Backlogged: Oxenfree

 

Oxenfree 7_5_2019 10_18_33 AM.pngOxenfree was, uh, free a few weeks, maybe months now, ago on the Epic Games Store. Jay has been telling me for about 2 years now how good Oxenfree is. So I immediately picked it up and, in true fashion, didn’t play it for a month or two. He’s also the one who recommended SOMA to me and that is now one of my favorite games of all time. While Oxenfree doesn’t fall into the same caliber of the game for me, it was very good.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A group of teenagers go to a haunted island to drink and party. There they discover a mysterious cave and set off an event that has them being chased by an evil entity the rest of the night. There’s a mystery, time travel, and scary ghosts in the PA system! Yes, it’s a generic horror plot but Oxenfree’s biggest strength is it’s cast of characters.  Every line of dialog is voiced and the characters are written so well that I actually started to miss them after the credits rolled.

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Oxenfree isn’t a game as much as it’s an interactive story.  Like a TellTale game (RIP) with less quick time events. There aren’t a lot of choices to be made other than what the main character, Alex, will say next. It’s a very on-rails experience and while I’m sure I could have taken a slightly different route and had a slightly different experience I didn’t feel the need to replay it….until I went to go take screenshots for this post.

I completed the game in 2-weekend play sessions. In all, it took about 8 hours from start to finish. Like I said, I loved the cast of characters and the story had some fun twists and turns. Playing through Oxenfree felt like binge-watching a very good show, I just had to know what was going to happen next. The setting is a tourist island that seems to be closed for the season. The only full-time resident has recently died so you will end up in her house looking for answers. The characters manage to awaken some sort of ghost trapped in what appears to be a radio signal. Throughout the night this ghost possesses Alex’s friends as it tries to get back to the world of the living.

The visuals in Oxenfree are perfect for the story it’s trying to tell. Everything is lacking just a little bit of detail, it’s colorful, but also mostly covered in fog. I found that it set a great atmosphere for the whole story. I think if they were any more cartoony or realistic they wouldn’t have been nearly as effective. I also love that the loading screens show the polaroids that are taken in various parts of the game. These add a little more detail to the graphics and always feel like an intimate moment between the characters

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There is a bit gameplay in Oxenfree besides choosing dialog trees. Alex carries a radio with her that when tuned to certain frequencies can trigger events. Each zone on the map has some unique radio stations that are interesting to listen to, so it’s worth pulling it out when you enter a new area. Also, there are a few collectibles. I found a lot of them but I didn’t go out of my way to look for them all. I’d would recommend Oxenfree if you’re looking for a laid back game with a very good story.

 

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Alright back to the screenshot thing. See there’s a little detail I missed after the game returned to the screen. What I assumed was the new game button actually said “Continue Timeline?”. I needed screenshots so I went back in for some pictures and the opening scene was a little different than I remember. So I played on…for another few hours actually. I may need to go back and go through the whole story again and see what I can change the second time around.

 

 

Backlogged: The Last Door- Season 2

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The Last Door: Season 2 took me longer to finish than the first season both in hours played and the time I took between each episode. Season 1 grabbed me and didn’t let go, the story was interesting with each episode leaving me with such a good cliff hanger I just had to know what happened. Plus, it was the first point and click game I’ve played in a while so the novelty also had a strong pull on my playtime. Season 2 on the other hand, had a good story but wasn’t nearly as compelling and I spread it out over a few weeks. It took me 7 hours in total to get through all 4 chapters. There were a few achievements I missed so there is more content there if I ever went back for a second playthrough.

I chose to both games of the series through Steam but they are also available on mobile devices.

Story

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I was a bit worried when season 2 was not a direct continuation from season 1. This season has us following Dr. Wakefield, Jeremiah Devitt’s psychologist as tries to unravel the mystery of where his patient’s disappearance. He consults with his colleague, Dr. Kaufmann, who has more knowledge about the occult circumstances of Devitt’s disappearance.

