RAB: The Social Contract, A Lack of Mystery, and the PS5

I discovered something very interesting today.  My boss put me on a “project” (something that she didn’t want to do and I got roped into doing) which had me reviewing stuff about highway safety.  It was tedious, but there were some points that genuinely stuck out to me.  Did you know that there are no official rules about right-of-way at a 4-way stop?  No joke, there is nothing in law, outside of giving pedestrians the right of way and to yield to whoever has the right of way.  But nothing says who goes first.  Which means that the rules about whoever got their first being able to go first is all just something that people adhere to.

That’s called the “social contract.”  A set of behaviors that people agree to in order to facilitate societal cohesion.  Like how you never ask a woman her age.  I found it so fascinating that one of the big things about driving that I have been taught my entire life is just something that people obey because of a social contract.  That’s wild!  Makes you wonder what other activities that people take part in that have no basis in written rules of any kind, but are followed by the public at large.

Another thing that has been on my mind is the fact that there are a lot of games that I am really stoked for, but don’t feverishly look up anymore because there’s no mystery about them.  I don’t mean that the game is spoiled, but there’s nothing to ponder about.  I know when Cyberpunk 2077 is coming out.  Same with Death Stranding.  Before I did, I used to look up both games every day, wondering if there was anything new revealed.  Now, I know when both of them are dropping so I can just sit back and wait.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so eager for them.  You cannot believe how much I want them.  But it’s just a waiting game now.  Doesn’t help that my waiting is done at a job where I am done with everything in an hour and then have to find something to do to pass the time for the other seven and a half.  Each day is slower and more tedious than the last.  Back before I knew all this, it would be looking at the latest news.  Something leaking or an interview.  Still wonder how CD Projekt Red managed to keep the fact that Keanu Reeves plays a major role in Cyberpunk 2077 a secret.  I joked with a friend that they must have signed a contract stating that if anyone leaked that, CDPR was going to hunt them and their families down like wild animals.  Or sue them into oblivion.  In the age of endless leaks, it’s hard to keep anything under wraps.

That’s not to say there’s nothing that I am not filled with mystery about.  It’s all but confirmed now that The Last of Us: Part II is dropping in 2020, but the date is still a mystery.  There’s also Ghost of Tsushima, which has had precious little talked about it.  I get the feeling that Sony is going to do something big in the not-too-distant future.  They skipped E3, so they have to be planning something absolutely massive.  It will probably be the unveiling of their latest console.  I’m hoping that they also drop some stuff about their latest games.

Sony said recently that they want to focus on big AAA-titles with their next console, since that is scoring them HUGE sales figures and critical acclaim.  Hit after hit, without a single exception.  It’s understandable.  So if they come out of the gate of their next console debut with nothing but exclusives for them, it would score points.

Though, the PS5 is going to be a huge thing everyone is wondering about.  Specs info is leaking, which is leading people to think that this console is going to be both very powerful, and very expensive.  Here’s the thing – the big question is about backwards-compatibility.  It’s already been confirmed that PS4 games will play on it.  But the rumors about this console going further back persist.  If that’s true, and this console can play games from all its eras, Sony is basically printing money.  Expensive console be damned, they would be printing money.

Maybe there is more to have mystery about.  Still, the wait is long, and I am not a patient man.  If I had a job that wasn’t so easy and time passed quicker, maybe I would be.

Until next time, a quote,

“Oh summer child…” – Old Nan, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

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Getting Older as a Gamer

For those of you who don’t know, which is all of you, I’m a 30 year old man.  Yup, I’m a man of 30 years, and I am a gamer.  As you can imagine, this is something that isn’t easy to rectify in modern society.  My age group has all gotten older, and as they have, their interests have changed.  Which leave me being stuck wondering if I have less and less in common with everyone as the years go by.  And having fewer and fewer people to talk to.  The future doesn’t look good, from where I’m sitting.

I work at an office that is primarily women.  You know what that means?  It means that the bulk of everything that everyone talks about is mom stuff, home life stuff, and female as fuck stuff.  As you might imagine, I have ZERO dog in this.  Of any kind.  Got a ton of girly-mates, but to date only a couple of them have made the jump to have kids (because they didn’t accept that overpopulation is killing our species), and of those who remain, I have some common ground enough to talk to about other stuff.  Even the female things can be engaged with, to a point.

As I have no children, and as of this year will no longer be able have children, my reference point in this is that they exist.  And because I am a giant, they like me.  The reason why is always going to remain a mystery.  Maybe it’s because while the adults are talking about their gardens and their family vacation, the kids could swarm into my den and I’m playing games and they can talk with me about their favorite superheroes or ask me questions and I would give them candid answers.  Instead of their parents who would give them stupid answers.  Like a Jehovah’s Witness mom whose kids used to chill with me and I would give them smart people answers about things like evolution and the nature of reality.  Something their mother knew precious little about.

