Lucien’s Review: Hitman: Season One

hitmanWhen I first heard about this game, I was annoyed.  Here we have a AAA title that is being sold in episodes.  What’s more, in order to play this game, you have to be online.  I was not going to stand for that.  I refused to participate.  Just like how I refuse to participate in releasing Final Fantasy VII remake in episodes.  However, when I decided on a whim to get the disc release of the game, and holy shit, I was impressed.  The wonders of what depression can do for a man.  Here we have one of the most fantastic stealth games ever made, with a few flaws.  All things considered, I am eager to see what comes next, even though I won’t be buying the episodes.

Have you ever wanted a game where you could actually feel like a secret agent?  If so, this is your game.  This game is at its best when you play it that way.  Agent 47 is back in action.  After the insane excess that was Hitman: Absolution, this is such a breath of fresh air.  However, much like that game, one of the biggest flaws of this one is the story.  To be honest, this game would have been so much better served if it nixed the story altogether.  Just have Agent 47 doing missions to kill people.  Play it like a Bond movie and have it be bad criminals doing bad things.  Hell, the game even frames one mission where it’s rich clients who are hiring the IDA to get justice that the legal system cannot give them.  They didn’t need another convoluted conspiracy involving some supranational entity who secretly controls the world.  This trope is so overused that I am genuinely sick of it.

The plot goes that Agent 47 is hired by the IDA as their newest operative.  They are a clandestine organization who works in assassinations.  Rich people, corporations, and even national governments hire them to do wet-work operations against very dangerous people, along with some people who slipped through the legal cracks but have some very violent retribution coming their way.  However, over time, 47 and his handler realize that they are being used by a dangerous individual to attack an organization who secretly controls the world.  To what end?  Wouldn’t you like to know?

As I said, this game is basically making you a secret agent.  Each mission has you infiltrating an open level so that you can take out a series of targets and occasionally take on an adjacent task.  The goal is to go through the level and be invisible.  The IDA values no collateral damage.  You are to be ghost, who kills with perfect silence, and never leaves a trace.  And the game gives you a plethora of ways to get the job done.  Each level has dozens of routes to get to the target.  You can take the direct approach, but shooting your way through a crowd looks bad.  The levels give you a good deal of freedom when it comes to dealing with individual targets.  Some of them have little side-missions associated with them.  Sometimes you can be a ghost and sneak around without ever having to change outfits.  There are tons of disguises and hidden goodies to help you get your mission done.  No one can say that this game is unfair.  The difficulty can be whatever you want it to be, but you are still being given as much opportunities to make the kill as you like.

The best thing I can say about this game is the levels.  Not only are the visuals fucking gorgeous, I mean holy shit, but the vast open spaces let you play around with how you want to get the mission done.  Since I love to make a kill in a way where I don’t even leave anyone aware that I was there, it feels so good when I am strolling out of a place and everyone still thinks that all is well in their world.  My personal favorite was in Morocco, where I got to walk out of the Swedish Consulate and have a massive protest outside, with me not having a care in the world.  I had just killed a guy from inside a TV booth, then dragged his body into a closet where he can rot in peace until some poor cleaning person gets to find him and the knocked-out security guard that I left him in there with.

Everything in the levels of these games plays a part.  If you get made, but are able to disappear, people will be talking about what happened.  If you kill one person in an area, other people will start to notice.  Take actions and you can see the results.  My favorite was in Paris, where I dropped a massive light display on a target and had the entire procession run screaming from the show.  That was cool.  A bit more flashy than I had intended, but sometimes flashy works.  How I dropped the guy’s lover was pretty epic.

The other flaw in this game, aside from the story, is how short it is.  With five missions and the training mission, there isn’t a lot of meat.  This is a game that is meant to be replayed.  To find all the ways that you can ice your target.  You can play each mission a dozen times and still be finding new ways to play.  Whether you go from disguise to disguise, slowly working your way to your intended target, or find a tall tower with a high-powered rifle to blow your target’s head off without anyone ever even seeing you, it cannot be said that this game doesn’t let you play your way.  Reminded me of that line in Leon The Professional, where he says that the best killer can get right up next to their target, while amateurs kill from a distance.

All in all, this was worth the wait.  It sucks that Square Enix has gone this route, but I can’t fault them for the final product.  This was one hell of a game, and I will impatiently wait to see what the next season brings us.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Kingdom Hearts II.8: The Final Chapter Prologue

Kingdom Hearts 2.8Alright, time to dole out some tough love.  Because this is a game that has some good parts, but some horrific and glaring flaws that REALLY need to be pointed out and analyzed.  It’s nice to have a final act to the plot as it’s understood now, however, the cruel truth is that for all the positive elements in this game there are some truly unpleasant realities about this three-pack that I think need to be accepted.  Let’s get down into this.

As with all the other culmination packs, this game is three games wrapped up into one.  Well, two games, really.  Actually, not even that.  One game, a piece of what should have been free demo DLC, and a long-ass cutscene.  That what it is.  Let’s break them down, one-by-one.

For anyone who says that Hideo Kojima has written some convoluted narratives, you don’t know what Kingdom Hearts’ story has become.  The first game is Dream Drop Distance.  In it, we have Sora and Riku taking a mastery exam to become true Keyblade masters.  They enter a dream world where they have to open seven keys that will unlock seven sleeping worlds.  In doing so, they will somehow prove that they are masters of the keyblade or some shit.  Yeah, the narrative is bunk.  This was a cash-grab game.  And as cash-grabs so…it’s pretty standard.

We have our two iconic characters reprising their roles.  We even have a ton of the extra case reprising their roles from the other games.  Really hoping that we get to have Axel’s iconic voice and tagline in Kingdom Hearts III.  Got it memorized?  Though, it seems that Hayden Penettiere didn’t want to reprise her role as Kairi.  Bummer.  I was really hoping that would work out.  Jesse Carter comes back as Roxas, which I love.  Dying to see him come back as Ventus in the last game.

