Monday, December 26, 2016

2016, Was It Really That Bad?

The year 2016 has become synonymous with celebrity death, global calamity on a natural scale, PC culture fanaticism, SJW self-deprecation, and the looming threat of global nuclear war. The tension is high everywhere on the planet, and everyone including their mother is glued to social media waiting to chime in on the next bad happening. At least it seems that way. In light of all this the question I feel begs to be asked is whether or not this world is really worse off than it was last year, or years before? To answer that we all need to take into consideration the social media boom, and the boom of biased opinions of the mainstream media. That, and the outlets' purposeful agendas within the confines of each "boom". In all cases it could simply be said that the "bad" things in life are more socially widespread now, and more socially known due to the connectivity the internet has more than willingly provided. We are constantly being force fed information, and misinformation from all fronts with all sources bringing forth the most negative of spotlights on human activity, and negative topics of discussion. If anything it seems to a certain extent we've all jumped aboard the "2016 Apocalypse" train whether we intended to or not. We cannot escape the descent into maelstrom that we've all been plunged into in every aspect of our daily online lives.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Amazon & Ambitions

This year has been a trying year for me, and my blog. Though I posted a decent amount of reviews I posted nowhere near the amount of reviews I could have. This problem fell on mainly on the fact that it is getting increasingly more difficult to get review copies of games. For the first time in a long time I was even denied review copies by some indie developers due to their misunderstanding of my reach, and capabilities. I had hoped the decline in reviews would not happen, but it did. What I'm about to propose in regards to this unfortunate downfall could help me do more reviews for you in the coming year. I don't want you to feel pressured about it, or feel that you have to help me though. At the end of the day you could easily use what I'm about to ask for, for yourself. If however you find what I'm proposing to be worthwhile then I will welcome your assistance. Now for that proposal ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cursed Castilla (Maldita Castilla EX) (PS4)

I don't know how to say this without echoing every other review of 'Maldita Castilla', but it is definitely inspired by Capcom's "Ghouls & Ghosts/Ghosts & Goblins" games. It looks, and plays very much like those arcade-like retro gaming experiences. You have the basic platforming, the scoring setup, the simple back story, the map screen traversing, and even the weapon and item system used in those types of games. Everything from the onscreen displays to the 32bit pixel construction screams inspiration from said sources. Even the playable protagonist comes off as being inspired by Capcom's character, Arthur. While the game definitely has it's similarities it also has it's differences though. In the way of story, for example, this game takes place after the events surrounding the fall of a princess's love interest, and the unlocking of the demon realm through her tears which were turned into a magical key for the demon's loosing. Ultimately as one of the four named knights of the kingdom of Castilla you are ordered by the King to go out, and slay the demons that are bringing ruin to it's people. Thus freeing the kingdom from it's curse. Through short lived stages divided by multiple areas you must effectively fight off the demonic creatures while looting treasure chests, finding key items, and advancing to the final battle.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The True Meaning of Christmas (POEM)

The True Meaning of Christmas

Poem by ~ Brad "OtakuDante" Carver

This year's Christmas tree is gonna be the sh*t
A huge swirly turd with all the trimmings, and future presents 
tucked firmly underneath it
When old Saint Nick shimmies down the chimney with care
he'll catch a surprising whiff of the putrid smell that's been filling the air
So repulsed by the foul odor,
and disgusted with fright he'll heave & he'll ho till he's well out of sight 
No gifts will he leave, and no stockings will he fill,
but through captured surveillance footage we'll all have a laughable thrill
For the true meaning of Christmas is not commercialized goods
but is instead the friends & families who gather together in harmony 
within each neighborhood.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Flying Bunny (PS4)

Zepetto's "Flying Bunny" is one game that nearly flew under my radar. Pun intended. I didn't see it announced until the day before launch, and little to no information was given on it. All I was able to gather is that it was a shmup (shoot'em up) of some sort, and that it kind of looked like "Parodius". Being a fan of both shmups, and the Parodius series I really wanted to review this game. In fact I really wanted to just play it. Upon getting my hands on it though I was slightly disappointed to see that it was less of a traditional side-scrolling Gradius style shooter, and more like a mobile game akin to "Flappy Bird". I do get it though. The title is fitting in accordance to the gameplay as you have to tap/hold/release the "X" button to get your bunny guy or gal to fly through strings of sweets, and enemies as they come into view for that retro high scoring opportunity. Much like a bunny would hop along, but more so in the flying plus hopping sense. The idea is actually very interesting as is the setup.

