Sunday, July 24, 2016

Brad's Presidential Speech 2016

Fellow Americans, people of all nationalities. It is time for a change. Not in the sense of the current candidates' goals, but more so a personal at home change. As the late John F. Kennedy so rightfully said many years ago, "Children are the world's most valuable resource, and it's best hope for the future". It is time we as grown-ups, authority figures, and parents recognize the true problem at hand. That problem being the ill-advised raising, and outright neglect of our children's education regarding what's right, and what is wrong in a social environment. It's time the adult population is held accountable for their inaction and actions in relation to the corruption of the youth, and are made to raise the children of America in a way befitting of the country's more humble, and respectable origins. Long gone are the days of proper parenthood, and a righteous upbringing. As such we must strive even more to right the wrongs we have passed down from generation to generation. As your potential presidential candidate I aim to help you guide your children to become our brightest future.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force (PS VITA)

For a guy who has never watched the Gundam anime, and who has never played a Gundam video game I was oddly drawn into the short lived battles, and objective based scenarios of "Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force". It's one of those attractive gaming experiences that borrows properly from it's origin sources while weaving a new tale, and drawing in a new crowd of gamers with a standalone experience that is polished in every way possible. Along with the returning Gundam from the ongoing series of the same name, and the enemies from said series are a handful of new ways to get involved in the worlds, and lore surrounding the Mobile Suit mythology. At story level you'll find that you are a computer construct which was awakened, and transformed into a Gundam by a couple of AI for the purpose of saving humanity. By "saving humanity" I mean you are battling it out in the virtual worlds, and historical timelines of said virtual worlds in order to change the history therein so that a better, and more evolved form of humans can inhabit the cyberspace through embedded personalities. It's an unusual pitch, but it is one that's good enough to keep newcomers, and MS Gundam lovers of old hooked long enough to learn the ropes of gameplay, and possibly even continue playing to perfection.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Oversaturation In The Gaming Industry

I've been itching to talk about the oversaturation of game releases for a while now. It's a topic of discussion that hits close to home, and likely not just for me. For those of you who don't know what I mean by "oversaturation" I simply mean similar genres of game releases that are constantly competing for attention in a market that is overfilled with continuously released copycat ideas. This phenomenon is happening more, and more on the free-to-play front, and in the paid gaming front as well. The problem with these similar releases is that it poses two very significant problems. One problem being the detraction of attention from noteworthy gaming experiences, and secondly the confusion regarding which games the gamers should dedicate their time, and money to. In this industry gamer population means a lot to developers as does time, and if gamers aren't supporting a studios' games on a regular basis those said games eventually become virtual ghost towns while potentially ruining the possible success of another game from the same series/studio. It's a lose-lose situation. Both for the industry providers, and the gamers alike.

If you've been following game offerings on the PS4 side of things you'll notice that MOBAs are becoming a popular fixture on the platform. Currently there are three decent MOBAs in the free-to-play section of the Playstation Store begging for gamers to participate. This includes the long running MOBA "SMITE", the newcomer and possible heir to the MOBA throne "Paragon", and finally the League of Legends clone "Pirates Treasure Hunters". I've played all three games, and for what they're worth each F2P model is rewarding enough for the gamers who wish to dedicate time to them. The problem, as I mentioned before is that with three MOBAs competing for attention the gamers are confused, and divided as to which MOBA would be in their best interest to dedicate time to. As gamers are busy trying to decide which F2P MOBA to commit to they are also dedicating time to their weekly "Triple A" releases, and other games they've picked up along the way that demand such attention as well. This only serves to hurt the industry providers further due to the gamers' time limitations, and it ultimately moves fans from game to game like a swarm of locusts hungry for the next Awesome release. As such some studios that were once somebodies end up becoming nobodies while newcomers steal the show only for a limited time themselves. Thus is the oversaturation of which I speak.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Carmageddon: Max Damage - Online (PS4)

