Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Game Time - December 2016

Just when you thought 2016 was behind you, here I come with the December edition of Game Time. I honestly meant to do this a few weeks ago, (when it was still 2016) however I got caught up in some other shenanigans. I then went on a trip for five days, and got myself a sweet cold! So for the past week I've either been gone or in bed. That's not a great excuse because I should have been done sooner, but that's the one I'm going with! In 2017 I'm going to try and be more on top of my blog posts!

Normally I use December as a month to finish up smaller games I missed out on earlier in the year. I did a bit of that, but for Christmas I also have myself the gift of an MMO addiction... I decided it would be a good idea to get Final Fantasy XIV on the steam sale and try that out. Now I'm deep down the MMO hole!

The short game I finished was SUPERHOT, and boy did I enjoy the hell out of that game. It's about two hours long, but those two hours were ridiculous and awesome. At some point I also bought Gravity Rush Remastered on a PSN sale and have been chipping away at that.

Let's talk about all of these video games! It's game time!

Final Fantasy XIV

I tend to not play MMO's because I have can get addicted to things very easily. I've gone pretty deep in the past, so I tend to stay away from the genre. It also helps that I generally move from game to game very quickly. I don't generally have a lot of time to stick with one thing for the amount of time an MMO requires. However, I have a few friends who really like FFXIV, and they had been wanting me to try it out. The cost of the game and expansion were $20 during the Steam winter sale, so I took the plunge.

At first I was really not enjoying the game. The story was so slow, and boring that I almost stopped playing. The thing that kept me going was the fact that leveling up makes me feel good. After playing for around ten or so hours the "real story" starts and the story actually got interesting. I started to do cool and challenging missions, and began to have a great time. I've played for around 30 hours and am currently at level 28 on my main job.

It's me, Manny Manatron!

If FFXIV was a traditional MMO in every sense I may have dropped it already. It does have the usual combat. The main attack is an auto attack, so you click on an enemy and your character starts to go ham. The real "challenge" comes from using your skills and managing their cooldowns. I chose a Pugilist, so I use my fists to attack. I chose the class, because you have to pay attention and use the skills in a certain order to get damage buffs. That way I don't just zone out forever while I play.

Where FFXIV differs from other games in the genre is that you can have every class at once if you want to. They all start at level 1, and can go up to level 60 if you have the expansion. Currently my highest level job is a pugilist, but I have also leveled up the rogue job to level 12. This means that at any time I can change to a rogue and use a completely different set or armor, weapons, and skills. The benefit to doing this is that each job gets specific skills and perks that carry over to other classes. It's a really interesting system that reminds me a bit of Bravely Default.

It looks and plays like an MMO

I guess I don't really have a lot to say about this game. I'm enjoying my time with it, but outside of my addictive personality and the job system there isn't a whole lot of unique stuff going on. I just wanted to give the game a shot, because I've been on a bit of a Final Fantasy binge lately. I'm going to keep playing it, but I don't know for how long. I want to try finishing the content in the game currently, but that's a crazy amount of time I could spend playing newer games. I just have a weird compulsion to do everything in MMO's even though most quests are absolutely worthless and don't give you good rewards.

SUPERHOT

You may be thinking the title should be Super Hot, but you're wrong. It's SUPERHOT, and boy is it something to behold. I initially saw someone try out the browser game that the SUPERHOT Team put out to show their initial idea. The game revolves around a simple concept that doesn't sound cool, but when you're experiencing it in practice it's one of the coolest things I've ever done. It's a first person shooter where time moves when you move, and moves very slowly when you stand still. This allows you to pull off amazing feats that never really get old.

Initially I thought that the browser game was a cool tech demo that wouldn't really be able to become something more. I was proven wrong on every level. The setup for the story is that you meet someone in a chatroom and they hook you up with SUPERHOT.EXE. It's a cool new game that everyone's playing. You boot it up to be greeted by white environments filled with red polygonal men who are trying to kill you. Depending on the level you may start with a gun, or nothing. If you have a gun, then you can shoot your foes until you run out of bullets. The best option when you run out of bullets is to throw your empty gun, which will cause your enemy to reel and throw their gun into the air, which you can then catch and use. That description probably doesn't sound very exciting, but imagine pulling off that string in slow motion, and feeling like a badass. Then when you've cleared the stage your character inexplicably chucks whatever they're holding and the words SUPER, then HOT, accompanied by chanting of said words will happen until you click to start the next stage. It's awesome.