With no family of my own, and no personal life to speak of, I don’t have a whole lot going on.  I do my job incredibly well (too well, in my opinion.  It’s gotten REALLY boring), and then go home to my empty fridge, laptop for Internet perusal, and my TV, which is where my consoles are hooked up to.  What does this have to do with anything?  I’ll tell you.  I have no one to talk to!  Got all a hobby that I think is fun, is part of my ongoing mission to find a good story that I can sink my teeth into revel in.  But who do I have to talk to about it?  No one.  If I even tell people I work with about my hobby, then I’m a man-child.  Just some loser who never left high school.  Being a gamer as one heads into middle-age means that you are looked down upon.  There is a HUGE cultural stigma against people like me.

Granted, this is going to change.  Gaming is now a bigger industry than Hollywood.  It’s outpacing Hollywood pretty fast in terms of financial and social engagement.  It’s one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.  Sure, it has its rough spots, but overall, it is still growing.  With more and more people engaging in his hobby, in a growing time of social isolation due to anxiety at dealing with real people, it’s a virtual guarantee that I am not going to be alone in my 30’s while still gaming.  The numbers are going to keep going up.

But that’s down the road.  For right now, I’m in this place where I have absolutely no one to talk to about anything.  I have to regale people with my endless amount of knowledge that doesn’t even to the slightest degree tie in to anything I do.  My vast plethora of useless knowledge that not one single person gives one dusty fuck about.  That’s what I got.

I lead a lonely life.  While more and more people are announcing marriages and whatnot, I sit here thinking “Can’t wait for November!  Finally gonna get to see what Death Stranding is like!”  Or “April 2020!  They’ve finally announced a release date for Cyberpunk 2077!”  However, I know there is absolutely no one that I can talk to about this.  It’s just gonna be me, listening to myself.  While I keep clicking away at a keyboard where I do my job, managing over 1,500 cases.  This is my life.

In the broad scheme of things, it could be a lot worse.  But as human beings (a species that is built on connection), perhaps you can imagine what it’s like to be in a situation where you are all alone in a place that you work.  I did have a coworker who I at least could talk movies with.  She would get all mad at my thoughts on modern Disney.  Loves her some Disney in the most die-hard way ever.  I’ve never been the most popular guy wherever I go.  Trust and believe.  I’m a contrarian, jaded, nihilistic, a bit of a libertine (but I keep it classy), and reject tradition wherever I find it on the basis that it is a tradition and should be gotten rid of for that reason.

As you might expect, it goes beyond where I work.  With more and more people having babies, starting families, or just becoming busier as they get older, I realize that I am the odd man out of most engagements.  So I go back to my home and turn on whatever game I’m playing, show I’m watching, or go online and just fuck around for a while.  Anything that passes the time.  Maybe I’m just embracing whatever brand of escapism to whatever point I can in order to escape the reality that my life is headed nowhere and that I am secretly just getting older.  Wasting my intellect on a job that a trained monkey could do (I’d know.  We have a whole bunch of them running this outfit), while trying to find something better.  Or at least something that makes me feel like each day I don’t wake up and ask why I even bother.

Until next time, a quote,

“Why the hell am I still alive?” – Gene Starwind, Outlaw Star

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2019

2018 has been a pretty ho-hum year for gaming.  There have been some big games, but nothing that really sticks with me at the end.  Nothing that has crossed my mind into territory of something truly extraordinary.  However, all of that is looking to change in 2019.  As the current generation is winding down, as is typical, we are looking to get games that will define this generation.  For whatever reason, consoles always show what they can really do when things are drawing to a close.  I’m stoked for next year.  So many releases, so much to talk about.  Let’s get down to it.

10. The Pathless
Made by the same studio who did ABZU, they are back to do something 100% different.  Instead of an artsy game about a beginning-to-end water level, we get to see an adventure game about an Asian-looking protagonist in a forest world.  The visuals are in the same vein as ABZU, but the content is so much different.  We may even have boss fights, with the only weapon our character has – a bow.  This studio came out of the gate swinging, but I am definitely curious to see what this become.

9. Ghost of a Tale (PS4 Port)
A game about a cute mouse bard on a big adventure through a castle?  Why yes, I’ll have some of that.  This game has intrigued me since I first heard about it.  The visuals look absolutely breath-taking, and the gameplay makes me think you actually are playing as a mouse.  It’s cute, it’s different, and the stealth action gameplay mixed with interaction with adorable little woodland creatures is just the best.  Makes me wonder if you have bigger woodland predators as bosses.  We shall see.

