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New Year Updates + Mini-GOTY thing.

Welp 2016 is over and that shit was a bit of a wild ride. It was personally a fairly good year for me at least! I’ve been battling with this post for a while, because usually I like to talk about the 5 big games of the previous year that I thought were really awesome, but I’m honestly struggling this year. A lot of really meh or just okay games released this year, and not a whole lot of really great stuff. Really the most fun I had this year came mostly from games that didn’t even release this year. Various betas and such (more on that later). So here we go, here is me trying to find more than 1 game that really stuck out this year:

DOOM (2016)

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DOOM was THE clear GOTY for me. Despite a relatively unremarkable multiplayer on launch, the single player of DOOM fucking knocks it out of the universe. The best attempt so far at modernizing the ‘old school’ model of FPS games, only seconded to the Wolfenstein game from 2014. I literally can’t think of a single negative thing to say about the single player portion of this game. It is just fan-fucking-tastic from every angle. Great gunplay, amazing soundtrack, brilliant level design, thrilling fights, it is really damn near perfect. For a game that went through some development hell, this game came out shockingly great. If it wasn’t for the really bleh multiplayer that got outsourced to a different studio the game would be nearly perfect. Also, for folks interesting in how DOOM became what it is today, check out NoClip’s DOOM Documentary.

Overwatch

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Anyone that knows me knows I have a bit of a Love/Hate relationship with Overwatch. An extremely fun casual shooter with a great cast of heroes, mostly polished gameplay (Looking at you, Roadhog Hook), and fairly streamlined experience. Blizzard took the Team Fortress 2 team based hero shooter formula and polished it up to a sheen and brought all there dedicated fans along for the ride. This is a great FPS game to play with friends and not take very seriously. Lots of fun characters to play ranging from difficult to use heroes but perfect for FPS veterans all the way to simple to use characters so people newer to the genre can still be successful. The barrier to entry to the game is extremely low. Pretty much anyone can jump in and have fun. Where things get a little dicey is when you start talking about the high end/competitive part of the game. Blizzard has never been too great at game balance, and this still shows in Overwatch. There have been plenty of awkward meta shifts from one basically overpowered thing to another basically overpowered thing. They fix one thing about the game that is a little busted, and another new busted thing is either found or introduced, to a bit of a frustrating degree. Blizzard has also been at odds with the community multiple times on some subjects. For example, the community essentially had to bitch about Competitive play need to be 1 Hero Limit (1HL) from the start of the game’s competitive seen in Winter of 2015. They’re still doing it now, with the most recent MLG event in Vegas, Blizzard pressured MLG to create a standard map pool and not let the teams pick/ban maps. This map Pick/Ban phase is literally a thing in every other FPS with a competitive scene. There are a variety of reasons for this: Teams practicing certain maps, Knowledge of a teams weaknesses or strengths on a certain map or mode, or some maps just being flat out BAD for competitive play (See: Every Capture Point map in Overwatch). There are a few other things as well, No difference in SoloQ or Teamed ranked, The Capture Point Maps all need to be overhauled, Roadhog’s Hook needs to be consistent, no true ‘demo’ or replay system, and more. So, all of this basically to say that the ‘core’ game is extremely fun, but the overall competitive nature of the game has a lot of growing it needs to do. I’d love for the game to get it all right, and not to go the crash and burn way of the competitive scenes of Starcraft/Warcraft/Heroes Of The Storm, but if Blizzard’s history with eSports, Balance, or Listening to the right part of the community are any indicator it might be a rough ride. I will say that the fact that this game has had huge success has ignited other people to either step back into the genre or realize that there is still a market for this type of shooter, which is a big plus for me!