Episode 3 was by far my favorite. The setting, Elis Mor, was amazing. This was an island with weird rituals, creepy residents, and an ominous deep hole where a monster supposedly slept.

Gameplay

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Much like season 1, the gameplay in The Last Door – Season 2 does not get too in the way of the story. The puzzles aren’t easy but with a little thought, they can be solved fairly quickly. I did find myself running between rooms and areas frequently as I had missed a small detail or had a new idea for a solution.

I liked the inclusion of multiple areas and a map this time around. Each episode in the first game

When it comes to gameplay, Episode 2 was my favorite. It was filled with riddles and made me feel smart when I could figure them out without looking up a guide. Thanks for stroking my ego!

Episode 3 was by far the hardest for me. I will admit to looking up the solution for a particular part but that was only after a half-hour of running around trying objects with different things. I forgot that objects can be used with people as well. To be fair though, I probably wouldn’t have ended up figuring this out on my own and I wanted to keep progressing in the story.

Sound

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The Last Door would be a much less exciting experience without the fantastic soundtrack and sound design. I’m not usually paying enough attention to the sound for it to matter in most games but The Last Door does everything right in this category. There are intense moments that are heightened by the sound. The sound is also the only way for this game to really deliver jumps scares, which it does sparingly but in the right places.

Graphics

The art style The Game Kitchen chose for The Last Door works in a way I didn’t think it would. The low resolution actually makes some of the monsters and settings creepier. You can’t tell exactly what they are but your mind fills in the rest. I find that this works very well for this style of game.

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Final Thoughts

I found this season creepier overall than the first game but the story and mystery weren’t quite as compelling for me. The season did bring some nice changes from Season 1 in terms of gameplay. The story did start to get a little fuzzy towards the end of Episode 4 but I wasn’t disappointed in the ending. It was as close to closure as you can get with this type of story. A good thing too since there are no plans for a third season.

So if you’re looking for a horror game with a great story I cannot recommend The Last Door enough.

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Backlogged: The Last Door: Season 1

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I love horror. Across all media, it’s my favorite genre. My favorite kind of horror isn’t in your face slashers and monsters. It’s the psychological, creepy, unsettling horror that not only makes your skin crawl but makes you think as well. That’s exactly the kind of horror the Last Door is.

Originally released episodically, Season 1 provides the first 4 chapters of The Last Door. It follows Jerimiah Devitt after he receives a letter from an old boarding school friend Anthony Beechworth. Devitt arrives at the Beechworth Estate,  in Victorian-era Sussex, only to find that his friend has hanged himself. He discovers another letter instructing him to seek answers at his old boarding school which has been turned into an end of life care facility. There he remembers the events of him and 4 others conducting a ritual to see “beyond the veil”.  Throughout the game, Devvit sees a huge bird eye and there is a heavy emphasis on crows. There is another story with 2 psychiatrists talking about their patient Devvit. It is unclear whether this is taking place before, during, or after the events of the game.

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I didn’t think a game that looked like this could be unsettling. If there is a game that proves you don’t need fantastic graphics to convey a great story and have a great gaming experience it’s this one. The sound design makes the experience very immersive. In fact, the sounds are the scariest parts. The auditory jump scares they are placed sparingly and in just the right moments. The original music by Carlos Viola carries the game. The piano is haunting, sad, and creepy. Plus, there’s a different track for almost every room.

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Okay, that’s a little creepy
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And that…..

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Point and Click games are hit or miss for me. Sometimes the gameplay gets in the way of the story. It can be frustrating when I can’t figure out a puzzle but I want to continue the story. That isn’t the case here. The items and their use are very logical. There was only one time, in episode 4, that I had a hard time figuring out what to do next. after about a half an hour using objects on anything and everything, I ran to the internet for help. Turns out I had missed an entire area and a lightbulb had to be used with a dead deer to make a light for a photography darkroom. Other than that the puzzles were logical without being too easy.

