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About
Working for the Government of Canada, DJing and writing about video games in my spare time.

I also work for Gamework Canada (www.gamework.ca), bringing competitive gaming tournaments to Canada!

This really needs an overhaul: COMING SOON!
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Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together. 

Recently Fenriff, Dreamweaver and I were talking and discussing how hard it was to get people to play specific games, whether or not this was on a Friday Night Fights or when you're just looking for someone to grind with. What came out of this discussion was an idea for a new community event called Band of Bloggers that will gather up Dtoiders to play the same game every month, and then blog about their shared and different experiences afterwards!

Think of it like a book club but with video games. Right? RIGHT?!?! If only your grandma knew you were this cool.

In my day, there was no "fast travel". We had to walk 30 miles in the snow, uphill both ways, just to visit Winterfell. 

Since we didn't want to just choose games and force you all to play them (well, Dreamweaver did but we figured he had just been “reading” too much doujinshi), we will post a blog at the end of each month with a specific theme and a Strawpoll with 5 games. The games will all fall under the general theme, and at the end of the week we will post the results and all go forward together into the new month playing the community choice game.

The games will also all be older and generally cross-platform, so that the majority of people will have at least 2-3 games on the list, or be able to purchase the winning game for cheap. For games within a series, we will often allow people to pick one of the games to make this more inclusive!

At the end of the month, we will ask people to share their thoughts on the game in a blog post, and we will combine them up and do a big recap on the experience!

February's theme will be: Stories From the Apocalypse!

Fallout 3 / New Vegas
Metro 2033 / Last Light
Dead Island / Dead Island Riptide
Enslaved
Darksiders

Why apocalypse? Because everyone likes a good romp through the wastelands, lopping heads off no-do-gooders, and crafting sex dolls out of motorcycle chassis and cactus fruit. So click on the link below, vote for the game that you want to be playing in February with Destructoid, and come apoca-lose yourself with some great people!

Strawpoll : http://strawpoll.me/3471070


The end of the world comes in all shapes and sizes. 

As a bonus, Fenriff, Dreamweaver and I will also be venturing back into Gran Pulse over the course of February to save Lightning and Noel from a future without the human race in Final Fantasy XIII-2, keeping with the theme of apocalypse. We'd love for people to join us on this adventure as well, if they can manage the full game-load!

So cast your vote on which apocalypse you would like to visit in February, and look forward to the results coming next week!









I ain't slept in 8 days,
I could go for 8 weeks,
Ain't nothing to me,
Cause I am the streets.


All I want is my paper, I don't care what they say. 

Well, now that we have that out of the way, I'm here to drop some analytic truth bombs on you all, straight from the hood. While working on my thesis, listening to my hood-hop, and taking intermittent breaks to play through some JRPGs I realized something: I'm literally doing the same thing regardless of what activity I'm involved in.

It has been about a week straight now of alternating between doing reading and analysis on sources for my thesis, playing a combination of Persona 4 Golden, Final Fantasy XIII, Destiny, Monster Hunter Tri, and Sword Art Online, and listening to some straight up hood mixes, but it was not until last night that I realized I was never truly taking a break from any of these activities, because they all shared so much in common.


Here go another motherfucker who don't understand the concept of puttin in work, boy.

I'm out here grinding, fools. I won't explain any more about what my thesis is about, because I'm sure you're all tired about hearing about it for now. The process I'm currently working through involves reading through my hundreds of sources and picking out their theses and core arguments, providing a succinct analytic summary, and fitting it within the parameters of my paper. Rinse, Repeat. Literally after only 2-3 hours of this I can start feeling my eyes drying out. Alright, time to take a break and play some video games.

We all know I've been going through P4G lately, but for some reason I decided lately to start playing Final Fantasy XIII again. My last save had about 22 hours in it, so I figured “Hey, that's about halfway. Let's push through and beat this game.” Why out of the hundreds of games at my disposal did I gravitate towards this game? Hell, I have 10 other Final Fantasy games I could have chosen from. The only logical conclusion I came to was because it was a slow and simple grind, and something I could do repetitively to make progress in the overall narrative. Alright, well if it's that simple while I'm grinding, I should probably drop some beats while I play.