Which brings us to the gameplay.  Anyone who has played Birth By Sleep will get this combat sequence pretty quick.  It’s not hard to follow.  We get these little spirit creatures that you can create who mix things up, but it really isn’t any different from Birth By Sleep.  Add to that more worlds that are so damn empty.  Why are all the worlds in these games devoid of npcs?  It’s so weird to me that in 2017, with limited level space, we have so little happening.  If that’s the case in the third game, I’m strangling a bitch.  This game widened out the areas a lot more, which just made it that much more noticeable how there is no one in these places but the main characters and villains.  Weird to watch Quasimodo at the center of the Festival of Fools and have it be nothing but empty space.

However, when the plot of this game rears its ugly head, it drags its ass so hard.  Granted, I am happy to see old chums from previous games coming together to kick ass.  Seeing Axel fighting against his old comrades is pretty sweet.  However, it’s not worth the painful exposition-dumping that this game has all over itself.  But the worst offense – the parts that shine of brilliance and go nowhere.

For example – anyone remember what I said would make for an awesome Kingdom Hearts III?  I said that there should be a world like Fantasia, where it’s nothing but music, without dialogue, and you get to just take in the visuals and gameplay with it.  They did it!  They fucking did it!  And I was in love!  Each of the areas themed after the areas in Fantasia were awesome!  For those scenes, I was enraptured.  But it’s so short!  Give me some Rite of Spring!  Give me some stuff from Fantasia 2000!  Go nuts!  Or even worse, you go to the world of Tron Legacy.  And they have one of the most fun segments in any of these games – light-cycle fights!  You alternate from the awesome energy ribbons to laser guns.  That was amazing!  More of that!  But then it’s done, and you can’t even play it like a racing game later!  What the hell?!

This game had a ton of potential, and there are a few moments that truly do realize it.  Then others that go fucking nowhere.  It’s such a shame.

Speaking of, let’s talk about Birth By Sleep 0.2, the second “game” in this collection.  Although, I am going to come right out with it – this isn’t a game.  It’s just not.  It’s a tech demo for how the third game will play.  And just on those merits, it is actually a lot of fun.  No joke, I had a hell of a time just going around and getting a wow out of the crazy awesome visuals in the game.

The plot goes that Aqua has been wandering the Realm of Darkness ever since Terra was taken over and Ventus’ heart was lost to the darkness.  Now she is trying to find her way to her friends, but time has no meaning in this place.  She’s been wandering for almost ten years, and it’s worn her down.  You can clearly see that she is tired of this endless drifting through shadow, and wants to go back home with her friends.  However, when the darkness beckons, and destiny comes into play, we get to see Aqua do random shit that goes nowhere.

As I said, it’s a tech demo.  A very pretty tech demo.  On visual and gameplay merits, it actually is a lot of fun.  If this is what to expect in the third game, then color me impressed.  However, the cruel reality is that this game clocks in at under 3 hours long, and the plot is weak as fuck.  This game should have been DLC for $5, or a free demo for the third game.

Which brings us to the final part of this game – Back Cover.  A cutscene that decides to fill us in on the events which led up to the original destruction of the world and the Keyblade War.  As well-voiced and beautiful as this digital film is, the cruel and honest truth is that it isn’t a game, and I could have watched this shit on YouTube.  Hell, most people will do that.

I am trying to be nice here.  I really wanted to like this.  However, the unfortunate truth is that this collection was INSANELY over-priced and not even remotely worth what they are asking for.  If you want, wait for the price to go down if you are truly a die-hard Kingdom Hearts fan.  For the rest of you, just skip it.  A YouTube synopsis will get you caught up the rest of the way if you have gotten this far.

Final Verdict
5 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

#GamerGate Blamed for Trump’s Election (A response to L.A. Times)

Man, here’s something I never thought I would be talking about again.  It’s been YEARS since GamerGate was a thing.  During the heyday battles, it was a conflict that ran the gamut of ideological participants.  It brought groups who absolutely despise one-another together for the common goal of striking back against the games media and how corrupt it had become.  How it was pretty blatantly shilling a progressive message and leaving any form of objectivity at the door.  A fact that was apparently championed by “consumer advocate” landwhales like Jim Sterling, who listened to a game dev talk about doxing people and nodded while saying “absolutely.”  Given his stances on Quiet and sexy women in games, that should surprise no one.

I’ve heard every group imaginable be blamed for Donald Trump getting elected.  Russia is the biggest one, for their alleged leaks of documents that not one person has been able to prove are untrue.  Assuming it is true, I say that we should be thanking them.  Russia didn’t leak some lie to the American people.  It was the truth.  The truth about Hillary Clinton having her entire party behind her and manipulating the electoral process as much as possible to destroy Bernie Sanders.  Huh, makes you wonder if the reason that people didn’t like her is because she is a vindictive bitch.  That’s not to say that I like Trump.  Although, when you think about the alternatives, he really is the best option.  Hillary was doomed, regardless.  Had it been Ted Cruz who won the primary, he would have taken the WikiLeaks documents and beaten her to death with them.

However, in addition to blaming Russia, Millennials, Bernie Sanders, and neo-nazis for Trump winning, now the L.A. Times wants to add GamerGate to the pile.  Oh boy, this should be fun.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

SEE IF THIS CAMPAIGN TACTIC sounds familiar: Rally white men who feel the world is changing too fast, leverage racial bias for the cause, and demean women along the way.

The strategy belonged to a radical corner of the gaming world that may have provided the winning playbook for the campaign that won the presidential election.