When it comes to plot, and story elements nothing is really fleshed out in "Flying Bunny" though. While there is some character flavor text hinting at a school, and something called the "Candy Core" the game comes off as being one of those pick up, and put down arcade style mobile games that you'd play on your mobile device during a break. You basically have a given selection of characters to choose from, and some setup options beyond that as well as a stage by stage gameplay mode where the point is to get the highest score for the bragging rights ...

As one of the three initially available characters (Bunny, RingRing, Fey) you start off with a selection unique character specific stats including varying life, attack, and speed attributes as well as a base perk that allows for things like magnetism, quicker bomb refills, and a longer giant state among other things. This allows the gamer to experience their singular playthroughs in a variety of different ways. Being there's a total of thirteen characters, some of which require certain in-game feats to unlock, it gives the gamer different ways to make it to the top of the global or local leaderboards. You could say that for each character there's a different play style, or even difficulty in regards to how easily or difficult the character is to manage.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ark: Survival Evolved (PS4 Impresions)

Before I say anything I need to say this ... 'Ark: Survival Evolved' is still very much a work in progress. It will not be finished until Spring 2017, and even after that I imagine the developer will continue supporting the game with patches, and updates. To date, the game has received many such updates including new crafting items, new environments/servers, and new beasts of burden (or prehistoric creatures). As far as the state of the game goes I've played both the Xbox One launch release of the game, and this newer PS4 port of the same release. In both instances I was met with initial confusion, a lack of control functionality comprehension, and a lack of mechanics comprehension. I did, however understand it was a first-person survival game at heart, and that it had "Minecraftian" elements embedded in the game's UI (User Interface), but with no tutorial or reference guide I was unable to grasp what it is I needed to do in order to not die or even to bring up the menus. I also realized in my aggravation that the game harbored RPG, and online competitive features that worked together in a server only presentation. Since it had been so long from the time of my former Xbox One playthrough though I met up with the same frustrating factors, and unfortunately that frustration ran off about 18 viewers from my Twitch stream. Nobody likes seeing some virtual caveman named "BeezleBob" wandering aimlessly around in a dark island jungle for 30 minutes straight with nothing to visibly see. Nor do they like hearing me rant and rave about a lack of explanation as I failed continuously to see the controller diagram available right in front of my eyes within the "OPTIONS" menu. Seriously Brad? ...

Monday, December 5, 2016

Zen Pinball 2 ~ Bethesda (PS4)

When a gamer hears the name "Bethesda" more often than not thoughts of retro, and modern day gaming come flooding into their minds as the company name is synonymous with titles like Wolfenstein, Doom, and the Elder Scrolls series. In fact some of us grew up in the earlier days of gaming playing games like Wolfenstein, or Doom on the PC. Others of us who are newer to the gaming hobby have even adopted the new adaptations of each ongoing series in re-release, or re-imagined form. I think it's safe to say one of the key attractions of Bethesda's growing library of releases has been the more mature themes included. That, and the mods that Bethesda willingly allows.

As both a Zen Studios and Bethesda fan I was excited when I first heard Zen Pinball 2's development staff was going to brave the odds, and take on the daunting task of making a noteworthy pinball table set in the likeness of Fallout, Skyrim, and Doom. Having followed Zen Studios efforts throughout the console versions of their pinball franchise, and having played and owned each of the games by Bethesda I knew they could do such tables justice. When I finally got my hands on them I was not disappointed in the least. After playing, and streaming the tables for my followers I came to realize this set could possibly be the best set the studio has released, to date. In fact I think it is. I found all three tables to be open, and inviting as well as beautifully crafted. The attention to detail is far greater than what I'd hoped, and imagined.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

When All Hope is Gone Game On!

It is December 2016. It won't be too long until Christmas comes to pass. This holiday season, and the year in general has been a truly trying experience for me as well as for some of you. If you follow me on social media you'll know my family members have had several near death experiences this year, and are each steadily declining in the area of personal health. I won't bother you with details, but I will say that it's been hard trying to stay positive. In fact the only time I have had a good day in the middle of all this chaos is when I've been able to distract myself with my gaming hobby. It's no mere embellishment when people say gaming has gotten them through some tough times in their lives. I can definitely attest to that being fact. I realize not everyone has that luxury though. This of course abruptly brings me to the point of my article. If you, for whatever reason, are experiencing bad times this holiday season do yourself a favor, and find a distraction. It doesn't have to be video games. It can be anything that offers you a mental escape from the overbearing troubles of life. Engage in said activities for as long as it takes to get over your bout of depression, worry, or fear. I know doing so is not a solve all solution, but distractions are much better than dwelling on things that cannot be changed so easily. Compared to bad habits like smoking, or comfort eating I'd say hobbies like gaming, or even reading are to an extremely lesser extent less harmful for those partaking of them. Just be sure to eat, sleep, and move about from time to time as well.