Heavensward Is Here... If You Can Get In
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 June 2015, 10:00 am

The first expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, Heavensward, launched yesterday!  I've been really excited for this expansion and I don't know if I've ever felt this invested in a MMO before.  I'll write up some more extensive impressions for my Final Fantasy Project later, but for now I wanted to talk about launch week.

Although Heavensward technically "launched" yesterday it has really been launched since last Thursday.  Anyway who preordered the game could get into the servers starting late last week and get to the expansion content.  That includes me and a lot of people in my Free Company.  It's been fun being in this early access phase but it's also been frustrating.

The frustration comes with trying to log in to the game.  If you can get into the game and log on to your character the servers are rock solid.  But, what often happens, is you try to log into your data center (the step before character selection) and the server doesn't respond.  In other games this would mean you just click a button to attempt log in once again.  In Final Fantasy XIV it crashes to the desktop.

Which means that you need to relaunch the game launcher, type in your password, wait for the game to load, and then try to click through to your data center again.  It's horrible from a user interface standpoint.

Two nights ago, while the game was still in early access, I gave up after trying to log in for about half an hour straight.  That was before the expansion even launched.  Now it's worse.

Even though I'm super excited to get back to playing this game it looks like I might need to put it on hold for a week or so and let the servers stabilize.  It's not that unique, most MMOs have launch week problems, but it's still disappointing.  I'm really invested in the story of Final Fantasy XIV and I want to see what happens next.


Fallout Shelter
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 June 2015, 10:00 am

I've been playing a little bit of Fallout Shelter since it was announced and launched on the same day during an E3 press conference last week.

On one hand it's nice that they made a mobile game set in the Fallout universe that doesn't have any paywalls or annoying F2P mechanics.  You can purchase "lunchboxes" if you want but it's less critical than any other F2P game I've ever seen.

On the other hand I've played this exact style of game before.  Build a little community of characters, get more space for them, get new facilities, upgrade stuff.  There's nothing new here.  The main thing the game has going for it is the Fallout branding thrown on top of it.  I've fairly confident this game would not have gotten the attention it has if it didn't have Fallout attached to it.

I can already tell that I'm waning in interest on this game.  It's kinda cool that they made a nice F2P game in the Fallout universe, but there's really nothing new to see here.


Arkham Knight Pre-Order Madness
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2015, 10:00 am

It finally happen.  For the first time, a game has stopped me from buying it with it's stupid pre-order bullshit.

I loved the first two Batman Arkham games that were developed by Rocksteady and I was planning on picking up Arkham Knight on day one. (Ignore Arkham Origins, it was a different developer... and really bad).

But then I started seeing exclusive content packs for certain retailers.  And then different DLC content for the digital versions.  Then some Harley Quin stuff that looked really fun to play.  And Red Hood as a playable character that looks badass.

I did my research and found the only way to get everything is to buy a bunch of different versions of the game, or buy the $99 super crazy premium edition.  As someone who only buys games digitally  it was never an option to buy multiple versions from different retailers.  And no, I'm not going to pay $99 to get a "complete" edition of a game.  At worst it makes me feel scammed and at best I feel nickel and dimed.

Therefore I'm not going to buy a game that I was really excited about.  Good job Warner Brothers, you've made the first DLC structure that turned me away from a game I was super pumped for.

I'm not mad at the developer, or the game, just the publisher.  I suppose I'll just wait six months until the inevitable "Game of the Year" edition that actually includes everything and costs less.


Nexus
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 June 2015, 10:00 am

Nexus is a novel where I loved the premise but wasn't a huge fan of the way it was written.

The premise is that there's a new recreational drug that basically allows you to connect your mind to other people.  Throughout expansion of the drug people start to connect to each other's minds and gain control of their own.  They even start running computer programs in their own heads.

It's a really cool setup and I loved that part of the book, it just took a long time for things to actually happen.

