Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

Final Fantasy Month

Posted: February 2, 2015 in Gaming
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So, my homie Alex and the ForeverClassic105. team will be taking over YouTube to do #FinalFantasy month in honor of the release of Final Fantasy Type-0 and the Final Fantasy XV demo that shall accompany it. The month long event will be full of gaming knowledge, videos, pictures and just all around good gamer fun spanning all the FF games. I’m 100% for this and you should be too. If you’re hype for Type-0 or just love Final Fantasy, check him out. There promises to be a lot of awesomeness for all.

Check the first of many videos to come.

And you can catch his articles and mine over at GIGAGeekMagazine.com

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Gaming: Then vs Now

Posted: January 29, 2015 in Gaming
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As you may or may not know, I am a contributor for a site called GIGAGeekMagazine.com. Recently, I did an opinion piece about whether gaming was better growing up or now. I’m fairly certain by the time you’re done, you’re either gonna wanna hug me or hunt me, but enjoy it either way.

OK, this is going to be hard. I have to write this and not sound like I’m a great-grandfather, talking to a room full of small children about how back in the day everything was better. Here we go: back in the day, everything was better.  Seriously though, it was. I’ll break it down to a couple of different categories and then you tell me if I’m lying. Oh and just to specify, when I say “back in the day,” I mean Nintendo up to the PlayStation 1 cause I grew up on Jampack demos and Final Fantasy VII. I’m only 28, I’m not THAT old—geez.

Article continued on GIGAGeekMagazine.com

March 25, 2013, a free to play beta hits PC. A third-person shooter where players controlled—for lack of a more awesome term—space ninjas. With a handful of these ninjas to choose from, players ventured out onto the battlefield to rid space of the evil that has infested it.

I was there for that humble beginning. Now, I’ve never been much of a PC gamer and I only had a little Dell laptop—I know, I know, don’t laugh—and a Plug-n-Play Logitech controller, but even I could enjoy the solid graphics, sharp sound and simple to learn, hard to master gameplay. I didn’t stick with it long, but it was only because I knew this amazing title would be coming to my neck of the woods: PlayStation 4.

     When I finally got my hands on a PS4 and downloaded Warframe, I was instantly moved. I was so enamored with the game, I wrote an article covering it back at the beginning of the year

After almost a year of playing the game off and on, I can proudly say that the team at Digital Extremes continues to make this game leaps and bounds better. From minor details to full overhauls of characters and maps, the growth of this title is truly astounding.

In such a relatively short time, DE has not only tweaked the older game modes and Warframes, but it has also introduced all new features to accompany the already substantial groundwork it’s laid. Along with the elimination, sabotage and assassination missions, match types such as Interception (similar to Battlefield 4‘s Conquest or Call of Duty‘s Domination), where you have to capture and hold specific points; Excavation where you have to scan for dig sites then defend drills from being destroyed, while keeping them powered (it’s a lot, I know) and Hijack, which has you stealing massive machinery from the enemy by sacrificing your own shields to propel it. These are just a few of the all new mission additions, but even preexisting missions, like Rescue, have been updated to allow you to give a weapon to the captive you’re saving. Of course, they added wardens and a Fort Knox feel to the prisons, but hey, what can you do. Hands down, my favorite mission addition has been the space battles via the new Archwings. In battles that can only be described as what EVERY Gundam Wing game should be, you are free from the confines of structures and gravity to shoot and slash away in the vacuum of space.

On top of the new game modes (essentially the meat and potatoes of the game), the side dish here has to be in the extras. Warframe is still a free-to-play game and, unlike most FTP games, it is not a pay-to-win kind of game. It is, however, a pay to look cool game: new armor plating combinations, additional color palates and even syandana (scarf-like accessory that can be added to your Warframe). For the most part, these things can be obtained only by using platinum (a form of currency that can be traded with other players or purchased with real money). Those that can be purchased with credits earned in game, the Kubrows and sentinels, are the only ones that actually have any true functionality in battle meaning there’s still no gap between those spending real cash and those that are not. It’s just A LOT easier to spend money than build up the in-game funds and find the resources to add these pieces to your Tenno’s arsenal. Once you do have them, they can assist in everything from retrieving items, to attacking enemies, or even shielding you while you revive allies. Soloing a mission may not be advised, but they can help make it a bit easier to do.

