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9:33 PM on 01.08.2014

Can We Talk About Bravely Default?

Alright, so before I jump into this blog, I just want to wish my Destructoid family a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The blog editor wrecked two of my blogs last month beyond repair. Even though we can get too negative and snarky for our own alot of the time, this is honestly the best community I've ever been a part of.

With that out of the way, I've decided to make it a habit of blogging more regularly. Not as a resolution, because no one ever keeps those. I guess it's just a matter of not seeing the type of commentary and criticism I'd like to see, and well...might as well do it myself, right?

So let's light this candle. Let's talk about this whole Bravely Default...thing.

No, no. Don't worry, it's not the censorship thing.

It's the demo thing. Specifically, how it differs from the actual game.

From what I've read around all the internets, there are huge differences between how the demo plays, and how the full game does.

[li]First of all, the demo drops you off in an area that's about two or three hours into the full game, with zero explanation as to what's going on or who the characters are. This was done to avoid spoilers. But it makes things very confusing, and it forces you to grind, or get thoroughly smashed into the dirt.[/li]
[li]The demo is mostly comprised of fetch quests from villagers. The full game doesn't have any of that.[/li]
[li]The main game doesn't require StreetPass tags or Friend Codes (but you guys and gals should totes add me anyway: 2320-7559-5845). Instead of tagging people for your village, profiles are uploaded and a few of them are randomly pulled from internet each day.[/li]
[li]The monsters don't spam status effects in the full game. The demo is beyond brutal with this, on top of the fact that you're level 1 in an area where you should be level 4. This should make things much easier, and cut down on the grinding.[/li]


Just thought I'd throw this up as a PSA for anyone who hadn't seen this info before. It's a relief for me, because personally, I'm not a fan of the demo. Don't get me wrong, I'm super hyped for the game. So much that I've got the Collector's Edition preordered, which is not something I typically do.

I like the idea of not wanting to spoil anything, but I think it would've been better served if Squeenix had given us the first hour or two of the game, to get acquainted with the story and characters. Just my $0.02 that no one cares about. But what say you? What does everyone in C-Blog land think?   read

5:59 PM on 11.12.2013

REVIEW: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag...'s Case

Today, I payed for a game that I cannot play, because videogame enthusiast. So I shall do the only logical thing anyone could possibly think of, and review the case.

Right away, I couldn't help but notice the excessive amount of the number four on the front cover. PlayStation 4? Assassin's Creed 4? Really creative there, guys. I got mixed up and thought the GameStop bit at the top said "Exclusive missions and shit". I thought this must have been how the game got it's "M" rating, but it turned out that it actually says "ship". That's not quite as interesting.

The plastic case itself is small and blue, just like a Blu-Ray case. It seems like this might cause some confusion. What will happen if someone tries to control a movie, or just watch a game? Pure chaos, that's what! 

Speaking of control, the back cover says something about Remote Play. This seems silly. If I can play Black Flag with my TV remote, then why do PS4 controllers cost $60?? It's a shame that "good guy Sony" would stoop to such rotten anti-consumer policies. If they were just counting on riding all that E3 good will to the bank, then they've got another thing coming!

The back cover also mentions pirates and the Caribbean. I hope that the game features a small, scruffy dog that plays with keys. And if a pretty lady in red doesn't get auctioned off, I'll be very disappointed, indeed! That was a jokey reference to the Disney World ride, called Pirates of the Caribbean. I would never want any lady to be auctioned off, because I'm not a sexist jerk and how dare you suggest that I am!

All in all, Black Flag has a nice case, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys videogame cases. Thanks for reading! And on behalf of myself, and everyone at the Walt Disney World Resort: have a magical day!   read

7:14 PM on 11.11.2013

Ancient Astronaut Theory and Mass Effect

First off, this is your one and only spoiler warning. This blog will contain very huge-ish plot spoilers for the Mass Effect trilogy. If, by some chance you haven't played the games (and you really should), and don't want anything spoiled, then back out now, ya silly!

Despite the 7th console generation lasting longer than any other, I've had a very tough time coming up with a good "My 7th Gen" topic. I could've done one about Microsoft's shoddy hardware, or the advent of horrendous anti-consumer business practices. But those things have been talked about to death; there's no need to dwell on the negative. I have some very special memories connected to Rock Band, of all things, but it'd be difficult to turn that into an interesting full blog. Plus, I don't know what goofy pictures I could put into it.