The pacing was not good.  There were some action scenes but they were divided by lots of scenes with characters just thinking about their actions in uninteresting ways.

The worst part of the book was that there was no good conclusion.  I didn't realize this is the first part of a series.  It doesn't stand alone all that well and I'm not going to read through another book with that pacing.  So, I guess I'm done with Nexus and the follow ups.

The premise is so cool and I wish I could recommend this one but I can't.


My Most Anticipated of E3 2015, So Far
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 June 2015, 10:00 am
There are so many great announcements coming out of E3 this year.  Here are the games I'm most excited for so far:

Mario Maker



The footage from the Nintendo World Championship really sold me on this game.  It's my most anticipated game right now.  If it has good sharing and community capabilities it could become one of my favorite games of all time.


Star Wars Battlefront



Star Wars is my weakness and this is the first real Star Wars game that we're getting under the new management of the franchise.  It looks gorgeous and the gameplay should be a ton of fun.  There's no question this is a day one purchase for me.


Fire Emblem Fates


I love a good strategy RPG and Fire Emblem was always on my radar, but when Fire Emblem Awakening came out it finally clicked with me.  I loved Fire Emblem Awakening and it was my game of the year for the year it came out.  Fire Emblem Fates looks like the next step in the same direction for the Fire Emblem series and I'm super excited for it.


Final Fantasy VII Remake



Final Fantasy and Mario are my two favorite gaming series ever.  I don't think I could decide which is my favorite, but that's ok.  They're both amazing.  When they announced that there was going to be a remake of the most widely acclaimed Final Fantasy I got chills.  Who knows when it will eventually come out, but it's going to cause a huge flood of Final Fantasy love from everyone.


There you go.  My most anticipated games from E3 2015.  What about you guys?  What are you most excited about?




Moon Knight
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 June 2015, 10:00 am

After hitting a few runs of comics that I didn't much enjoy I asked a friend for suggestions within the Marvel universe.  I'm trying to make the most of Marvel Unlimited while I have it since I'm still not sure how long I'll keep it.

He gave me some recommendations and the one that seemed the most off the beaten path was Moon Knight.  So, I started there.

And I loved it!  Moon Knight is basically Batman.... if Batman was crazy... and didn't give a fuck about collateral damage.... or killing people who deserve it.  Also, he wears white so enemies can see him coming and he's the embodiment of an ancient Egyptian god kind of.  It's really weird, but it works.

I read the whole 2014 run in one night and I wish there was more.  I might have to dive into the back-catalog and see if there are other runs of Moon Knight too.

If you like heroes that aren't typical and you have Marvel Unlimited you should really check it out.


Square Enix Press Conference
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 June 2015, 2:50 pm
I'm pretty disappointed in the Square Enix press conference.  It was full of talking heads, pre-rendered CG trailer videos, and not much concrete information.

Almost none of the games were being released in 2015 and there were barely any release dates given.  Most of the press conference was men in suits saying, "We're making this game and we hope you're excited to find out more but we won't tell you more now."

I guess I was expecting a big announcement, like Final Fantasy XVI or a new Chrono game or... something.  Instead I got some trailers for games we already knew were coming and the announcement of some mobile games.

I'm disappointed.

The biggest announcement for Square Enix was done yesterday at the Sony press conference when they announced a Final Fantasy VII remake.

The thing is, I know a lot of the Square Enix games they talked about today will be good, but they were just presented in such a boring manner that it was disheartening.

I'm looking forward to hands-on gameplay impressions for most of the games they announced, whenever those eventually come our way.

One more press conference tonight and then we're done.  PC gaming is up next.


Nintendo Press Conference
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 June 2015, 12:58 pm
Ah!  The Nintendo conference is over and I only have 7 minutes before the Square Enix one starts.  Quick!  Thoughts!

Nothing revolutionary announced.  They're holding off on talking about the new system until next year.