I’m gonna destroy the white men argument right out of the gate so I don’t have to bring that up again when destroying the rest of this bullshit argument.  Because this author clearly gets his news from BuzzFeed, I guess he didn’t know about the tag that came with GamerGate – #NotYourShield.  Here’s a video that may put it into perspective.  Alright, moving on.  I can already see the insane strawman corollary that is being drawn here, but let’s let him get into it a bit more.

“Gamergate” is the term now used to describe the movement in which Internet trolls attacked high-profile people in the game industry if they attempted to change — or even speak out about — the misogynistic themes of video games. They are the gaming world’s radical right, and they’re fighting back against what they see as the onslaught of politically correct culture.

Actually, numb-nuts, GamerGate supporters ran the spectrum of political ideologies.  There are left-leaning social libertarians like me.  You had classical liberals like Sargon of Akkad.  You had conservatives who tried to avoid the politics of it all like Internet Aristocrat.  You had left-leaning gaming commentators like Mundane Matt.  There were all kinds in this movement.  If anything, it was impressive in how it brought together not just people of different ideologies, but people from various gaming spheres.  GameFAQs and Reddit forums came together in a show of solidarity never seen before.  Boards that hated each other like it was no one’s business on 4chan came together.  And all of it was sparked off when Eron Gjoni wrote his post, which Mundane Matt covered in a video that got a DMCA flag, which caught Internet Aristocrat’s attention.  You can’t even make your caricature of GamerGate right.  But again, he probably got all of his news from BuzzFeed and the rest of the left-leaning media.  It didn’t matter how many people debunked what they were saying, the narrative stuck.

The trajectories of Trump and Gamergate could be practically charted by the same graph — guys (for the most part) that a significant portion of the country didn’t take  seriously pandered to humanity’s most base instincts and won.

Actually, they are very far apart.  GamerGate was tired of the social justice culture injecting itself into video games.  You say that we rebelled against news outlets talking about “misogynistic themes in video games” (citation, please), but that’s not true.  What we rebelled against was the injection of social justice where it clearly wasn’t wanted or needed.  I’m sure you will come on and say, “It was needed!  Gaming is misogyny!  Just look at how sexy that woman is!  That’s demeaning to all women!”  However, there were a TON of very well-educated voices who spoke out against this attitude.  Like this video by Christina Hoff Summers.

Donald Trump won the election because he convinced people that he was some big outsider who was going to fight against the corporate government establishment that people were so tired of.  He capitalized on the same energy the Bernie Sanders had.  I knew that Trump wasn’t some big outsider, because I actually pay attention to history.  He’s center-right, much like Hillary Clinton.  There really isn’t that much difference between them.  GamerGate started as a consumer revolt.  Donald Trump started as a con artist capitalizing on energy that a genuine believer already had stirred up.  The truth is that these two movements have almost nothing in common, outside of people being tired of the status quo, and fighting against it.

The term “Gamergate” emerged as a hashtag in mid-August 2014. It described the attacks, particularly on women in the gaming world, by trolls and eventually their de-facto leader Milo Yiannopoulos, who became Gamergate’s Breitbart champion.

There were no leaders in this movement, dude.  None.  That was part of the problem.  The movement had no unifying message.  Some of its proponents took actions, and some didn’t.  Some chose to do this thing or that thing, but the truth is that all we had in common was a shared dislike of politics in video games journalism.  We just wanted to get straight news, and not have to hear about how Gone Home is the greatest game ever, just because it involves a gay chick.  Whoopty-fucking-doo.  Milo was definitely an ally of the movement, but he was not a leader.  I am really wondering where this guy got his news.

He goes on to make Milo out to be just like Trump.  This dude will take whatever he can to try and make these two things seem connected.  It’s kind of sad, if we’re being honest here.

Female game designers and journalists who spoke out about a more inclusive future for the medium were harassed on social media with threats of physical attacks, rape and death. Their emails were leaked (sound familiar?), and some saw details about their personal lives published online.

Let’s break this down, piece by piece.  I know what “game developers” he’s talking about – Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu.  Zoe Quinn was nothing to the movement but a launching point.  To be honest, we cared more about Nathan Grayson than we did about her.  After all, it was him that she was sleeping with, and him who had given her positive coverage (not a review.  People had said he reviewed her game, and that wasn’t true.  But he had written positive articles about her.  He is also crediting in Quinn’s “game” Depression Quest), which basically broke every rule about conflict of interest.  After she faded from the spotlight, she did everything she possibly could to pretend that the movement still cared about her.  Neat thing – Quinn was actually busted propagating a harassment campaign against a developer of an app.  Dead to rights, she was busted exploited personal information the app developer gave her to orchestrate a harassment campaign, and only stopped when the person threatened to go public about it.  Which they did anyway.  Well-played.

Next up we have Brianna Wu.  A woman whose 15 minutes of fame went on FAR too long.  She was one of the many people who came out and attempted to make the story about her.  Every time she could possibly find a way to make herself out to be the victim, she did.  Like when she exploited the death of a woman who wasn’t even remotely connected to GamerGate to sell her own victimhood.  An act so repulsive that I was openly venomous with her.  Using the horrific death of a woman to sell the fact that she is “in danger” was just sick.  Then, Wu was busted trolling herself on Steam to try and rack up victimhood points.  Guess she didn’t get the memo to make sure to switch to an appropriately-misogynistic sock-puppet account first.  Idiot.

As for the leaked emails, I’m assuming he’s talking about the GameJournoPros list that got leaked.  Neat fact about that – most of the emails and senders whose names got leaked in that were men.  This Todd really must get his news from a fantastic source.

“Lock her up,” Trump supporters shouted about Hillary Clinton.

“I hope you die,” Gamergate champions tweeted at Anita Sarkeesian, a prominent cultural critic who critiques games from a feminist perspective.

