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TheDefenestrator's blog

1 hour ago - 10:49 PM on 10.08.2015

If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)


11:34 PM on 09.25.2015

Twitchtoid! Friday Night Heists with The Defenestrator: [url=][/url]


4:36 PM on 09.13.2015

Twitchtoid! Zombi PS4 with The Defenestrator: [url=]The Defenestrator's Twitch Channel[/url]


1:37 AM on 09.01.2015

I dig the feature in Until Dawn where, if you have the Playstation camera, it will record you briefly during jump scares for you to watch later. It's a really neat use of an underused peripheral. Too bad I'm dead inside and never react to them.


4:57 PM on 08.30.2015

TWITCHTOID! I'll be playing some more PS4 Zombi and then some Until Dawn if'n I want to change things up. Link: [url=] TheDefenestrator[/url]


5:05 PM on 08.23.2015

Twitchtoid! Starting up some Zombi for PS4. Check my Twitch channel and watch me hit things with crickets bats! (In my boxers!) (Hint, hint!) #TeamNoPants


1:08 AM on 08.11.2015

New FNF blog is up in the C-Blogs section. I talk about Rocket League and a movie I really love. Check it out.


10:42 PM on 02.25.2015

The Nine Best Dtoiders Ever

I am not the easiest person to get to know. I'm a quiet guy raised by quiet people and I'm 75% deaf to boot. It's not the sort of life that produces the gregarious, amiable type. Being friends with me usually requires people who are comfortable with long silences and minimal small talk.

I've been a part of numerous online communities over the years and I always tend to stay near the fringes. I'm more comfortable that way. That said, it's impossible not to be someplace for more than two years without making a few connections here and there. This is a list of people I may or may not be friends with but are definitely people who are important to the Dtoid community. It's also in no particular order.

1.) The Tunnel Snakes: Firion, Marche100, Luna Sy, & Orlion.

(My affectionate nickname for them, by the way.) I'm counting them as one because, really, they're one big anime-obsessed hydra. If the forums are Vault 101, they're the greaser gang causing trouble. The forums kind of hit rock bottom not too long ago in terms of people leaving for places that made them less miserable (or just getting banned). During that time, these guys were almost single-handedly propping up the place. The Bar and the Anime threads are always hopping with some new nonsense thanks to their stubborn refusal to fuck off like most everyone else did.

2.) Usedtabe/Tubby.

I don't agree with Tubby about much but I respect him for his lack of BS. As far as OG Dtoid members, he's the most legit. Unlike a lot of people who put up a front, he really can take it as well as he dishes it out. His razzing Andy Dixon in the Dead Space 3 thread is the reason I signed up for the forums in the first place. If Dtoid is a place where people can fuck with each other to that extent and not take it personal, I figured I'd do okay. #TubbyStrong

3.) Mike "PhilKenSebben" Martin.

Phil is the sweet, degenerate heart of Dtoid, to me. Unlike a lot of the old guard, he's been able to roll with the punches and keep the "Also, Cocks" attitude of Dtoid alive at the same time. His passion for dongs is unquenchable and so long as he's around, you know things will be alright. Or at least homoerotic. His recent promotion to Community Playdate Manager was a long time coming and well earned.

4.) BrownieWinkin.

I know nothing about the dude... but the lack of fucks he gives are admirable.

5.) El Zilcho/Trev.

Friday Night Fights was the first part of the community I started to feel at home in. This was while I was unemployed and in the midst of an all-consuming Warframe addiction. I feel like we get along fairly well but he represents the rare person I can argue things with and not feel condescended to. We've disagreed about things, sometimes loudly, but I never thought less of him for it and I never felt that from him either.

Best of all, he knows his shit and he takes none of yours. All good qualities when wrangling three other people to keep their threads and blogs updated so FNF can continue with no hiccups.

6.) Nanashi/Nanners/Bananners/NanaNanaFoFanners.

Oh Nanners. He has that earnest Jonathan Holmes-ian quality where you like him but you just can't stop yourself from teasing him. He's the perpetual little brother. I also love the extra syllable he adds when he repeats my screen name. Other people have shortened it to "Def" but Nanners still goes whole hog. This kid's going places.

7.) KymikoLoco.

Kym can cuss like a sailor AND beat your ass at Doots. There's no "token female" shit here and God help anyone who tries to pull that shit with her. She's tough, speaks her mind, and knows her shit.

8.) Nihil.

I think Nihil is stealthily the funniest dude on the board. In addition to sharing Gestapo duties in the forum with fellow German OpiumHerz, I feel like he always around waiting to crack wise before disappearing again.

9.) The Rest of the FNF regulars: DJ Puppy, Cornflake, Clockwork, Scield, Red #1, Red #2, Infrared, Nexus, etc.

While, as I mentioned, I'm not a big talker, I always feel comfortable hanging out on a Friday night with these dudes and finding some way to stomp all over the opposition in whatever game we're playing. Good teamwork with good people is hard to find and I don't take that for granted. After a shit week at work, I always look forward to hanging out and shooting moving objects on a TV screen with some good (likely drunk) dudes.

Thanks to the people on this list, and the entire community really, for making Destructoid a fun place to be a part of. (Except that one guy. Fuck that guy.)


8:07 PM on 01.27.2015

"The Badger" Answers Your Questions

Last week, I put out a call for questions to send our anonymous contributor The Badger and our virile community rose the occasion as only we can. The only questions I omitted were either redundant, rhetorical or incoherant. They ranged from silly to confrontational and, to his/her/it's credit, The Badger answered every one of them.

Many thanks to lovely boy Jonathan Holmes for faciliating, The Badger for humoring us and everyone in the comment section for rallying together. You guys even managed to resurrect the long dead and much missed Comment Of The Week feature in the comments as a reaction. Be it having fun or causing chaos, you're always game. I want to give all of you uncomfortably long hugs.

And now, on with the inquisition:

We'll begin with JawshButturBawls and the question on everyone's lips: Gardevoir?

More of a Scizor guy myself, thanks.


GoofierBrute just wants to hang: What's The Badger's fondest gaming memory?

Either the first time I fired the shotgun in Doom or when I first shot the food in Gauntlet.


Dreamweaver is having an identity crisis. He asks: Am I the Badger?

You might be. I may not be the only person using the account. I may not be the only person even answering these questions.


Cannibal Steven is an odd young lad: What's the Badger's favorite snake-related-transformation-movie-scene?

There is some movie called something like SSSSSSSSSsssssssss. I think one of the white haired guys from Laugh In is in it. That whole movie is my answer.


FullmetalJ has his priorities in order: What's your favorite David Bowie album?

Probably the Life Aquatic.


Demo-Grafic is keeping up with the current events. He wants to know: If you are an industry insider, then maybe you can answer why the vehemently "anti-Gamergate" gets so much more instant press coverage? I've honestly seen far worse things said on their side than anything, yet no gaming site is willing to touch it when their nastier behavior is brought to light.