     Graphically, there is a noticeable improvement in the vibrancy of the colors. The greens of the earth map are a bit greener, the flashes of explosions  are brighter, and the glow of Warframe abilities are more mesmerizing. The fur of the Kubrows and their movement is something that has really stood out to me. Our editor’s cat was actually pawing at the TV while watching a Kubrow roll around and do other idle animations. If the cat thinks it’s legit, I’m inclined to agree.

     Through all of my rambling, I’m basically just confirming that the game is still awesome. It’s been great since day one and the dev team has done nothing short of make it leaps and bounds better with every update. As a gamer, I am happy and proud to see their growth from the PC to the PS4 and now even the Xbox One. In a world where people are getting hit for $60+ on what feels like incomplete games banking on DLC to save the day, Warframe stands as a shining example of what good, honest work can do for not only the players, but for the growth of a company.

Hello (insert system developer name here),

As a semi intelligent human being in the year 2014, I understand the concepts of economy. I understand that you, as a million dollar company, want nothing more than to get your market share higher and make more money off of people who are struggling to make minimum wage. I completely get the idea that you want to make people pay for the same already developed, released, reviewed and beloved games over and over and wait…wait…over again. What would be awesome is if you stopped treating us like we don’t understand technology as much as we understand economics.

Be you Sony or Microsoft, your platforms began with discs (CDs to be exact). Your current platforms play blu-rays. Cool, I understand that, however, the Playstation 3 already showed us that a system capable of playing blu-rays can also play CDs aka Playstation 1 games. I fail to see how all of the sudden, the Playstation 4 or the Xbox 1 (which should be able to play original Xbox titles at the very least) sudden lost this capability being that they are more advanced machines.

Now, I can’t speak too much on the Xbox 1 since I do not own one, but I can rip into the PS4 seeing as how they’re now trying to charge me to RENT a PS3 title I already own (Metal Gear Solid 4 to be exact). You mean to tell me there is no existing technology within the PS4 that can play this blu-ray disc I already own? You’re not going to beat me in the head. I refuse to believe you.

Either you pricks get your digital rights figured out or you put backwards compatibility into ALL of your systems. If you’re so worried that we won’t buy your new titles, it just sounds like you’re worried that your new titles are trash and we’ll be content playing Final Fantasy VII until we die. If that’s the case, you don’t deserve my money regardless of the status of the economy. Don’t you dare insult my intelligence again like I don’t know/remember the capabilities of your past systems, lest you find yourself in the red again wondering why people are not buying your rehashed trash. You’ve been warned.

Sincerely,

A true gamer

Stick with me here, this is going to go somewhere I promise. Ok, so I’m washing dishes and in the span of the 2 minutes it took me to finish, here was the chain of thought I had: After recent events in Naruto (that I will not get into because I’m not the spoiler type) I started thinking about Kimimaro. This led me to wonder, “If his clan had these unbreakable bones and he was so hard to kill, how did anyone take them out?” I then thought of a burning village and a grand fight among ninjas and said to myself, “It must’ve been a cut scene. You can get shot, set on fire, or any other number of normally life ending events and survive, but if you die in a cut scene, it’s over for you”. This led me to think about Aeris…poor, sweet Aeris and all the battles I enjoyed with her in disc 1 of Final Fantasy VII and how many times I revived her from death with Life magic or Phoenix Downs, but when that BASTARD Sephiroth descended from the heavens and drove his blade through her back in a cut scene, there was nothing we could do. I realized how little choice I had not just in that moment, but in the game in general. I was then hit with this, possibly distressing, epiphany.

Is there room for RPGs without choice in this day and age? Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age are among some of the biggest RPGs of recent memory. Suikoden, the Atelier trilogy, and Chrono Trigger are earlier titles where choice was everything (Suikoden even let you revive the tragic death character in their first title…I’m just saying). With the next gen in gaming here and new RPGs like Bound By Flame which also focuses on choice, is there room for linear RPGs anymore?? The question bears repeating because if there is not there is one thing in particular that does not fit anywhere in the future: A Final Fantasy VII remake

