Hey friends! Time for super late June/July update. I’ve got mini reviews for Wolfenstein: The New Order, Transistor, and Watch_Dogs. I finally wrapped up Final Fantasy 6 and I’m about 4 hours into Final Fantasy 7. I’ve started playing through Dragon Age: Origins with the intention to beat it. I’ve gotten a PS4 and Wii U. I’ve played a ton of the Destiny Beta as a result and a little bit of Mario Kart 8. And I’VE MOVED! To a different state even!
So we’ll start with the paragraph mini reviews:
Wolfenstein: The New Order was pretty much everything I wanted from a modernized take on a classic FPS franchise and more. While there are some story loop holes they’re not massive and overall the story is actually fairly well written and designed. It is pretty basic vengeance/save the world but I won’t fault it for that. There was a lot of interesting character development for the main character, William “B.J.” Blazkowicz. They did a good job in portraying him as an actual human instead of some gun toting meat-head most of the time.
I’m pretty sure the game ran on the same engine that RAGE did because both games feel very similar as far as gameplay flow. Very smooth shooting and movement, but Wolfenstein has some added stealth mechanics that are actually really good, and I hate stealth. The level design and stealth mechanic were done in such a way that it was just an option you could use in one battle to the next. AND if you fucked up, you just had to fight it out (very similar to Dishonored). None of the forced stealth bullshit you’ll hear me bitch about shortly. I should also mention the game is very brutal and pretty dark, though I think that is expected it actually surprised me in a couple of places. Overall the game was really good. It played great, had a great story, and was just a great job in bringing a classic franchise into more modern gaming. If you’re looking for something to play and haven’t picked this up yet, definitely give it a shot. It is still $60 on steam, but I’ve seen it go on sale several times for much cheaper.
Transistor has everything in it I should love from a video game. Great art direction, amazing sound track, combat that sounds unique, and it was made by the guys that made the phenomenal Bastion. Unfortunately, I ended up finding the entire experience rather dull. It played fine, but for some reason the game felt lifeless and the gameplay wasn’t really all that interesting after playing it a couple of hours. The world, while pretty at first, got pretty bland pretty quickly. I can’t help but compare it to Bastion, who had a beautiful world with lots of variety and colors. That statement alone, may be part of my reason for being disappointed. I couldn’t help but compare Transistor to Bastion. Transistor had a lot to live up to due to that, and I think it wasn’t quite at that level. The story was really good, the pace was questionable but forgivable, but really the gameplay was just too much of a turn off for me. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t quite. It was just alright, not the brilliant follow up to Bastion I was hoping for.
Now, to Watch_Dogs. I was pretty excited about this game. I played it a lot the first week I bought it, despite UPlay really not wanting me to. I ran around and did a lot of stuff, because there is a lot of stuff to do. Notice how vague that is? Well honestly that is because there wasn’t much to remember. Everything was mostly stuff we’ve already done before in similar games (Grand Theft Auto being the obvious example, but so does other Ubisoft titles like Assassin’s Creed and FarCry) and so none of it was very exciting or memorable. It was more like a jack-of-all-trades Ubisoft title that mashed in a lot of stuff from Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed, threw it into a more modern setting, and then slapped a ‘hacker’ theme over it. By hacking I mean that you’re solving some tube puzzles but rotating some tubes (think Bioshock if the tubes were already placed you just had to make stuff line up right) or just pressing the hack button. I will admit that I didn’t even finish the game. Somewhere around the halfway mark there was a forced stealth section that required you to march through the middle of an enemy camp without making so much as a stick crack. If you did anything fun you’d get Mission Failed. So I failed it 10 or so times and uninstalled the game. Forced stealth sections in games are one of my pet peeves with game design. No one finds it fun in these types of games. Forced stealth is fine for Hitman, Splinter Cell, and Thief. Games where you expect to be running around in stealth all the time. However, in a game that is mostly run and gun with the occasionally puzzle these stealth sections are just tedious and annoying. Why can’t more games do stealth like Wolfenstein did? Add some stealth sections to the game, sure! But when the player fucks up, punish him for it by having to fight out of the situation. Don’t just show a fucking game over screen, it is frustrating and not fun. This game was very meh, I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you like GTA a lot but are bored of it and need something new to play.