8. Resident Evil 2 (Remake)
It’s really cool how we live in this time where game companies are remaking classic beloved games from the ground up.  And they aren’t doing them in a shitty way.  It’s some high quality stuff.  So when I heard that a classic game from my youth was getting this treatment, I was stoked!  Everything I have seen about the final product looks like it is going to mesh brilliantly with my expectations.  The action is still tight.  The zombies are tougher than you’d expect, making conservation of ammunition even more important.  They have taken the formula they were given, removed none of the difficulty, but updated it to the current age.  That’s brilliant!  Not to mention, the Tyrant in the suit and hat reveal scared the shit out of me. The fact that you can’t fight this thing and can only run from it is great.  Though, why don’t the infected ever attack it?  That’s weird. It would be cool if I could use infected against it.  That’s some neat strategy.  Oh well, over-thinking.  Still looks cool.

7. Man of Medan
A couple of things.  First, a lot of movies have tried the horror anthology idea, but it’s always died.  Never has it stuck.  Second, I LOVED the predecessor to this game – Until Dawn.  That game was such a great visualization of a horror concept, putting the player in the driver’s seat of a horror movie where how many people lived or died was at your control.  That’s fantastic.  So when I heard that this concept is being turned into an anthology, I thought that this idea is ambitious, never been tried, and could become something spectacular.  It’s first part/attempt is in this game, Man of Medan.  And man, I couldn’t be more stoked.  It’s got it all.  Atmosphere, characters that are stereotypes just like the last game, and a mysterious enemy to survive.  Who will make it out alive?  Well, all of them, if I have anything to say about it.

6. Doom: Eternal
You know what was awesome?  The remake of DOOM!  That game was such chaotic, fast-paced, always in motion action.  If you stayed still, you died.  If you weren’t willing to take the occasional risk, you died.  An itchy trigger-finger and a desire to rip and tear were all you had against the armies of Hell, and holy fuck-balls, it was awesome!  I loved that game.  So when I saw that there was a sequel in development, I was stoked.  The initial trailer didn’t do much for me, but then came the Phobos trailer, and I was hooked.  The changes made in this game look so spectacular.  I can’t wait  to see what’s happened between games.  What happened to the DOOM Marine when he was sent back to Hell, if Samuel lost his mind to the demons like his former protege.  Lots of unanswered questions, and demons to rip and tear my way through.

5. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
When I saw that Bloodborne was not getting a sequel, I was sad.  However, then I saw the latest project that From Software was doing, and holy shit was I hooked.  An infinitely faster-paced game, with Japanese samurai action, a complex battle system, and the trademark punishing difficult that From Software is known for?  Sign me up!  With a compelling narrative about a fallen warrior with the prince he was supposed to protect stolen from him, I couldn’t be more excited.  This game looks awesome.  The action is so fast-paced that it is almost like a rhythm game at points.  That’s perfect.  It will be punishingly difficult, but that’s all part of the fun.

4. A Plague Tale: Innocence
This game really snuck up on me, but it left such a mark the second I saw it.  You have a narrative-driven action-adventure game, set in Medieval France, with the backdrop of an illness and a plague of rats.  I have already gathered that the infection isn’t the Black Death, but it is still a plague of rats.  Now, you play as a girl who is trying to get her brother to safety, with their young guide.  Puzzles to overcome, stealthy gameplay, and some really inventive use of the environment.  Plus, it looks incredible.  I’m not sure exactly what to think of this game, but we’ll see when it gets here.

3. Cyberpunk 2077
This game doesn’t have an official release date, but I am one of the people who whole-heartedly believes that it’s coming out in 2019.  The reasons for that are many.  First, the developers did a big interview about how this game is being optimized for current-gen consoles.  If that’s the case, then it would have to come out next year.  Otherwise, it would be ported over to the next.  Next, everything I’ve heard says that CD Projekt Red is nearing completion, but are being REALLY coy about when it is being released.  Some info from a Turkish publisher that hasn’t been refuted by the developer makes me think that there is more to it.  And man, I cannot wait to see what this game is!  The gameplay demo had my jaw dropped more than once.  If I am right, then this game is likely going to bring the house down.  If I’m right, of course.

2. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
Neat fact about me and a girly-mate of mine, we both always wanted to be fighter jockeys.  But since my head injury has precluded me from military service (along with the fact that I am a giant meaning I can’t be a pilot anyway), it’s a dream that is far away from me.  However, when I heard about this game, you cannot believe how stoked I was.  It got my attention in the biggest way possible.  The gameplay looks incredible!  The environments are amazing.  The weather integration is phenomenal.  The coolest fighter jet ever to exist, the F-22 Raptor, is in it.  This game has everything I want.  The more I learn about it, the more stoked I get.  This game looks incredible, and since flight combat sim games are a dead art, it’s nice to see this genre making a comeback.  The closer I get to it, the more impatient I become.