Lot's of gameplay from games releasing later this year or early next year.  Things like Star Fox and Yoshi's Wooly World look to still be on track and fun.

I'm super excited for the new Fire Emblem which now has an English name, Fire Emblem Fates.  I loved Fire Emblem Awakening, so I'll definitely be picking up this one.  That Fire Emblem cross over on the other hand... looks a little crazy.  I'm not sure what to think about it.

A new multiplayer Metroid for 3DS just got announced.  I hope Metroid fans are happy.  It didn't look all that appealing to me, but that's ok, I'm not a huge Metroid fan.

The new Triforce Heroes Zelda game for 3DS is more my speed.  I'm not sure if I'll have people to play it with via multiplayer, but I'll get it just for the single player game alone.

The real winner for me is still Mario Maker.  Mario is my favorite platforming series ever.  If Mario Maker has good online sharing and community support it could easily turn into one of my favorite games of all time.

And I need that 8-bit Mario Amiibo like... now.  It's amazing.  So cool.  I can't even.

Square conference is starting in 2 minutes.  Time to wrap up.  Good show Nintendo.  Lots of games I'll end up playing and enjoying.


Avengers (2012)
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 June 2015, 10:00 am

I don't always know exactly how to refer to the comics that I've been reading on Marvel Unlimited.  There are so many comics with such similar titles about the same heroes.  After reading a bunch of character centered comics that started in 2012 I also decided to try to get into the Avengers comic that was started at the same time and used those same versions of the characters.

I thought Avengers (2012) would be a surefire hit for me.  I loved the ensemble cast in the movies with the friendly banter and inter-squad tensions.  I think they make for great storytelling.  But now I'm realizing that a lot of that might be because Joss Whedon knows how to write dialog and not because the Avengers themselves are a great plot device.

The Avengers comics that I read didn't click with me.  They brought in so many different characters that I couldn't keep track of them all.  I hadn't even heard of most of the characters that were in these comics.  The core team that I know from the movies was there but the amount of other characters was overwhelming.  I never had a chance to truly get to know any of them or latch onto them as touchstones in the story.

And then the story arc bloomed out into this multidimensional multiuniverse end of everything story arc that included even more characters.  It looks like it tied in to something called Infinity.  It seems like it's one of those big huge events that ties the whole Marvel universe together.  But for someone like me, who doesn't have much context for the wider Marvel universe, the whole thing fell flat.

I'm going to go back and read some other character centric comic runs and move away from the ensemble cast.  But after reading through this run and a couple other runs that were misses for me... I think my time subscribed to Marvel Unlimited may be coming to an end.


Sony Press Conference
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 June 2015, 10:45 pm
Wow.  Wow.  Just Wow.

Final Fantasy VII is getting a remake.  There were a bunch of other bombshells in the press conference but this is all I can think about.  Nothing else seems to matter much right now.

If you didn't know, I'm a huge Final Fantasy fan.  I'm so excited for the remake!  And they announced another Final Fantasy game too!  But seriously, that FFVII remake is just dominating my thoughts.

It's going to take some time to decompress after all these press conferences.  Wow.




Ubisoft Press Conference
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 June 2015, 7:37 pm
The Ubisoft Press Conference was mixed for me.  There were a couple games that piqued my interest, and of course I'm always excited for a new Assassin's Creed (it's a weakness) but I didn't really see any games that are a guaranteed day one buy for me.

For the most part I'd like to hear more about these games from the journalists who will get to play them this week on the show floor.

I want to know more about Rainbow Six Siege, The Division, and Assassin's Creed.  Hopefully we'll get to read some good impressions as the week goes on.

The thing that impressed me the most with the Ubisoft press conference was the amount of real gameplay footage and live demos.  It seemed like almost every game had real gameplay footage to go with it.  They're not hiding behind pre-rendered CG trailers for their games and they deserve applause for that.

Now I'm going to wait for the Sony event to start.  I'm really excited to see what pops up in that one.