My guess is it's because GamerGate is a thing and AntiGamerGamer is not a thing. It's not Republicans and Democrats here. It's people who have chosen to brand themselves as GamerGate (whatever the fuck that even means) and then all sorts of people that are sometimes douchebags to people that have decided to brand themselves in that way. There are not hipsters and anti-hipsters. There are just hipsters and everyone else. Same with GamerGate.

Take it as a lesson. Branding yourself under some group label is basically begging to the world to get pissed at you for something that someone else did. If you don't want to be blamed for shit that the worst of GamerGate has done, stop actively calling yourself a "member of GamerGate". Your choice makes you look like either a douche or a fool. Also, deciding that everyone that doesn't like you is "anti-your group" makes you look like an even bigger fucking fool. Did you ever think that they didn't like you for you? Did you ever think it was your fault that people think you're fucking awful?

There is also the fact that GamerGate was started by a bunch of lying, mean spirited, hateful fucks who have effectively manipulated a lot of good people into doing their bidding. Can't forget that.


Scrustle has one of those cool plastic pipes that blows bubbles and a nice deerstalker cap: What parts of the industry have you worked in? As in, are you a developers? Have you worked with different kinds of studios? If so, what kinds? Or are you a blog/site writer? Have you worked at different sites? How has your experience working at different places compared?

I can't answer that. Holmes made me promise not to reveal who I am in any way.


The Defenestrator asks: What do you think of the rise of YouTuber's and the Let's Play scene versus the current model of game blogging?

I think that every generation of kids wants to toss out everything from the generation before in order to define themselves as special/new/different. It's why game consoles are on a five year cycle. After five years, you're officially "old" and the kids don't want anything to do with you.

Game magazines used to be huge money, then kids growing up on the internet abandoned them in favor of "cool new game blogs". Now the blogs are getting old so younger kids kids are into things that have only been big for a few years like Lets Plays, Podcasts, and other "Personality" focused internet stuff. Eventually the Youtube kids will grow up and some other thing will top the charts. Whatever. It's all just people talking about video games. Doesn't really matter how they do it.


Enter the Dragon! KimikoLoco wants to know: So, why are "nerds" in game journalism not held to the same standards as nerds in print journalism? What is so special about them?

I don't know what the fuck you're talking about, kid. Are you asking me why society doesn't care about the people who write about Mario Bros. for a living as much as the people who write about world politics for a living? Ask your English teacher.


Destructoid's resident magical girl Brittany Vincent has a fastball, high and inside: Why are you so afraid of coming out and saying the things you do using your real name? You're "in the right," at least in your eyes, so why not go public with your opinions? You mock journalists for obeying rules so as to not lose their jobs, but yet you fear for the loss of your own?

I'm not afraid. I was asked by Holmes to write under The Badger name, and the whole idea is for The Badger to be anonymous, like Batman or Michael Myers or some shit. I could be anybody, therefore I am everybody and nobody. I guess The Badger was the guy who started Destructoid's idea? Looks like he's pretty smart, because from what I've heard, I'm the most popular writer on the site going by pageviews-per-post Math. That's either a sign that I'm really good at this or the rest of the writers at Destructoid are really bad. Maybe both.

Here I thought you were going to ask me for tips on how to write more interesting posts.


Handy also wants to clear the air: You’ve expressed contempt for gamers, publishers, PR, journalists, critics, their audience, and developers of both indie and AAA games, why continue to work in an industry that doesn’t pay well and where you hate everybody?

Ah, the questions are getting more irate now. Good. Shows that you care about video games.

I care about video games too. There are people in this industry that I absolutely love. There are new video games released every month that I absolutely love. That's why I get irate about the industry sometimes. If you absolutely love something, or someone, then you're going to get pissed off when some of their parts don't work. I could have used The Badger to talk about all the shit I love about video games, but you can just go read another bought off 10/10 game review or a glowing press release written by some dildo who's paid by hour to pretend they like video games if you want sunshine and fucking lollipops blown up your ass. Negativity and criticism are things that a lot of people in the industry hold back. They bottle it up, afraid to make enemies or to make waves. The fact that I'm voicing the shit that people have been too constipated with fear to shit out themselves is probably why I'm so popular. 

I am the Ex-Lax that gaming culture needs before its colon bursts.


PhilKenSebben is taking a short break from his usual debauchery to wonder: Why should anyone believe you or care about what you say? You give no facts to anything that isn't already public knowledge, name no names and are just a moniker, ranting on a blog.

So lets say I wanted to tell a story about a hypothetical "game preview party" where, hypothetically, game developer CliffyB and game "journalist" Leigh Alexander fucked. Lets say this party happened back when CliffyB was actually relevant and when Leigh actually wrote about games people gave a fuck about. If Holmes were to let me post that, he'd have to back it up with evidence that this alleged party actually happened. He'd need photos of those two actually fucking, or first hand testimony from both of them confirming that they fucked or whatever. Without that, Dtoid could be sued for "slanderous lies" or some other garbage. That's how actual journalism works.

And for all you know, I write about gossipy shit like that all the time somewhere else on the internet. Thankfully, no one would really care if I did. Videogames haven't gotten to the point where we're as fucking bad as Hollywood.



Papa Bear Neiro is considering a career change: Teachers get paid less than McDonald's managers. Can get them some Nintendos?

Sure, kid.


Destructoid's "Chilly" Bill Platt turns up the heat: If you knew about the rampant corruption as far back as 8 years ago, why did you wait so long to say something?

Maybe I did, under my actual name. Maybe no one gave a fuck back then. Do you really think anyone cared about corruption in some rinky dink shit like "game journalism" in 2008, back when people were even stupider than they are today?

If anything, you should blame Destructoid for not coming up with The Badger idea sooner, or some other way to get the word out about how shit the game industry can be without committing PR suicide with the big money publishers that they need to play nice with in order to survive.

That's why I'm here, right?


EdgyDude will cut you if you don't answer: Why post here? I mean why of all sites that could host your opinion why pick the one that decided to be neutral and stay out of this whole GG issue from the start? Why not post in another site that falls in line with your POV instead of this one?

Blame Holmes. He's the one that asked The Badger/s to write for him. But he didn't tell me/us what to write. Fuck no. He tried to get me to write something differently once and I looked him in the eyes and said "fuck no". It was pretty funny. I did let him delete too many uses of the term "garbage fuckers" once though.

And I don't know what you're talking about with my post about GameGate. I didn't post about GamerGate. I posted about Ethics in Game "Journalism" once. Two totally different things.


Sir Davies just finished the 50 Shades Of Grey books and desperately needs to know: Do you look yourself in the mirror when you masturbate?



hlarge4 is in the midst of an existential crisis: Am I part of the problem if I just want to play games?