Before we get to my #1, here are a few Honorable Mentions:

  • MediEvil (Remake): one of my favorite hack-and-slash games from the PS1 getting remade from the ground up.  Really am loving this new push to do these games.  It’s producing some of the most faithful remakes ever made, with modern sensibilities.  Can’t wait to see one of my favorite derpy knights back in action
  • Tales of Vesperia (PS4 Port): One of the greatest Tales games being brought to current generation console.  I’m down with this.
  • Panzer Dragoon (Remake): This just got announced, and I cannot tell you how stoked I am.  These games are a relic.  They are some of the greatest that gaming has created in terms of flight combat.  Before there was Star Fox 64, there was this.  I am so excited to see what they do with it.

And my most anticipated game of 2019 is…

1.Death Stranding
It’s finally here.  The first project of Hideo Kojima’s since he left Konami.  A lot of people have been annoyed at how coy Kojima has been playing with his latest project, but not me.  I am so utterly stoked.  Everything I’ve heard and been told says to me that this game is going to be unlike anything I’ve played before.  Everyone who is annoyed that the game isn’t spoon-feeding them what it is are so dumb, in my opinion.  They should love the vagueness.  It means you get to think and wonder about what it is!  Is there no appreciation for anticipation?  Has the endless Hollywood trailer machine that spoils everything before you get it spoiled audiences?  Not me.  I may not know exactly what this is, but I am DYING to find out.  Norman Reedus has said to expect this early in 2019.  Dying to know if he’s right.

I can feel that 2019 is going to be a hallmark year for gaming.  I know it from the bottom of my heart.  What about you?  What are the games you are most excited for?  Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“What’s your status?”
“My status is fucked.” – Sam Porter Bridges, Death Stranding

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Death Stranding is Gonna Explode

The Tokyo Game Show just happened, and we got to see a new trailer for Kojima’s latest project, Death Stranding.  While morons are going to say that they don’t understand (seriously, I saw a trailer where someone outright said they watched the trailer three times and still didn’t understand it.  What was so fucking complicated?!) what this is, I couldn’t be more stoked.  In this age where everyone wants to have all their questions spoon-fed to them with all the creative mystery of a ham sandwich, Kojima is keeping all his cards close.  And praise that man for it!  The mystery has my anticipation so fucking high.

Sony has been on such a massive winning streak lately with their exclusives.  This year has had three, and all three were massively successful.  And good.  God of War was an engaging narrative and a beautiful story of a father and son.  Detroit: Become Human was David Cage doing his thing, and while it isn’t for everyone, for those who can appreciate his craft, it was pretty awesome.  Finally, we got Marvel’s Spider-Man.  Easily the best game in its genre, and with three pieces of DLC that the devs have promised are not just busy work but substantive story expansions, it isn’t done yet.

Last year, we had two major exclusives from Sony, both of which were so good that I had the hardest time ever picking which was my favorite.  My favorite and second-favorite games of last year, they were – Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn.  It seems that Sony is really banking on great exclusives now, and hot shit!  There is some of the best quality material I have seen in YEARS coming from them.  And more is coming.  This year at E3, we got to see three major gameplay demos from three of their biggest upcoming projects – Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us: Part 2, and Kojima’s latest project, Death Stranding.

I have no reason to believe that the first two listed are not going to be amazing.  This tactic of showing demos specifically to get people to see what the quality they can expect is brilliant, in my book.  Sure, fast-paced trailers with big, bombastic set-pieces are fun and all, but that’s not my jam.  I like a trailer that feels like I am diving in and seeing what I am getting for my money.  Already I can hear people typing, asking why I am taking Kojima’s shtick of giving very little substantive info in his trailers.  Well, that’s a different kind of charm.

Here’s the thing to know – anyone who knows videos games knows that Hideo Kojima is something of an insane perfectionist.  If a game doesn’t come out to the exact quality he wants, he won’t release it.  The only reason MGSV released half-finished was because of the fallout with Konami.  So his continual teasing, making the urge for nerdgasm so strong just titillates me so much. And with the most recent trailer, there is no doubt in my mind – this game is going to be unbelievable!  It will be a hallmark game that will define this latest console generation, along with the new direction Sony is taking.  While Microsoft scrounges in the dirt for exclusives, and Nintendo keeps remaking the same games, over and over again with the fewest tertiary changes, Sony is giving massive budgets to developers who want to do amazing things.  And it’s working!  It’s paying massive dividends.