EA Press Conference Mostly a Flop
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 June 2015, 5:35 pm
They should have compressed the EA press conference down to Mass Effect teaser, Unraveled, Mirror's Edge, and Star Wars Battlefront.  It would have saved about an hour and 15 minutes of sports games, driving games, and mobile crap.

But omg, Star Wars!  Mass Effect!  Space operas!  I'm so excited!  I'm sure you'll be able to google footage for both very soon.  You should.  If I had videos available right now I would embed them for you, but I don't.

Seriously, go look up gameplay for Star Wars Battlefront.  Watch the teaser trailer for Mass Effect Andromeda!  Most of the rest of the EA conference is easily skippable.

Now to wait for the Ubisoft conference to start!


Microsoft E3 Press Conference Thoughts
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 June 2015, 3:58 pm
I had a lunch meeting so I'm a little behind on E3 today, but I just blasted through the Microsoft conference and have a couple minutes to write before the EA conference starts.

It was a solid showing, but not enough to get me to buy an Xbox One.  There are a lot of games that are interesting to me, but most of them are on both Xbox One and PC.  I much prefer to use my monster of a gaming PC instead of spending more money on hardware I don't need.  It seems like I won't miss out on too much.

The Xbox One exclusives that did interest me are Halo 5 and Thieves of the Sea.  Halo 5 is fairly self explanatory, but I really liked the ODST vibe it gave off.  That has always been my favorite Halo game.  Thieves of the Sea looks like a sweet stylized pirate MMO that I would play in a heartbeat if it were on PC, but for the moment it's staying as a Xbox One exclusive.

They showcased a lot of games and hardware announcements, I'm still kinda decompressing.  Here are a couple more random thoughts.

Minecraft with the Hololens was cool looking.  Lot's of potential fun there.

The new Tombraider looks more explorey and less combaty than the last one, which is a huge plus in my book.

Gears of War is generally good, but not a system seller for me these days.

Backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games could be huge, but it's better to wait for details on how that will work before getting too excited.

Microsoft is partnered with Oculus Rift.  I'm hoping they'll give it lots of support.

Ok, EA conference is starting.  More thoughts on E3 2015 soon!


X-Wing Wedge's Gamble
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 June 2015, 10:00 am

Marvel Unlimited and comics have derailed my normal reading patterns for the past month or two, but I'm slowly drifting back toward my normal amount of book reading.

In doing so I finished the second book in the X-Wing series, Wedge's Gamble.

This continues to be a great Star Wars series in their Legends universe.  I loved these books as a kid and they're still holding up now.  I'm surprised that they are as good as I remember.

I think I read them as they were released so I never realized how closely the series is tied together.  The first two books flow right into one another in a way that's great.  A newcomer could pick up book two and start with it, no problem.  But someone who has read the first book will see more connections and get more out of it.

In Wedge's Gamble Rogue Squadron is tasked with taking down the shields surrounding Coruscant so that the Rebels can occupy it.  The Rebellion is looking to finally overthrow the Empire's seat of power and establish themselves as a legitimate replacement government.

It's a tall order but Rogue Squadron thinks they're up to the challenge.  This time they're mostly on the ground on Coruscant using they're special ops training and unique skills to find a way to take down the shields.  There are still X-Wing sections of the novel with dogfights and everything you could want, but the main focus here is on Rogue Squadron as an elite special ops force.  It's really cool to see this other side of them.

This is another great book that let's me recommend the X-Wing series again.  If the premise of this one sounds more interesting than the first book you can easily start here and not feel left out.


Bethesda Press Conference
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 June 2015, 11:42 pm
I think I'm just going to write up E3 thoughts whenever they strike this week, instead of waiting for my normal posting schedule.

I just watched the Bethesda Press Conference and it was... ok?  I have to fess up, I'm not a huge Fallout fan.  Or Doom fan.  Or Dishonored fan.  I don't even think I like the Elder Scrolls as much as most people.

