Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Year In Review (2015)

Hey everyone! Been absent for a while (got to love the holidays am I right?), but needless to say, I'm back for a brief post regarding this year in gaming. I've gathered a collection of drafted blog posts I wanted to submit earlier this year, but was unable to do so due to time constraints.

E3 2015 Thoughts and Reactions
I started (and ended) my viewing session of E3's live coverage through IGN's app on the PlayStation 4. I was impressed with Bethesda's showcase and not only with the announcement of Fallout 4, but I was also impressed with the announcement of a sequel to Dishonored.

Overall, I'd give it an 8.5-9.0 out of 10.0 (somewhere in-between).

My Destiny: House of Wolves DLC Expansion Review -- (Release Date of HoW: May 19, 2015)

The game itself becomes extremely repetitive as players are forced to complete the same missions over and over again at varying difficulty levels in a rather futile attempt to gain better weaponry or armor. Yet, we don't bother asking "why?" or "to what end?". When players begin to question the elements of the plot, the whole game falls rather flat. For instance, Why does the moon have the same gravity as Earth? Shouldn't Guardians be falling slowly after leaping into the air to dodge oncoming fire?

Outside of the House of Wolves DLC, the voice acting lacks energy and charisma, in particular, that of Peter Dinklage, who voices your Ghost companion.

It's essentially the same as the Wii's Conduit 2 (I give that game a solid 7.0. It's better than the original, 6.5) in that it's a playable game, but with a forgettable storyline and while it may have stunning artistic visual rendering, it falls flat when it comes to providing proper immersion.

What Destiny needs right now:

  1. New Ghost Shells. There aren't any new ones available to players.
  2. Custom private lobbies where players can setup game modes and play without exp. gains and with level buffs enabled or disabled depending upon the host.
  3. Trading option for armor and guns.
  4. Possible racing mode for sparrows? They remind me of speeders from Star Wars so, it would be cool to race on those.

Final Verdict:

7.0/10.0 Par - C Rank Game

RTX 2015 Tragedy

In Hunt County, Texas on Friday August 7, 2015 at approximately 1:50 in the morning, three Virginia teenagers were killed and two were severely injured in a fiery crash on Interstate 30 on their way to RTX. RTX is an annual gaming and Internet convention created by Rooster Teeth Productions held in Austin, Texas, run by Gus Sorola and Barbara Dunkelman. Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Trooper Kyle Bradford reported that the teens' SUV was struck head-on by a wrong-way driver . An 18-wheeler driving behind the accident could not stop in time and unfortunately, slammed into both the SUV and the wrong-way driver's car. Both vehicles caught fire.

Kyle Mathers, 19 (DECEASED)
Dale Neibaur, 19 (DECEASED)
Holly Novak, 18 (DECEASED)
Kevin DiCicco, 19
Hannah Galbraith, 18

This particular incident was quite an impact for me as I had been in Austin during that time for the very same event. My friend Matthew and I had traveled from Ohio to attend the festivities via car (20 hour drive one way...) so, while I was there, I happened to pick up a newspaper (something you should do whenever you travel) and I learned of the heartbreaking tragedy.

Works Cited
Wise, Scott. (2015, August 7). Police identify Virginia teenagers killed in fiery crash on Texas interstate. Retrieved August 14, 2015, from

A memorial podcast was setup by the RoosterTeeth staff in order to honor and mourn the loss of the teens as they were making their way to the event.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Destiny, RTX 2015, and more!

Hello everyone! Last month I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to partake in a roadtrip to RTX 2015 with a good friend of mine. (I'll have pictures below). It was an awesome trip and I got to attend the RWBY panel as well as play the demo for RWBY: Grimm Eclipse. It was my first time in Texas and I am saving up to hopefully attend the event next year (that's also why I didn't post anything for the month of August).

Pre-pre-pre-pre-alpha build of RWBY Grimm Eclipse.

Controls for the game thus far.

I'm the tall guy cosplaying as Neptune from RWBY.

Sneak Preview of Season 3 of RWBY!

In other news, Destiny: The Taken King has just been released (as of September 15, 2015) and I've traded in my "Vanilla" copy (the original disk) for the new & improved "Neapolitan" version. I'm calling it that because it comes with the first two expansions The Dark Below as well as the House of Wolves in addition to, the new Taken King content.

I had to pay a fee of $40.00 or so to upgrade (which was twice the price of the first two DLC expansions) and unfortunately, within about 3-5 hours of gameplay, I'm nearly finished with the added storyline. So, was it worth it?