With that done, let’s talk about Destiny. I put a solid 20 or so hours into the beta and I must say it is a blast. I played a Warlock to max level, and I’m likely to stick with that on release. It fits my playstyle pretty well. I like the whole Borderlands meets Halo feel to the game, and the mix of PVE and PVP with both being equally meaningful is awesome. Items in PVE carry over to PVP and vice versa, and rewards earned by your character apply everywhere. This is probably the best design for this type of game. There will obviously be the ‘best’ weapon for each weapon type, and eventually people will figure out what stats to min/max for PVE and PVP. Still I think it is great that both types of gameplay are pretty much equal in terms of meaningful rewards. I think the only exception being that you get better experience in PVE (I’m honestly not sure if you get experience in PVP. As I’m writing this I cannot remember), but you get different rewards in PVP, such as reputation and certain tokens for loot. The beta only let you level up to 8 and do a handful of missions, so after 2 days I had already knocked out most of that stuff and spent a bunch of time on the PVP. The PVP was pretty well balanced from what I saw. Nothing in particular seemed OP or anything to me. Shotguns are probably the strongest weapons on some of the smaller maps, maybe borderline OP but that is pretty expected from Bungie. I like how they dish out ammo in the Multiplayer. Instead of having heavy weapons spawn somewhere on the map, heavy ammo spawns in certain time intervals on two different sides of the map. This creates a mini-objective on top of the objectives you’re already going for, which I liked. The heavy ammo felt appropriately powerful too. From the beta I don’t really have any complaints. I’ve already pre-ordered the game and look forward to playing a ton of it. Here is a VOD of a full multiplayer game from the Beta (I’m only talking to myself because the PS4 streaming thing doesn’t capture party voice).
I haven’t really gotten much time to play Mario Kart 8. I’ve spent a few hours on it, enough to know that I’m terrible at it. I haven’t really sat down and just played it for an evening though. I honestly don’t enjoy playing certain multiplayer things without playing it with friends and I almost exclusively bought the Wii U to play games with friends (Mario Kart, Monster Hunter, Smash Bros, etc) and the occasional JRPG or something (HELLO XENOBLADE CHRONICLES X). Once I dive more into that I’ll probably talk more about it. Feel free to add me on there, I was able to get Klokworkk.
In streaming news I finally wrapped up Final Fantasy 6. You can see a VOD of me beating Angelic Kefka and the ending here. Feel free to make fun of me chewing gum and then trying to get chicken out of my teeth with my tongue. Lesson learned to not chew gum while streaming and get some damn toothpicks, otherwise I’ll look like a dumbass. I’ve started Final Fantasy 7. I’m not too far in though, about to get to Shinra building part. I’ll be starting the stream up as soon as I’m done typing this. I’m also going to be periodically playing through Dragon Age: Origins but I have no timeline on trying to beat that.
Only other thing of note is that I’ve moved! I no longer live in Alabama, I have moved back to Texas. I still have my own place though, I didn’t move back in with anyone. That wouldn’t be fun. I live about 45 minutes north of Austin now, which is a great location. Austin is such an awesome city too. If you’re ever in the area make sure you check out Pinballz and Dragon’s Lair, as well as the plethora of game shops. Tons of cool shit to be found.
Alrighty, I’m wrapping it up here. In August I’ll try to beat FF7 and Tales of Xillia 2. I also plan on writing a post about recently released, upcoming, or popular MMOs and my thoughts on them (spoiler: most of it isn’t too great). Expect that before PAX. I’ll probably also ACTUALLY make a PAX post this year, so I’ll probably take a bunch of notes and/or pictures during that. That’ll technically be an early September update though so I’m getting ahead of myself so I’ll stop now.