Hell no. Just try not to get duped. If playing games is the best way for you to do that, then you have my giant, sloppy, loving, blood red stamp of a approval on that. Just remember that anytime you are tempted to buy something because "everyone else is buying it" or say something because "everyone else is saying it", it's your job to slap yourself in the face, yell "BAD BOY" and count to ten, or as high as it takes for you to start having original thoughts again. That time may vary depending on how brainwashed you are and general level of intelligence.


MuppetTechNews menah menah: why is holmes such a wuss? as in why play the neutral game so much..its annoying.

Didn't the entire world get pissed at Holmes because he said he liked tripping in Smash Bros. once? Fucking nerds.


Ragnar DragonFyre has gazed into the abyss and would like to know: What's it feel like to tell the truth, only to have your audience get offended by the truth? Does it make you want to give up or re-double your efforts?

Dude, I'm not fucking Gandhi. This isn't fucking Selma. It's just videogames. One of the nice things about them is that they just aren't that important. Compared to the fact that black youth are getting murdered by the cops every other day for "looking scary" , or that your parents probably fucked you up in some way as a kid, or that you're probably a way worse person than you want to be, videogames aren't anything to worry about. If you love videogames, do yourself a favor and lighten the fuck up when it comes to the topic.


JoeyMcJoeJoey is not to be trifled with, sir: Badger. Do you believe you're the hero gaming deserves? Or the one it needs? And secondly: Wanna fight?

I think I'm going to help some people in some way, yes. Even if it's just making them laugh or think or feel for one extra second that day, then I did something helpful. But I don't want to fight. Fighting isn't interesting.


pk fire wants you get comfortable and maybe give you a surprise back massage: What was your most awkward experience in your professional working environment?

Hard to say without revealing too much about who I/We are, but I can tell you that it's always awkward when you take a shit in the bathroom and it's really loud and then you get out of the stall and your boss is standing there. It happened to me enough that I stopped trying to run from it, so now I just embrace it. I get out of the stall and look the boss in the eye and say "loud shit, amirtie?" Now that I think of it, that's a pretty decent power play. Maybe I should write about some Alpha Male shit like that in my next column. A lot of you could definitely use it.


Retrofraction is a stickler for good hygene: What conditioner does the Badger use on its fur?

The same stuff Jesse Venture waxes his mustache with.


Isay Isay say: So is the whole Badger persona a cathartic exercise for you?

To follow up with the other question about why I've been pretty negative so far, I think the natural thing to do behind closed doors is to take a shit. Catholic confessionals? Taking a shit. Dear Diary journaling/journalism? Taking a shit. It's the reason 4Chan and anonymous internet culture exists. It's why the word "shitposting" was created. People want to shit. That's why we have 4Chan.

With The Badger, I've tried to take shitposting culture and do something at least partially productive with it. Given how many intelligent, invested people in the industry have either agreed with me, or used my posts as a jump off point to make valid and interesting counter arguments against me, I think I've done a pretty good so far.

Maybe I'll quit while I'm ahead though, because I have an actual job that's way more important to me than shitposting, productive or not. Beginning to fee like I'm wasting my time here.


Finally, Reinhold Hoffman wears his sunglasses indoors and already knows the answer but asks regardless: Who are your favorite commenters on Destructoid?

I've never read the comments on Destructoid. Out of these questions, the best one came from Isay Isay, so them.


Thanks again to everyone for contributing!


6:02 PM on 01.13.2014

Warframe: Advanced Space Ninja Theory

In my previous C-Blog, I went into the basics you need to know to get started on Digital Extreme's PC/PS4 free-to-play Canadian Space Ninja co-op action game, Warframe. Now I think it's time to move on to the advanced tips and tricks you'll need if you plan on thriving in this strange-but-addictive game. There's a surprising amount of systems in place and not much in the way of hand-holding, so getting the most out of the game may require a little help. I'm currently playing the game on the PS4 which is a few updates behind the PC version, so PC gamers may find some of this information to be old news.

Addendum and Errata:
A couple of days after publishing my Beginner's Tips, a new update for Warframe went live with a number of different tweaks and improvements that addressed some of the issues I had written about. In addition to a couple of new bosses, new weapons and a new Warframe, they also streamlined the previously clunky slide and wall running.

The slide no longer ends with you in a crouch but is also much more controllable, allowing you to go into and out of the slide whenever you like simply by holding or releasing the L1 button during a run. You can also start your slide in mid-air for an additional flourish, which is useful for advanced platforming.

Wall running can now be activated simply by holding in the jump button at a wall, which makes it much more intuitive. While you can shoot or stab in the midst of a wall run, it's still hard to pull off given the cursor's default position when you start the run. Luckily, the only time shooting while wall running is mandatory is the Rank 8 test which can be cheated with the Nova or Loki. Hopefully some additional patching will happen to make this a little less frustrating.

The update also added a Trading Kiosk for clans. So now you have the option of trading mods, keys or platinum between clan members which, in addition to a number of clan exclusive weaponry, makes joining a clan a practical decision rather than an optional one. (Clan Destructoid. Hint, hint.)

Capture and Rescue missions also got a little more complicated. The targets in Capture missions now fight back and run from you meaning you can lose them if they get too far ahead of you. Enemies will also now attack the person you release in Rescue missions, so simply opening their cell and bolting to extraction isn't always going to work.

Also, I neglected to mention that some stages (usually when fighting the Corpus faction) have lasers blocking the doorways that can cancel your shields if you run headlong into them. You can shoot out the cameras to drop the lasers but you can also powerslide or dodge roll through them. Which is handy if you're bolting through the stage in a hurry.

Also, enemies in Survival missions get stronger on a timer not due to starting new Life Support modules. That's what I get for listening to the guy yelling at people in game instead of checking the wiki.

There are several bonuses that come with joining a clan. In addition to the labs that build gnarly clan exclusive weapons like the majorly OP Ignis flame-thrower and Ogris rocket launcher, there is an obstacle course for training your platforming, a dueling room for duking it out, and a Trading Kiosk. Only the Warlord can add or destroy new rooms to the Dojo but everyone in the clan can contribute to the cost.

Building labs to research new gadgets and weapons is a great idea and anyone in the clan can contribute resources towards starting the research, which is nice as it can be pretty expensive to do. Once research is finished, anyone in the clan can buy a blueprint and start building their new weapon.

Trading Kiosks allow you to trade mods, keys or platinum between clan members. Alternately, you can invite non-clan members to your Dojo to make trades there. You can barter or negotiate theses trades in the Social Menu (more on that soon) and then, by temporarily making them clan members, invite them to your Dojo to make the deal.

Some of the very rare mods can sell for as high as 200 or even 500 platinum right now, so while you can't make real money from it, your grinding efforts can pay off in lots of in-game cash.

(Insert shameless plug for the Destructiod clan here.)