Well, in some aspects my initial gripes about the game have been alleviated, albeit only slightly. Bungie has indeed been listening to fan feedback this last year and has worked hard to reinvent Destiny. The story is presented in a coherent manner with excellent narrative, as well as clever dialogue (particularly that from Nathan Fillion's character, Cayde-6). Some of the missions themselves are character specific and will not allow access for other players even if they are of the same subclass (i.e. the "Nightstalker" missions). Those specific missions are meant to be played solo.

However, the content can easily be beaten in one short session and that leaves little else to do outside of several side missions and patrols. While I did enjoy some of the new additions, such as utilizing the Ghost to scan items of interest, (Which is something that the Metroid Prime series has excelled at for years...), the opportunities to do so were few and far inbetween. The only time I felt like it was truly a significant feature was when I was looking for Cayde-6's ally in the field, Tevis (No, I haven't spoiled anything). You'll attempt to locate this hunter Guardian and use your Ghost to key in on his location. After which (spoiler warning) you'll unlock the Nightstalker subclass and be able to use the void bow.

Unfortunately, it's basically back to the repetitive grind until more content is released (like the Raid this Friday). After the dust has settled and people realize that there really isn't all that much new meaningful content, Destiny: The Taken King will become a monotonous epitome of sadness as we spend our time yet again farming for materials.

Overall, I welcome some of the changes, just not all of them. In particular, the new algorithm being used to determine attack values for weapons is alarmingly confusing. This is especially true when comparing one gun or piece of armor to another. I'm still puzzled as to why my green "uncommon" ghost shell has a base defense of 175 compared to my blue "rare" one which is at 170. It makes little to no sense that one would be better than the other, without at least some consideration for rarity.

On a scale of 1-10.0 with 10 being the utmost best expansion this could be, I'm giving this an 8.0/10.0 B. It's equivalent to the House of Wolves in terms of improvements (I particularly liked the voice acting of April Stewart as Petra Venj and the banter between her and Variks).

  • Lots of great cutscenes and quality dialogue
  • It's incredibly short. You could literally beat the content in a single session, and then be able to return it for a refund.
  • Rarity makes no cohesive sense when comparing weapon & armor values.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nintendo's President, Mr. Satoru Iwata, Dies At The Age of 55

I regret to inform you, my readers that Mr. Satoru Iwata has passed away as of July 11th, 2015.
Nintendo has released a statement regarding this loss:

"Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth."

Sometime in June of 2014, Mr. Iwata had been advised by his physician to "not to travel overseas in the immediate future" (Web. Kotaku. June 5, 2014) due to health concerns. Presumably, these were related to a malignant bile duct growth, that was later removed during that month. As a result of the following recuperation that took place, Mr. Iwata was unable to attend the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

“On my business card, I am a corporate president.
In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer”
 - Satoru Iwata, GDC 2005

In November, Mr. Iwata Tweeted to his followers to let them know that he was "...progressing well."

Unfortunately, Mr. Iwata's time was cut obscenely short. He was born in Sapporo, Japan on December 6, 1959 and passed away at the age of 55.

As a final farewell to this legendary person, I would like to share a few words:

Mr. Iwata was someone I truly respected in the video game industry. He made his share of mistakes like anyone would in such a high position of authority and while there were times that I too, found myself questioning his methods, he always managed to keep the company's best interests at heart.

Those goals always involved providing a fun, upbeat, and whimsical nature to the games that they produced & published. He made me laugh time & time again with his Nintendo Direct segments and provided boundless insight into what makes a truly great title through his "Iwata Asks" interviews.

Everything he did in the public eye seemed to instill joy and proved to be slightly less business oriented (thus, far more approachable to the populace).

Nintendo, more than any other company, has been purely centered around family entertainment, and I sincerely hope that the next person to fill Mr. Iwata's rather larger shoes will honor his legacy and the traditions of the company. Today, we've lost a great, imaginative, and innovate mind. May he rest in peace.

Source List:

Ashcraft, Brian. "Nintendo President Responds to Worries Over His Health." Kotaku. 6 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 July 2015. 

Plunkett, Luke. "Nintendo's President Had Surgery To Remove A "Bile Duct Growth"" Kotaku. 24 June 2014. Web. 12 July 2015. 

Plunkett, Luke. "The Video Game Community Pays Tribute To Satoru Iwata." Kotaku. 12 July 2015. Web. 12 July 2015.