Yes, let’s equate what people said at a political rally to what trolls said to a con artist who used them to get victim points.  Sure, that sounds equivalent.

Gamergate advocates argued that gaming journalists were corrupt and were colluding to bring a politically correct makeover to the medium (read: take away our digital guns, treat women as something more than sex objects and cast someone — anyone — other than a white male as the lead protagonist).

Wow.  What gross hyperbole.  Care to back that up with a citation?  Because, from where I’m sitting, Internet Aristocrat made a truly fantastic series of videos detailing how the story played out (linked here).  I suggest you take a look at that before saying that we were all just losing our shit over nothing, which I take it is what you meant with this comparison.

Also, treat women as something other than sex objects?  Considering how many women were involved in GamerGate, that’s fucking sexist, dude.  That’s basically denying the women involved and their opinions on the subject.  Fuck you.

Those who bought into his words targeted their ire at female critics who sought to intellectualize the medium. Ultimately, they were only bringing to light gaming’s more regrettable traits: that it has long pandered to a male-focused, gun-obsessed community where women were damsels more often than heroes.

To intellectualize the medium?  Oh really? By disabling comments and not once responding to critics, many of whom were level-headed and who wanted honest debate with the likes of Anita Sarkeesian?  Gee, funny how that works.  Seems that revisionist history is alive and well.  But you are making comparisons to GamerGate and Donald Trump.  I’m not surprised.

As for the “regrettable traits,” there have been a TON of fantastic, well-researched, well-made videos that have shown the points that the likes of Anita Sarkeesian has made to be ridiculous.  Here’s one by Mr Repzion.  Here’s one by Triox.  These videos that Anita has done about the “regrettable traits” blatantly ignore context and use bad examples.  But since research clearly isn’t your strong suit, I guess you don’t really care.  Oh well.

The biggest, most visible games are still largely created by men for boys. Gamergate ultimately was driven by nostalgia and fear of change.

“Keep politics out of games,” was Gamergate proponents’ rallying cry, but they may as well have been saying, “Make games great again.”

Bullshit.  GamerGate was driven by the disgust we had at a blatantly-corrupt gaming journalism scene, along with the white knights who defended it.  This idea that we were just like people at a rally is stupid.  Not to mention – games are already great.  They were great before the SJWs decided to inject their bullshit narrative into gaming.  And since games have continued on the straight and narrow and are a billion-dollar industry, it seems they will keep being great.  Works for me.

There’s evidence that major developers are listening to their broader audience rather than being bullied by Gamergate, as recent titles such as “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” “Watch Dogs 2” and “Dishonored 2” have touched on mature themes with a wide variety of characters.

Another one of these hipster gamers who doesn’t have ANY perspective on gaming to realize that touching on “mature themes” goes back a long way.  Like how the character of Billy in Xenogears was a child prostitute to help feed his family.  Or how one of the biggest themes in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the tragedy of getting old and the inevitability of aging.  Not to mention the truly dark and dismal themes in the follow-up game Majora’s Mask that touched on why being an adult sucks, that time and death is inevitable, and that life goes on in even the worst of circumstances.  Then there is Final Fantasy X, which looked at the corruption of religion, atheism, and how faith can be used to control a population.  But please, tell me more about how gaming is just now getting “mature themes.”  What a brilliant researcher.  This guy must be making the big bucks at the L.A. Times.

For much of the last decade, the biggest game franchises — “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto” among them — were driven by guns and disparaging views of women and minorities. And unlike the Republican Party, the game industry has done this without lobbying money.

Man, how bad are you at research?  The most recent GTA had one of the protagonists as a black man.  I am sure you will say the disparaging thing toward women was the whole “have sex with a prostitute and then run them over with your car.”  That’s only disparaging if you think that 1. Having sex with a prostitute demeans women (if you do think that, you are sexist as fuck.  It’s a profession that plenty of women choose to do.  Some are forced into it, but some women do it out of financial desperation.  Are you saying those women are lesser for making that choice?  That’s sexist as fuck), and 2. you ignore the fact that you can run over every single character in the game with your car, if you want.

As for CoD, those games run the gamut in terms of ethnicities of the protagonists and antagonists.  And there are lots of chicks in the games too.  Where’s the sexist part there?  Still showing off those stellar research skills, Todd.

It may as well have been content unwittingly aimed directly at the so-called alt-right community, the loosely defined movement made up of social media-savvy white nationalists that has also attracted neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and misogynists.

Find me some evidence, ANY evidence, that this insane bit of hyperbole is even remotely true?  There isn’t any.  None.  You are so full of shit.

“The people who promoted Gamergate said they were concerned about journalism ethics,” read a post on PressThink, a site maintained by New York University professor Jay Rosen. “As a professor of journalism with a social media bent, I felt obligated to examine their claims. When I did I discovered nasty troll behavior with a hard edge of misogyny.”

Wow, a quote that has NO additional context.  I’d love to hear their evidence.  Maybe a link to the article, so we can review it ourselves?  What’s that?  Nothing?  Gee, it makes me think that you were just quote-mining for people who agreed with you that you could use to help make what you say sound good.  In fact, a single link at all in this article would have been nice.  You know, help the credibility thing along.

So Hollywood isn’t out of touch with the real — make that conservative — America, after all. The entertainment powerhouses behind the world’s biggest games have directly targeted it. And now the rest of the country  — the majority of voters behind the popular vote, if you will — can’t press the jump button to avoid it.

