Tuesday, July 28, 2015


     Bloodborne, the fourth of the "Souls" games coming out of From Software is one of my favorite games of all time and near the top in my running for Game of the Year. The fantastic art direction, great gameplay, and it's brutal difficulty make this game stand out among other AAA releases this year. The difficulty of the "Souls" series has been notorious among gamers and, in the industry, it has received praise.

     Try after try, death after death, you've hit a wall in the form of a monster designed to be terrifying and intimidating. Bashing your head against this boss, trying different methods of dealing damage, and even putting the game down for a while is definitely frustrating; until you beat that boss. The feeling of finally defeating a boss after hours of deaths is really an amazing feeling. This is for sure one of the main attractants to this game, mainly because many of the people who played Dark Souls and Demon's Souls also played this.

     The combat was changed in such a way that "Souls" veterans feel comfortable, yet have a lot to learn. The nuanced combat, with many guns and "trick weapons", is very deep and different gun and trick weapon combos totally change the way you can play the game. This, I think, is one of the reasons why this game stands out among other ARPGs; you're not necessarily building a character around different talents or abilities, but you're building a character around a weapon set and play style.

     The gothic architecture in Yharnam, the ruined wasteland of The Nightmare of Mensis, the darkness of The Hypogean Gaol; the environments in this game are gorgeously menacing and require a certain attentiveness when walking through doorways and around corners. The enemies are vicious and, oft times can kill you with one combo. Did I mention they're designed very well because they are; there is tall pimp looking guys, werewolves, aliens, weird looking witches, dog-crows, crow-dogs and the like. Where enemy design really shines, though, bosses are extremely varied in design and in size. Ranging from about the player's size to smaller, to much, much larger.

 Minor boss Spoilers ahead.

Darkbeast Paarl


Vicar Amelia

     Bloodborne, overall, is a great addition to the Souls series and definitely on of PlayStation 4's best exclusive title. It has plenty of replayability, great level and enemy design, an awesome art style, and probably the best 3rd person action game combat system. Overall, Bloodborne is one of the best games of 2015.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Journey: An Unparalleled Adventure.

This is not a review, it is what I experienced.

     It is impossible to describe the experiences in Journey with one word. It is poetic, intense, whimsical, awe-inspiring, and beautiful. It is a perfect gaming experience. Today, I played through Journey completely immersed with the lights off and my headphones on. I played through the whole game uninterrupted. I haven't played this game since its release, and even then, I didn't experience the game. So today is what I consider my first play through of this game. 

     Art evokes emotion and damn, did this game do exactly that. Journey, to me, is the embodiment of video games as an art form, the stylized art style is truly gorgeous and awesome. Accompanied by an amazing soundtrack this game stands out as a masterpiece, a true achievement of game design and art direction. Seriously, it's that good. The ambiguity of the story told only through subtle environmental details, and cutscenes without dialog add a sense of mystery that is very captivating.

     As I played through this game, near the beginning, I was trying to collect every piece of the scarf, scouring the wastelands and ruins in search of more pieces. My occasional Journey partners dropping in and out of the game, occasionally pointing me towards one of these pieces; as I progressed further and got near the end, I discovered that my scarf, at this point was, essentially, just bling. In the end, it didn't matter how many pieces I had collected, it was about the Journey.

Here is where I jump into my Journey, so MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD.

The start, the graphics are stunning.

The one true objective

This was about the time I stopped caring about grabbing the pieces

My first friend

First glimpse of the only enemy (this actually made me jump)

My traveling companion got attacked by both and I managed to snag this.

He's back


So close

Lightning Strikes


The beginning of the end

At this point, there was so much to take in. Truly a masterpiece of a game.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rocket League Review and Thoughts

Car Soccer at its Finest

     Rocket League, the spiritual sequel to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, is, in its simplest form, car soccer. Cars hit balls into their opponents goals; beyond that, though, there is a deep game that leaves much to be learned. Tight controls and mechanics beyond a superficial level make this game a great summer title.

     Jumping, boosting, rolling, and driving up walls are what makes up the core, seemingly simple gameplay, but mastering the game will require an understanding of far more than those four things. Mastering directed double-jumps, aerial strategies, and strategic spins will help you gain an advantage over your opponent and the possible depth of this game is shown by elite players.

     Online play is a great way to put your skills up against people all over the world and can be played in 4 (8 if you count ranked play) game modes, 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4. You can play as a goalie and stay back and makes saves that help lead your team to victory, or you can rush the ball and score the goals that will help your team get the win. 1v1 matches show your true skill in Rocket League and make for some of the most intense matches the game has to offer, it's a great feeling to get a win after a neck-and-neck duel against your opponent. There is also a season game mode, where you choose a team, teammates, the difficulty, the game style (1v1, 2v2, etc.), and the season length. Difficulties range from Rookie, where the NPCs don't use boost or really try too hard, to All-Star, the hardest difficulty. Exhibition (Offline VS mode, or split screen) is also an option.