I get high with my baby, I be in the kitchen cookin pies with my baby!

It wasn't until my Hip-Hip playlist on Youtube came around to DJ Khaled I'm Out Here Grinding that the revelation finally hit me. Holy shit Matt, you may as well be slinging dope on the street corner. I mean, I am a pretty huge fan of hip-hop, especially newer gangster rap, but this past week I've really been on a huge kick. And all the tracks have the same general theme: grinding in the hood, making mad stacks on stacks, popping bands at the club, and chillin with your harem at the Trap House. It was like the music was narrating my life. I mean...I was only making stacks and chilling with harems virtually, but at least it's something.

Hmm...Harems eh? I should probably purchase Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment if I'm thinking about harems. Why not work on Asuna & Sinon, and Chie & Marie at the same time? Oh you devious hoodrat you, what if Ashleigh finds out? Well, luckily my fiancee doesn't know about the harem-nature of these games, otherwise she may not be hugely impressed. So I'm building my harem on the DL, what's more gangster than that?


God damn I got bitches, damn I got bitches, damn I got bitches: wifey, girlfriend, and mistress!

Well fuck. I'm in pretty deep now. Sword Art Online is a lot of fun for a fan of the show, but is a pretty tedious grind, which can be best described as a single-player MMO, including all of the annoyances associated with your typical MMOs. This is entertaining, but frustrating, and I'm making less credit than on the corner. Fuck again. Alright, my homies been hittin up my digits, should probably hit em back and drop in on Venus with my Warlock and actually make some progress in a game.....

Oh, right. This is Destiny you're playing now, maybe you should consider the offline MMO again. Did you think you were going to be able to level up today? Ahahahaha, yeah right. Grind out some Strikes and Crucible for marks and just maybe you can upgrade your helmet once today. Ok, no I'm just getting annoyed. Back to the hip-hop...it calms my nerves down, reminds me of the good times...


Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana! I've got Miley, I've got white, I be twerking, twerking, twerking, twerking, all damn night! 

Orrrrrrr not. So, that has pretty much been my life for the past week, and I fully expect it to remain this way for the coming month as I set my thesis up to actually start writing it, and try painstakingly to finish at least 2 of these games. Not counting Destiny...much like the grind of life, it will never end until I die. At least on the corner, I'd maybe get shot and NOT respawn.

So I should probably get back to my thesis now, because its the one thing out of all of these that I actually HAVE to grind through. At least at the end of this grind, there is a nice piece of paper in it for me. Hmph. I'd much rather that Exotic Weapon everyone's been talking about...

Game Grindy. Grind Gamey.
TSG









It’s aboot der time den bucks.

In Canada we don’t believe in spelling out acronyms, so from here on out, I will be pronouncing it as Goaty. I lamented for days about how I was going to write my Goaty blog, as this is the first time that I have ever (un)officially done one. Bbain knocked it out of the park with his awards, my current personal favourite, but many others have done great jobs as well. Of note, Dreamweaver’s list was exceptionally comprehensive, Rust Cohle stepped away from AAA fanboyism, and Phil’s blog was awesome but just made me want a philly cheese steak. And to have sex. Possibly, with said philly cheese steak. So without any further ruckus, that means you Hoffman, here is my Canadian Goaty list.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Official Steed

Shadow of Mordor

I’m surprised I haven’t seen this a little bit more in lists, because it’s one of my serious contenders for the best game this year.  From the get go, this game has everything that I want from a 3rd person action game with the combat style made famous by the Batman and Assassin Creed games, among others. First off the combat is exceptionally fluid, and as you gain new skills it allows you to seamlessly flow from enemy to enemy in a plethora of different ways, with all the ensuring blood and decapitations you’d expect from a game based around killing orcs. As mentioned, the skill tree really is exceptional. No skill is pointless, and smart players will utilize each new ability as a method to expand combat in previously unforeseen ways.

