is another series that I've been playing since I was a little kid and it is incredibly rare for me to be fully disappointed with any of the titles that make it up. Hell, I'm one of the people who actually enjoyed FFXIII! This new entry doesn't look to be eager to break my streak of enjoying the series either. The gameplay looks like a ton of fun and I love the idea of driving around the country side of a sci-fi / fantasy world looking for adventure. It also doesn't hurt that the game looks unbelievably gorgeous.
News of the next Supergiant Games entry
It may be a bit soon to ask for this but I'll be damned if I'm not hyped for whatever Supergiant Games has in store for us next. These guys are some of the most talented people currently making games in my opinion. Both of their releases have been top notch games that I'm not likely to forget anytime soon. Bastion brought us an amazing art style with some unparalleled narration and an excellent story.
They then followed it up with the equally awe inspiring Transistor; a game whose visuals paint a cyberpunk world the likes of which I'd have never dreamt up before. It brought back the fantastic voice of Logan Cunningham to bring another great style of narration and a story that tells so much while saying so little. It also has one of the best soundtracks ever and manages to make its music feel like a legitimate part of the game, rather than just something going on in the background. I don't know what form their next endeavor will take but I know for sure that I will be buying it.
Obligatory Last Guardian Mention
This is never happening is it? Come on Sony give us SOMETHING. ANYTHING.
Well there's a taste of what I'm looking forward to in the coming year. There are so many more great titles that have been announced that I want to get my hands on, but I won't keep you here all day! However I WOULD love to hear what you folks are looking forward to in the coming year! Some Arkham love perhaps? Or maybe Hideki Kamiya's Xbone exclusive, Scalebound? Let me know, and thanks for reading!
Hey Dtoid! Your old pal Fen here to talk about the year to come. I don't really do New Years Resolutions or anything like that, but seeing as how you guys are the people I write to and interact with on a weekly basis I thought I'd talk out my plans and ideas for the future and sort of gauge interest.
2014 was a bit of a varied year for me; I started taking my writing seriously and did everything from reviews to more thought out content (the latter of which I had far more success with) and I'd like to continue that going forward. My weekly piece isn't likely to stop anytime soon, especially considering all the great attention my stuff has garnered both here on Dtoid and elsewhere on the internet, but I'd like to try and write about more things and possibly expand beyond the one weekly piece.
I'm not really sure yet what I would move into from here, in fact it's difficult enough to keep writing about something unique and interesting every week when I'm the sole person thinking it out, figuring out what to write about, and then actually getting it written! With that in mind whatever I do will likely need some kind of theme (of which I have a couple of ideas, none of which are terribly fleshed out yet) or help from the community.
I'd actually love to try and come up with something I could do with members of the community, whether it be combined effort writing, podcast type stuff, or anything else. Is there a community run podcast, like one specifically by and about the Dtoid community? I don't even know, but I'd assume there's at least one. If not maybe a Dtoid themed, community run one that balances talking specifically about news and/or cblog related stuff could be interesting, rotating community members or something. I don't usually get to keep up with the podcasts that I see around Dtoid unfortunately so I'm probably just rambling on about something that someone else already does!
Whatever I did I wouldn't even mind it being on other people's blogs instead of my own, I'd just like to branch out a bit and hang out with folks in the community. The extent of my non comment section interaction with community members has been watching SolarPonyDjango stream Dark Souls at 4 in the morning (which he's done a pretty good job of as well considering it's his first time through). There are so many cool and interesting people in the community and if there's one thing my life could use more of it's cool and interesting people.
I've also considered the idea of writing reviews again alongside the weekly piece, but that will of course have to wait until I've got some money coming in. I like to think my past reviews were pretty well balanced, but I also don't think that people are usually terribly interested in community reviews in general, so we'll see.
So that's what has been on my mind. Let me know if you have any thoughts about any of this, or if you've also been considering doing stuff with the community. Maybe we can work something out, just for fun if nothing else! Thanks for reading!