     Rocket League's tight controls, great gameplay, and simplicity make this game a great choice. Deep gameplay in ranked matches is where this game shines and shows its true potential of mastery. Rocket League is definitely one of this summer's best games and is going to be a part of ESL in the future.

My Personal Thoughts.

Rocket League is definitely fun and easy to learn, and despite the devs coming out and saying that there will be no additional tweaking or game modes, I can see me sinking even more hours into this game. To me, this game lacks staying power, and with the devs not willing to change physics, tweak balancing, or add new game types, I fear that people will get bored of this game fast, despite its intense matches. But, the game is still great.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Satoru Iwata

Hey, so it's 3 a.m. and I realized it's been nine days since Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo passed, and I haven't shared my thoughts on him, so here we go.

     Satoru Iwata, during his time at Nintendo, helped shaped the gaming industry in a great way. His decisions at Nintendo would not only affect the company but the gaming industry as a whole. It is no doubt Satoru Iwata has affected more than just the gaming industry, his developments and creations as president (Wii, Wii U, and the Nintendo DS and its multiple variations) helped many gamers' childhoods.

     A true innovator of fun, Satoru Iwata didn't want his games and consoles to revolve around gaming norms of his time (top of the line graphics and online gameplay), he would rather make his games and consoles "novel and entertaining". He followed in the footsteps of Yamauchi (Nintendo's president before Iwata) by pushing consoles he thought were new and creative, like the Wii introducing motion controls to household game consoles and the Nintendo DS introducing the touchscreen. Even though his latest console, the Wii U was considered a failure, and Iwata apologized personally for the market performance of the Wii U and took a 50% pay cut due to its lack of sales.
Quick Aside: The DS also helped revitalize the handheld market.

     Satoru Iwata's passing affected many, and social media was filled with nothing but good words of his legacy at Nintendo, his innovations in gaming affected the  game industry and gamers personally. His position in the development of many iconic games like Metroid, Mario, Pokemon, and the Legend of Zelda series shaped the childhood of gamers like myself and many others.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Destiny Quandary


 Destiny is a game surrounded by controversy; developed by Bungie, the esteemed Halo creators, there were definitely high expectations surrounding its release. However, when the game did release in September 2014 people were displeased with what they got. Despite having tight gunplay, spot-on controls, and fun overall gameplay, players were disappointed with the overall amount of content they received. Many suspected that there was tons of cut content locked behind a DLC pay wall, and like usual, the internet was pissed.

     Even though there was a lot of bad press surrounding Destiny and its release, a lot  of people play it, including myself. I played Destiny a lot. I've done all the content from the first expansion, and all of the vanilla content, though I haven't played since before the second expansion launched. This seems to be the case for more than just myself, though. The player base seemingly dropped off after people were doing hard mode Vault of Glass (the first Raid(Raids are long team based, instanced areas with objectives and exclusive loot)) because there was very little content for you hit after you hit level 30(The level cap). I say nothing very lightly because you could level up another character, keep doing the Vault of Glass in attempts to get the exclusive legendary and exotic weapons and level them up, and also do some PvP.

    The Dark Below, the second expansion, introduced new exotic weapons, armor, a new raid, some new strikes, new story missions, a new faction, and some new PvP maps. The expansion also raised the level cap, the armor ratings, and the damage done by weapons. Now, this all sounds promising, it's seemingly a lot of content and will bring a ton of players back. Well, there are a few problems with the expansion overall. MMO's (which is a subgenre of Destiny) are grindy in nature, you have to repeat the same content over and over to level up. With the introduction of the new exotics in the Dark Below, a lot of the grind people did in the vanilla game was negated because of the new damage cap, along with the armor and armor cap. This is insulting, honestly. All of the at least 100 hours of work I (and other people) put in to level up these weapons and armor was made irrelevant by the expansion.

    The regular, not too hardcore audience of this game, I can almost guarantee aren't attracted to the hours of grinding needed to get to the meat of the game (I can attest to this because I was once not a hardcore gamer) and the fact that Bungie tries to deny the MMO grind aspect of this game is a little weird and denial-y. I feel like Bungie is alienating non-hardcore gamers by saying the ease-of-entry is low when really you have to be acclimated to the grind of MMO's and the like.

     Bungie is planning on releasing an expansion this September and we'll see how it turns out, I may jump back in to write a review or something.