The Nemesis system has been discussed at length, but it really is one of the defining features of this game. It’s so intricate and thought-out, I refused to complete the game for some time because I enjoyed working my way through Sauron’s ranks and then resetting them. Branding adds an entirely new dimension to the game, and another great way to work your way up through subterfuge. I don’t know if I have a bad thing to say about this game; it really is the complete package in a game.


I want a decapi-counter. 

Farcry 4

Obviously. I think my real Goaty is between Farcry 4 and Shadow of Mordor. Why? Because they both have everything you’d expect from their genre without useless filler or gaping holes. Farcry 4 takes your typical first-person shooter and adds a hint of Dishonoured, a hint of Tomb Raider/Unchartered, something magical that can only be found in Kyrat, and more wildlife than you can shake a harpoon gun at. While many people may have considered it to be a repaint and repeat of Farcry 3, I would argue that they have improved upon everything that made the 3rd game a success.

Too many games nowadays try and shy away from a tried and true method, and end up with catastrophe. Assassin’s Creed Unity was not just a flop because of its bugs, but because of the new system of combat and movement that had not been flushed out like previous games. Another prime example: Red Faction Armageddon was a joke compared to the brilliant open-world Guerilla. While some games have gotten stagnant through too much repetition (ex. Assassin’s Creed, Batman, Call of Duty)

So Ubisoft took everything that worked well from Farcry 3, and improved the combat, added new weapons, expanded the wildlife and its AI, added some great new methods of transportation, some memorable characters, and finally, a multiplayer that actually holds its own instead of feeling tacked on. The versus multiplayer is entertaining, but the true gem is the cooperative multiplayer which has set a new benchmark for what should be possible in these types of games.


Stay Gold, Ponyboy. 

Destiny

Come at me bro. I don’t even care. I firmly agree that Destiny was overhyped a little past what it actually offered, but I had some really enjoyable times with the game, and still am playing now. It offered a fairly weak MMO-campaign, but it was insanely entertaining to team up with friends and work your way through missions, Raids, or just the open-world patrol. Crucible may just be a typical arena-combat FPS, but in combining it with the character you have created through campaign raiding, it adds a little something else. Mostly though, Destiny is all about playing with friends. I’ve tried to play alone numerous times, both campaign and Crucible, but I truly enjoy this game when I’m grinding and laughing with one or two friends as we throw void damage and Titan haymakers at fools. 


I'm pretty sure it's called '"Cocoon"

Bayonetta 2

Again, just an absolutely fantastic game with very little that I can complain about. Not enough of Bayonetta’s ass…there; I’ve complained. The combat system was left pretty much untouched with some small tweaks to improve fluidity, and the gameplay is absolutely balls-to-the-walls off-the-hook completely-fuck-your-couch kinds of crazy.  There are very few fights that are just fights, but instead have you careening through the air, falling on a building, or otherwise defying gravity (you know what I’m talking about ;) ) as you stiletto your way from heaven to hell. The Co-op is a bit tacked on, but it’s a lot of fun to play around with friends with new unlocked characters and costumes, even if it’s in closed off battles.


Keeping it PG on the work computers. BUTT!

Honourable Mentions 

I could most likely make this around 10 pages, as I’ve played a plethora of games in the last year and feel very strongly about a number of them. So, here is my attempt at succinct analysis of some of my other gems from 2014! *Coughs* Ahem…

Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros were obviously amazing games. ‘Nuff said. Hyrule Warriors is also an a crazy amount of fun, and one of the best cross-over mash-ups I’ve seen in quite some time, right after Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne. Halo Master Chief Collection is also a blasty blast and a half, but that should go without say.

Fable Anniversary was one of my favourite remakes of this past year, and a game that I am truly glad to have gotten to experience again, as one of the first action RPGs to truly bring me into that style of game, and allow me to play evilly. Diablo 3 was awesome, but I don’t think anyone’s shocked by that. Dark Souls 2 was a larf, but not quite the sequel that I was expecting. Also, I get that you don’t give any in-game hints, but I spent the first 1/3 of the game without an Estus Flask. For Christ’s sake Dark Souls.