This afternoon I was finally able to join two multiplayer lobbies in "Carmageddon: Max Damage". Both experiences were completely lag free, and were quite fun for what they were. In the first lobby I played a mode called "Fox 'N Hound" in which two cars played the roles of the hounds while a single tagged, and highlighted player played the role of the fox. I think the point was to stay the fox long enough to deplete your 3 minute timer completely while dodging the other two players' vehicles. Sort of like a children's game of "Cat & Mouse". In the second lobby I entered I got into a "Death Race" against a single player, and found it to be contrary to what other journalists have said. That said thing being claims that the game lacked proper racing controls. While I did crash on the course several times I was able to keep up a good speed in Max Damage's sports car. Sadly I came in 2nd place at the end of it due to the odd roller coaster style layout of the course, and my unfamiliarity thereof. The game actually looked slightly nicer online than it did offline with all the people, and animals littering the pathway in their simple forms. In fact it kind of looked like a proper racing game to a point. That of course brings me to my final point of this article though. When it comes to online play you will not find pedestrians, or beasts of burden roaming about the tracks. No blood, guts, and gore for you while playing online. It would have been nice if that was a part of it, but it's just not the case. Sorry.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

HAWKEN + Founder's Bundle (PS4)

I have wanted to play this game for so long. I took notice of it when it came out on the PC years back, and was completely crushed when I figured out it was going to be a PC exclusive at that time. Seeing it come out as a free-to-play game on the PS4 this year though was exciting for me. In saying that I realize some of you may be questioning the choice of the developer to adapt the F2P console model, but from what I've experienced, and seen it is a quality game where the paid for content does not detract from the experience at all. Sure you'll be without the bobbles, and finer customization options if you choose not to pay for the paid in-game currency, but you can still unlock the mechs, and still enjoy them in their entirety without the superficial add-ons. Gameplay is definitely king in this situation, and it really shows. One thing the game has going for it beyond all the offered extras is it's post-apocalyptic environmental design. That, and a well thought out mech design. The developer doesn't get too deep with the mech play, but instead makes it easy to manage so that players can enjoy multiplayer modes like team death match without hassle. Being an online only multiplayer experience it certainly compliments "HAWKEN", and in more ways than one.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Carmageddon: Max Damage (PS4)

The original "Carmageddon" game was no stranger to controversy in it's early days. If memory serves me well it was actually banned in some countries (Germany? ...) for the gore, violence, and crude subject matter. Seeing it come back in this very same unapologetic form both delights me, and kind of worries me at the same time. Don't get me wrong though. I love my violent video games. The features in this particular game however could easily be offensive to many gamer types. Things like the running over of animals, the elderly, the handicapped, the obese, and the use of certain descriptive words (Babyshit Bronze, Pink Penetrator, Spotted Dick ...) for applicable skins definitely show a sort of tastelessness or lack of common decency. Not that I'm complaining (Freedom of Expression FTW!!!). Despite this potentially frowned upon formula parts of the game really stood out as being polished for a game bearing such a price tag ($39.99). At least to me ...

Coming back in all it's lewd, crude, and rude glory "Carmageddon: Max Damage" returns with it's cybernetic antagonist named 'Max Damage' who is once again focused on wreaking havoc on innocent bystanders, and fellow death race participants. The races which come in three carnage heavy flavors give the gamer some unusual options for winning as the homicidal maniac himself, or as any of the other racers in the league. In the campaign specifically the "Carnage Carma" mode allows the player or racer to win through either the killing of all pedestrians, the destruction of all other racers/racing vehicles, or the usual completion of laps via checkpoints. In other modes you'll also be racing to capture marked points to meet a point quota, or racing to the finish line with vehicular combat in mind during a proper death race. There are plenty of armored, and weaponized vehicles to unlock (25), upgrade, and deal damage with ranging from Max's spiked sport's car to drift cars, dragsters, and even a transfer truck among others. The catch is you are timed, and the damage done to your vehicle is only reversible if you obtain the credits by performing "cunning stunts", killing peds in different stylized manners, or by running over barrels in a fashion similar to the Mario Kart games. There's even PUPs, or Power-Ups which will give you options outside of wrecking, and racing. Again, like "Mario Kart". Customization is an added bonus as well which to an extent will allow players playing with the same vehicles online to make their vehicles more unique in comparison to others ...