Shoot your enemies.

Outside of guns you can also pick up objects in the environment to throw, or punch your enemies to death. A bullet will kill an enemy in one shot causing them to shatter. Throwing objects will cause them to drop their gun for you take take, the same goes for throwing your gun at them. There are various points where you will also get a sword, which can be thrown for one hit kills, or used to kill enemies by swinging until it breaks. In my opinion the sword, and other melee weapons like the baseball bat are the most fun to use.

When I use the words first person shooter to describe SUPERHOT I'm only using them to describe what you're doing. You're shooting people in first person. Despite that fact it actually plays more like a puzzle game due to the time mechanics. The fact that you can essentially pause time means that you can think your way out of most scenarios. If you're skillful enough you can dodge bullets, or even shoot them out of the air with your own. If you get hit and die, then you can start the level over almost instantaneously. Each level offers a completely new challenge.

Melee weapons are my favorite.

While the story is over in about two hours, it felt like no time at all because I was having so much fun. Once it's over you unlock challenges like katana only runs, and things of that sort. There is also an endless mode which you can use to test your skills. The story is interesting and will sometimes have you quitting the game to chat with the person who gave you the game, and then going back in. It takes some pretty weird turns, but it just adds to the game's extreme sense of style. Overall SUPERHOT is an experience I would recommend to anyone.

Gravity Rush Remastered

Gravity Rush is one of the Vita only games that I was interested in playing. When I got one I tried to play the game for a few hours, but had to put it down. I loved the characters and the world, but using the gyroscope to control the main character Kat's gravity power was not something I wanted to do at all. Lucky for me the game was re-released on the PS4, but I almost let that pass me by as well. The only reason I'm playing it now, so far after its release is that Gravity Rush 2 comes out in a few short weeks and it looks amazing. In order to be ready for it I decided it was time to play through the original.

Gravity rush follows the amnesiac Kat who finds herself in the unfamiliar town of Hecksville with her gravity controlling cat Dusty. The central crux of the game is using gravity powers to traverse the world and destroy floating enemies called the Nevi. I really enjoy the gameplay now that I don't have to move the Vita around like a moron. On the PS4 you can just push R1 to activate Kat's abilities and then aim a reticle with the right stick to get you where you need to go. You're traversing a lot of floating islands and going to high areas, while upside down. It's like a super intense version of Mario Galaxy. There are often times where I forget if I'm actually on the ground or not so I have to look at Kat's scarf for reference.

The gravity powers are fun to use.

Throughout the world there are crystals you can collect that are used as the currency for upgrading your abilities. These crystals can also be gained by completing challenged like racing through checkpoints, or defeating a ton of enemies. It seems like none of the upgrades  are necessary to complete the game, but they sure make things a lot more fun. You can upgrade things like your falling speed, kick attack, and gravity meter. It's always good to be able to use your powers for longer.

The thing that strikes me about Gravity Rush the most is the world and its characters. The models and the world of Hecksville look beautiful. There are a lot of bright colors. Each district of the city has its own style, so the visuals change greatly over the course of the game. As a character Kat is very charming. Despite the fact that she's lost her memory she is very witty and genuinely funny. A lot of games recently get a little too heavy on the Internet humor and memes, but Gravity Rush is able to be funny in its own right.

For a remaster of a Vita game, this looks incredible.

I am about 3/4's of the way through now and the story is really heating up. New characters have introduced themselves and I actually don't really know where the story is going to end up, but I'm happy to go along for the ride. There's something about Gravity Rush that's super endearing to me, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Yes, the world and characters are great, but there's something about the package as a whole that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside while I'm playing it. I look forward to the second game!

2017

We're a few weeks into 2017 now, and I have yet to do any serious gaming, Like I said I've been on a trip for the majority of it and now I have a stupid cold. As we speak I'm hacking up a lung and it's very unpleasant.