At the beginning of the year, God of War smashed sales records.  Just recently, Marvel’s Spider-Man did as well.  Perhaps gamers are figuring out that Sony’s new direction of amazing exclusives is churning out some of the best games in generations?  A thought.  Meanwhile, in the case of Death Stranding, I am certain beyond any doubt that this game is going to explode.  Just explode.  The new trailer shows so much.  For starters, Troy Baker is back!  Anything with him in it, at his A-game, I immediately know is going to be amazing.  He is easily my favorite male voice actor right now.  He can pretty-much do no wrong.  But as the YouTuber YongYea figured out, Stefanie Joosten, of Quiet fame from MGSV is back as well!  The cast for this game couldn’t possibly be anymore set.  On name recognition alone, this game is going to sell.  We have Norman Reedus, who will appeal to Boondock Saints fans, and The Walking Dead fans.  We have Guillermo Del Toro who is only donating his likeness to the game, but that will appeal to fans of his films.  We have Lea Seydoux, who will appeal to fans of French films.  She’s a crazy talented actress.  We have Mads Mikkelsen, who will appeal to Casino Royale fans.  Lastly, we have Kojima himself as the creator, who will appeal to Metal Gear Solid fans.  With this much weight behind it, this game is almost certain to set some sales records.  It will premiere to massive numbers.

This couldn’t have me more excited.  Knowing that Troy Baker is back, as a villain who has a kind of asshole charm to him, this game is bringing so much to the table.  And the mysteries keep piling up.  So, what is this weird fluidic substance, and it’s connection to the other world?  How can certain people control it?  What are these monsters that wander the landscape, some of whom can be seen, and other can’t?  What is Mad Mikkelsen’s connection to it all?  The panel said that he is the main villain of the story.  All the questions I could ask for.

But the real beauty of it all is that the wait won’t be much longer!  Kojima has said that there has been no delay in the game.  Some time ago, he said that his game was going to be finished before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.  At first I wondered if that was a reference to something I figured he might, but wrote that off.  But at the end of the panel, he confirmed my suspicion.  He said that the game is going to be finished to correlate with the date that the legendary anime film Akira was set.  Know what that means?  2019 confirmed!  I couldn’t be more excited.  I can feel it, the next trailer is going to have a release date.  This will be the one.  I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Until next time, a quote,

“Well shit, I had a special surprise prepped and everything, but it looks to me like your hands are full.  It’s no biggie.  We can always tweak the rules a bit.” – The Man With the Golden Mask, Death Stranding

Peace out,

Maverick

The Death of Nuance in Gaming Culture

Everywhere I look, I feel more and more at odds with the nerd culture.  E3 was the best example.  Sony’s press conference had me getting to see some pretty awesome trailers.  Their choice to make their four biggest draws into not trailers but full on gameplay demos was fantastic!  It had me on the edge of my seat.  First there was Ghost of Tsushima.  A game that looks like the perfect homage to samurai culture.  I’ve been DYING for a game like this for so long.  Ever since a brilliant artist did an idea for an Assassin’s Creed game set in Japan.  Now it’s happening!  Except not tied to that franchise.

Next up there was The Last of Us: Part II.  Here’s where I felt my experience waver.  See, I know that Neil Druckmann has this HUGE chip on his shoulder when it comes to social justice.  He takes what Anita Sarkeesian says very seriously.  I’ve been replaying Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and it’s there as well.  But that doesn’t stop him from writing good stuff.  It’s a balancing act in my eyes.  See, I don’t hate something with a social justice bend so long as the narrative is engaging and the characters are good.  And since this is a sequel to one of my favorite games of all time, the pressure certainly is on here.

So when I saw this game had a LONG opening segment that goes all post-apocalyptic 90210 on me, it rubbed me the wrong way.  Especially when the trailer has all the diversity of a college campus.  And the girl that Ellie starts sucking face with is more and more reminding me of Sarkeesian herself.  Which has me wondering if this character is written so he can fanboy all over her.  That’s…weird, and off-putting.  It keeps taking me out of the moment of actually liking the trailer.

Then we get to the gameplay stuff and hot damn is it back to form!  Granted, the person playing is a fucking idiot who should be dropping their enemies to keep them from raising the alarm, but whatever.

We then get to the trailer that had me really at odds with everyone in nerd culture that I follow on Twitter – Death Stranding.  I really loved that trailer.  It showed me the world, elements of play, and gave me some neat insight into the characters.  I got to see new characters be introduced and I learned about the world.  Then there was that tense bit with the shadow creatures that reminded me of The Sorrow boss battle and I was stoked.  But that’s not what I saw online.