Am I stretching this? Sure I am. Who cares? I literally spend entire hours of my life trying to figure out why they haven’t taken the Advent Children graphics engine and remade that damn game already, but this…this makes sense. Final Fantasy VII revolutionized RPGs and made them a truly viable genre in America and other western countries. If they can’t remake the game and at least keep up with today’s games in any way outside of graphics, would they even want to do it? Would it be cool to have the voice acting and see the AMAZING updated cut scenes? Hell yeah it would. The fact of the matters remains, the battle system is dated, there was no online capabilities at the time and there’s no multiplayer. Do I give a shit about multiplayer in an RPG? Not even a little bit. After Mass Effect 3 nailed it though, SquareEnix may not want to release or re-release a title of FF VII’s standards without some way to match up to that. And then we come back to choice…how do you add choice to such an iconic story? The Final Fantasy faithful would enjoy it, but the new audience, the kid who’s first RPG didn’t come until the western explosion of the genre with games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls (pick one) and other massive, story driven, decision driven titles could be *gasp* bored. On the other side of that coin, if they do add choice, where do you put it? How much can you alter the story? Can you actually have a world where Cloud DOESN’T stay with Avalanche? A world where Dyne does get to see Marlene? A world where Meteor actually does hit before Holy can stop it? And, perhaps the biggest question of all, can we have a world where Aeris lives?

Now, is this REALLY the reason they haven’t made the game? No, not by a long shot. This is just a random collection of thoughts that I had for lord only knows what reason and decided to share it with the world because…well…why the hell not? It is interesting to contemplate the idea of gaming blasphemy for the greater good of seeing might be the most sought after remake that will probably never happen. Oh yeah…I did finish the dishes…in case anyone cares.

First and foremost, if you do not know what this phrase means or you do not recognize it at all, you have no place in any form of nonviolent revolution in this country.

You can make idle threats, you can talk of revolution, you can ban millionaires and publicly ridicule billionaires, but at the end of the day, they will still have enough money to help them sleep at night. The only way to see actual change is to hit them directly in the pocket. Now, while it is true an individual stands absolutely no chance of this alone, any form of unity can yield outstanding results. The key here is not to talk about it, but be about it. Barney’s, Wal-mart, Hilfiger, the list goes on and on of companies that have been publicly admonished for one reason or another, but what changes have they made? None. Why would they? They’re still making money hand over fist which let’s them know whatever issues people are currently ranting about are menial at best and well come and go before their quarterly numbers hit the stock market. People complain about trash on the radio and still tune in, share, and tweet everything they do. Hip hop is dead, but 2 Chainz is everywhere. Why would he ever think what he’s doing is wrong if you keep going to his concerts? In the gaming world, people complain ALL the damn time about how games like Madden and Call of Duty are released too often with minimal changes, yet they’re two of the highest selling gaming franchises. If someone told you you suck but still handed you $60, would you care what their opinion is? Hell no you wouldn’t. You would laugh all the way to the bank, the dealership, the bar and the strip club.

Ah, but what would happen if those midnight releases were empty? What if the Wal-mart parking lot didn’t look like your local car dealership? What if those clothes and jewelry sat on the rack never to see the light of day? What if that Drake concert only had a handful of people? There you would see change. When the shock wave is felt all the way in home offices and executive boardrooms, THAT is where change happens. THAT is when people start listening to demands. When pockets get lighter, THAT is when the world of a CEO stops spinning and that’s when companies realize that what they’re doing is no longer acceptable and they must adapt or die. The power lies within us. Instead of going to see what you feel will be a shitty movie just because they slapped the name of your favorite franchise on it, just don’t. I promise you you will not see a sequel. If you feel like gaming companies are just putting new skins on the same game over and over, stop buying it. The franchise will either die or get an overhaul.

Stop letting the worst kinds of people dictate how you spend your dollar. You worked for it, why the hell would you allow some prick in a boardroom (who you probably wouldn’t like if you met him) to laugh as he exploits you and fattens his pockets? Stop feeding the beast of ignorance and apathy. A little unity can go a long way. I’m sure you don’t care though. Neither do they. If you’re not going to do anything about it though, please get the entire fuck off social media ranting about change and revolution. You literally make me sick.

Gaming A.D.D.