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My favorite part of Season 1 was in episode 3. There’s an area that is covered in fog and throughout the episode, the characters tell you it cannot be traversed without a map. It turns out the map is actually a poem and you have to match the sound clues in the foggy area to lines in the poem to make it through. This section highlights the best parts, the sound design, and the writing.

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After the first 4 chapters, there are 4 mini-scenes in the extras.  They don’t give any answers to the original chapters and provide a lot of questions for the next season. I wan’t expecting these when I finished the game and clicked the extras menu. It was a nice touch.

It took me 5 hours to complete Season 1. That’s more time than I initially thought I would get out of it. I’m very much looking forward to playing through season 2 and seeing how the story plays out.

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Backlogged: Hiveswap Act 1

In an effort to get back into playing games I already own I fired up How Long to Beat Steam. I usually use this when I don’t know what I want to play and sort by the time to beat the main storyline. This is how I sort my Steam Games on Deck sidebar and I haven’t updated it in a very long time.

This game was next on the list with a playtime of only 2 hours. This cam as a surprise to me, I thought I had avoided the cliche of a PC gamer who didn’t know all of their steam games, but I have no idea where I got this from. My best guess is from Humble Monthly as this isn’t the kind of game I would usually choose to buy.

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Hiveswap is kind of a big deal if you look at its history. In 2012, a Kickstarter was put up by Andrew Hussie to make a video game based off is webcomic Homestuck. The Kickstarter raised $700,000 dollars in just under 32 hours and raised $2.4 million dollars overall. It became the third highest grossing video game in Kickstarter history at the time. The game was supposed to be released in 2014 after starting development in 2013 but arrived for purchase 3 years later in September 2017. It went through a number of iteration, starting as a 3D game and eventually scaling back into a 2D point and click adventure game.

Before playing this game I had no knowledge of either the Kickstarter story or the Homestuck webcomic. I vaguely remember reading something on Reddit about it when it was released but other than that it hadn’t crossed my radar. From the perspective of going in blind, it was a good game, a little short without much challenge.

The game bills itself as a tribute to 90’s adventure games without any of the frustration.I can agree with that, it pretty much leads you by the nose to what you need to do next to progress in the story. There’s hardly anything challenging about Hiveswap, it plays like an interactive webcomic. Luckily the art, music, and writing really make up for the simplified gameplay.

Hiveswap starts off with two kids playing with their dog in the backyard when monsters appear in the yard. The kids are separated as they are chased around by monsters and Joey Claire ends up being chased into her room. Her brother Jude is stuck in the tree house and one of the first things you’re tasked with doing is finding batteries for your walkie-talkie to talk to Jude. The first half of the game revolves around Joey trying to get to the attic because her brother is convinced is the safest place in the house.

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Hiveswap takes place in 1994 and as a result, every room in Joey’s house is chalk full of 90’s childhood nostalgia. Including but not limited to a Light Brite, street sharks, and pogs. The art is fantastic and there is so much stuff crammed into each of the areas. There’s a lot of interactable objects in each scene, most of them don’t do much besides give some funny flavor text.

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In the second half, Joey finds a mysterious device in the attic that is activated by a family heirloom. Suddenly, she is ported into a nightmarish sci-fi world in the middle of a revolution. Oh, and it’s inhabited by troll people.  It turns out Joey has been swapped with Dammek, the child leader of the revolution in Alternia. It’s more of the same gameplay as the first half with a funky sci-fi backdrop. Presumably, this is where the rest of the story will take place in the later acts.

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According to the wiki, there are suppose to be 4 acts of Hiveswap and the second game following Dammek called Hauntswitch. I’m not a fan of episodic games because I don’t like waiting for more story. I’d rather have a full experience than one broken up into pieces. The story of Hiveswap isn’t anything new but I like the characters enough to want to know what will happen next. Unfortunately, it’s hard to gauge exactly when the next act will be released if ever. The original release was supposed to be Spring 2018, but spring has come and gone without much talk of a new release date. Meanwhile, the studio has pushed out 10 volumes of a Hiveswap visual novel. Where that 2.4 million went is unclear. The game has high-quality art and music but 2.4 million for 2 point and click games seems a bit steep.