The Social Menu:
On the PS4, the social menu activates when you press the Option button. The first tab that pops up allows you to access a public chat room for talking, trading or recruiting. The second is your in-game friends list and the third is your clan.

If you want to initiate a trade or recruit for your clan, this is where you'll go. Once the game goes cross-platform, this will be your only way to contact PC players. The main draw to using the social menu, beyond inviting friends to your game, is to join or ask for help with Tower Key missions and Orokin Derelict missions, which are where all the really sweet high level loot can be found.

Scrolling through an exhaustive list of every single Warframe player logged in for the one guy who wants to join you is a pain in the ass, so if you need to talk to or invite someone to your game, simply type this: /invite Username or /talk Username. It will save a ton of time, I promise you.

Tower Keys, Orokin Derelicts & Nightmare Mode:
Looking for some rare mods or some fancy-schmancy Prime weapons or Warframes? Don't mind an extra challenge to get it? Then you'll want to look into these options:

Tower Keys: Tower keys can be bought in packs in the Market or can be found as prizes in Survival or Defense missions for lasting a certain length or time or number of rounds. You access your keys through the Keys listing on your main menu. There are keys for every mission type with three different degrees of difficulty.

Tackling these Tower missions will require maxed out Warframes and weapons with a full crew. If you don't have enough friends online, recruit from the social menu. Seasoned players may be able to handle a few of the Tower 1 mission types solo but, by and large, you'll need help. The risk is worth it, though. Just be aware that the frame rate, especially on Survival and Defense, will drop precipitously towards the end. You may require a Tylenol after a Tower 3 Defense.

Orokin Derelicts: A step above the Tower Keys are the Orokin Derelicts. The blueprints for these are available for cheap from the Market but creating them is only part of the issue. These levels feature advanced platforming and harder enemies but most also have hidden rooms with high level loot that can only be unlocked with a specific Dragon key.

These Dragon Keys are also available for sale in the Market but require a Tower Key to be made, making them much more valuable. There are four Dragon Keys in all and equipping each gives you a different negative status effect: no shields, cripplingly low health, reduced movement or reduced damage to enemies. The hidden door in these levels can only be unlocked using one of these four keys meaning you will need four players with maxed out weapons/Warframes to survive, each equipped with a different key, if you want to find that loot.

Nightmare Mode: If you're still craving the risk vs. reward of super tough enemies for the chance at rare loot, you can also try Nightmare Mode.

Nightmare Mode is represented on your mission map by their skull icon. Once you complete a stage, it may pop up again with a skull on it denoting it as a Nightmare difficulty level. (You retain the ability to play it again at normal difficulty, though.) This could mean anything from level 40+ enemies, to no shields, low gravity, slowly dwindling health, a ridiculously short timer or any combination of the above. The upside is that the chances of finding better loot are increased (but not guaranteed).

So there's plenty to do in the game even if you beat every one of the nearly 200 individual missions in the game.

Weapon Tips and Suggestions:
Being currently unemployed, I understand the desire to save some money so I wanted to take the opportunity to make some suggestions about weapons and Warframes that will hopefully save you some time and money. I have not bought a single weapon in the game outright. My entire arsenal is built from blueprints. There's genuinely no need to waste money buying a weapon, just grab the blueprint and farm for some resources.

Choose weapons that best compliment how you're building out your Warframe. If you're tanking, you should really look into the Galatine sword. A Rhino with a Galatine can hold out for a long, long time by himself. Support classes might be better served with a sniper rifle or another mid-to-long range, high accuracy weapon like the Paris or Latron. If you don't have to be in the thick of it, don't.

I wasn't a fan of most of the primary weapons until I hit Rank 6. That's when the Soma unlocks. If you're in the game for the long haul, get the Soma as soon as you can. Between the accuracy, the clip size and the ridiculous critical hit chance, nothing beats it. I modded mine out with Point Strike and Vital Sense for increased critical hit chance and damage and it now has a 75% crit chance for 6.6 times the normal damage. In a clip with 120 bullets. I almost feel bad using it for how quickly it mows everything down.

The Soma: When you absolutely, positively got to kill every mothertrucker in the room. Accept no substitutes.

If you're more of a casual player or haven't hit Rank 6 yet, join a clan and pick up the Ignis flame-thrower from the lab. It. Is. Amazing. The damage output is crazy and even at level one any enemy under about level 10 will die instantly. Modding it with additional fire damage only makes it more ridiculous. A must have weapon. Similarly, the Ogris rocket launcher does amazing damage. The drawback is that you can blow yourself up with it via splash damage so be sure to watch where you shoot.

Beyond that, if you can luck into finding a Gorgon blueprint via the daily log in reward, it's a solid choice. It's got a slow wind up time but once it gets going, it can be very punishing.

Out of the primary weapon blueprints for sale in the Market, the Braton and MK-1 Braton are the workhorses. Standard assault rifles, to be sure, but reliable. There are burst-fire options like the Hind and Burston if you prefer accuracy over rate of fire but fully autos are more useful by far when things get heavy. The Boltor is well worth your time once it unlocks.

Shotguns aren't as useful as I'd like. Between the long reload times and tiny clip size, the damage they do doesn't really even out versus fully autos. That said, if you need a shotgun, the Sobek is a solid choice. Your enjoyment of shotguns will improve a lot if you can find the Tactical Pump mod that decreases the reload time.

For secondary weapons, similar problems arise. Single shot weapons do good damage but the rate of fire and the fact that every shot requires a button press means that on higher difficulties it becomes a pain to keep up. You even risk tiring out your trigger finger against bosses and higher level enemies. The first boss in Mercury drops parts to a single-shot pistol called the Seer which should be your go-to for the first couple systems. It's equivalent in other games would be a Magnum or Desert Eagle. Do yourself a favor and start farming that straightaway.

If you want to carry a single shot secondary, be sure to dual wield. Aklato, Akbolto and Dual Vastos are all solid dual wield options. Otherwise, Twin Vipers or Kunai should be your first stop.

Melee weapons are more or less a dealer's choice category. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses, but the close range necessary means that ultimately it boils down to what character you choose and how you play.

There's a reason about 50% of the Rhinos you see will be carrying the big, two handed Galatine swords. Turn on your Iron Skin ability and the ability to attack multiple targets in one swing will get you through just about any problem you face. Dual Ether swords, Fragor hammers and Scindo axes also advertise the same ability but the Galatine remains the most efficient and brutal choice.

I prefer ultra close range combat so I like the comically large Furax gauntlets, if only for the charge attack where you pull back and punch something in it's stupid, ugly face. There's also the Obex and Kogake if you want to look like a futuristic Muay Thai warrior.