This article was as lacking in evidence was it was in ANY substantive connections between GamerGate and Trump.  I’m not at all surprised that the connection was made, but I was at least hoping that destroying it would be harder than this.  And I’m sure that Todd will say that researching all of this is difficult.  Well, I think I’ll let Milo destroy that argument to close this out.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’ve been doing it for a year.  It’s not that hard, you just gotta do the work.” – Milo Yiannopoulos

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONU: Native Advertising in Video Games

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a LONG time.  Things are pretty quiet right now, so I haven’t had much to write about.  However, as I have been trying to get a total completion in Final Fantasy XV, I am sitting with an amused look on my face thinking about one of the missions.  After Gladiolus leaves your party, he comes back with a new perspective, on a very specific thing – Cup ‘O Noodles.  That’s right, Cup ‘O Noodles is in this game.  And one of the main characters gives them the ultimate dick-sucking treatment in a cringe-worthy piece of dialogue that made me laugh so hard the first time I heard it.

And they aren’t the only brand getting recognition in this game.  Did you notice the Coleman brand on all the camping gear that they use?  That is their brand logo.  So, I guess they also wanted to get some representation.  In Angry Joe’s review of Quantum Break, he noted how Nissan is very represented throughout the game.  I’m unsure how to feel about this.  On the one hand, it seems only natural.  I’m genuinely surprised that this hasn’t happened sooner.  Given how big a market gaming is, and how massive the production values they have these days, you would think companies would be all over having their brands represented in gaming.

Granted, it isn’t like this is totally a new thing.  Racing games have pretty much been car company ads since I was a kid.  Madden, FIFA, and MLB games are the same deal.  But this is the first time that I’ve seen native advertising in a fantasy game.  That was strange and awesome at the same time.  I get the feeling that this game was a field test of the concept.  None of the reviews I saw for Final Fantasy XV made a big deal about it.  There is an entire sub-plot of the game that is about getting ingredients for Cup ‘O Noodles.  The game doesn’t even try and hide the intent.  Which leads me to wonder if this just the beginning.  Like, am I going to see McDonald’s represented in a video game?  Uncharted 4 was basically open about pimping Sony’s products.  Everyone had a Sony phone.  Nobody  cared.

Which leads me to another thought – why is it that native advertising is hardly noticed in video games when news that does it is dragged through the mud?  I have a theory – it’s because gaming is such a different medium.  Seeing a product in something doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to get it.  Since gaming is a medium about gameplay and player involvement, something like native advertising just doesn’t have the same effect.  Granted, it can go too far – the Cup ‘O Noodles mission.  Listening to Gladiolus describe that stuff was amazing.  Made me think of the advertising in The Truman Show.  Hopefully I’m not too old for that reference to make no sense to people.

As gaming becomes more and more corporatized, should it surprise anyone that we are seeing game companies reaching out for sponsorships?  If anything, this whole deal has me thinking that it is on the verge of becoming a lot more common.  So long as I don’t have to listen to a character make a speech about the nature of a cup of soup, I can live with that.  It’s the future of gaming, people.  What about you?  What do you think?  Sorry if this post is a little short, I just wanted to get something out there for you all.  It’s a slow time of year, but will be picking up.  Two of the games on my Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2017 (linked here) are coming out soon.  I cannot wait!  I’ll try and get reviews out in a timely way, but at least one of them will have hours upon hours of gameplay put into it before I can give a good review.  So stoked.

Until next time, a quote,

“What the hell are you talking about?  Who are you talking to?!” – Truman Burbank, The Truman Show

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Worst Game of 2016

As I said in a previous post, it has been a slow year for gaming.  This means that there have been some mediocre games that have come out.  And while some of those mediocre games bug me, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, it isn’t nearly bad enough to make this list.  I had been going to do a review of this game, but I never did.  I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.  It was so annoying.  I wasted my money on it.  I want a fucking refund.  But nope!  Because PSN doesn’t do refunds, because Sony are a bunch of greedy mizers.  This game was bad, in every way that a game can be, aside from being visually interesting.  I’ve waited to talk about it long enough.  Let’s get down into my worst game of this year…

Bound

When I think of all the complaints that people have about Gone Home, the one that always sticks out to me the most is when people call it “pretentious.”  The reason is that I don’t think that it is.  Is it the amazing game that everyone believes it to be?  Absolutely not.  It’s a misleading game about a girl being home alone, with all the marketing making the game out to have some kind of nefarious edge.  Instead, it was just a game packed full of 90’s cheese about a lesbian dodging her duties as a soldier to be with her girlfriend.  Yeah, that’s it.  There’s really nothing more to it.

Speaking of, here we have a game that is about a pregnant woman on a beach, ripping pages out of her notebook while going into a fantasy world as a ballerina character to act out metaphors for her broken life.  That’s it.  There genuinely is nothing more to it than that.  You get to go through some admittedly-cool landscapes to solve a narrative that is WAY too far up its own ass.  Plus, the gameplay is boring, repetitive, and after a while you start to realize that all the worlds look alike.  At least with Alice: Madness Returns, while the gameplay got repetitive, you had these unique environments to explore.  That made it all worth it.  Every level in this game looks exactly the same.  It got to the point that I couldn’t tell if I was moving forward or backwards in places.

Oh, and then there is the repetitive control scheme for the repetitive hazards that you come across.  I felt like my time was being wasted so many times in that fucking game.  But, you know, I could actually have dealt with that if it weren’t for the fact that the narrative is such pretentious bullshit.  It’s trying to be all vague and metaphorical, but it doesn’t read that way.  It reads as that episode of Nostalgia Critic examining “The Cell,” where he has the director dancing in the background shouting “ask me what it means!  Ask me what it means!”  Groj, I hate this fucking game.  Wasted $20 on that.  No joke, for a game that is 3 hours long, they charged $20.  Unbelievable.