ATTENTION!!!: Brad's State of the Nation Address

What I'm about to say I'm going to keep short, and to the point ...

As of late, and well before then it has come to my attention that Americans among other worldly citizens are being led to restrict their own freedoms. We are tightening the leash around our necks (so-to-speak) through our actions, and reactions regardless of how justified they may seem. In fact we've become a highly reactive, and active society when it comes to voicing or displaying our opinions about what is wrong, and what is right. The fact that social media is constantly ablaze with negative controversies concerning the average citizen, and the ruling body should be concerning in itself. It's as if we are being subliminally led to direct our anger, and worries at specific targets for undisclosed reasons. Those reasons ultimately being for the limiting of our own rights, and the ushering in of a totalitarian government. Whether you are black, white, or any color under the rainbow this should concern you. There's no doubt in my mind there's been racial injustice at play as well as political injustice, and gender specific injustices. No doubt at all. With these injustices set aside though there is no denying that some peoples' actions in regards to these intentional public outbursts have only served to cripple our rights as free citizens, and have all but plunged us into a civil war. I believe it is what certain individuals want since a society that can be swayed to believe a certain way can be easily controlled. A wise man or woman would easily pick up on this fact.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

God Eater Resurrection (PS VITA)

Bandai Namco's "God Eater Resurrection" was a new experience for me. I had never played any of the previous games in the series, and only had a vague idea of what it was about. Going into it as blindly as I did I found that I was mostly concerned as to whether or not I needed background info on the previous game/s, or if it would be a standalone experience. Thankfully, despite throwing out names, events, and explanations all over the place the game still offered the gamer a proper entry point into the series without losing them along the way. I kind of figure "God Eater Resurrection" is a remaster of the first game, or something between the first and the second release considering how the game played out plot-wise, but that is only a guess.

When it comes to the given story, and gameplay therein Bandai Namco's developers continuously drop hints of specific characters' involvement as well as information on a corporation fighting to save humanity, and the plague of alien creatures known as the Aragami which are hellbent on wiping out all of humankind to the point of extinction. This fight becomes evident through the main character which is a generic creation molded to the gamers' specifications at the beginning of the playthrough. A character that is a standout presence in the story being told, but only vaguely so through the implied "chosen one" cliche that has been used in so many other JRPG adventures. Past the game's intro cinematic, and initial character creation which harbors detailed name, voice, color, and aesthetic options it becomes apparent that your character is to take on the previously mentioned cliche role of an extraordinary individual, and that he/she is to make strides in the waning warfare that has the corporation you are working for backed into a corner along with the remaining human population.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Let's Talk - Video Games, Gaming & The Gaming Industry

It's been a while since I talked openly with my readers about my thoughts on the current path the gaming industry has taken. I've definitely had a lot on my mind in regards to it, but I've mostly confided in my one close friend who joins me for gaming sessions on a regular basis, because she listens. She's been coming to me for advice on what games to get, when it's best to adopt a new console, and where I think the gaming industry is headed. While I hated to be the bearer of bad news for her since she's new to modern gaming I had to be honest. Even though there are potentially good games on the horizon, and good games already released I can't help but think something is amiss in the industry. Something that could send gaming to an abysmal grave. The heart and soul of what gaming once was is simply no longer there. You have developers shoveling out sh*tware, console creators who are doing practically the same thing, and a universal focus on getting as much money as possible while putting in as little effort as possible. There is a sort of desperation in the air. You can feel it as you play some new game releases, and even in the world outside of gaming. We are faced with uncertain times, and I think industry providers are well aware of this. I feel that's why they are selling you crap. It's why they are begging you for money to support kickstarter projects that may never happen, and why they are still figuring out new ways to charge you extra for pieces of a gaming experience that should be complete at the sixty dollar price point.