There's a plethora of different swords with different abilities, so there's no shortage of options based on usefulness or aesthetic pleasure to choose from. However, it's pretty remarkable to me how much fun I have had with the Glaive. And not just because Krull was my favorite movie as a pre-teen. You can use is as a melee weapon or you can use it's charged attack to throw it and augment it with "punch through" and "bounce" mods to send it flying through multiple enemies and bouncing off of walls. Always a joy. There's also the Kestrel boomerang which will ragdoll enemies it strikes. Including humanoid bosses (at least until they patch it).

There's also a handful of different weapons available in Prime form by doing Tower Key and Orokin Derelict missions. Just be mindful of your inventory limit. You can buy two additional weapon slots for 12 platinum but if you're playing on the cheap you may want to go into a buy/level/sell loop for weapons you're unfamiliar with and keep a few slots open for your favorites.

The important question with Warframes is: how do I get more? Luckily, all frames can be farmed in game without the use of platinum, to varying degrees of difficulty. Some bosses drop parts which, after buying a blueprint in the market for credits, can be built in the foundry. Others are a little trickier. So, here's a comprehensive list of where to find which Warframe as of Update 11:

Warframe - Boss (Location, System)
Ash - Tyl Regor (Titania, Uranus)
Banshee - Very rare random drop from Capture, Spy & Defense Missions or Orokin Derelict Defense missions. Blueprint can be given as a Daily Login reward.
Ember - General Sargas Ruk (Tethys, Saturn)
Ember Prime - Random drop from Tower Key Capture or Defense missions.
Excalibur - Ambulas (Hades, Pluto)
Frost - Lt. Lech Kril (Exta, Ceres)
Frost Prime: Tower Key Exterminate missions
Loki - Hyena (Psamathe, Neptune)
Mag - Sgt. Nef Anyo (War, Mars)
Mag Prime: Tower Key Survival missions
Nekros - Lephantis (Orokin Derelict Assassinate)
Nova - Raptor (Naamah, Europa)
Nyx - Phorid (Infested Invasion - currently located at Naeglar, Eris)
Oberon - PS4: Not available yet. PC: Councilor Vay Hek (Everest, Earth)
Rhino - Jackyl (Fossa, Venus)
Saryn - Kela De Thaym (Marrow, Sedna)
Trinity - PS4: Councilor Vay Hek (Everest, Earth) PC: Capt. Vor & Lt. Lech Kril (Illiad, Phobos) [Placement will change with the update that introduces the Oberon warframe]
Valkyr - Alad V & Zanuka (Themisto, Jupiter)
Vauban - Random Alert Missions
Volt - Random rare drop in Survival missions after minute 20.

Your next question might be: which ones are good? Well, that depends on your play style. Different Warframes represent different styles from tank to support and in-between.

If you want to be a full-on damage dealer, your best bet is picking Excalibur as your initial frame. He's a melee-focused frame and since the Rhino can be found by farming the boss in the second system, Venus, you can fill your two initial Warframe inventory slots up straight away.

Between Rhino's Iron Skin ability, which grants temporary invulnerability, and his Stomp, which instantly kills lower level enemies and puts stronger ones in stasis for several seconds so you can pick them off afterwards, he's really the perfect tank. Paired with the massive two-handed sword, Galatine, he becomes a big, lumbering death machine.

Ember and Nova Warframes have stronger offensive abilities than the Rhino at the cost of being more fragile. As glass cannons, you're going to want to upgrade their health and shields as much as possible and be a little pickier about where you choose to make your stands. Ember's World On Fire ability allows her to push forward through a stage very easily as anything touching the ring of fire around her will likely die before touching her. Nova's Molecular Prime is devastating as well, turning a number of enemies into walking bombs. Killing one starts a chain reaction that explodes everyone else in the vicinity.

If you prefer a more passive support role, you should start with the Loki frame and try to farm the Trinity from Vay Hek in the Earth system as soon as possible as it is going to be moved to the much harder to get at Phobos system in the next update or two. Trinity's Blessing ability is the only one in the game that allows you to heal and effects all allies regardless of range. It also offers invulnerability for a short time, which can be upgraded with the right mods. My main frame is a Trinity and it's Blessing currently lasts for 22 seconds and can be further upgraded to just under 30. If you're in a problem that 30 seconds of invulnerability can't fix, there's just no helping you. There's also the Enegy Vampire ability which allows anyone shooting a particular target to regain energy, which is a godsend in boss fights. The downside is that you don't have any direct damage abilities.

Loki is an often underestimated warframe. Most players don't seem to know how to use him correctly. His cloaking ability allows him to help up KO'd players without being seen, his Decoy can draw enemy attention away from Defense targets and his Radial Disarm makes any enemy in it's area of effect unable to fire weapons (also excellent for Defense). Paired with a sniper rifle or bow, you can control the battlefield from afar, helping your teammates and picking off enemies without risking yourself.

The hard-to-find Vauban warframe is another great support option if you're lucky or obsessed enough to watch every alert mission for parts. Like Loki, he's all about battlefield control and smart players can even use seemingly silly abilities like Bounce to their advantage to keep enemies at bay.

Nyx is must have frame for any high level Defense mission as the Chaos ability pits all enemies in a radius against each other... and even unaffected enemies will attack the controlled enemies as the AI will go after anyone who attacks it. It has a couple of direct damage abilities as well, making it a good mix of offense and defense.

On that topic, if you're looking for a good split between attack and defense, your first choice of frame should be the Mag while looking to get a Frost, Saryn or Volt later on. The Mag is a very basic, unfussy frame that isn't particularly flashy but definitely gets the job done. It's generally best to whip it out when fighting shielded enemies but it's Crush ability is pretty lethal against anything. Saryn is the polar opposite of Mag in that her poison abilities work best against the Infested.

Even more than the Mag, Volt is particularly well-suited to Corpus and Grineer missions. I was lucky enough to get a Volt frame before it became a pain to find and people seem a little down on it but it is perfect for Survival and Defense missions against Corpus or Grineer and it's Overload ability can be especially useful in a pinch.

You're going to have to go pretty far out into the universe to find a Frost frame, but he is certainly worth the trip. Snow Globe is great for slowing down enemies so you can pick them off (very useful when defending a target) and Avalanche is a great high damage option if you mod its radius.

I don't see a lot of people playing Ash but as a stealth frame, it could be seen as a step above Loki for those who like distracting enemies but want some direct damage options as well. It's best to use this frame on a team with at least one character tanking, though, so he can flit in and out of battle with his Smoke Screen and Teleport without getting hammered with damage.

The only frames I would caution against using (at least at the beginning) are Nekros, Valkyr and Banshee. Banshee, in addition to being hard to find, has been made somewhat obsolete. Her Silence ability isn't as useful as it could be and the aura mod Enemy Radar has rendered her Sonar pointless. Her marquee ability, Sound Quake, does solid damage but leaves her stationary while it's active.

Nekros is a style of over substance frame. He looks pretty cool but his main ability, Shadows Of The Dead, is only useful for cluttering up a battlefield and hindering enemy movement. It doesn't do much in the way of actual damage. Desecrate is very useful for farming resources but otherwise there's not a whole lot to recommend it.