And then, the game just ends.  No build-up.  No final boss.  Hell, no fucking pay-off!  Like, it gives you some bullshit choice, that I guess you are supposed to leave open to interpretation, but it doesn’t read like, that.  Again, “ask me what it means!  Ask me what it means!”  This game is every pretentious SJW circlejerk where they get to go on and on about how deep and poetic a game is.  And this is coming from someone who LIKES art games.  My second-favorite game of this year is ABZU, a game which is literally a giant underwater level with VERY smooth controls.  I am going to eventually be doing a huge Critical Examination post about that game, because there is a very interesting lore there.  But this is just artistic bullshit.  It’s some poncy art student wanting to pretend to be all deep, while in reality just making crap that looks nice, for a bit.

Fuck this game.  Fuck this game so hard.  Since I didn’t do a review of it, I’m going to give it a Final Verdict to close us out.

Final Verdict
2 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Non-Gamer Says Gamers are Ruining Video Games (A response to Cracked)

You know what I hate – how Cracked went from a pretty funny website with funny articles and funny videos to being SJW shit.  That’s what it is – SJW shit.  I didn’t want that to happen, but it did.  Same thing that happened to College Humor and pretty much every other “comedy” site on the Internet.  After all, what comedy is better than PC comedy, am I right?  In a recent video, Cracked decided to have a non-gamer come out and say that us gamers are ruining games.  He claims that he is a gamer, but the reality is that he isn’t.  He’s a poser, pretending that he has all the street cred in the world.  What’s his street cred?  He played Baldur’s Gate.  Well, that sure does sell me.  It would be funny if he didn’t contradict that statement in the video.  I’ll share the video with you all, so you can’t say I’m taking things out of context.  Let’s get to it.

Alright, buddy, you go right out of the gate saying something stupid.  You say that video games are failing.  By what metric?  Financially?  Fuck no.  You say that they were supposed to surpass movies as the new art form.  I would argue that they have.  Hollywood films are churning out sequels, remakes, and reboots so fast that the moment something original comes out, I am stunned.  Meanwhile, while this medium does have a lot of sequel, remake, and reboot bloat as well, at least it has engaging stories that I can get invested in and art design that makes these stories come to life in unique ways.  What about video games is failing?  He gets to his first assertion

Too much violence

That’s why games are failing?  Is violence a little much in games, sometimes.  For example, I love the game LA Noire, but even I admit that there was a ton of violence for no reason.  It was like there were two games in there.  The first one had me solving crimes by getting clues and interrogating witnesses.  That part of the game was fucking awesome!  Then there was a part of the game where I was chasing people, shooting people, and going through insane action set-pieces.  That part of the game got a little repetitive.  However, is the argument that violence is ruining gaming?  If so, then that’s stupid.

He even shows a Tweet by Johnny McIntosh!  Are you fucking kidding me?!  This man’s credibility to know what the fuck he’s talking about is dying by the second.  But I guess the argument is that too much video games are about violence.  If all you see in games is the violence, that’s on you.  As for me, while there are plenty of violent games that I love, the reason that I love them is because they tell unique stories.  It is the story, the character development, and the narrative growth between the violence that gets my attention.  But Hipster McGee’s brother in this video is defending Johnny McIntosh.  Unreal.  I want to punch this hipster faggot.

The anger about people’s reaction to Johnny McIntosh is bad and says bad things about gamers

For the days when Cracked was funny and poked fun at social justice.  I remember those days.  Granted, they were short-lived, but they happened.  Hipster McGee’s brother is one of these people who says that he doesn’t like to call himself a gamer.  Why?  Because gamers are all dicks on the Internet.  His words, not mine.  No, dumb-dumb, it’s people who play video games as a hobby.  You are the stupidest person I have ever seen.  I hate how this guy is so thinly veiling his social justice bullshit behind a wall of trying to say something important about us gamers failing the industry.  Still haven’t heard a single argument about something us gamers are concretely doing, aside from buying video games that are violent.  And I have debunked that garbage.

He says that GamerGate was an “Internet harassment group with ties to white supremacy.”  And his proof is…what, exactly?  Oh, right, none!  He just moves on from there without a single shred of evidence.  Gee, that’s convenient.  Oh, right, he’s an SJW.  The day that they have anything approaching a nuanced argument is the day that my cat sprouts wings and flies.  And, of course, GamerGate says lots of bad things about us gamers too.  We are a terrible bunch of people, if you listen to this hipster and his ilk.  He then makes this wonderfully stupid connection that games about killing people ties in to his assertion that us gamers are angry assholes.  There are not enough faces or enough arms to facepalm how stupid that is.  Yes, because all of us gamers are angry man-children who go into GameStop and tear things apart because of a bad game, right?  What’s that?  We don’t?  And this guy is using the comments on ANYTHING as indicative of something other than the comments section of stuff being cancer?  Right.

We don’t actually care about story

Fuck you!  This is where the hipster faggot’s argument and his credibility just dies.  He says that he grew up with Baldur’s Gate, yet us gamers don’t care about the story.  Really?  A game that is almost-entirely driven by story, and you are saying that us gamers don’t care about story?  That’s neat.  But this idea that us gamers don’t want a good story is insulting.  It’s insulting to the people who have told some truly amazing narratives with this medium, and to people like me who have enjoyed them.

As an example – The Last of Us.  The gameplay in that game wasn’t especially deep or complicated.  It was a pretty simple game, but what made it truly fantastic was the story.  The story of Joel and Ellie.  A narrative with character depth that has made for some truly fantastic arguments about it on various message boards.  It’s the reason that the sequel is going to be on a list of mine, in the not-too-distant future.  I cannot believe that this little hipster worm is going to make such a huge assertion about gamers not caring about story, when the only reason I buy a game is if the story looks good.