Honestly, I usually play a Bethesda game for a week or two, grow bored of it, and move on with my life.  That's where I'm coming from, so keep that in mind.

I watched the press conference anyway because it's E3 and I'm interested.

To me, Doom looked super generic and bloody but not all that interesting.

Dishonored 2 was basically a pre-rendered concept trailer so who cares.  I'll hold off having real thoughts until I see gameplay.

Elder Scrolls card game looks like it wants a piece of that sweet sweet Hearthstone money.  Now that Blizzard has proved there's a market for mobile digital card games it's not surprising that we'll start seeing more.  Could be good, who knows.  Again, I'll wait for gameplay.

Fallout 4 shows some promise.  I liked Fallout 3, but didn't love Fallout 3.  This looks like more of the same... but with some other features added and slightly better graphics.  I'm interested enough that I'll probably pick it up on release and play it for a few weeks, but I don't anticipate it being revolutionary for me.  The most exciting part of Fallout 4 for me is actually just watching everyone else get so excited for it.  I loved seeing it blow up on Twitter during the conference.  That was really cool.

The most interesting thing to come out of the Bethesda conference for me was actually Fallout Shelter, the mobile game.  I saw that and instantly knew that I could kill some time with it.  I'm super excited that it comes out tonight.  I'll play it this week and get back to you.

What did you guys think of the announcements?


Nintendo World Championship was Awesome!
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 June 2015, 9:40 pm
The Nintendo World Championship just happened and it totally lived up to the hype.  I watched the whole thing while talking to my brother over text and my Twitter friends over Twitter.  I had a great time.

The main rounds were modern games played competitively and the "underground" rounds were classic Nintendo games done as speed runs or score challenges.  The variety and game selection were fantastic.

Nintendo even revealed a new game in the middle of the event and then immediately had the competitors play it for the next round.

The best part of the event was watching the final round with the competitors playing Mario Maker levels that Nintendo Treehouse employees had designed.  It was strangely captivating watching them figure out the levels in real time.

The event just wrapped up but it looks like it's already posted on YouTube.  I highly recommend checking it out.  I'll even embed it below, for your convenience.




E3 Week!
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 June 2015, 10:00 am

It's E3 Week!  A time to get hype!  A time to be skeptical.  A time for many things.

But mostly a time for fun speculating and dreaming.

I love the current format of E3 because all the big press conferences are livestreamed to everyone.  I used to dream about attending an E3, but now there is no point.  I can get the best E3 experience by sitting at home, watching the livestreams, and keeping up with my RSS feeds.

What news are you guys most excited about hearing?  Any particular press conference or game you're looking forward to?

For me, I can't wait to hear more about VR.  It seems like 2016 is the year where VR systems are actually finally releasing to the public as retail products.  That means this is probably the last E3 before they are released.  I'm so excited to get my hands on an Oculus Rift or a Steam VR.

How about you guys?


Armello Early Access
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 June 2015, 10:00 am

Armello is a video game, but it's also very much a digital board game.  Everything from the aesthetics to the gameplay feel like a board game while the game has all the conveniences of a video game.  I picked it up on Steam for PC but it looks like it's coming out on PS4 as well.

The game sells itself as Game of Thrones via animal avatars... and it's kind of right.  You won't get any sweeping narratives here but you will get an unpredictable contest for the throne of the kingdom.  You see, the king is filled with corruption and is slowly dying.  When he finally dies one of the animal Heroes in the world will become the new king.  It could be you.


There are a handful of ways to become king.  Kill the corrupt king, cleanse the king of his corruption, or just end the game with the highest standing in the realm when the old king dies.

Like it says up their in the title, this game is early access.  It truly shows in the new player experience.  The tutorial is non-existent.  You learn about the gameplay and objectives through tool-tips while you're playing your first game.  They do not do an adequate job.