As far as the Valkyr goes, it seems like she was misconceived from the outset. Like Nekros, she looks cool but as a front line fighter her lack of shields make her a paper tiger. Compared to the Rhino, she's subpar in every respect. The idea, a berserker melee fighter, is solid the game doesn't really reward ultra close range fighting so you could spend most of the duration of her Hysteria ability whiffing at enemies who are just out of reach.

Good teamwork will be key to any mission so it's always best to find some reliable players and pick frames that best suit the situation and roles (offense, support, etc.) that give you the best chance at success.

In Closing:
That was a lot of words. I hope some of them help you find your way through this strangely addictive free-to-play shooter. The promise of regular updates and new frames is sure to make this a regular stop for me. I hope to see you out there in universe, Tenno. Good luck.


1:11 PM on 12.10.2013

Warframe: A Beginner's Guide To The Tenno

Warframe is an... odd game. The free-to-play PC/PS4 title mixes elements of loot hoarding games like Diablo with strategic combat aspects of MMO's and builds them into a four player, third person co-operative shooter. It's hardly perfect, it can be a little glitchy and rough-around-the-edges, but if you like a deep co-op experience (and it's honestly the only one available for PS4 players right now) there's plenty here to like. The developers plan to make the game cross-platform sometime in the next few months, so the merging of both communities will allow for even greater potential.

That said, Warframe is not a game that eases you into the experience. Playing Warframe for the first time is not unlike renting a game in the olden days that didn't come with an instruction booklet. There's a brief combat tutorial and then you're thrown into the game to learn either by trial-and-error or the copious use of online FAQ's. For those reasons, the game is not for everyone. Even at the low, low price of free, a lot of players will be turned off by either the F2P nature or the lack of hand-holding. Hopefully, that's where I'll come in.

I'm going to give you a brief rundown of some very important information you'll need to know to get through your first ten or twenty hours of the game and on your way to shooting jerks in the face with confidence.

Free Crap:
North American PS Plus members will immediately want to download the booster pack provided to them, free of charge. It contains 100 Platinum, the game's real money currency, 50,000 Credits, the game's in-game currency, 5 Mods for upgrading weapons and Warframes, and 3 Day XP and Credit boosters which doubles what you earn.

There are, at this writing, 15 different Warframes to choose from. After the game's combat tutorial, you get a choice of three basic Warframes. Choose wisely because the level cap is 30 and if you play regularly during while your XP booster is active, you'll level up very fast. The other initial Warframes are available to buy in the Market at a discounted price of 75 Platinum. Otherwise, you'll be paying 225 or 325 for a new Warframe.

Over the course of the game, you can find parts and blueprints that will allow you to create more Warframes using resources and Credits, but they are very rare drops and random to boot. I've logged about fifty hours into the game and I've found maybe ten or twelve parts to different Warframes so far. Not enough to craft a new one. (Farming bosses seems to be the best way to get more, something I haven't done overly much.)

Each Warframe has a unique set of skills for different play styles. Melee, support, ranged, stealth or a variety of different powers. However you like to play, there's a Warframe for you. You might just have to cough up some dough to play it.

Very important. There are light platforming elements in some stages and I don't recall the game every prompting me how to do these so I'll highlight them for you here:

Wall Running: By holding in the run button and the jump button at walls and ledges, you can run vertically to areas above you or horizontally across chasms. Sometimes you may find a secret area or sometimes it's simply how you progress through the stage.

Sliding: The L1 button defaults as a dodge roll but if you click while you're in a run, you'll go into a John Woo-style slide that's good mostly for a stylistic flourish. You can't run and shoot so going into a slide allows you to continue firing while moving at a rate similar to running. The drawback is that isn't not a controlled slide, you simply keep going forward. The other is that you finish the slide in a crouch and you have to click the L3 to stand again. Stopping to shoot is a more effective option.

Mission objectives come in several flavors, some self-evident, some not:

Sabotage: Destroy a set number of enemy devices or destroy a reactor and escape to the extraction point.

Exterminate: Kill all enemies in a single level.

Rescue: Find a jailed NPC, open his cell by completing a Cipher (a simple timed puzzle that has you moving hexagons to form a shape) and escape to the extraction point without letting the NPC die. The NPC's are fairly hardy so while this is an escort mission, you don't have to worry about guarding him too closely.

Capture: Find a specific enemy, kill him, and press the O button over his corpse to absorb his data and escape to the extraction point. (The game doesn't prompt you to kill him so the term "capture" can be misleading.)

Assassination: A boss fight. Find him, kill him, leave.

Defense/Mobile Defense: Find and guard a specific object for a set time period. This can be frustrating if you have a crew of lone wolves as people have a tendency to leave the spot in search of action. A Warframe with a defensive ability (like Loki's defensive bubble) can be a godsend here.

Deception: This type involves one character taking a datamass "payload" which they carry in one hand (reducing them to using only their secondary weapon or melee while holding it) and taking to a designated spot before exiting the mission.

Spy: Locate and hack four terminals and take the datamass objects back to extraction. Like Deception missions, carrying a datamass will reduce you to using a secondary or melee weapon while you carry it. Luckily, one member can carry all four devices leaving the others free to fight.

Conclave: A PvP arena.

Survival: Survival comes in a few different flavors. They're procedurally generated so you can never be sure which kind of mission you're getting or what the level will look like. If you want a lot of items, credits and resources in a short amount of time, this is your best bet.

Survival missions are wave-based Horde Mode types. Sometimes it's simply surviving increasingly difficult waves, sometimes you have to defend an object while the number of rounds you have to survive ticks down.

A Warframe with defensive abilities (like Loki) or a support Warframe with healing/invulnerability abilities (like Trinity) are pretty much mandatory. Health orb drops are not a sure thing and when you have twenty or more enemies charging your position, your shields and health disappear fast. Having support is the difference between tons of loot and pure frustration.

For the infinite wave type, after a set number of waves the game will give you an opportunity to take an upgrade and quit or continue fighting. It's a majority rules vote. The longer you last, the more items you pick up off of dead enemies and the stronger the item the game offers you when you quit.

Be aware, though, that between the tons of enemies, and four Warframes using flashy abilities, the frame rate can and will take a major dump if you're all clumped up together.

Another Survival type involves fighting while a life support bar slowly ticks down. After a set amount of time passes, a life support module will be sent into the battlefield where you might fight through a never ending army of baddies in order to turn it on to boost your life support meter. The catch is that every time you turn on a new life support module, the enemies increase in difficulty. After turning on a number of modules, your contact will alert you that they've found credits or an upgrade. Once the life support bar hits zero, your health and armor deteriorate quickly until only one hit will kill you. The longer you hold out, the more you get. Only one survivor needs to reach the exfiltration point to succeed.