Chris Williams ain't doin right if you ask me; cause if I was him I woulda married Kate and Ashley. 

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare has gotten an insane amount of playtime this past year, and my fiancée loved to play it and got really good online. A must have for anyone looking for a fun, but well-designed TPS. This ain’t your sister’s mobile app. Other great third-person shooters of the year would have to include Sniper Elite 3. This game flew under many people’s radars, but has some of the most realistic sniping mechanics in a game, coupled with possibly the best kills using their slow-motion x-ray kill cam.

Thief was a blast, and was decently underrated. Maybe not the greatest game in the series, but was a lot of fun to play a game focused on stealing. Seriously though, why can’t Garrett knife people? Stupid blackjack.  On underrated games, Wolfenstein was frigging amazing, and falls right behind Far Cry 4 for my favourite FPS of the past year. Plot, gameplay, weapons, all superb. Underrated and overhyped? Titanfall. Once again, come at me. Titanfall is possible the tightest shooter to come out in 2014, and was certainly not your average dude-bro shooter.

Ok, one more just because. Watch Dogs. I really enjoyed Watch Dogs, and could have cared less about all the controversy that came out about it post-release. I loved the game, found the multiplayer to be innovative (although lacking), and had a blast working my way through it. I also have spent my entire winter wearing the Aiden facemask. So…yeah…

Nerddddddd!

South Park: TSOT is without a doubt the funniest game I’ve ever played. A bit light on the RPG elements, but nonetheless a worthwhile romp for even quasi-fans of the show. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes gives me hope for Phantom Pain. A lot of hope.

Alien: Isolation, PT, and The Evil Within all come out on top for my horror games of the past year, and I’ve had a blast with all of them! Is it weird though, that I was scared the most by a demo? I’m really stoked to see what 2015 bring us in the horror genre. I’d punch a koala for a new Fatal Frame over here.

And amazing DLC!

The Last of Us: Left Behind made me cry, literally. I finished the game, heard the line “Let’s just sit here and go crazy together” and broke down into a sobbing wreck and hugged my fiancée for like an hour. Truly a masterpiece of a game. ACIV: Freedom Cry was a great addition to an already fantastic game, and I am glad they let you free slaves as Adewale. Maybe one of my favourite experiences in the whole game.  


I'm almost tearing up right now thinking about it. 

You just started playing this NOW?

And lastly, the games that I somehow did not get around to playing until recently that would have been at the top of my list during their respective years: Danganronpa and Person 4 Golden. I won’t go into any detail here, because I’ve talked about them at length, but Danganronpa was an amazing story and P4G is quickly making its way to my best games of all-time list. I still have no idea who I should date…that nurse keeps giving me eyes.

Phew. That took more time than I thought, and I’m more than certain I’ve missed at least one or two games. I'm super excited to see what 2015 has to offer us for games! It's been a blast to write my first GOaTY, and I look forward to many more in the future! 

Thanks for stopping by to read, and for being so awesome in 2014 Destructoid! I can't wait for another amazing year with you all! =D

Game friendly, eh?
TSG









From closer to the North Pole than any of you suckers.

I really shouldn’t write this blog, because I’m only 1/3 way through writing my 2014 blog, but seeing all the Christmas posts today has put me in such a holiday spirit! Also, for some reason I’m still sitting in my cubicle, with only 4 of us in the office, so there will not be much work today. Who knows, maybe I’ll also get that 2014 Goaty post out!


I'll give you a pole to decorate. 

I was originally going to write this post tomorrow as I’m sitting around with Ashleigh and the cats, but I somehow doubt that there will be much activity around here tomorrow. And she may not be entirely stoked about me spending the morning blogging. For the first time in my life, I’m not spending Christmas with my whole family. My sister is engaged now and is going to spend her holidays with her fiancé’s family, and my parents decided that they are leaving our icy wonderland for Florida at noon on Christmas day, so there was not much point in making the 5 hour trip to go and see them for a morning. All of the extended family live around them as well, so it’s a no go on seeing pretty much anyone.