Final Fantasy XV

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I love the Final Fantasy series. I also think that every Final Fantasy game from X onward has been pretty garbage (excluding MMOs). X was okay, X-2 had promise but ultimate was pretty bad, XII bored me very quickly, and the XIII trilogy was just horrid. When the ‘new’ FFXV was announced I definitely had pretty low expectations. Hearing about all the changes they planned to make from what XIII was had me hopeful, but still ultimately I just assumed the game would not be that great. The moment I started to get a bit more excited was when I played the original demo. Good animations, good combat system, nice sense of scale, good voice acting, and that part where you got to summon Ramuh was fucking awesome. After spending around 5 hours in that 2 hour demo, I was really pumped for the game. Luckily, the game actually delivered and wasn’t a huge let down. The great visuals, combat, scale, and style of the game I got from the demo carried over to the full release of the game. It is definitely open world, which is generally a bit of a turn off for me, but it doesn’t get SO HUGE that it feels like a pretend MMO (Like Xenoblade Chronicles X or Final Fantasy XII) which is something I LOATHE. So far I’ve spent around 75 hours with the game, and haven’t quite beaten it. I’m the insane type of person with these games that has to do everything before beating it you see (which is basically the worst for open world games, lol). Luckily there aren’t any super annoying collectibles or anything dumb like that. All just Side Quests and Main Story missions. How they use Side Quests is pretty cool too. The majority of them will be big chains kinda like you’d see in WoW or something, but the chain will end in a dungeon crawl. These dungeon crawls are actually really fun as well. Lots of tough monsters, maze like areas, plenty of secrets and items to find, with some really cool mini-bosses and big bosses. I have thoroughly enjoyed the game, which makes me excited about the series again. It isn’t without its faults though. I don’t care for the magic system in the game, as a start. Also, apparently, later in the game (I haven’t gotten to this section yet) there is a part that is in I believe Chapter 13 where you only play as Noctic which basically everyone says was pretty horrid. Still, I’m not sure that one chapter will be able to ruin the rest of the game for me. If it does I’ll edit this! Or something.

Stardew Valley

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I legit forgot this came out this year. February seems like so long ago! I actually recently reinstalled Stardew Valley after I had thought I was finished with it after 45 hours. I was ADDICTED to this game when it first released. A great Harvest Moon style Indie game for the PC. This is basically the perfect Zen game. Farm your crops, farm monsters, farm all the things, sell all the things, make bank, collect stuff, unlock things, get a waifu, and repeat. None of it was super challenging, but it was insanely addictive. Even now I just want to sit here and type about all the stuff there is to do over and over again and I’m getting itches to just load the game up. This is a good example of a game that when it released I expected nothing from it, randomly bought it after hearing about it on a podcast, and it gave me such a great experience. This game is totally worth the $15.


I honestly can’t think of another game to add to that list. I can do a few honorable mentions though (with a small snippet about the game):

  • Titanfall 2: Multiplayer is more of the same, but still really smooth and polished. Single Player actually exists and it is okay. I got a little bored of it. Short and sweet though.
  • Battlefield 1: Do you like Battlefield? Then you’ll like Battlefield 1. Just like Titanfall 2, this is just more of the same, but a really polished experience. I still suck at flying planes. Vehicles are easier to kill though, that is nice.
  • Uncharted 4: Gameplay was really smooth. Story was okay. Just more Uncharted (catching the theme here?).
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Really fantastic battle system, great visuals, and extremely animu lol. I almost added this to the above list, but I have only played the first couple chapters. Need to finish it.
  • I am Setsuna: Fantasic JRPG in the style of Chrono Trigger. A good story with nice pace and great characters. Fairly cheap too! Worth the price.
  • Killing Floor 2: I almost put this above as well, but I’ve only recently dived into this game. An extremely satisfying ‘horde’ shooter with a great soundtrack and good gunplay. I can’t stress the fact of how satisfying the shooting feels though.
  • Pokemon Sun/Moon: Basically more Pokemon. Some minor changes to the formula, but in the end the same ole thing. Still really fun though, if you’re into it.

I can’t really think of anything else to add to that list! Next I’ll just add a small list of games I’m looking forward to next year!

  • Persona 5: HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG
  • LawBreakers: I’ve talked about this before on here, but I’m still pumped about this game.
  • Diabotical: Backed this on Kickstarter. Still looks like a great arena shooter.
  • Midair: Also backed this on Kickstarter. Tribes style shooter, woo!
  • Quake Champions: Looks like this will be ID’s take on the Hero shooter. I’m hoping it works out really well.
  • Sky Noon: This looks like a really neat take on some FPS arena action. Check this shit out.
  • Prey: BECAUSE I’VE BEEN WAITING FOREVER. It’ll probably suck though 😦
  • Strafe: FPS with really old graphics and randomly generated levels. Played it a few conventions and it was fun! Devolver Digital is publishing it too, which is a good sign.
  • DUSK: FPS with throwbacks to the old style of the genre. Lots of Quake/Doom/Heretic/etc vibes. Check out the trailer, it is probably the best trailer ever.
  • South Park The Fractured But Whole: Loved The Stick of Truth, I’m hoping this game is just as good.
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands: This game looks more like a FarCry game than anything else, but I still really like the concept. I’m down with some COOP open world mission based FPS. I wanted to like The Division, but that game’s end game stuff ruined it. I’m hoping Ubisoft learned from that and don’t make the same mistakes with Wildlands.