My biggest gripe about the game is that I had to go spend a good hour of time with the wiki for it to start to understand what was going on.


Luckily for Armello, it's still in early access and has time to improve.  I think that if a solid tutorial was put into the game along with some more hand-holding during the new player experience this could really be a cool game.

I'm probably not going to play it much more until it's out of early access and is officially launched.  That being said, this is still a game that you should keep your eye on once it officially releases.


Invisible, Inc.
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 June 2015, 10:00 am
I've been on a big turn-based game kick lately.  Invisible Inc is the latest in a series of games that I've enjoyed but failed to put a lot of time into.  It's kind of weird that I know I love turn-based strategy games so much but lately none of them can seem to keep my attention for long.

Invisible Inc is really good.  Out of all the turned-based games I've been playing lately this is the second best.  Only Valkyria Chronicles has a one-up on it.

In Invisible Inc you navigate a team of spies through a procedurally created enemy complex.  Your mission might be to get new equipment, rescue other agents, retrieve intel, or a number of other scenarios.  It allows you to push your luck by staying in the enemy complex longer while you search for more loot, intel, and gear.  But the longer you stay in the enemy facility the higher their security level gets.  It's really fun!

I like the game a lot.  I've had a bunch of nights where I'll play this game for hours on end while really thinking about every move.  I've had a couple other nights where I'll play haphazardly while watching TV at the same time.  Both ways work and both ways are fun.

For me I don't know how the longevity of this game will be.  After syncing a bunch of time into it I already feel like I've seen what the game has to offer.  Yes, these things will be remixed and rematched into new combinations the more I play... but I've kind of seen it all.  This is one of the drawbacks of procedurally generated games.  The levels all start to feel samey.

Overall I suppose I give this game a thumbs up.  It's really fun to play, and your mileage may vary.  If you're someone who enjoys roguelikes, turn based strategy, or procedurally generated games you'll probably find something here for you.  I just can't vouch for how long it will hold your attention.


Splatoon Single Player
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 June 2015, 10:00 am

I love the Splatoon multiplayer and my whole family has been getting into it.  I wrote about that yesterday.  Today I want to touch on the single player experience.

It has it's ups and downs.  The levels that are in the game are great.  It has the typical Nintendo level of polish and level design sensibilities.  Challenges build on each other in a progressive manner that makes perfect sense.

The single player levels are really good!  Unfortunately, the overall campaign is fairly short.  It's obvious that most of their focus was put into the multiplayer mode of Splatoon.  It was sad for me to see how short the game is compared to other Nintendo experiences.

The other thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is that 75% of the single player experience is locked behind Amiibos.  I wouldn't have realized this if I didn't pick them up, but now that I've seen that each Amiibo has an entire campaign behind it's paywall I'm kind of worried about the future of Nintendo content experiences.

It wasn't a big deal for me to pick up the 3-pack of Amiibos, and I really wanted them anyway because I thought they looked awesome.  But that's not going to be true for everyone.  Especially with the Amiibo supply shortages at the moment.

I guess what I'm saying is that the single player campaign that is in the game is good... but don't buy this game for the single player experience.  Only pick it up if the multiplayer looks appealing to you. That's where the heart of the game lies.


Splatoon Multiplayer
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 June 2015, 10:00 am

The Splatoon multiplayer experience is awesome!  This is one of the few games that has gotten my whole family involved.  My wife, daughter, son, and I are all playing this game on an almost daily basis.  It's full of charm and fun.  It's super approachable.  I'm so happy that the first new Nintendo IP is such a success.

This game feels like Mario Sunshine re-mixed into a fun third person shooter.


I love the color and the style in Splatoon.  It's so bright and cheery.  It's super inviting.  You don't really think about it often, but those console FPS games tend to be gray/brown blah.  All of them run into each other stylistically to the point where you don't even notice their differences.  Splatoon breaks this mold in the best way possible.