We’ll still Skype and everything on Christmas morning, but it’s definitely going to be a different year for me. Time to start creating our own traditions with my fiancée and cats! I somehow feel like the cats are going to open gifts before I get a chance to…but if they do I’ll eat their presents from their stocking. That’s right. I’ll eat cat treats to make a point. Self-serving narcissistic pampered ass felines. God I love them.




Are cats supposed to sleep like this?                      You have displeased your cat overlord.

So that is why I’m so stoked that I have this new amazing extended family to spend my holidays with; with one mother, several fathers, a handful of sisters, and more brothers than I can legitimately count. I’m really glad to be spending my first Christmas ever with all of you on Destructoid! It’s been a great time for me on here so far, and I’m always so jazzed up every time I read blogs and get to spend time chatting with all of you. From helping me through some rough times, to talking about our favourite videogames, and making fun of my videogame collector’s edition addiction (say that 5 times fast), I couldn’t ask for more! It’s like being on speed all the time. You should seriously be in my head.

I’ve been racking my brain the past week about something awesome that I could give to the C-Blogs community for the holidays, but I unfortunately haven’t had time to stretch my creative muscles lately. So until that time, my gift to you will be my continued presence on the site (retail value $3.82 Canadian. That’s like $3 American, FYI). Also, this picture of the side of a Christmas bag I got from my parents last week. It’s *cough* supposed to be a reindeer arm…and a snowflake…I’m pretty sure it’s Phil; or at least part of him.


Gives a new meaning to the phrase "Dickbag"

I won’t go into discussing my games here, because I obviously have to save that for my Goaty blog. But don’t you worry, I’ll be giving you all my Goaty soon. All over your monitors.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and most of all, Happy Festivus (which was actually yesterday) Destructoid!  I think next year I’ll glue people’s faces onto Christmas bulbs and make a Destructree. Oh man, I’m punny.  

Game Merrily! 
TSG

Photo Photo Photo







The Scholarly Gamer
12:19 PM on 12.19.2014

And Thus There Is No Work For Me

Sitting in my cubicle at work right now, and feeling deathly bored. Coming towards the end of my contract, I’ve done a fairly good job at keeping up with all of my work so I don’t really have much piling up that I am concerned about finishing in the next week and a bit.  And the world seems to be quiet right now, at least in terms of our regional responsibilities, so we haven’t had crazy urgent requests coming in that need immediate attention. So? I blog.  

Not sure at this point exactly what I’m going to talk about, just that I’m going to spend my lunch writing something.  I find that often when I don’t write a blog it is because I feel like I have nothing important or especially insightful to say, and so I just post comments and enjoy everything you all have to offer. So today I’m just blogging for the sake of blogging, and we’ll see where it goes.

I’m really stoked at the reception of my Friendly Gaming Master List (pending a better name), and stoked to boot up all my systems this weekend and spend some time adding all of you lovely people. I really hope that it connects some more people in the community, as I’ve had some of my best recent gaming experiences with a couple friends from here.

I know many of the people on here are younger, but I also know that there are many people with similar lives to mine that probably have a difficult time scheduling games with friends. As a 26 year old engaged man working for the Government of Canada and finishing a Master’s thesis, and having most of my friends in similar boats, it becomes really hard to link up to people like I used to. Back in the day, hell, even 2 years ago when I moved to Ottawa, it was easy to grab a few buddies, a 26 of vodka, and rock out some games for a whole day. Now it has become really hard to coordinate gaming with my “IRL” friends, even through online multiplayer.  Luckily my fiancée plays with my occasionally (uh…phrasing?) so I don’t get the itch too bad. But when I do get it? It’s going to be up to all of you to scratch it now.


It's going to be an itchy weekend.

Still working my way through my atrocious backlog, and I’ve recently added a few games to it because of some early Christmas shopping my parents took me on while they were up last weekend. I’m not going to get to spend Christmas with my family this year, for the first time ever in my life, so it was really nice to be able to spend a weekend with my mom, dad, sister and her fiancé so that I still got my favourite part of the holidays in. Plus, my dad and I played Tiger Woods PGA 13 until the wee hours, and it was awesome. He may be the man on the actual fairways, but those digital fairways are my bitch. Sawgrass, eat your heart out.