Welp, I think that is about all I wanted to type about that stuff. Hopefully next year has a lot more gems than this year!

Stream Schedule is still the same. Tuesday – Thursday 6PM CST – 10PM CST and Saturday 5PM CST – Whenever. Friday Jan the 6th is a new Diablo Season, so I’ll be streaming my leveling up process from 7PM CST until I pass the fuck out. I’ll probably Stream later today too since I’ve got the day off. I want to stream more Killing Floor 2 :). I”m also planning on fixing some of my FPS ‘sins,’ I’ve never played Painkiller or Serious Sam for example.

Note: I forgot to publish this last week >.>.

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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Misc.

 

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Summer/PAX Update?

WELL HELLO THERE. I haven’t posted anything on here since May. I have a new plan to sort of fix my posting infrequency. Not so much a posting schedule, more giving myself a reason to post more. I’ve also just gotten back from PAX, which always revitalizes me a bit.

So let’s start with the content plan, which is going to be in basically 3 stages.

  1. Twitch: I’m still going to be streaming on Twitch at my regular times (Tuesday – Thursday 6PM – 10PM CDT & Sat @ 5pm – Whenever CDT). My focus is still mostly on shooters and competitive games with a side of JRPGs, and that is what I want to build my content and community around going forward.
  2. YouTube: When Streaming new games, I’m going to take the first hour(ish) of me playing and do a summary of my feelings on the game after that. I’ll then Highlight and Export that to YouTube as a First Impressions video. These videos will be a bit of a knee-jerk opinion, by design, since that is essentially what a first impression is. I’ll also still export other random videos, and might do some highlight stuff as well.
  3. Blog: I’m going to go back to reviewing things. Games and Hardware mostly. I haven’t fully decided how I’m going to write these out. I’ll probably just do whatever feels best for what I’m reviewing and go from there. So these might start off very rough while I get into the groove of doing reviews again. For the record and all that: I’ll only review a game if I’ve finished it if it is single player, if it is multiplayer I’ll put in an equivalent amount of time into the game before reviewing it. I’m not sure what I’ll do for hardware. Maybe just use it regularly for a week’s worth of playtime? I’ll figure that one out. I’ll also disclose any info (free copy, sponsorship, etc) where applicable. I’m pretty small time still, so I doubt there will be much going on there :P.

Stuff I’m playing semi-regularly right now:

  • Overwatch (FPS-PC)
  • Ratz Instagib (FPS-PC)
  • Hearthstone (TCG-PC)
  • Unreal Tournament (FPS-PC)
  • Trails of Cold Steel (JRPG-PSVita)
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE (JRPG-WiiU)

Stuff I want to play in the nearish future:

  • Final Fantasy 15 (JRPG-PS4)
  • Midair (FPS-PC)
  • LawBreakers (FPS-PC)
  • Diabotical (FPS-PC)
  • Shadow Warrior (FPS-PC)
  • Battlerite (..MOBA?.. “PvP team arena brawler”-PC)

 

This next section is going to be all about PAX West. I probably had the most fun at this PAX West since the first one I ever went to. I didn’t give a single fuck about any of the games with large lines except of Gears of War 4, and I was pretty okay with skipping that. Instead I got to take Friday to see all the games I cared to poke at (Namely LawBreakers, Midair, Dusk, and Shadow Warrior 2) and then spent the rest of the convention hanging out with friends or looking for gems (and I found a few interesting things!). In no particular order, I’m going to give some brief impressions of some of the games I played.