In two weeks I will start my 2017 gaming binge by diving into Gravity Rush 2, and Yakuza Zero. I am super excited for all the games coming out this year. The Nintendo Switch is going to be detailed tomorrow night, and I'm getting super hype about it. I set my money aside as soon as the NX was announced, and the rumors are that it'll be cheaper than the $500 I put aside for it. If that's true it means I'll be able to get more games at launch than I anticipated!

Man, this year is going to rule and I seriously cannot wait!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top Ten Games of 2016

When I thought back on 2016 I couldn't think of any amazing games at first. I honestly feel like the beginning of the year was an eternity ago, and I have a pretty bad memory. However, upon looking at my list of completed games I realized that this was a banner year for video games. So many great products were released, and a few of them actually blew me away. 

As always I will be listing these games in descending order from ten to one. Keep in mind these are my opinions, and are based on video games I completed in 2016.


10. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End 

I was originally upset that there was an Uncharted 4, but seeing it in action put my mind at ease. This game gave the franchise the ending it deserved, and boy is it a great ending. 

The gameplay is improved vastly over the previous iterations, and the graphics and facial animations are unparalleled in video games. Naughty Dog really knows how to draw everything they can out of Sony platforms, and I can't wait to see them improve even more.



9. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

Namco Bandai finally started to bring Digimon games to the west again, so now I can finally play the games I crave once again.

The story of Cyber Sleuth is an anime trope nightmare, but the gameplay is the compelling turn based strategy and Digimon evolution festival I really needed early in the year. If you like seeing cool monsters change into cooler monsters and grinding for EXP, then this game is totally for you!



8. Final Fantasy XV

After ten years Final Fantasy XV made it to market against all odds. What should have been a horrific mess of development hell actually came together into a fairly enjoyable game. 

While the story was an absolute train-wreck I found myself loving exploring the open world. The combat might not be my favorite, but it was fun enough to pull me through. I'll definitely return to it when the DLC is released.



 7. Street Fighter V

SFV got a lot of shit from the press and general gaming populace. While a lot of it is undeserved, Capcom also did a lot wrong. The game launched without a lot of features, and they even managed to put a root kit in the PC version for a day.

Despite all that the fighting at the core of the game is in my opinion better than it has ever been. I played it a ton its first few months of release, and still return to it occasionally. 



6. The Last Guardian

Like the Team ICO games before it the Last Guardian is a puzzle puzzle game. However now you have the added bonus of hanging out with Trico the dope bird-dog. As an animal lover I felt a bond with Trico that I can't even really describe. I tried to talk to him like I would my dog. The AI is amazing and acts like a real animal.

I can not praise Tric's mannerisms enough,




5. Dark Souls 3

It's closer to the original than it is to 2, but it never reaches the highs of the original. It's another one of those games, and it's great. I didn't like the fast paced action of Bloodborne, so I was glad to return to my slow and methodical play style.

My favorite part was discovering the world while talking to a friend about it. There's something about discovering the secrets along with the rest of the Internet that is absolutely magical. 



4. Stardew Valley

I've always loved Harvest Moon, and Stardew Valley is an improved version of old Harvest Moon games. It's an amazing game made by a single person. 

You can farm, mine, fish, gather, and make tons of friends. You can really tackle the game however you want, and it never discourages any play style. It even manages to make the villagers deep and meaningful characters,

If you like Harvest Moon, then you absolutely need to play this game.


3. Pokemon Sun/Moon

Nintendo managed to actually change up the Pokemon formula a bit and the result is one of my favorite games in the franchise.

It actually had a real story, and the world they created feels lived in by both Pokemon and people. I hope each new Pokemon game continues on this trend.



2. Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice

Ace Attorney 6 manages to add in new gameplay elements to the courtroom that change things dramatically. Trying to find contradictions in a seance is both interesting and weird.

On top of that the game manages to tell a compelling narative that gives Apollo his time to shine. The end result is a solid end to the second Ace Attorney trilogy. 




1. Overwatch

I'm not a huge fan of multiplayer games, and I'm even less of a fan of first person shooters. Somehow Overwatch managed to pull me in with a strength I still don't quite understand. I love everything about the game.