Backlogged: Tales of Zestiria

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As I mentioned a little while ago, Tales of Zestiria is the first JRPG I’ve played in a very long time. The last one I played was Final Fantasy back in January 2017. I picked it and it’s prequel-sequel Tales of Berseria up during the Steam sale because I had wanted to play them for a while and nothing else was catching my eye.

I had some doubts that this game was for me at the beginning. I didn’t know what to expect going in, this being my first “Tales of” game. If you don’t like your game filled to the brim with cut scenes this is not the game for you. Especially in the at the start it felt like there was a cut scene every five minutes. Then there was the weird battle system which the game throws a lot of information about at you for  a while. I also couldn’t get past the fact that even when I had my character set on manual he’d only move in a straight line.

But I had heard it was good and I pushed on through the first few hours. Gradually it became much more enjoyable. I got used to the pacing of the game and I was really enjoying the story. It’s nota ground breaking narrative just your average hero’s journey. The main character Sorey is a human who grew up with Seraphim, kind of like spirits, and sets out on a quest with his best friend to see the world. Turns out most humans can’t see Seraphim, so Sorey spends a good portion of the first act talking to himself in public. Along the way he becomes the Shepard, aka the chosen one, who has the responsibility to defeat the Lord of Calamity. Cue the game play equivalent of a montage as you collect your various party members for the second act. The third act is running around the world learning how to use your new found powers and helping out in the various cities. The Act 4, it’s time to take down the Big Bad Lord of Calamity.

It’s pretty standard stuff but what I really enjoyed was that it never took itself too seriously. It’s very light-hearted and is full of bright  happy colors. Even the darker aspects of the story overly dramatic. Which is kind of weird because at one point you come across a group of dead children. This is probably one of the only games I’ve played where I’ve seen that.

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JRPG’s live and die by their battle system because there usually isn’t too much else to do outside of it. Tales of Zestiria almost died for me. Even after reading the walls of text the game through at me I still wasn’t getting it. Plus it was really frustrating  that I could only move in a straight line. I never thought I’d be so happy to unlock the ability to move left and right. About 10 hours in it finally clicked with me and I started to enjoy the battles a lot more. Essentially you have a set of moves and that have elemental properties and enemies are weak to certain elements. I have no idea why this took me so long to grasp but it might be because it was coupled with a stamina bar that I didn’t understand only replenished when you guarded. Once I figured that out things ran a bit more smoothly. The game also never stops with the tutorials for combat it adds on a few more things but then you can find these stones out in the world with different tool tips for combat. I think it’s a great system because it can be as deep or shallow as you want it to be and still enjoy the game.

20180719194438_1.jpgThe last time I wrote about this game I was about halfway through and I was questioning whether it was a good game or I just thought it was good because it was different than what I had been playing. I can confidently say that after 45 hours it was a good game. And what made it a good game for me was the characters. As generic as the story is it works because of the cast of characters. Sure they all fall into your stereotypical tropes but I really liked all of them. Those cut scenes that pop up so often help build up the characters and their relationships. There are these visual novel-esque cut scenes that pop up when you rest at an in or find a point of interest that further develop the characters. A lot of them may be one or two dimensional personalities but you spend so much time listening to them interact that they become a fuller character.

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I think I’ll hold off on playing Tales of Berseria for now. I was getting antsy towards the end of Zestiria. For as good as it was it overstayed it’s welcome just a tad to long. I wouldn’t have minded it but 5 or so hours before the end of the game the story seems to be saying “This way to the end boss” and then decides that it wants to take you down one more side story arc before the end. I also forgot that final bosses in JRPS’s usually have multiple forms. I ended up using a lot of items on the first fight because he was 20 levels higher than me. Then the second form came and my heart sank. I didn’t want to spend a few more hours grinding to beat it so I had to turn the difficulty down form moderate e to simple. I wanted to see how the story would end.