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Gaming
Tags: , ,

Hello, my name is Ace (for all intents and purposes of this blog and article) and I have a problem. I, from time to time along with other afflictions that may or may not intersect with this one, suffer from Gaming A.D.D. It is as easy to understand as A.D.D. itself. I begin a game, wholeheartedly and with the best of intentions to put in hours, but it never happens. No more than 15 minutes later, I have the burning desire to grab another game, a game that ignites the same grand fire in me that the previous game did, and play it instead. Once again, I wholeheartedly intend to spend what most would call unhealthy amounts of time breaking scoring records, transmuting new items, throwing fireballs or whatever it is that this game requires of me, but then another 15 minutes passes and again, I must move on. A stack of games later, I have not accomplished anything even as accomplishments in gaming goes and I feel just as lost and unfulfilled as I did before I even turned my system on.

Now, this doesn’t happen all that often and for that, I thank the gaming gods. I have maintained focus long enough to beat many games, finish many seasons and defeat many opponents. When it strikes however, and it does so without warning, I have yet to find anyway to break the spell.

Super random, I know, but in case anyone else suffers from this debilitating affliction just know, it’s not just you…it’s not just you.

So, after talking to my girlfriend about how aggravating it is to see a bunch of gamers who claim to love a game spend HOOOOOOURS talking about how horrible it and the creators of it are, I realized something about myself: I don’t think I very much like gamers. After further thought, I came to realize I generally don’t like “fans” of most things.

When I say “fan”, I don’t mean the sane ones (which is an odd term to use when talking about fanatics) that peacefully purchase, enjoy, support and reasonably offer constructive criticisms about the game/team/music they pay for. I’m talking about those clowns who have far too much time on their hands. The ones that go to the forums of Warframe and rant about how the PS4 doesn’t get updates as fast as the PC and they refuse to play the game anymore because of it. The ones that type paragraph after bashing paragraph on YouTube because they didn’t like someone’s song or video. Those less than spectacular examples of humanity that, despite an entertainer or athlete’s best efforts, will mercilessly boo and heckle them as if they could do better. These cretins make it hard for everyone else. When I say I’m a gamer, people expect me to be the kind of guy who locks himself in a basement, play games hours on end with no desire to see the sun and verbally attack the world from the safety of an anonymous screen name. I am NOT that guy. I am socially adept, I’ve never had a basement and I have absolutely no problems with showing my face when speaking my mind (hence my pictures all over this blog). Unlike the general stereotypes that are becoming synonymous with fandom, I understand that my teams will not and cannot always win. I know what a rebuilding period means. I understand that technology is ever changing and glitches in games still exist. Every aspect of every game is not going to be perfect, but I see the effort that is there and i appreciate it. I don’t know C++ and I have no intentions on learning. I feel I’m a fairly good writer though, so if I had such a huge problem with storylines in games today, it would behoove me to not bitch about it on a forum and go write a better story. I can’t shoot for shit in basketball, so when Joe Johnson misses a 3, I may be upset because I know he can do it, but I’m not going to vilify that man if the effort is there.

On the other hand, if you see someone half assing it, give it to ’em. Let them know that as a fan, you believe they are capable of more and that’s why you chose to support them in the first place. Remind them of that grand season they had or that game they made or that song they wrote that made you fall in love to begin with. Death threats are not the answer here. The only person who has ever responded positively to that is Hideo Kojima (it’s how we got Metal Gear Solid 3 if you didn’t know) and that’s just an exception to the rule. Kicking these gaming studios, sports teams, entertainers, artists when they’re down only convinces them more that there is no reason to return and they have no reason to continue. They may fight through it and come back stronger, but it would be a hell of a lot easier to do if millions of people were not reminding them every second that they hate them for some mistake that is minute in the grand scheme of things.

The bottom line is: don’t be a dick. If you don’t like how something is changing or evolving, kindly voice your opinion. If it continues to go south, jump ship. Yeah, it sucks to lose out on your favorite gaming franchise because they refuse to just give you THE DAMN REMAKE YOU’VE BEEN ASKING FOR INSTEAD OF ANOTHER GODDAMN LIGHTNING GAME…but there’s more than enough in life for you to fill your plate with. Try a different genre, check out another developer and see what they’re making. If you’re team keeps losing, either suck it up and be a REAL fan or jump ship. Sure you’ll be clowned for it by any friends you have that are into sports, but hey, as long as it gets you to stop bugging the shit out of players on twitter, who cares? If you don’t like the direction an artist is going in musically, kindly voice your opinion. You don’t know what’s going on in that man/woman’s life that made them decide to go this way. Maybe their new music just isn’t for you. Just because “I’ll Be In The Sky” and “Airplanes” are completely different from “Ray-bans” doesn’t mean you should bash that artist. You can simply enjoy what you like and skip what you don’t. If more people exercised their power of consume instead of their power of free speech, I think we’d all be surprised how quickly things would change. But hey, what the hell do I know?