Picked up Infamous Second Son, and so far really enjoying it. You know…as pretty much the only decent PS4 exclusive right now. *coughs* I’m waiting for Sony to cancel Day Z because they found out that the Haitian community is offended by the depiction of zombies in Day Z, as opposed to their cultural beliefs regarding voodoo. I do understand the issues behind releasing The Interview, but it also saddens me. I don’t think we should let North Korea (I mean, of all countries) dictate our media, but at the same time those were some pretty serious threats that were levelled. It sucks, but we need to ensure the safety of people first I think. I find myself divided on this issue. Seriously though, North Korea. Are we actually taking them seriously still? We may as well just create Telltale Games: Looking at Things Across North Korea – The Kim Jong-Un story. In part 5, you find out he was searching for love the whole time. At least his father was cool. 


Yo Il, drop that bass!

Dreamweaver and I had our first Tag Climax last night and it was magical. Yupp. Nothing else to say here.

Mostly, I’m playing through Far Cry 4 right now though, because that game is amazing. Far Cry 3.5 or whatever you want to call it, I love it. Although I hereby call of the extermination of all eagles. I wanted to write an entire blog, and I still may, on radio MCs in various games, based off how much I’ve enjoyed Rabi Ray Rana in Far Cry 4. I put his dialogue right up there next to some of the best moments from GTA-radio, and I often find myself laughing out loud or waiting in my jeep until his segments end. If you listen closely as well, between his comparing Kyrat to Obama’s 2008 election, and ripping on Pagan Min’s fashion sense, there is some smart political analysis in there as well.

Other than that, I finally finished up the Hurk missions and got my awesome Harpoon Gun. I absolutely love the new weapons in Far Cry 4, and my ideal loadout is currently the Composite Bow, the Hand Crossbow, the Harpoon Gun, and Hand Grenade Launcher.  Go quiet, or go balls to the walls. That’s the Far Cry way.  The Hurk were some of my favourite, and I loved Hurk’s dialogue in this game and his quest to appease the monkey gods. “One elephant, that’s gotta be worth like, 1000 monkeys, right?”


Woooooo-Hoooooooo!

While the story may not have been great, I really enjoyed the characters in this game, in a lot of ways more than much of the supporting cast of the third game. Pagan Min is no Vaas, that is for sure, but I very much enjoy his flamboyant eccentric evil, and find its very suiting to the environment. (“What is with that jacket and all those zippered pockets? Do you use them to carry around handfuls of meat?”) Sabal and Amita get on my nerves a bit, with their back and forward, but I think that’s intended. I don’t find either to have the right answer some of the time, and it makes the choices hard. I’ve already mentioned Hurk (“Oh no, we don’t ever mention Jumbo 1!”). Willis is pretty fantastic (“You have to keep a low profile. Like a Republican living in San Francisco”) and of course, Longinus. I love Longinus’ dialogue as well, and his religious quest to redeem himself (“Every bible is a gun. Every sermon, a bullet.”).

Well, this has gotten pretty long already and I feel like my lunch probably ended 15 minutes ago. Thanks for reading my ramblings! I’ll leave you with one last quote from the great Rabi Ray Rana:

“With sex, I’m a normal guy. I have three favourite positions. Doggy. Missionary. And I’m sorry.”

TSG

Photo Photo Photo








Scholar’s back. Missed his friends.

This blog post will sort of be like the soft opening of a new club. You know that the real party is coming soon, but the soft opening prepares you for what to expect, gets you ready for it. Well, this is my Soft Grand Re-Re-Opening, because I’m coming back fools!

As many of you may have known, I took my leave from Destructoid in late August, after accepting a contract to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Canadian Government with the Russia and Eastern Europe Division. It had been a crazily busy experience, but ultimately an extremely rewarding and worthwhile venture. I’ve got to do some great things, meet some awesome people (the Turkish Ambassador to Canada knows my name now!), and be involved in some interesting work.

Work!