*Side note: I don’t usually care much about video game music but the music in this is freaking awesome!

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Backlogged- Batman: Arkham Asylum

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Something truly unusual happened with Batman: Arkham Asylum. I beat the entire story only a few weeks after I bought it. It’s one of the few single player that I’ve been compelled to beat.

I ended up spending 11 hours on the main story with a little light collecting. I gave up on solving all the Riddler challenges pretty quickly because some of them had me stumped for a while before I’d just move on and some of them are not very fun. The ones I could figure out relatively quickly I did though. In all I got 70% of the game complete.

Like I said in my last post on this game, I’ve had a love hate relationship with Batman. This was one of those love moments. The entire story was like playing a comic book. It wasn’t some complicated story with twists and turns but an action packed summer blockbuster type story. Batman: Arkham Asylum is the classic tale of the Joker trying to best Batman and Batman trying to stop the Joker. As the title would suggest, the whole game takes place in Arkham Asylum where all the great Batman villains go for a time out when Batman catches them. The story also takes place over one night. The story moves quickly and there is some great pacing. Once I hit the last couple hours of the game I couldn’t stop until the credits rolled.

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Essentially the Joker and his Henchman have taken over Arkham, have trapped Batman there, and are planning nefarious schemes to unleash on the city of Gotham. You, as Batman, have to discover what’s going on, save a few people, and escape the island.

A lot of the draw of superhero games for me is that you start off awesome and you just get more awesome as the game goes on. Playing RPG’s I’m used to starting out as nothing and watching my character grow over time. With superhero game’s it’s like your character is already grown and they just keep getting more and more overpowered.

This game had a lot of stealth in it. I’m not usually one for stealth games but this was really easy stealth. If the enemies see you they’ll yell and scream and shoot at you until you grapple up to the rafters. Then they forget you even existed. You can hit them with batarangs over and over again and they’ll never look up. It’s great fun.

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And it’s a good thing to because the combat is a little lack luster. It’s like Shadow of Mordor where you hit one button to attack and one to counter with a few combo moves in between. There are some fun moments like when your fighting 8+ enemies but most of the time you’re only taking down 2 or 3. I didn’t try the extra challenge levels because they all sounded like mostly combat. If the combat was just a bit more engaging I might be rushing to play them but right now I’ll pass.

The boss fights aren’t all that different from each other. They use the same big enemies that you have to hit with a batarang while they charge at you a lot. It was fun the first time when fighting bane, by the end of the game it was pretty uneventful. Ok, riding the big enemies and having them beat each other up never got old

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I really, really, liked the Scarecrow levels. They added so much to the game between the weird cutscene’s as Batman succumbs to the fear mixture. The levels themselves also help break up the games core game play and take the game from 3D action to 2D stealth.

My favorite parts were collecting the character bios and interview tapes. They were really interesting to read, especially becuase they tell you the first time a character appeared in the comics. The interview tapes add a little more to the main villains. They’re all recordings of therapists interviewing the villains as patience. It just adds a nice little touch to the whole Asylum feel.

I’m glad I got to play this game after so many years. I’ve been told over and over that it’s fantastic. Now I’ve come to my own conclusion that while it has it’s flaws, it’s a very well done game and still holds up even 8 years later.

 

Backlogged: The Division- How We Saved New York

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Last night I saved New York from a mad man with a helicopter. Me and Jay have been making our way through The Division’s story off and on for the last year and a half? Has it really been that long?

We geared up for the last mission a few weeks ago and then proceeded not to play it at all. Part of me didn’t want it to be over. The games cover mechanics and Diablo like loot drops made for a great time taking on all of the street thugs, pyromaniacs, and rouge agents through out almost-post-apocalyptic New York. But last night we decided it was time and walked into the UN armed to the teeth.