The hipster worm actually claims that the stories have never, will never matter to “us.”  Don’t lump yourself in with me, you scrawny piece of shit.  I do care about the story.  It’s all I care about.  Sure, if the gameplay sucks, I won’t be able to get into a game, but the story is the first thing in my mind.  It’s the reason why I think that Final Fantasy XV is a good game, but not a great game.  It has a fun open world to explore, but it does this at the cost of the story, which is boring as fuck.  My biggest gripe with the game is that the story basically gets thrown in the face of the people who play it because it just dies after a while.  Like all the creative energy behind the game crashed and burned.  Part of me wonders what it would have looked like to see Tetsuya Nomura’s original vision.  The hipster worm is actually claiming to speak for me when he says that us gamers don’t like the story.  Fuck this guy.

He goes on to argue that The Last of Us is bad because the story is at the mercy of the game’s controls.  He argues that Ellie is supposed to be seen as vulnerable (which is NOT how I see her), and that’s why Joel saves her at the end.  This guy is so stupid.  The reason that Joel sells humanity up the river at the end of the game is that she is his only connection to the human condition, and he is willing to sell out humanity’s future in order to not lose that.  And Ellie sells out her desire to save the human race to be with this man who is a father to her.  She knows that he’s lying to her, but chooses to stay with him anyway.  I fucking hate this hipster faggot who is making these arguments and claiming to speak for me and all the gamers out there who love this game’s story.

We don’t care if games are art or not

Oh, fuck off!  Let me guess, he brings up Gone Home next.  Ugh!  You know what my argument is – games already are art.  Look at games like Shadow of the Colossus.  An incredible vision design, fun gameplay, and a very gripping narrative.  But maybe that game is too mainstream for you.  I don’t deny, there are plenty of games that I love that are viewed as “art games.”  Most recently, ABZU.  A game that is entirely a water level, which you would think would make it terrible, but it has smooth controls and a gorgeous visual and sound design that makes my eyes well up at the end for the dramatic conclusion.  Then there’s Journey, the most visually-arresting game I have played, with a tragic narrative about a tragic character and the dead world he lives in.  Or games like Flower, where you play as the wind, with the entire game’s experience being a metaphor for a person moving in to a new city and making a life for himself or herself.  But those things are niche.  However, for those who desire them, they have their niche.  Why must all games conform to this?  What are these “art” games that you think are being so ignored?

Once-again, the hipster worm claims to speak for me saying that I don’t care if a game is “art.”  First, what do you define as art?  Second, how do you know what I think?  Third, how on Earth do you have the balls to compare my views on the artistic merits of gaming as comparable to a teenager’s views on booze?  I fucking hate this guy so much.

He then makes the argument that if we “really cared about art,” we wouldn’t have hated the ending to Mass Effect 3 the way we did.  No, dumb-dumb!  That isn’t a problem about caring about art.  The problem with that ending was that it throws out the game’s ENTIRE logic in the trash.  It spits in the face of every logical part of the game by giving you three stupid endings that make no sense and fly in the face of all the logic that the game had so fastidiously built for us with the Codex.  There have been a TON of truly fantastic videos about why the ending doesn’t work.  We don’t care about the artistic merits of the God Kid and the bullshit that comes from his holographic mouth.  What we care about is narrative and universe rules consistency.  The ending flies in the face of all of that.  This guy is so stupid.  I want to beat him over the head with a water bottle until knowledge comes into his head.

Video games are not relaxing

This man has never played ABZU, Flower, Journey, flOw, or Never Alone, just to name a few, and I’m done with this hipster worm.

I hate when people who aren’t actually gamers have to try and convince us that they are in order to sell their bullshit narrative.  And I especially hate when some hipster who clearly grovels at the feet and spent the first two parts of this video white knighting for an SJW claims to speak for me.  I will never wish violence on anyone, but if this guy should just so happen to fall down a flight of stairs into a buck of pork chops and then find the honey badgers, I won’t feel bad.

Until next time, a quote,

“Why can’t people think?” – Cabbie, Sherlock

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Final Fantasy Summons

Having just gotten done with Final Fantasy XV, I am thinking about the summons in that game.  A pity that I can’t summon them on command, but they are cool all the same.  It got me to thinking about the whole concept of summons in this series.  It has been known for having some cool-as-fuck ones, some weird ones, and a fat Chocobo.  No joke, that is a real summon.  It falls from the sky and lands on the enemy.  That’s just weird.  Let’s get down to it.

titan10. Titan
I hadn’t played a game with this guy in it until XV, but man did he make an impression.  In every game that he has been in, Titan is a gigantic monstrosity that rips the land apart in order to do massive damage to his enemies.  While not the most flashy summon, it is pretty cool.  The fight against him in XV was fucking awesome.  I wish that I had a more interesting reason as to why he gets on the list, but a giant who can rip the land to pieces is all he needs to be.

knights-of-the-round9. Knights of the Round
The most difficult summon to get in VII, instead of getting to have one ally come into battle with you, you get 13.  After winning all the chocobo races and breeding a complete rainbow of chocobos, It is the ultimate weapon, able to defeat almost any enemy.  Each of them are knights who serve under King Arthur, who is the last to strike with the blade Excalibur.  XIV brought them back, only as enemies this time at the end of the Heavensward expansion.  I am hoping that they will be able to be used as an ally again in future games.  Assuming there are any.

alexander8. Alexander
Probably the most unique of the summons, Alexander is a giant fortress.  That’s right, you get the beat the shit out of your enemy with a living, mobile weapon.  In VIII, it encloses the enemy and them blows them to bits.  In XIII, the fortress first sends down a giant walking golem, but you can call down the rest of it, a series of interlocking walls that use lasers to carve up all enemies.  Such a pity that such a cool summon was in such a mediocre entry into the franchise.  I think my favorite version is in XIV, where it is everything the giant mechanized fortress is supposed to be.