The game only surfaces positive data, so I feel good about my performance and the game in general. On top of that the characters are all super colorful and have a ton of personality. 

Blizzard solved some magic formula to make any game they touch into a cultural phenomenon, and Overwatch continues that trend.

Podcast Episode 23 - GOTY 2016

Another year has passed, which mean that I sat down with a few of my friends and recorded the world's longest podcast. It was long previously, but this year it ballooned out of control! However, it was worth every minute and I had a lot of fun doing it.

Witness the epic 3 and a half hour countdown from 10 to 1 for four people! 2016 was pretty rad.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Podcast Episode 22 - Final Fantasy XV

It's been a while since I posted anything here, because of the holiday season. However, it is now over and the content flow can resume. I am starting off by posting this podcast about Final Fantasy XV.

Listen in wonder as I rant and rave about this flawed gem.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Game Time - November 2016

As with every year November is when the holiday season really begins to ramp up; It's the busiest time of year for me at work, and my family and close friends start coming around a lot more frequently. It's an awesome time of year that brings me a lot of warm feelings.

Part of why I enjoy November so much is because games I want to play tend to come out. This year it was especially true. Pokemon games come out semi-annually now, but it's not every time that a new generation begins. Rumors of the 7th generation of Pokemon have been swirling for over a year now. It didn't help my excitement that when the demo came out in October almost the entire game leaked onto the Internet....

So yeah, I played a whole ton of Pokemon. Somehow I also ended up engaging with a decent amount of Watch Dogs 2, despite telling myself I wasn't going to get it. I have way too many games I started this year, but didn't finish. I guess I was too interested in seeing how it turned out. I'm not done with it yet, but I think it's an okay game. Not amazing, just okay.

Then you have the crown jewel of this month, which is Final Fantasy XV. The troubled development cycle made it take around ten years to come out. To be honest I never thought I'd actually get to play it, but here I am playing it. It's actually running on the TV next to me right now.

Oh yeah, I bought a sweet 50' 4K TV on Thanksgiving. It was on sale for $328 and I just couldn't pass it up. Now I can actually take advantage of my PS4 Pro, which is really neat.

There's so much I have to say about these games. I could actually spill out thoughts about FFXV until I explode, but I'll save you from that tragic fate. Instead I will outline my basic experiences here and then write up a Game Time ID when I have finished the game. I still have a bunch to say now though, so let'e get into it. It's game time!

Watch Dogs 2

I actually didn't think the original Watch Dogs was a terrible game. It was an open world game. Like all open world games it was mostly about shooting your foes, but you could also hack things with your phone to take them out as well. More often than not that meant incapacitating people by exploding things near them. It was a novel idea, but it didn't have much depth. The real issue with the game was the main character Aiden Pierce and the story surrounding him. He's a completely unrelatable character and an all around asshole. He uses his own sister as bait at one point. It didn't help that everything was hyper serious. There was absolutely no comic relief, which left me with a very sour taste.

Now it's a few years later and we have Watch Dogs 2. The good news is that the characters and story are worlds better than the original. You play as Marcus, who is a young hacker trying to change the world in a positive way by taking on big data. He's a regular guy who loves technology and bad movies. He's relatable and interacts with the other characters in the world in a fun way. The game's tone overall is a lot less self serious, which is exactly as it should be. The game knows it's goofy and uses that to its advantage. The issue I have is that the story is very disjointed, much like most Ubisoft games are now. You learn a lot about Marcus and his crew at DedSec, but the overarching story jumps all over the place. The game constantly introduces new characters with no explanation of who they are, and then proceeds to not really clue you in afterwards. It's frustrating, but the characters make me forget about the seemingly non-cohesive plot.

Marcus is a pretty likable guy.

The gameplay has both changed quite a bit, and not very much at all. What I mean by that is that Watch Dogs 2 is still an open world game. You can drive cars, take cover, and shoot at a bunch of people. My issue with the gameplay in Watch Dogs 2 is that the shooting feels much worse than the original game. I eventually got used to the combat, but Marcus doesn't feel powerful like Aiden did. Before I could go into any situation guns blazing and come out unscathed, whereas with Marcus I go down almost instantly. I guess this fits with the character, but it's still frustrating when I get caught in a stealth section and can't really do a whole lot about it.