For most of the last mission everything felt anti-climactic. We were completing the same objectives and fighting the save wave patterns of enemies that we had been the whole game. Nothing about it felt especially epic or exciting. I mean, having a shoot out in the General Assembly of the UN was a nice touch, how many times do you get to do that?

Regardless of whether things felt mostly the same or not, we died a lot. The Division’s missions all seem to have a spot where we get stuck and almost feel like giving up and it’s always at or near the end. We beat most of the missions just because we didn’t feel like losing a half hour of time by quitting for the night and retrying later. But in this last encounter, we didn’t hit anything like that. Either we had gotten better or our gear was very powerful. Probably a mix of both.

But the end of the mission, that’s an entirely different story. Thus far we had been fighting guys with guns, bigger guys with guns, and occasionally a couple big guys with guns at the same time. The final boss however, was a big guy with a giant helicopter.

Luckily we could turn on some turrets to help us take it down which required us to run around the stage like mad men dodging the helicopters mounted guns. Once we turned on most of the turrets, the helicopter got angry. Now it was both fire lots of bullets and launching blinding flares. And just as we had gotten rid of it’s shield, it started launching rockets.

Now the helicopter boss in itself wasn’t too bad once we figured out where all the switches to turn on the turrets were. The part that kept killing us over and over and over were the ground troops that started to spawn. These guys had a lot of health, like way more than the normal red enemies and they did a ton of damage. After what seemed like our tenth attempt were able to overcome every obstacle and blast the helicopter our of the sky. One big fancy explosion later and we had beaten the base game.

I also hit level 30 which promoted a tutorial of the end game. I really have no interest in playing the end game or collecting all the things I’ve missed on the map.  It was a fun ride and I liked the story missions but farming the dark zone just doesn’t sound appealing to me. I do think that when the DLC goes on sale again for PS4 I’ll probably pick it up but for now The Division can rest snugly back on the shelf.

 

 

Backlogged: Risk of Rain – I Risked the Rain

Risk of Rain_20170122162045A very rare occurrence happened last week. I bought a game and within the span of a week I beat it. I guess “beat” is a relative term for risk of rain because while I got to the final boss and killed him there is still a whole lot to unlock.

I’ve been eyeing this game for a long time. It’s been on my steam wish list for as long as I’ve had a steam wish list and for some reason I never pulled the trigger. Part of this was I heard it was a great multiplayer game and could never convince my friends to get it. This past PSN  Flash sale the game was a mere $4 and I thought to myself if I don’t get it now I’ll never get it. As it turns out one of  Jay and I’s mutual friend had it too so I had someone to play multiplayer with. That and the fact that it was a PS4 and Vita cross buy it was finally time to get it.

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I knew going in Risk of Rain was a rouge like, I knew it had pixel graphics, and I knew it was highly acalimed. What I didn’t know was that there were so many classes to unlock, the difficulty increased with time, and that I would be facing a relentless onslaught of tiny creatures for an hour or more.

I really like the fact that the difficulty goes up as time goes on. It adds a little more to the rouge-like formula. You can spend time after you clear the map looking for the chests and power ups you might have missed or you can go to the next level and have a slightly easier time on the next world.

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Playing this through in multiplayer has kind of ruined the single player experience for me. With 2 people the game is challenging but not seemingly impossible. I can only imagine how fun and chaotic three or four players would be. I played the first 2 hours in single player and only managed to make it to end of the third world. But when I was playing with a friend we beat the game twice in one night. I

Being a rouge like it has a ton of replay value that’s only added to bye the many classes available to unlock. So far I’ve unlocked 4 and they all have a unique feel to them.  also think some of the classes make more sense when playing with other people. There’s just no way I’m playing through the single player with the sniper with his single shot rifle that needs to be manually reloaded. Therese also artifacts to unlock that add interesting mechanics to the game like being able to choose which power up you get out of a chest or enemies dropping bombs when they die.