ramuh7. Ramuh
The god of thunder, I hadn’t gotten much experience with this old man until XV.  In every game he has been in, his look hasn’t really changed.  Taking on the appearance of a bearded old man, he brings down the wrath of thunder.  Was hoping to see him in X, but he was replaced by Ixion, who is cool in his own right.  In XV, you have to activate all of his stones.  Once you do, he can only be used once, but that one time is epic as fuck.  When assaulting an imperial base, you call down his Judgment Bolt to destroy the magitech generator.  Watching that happen is just fantastic.  Worth every second.  Sucks that that is the only time you can use him.  Would have given anything to have more time with the guy.

leviathan6. Leviathan
My first run-in with this summon was in IV, when you have to fight the guy.  A being who controls the sea, he wasn’t a summon you could use for the first few games.  Then I got to have control of him in VII, where you can call down the ocean to drown your enemies.  But, of course, the most fantastic version of the character is in XV.  Lunafreya wants to make a deal with it to give its blessing to Noctis.  The ancient beast does NOT like this arrangement, and instead attacks Noctis and the Imperial fleet who comes in to kill it.  The battle that follows pretty much levels the city, but it is spectacular.  Leviathan controls the water to make dragons that lash out at you.  A fantastic battle, in the lesser half of the game.

shiva5. Shiva
Don’t let the delicate femininity of this summon fool you, Shiva is no slouch.  The absolute power of winter, she uses it to freeze and obliterate her enemies.  My favorite version of the character is in X, where you get her at a very pivotal part of the story.  It’s right after you get to the temple in Lake Macalania, and you find out the truth about Seymour being a monster.  He calls forth a monster who we’ll get to talk about pretty soon here, and you now have Shiva to call to your aid.  In XIII, she is in the form of twin sisters, who can combine their bodies to form a motorcycle.  A pity that the game she is in there is so mediocre.  That concept has a ton of potential.  In XV, you see her as Lady Lunafreya’s attendant, secretly hiding who she really is.  But just when everything is at its worst, she reveals who she is, and comes to join Noctis in battle.  As sexy as she is deadly, her Diamond Dust will freeze your bones and rip you up.

ifrit4. Ifrit
Probably the most well-known of the summons in this franchise, the beast of fire is modeled after a fire spirit called Djinn.  It has demonic horns in every iteration, and the chief attack it uses is Hellfire.  My favorite iteration of the character is also in X.  He is the second summon you get.  Yuna calls him forth, being launched up in the air and landing on his waiting shoulder.  In XV, he is the only cool part of the shitty-ass climax to the game.  It seems that he isn’t keen on keeping humanity alive, so he makes a deal with the villain to kill everyone.  In this game, he is much more of a man, using a flaming sword and his flaming powers to destroy Noctis and his allies.  Whatever form he is in, fire is your friend.

anima3. Anima
Exclusive to X, this summon is both badass and scary as fuck, when you think about it.  For starters, her back-story is depressing as fuck.  Originally Seymour’s mother, she wanted to give her son a way to fight Sin, so she turned herself into a fayth in order to stay with him.  But it clearly had some horrific side-effects.  You have to collect all of the hidden treasures in each temple.  Then you unlock her.  When you summon her into battle, a giant chain comes from the sky, reaching into the ground,  You are literally dragging her out of Hell to fight for you.  Her main attack is called Pain.  She charges energy into her eye, blasting it out at enemies, causing either massive damage or instant death.  It is aptly named, since it makes her eye bleed in pain.  But that is nothing.  Her overdrive sucks the enemy into Hell, where her true form pummels the shit out of them, causing massive damage.  A depressing and nightmarish summon, and probably the most powerful in the game.

yojimbo2. Yojimbo
Another summon unique to X, he is also the most unique of the game because of what is required to get him to fight.  You find him in the hidden temple in the Calm Lands.  He is the summon that killed the first summoner that Lulu was with.  Getting this summon lays some of her problems to rest.  A very subdued swordsman, in order to make him fight, he must be paid.  And how much you give him will affect what kind of attack he does.  Give him a couple hundred gil and he will either have his dog assist him, or he will throw knives at the enemies.  A few thousand gil and he will use his blade to attack either one or all of the enemies, virtually guaranteeing instant death.  However, if you pay him over 10,000 gil, when his overdrive gauge is full, and he will call forth the Zanmato blade from the dark abyss that Anima lives in.  This blade is so powerful that it will cause instant and immediate death to whatever enemy he attacks with it.  You actually see lesser enemies get cut in half, with blood spurting out.  This is one samurai that you do NOT want to fuck with.

Some of you may see the #1 pick coming from a mile away.

bahamut1. Bahamut
This summon is not only very powerful, but it is arguably the most iconic if the franchise.  A Final Fantasy game isn’t complete unless we get to see this dragon.  My favorite iteration of the summon is, as you may have guessed, in X.  It’s my favorite Final Fantasy game, so sue me.  But that doesn’t mean he isn’t badass in the others.  In some iterations, he is a being with two wings, four wings, or six.  Then there was the retardedness in XII where he is a giant airship.  Yeah, that was dumb.  The iteration of the character in XIII was kind of dumb too, but that’s par for the course with that game.  As I said, my favorite version is in X.  He is one of two summons with Break Damage Limit as part of his repertoire.  Because of this, his regular attacks are deadly all by themselves.  However, when he charges up the Mega Flare, it is understood that anything he is shooting at won’t be alive.  I will say that I don’t hate the version in XV.  He is a giant humanoid in dragon armor, who can call a massive storm of swords from the heavens.  Only available at the fight with Ifrit, he does make an impression.  The greatest dragon in the entire franchise, he is my favorite summon.

So, what are your favorite summons?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Will you fight with us?” – Yuna, Final Fantasy X

Peace out,

Maverick