Stephen Totilo, Stephen. "Nintendo Chief Satoru Iwata Missing E3 On Advice Of His Physician." Kotaku. 5 June 2014. Web. 12 July 2015. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pro-tips for First Person Shooters

I decided to make a small guide for those of you struggling with most first person shooters. This list is relatively generic and applies to most current games out there but it may not be all encompassing. If you would like to add your own tips, please leave them in the comments below.
  1. Know the map - This is not limited to just the ins and outs of each environment (although that is key), but it also includes observing player tendencies over time to predict the most likely path they will take. If you notice that your opponents are going to one area more often than not, prepare to meet them there.
  2. When In Doubt, Always Know Your Way Out - You will always need to know the way out of every room of every building or corridor you enter, in case you are ever caught by surprise. 
  3. Crouch or go prone near cover whenever you can. The smaller the target, the more difficult it is to hit.
  4. Understand the Radar -  This is absolutely vital to your survival as enemy movement is constant and fairly unpredictable unless you have a firm grasp of how the radar on your UI (User Interface) functions. If you can maintain focus on that while firing or while moving from cover to cover, you'll be much better off.
  5. Know your angles - Know where your blind spots are, the choke points, and what cover you can hide behind.
    • Vantage points - any elevated areas where you can view a large amount of the surrounding area you're playing in. Useful for surprising the enemy and scouting ahead.
    • Choke point - an area which is 'funneled' meaning it is small and enclosed, and forces the enemy into narrow passageways. This is also known as a "bottle neck".
  6. Double Tap - When in doubt, don't get stingy with your bullets. Make sure your opponent is down and STAYS down. Headshots are always preferred over body shots, but make the best use of the reaction time you have. 
  7. Don't try to be the MVP (Most Valuable Player) - Don't risk victory just to make yourself look good by trying to pull a "Hail Mary". Play it smart and revive your teammates whenever possible. There is strength in numbers.
  8. Communication is key - Being able to articulate quickly and efficiently where your opponents are or where they are heading is important. Every bit of information helps, but do not be excessive.
  9. Practice makes perfect - Keep training your aim and reflexes until you are comfortable being able to hit your targets effectively. This more or less ties into knowing your guns, their recoil, and their other stats.

The Underrated Underdog Console: Wii U

So the Wii U has been out in the U.S. since November 18, 2012. It's barely even three years old yet and people are tossing it aside like it's not worth making games's gotten to the point where even Nintendo has started to convince themselves that the console is a sinking ship and that everyone should move on to the next project, codenamed: NX.

Developing software for the Wii U is a Catch-22 situation: Publishers and developers seem to think that they will not make much profit on the fledgling console, but by not developing for the system at all, Nintendo will never truly grow outside of their first party franchises.

What irritates and frustrates me the most is that these companies are often providing "half-assed" games when they do decide to contribute to the Wii U library because on the competing platforms (PC, XBOX 360/XBOX ONE and PS3/PS4, respectively) the games have all of their original features intact. As such, players that pick up a copy of the game for the Wii U are not getting the full value of what they initially paid for.

Warner Bros. for instance, did not include an online multiplayer mode for Batman Arkham Origins, while Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist has an online multiplayer mode, but no local split screen co-op.

Granted, this isn't the first instance of companies applying this "laissez-faire" (or "do-nothing") type of approach to Nintendo's platform. However, this practice has become far worse due to the sheer number of companies hopping on this informal policy bandwagon.

Treyarch, (and by the transitive property, Activision) in my opinion, is one of the worst offenders of this nonchalant apathy towards Nintendo and is guilty of making false promises on more than one occasion. This was evident during the Wii era with Call of Duty: Black Ops lack of DLC (although, that console's limitations were clearly evident) and with Call of Duty: Black Ops II on the Wii U now. It took Treyarch two years after the game was released to develop the Nuketown 2025 map, which was long overdue. Call of Duty: Ghosts by Infinity Ward in comparison managed to finally get the Freefall map several months after the other consoles received it.

Ubisoft proved that DLC was possible on Nintendo's latest hardware by offering transactions for Assassin's Creed III. Sources reported however, that these options would not be available for the latest installment of the franchise, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

On a much more positive note, Ubisoft creative director Jonathan Morin had briefly discussed his latest title, Watch_Dogs, stating in an interview with CVG (ComputerAndVideoGames) that it is "...a beautiful game on Wii U and it's cool to play it just on the GamePad". In addition a comparison between that version and the other on PS3 and XBOX 360 was made of Morin and he claimed that "On the Wii U, you can play on the GamePad screen. There are no new features or anything like that - it's the same game, but we're optimizing the controls for the beast that is the Wii U GamePad".