Getting the most out of this mission type requires teamwork. The magic number you're looking for before turning on the next life support module is about 55%. You're going to have to move as a group to get to the next designated area or else people will get overwhelmed and left behind. Sticking together is key.

Every facet of your weapons and Warframe can be upgraded, which is great, but it can also be a little daunting.

Upgrades are random pick-ups that take the form of a card, which looks not unlike something out of Magic: The Gathering. There is a name, a picture, a description, a number, a type, and a symbol. There's also it's commonality rating and some irrelevant fine print.

The number is the upgrade cost. Your weapons and Warframes max out at level 30, which gives you 30 total points to distribute to the various slots on your item at maximum. The symbols denote a specialty. If you match the symbol on the upgrade card with a slot bearing the same one, you can install that upgrade for half price.

The number of times a card can be upgraded is listed as a blank slot on the left center of the card. When you upgrade it, they slots will fill up with white marks.

You can further upgrade your loadout by using Fusion Core cards. These are random drops you find of differing rarities as you play. They can also be bought in packs via the Market. To place a Fusion Core, you can either click R3 in the weapon's menu or go your Arsenal screen and click on Mods and then Fusion.

The more rare the Fusion Core, the more oomph you get out of using it. You can use as many Cores as you like but you can't go past the max level of points you have available. There's also a negligible credit cost to apply your Cores.

If you find a Warframe or weapon you'd like to specialize in, you can buy an Orokin Reactor or Orokin Catalyst to super-charge them. This double the amount of points you can spend to a maximum of 60.

On top of that, you can buy a Forma, which allows you to either stamp a slot with any symbol you like or change one symbol to another at the cost of going back down to level zero. Presumably, this allows more advanced players to customize their Warframe with the abilities of any other Warframe, though I haven't been able to test that theory yet.

So while a maximum of level 30 seems really low, the number of things you can do are actually pretty robust.

The cumulative levels you gain in Warframes and weapons adds to a meter at the top of the main menu screen. When that meter is full you will get an option to take a brief test which, when you succeed, will raise your rank. Certain weapons and Warframes are XP locked and can only be accessed by raising your rank.

These tests aren't particularly difficult but you still want to take your best weapons into battle just to be safe. And rather than spending more and more money on new weapons and Warframes, you can simply buy a Forma for cheap, lower your weapon or frame back to Unranked and start all over again.

Sentinels are optional armed, floating companions who accompany you on missions with a variety of different abilities. Like everything else, they are upgradable. Depending on your style of play, there's a Sentinel that should fit it. For combat specialist, there's the Dethcube Sentinel armed with a assault rifle, for stealthier Warframes, there's a Shade which will make you invisible to approaching enemies. I use the Carrier which comes with a shotgun and vacuums up item drops for me, so that I don't have to worry about missing an item in a rush.

They're cheap to purchase outright (75 Platinum) and easy to assemble by buying a blueprint, so there's no reason not to pick one up. Every bit of extra firepower will help on the more advanced stages.

Obviously there are a lot of gamers who will balk at the very idea of a free-to-play game and that's fair enough. It's also a very grind heavy game, which might be another sticking point. Warframe is certainly playable without any money but you will hit a ceiling very fast and your only option will be lots and lots of grinding. I've currently spent about sixty dollars on the game, the same amount as I would any new release game and, given the amount of time I've sunk into it, it seems like a fair trade.

It's a solid shooter with some quirky lore and plenty of replayability that I can go into in another post down the line. It has it's issues, the same as any other game, but if you bought a PS4 at launch, there's no reason not to at least give it a shot.

I've started a Destructoid clan so feel free to let me know in the comments if you want to join. I'm still working out how running a clan works on the PS4 vs. the PC but the hope is to allow people to rock the Destructoid logo on their shoulders as they play. Cross-platform play is scheduled to go into effect during the "launch window" so PC players can join the fun as well.   read

6:33 PM on 09.15.2013

Saints Row 4: A Collection Of Thoughts About Storytelling & Open World Gaming

As usual: Spoilers! Spoilers everywhere!

Discussing the quality of Saints Row 4 seems a bit of a moot point by now. It's got a Metacritic rating between 77 and 86, depending on your console. It's a fan service heavy love letter to the fans who helped a Grand Theft Auto also ran evolve into a satirical, over-the-top orgy of comedy and violence. As Volition's fourth entry in the series, they've streamlined the experience in such a way that it makes the pace of other recent open world games like Sleeping Dogs and even GTA IV look plodding and slow by comparison.

What really makes Saints Row stand out is it's populist streak and it's inclusiveness. It's more than just the character creation or the fact that the game never penalizes you for how you choose to present yourself, male, female or otherwise. (If I want to cruise around virtual Steelport naked wearing only a horse head mask, and believe me I do, so be it.) They also aren't afraid to offend the homophobes by tying achievements into doing everything you can with a character. Including having The Butt Sex off-screen. With Dudes!

Given that the plot of the game involves the Saints being imprisoned on an alien spacecraft, there are numerous sci-fi references, including several to the still controversial Mass Effect 3. At one point, still early in the game, you are given a choice between going through one of two doors (red and blue, 'natch) each with their own arbitrary and ridiculous list of consequences that have no bearing on anything we've experienced up until that point. Faced with this choice, all your character can do is just sigh dejectedly and choose. It doesn't come off as mean spirited but as a bit of pointed satire... however, if you're like me and you spent months waiting for game journalists to talk about narrative logic, story mechanics and subtext only to hear them drone on about more meta concerns like "artistic integrity" and "fan entitlement" in-between wildly condescending to, or even outright insulting, their audience then hot damn does this feel like a bit of validation.

(And, seriously, the next schmuck who whinges about "it's the journey, not the destination" is getting a Ralph Waldo Emerson book thrown at their head so they can read that quote in context and finally realize why it does not apply to art.)

Even the romances, if you can call them that, are used for parody. There's no conversational courtship, gift giving or friend/rival bars to manage, it's just a button press. And you can press that button as many times as you like. So if you're one of the many dudes on my Twitter timeline who are madly in lust with Kinzie, you are, at any point, a button press away from a punch in the face and some wild (off-screen) sex. It doesn't effect your game in any other way and, if you listen to the audio logs, you'll notice that all of the characters other than The Boss have unofficially paired off with each other. Yet somehow, even as parody, there's something satisfying about the instant gratification.

Ultimately, the romances in BioWare games are pretty tame affairs that result in an equally tame sex scene. Once you succeed, you may get some additional in game dialogue and a mention in the epilogue but otherwise that's it. You don't have to manage it and you never have to worry about breaking up unless you initiate it yourself. (Just like real life!) As much as BioWare fans invest in these romances, they're actually very, very surface level. So having Volition point out the very real silliness of them works as another little love tap to the series and their fans.