Hanging out at HQ

Normally this wouldn’t have been enough to keep me away from your loving embrace, but on top of that I’ve been visiting the doctor a lot and undergoing various tests to try and solve some chronic pain I’ve been experiencing for quite some time now. It’s been narrowed down luckily, and I’m just waiting for the latest MRI results and a specialist appointment to see how we want to advance. On the plus side, if I end up bed-ridden after surgery, I’ll likely be on here 24/7. 

Sadly, my Foreign Affairs contract comes to an end on December 31st, as I head back to finish my thesis so I can finally have my Master of Arts in Russian and Central Asian studies. For anyone that was interested, I’m writing on the foreign policy goals on the Kyrgyz Republic. To bring it into Dtoid terms, Kyrgyzstan was featured in a map in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 called Standoff, which supposedly depicts a border town between China and Kyrgyzstan.  Bam, connections.

Me Chilling in the Kyrgyz Badlands / A REAL Kyrgyzstan Border Town with China

I’ll also be spending this time getting my Russian (and hopefully French) language skills up to par to pass a translation exam which is required for my degree. Luckily I have some great resources, including an awesome Russian Dtoider by the name of Tonich, so this should be a grand experience. While I write my thesis and work on language studies though, I will have much more time to spend with all of you once again, writing and enjoying the life you all bring to the Community!

I am also still engaged, and our wedding date is set for June 6, 2015. Sorry GajKnight, but maybe in another life…or some Dtoid fanfic we’ve yet to write. ;) Ashleigh and I are planning to have a nice outside June wedding, followed by your typical drinking, dancing, and general jovialness.

I have still been managing to get some game-time in while I’ve been busy, but not near as much as I normally would. As you know, I have quite the game buying problem, so in the past 4 months I’ve been buying more games than I can logistically play, and many of them sit half-beaten on the backburner. Normal people would only buy the games they could actually finish given the time they had…not me though. I prefer to stay poor and well-stocked. Stacks on stacks on stacks…of Xbox One games, yo. Is it my fault October/November are the notoriously worst (read: best) times to be a gamer? I think not.

Truly crushing. 

I’ve been dropping in when I get the chance to read blogs, but I have not had the time or wherewithal to leave the loving comments that I normally would, but you can expect that to change as well! It’s nice to see upon reading gaming news lately that the communities seem to be evening out on the whole XBOne vs. PS4 thing. I won’t go into any rants here, but it’s good to see that people are starting to see what Microsoft has to offer, in terms of fan-based updates, (including constantly improving user interface), as well as exclusivity. PS4 is solid and has great potential, and I feel like 2015 will be their year, but just not right now. I bought my PS4 in August, and it’s mostly been gathering dust lately, apart from occasional bursts of Last of Us or free PS Plus games. And from what I’ve been reading, not just on this site, many other people are starting to feel similar sentiments.

Onto the games! As I’ve said, I’ve been dabbling a lot, but I’ve still gotten a chance to try mostly everything that has come out recently, so here goes a quick blast of my thoughts on new(ish) releases, and things I’m currently into, in no particular order.

On the PS Vita side, I’ve been wholly hooked onto P4Golden lately, and I play it on my bus rides to and from work when I’m not reading thesis materials or Russian. I really loved the cast of Persona 3, but I am definitely feeling attached to this crew as well.  The story is great, and the combat while simple has a solid tactical side to it. Plus, making friends and gathering new Personas is awesome, as always. For anyone who has ever been on the fence, I pretty much bought my Vita to play this game portably.

I've been singing the theme song in my head as I've been writing this. 

I ran through the campaign of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and dabbled into the multiplayer on Xbox One, and I was pretty impressed. I didn’t hate Ghosts like most other people did, but I found this campaign to be very gripping, partially because of my work in similar fields. The multiplayer, while staying within the confines of CoD and borrowing from Crysis/Destiny/Titanfall or whatever else, was a solid experience. I enjoyed the addition of verticality to typical CoD, and with my Titanfall experience, I found it fairly easy to adjust to new strategies.