Person after person bitching and moaning about how this trailer told them nothing and how they don’t know how to feel.  I fucking lost it.  Where is the appreciation of nuance with these mother-fuckers?!  Oh my god, they didn’t spoon-feed how you’re supposed to feel about this new game!  Say it isn’t so!  You actually have to think about it and come to your own conclusions!  The horror!  Fuck me! People posting on Twitter mocking both the trailer and Kojima himself because they weren’t given something that told them everything.

Everyone seems to believe that this game is giving them another Metal Gear type of game, and if they don’t get it then they are sad.  But it might not.  Kojima has said that this game doesn’t start a super-badass action hero.  It stars a normal man who is in way over his head in crazy circumstance, but he stays a normal man.  It strikes me that because of Kojima’s reputation, everyone is hoping for something and not being open to what this game may end up being.  It may be a game where you do little to no fighting at all.  You may have to hide.  Or it may be a narrative-focused game where the goal of gameplay is in exploring the world.  But the mystery is there, and it’s part of why I am still super stoked.  Because this could be anything and I think that’s exciting.

But it seems I’m in a minority on that.  Everywhere I look it’s people wanting to be spoon-fed.  Or they just want something to get them pumped.  Having to think about something critically?  Fuck that!  I want my nerdgasm!  Part of me wishes Sony had chosen to end on that, just so all the troglodytes in there got to walk out feeling like someone had pissed in their coffee.

So many people screaming Bethesda’s praises from the hills.  I am not among them.  The only thing in their little conference that even appeals to me is the sequel to the excellent DOOM game.  That has me pumped.  Everyone else was dead weight in my eyes.  Then Nintendo takes the stage and it’s “SMASH BROS!  YAY!” all over the goddamn place.  I…I don’t care about that.  I stopped following Nintendo pretty closely a long time ago.  I can only play the same game but with more shit so many times before I start to realize that their formula doesn’t ever change.  But I guess that’s what people want.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess?  I’m sure there’s some nuance there that people will accuse me of missing.

“They’re not the same games!  The new Legend of Zelda was open world!”  What’s that?  So Wind Waker just didn’t happen?  Okay.  “But Lucien, more characters!”  Neat.  That looks interesting, I suppose.  But it’s the same game.  New characters, new stages, but that’s it.  I guess it’s supposed to be a system seller.  I can see that.  Nintendo seems to have enough fanboys around.

I just feel like I’m missing something here.  Like, everywhere I turn I see myself at odds with what the prevailing thought is.  I was more engaged with Sony’s offerings than anyone else’s because the games looked interesting and they took the quality over quantity approach with their big hitters.  I wanted to see big demos that showed off and they delivered.  But there’s everyone hating it.  Bethesda releases trailers that are basically just nerdgasm fuel, and everyone loses it.  Sure, I felt myself getting kinda pumped for the DOOM sequel.  It’s on Earth now, which is fun.  Though that does leave me wondering what happened back on Mars, since the guy told me at the end he would be seeing me again.  Still, cool, I guess.

Maybe this is me getting older.  I just don’t feel the draw to hype fuel.  I’d rather see what I’m getting into and really feel some sense of attachment to it.  It’s how I can stomach the 90210 shit in The Last of Us: Part II trailer, because I know that Neil Druckmann might have a chip on his shoulder but he still can write good stuff and I want to know if he does it again.  I game for stories.  It’s all care about.  Sure, if the gameplay sucks, I can’t get into it, but the story is what everything hinges on.  I don’t care how good the gameplay is, if the story sucks, I hate it.  It’s why I REALLY didn’t like Rise of the Tomb Raider, even though its gameplay improves upon the previous game.  The story was boring and the villains were stupid.

Or perhaps it comes down to me being the analytical type.  I love to dissect things, both what I love and what I hate.  I could go on and on about the things I like for hours, or how much the things I hate suck ass.  It’s part of the fun for me, because when things are good, I mean really good, it gives me such a healthy appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into them and being able to revel in that final product.  Or if there is something that is really good but still has its flaws, it gives me a greater appreciation for what it does right and I can laugh at the parts that don’t work and think about how it could be improved upon.  Over-thinking is something I am guilty of, but that’s part of the fun in my eyes.

But I’m starting to realize that I am in a minority here.  A very lonely minority.  I see nuance and get excited over mysteries.  I don’t like to be spoon-fed things and come to my own conclusions (another part of why I hated the 90210 shit.  Because it felt like Druckmann was trying to score SJW points since their opinion matters to him).  I don’t get the nerdgasm anymore.  Now I get the more reserved sense of excitement wondering what I’ll learn next.