So what do?

Well, let's talk about my favorite IP of the 7th gen: Mass Effect. While not exactly known for it's technical soundness, the Mass Effect games created one of the best universes, and groups of characters, not just in videogames, but in all of science-fiction. At least, in my opinion.

One of the aspects of the story is advanced alien technology was purposefully left for us to find, in order for civilization to advance into the stars. This is very similar to Ancient Astronaut Theory.

The extremely short version of Ancient Astronaut Theory is that some millennia ago, aliens visited Earth, advanced neanderthal evolution into modern humans, and later gave humans the use of advanced technology, which is used as an explanation for the Egyptian pyramids, the Easter Island heads, etc. There's a ton more to it than that, but this is enough for the purposes of this blog. You should definitely look it up though, it's pretty interesting.

It is also said that many cultures' gods were actually these aliens. This could potentially be a tie-in with a conversation between Shepard and Sovereign (which is another word for 'god'). Sovereign is,of course, one of the Reapers, the immortal hybrid alien/robot death-bringers, who left the technology to be found. Every 50,000 years, once various  civilizations have found their technology and advanced themselves enough, the Reapers show up, and well...reap. Pretty much all life in the galaxy is destroyed. Rinse, and repeat in another 50,000 years.

At one point late in the first game, Shepard asks Sovereign why the Reapers do what they do. The reply is basically "You couldn't comprehend the reasoning". This is the same line of thinking that many religious people have had throughout history. "God's ways are not our ways", "God works in mysterious ways"; and we are never to know, or question, anything further. This all ties in with the idea that the "gods" were not gods, but alien visitors.

I'm personally fascinated with Ancient Astronaut Theory. I don't think that I'm sold on it, but since I wasn't around when it was all supposed to have happened, I can't disprove it. If it is true, I certainly hope they aliens aren't out there waiting to liquify us. That'd be the worst smoothie ever!   read

1:59 PM on 11.07.2013

Spoiler Alert: Mario is the Villain

I like bad guys. I like the idea of playing as bad guys. Unfortunately, there aren't really any games that let you play as the bad guy; not really. It's usually very superficial, and ultimately, you just end up as more of an anti-hero than a true villain.

But what if I told you that everyone's favorite red, mustachio'd corporate mascot was actually the actual villain of his games, actually?

"That's ridiculous, grey! Nintendo wouldn't troll us like that for nearly 30 years!" 

Well friends, science and facts and logic back me up.

FACT: Princess Peach is royalty.

FACT: Bowser is King of the Koopas, which also makes him royalty.

FACT: Mario is just an average, portly plumber, with a shroom addiction.

Taken these facts together, it only stands to reason that Mario is a creepy stalker, and Bowser is actually protecting Peach. This is backed up by the fact that the Koopas, and their king, don't have their own kingdom, and thus are clearly subjects of the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser and Peach are in cahoots!

Plus, what are the chances that a rich, powerful woman, who looks like this:

would be interested in a schlub, who looks like this?

Just look at those crazy eyes! If he can't have you Peach, then no one will!!!

For more evidence, let's look at some of the games. In the original Super Mario Bros., Mario trudges all the up to that first castle, throws Bowser in to a pool of lava (!), and gets his girl, right? WRONG! He's met with a decoy. Seven different decoys, in fact. Now, don't you think it would take a crazy amount of time for Bowser to build eight huge castles? Wouldn't Peach have something to say if a "bad guy" was doing that?? She must've known, and been okay with it!

And what happens when Mario finally defeats Bowser for the final time? 

Peach is just straight chillin. She's not locked up, or tied up, or nothin. She's just...there. Almost as if she was there willingly. And if she had really just been rescued, do you think she'd immediately have a "new quest" for her hero? No! She just wants him out of her hair!

Now, let's look at Super Mario 2. I always thought it was interesting that the first (and main) enemies in that game are called Shyguys. That doesn't sound very threatening or evil to me. In fact, you can stand on their head and ride them around for a bit, and they don't care! But what does supposed "good guy" Mario do when he turns up? He destroys their vegetable gardens, and slaps the poor Shyguys in the face with their own vegetables!! What a jerk!

"Oh, but grey! That whole game was just Mario's dream!" 

Yes, except that Shyguys have since shown up in other Mario games. That means Mario was dreaming of events that actually happened. Still a jerk!