Bayonetta 2 is awesome.  Just period. The first game was great, this game is just superb. Every little fight is absolutely balls-to-the-walls, the weapons are extremely fun, and the mechanics have only improved. Buy a WiiU if you don’t have one, and play this game. It may be one of the best beat-em-up fighters in the genre right now. While you’re at it, Hyrule Warriors and Super Smash Bros for WiiU are also great buys. I miss having people over and playing fun couch-brawling games, and both of these satisfy that desire immensely and in different ways. WiiU has been dropping it like it’s hot lately, and I hope they keep the momentum up.

Shadow of Mordor was nuts. Is nuts. Squirrels. The combat is extremely well designed and very tight, and reminds me of the visceral feel of Ryse, plus it’s within LOTR canon. The skill tree is also very well implemented, and each new skill feels like it opens up a whole new way to fight. The Evil Within is another winner in my books, combining the greatness of Resident Evil 4 with even more brutal survival horrors motifs.  I need to finish it still, but I will only play it at night with the lights out, so it limits my time with it.

Someone please hold me. 

Dragon Age Inquisition was fun, but not astounding in my opinion. I put around 15-20 hours into it before returning it for my refund, partially because it was getting really repetitive even at that point, and partially because on the PS4 I was encountering some issues with metals shining to the point it looked like a screen tear or graphical anomaly. Really took me out of the experience a lot. And it was a beautiful game, but maybe not as breathtaking as I’d expected. I play to pick it up again, maybe for the Xbox One, around Boxing Day.

Speaking of beautiful though, let’s talk Far Cry 4. Holy hell. I know a lot of people have been saying its Far Cry 3 2.0, but I think it’s done an amazing job. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. The landscape is stunning, and surprisingly easy to traverse. The gameplay is very much FC3, with little improvements where they were needed, and the addition of some awesome new side quests, animals, weapons, and features.  The story isn’t perfect, but characters like Pagan Min, Longinus, Hurk, Noore, and others make up for it in my opinion.

I never thought anyone would come close to Vaas. Well done Troy Baker. 

GTA V Xbox One is also gorgeous, and I’ve been enjoying playing through it in first-person. I never thought I would feel like a worse person than when I played GTA V the first time, but lo and behold, playing it in first person somehow amplifies how brutal the game can be, and how bad of a person I am. Oh well, still keeping it hood. Also, Lamar makes that game.  On other remakes, Halo Master Chief Collection is of course everything that you would want it to be, especially now that the bugs are mostly fixed. Last night I tried singing the Halo theme to my fiancée hoping that it would somehow convince her to play co-op with me. Needless to say, she loves the theme, hates the game.  

Hearkening back to my earlier comment on exclusives, Sunset Overdrive was a pretty big blast, and is definitely a lot of fun to play with friends. I found that the gameplay got a bit repetitive after a while, but the dialogue was great and the constant new weapons and outfits added a lot to the entertainment factor. It really felt like Dead Rising meets JetSet Radio, but just needed a little more substance to hold it down. Not saying it’s not a blast, but just didn’t have the longevity I was expecting.

Lastly (I think) is Assassin’s Creed Unity. I could say a lot here, but most of it has already been said by many of you. I didn’t find the game to be as buggy as most people, as was able to successfully play co-op on my first attempt. I only fell through the ground (and a roof) twice, and never experienced any other glitches. Frame-rate is still an issue, but one that is much better now with recent patches. The new combat is pretty solid after forgetting everything my hands automatically did while playing an Assassin’s Creed game, but I found the traversal mechanics to be a bit wonky. I mean, Ezio never had these problems; Arno seems to enjoy breaking his neck. Co-op is great though, even when you have the douchebag Rhinosaurus-in-a-Parisian-Lalique-Crystal-Shop that my friends like to employ. Yelling at them has now become part of my strategy.

Well. This blog has gotten exceptionally long, and I am past my allotted lunch time, so I should probably end it here. I miss you all, and am excited to make my triumphant return permanently to Destructoid at latest by January 3rd. I hope you are all doing well, and I am going to try and catch up with you all via-your own latest blog posts in the next couple days!

Game Happy

TSG.

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