I do have my quibbles with the game but none of them are too serious. I experienced some (unintentional) glitches and several system lockup's when transitioning from the spaceship that serves as your hub to the simulation where you spend most of your time. (Which might be the game or a sign my 360 is about to poop in it's hard plastic casing.) Once you unlock superpowers, driving becomes not only pointless, but an annoyance when the game forces you back into a vehicle for story or loyalty missions. The addition of superpowered running and gliding also cuts the overall game length by probably 2/3rds since you can cross the city in a handful of leaps and bounds. The side missions, while fun, still feel like busy work yet upgrading your superpowers are tied to it. Also, while the definitely slapped a coat of paint on Steelport there's literally no variation between The Third and Saints Row 4. It's entirely cosmetic.

What interests me more are the storytelling improvements and how Volition treats the formula of open world gaming and storytelling, in good ways and bad, and how developers can improve the formula going forward. Especially with a new Grand Theft Auto dropping in only a few days for everyone to chew on.

Saints Row was a pretty standard crime story. Not necessarily poorly told but not memorable either. Saints Row 2 wisely doubled down on the comedy yet still had some effective dramatic moments as well. Saints Row: The Third, despite all the pointless excess typified by the in-game porn stars (apparently at then publisher THQ's behest), still told an effective, if silly, story. The big drawback has always been that the other Saints were always plot devices or caricatures as opposed to actual characters. Nowhere was this more clear than the case of Shaundi.

In Saints Row 2 she was a lovable, easy going stoner chick who mostly just got damselled. In Saints Row: The Third, she underwent a complete 180 into a hyper capable, well-dressed, no-nonsense businesswoman. Who, again, mostly just got damselled. Saints Row 4 attempted to reconcile her odd personality transplant by splitting her into two different people. Because Saints Row ain't exactly subtle.

The push and pull between O.G. Shaundi and the real thing was the best written and best handled subquest line in the game. Shaundi's shame at her past indiscretions and lifestyle and how it lead her to overcompensate into what O.G. Shaundi, acting as the de facto voice of a lot of Saints Row fans, considered a humorless stuffed shirt was great fun to watch. It's also important that they didn't choose favorites. O.G. Shaundi, while unorthodox, was still effective while Shaundi was to-the-point but equally so. And the whole thing culminated in what initially seems like another damsel moment where you have to choose between them before they take control and save themselves. It not only works to reconcile the both sides of her but as a clear statement that the writers are thinking a bit differently about how they approach their characters. (And a special shout out should go to her voice actress who nailed present day Shaundi as well as O.G. Shaundi's hoarser, smoked out tones.)

Unfortunately, this doesn't extend as much to the other Saints, but they present different problems. Pierce, as comic relief, doesn't particularly need a more clearly drawn character. More pathos would just make him harder to laugh at. You can't do much with Johnny Gat either without running into the Wolverine Conundrum: how do you explain how a badass character becomes a badass without making them less of a badass? Cleverly, his mission involves being dropped into a Streets Of Rage style brawler from back when no one gave a damn about believable characters or motivations. Bottom line: Johnny Gat was always a badass. The End. You could have argued that his "death" in The Third was due to a death wish brought on after Aisha's death but since they've retconned that... nevermind, I guess.

While people who played the first two games are well acquainted with Gat, some more examples of Gat actually being badass would have been nice. There's a lot of deference shown to the guy without a whole lot good reasons for it. Especially since the mission I had to replay the most was one where Gat was in a chopper and kept getting shot down. Which isn't very badass.

Not being very emotionally connected to the other Saints meant their missions were a little more by the numbers. The only real oversight was the one character who, after Shaundi, could have benefited the most from some actual characterization: Kinzie. We know that Kinzie is a riff off of Lisbeth Salander from the Dragon Tattoo novels (in personality, at least) and that she's ex-FBI... aaand that's about it.

The extent of what I got from Kinzie's missions are: she's doesn't want to be "normal." Well, okay. Putting aside that it reused the 50's setting from the beginning of the game and a character from The Third with no direct connection to Kinzie and who they had to really stretch to make fit, it didn't really tell us anything new or interesting. Since she's the character you interact with the most over the course of the game, it felt like a lost opportunity.

This leads to something that's less a criticism of Saints Row 4 than open world gaming as a whole. We're rapidly reaching the point where the typical cycle of "go here, talk to this person and get a mission" is becoming stale. Many of the missions in Saints Row 4, for example, are gained by choosing them from a text menu. And that's fine. It's tried, true and easy to program. Nonetheless, with the number of games offering open world experiences increasing, the way developers approach interacting with the world is still largely the same.

We're given these huge worlds to travel through however we like, but the minute we undertake a quest it becomes an entirely on rails experience. Obtaining quests is also completely simplistic. Good writing can cushion the blow a bit but we're still able to see the strings being pulled. So what you end up with are games that constantly remind you that, when it comes to advancing the story, your freedom is a sham. And if you want to make it a question of immersion in the game: am I The Boss of the Saints because I'm the best? Or am I just the best at being told what to do?

Obviously most development teams don't have the time to implement a more progressive approach to quest gathering in open world games. Even Skyrim, which is arguably the best example of presenting a non-linear open world with dynamic subquests, is hamstrung by the fact that Bethesda has a reputation for games that are nearly broken on release which have to be patched over the course of months to be playable.

Part of the problem can be solved through things as simple as dialogue or misdirection. Having the character only grudgingly following orders or just changing mission objectives on the fly because your character decides he has a better course of action, just off the top of my head, would lead to a sense that you are still in control. Much moreso than just blindly following whoever is chatting at you in your ear. However much of a pain it would be to script entirely optional semi-hidden subquests or encounters that aren't listed on your mini-map with big gold stars, it would pay dividends in creating a world you actually feel a part of. In certain ways, I almost prefer the L.A. Noire style of open world where there are no distractions from the main plot. It had a story to tell and it told it.

Going into the next generation of gaming and seeing big publishers rely as heavily as they do on "open world experiences" some actual thought is going to have to go into how they present them. Assassin's Creed is going to eventually run out of notable time periods and locations to plunder for their yearly installments and even GTA is essentially presenting the same basic urban framework only bigger and more complex. Fatigue is going to set in, if it hasn't already. With the additional horsepower of the PS4 and Xbox One, hopefully we will some additional innovation to go along with it.

In the meantime, we still have games like Saints Row 4 which mine from a rich vein of potential parody in an industry that often, with the hundreds of people involved and potentially millions of dollars at stake, takes itself far too seriously. The series seems primed for a next gen reboot, unless they find some way to top taking over an interstellar alien race. (Time travel for an AssCreed riff?)

Parody and satire are a reaction to something rather than a facilitator, so while I don't expect the gang at Volition to redefine the genre, they've certainly proven themselves capable of evolving. We, as gamers, just need to keep the pressure on developers to keep evolving along with us rather than rehashing the same tired gaming mechanics.   read

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