One of the biggest criticisms of Peach's ruling style is that she never seemed to get more defense, despite constantly being kidnapped. However, understanding that Bowser is actually protecting her from Mario throughout the series, we can see that she actually does. In Super Mario 3, Peach employs the Koopa Kids, and an armada of airships. She even has Bowser hide her away in the foulest corner of Hell itself! That's desperation right there!! But try as she might, she can never get quite far enough away from that squatty creeper.

It escalates, and escalates, until Peach has no choice but to summon aliens, and break the laws of physics by creating intergalactic wormholes!

Is no place safe from that round-nose freak?? And how does he breathe in space anyway? Obviously, he got so desperate that he made a deal with the devil! Even knowing that all he ever gets is cake. Cake! That's not an adequate reward! Peach just knows that Mario can't resist food, so she gives him cake to distract him from wanting her peach. 

So as I have undoubtedly proven, Bowser is a misunderstood bodyguard; Mario is a world-class jerk and creeper, and Princess Peach ecchi art is pretty awesome.   read

4:28 PM on 09.02.2013

How Reverse Psychology Will Save The Game Industry

Earlier today, I decided to brave the elements, and run some errands. One of those errands was a bit of grocery shopping. Now, I'm a foodie, so grocery shopping is one of my favorite pastimes. Except for the times when a product that I like gets discontinued. As I stood in the aisle, wondering why chunky applesauce had to die, it dawned on me that this happens to me constantly.

If I like a food product, it stops being made. If I like a game or movie franchise, it'll go off the rails. If I like a certain band...well, you get the idea. 

So when do you get to the industry saving part, you ask?

Obviously, the industry pulls alot of ugly stuff that we don't like. It's ugly stuff that's killing the AAA market, and making the console space look ridiculous. With that happening, and my cosmic curse over everything I find enjoyable, I've decided that reverse psychology on the universe will fix everything that's wrong with video games.

With that said, I welcome the death of single-player games. Everything should be exclusively multiplayer experiences. Actually, just force me to be online all the time. I'll just trust that your servers will always work flawlessly, and forever. Paying full price for half of a game, just to be sold the rest later? Sing me up for that! Your budgets? Bigger is always better. Oh, and dumb everything down for us simpletons. 

Ya know, maybe this isn't my best idea....   read

4:09 PM on 05.28.2013

The Violence of BioShock Infinite

I finished BioShock Infinite earlier today (yes I know, late to the party and all that), and after taking some time to digest the entire amazing story and ending, I find myself bothered by the same thing that bothered me throughout the entire game: the amount of combat and the level of violence.

There is simply too much of it. The original BioShock showed us that just because a game was a FPS, it didn't have to be all shooty-shooty every thirty seconds, with waves and waves of faceless damage sponges waiting to be mowed down. And maybe that's what makes it all the more irritating; it's already been successfully done, so why change it, and take things a step backwards?

It doesn't even serve much of a purpose, in my view. Yes, there needs to be that initial surge of violence at the fair, to illustrate that things aren't as idyllic in Columbia as they first appear. Yes, there needs to be a moment of over-the-top violence to repulse Elizabeth, and give Booker yet more reason to believe he is beyond redemption. The problem is that the game continuously throws you into these large firefights, while at the same time wanting you to get lost in the game world, and pay close attention to the story.

That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to just be in Columbia with Elizabeth. I wanted to experience the narrative, without constantly being pulled out of it by having to fend off waves of enemies, in what very quickly becomes standard Halo-style combat. I don't understand why portions of the story couldn't be uncovered and completed by some simple detective work. I mean, Booker was written as a detective, so why not use put that to some use?

I can't help but feel Ken Levine fell victim to the same trap so many designers fall into these days: changing things around to appeal to the broadest audience possible. It's also shown in the fact that Elizabeth is relegated to the back cover of the box, despite it being every bit her story as Booker's, if not more so. But dudebros aren't going to buy our game if there's some....girl on the cover. Dudebros won't understand why a FPS isn't constantly throwing enemies at them. Well guess what guys? Dudebros also weren't going to care about or understand the brilliant story you've created. Parallel universes and quantum physics are not things I usually hear players talk about during CoD or FIFA matches.

At the end of the day though, BioShock Infinite absolutely moves the FPS genre, as well as the entire video game medium, forward. It is a true work of art. A masterpiece. The ending is beautiful and mind-blowing and...I honestly don't have enough words to describe how much I love it. I just wish I didn't have to shoot so many guys in the face to get there.   read

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