What do you all think?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“The worst thing to be is all alone with other people.” – Quinn Pierce

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Death Stranding – E3 2018 Trailer

Finally, we get to the piece that I would say is the most controversial in that it still has people guessing.  This game has had a very strange hype cycle around it.  Everyone is wanting to be told everything about it, and I think that’s unfortunate.  It’s a Kojima game, so of course he’s going to play things close to the vest.  During the Sony press conference, I saw person after person bitching about this.  It was unfortunate, because when I saw this trailer, I was genuinely curious.  A lot like all the other trailers, it opens the door for more questions, but that’s not a bad thing.

Why is it that everyone wants everything spelled out for them?  We asked for gameplay, and we got it.  It’s just that the gameplay is as enigmatic as the story.  It always bugs me how everyone is looking to be spoon-fed everything.  When people were talking about the old Metal Gear Solid games, people had no idea what the first one was until they started playing it.  Even the box was enigmatic.  It had the title on a white background.  That told you nothing.  People who know Kojima know that this is his MO, so they why is everyone shocked that he doesn’t hold your fucking hand?  I swear, gamers are some of the biggest babies.

A lot like the last trailer, we’re going to be asking some questions, which I think is what this trailer was shooting for, so all of the good.  Let’s take a look.

 

Okay, so the first thing we see is…a baby’s ass.  This is how you know Kojima knows what he’s doing.  He did that deliberately to fuck with us.  People think that he doesn’t plan this stuff out, but you couldn’t be more wrong.  Baby gives us a thumb’s up and we’re off to the plot.

We have some chick and Norman Reedus talking about things that are a little vague.  At the very least, we learn that there are levels to what people who examine this world have, and that some people have the ability to see the creatures in the shadows, while our main character can feel them.  The chick offers him a job, but he turns her down.  There is some implication that what she does is dangerous, and he prefer what he does so he doesn’t have to be in that.

Now we get to the gameplay, and just like all the games I’ve talked about, the visuals are breath-taking.  We have Norman Reedus walking through a giant grassland that reminds me a lot of Scotland, for whatever reason.  You also see these spires going into the sky.  Landmarks of objectives?  That’s smart, given how you have this HUGE open area to traverse.

After more traversal of the landscape, we see Norman Reedus in a bath, washing away what appears to be blood from a lot of scrapes.  To me, this says that this world is dangerous as it is, and that’s why Reedus isn’t looking to get with the chick for her job when it is going to put him in even more danger.  He has his own problems.  Then we get to one of the weirder things – him carrying a corpse.  That’s kinda weird.  Why do they harvest bodies?

Then we see a destroyed metropolitan area.  This has me wondering if there was some kind of cataclysm and now the people in this world are having to survive in what’s life.  Kind of a post-apocalyptic sorta deal.  Lots of questions, which has me even more excited. More traversal, and we see Reedus pulling something really gross out of his foot.  That was so eww.  But has me wondering even more.

As he gets to the top of a ridge overlooking what appears to be a camp of some kind, he pulls out a gun.  Does this mean that there is fighting for resources?  More interesting questions.  I dig it.

Now we get to the various screens telling us things, and I think we get to the juicier stuff.  Like Norman Reedus trying to get a picture, but there is a weird shadow entity that seems to be walking on its hands, and wherever it presses down, grass grows.  That’s is surreal and creepy on a whole lot of levels, and it’s pretty clear that our main character is terrified of it.  As he tries again to get the picture he was going for, a hand grabs his, and we see…is that Lea Seydoux?  I remember her from Blue is the Warmest Color.  There’s a hard turn.  She’s dressed in pretty hardcore gear, so what is her deal?

Something I noticed about the scene after she arrives – did you catch that music?  Did that style not seem a little familiar?  Call me crazy, but since Kojima was originally intending to make a Silent Hill game with Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro, and now he is basically doing the same collaboration in this game, it got me thinking.  Didn’t that music sound like Akira Yamaoka’s style?

We then get a bombshell thing that most people seem to have missed.  She says that she’s headed into town.  So there is SOME kind of infrastructure to this madness?  Is her logo on the outfit a faction?  This trailer is so good about giving us more and more questions, all of which I cannot wait to answer.  Next up we hear people on the radio talking to him, and it implies that whatever these creatures are, there is method to what they are doing as well.  Lea’s character alluded to as much as well.

Then we see that the baby that this dude carries around serves a kind of function.  The part of the machine that can detect the shadow creatures is contingent on using the baby.  That’s neat.  What follows is a genuinely tense scene where we see the shadow creatures above in a way that almost looks like The Sorrow boss fight from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.  Kojima couldn’t get away from the stealth gameplay, but that’s fine by me.  If the dude knows his shit, no sense telling him not to do what he’s good at.  The umbilical cords connecting the creatures implies some kind of mother organism.  That’s another neat clue that people don’t seem to want to pick up on.