I love that the goal is to cover an area with your color ink and not just destroy enemies.  It makes the tactics and strategy so much more interesting.  It also means you don't have to have super fast twitchy reflexes to be competitive.  This is a plus for every member of my family.



Nintendo is planning on slowly releasing more multiplayer content as time goes on.  They've already unlocked a new multiplayer mode and a new map. With their support it will be interesting to see how long this game stays active and popular.  It seems like this could turn into one of their main evergreen games like Mariokart or Smash Bros.

I'm really excited to see where they take this.


Puzzle & Dragons Z
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 June 2015, 10:00 am

Although I hadn't played the Puzzle & Dragons Z version of the game on my trip, I have done so since then.  While I ended up liking the Mario Edition side of this game I didn't find Puzzle & Dragons Z quite as interesting.

It's the same core gameplay but wrapped up with tons of unskippable story content set in a world similar to Pokemon... but less interesting.

After getting familiar with the core puzzle gameplay I was really disappointed to see how much extra fluff there was in between actual gameplay in this version.

If you really felt like Puzzle & Dragons was missing a story or if you're super obsessed with the Pokemon formula you might find something here.  For the rest of us it's probably better to stay on the Mario Edition side of this game.


Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 June 2015, 10:00 am

Continuing with the handheld gaming backlog I sampled while traveling, it's Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate!

This is an interesting game because it's an attempt to take a 3D free roaming game and translate it to a 2.5D platformer/beat-em-up.

The problem I had while playing this game is that it's so close to the 3D Arkham console games that I love... but it's not a 3D game.  The controls and the structure simply aren't as strong as they are in a 3D world.  I played the game a bunch and it's not really bad but it's not really good either.  It's middling.

The biggest thing this game has done is make me appreciate the other Batman Arkham games more than I did before.  I'm really excited for the next console Arkham game to release later this month with Batman Arkham Knight.

I probably won't be coming back to the handheld game, but if you're a super die hard Batman fan you might find something here for you.


What is a Monster Bag?
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 June 2015, 10:00 am

Monster Bag is a game that isn't worth your time or money.  This is mostly a PSA.

I had Monster Bag on my Vita for the trip last week since I had gotten it for free via PS Plus.  It's one of the worst free PS Plus games I've gotten.

You are a monster that also happens to be a bag.  You jump from one unsuspecting person's back to another while avoiding people with evil eyes and throwing things also.  I probably just made it sound much more interesting than it is.

Just a heads up.  Avoid this one.


Sword Art Online
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 June 2015, 10:00 am

Last week before my trip I watched my first ever season of an anime show.  As you can probably tell from the title of the post, it was Sword Art Online.

I've tried various anime shows over the years but I've never been able to get past the first few episodes of one.  Usually the pacing is too slow and the show isn't visually interesting enough for me.  My brother has told me that modern anime is much better than what I tried to watch long ago, but I haven't had much time to check out any of the shows he recommended.

Then, last week, I heard some of the podcast members on Aggrochat talk about the premise of Sword Art Online and I was very interested.  Essentially, Sword Art Online is a fully immersive MMO in an advanced virtual reality.  The premise of the show is that only 10,000 people were allowed a copy of the game at launch and as soon as they all log in on launch day they are locked in the game until they can complete it.

They end up stuck in the game for a long time and a lot of interesting social dynamics develop.

The part of the show that really got me hooked was the fast paced action in an MMO world that happens in the first 25% of the season.  I thought it was epic when they encountered the first floor boss, that's when I was hooked.

It gave me enough momentum to finish the whole season, but unfortunately the pacing starts to drag in the second half.  I wanted to finish the season anyway just to prove that I could actually finish an anime once in my life.  Now that I have I'm not sure if I want to get into season two or not.

My biggest take away from this is that anime can be interesting and I should probably listen to my brother more often.  I suppose I should ask him what show to try out next.


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