The cool changes come in the form of hacking. You can still hack nearby objects with your phone nothing has really changed in that regard. There are some cool new features like the ability to call gang hits on enemies. This makes is so that gang members come in and start shooting, which alleviates the need for you to shoot yourself. What's really cool though is that you can complete every mission without having Marcus enter the mission area himself. He is equipped with a small rover and a drone. The rover can jump, and do physical hacks in place of Marcus. The drone can fly around buildings and hack anything that doesn't require physical contact. This means that as long as you're not seen by the enemy you can do everything with these two tools at your disposal. The only downside is that if they get shot down or blown up, then you have to wait an oddly long amount of time before you can bring them out again. Regardless it's a really cool concept that works well.

The rover adds a whole new way to tackle each mission.

I was personally hoping for Watch Dogs 2 to be a huge step above its predecessor. Instead it takes incremental steps forward. It makes me worry for the future of the franchise. I don't really know where they go from here. So far I'm really enjoying my time in the game, and think I'll actually try to finish it. Initially I wasn't really digging it, but as I got more skills and access to the drone I began to have a much better time. It's definitely a lot better than the original.

Pokemon Sun/Moon

Pokemon is one of those magical franchises for me that will never get old. Despite the fact that you essentially do the same thing in each iteration I can't get enough of trying to capture all of the little critters that I can. However, this time the adventure is actually quite different. Prior to release I was a bit skeptical, but now that I've put 60 hours into the game and completed it I can safely say that Pokemon Sun and Moon are great games that do a lot right! Long running franchises like Pokemon walk a razor thin line where they need to try new things to pull in new people, while not changing the things that long time fans will get upset about. Obviously someone always gets upset, but I honestly think that Game Freak did a wonderful job this time around.

This time around you play as a Pokemon trainer who has just moved from the Kanto region to the beautiful island paradise of Alola. Surprise, it's basically Hawaii! The journey takes you across four different tropical islands, which are all very different in terms of what they have to offer. It's cool, because large cities take a back seat for more lush natural environments. I feel stupid every time I say this, but it's the first time that the world feels like it's actually inhabited by both humans and Pokemon instead of it just being a world where humans live and Pokemon are their battle slaves. You interact with Pokemon in the wild, and see them walking around way more than in any other entry in the franchise and I love that!

People and Pokemon live in harmony in the Alola region.

For those of you who have played Pokemon before you know what the goal is usually to collect eight gym badges and then take on the Elite Four. In Alola that is not the case, because they have not established their Pokemon League yet. Instead you travel across the islands in search of trials. Some trials are battles with powered up wild Pokemon, while others have you collecting items. It's a nice change of pace. Each trial you complete awards you with a Z-crystal, which allows you to use Powerful new Z-moves. Normally Pokemon have four moves, but if they are holding a Z-crystal of their type then they can use a powerful Z-move once a battle to do a ton of damage, or increase the buff they receive. It sounds simple, but it adds a whole new layer of strategy just as mega evolution did in the last generation.

The plot is slightly different from standard Pokemon fare, in that it's actually a real story. Since Black and White Game Freak has been trying to make their stories have more depth, but I think they truly succeed in Sun and Moon. You're introduced to a host of interesting characters over the course of the game such as the lovable Professor Kukui, the shirtless professor, who I genuinely was interested in by the end of the game. While the central plot ends up being essentially the same as other entries in the franchise it builds up the characters and world they live in, in a way that has yet to be seen in a Pokemon game to date.

Battle's look better than ever before.

The number of new Pokemon is around 80, which is low compared to previous generations. I think that the level of quality is slightly higher this time around though. That can just be said for the games in general as well. The visuals are better than ever before and everything is done with a flourish. It's funny, because as I'm writing this and thinking about the game a smile is creeping across my face. I have always loved Pokemon and it warms my heart to see the franchise continue to move forward instead of stagnate. If you've never played a Pokemon game before there has never been a better time to jump in and immerse yourself in the world.

P.S. Team Skull is the best

Final Fantasy XV

In the ten years since the announcement of Final Fantasy Versus XIII I tempered my expectations. At the time I was beyond excited, but as the years drew on and the game wasn't really shown I tried to ease my excitement. Years went by with no news, and then in 2013 the game re-emerged as Final Fantasy XV. At that point it had been so long I was no longer able to hype myself up. I just didn't believe it was every going to actually come out. Now we're here in 2016 and I'm playing the game. I still can hardly believe it, but I definitely am playing it. However, much to my dismay I am not enjoying it as much as I wanted to. It's a very interesting game. There are a lot of great ideas, and a lot of horrendous ones intertwined into what is a pretty good game.

Yes, I realize I said I wasn't having a very good time and that's true. Personally when I go into a Final Fantasy game, or really any JRPG I'm looking for a semi-compelling story with well developed characters. Final Fantasy XV has one of those things so far, and that's compelling characters. Prince Noctis starts off as a spoiled brat, but seems to be opening up and realizing that he has a responsibility as the crown prince. It helps that the central focus of the game is traveling around the world on a road trip with your bros. The story on the other hand is a disjointed mess that has yet to pull me in. As of right now I'm halfway through, so I'll wait to pass judgement until the very end. However, I can't really see it shaping up. For starters if you didn't watch the prequel movie (Kingsglaive) you would have literally no idea what's going on in the game and understand next to nothing about the world it takes place in. That sucks. I get that sometimes supplemental material is cool, but when something is an integral part of understanding the story of your 40+ hour JRPG maybe put it in the game... I'm saying this as someone who watched the film. Then on top of that the game itself starts off with little to no introduction. That's okay though, because there's a 40 page prequel novel PDF that you can download to see what happened beforehand....

These are the characters you'll be seeing the most of. (Left to right: Gladio, Ignis, Noctis, Prompto)

Aside from the ancillary content I don't think the story in FFXV is told very well, but that's not entirely the game's fault. See, because it's an open world game. I like open world games, and think that they can tell good stories, it's just that most of them don't. Instead they focus on making the open world compelling while putting the story on the back burner. This causes pacing issues right off the bat. I did the first two story chapters which took about 2 hours, and then did sidequests for about six. That means that instead of doing the super urgent story matter I needed to attend to I messed about collecting monster bits for people at a diner. That's my own fault though. Let's look at a different scenario now. I finish my sidequesting and do the main plot again. I end up doing three story chapters in the course of 20 minutes with little to no explanation. The pacing is all over the place. I'm not even going to get into how half the story chapters come out of nowhere and seem like they're remnants from a completely different game. That's a story for a different time.

What about the gameplay you ask? I want to be joking when I say that for combat you essentially hold a single button to win, but it's true. You hold the attack button to do combos, and if you hold it forever Noctis will keep going until he gets hit. The longer the combo the more damage you do, and you'll eventually stagger the enemy and break parts of its body. The fun part of combat comes from Noctis' ability to teleport and change weapons rapidly. He has special powers, because he is one of the chosen kings in a destined line. This means that he can throw his weapons and teleport directly to them. You can lock onto an enemy and push the warp button to do a warp strike at them. This uses mana, which can be recharged by standing still or hanging from a warp point. Warp points are scattered around the battle, and act as ways to rapidly recover both HP and mana. This mechanic feels cool, and looks awesome, but isn't totally necessary. So far I have been able to get through every battle by holding circle and occasionally dodging. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that if you hold the dodge button you can essentially dodge every single attack forever. This trivializes all combat, and it doesn't help that if you don't mainline the story and do sidequests you become over leveled immediately. Despite all this there is actually some depth to the system for those who are willing to look for it, but there's really no reason to unless the post game bosses are absolutely insane.

Sadly battles are not very challenging.

I feel so conflicted about Final Fantasy XV. On the one hand I find the story to be a disjointed mess, and combat to be a dull slog. However, on the other hand I like exploring the world, driving along the roads listening to the radio, and camping under the stars with my bros. It's a beautiful and flawed game that has a lot of heart at its core. The open world and the story often seem at odds with each other, and remnants of what the game used to be still remain. Keep in mind I'm only halfway through the game and it apparently stops being open world at some point and becomes completely linear. I don't understand how such a shift could possibly happen, but I can't wait to find out how it's done. I'm enjoying myself enough to keep playing, but it's definitely not the masterpiece I was secretly hoping for after ten long years.

The Wait is Over

The Sony exclusive The Last Guardian was announced right around the same time as FFXV. Similarly people thought it was never going to come out, but in just a few short hours UPS will be delivering it to me. It's crazy that two games that have been in development hell for almost a decade will have come out within two weeks of each other.

While I have enjoyed Team ICO games in the past I am cautiously optimistic about The Last Guardian. While FFXV seems to have changed greatly from what it originally was, The Last Guardian seems to have kept the old PS2 style gameplay it was shown off with originally. All I know is that I love how lifelike the weird bird-dog animal is and I want to give it a hug. I really hope you can hug it!

With that said look forward to another exciting edition of Game Time next month! I'll be putting it up right around the same time as my game of the year list and podcast, which you won't want to miss!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Memorable Melodies: Guzma Encounter from Pokemon Sun/Moon


Song: Guzma Encounter
Composers: Minako Adachi, Go Ichinose, Junichi Masuda, 
Hitomi Sato, Tomaoki Oga, and Hideaki Kuroda
Games: Pokemon Sun and Moon

There's something about the release of a new Pokemon game that makes me genuinely happy. I'm always down to see what the new monsters are like and explore a brand new region of the Pokemon universe. Somehow I am never tired of these games, and it helps that they're improving over time. Sometimes I get to hype that I feel like I'm crazy, but then I see the sales numbers and that's enough to reassure me that I am not alone in my Pokemon love.

The new games came out last Friday, and I beat my copy of Sun just a few days later on Monday. I had two days off in a row and I played the game a ridiculous amount. I am now catching as many Pokemon as I can, and even trying to breed for a few shinies! I am still deep into my semi-annual Pokemon Hysteria, which is why I just had to put up a song from the franchise.

So the new "evil" team in Sun and Moon is Team Skull. As far as I can tell they're just trying to steal Pokemon in order to sell them for money. They don't really have a whole lot of motivation other than the fact that they're delinquents. Their whole ascetic is that they wear sick bling and a tanktop with their logo on it. The grunts also wear a hat that unsurprisingly looks like a skull. The whole ensemble looks great, but when you see them walking at you waving their arms trying to be all gangster their charm really comes through.

Team Skull just might be my favorite evil team in Pokemon to date. While their outfits and swagger really do it for me, the music composed for all of their battles is on another level. It has a ton of weird vocals, and hip-hop influence. The track I chose for this week is the music that plays when you fight the boss of Team Skull, Guzma. His music takes things up a notch, which is fitting of a true boss character. 

It's so ridiculous that the only discernible lyrics are "Yo" and "Uh". Team Skull rules!



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Memorable Melodies: Pursuing My True Self from Persona 4


Song: Pursuing My True Self
Game: Persona 4
Composer: Shoji Meguro

It's been about a month since I've done one of these and I don't really have a good excuse. That's all in the past though, because here I am to tell you how dope I think Pursuing My True Self from Persona 4 is. The reason I chose this song for this week is actually kind of a bummer. Persona 5 was supposed to come out on Valentines day (February 14th) here in the U.S. Now the date has been moved to April 2nd. It's not super far, but it's enough to bum me out. Hopefully the dub will be extar tight now!

The music of Shoji Meguro defines the Persona games I've played. He has a unique style that fits the overly stylish nature of the games. When I think of Persona 4 a very specific art sty;e and aesthetic come to mind, which I think is a rare thing in modern video games. A lot of things have become pretty homogeneous, and that bothers me. Around the time Persona 4 came out I remember games having a very brown color palette. P4 however, is ridiculously colorful and filled with fun, bubbly music.

When I hear the intro to this song I immediately think of the opening cinematic to Persona 4. Hopefully the music in Persona 5 will invoke the same feelings in me. I've tried to steer as far away from any possible spoilers as I can, so I haven't even watched the intro yet.

The iconic nature of Persona music is why I think that Persona 4 dancing all night was able to exist. Not every game series has enough cool music to support its own rhythm game.