My favorite experience with it so far has been when a friend and I wentaround seeing how many drones we could collect at once. We took our massive drone army and obliterated everything on the last level just by getting close enough to be in drone firing range.

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What I like most about the game is that there is a real sense of progression throughout the game. I think this has to do with the fact that the difficulty is always increasing and with it the number of enemies on screen as well as the distribution of power ups. In the beginning its fairly easy with low level monsters spawning leisurely. In the middle you are getting your bearings and are facing situations that get dicey. By the end of the run you’re done actively dodging individual monsters because you have so much health and can take out big chunks of their health. Until you get to that final boss fight and you have to dodge.

This was the best purchase I’ve made in a while. I’ve already gotten my moneys worth out of the game and still have so much to unlock. It’ll definitely be one of those games that stays installed on my system for a while.

 

Backlogged: Final Fantasy

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The story is relatively simple. Four warriors of light appear in the Kingdom of Coneria each holding a darkened orb. After meeting the the king sends them on a quest to rescue his daughter from the castle next door. Here the warriors fight Garland, an evil night, and save the princess. Once they return with her the king is inspired to build a bridge and the warriors of light go on their merry way. After roughing up some pirates and stealing their ship they go on a bunch of fetch quests until they learn about uniting the crystals to save the world.

After collecting all the crystals and defeating the big bad boss monster, my time with the first installment of Final Fantasy has come to an end. What can I say about such a classic game? I’m still not really sure I had fun playing this or if the curiosity of how games used to be got me through this.

There were parts I genuinely enjoyed. The first couple of areas were fun and scratched an itch for a really simple turn based combat game. I liked the first quest where the four heroes had to save a princess from Garland. The few adventures we had along the way were also really fun. Without a map I was stumbling around the wilderness just praying my heroes could survive until we saw town again. It probably took a lot of extra time but I think that was the best experience I had with this game

Some of the dungeons are tough as nails. I didn’t think an 8-bit rpg could give me so much anxiety. In Grugu Volcano after I defeated the boss my party was in bad shape. the white mage was dead we were down to our last precious health potions. As the party made its way back to the entrance the monk and the red mage were picked off. Enemies only hit my warrior for 1 damage each turn and he had a lot of health as long as he wasn’t poisoned. 3 squares from the exit a pack of adders spawned which poisoned the warrior and then destroyed his remaining health. That was an hour of playtime gone. It was disheartening but nothing a little grinding couldn’t solve.

It was around the 10 hour mark that my interest/enjoyment started to wane. It was right around the time I actually decided to follow a map. It’s frustrating when you don’t know where your going or who the last NPC was that had some useful information. The story became not so entertaining as I was flying from point to point on the map wondering  when I would run into the next crystal.

Around the 15 hour mark I was bored but it looked like I was almost to the final location so I buckled down and pulled up a walk through for the final dungeon. Even with a decently leveled party and full inventory of items I barely made it through on the first try. The walk through explained a lot like that the healing staff could be used as an item to lightly heal the whole group.

It also gave me a map of the dungeon which would not have been fun to figure out on my own. I know it’s an end game dungeon but there are so many dead ends. This final dungeon has you face all of the previous bosses and then the big bad horribleness. I almost lost this fight. By the time I got there even with the walk through I was out of my 99 healing potions and my white mage was on his last leg. What surprised me was that he only had one form which my master and his fists of overpoweredness were able to dispatch easily.

Was it fun? Yes, for a little while but it got old after the first 3rd. My total play time was 20hrs I felt like I got my moneys worth out of this one though. It was interesting to play through a game that is one of the pillars of classic RPGs. It wasn’t as basic as I thought it would be. I was surprised that I got to form my own party in the beginning. On top of that,I could pick different classes too. It really made me miss tool tips, item descriptions, and quest journals a lot.

Since I got the Origins edition for the PS Vita I also own Final Fantasy 2. I’ve heard some terrible, awful, horrendous things about FF2 and it’s weird leveling system. I’m excited to try it out. How bad could it really be?