Infamous: Second Son is amazing, point blank period. I suppose that’s not going to be enough to get my point across though, so I suppose I should get into a little more detail.

As far as the gameplay goes, if you played the previous two titles, you will feel right at home. They maintained many, if not all, of the control elements that have made the inFamous franchise what it is today. There are randomly scattered side quests to complete, shards to find and use for improving your character and gun toting conduits trying to kill you (although this time they’re “military” and not just random collections of criminals). The main draw of the game, the balance of good and evil, is still here as well and will cause random people in the street to either cheer you on as you pass or flee in terror at the very sight of you. Both sides of the karma coin come with some shockingly different endings (I’m still recovering from the evil ending…my god).

For those of you who have not played the previous inFamous game, shame…shame on you. Lucky you, the game does a good job of walking you through the controls and fortunately or unfortunately, this game is only loosely related to the previous titles. There will be a few references that will mean nothing to you, but overall, you can have just as much fun with this game as anyone else playing it. I, personally, was hoping for a continuation of Cole MacGrath’s story but, other than his name, I didn’t really have a problem with Delsin Rowe as my avatar roaming the streets of Seattle (sidenote: congrats to Seattle. They got a Superbowl win AND they’re featured in a PS4 exclusive. Kudos lol). Now, I’m not big on story spoilers so I’ll keep the summary short and sweet: You’re a normal guy with no powers, a problem with authority and a cop for a big brother. You get powers and an even bigger authority has a problem with it. In order to save your town (for lack of a better term) you have to go kick the shit out of the head of a conduit hunting paramilitary organization. Yeah, that about covers it.

As a PS4 title, it goes without saying that the game looks great, but that’s nothing special, it’s what we expect at this point in gaming. Lighting seemed to me to be a big focus with the art team. Shadows are evident for everything, explosions light up the sky, neon signs (which turn out to be pretty important) stand out just as brightly as they would in real life and the changes between day and night do well to compliment the changing moods in the game. The multiple jackets/vests Delsin gets throughout the game are a small bonus that turned out to be really nice. Some of those designs are amazing and even the not so awe inspiring ones are still pretty cool. And the illustration of the powers is entrancing. I’ll not spoil what the powers are, but they are all well animated and play well with the focus on lighting.

Surprisingly enough, however, I have come to find that my favorite part of this game is not within the main storyline. No, instead, it comes from the intriguing PaperTrail DLC. This 6 chapter, episodic addition to the game not only utilizes in-game features, but incorporates your laptop or tablet for a completely, never before seen tie in experience. For instance, you may be tasked with taking pictures at a crime scene in-game, but then you will have to go through that evidence via your laptop/tablet in order to pick out clues in order to further the story. For those of you who watch CSI or Law and Order, be prepared to put your skills to the test. For those of you who don’t, since all the episodes are already released, you can find walkthroughs on IGN.com. It is a bold way to add depth to a single player experience without shoehorning in multiplayer and it’s a move I respect and appreciate. You have to love when someone tries something new and executes as well as Sucker Punch did with this.

So yeah, if you have a PS4, you should probably own this. If you have a PS3, go play the other two games and get ready for this. If you like solving mysteries, find someone who has this and make them play the Paper Trail DLC lol. There is literally a little something here for you all. Check out a little gameplay just to see it in motion for yourself. Until next time peoples.

 

Ninjas. Space ninjas. The end. Seriously, that’s all I need to say about this game, but I’ll continue if I must.

These space ninjas, known as Tenno, are the bane of the Grineer: twisted looking aliens who lack the grace of the Tenno. What they lack in grace and skill, however, the Grineer make up with galaxy crushing numbers. Similar to the Jedi order, what remains of the Tenno must now band together to fight back against the tyranny of evil.

Check out the rest of my article HERE and enjoy the gaming, tech and comedy of GIGAGeekMagazine.com.