After trying to dodge the creatures, they sight him and pull him into the ground.  Since I know that death in this game means being sucked into the much more violent purgatory realm, I figure that he didn’t actually fail in that section.  We also get Lea Seydoux eating a bug.  That’s gross, and weird, but she says that the eating of them is beneficial.  Dying to know why.

Finally, we get introduced to a blonde chick that seems to have some connection to Reedus, but he doesn’t know who she is.  Well dressed, but seems to exist in the purgatory universe of the game.  I wonder what her deal is.  So many questions.  It’s great.

Most people I talk to hate this trailer.  I love it.  Something that gives me more questions than answers while showing me the game is always for the better.  Do we want trailers that just spoil the whole damn thing?  I don’t.  Between movies and video games, so many trailers tell us everything there is to know and leave no room for interpretation.  Kojima loves him some intrigue and likes to keep gamers wondering right up to when we see what it is.  That’s what I like in his games.  You never truly know what to expect.  If all I had with games was the same shit over and over again, I would get bored very, very quickly.  Why is that what everyone wants?  It makes no sense to me.

Initial Verdict
Can’t wait to see what comes out next

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Death Stranding – Teaser Trailer

Rather unceremoniously, we see another preview for Hideo Kojima’s latest game that will be exclusive for the PS4 and PS4 Pro.  And just like last time, there isn’t a single ounce of gameplay in the entire thing, and I can’t help but be hopelessly engrossed.  Only Kojima can make a trailer that pretty much shows nothing about the game, yet none-the-less gets everyone totally hooked.  This man has shown to take a lot of inspiration from Hollywood, and nowhere is that more apparent than in this trailer.  Sony was SO smart in getting him to come on-board with their company.  I can only imagine what that conversation was like.  I figure it involved them throwing huge piles of money at the man.  It worked, and now we have a new game that if I could hope for it to come out next year, it would be right at the top of my list.  Let’s take a look at this new trailer that just dropped without a lot of pomp and circumstance.

Well, what have we here?  Another trailer showing off this game having some serious star power.  The last trailer showed that Kojima and Norman Reedus are still tight.  Now we see that Mads Mikkelsen is in this game.  Let’s talk about this trailer.  There is a lot to unpack.

We start out seeing a short, stocky, clearly chubby guy trying to sneak his way into a dark tunnel.  He’s carrying something, but we don’t see what.  As he gets to the tunnel, there seems to be some kind of battle raging overhead.  With whom?  We don’t know.  We see some WWII-era fighter jets flying around.  That’s pretty cool.  The guy seems nervous about the fighting, but clearly has somewhere that he needs to go.  Just as he is about to enter the tunnel, he stops.  Above him, we see a tank moving.  But something is very wrong with this tank.  It has disgusting tendrils coming out of it.  Makes me think back to the infested bases in Starcraft.  Trailing behind are some soldiers.  Are they infested too?

Our protagonist looks very nervous, but then looks down at what he is carrying.  It appears to be some sort of machine.  He plugs in something to it, and we see a baby being suspended inside.  Is that the baby we saw from the original trailer with Norman Reedus?  Who can say.  Dude seems to be feeling a lot more sure of himself, though, and starts heading into the dark tunnel.  However, just as he is, we zoom down the tunnel.  All the way down, to where a bunch of soldiers are approaching.  They appear to be hooked up to some guy.  Who is this guy?  Why are these soldiers hooked to him with tendrils?  That’s ominous.  Then, in a spectacular reveal, we see that it’s Mads Mikkelsen!  And he is looking all badass and messed up, because the tendrils are coming out of him.  What is his story?  Is he possessed by something?  Is he the one doing the possessing?  Impossible to say, but I can’t wait to find out.

The visuals in this are in a league of their own, but it’s more the feel of this.  I am in love with the style of this game.  I said in the post I did about the first trailer at this year’s E3 that it is Lovecraftian as fuck, and I still mean that.  We have another ocean, with weird, fish-like creatures taking control of the people in this world.  Yeah, that’s straight out of Lovecraft’s works.  I am so stoked for this game.  I cannot WAIT to see what the gameplay is like.  If Kojima takes the lessons he learned from Metal Gear Solid V and applies them here, then we are almost-guaranteed to have an incredible game that rocks everyone’s world.

Sony made a damn good investment with Kojima.  Whatever he ends up putting out, I know for a fact that it will blow away all expectations.  Hopefully you all are as excited as me.  Granted, I am getting more antsy to see gameplay, but I am almost positive that that will be the final hit that Sony has at next year’s E3.  Hopefully it will also include a release date.

Initial Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick