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Tag Archives: video game

I’m very late to Wii U ownership, y’all. I got one for the family for Christmas because the classic Wii that has been our Netflix streaming device since I first started my Netflix account will no longer be supported as of January 31st, 2019. It was as good an excuse as any to buy a system I’d wanted for a while, and so I finally have gotten the opportunity to dive into the expansive world that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Yes, I know it’s available for the Switch too, but damn it, I was aiming for some level of fiscal responsibility here (and now I only need to reclaim a Nintendo 64 to complete my collection of retired Nintendo consoles). Besides, the Switch version is a port, and it gives me all kinds of happy throwback feelings to playing Twilight Princess on the Gamecube rather than the Wii.

There’s so much to this game. The graphics are gorgeous, and the open world leaves Link free to explore the biggest version of Hyrule that has ever existed. Nintendo took the RPG-lite elements that had been incorporated into Skyward Sword back in 2011 and build it into the most unique entry in the franchise that players will actually talk about. It’s fascinating to go from Skyward Sword‘s depiction of the first hero of Hyrule to the opposite end of the series’ timeline.

It’s not a traditional Zelda game, and I absolutely love it. I’ll spend an hour just coming up with different food combinations. I’ll complete a dozen side quests before taking on the first “real” dungeon of the game (albeit purely to avoid a fight that I couldn’t win with the equipment that I had earned at the time). I wandered into a village that was on my way to another quest, and found a place where I could buy and renovate a house. I’m taking the long way around in a game where you can essentially run off to confront the final boss right away, and I’m having a fucking blast.

I can’t wait to see where Nintendo takes this franchise in the years to come. That is all.

So. Overwatch.

It kind of snuck up on me, not going to lie. I remember seeing a few bits and blurbs about it a while back, and getting pretty excited by the sheer variety of the characters (an article about Zarya’s addition to the game really pulled me in). The last new video game I bought for myself (not as a gift for someone else) was Minecraft last summer. Every other game I’ve purchased within recent memory was a used Wii game or a “new” game for my NES or Super Nintendo. My playthroughs of the Arkham Asylum games and Injustice were facilitated by my local library rather than dropping money I didn’t have on a game I didn’t need. But there was something about Overwatch that just called to me. Maybe it was the comparisons to things like Team Fortress 2. Maybe it was the promise of something so drastically different coming from the folks at Blizzard.

So yeah, I’ve been playing a lot. Not so much as some of my friends, but I waited almost two weeks after it came out to start. It arrived as a belated birthday gift, and I’ve been loving it. There’s not a lot of change from one gametype to another. You’re attempting to capture or defend a series of points on the map or escorting/defending a moving payload or capturing/defending a point and then escorting/defending a payload. It’s fairly straightforward, but with each player on either side being able to choose from any one of 21 unique heroes, it’s never the same match twice.

A lot of the joy is in that variety. You can change heroes any time you choose, so long as you’re willing to return to a spawn point (you can also switch at respawn), and so you’re never lacking a character who can counter an enemy’s strengths or offset an ally’s weaknesses. Because of this, it’s really in your benefit to learn to play as many of the different heroes as possible, or at least one for each category (offense, defense, tanks, and supports).

Lucio’s great fun for me. Speed, healing, and a knockback effect let him excel at holding a point when you’re near ledges. Being able to self-heal puts him at the top of the support list for me, even though he lacks Mercy’s oomph as a healer. He’s agile, and in the right hands can harass an enemy team just as well as Tracer. His speed boost can be used from the beginning of the round to get your entire team to the objective sooner, too.

Hanzo. You’ve got to love a sniper with a bow and the ability to climb over a lot of the obstacles in his way. His mobility is second really only to Genji. His ultimate is devestating to anyone who can’t get out of the way. I know that he’s a defensive character, but he’s mobile enough to be valuable to attacking teams as well, depending on the map, especially since his sonic arrow provides enemy recon faster than Widowmaker’s ultimate (albeit for a shorter time and over a smaller area).

Pharah is my go-to offense hero. I’m learning Tracer, and Soldier 76 is ridiculously straightforward for anyone who has ever played an FPS, but Pharah’s range and power maker her one of my favorites. On an open map, she can rain down rockets on an enemy team, with her hover ability rendering her very difficult for most heroes to accurately hit. She can also make good use of her rocket launcher from the ground, saving her jump jet for an emergency escape.

I’ve never been big into MMOs, and so my experience with tanking is rather lacking. Still, Winston makes for a great introductory character to the role. He lacks range with his weapon, but it auto-hits anything in range. Combine that with his leaping, and you can catch a lot of squishier heroes off guard. He can easily be used to clear of room of Symmetra’s turrets by combining his cannon and shield.

And then there’s Junkrat. Stupid fun. I love TF2’s Demoman, and Junkrat takes all of the grendade launcher goodness and adds a pseudo-stun with his steel trap. If I’m on defense, and there’s not already a Junkrat on the team, he’s a sure pick at some point in the match.

So, yeah. I’m learning more of the heroes, because everyone has a place somewhere in the game. Finding which hereos work best together is a lot of fun, and Blizzard is already talking about DLC heroes, maps, and gametypes in the future.

Now I’m going to try to get some actual story writing done. Until then!

I recently took the time out of my schedule to play through Injustice: Gods Among Us. I’m not normally one for fighting games, but this one boasted a full roster of DC Comics characters and a seriously compelling story, so I figured I’d at least give the story mode a go.

WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD (But please note that the game is three months old at this point)

Our story begins in an alternate universe (surprise!) in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion that has obliterated Metropolis. The Joker managed to get his hands on a nuke, and link the trigger to Lois Lane’s heartbeat. When he managed to drug Superman and convince him that Lois was actually Doomsday, Superman kills the love of his life and their unborn son, and triggers the nuke. In a fit of rage, Superman murders the Joker in revenge and establishes himself as High Councilor of Earth.

In our universe, the Joker is about to unleash a nuke as well. The Justice League is en route to stop him when he and several of the heroes are pulled into the aforementioned alternate universe. Parallel Batman has brought heroes from our world into his to help end Superman’s reign, and the fighting begins.

Each of the twelve chapters of the story allows you to play through several fights as a range of characters. Batman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Deathstroke, Lex Luthor, The Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, The Joker, Aquaman, and Superman are all featured in the main story mode. Each has a standard set of light, medium, and heavy attacks, and various special moves. It’s hardly the most complex fighting game to come down the line (I’m looking at you, BlazBlue and Dead or Alive), but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Voice acting is top-notch, character designs are spot-on, and the story is pretty damn compelling. I’d rate it almost perfectly, except for one glaring issue.

I have one major complaint about Injustice, and it applies to the story mode. While you have a wide range of characters to play as, especially in standard fighting modes, story mode only includes one female character. Wonder Woman is the only female character you play while in the story mode, and her character is placed in a less-than-ideal scenario. Story mode places her playable portion near the very end of the game. She has three story mode battles instead of the typical four (or more) given to the other characters. And finally, two of her three battles take place against other female characters, including a mirror universe version of herself. Injustice takes great strides to establish itself as a strong fighting game with a great roster of characters, but the story falls flat at including this level of equality. It’s worth a playthrough, but keep in mind that Netherrealm Studios could have done a better job of implementing more of DC’s female characters. Raven, Killer Frost, Catwoman, Hawkgirl, and Harley Quinn are all fought against, and Zatanna and Batgirl are available as downloadable content, so the overall roster isn’t lacking. You’ll still find plenty of DC’s ladies kicking ass and taking names in tournaments, but the plot really needed to showcase more of them as active heroes.

In October 2005, a video game was released that pushed the limits of the Playstation 2, a console then in the last years of its supported life. That game was Shadow of the Colossus. I never owned a PS2, and so I never directly encountered the game in its original run. Recently, however, my girlfriend received a PS3, and so I’ve been delving into the console’s library via my library. It turns out that a couple of years ago Shadow of the Colossus was given the high-def treatment for a PS3 re-release. I hope that you’ll all forgive my not writing much over the last week, because my free time has been devoured by this gorgeous game. 

Jaw-dropping.

This is the first enemy you encounter.

You play as Wander, a young man who has journeyed to a forbidden land to resurrect a girl named Mono. Your only companion on this journey is Agro, your loyal horse. Upon arriving in a temple, Wander speaks to a being of great power who offers to revive Mono. In order to do so, Wander must destroy the sixteen statues that line the temple, but it is impossible for him to do so directly. Instead, he must seek out and defeat the sixteen colossi represented by each statue.

As the writer over at New Gamer Nation so eloquently said, “It was and still is an awe-inducing game, littered with memorable moments from start to finish due to its grand scale and design.” The first foe, Valus, pictured above, is by no means the largest of the sixteen colossi that our protagonist, Wander, sets out to defeat. Each colossus is a unique puzzle to solve, combining platforming elements with combat.

There is an unshakable feeling of loneliness throughout the game, emphasized by the soundtrack and the sheer scale of the world, empty but for the colossi (and a scattering of lizards and birds). A somber tone pervades the entire game, and I felt a true sense of awe and sorrow as each colossus fell by my hand. I won’t say anything regarding the rest of the plot, but I will say this: I have never been so emotionally invested in a video game. What Wander is willing to do for Mono’s sake brought me to tears.

If you own a PS3 (or a PS2, and you can snag the original version), you owe it to yourself as a gamer to play Shadow of the Colossus. Trust me.