  • LawBreakers (Boss Key Productions): Of everything I’ve played, I’ve had the most experience with LawBreakers. I played it at PAX East and RTX, and I’ve also been in the Alpha for quite a while. LB is a good blend of Unreal Tournament style arena shooter, with some class based abilities thrown in. It plays pretty smooth mechanically, but movement can be a bit weird and getting used to it (especially in the gravity zones) can be a little difficult at first. That being said, I’ve enjoyed the game thoroughly and intend to play it a lot more when I can.
  • Midair (Archetype Studios): I was stoked to finally get my hands on this after backing it on Kickstarter. I was a big fan of Tribes and Tribes 2 way back when, and I was really hoping this game would deliver on the feel of those games. I probably played a total of about an hour and a half at PAX and really enjoyed the game. I’m definitely extremely rusty with the Tribes style movement because I botched my movement quite a few times. I mostly used the Disc Launcher and Chain Gun while I was playing, both of which were very responsive and destructive in their own ways. I can’t wait to play it on my own setup. I didn’t care for the mice they used, and couldn’t take time to get my sensitivity right. So playing felt a little wonky due to that. Still, the game looks great and played well.
  • Dusk (New Blood Interactive): This one sort of came out of nowhere for me. Dusk is an old school looking shooter in the veins of DOOM, Half-Life 1, or Hexen. The demo I played looked to be just a wave based endless survival game mode where you could try out a whole bunch of different weapons. I talked to one of the folks at the booth and was told that there is also a campaign for the game where you have to survive the spooky woodlands of the American Northeast. This one was pretty low on my radar but was an interesting play. I spent about 30 minutes and 2 sessions worth on the endless survival mode. The shooting felt responsive and the weapons were fairly straight forward. Some pretty gnarly looking dual scythe for melee weapons or your standard double barrel shotgun for example. Hard to give some solid feelings on this after only 30 minutes, but it was really interesting and I liked the retro style. I definitely want to play it some more. So I’d say that it gets a thumbs up at least.
  • Shadow Warrior 2 (Flying Wild Hog/Devolver Digital): This was the only game I stood in a line for. It wasn’t a huge line, but it did move sorta slow :P. I got to play a 15 minute demo. I skipped all the cut-scenes so I could get to the gameplay, so I’m not sure what exactly it threw me into. It seemed sort of like a Diablo style rift, but enemies kept respawning (which was kind of annoying). I did get to try plenty of weapons though and they were all pretty smooth. They didn’t feel quite like Shadow Warrior 1 did, but I didn’t find anything to complain about. The short demo I played just made me want to play more though. Really enjoyed it and looking forward to the Oct 12 release.
  • Eternal (Direwolf): This one was a bit of a surprise for me. Eternal is a card game, but it is closer to Magic: The Gathering than it is Hearthstone. There aren’t any classes, instead there are 5 different factions. There is actually blocking and counters similar to MTG. I played 2 matches against a bot at PAX and found it very interesting. They were nice enough to give me a beta code so I’ve been poking around at it at home too. I’m trying to get through the single player stuff to familiarize myself with the cards and learn all the mechanics. I like it so far though! We’ll see if it can hold my attention. Depends on how powerful control decks are since those are my style :D.
  • Heavy Metal Machines (Hoplon): This was another game that sort of came out of left field. Heavy Metal Machines is part Rocket League, MOBA, and Twisted Metal. I played 2 matches against bots, both of which were one sided. Sorta dominated them :P. It was fun though, and the game has a great soundtrack. It is top down, and the car moves towards the mouse with Left Click accelerating and Right Click  going reverse so that was a little weird to get used to. Each car (or character) also had QWER abilities of various types. There were also roles for each car Support (self explaining), Interceptor (Kills enemy cars), and Transporter (Runs the ball). It has a pretty interesting dynamic and I’d like to see what it looks like in PVP. The Beta starts soon, so I’m looking forward to getting more hands on time with it. They get bonus points too, because I accidentally left a mouse pad at their booth and they held onto it for me. Awesome folks!
  • Dropzone (Sparky Pants): Dropzone is an interesting mix between a MOBA and an RTS. You control 3 mechs of 3 different roles (Tank/DPS/Support) in any combination. Each role has a few different available characters, each with unique abilities and all of it heavily customization. In the game, you control all 3 mechs at the same time, with the goal being score more points than your opponent (1v1) in 15 minutes. Points are gained by completing side objectives (ex: First Blood) or delivering cores (gained by killing neutral creeps) to a central core. This is an interesting bit of difference on the standard MOBA gameplay. First that it is 1v1, and second that you’re simultaneously controlling 3 unique characters. Sort of like Lost Vikings from Heroes of the Storm, but each character has a full suite of abilities. Players that are really good at micromanaging units will really excel at this, though there are some passive abilities for players that might feel overwhelmed by too many activate abilities. The community manager actually gave me a bunch of beta keys for the game and was really cool. I’ll be playing this on stream in the nearish future 🙂

I think that is everything I wanted to talk about here. Regular streams will start back on Tuesday! Will probably start with some Overwatch. I need to get warmed back up so I can do my placement matches for Season 2. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2016 in Misc.

 

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