 

 

Backlogged: Titanfall 2

 

Titanfall™ 2_20161201103021The last time I thought to myself “you know what I need in my life right now, a multiplayer fps” was in 2007 when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare came out. Well after a 9 year hiatus I decided I needed a new shooter in my gaming rotation. Enter Titanfall 2.

OK maybe it hasn’t been that long, I played a lot of Destiny’s multiplayer, I played Battlefield 4 for a while and I did get Rainbow Six Siege at the beginning of the year. Destiny was always kind of a side thing when I was bored of the PVE, I didn’t really play Battlefield 4 all that much, and my time with Rainbow Six Siege was mostly spent in the Player versus AI Terrorist Hunt. I will admit this was kind of an impulse buy. I wanted something with quick matches and I wanted to shoot things with Mechs. Plus, who’s game would capture the feel of Modern Warfare better than Respawn, the guys who made Modern Warfare.

It came out on the heels of Battlefield 1 like just a few days after. Kind of a weird plan releasing right after one of the most anticipated shooters of the year but it looks like its doing OK. I really hadn’t heard much about it before release. but afterward the internet was hailing the campaign as one of the best in years and praising the multiplayer for fixing the problems the last game had. The internet was also full of “lol this game will die in 6 months gg scrubs” predicting the fall off of players that plagued the first game.

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The campaign took me around 10 hours to beat. I’ve never been great at shooters even against AI so I died a whole lot even though I was playing the easier difficulty. The story is pretty forgettable, as in I beat this 3 weeks ago and faintly remember what its about. It’s story of a generic solider turned elite Mech Pilot who has to stop the bad guys from using a weapon to destroy the world. To Jack some credit, he was training to be a Pilot before the battle that wiped out most of the landing party. His mentor, the Pilot of the lovable Titan BT-7427 doesn’t make it and gives Jack the reins to BT seeing as he’s the only one still alive there isn’t much of a choice.  BT is your typical computer AI that takes everything too literally but he’s endearing and I never got tired of hearing him talk. The banter between BT and Jack is great.

So you may be wondering, if the story was meh why has the campaign been getting all this praise. Well, it’s the levels, the levels are really unique and I haven’t played anything like them. Each level comes with a mix of shooting things, stretching your platforming muscles, wall running, and using BT to shoot even more things.My favorite two are the factory level with all of its platforming goodness and the time travel level which adds something wholly unique to Titanfall 2.

One of the best things about the campaign is collecting all of the Titan Kits as you progress. These correspond with the Titan load outs in multiplayer so you can get a feel for each Titan before diving in. It’s also really fun to switch load outs on a whim in the campaign. One titan not working for the particular boss fight? Switch to a different one. Since theirs not cool down penalties for switching in the middle of a fight you can pull off some interesting combinations. Too bad you can’t do this in multiplayer.

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Speaking of multiplayer, Titanfall 2 has an interesting take on it. I didn’t play or follow the first one so when I jumped in to Attrition, the main game mode, I was  surprised to find AI enemies as well as other players. This really helps less than talented players, like me, contribute. They may not give as many points as an enemy player but they stand still long enough to shoot. Later in the match they seem to gain the ability to aim and do plenty of damage where they can almost kill you which just adds to the fun. At that point you most likely have your titan and are ripping through them anyways. The movement is really well done and it constantly makes you feel like an elite solider wall running and sliding around the battle field. There are constantly those moments of “whoa did you see what they just did”.  From my experience, even if your at the bottom of the score board you’re still getting your titan pretty often in battle which is nice because I don’t feel like I’m missing out on part of the game because I’m not doing well.

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All in all, I’m happy with my purchase. The campaign was short but fun and the multiplayer is fun even if your bad at shooters. The multiplayer definitely has that one more round feel and the matches are short enough that you can’t get too mad about losing. I’ve been playing for a few weeks and learning and improving has been the main hook. But that level up bar is always fun to watch fill up at the end of the match. Who doesn’t love a good level up bar?