So there is some hope for the Wii U considering that a few (if not many) games will have all of the bells and whistles that the other platforms come with naturally. (You can read the conversation in its entirety here.)

That's not to say that all of the blame is on the third-party developers. Au contraire! Nintendo has not exactly done an optimal job of generating public awareness of what the Wii U actually is, or what it is capable of either. Initially, many folks believed it to be an add-on to the existing Wii console (perhaps due to the name). Thus, perhaps folks viewed it as an unnecessary peripheral rather than an entirely new home console.

The sad thing is that most companies are advertising that their games will be on "next-gen" consoles, but they deliberately exclude the Wii U. As such, it's fallen into this abstract, unknown, unspoken category.

How can Nintendo get back on top? I would suggest just belting out as many games as possible. There has been a positive shift since Mario Kart 8 was released and even moreso with Super Smash Bros. Wii U. Hopefully, with the sales of the Amiibo figures, profits gained from those sales can apply to some of Nintendo's major financial losses.

How this information will affect other publisher and developer opinions remains to be determined, but it does not bode well in this economic climate. On one last positive note, Nintendo's latest intellectual property, Splatoon for the Wii U is doing quite well as a third person shooter. It's a game where characters known as "Inklings"— beings that can transform between humanoid and squid-like forms, hide or swim through colored ink sprayed on surfaces using gun or brush-based weaponry. The object of the game is not to score points via kills, but through covering territory with the most amount of ink. It's a game that has become quite popular despite the sluggish sales of the home consoles themselves.

We as gamers need to be patient and keep watching to ensure that Nintendo gets its fair share of publicity and we need to stop treating it like the third political party in an election. The more competition between the three major competing companies, the lower the prices will be for the consumer.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My E3 2015 Predictions & Expectations


I'd like Nintendo to ideally make a new Custom Robo game. The last one that came out was back in March 19, 2007 with Custom Robo Arena. The development company is called NOISE and has worked with Nintendo for a number of years, however, it has been quite some time since their last title.

As such, I think it would be a great undertaking if Nintendo were to re-visit the franchise, especially with the release of the upcoming game, Little Battlers eXperience. In that game, (which is based off of an animated series about kids building miniature, remote controlled mecha models, battling them, all while taking on a secret conspiracy that utilize the mechs for their own ambitions) players can customize their mechs with a plethora of different parts and weapons. I feel as though this would be the perfect time to make this upcoming year the year of the mechs!

This holds merit when one considers that the upcoming title Xenoblade Chronicles X has giant humanoid mech suits called "Skells" ("Dolls" in the Japanese version), which are used to combat the various enemies in the expansive open world environment.

I also expect to see Starfox Wii U with an all new trailer for the game, as well as a brief glimpse into the main plot (if possible). I've been a fan of the Starfox games since the release of Starfox 64 (I have yet to beat it sadly, as I've only recently downloaded the game on the Wii's Virtual Console). I did however manage to complete Star Fox Assault and rather enjoyed the game.

Although Nintendo mentioned that The Legend of Zelda for the Wii U would not be featured at E3, I still sort of hope that maybe they will toss out a teaser trailer or something to whet our ferocious appetites. In addition, I eagerly await more information on Fire Emblem and the Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem crossover.

I'd like to see a brand new Pokémon Snap, and a new Metroid game as well, but perhaps those ideas should be locked away for now. I think it would be fantastic to be able to once again revisit the Metroid Prime Hunters universe with a sequel that has a truly dedicated multiplayer first person shooter experience (most desired on the Wii U) with Samus Aran, Weavel, Sylux, Kanden, Spire, Noxus, and Trace.


The one game I'm most interested in with regards to Sony is Tom Clancy's: The Division. I eagerly anticipate more details and gameplay footage that will assure that my decision to purchase the game will be a worthwhile investment.

Microsoft, Activision, & et cetera

As for Microsoft, Bethesda, and the rest, I want to be surprised and dazzled by their showcases. I don't know exactly what to look for, but I'm hoping that overall, I will be impressed.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Gamer Journalism: Pointing Fingers Without Taking Blame

As a gamer, I like to think of myself as among a group of individuals (male or female) that may or may not have a selective interest in virtual media. I've perhaps stated once before that video games are akin to books in that (more often than not) they tell a story of some kind, whether it's simple or complex. They come in a variety of different genres and styles, all with some sort of protagonist and antagonist. It's fair to say that one individual's tastes may differ from another's, but at the end of the day, those that use the medium are all collectively and equally described as "readers" or in this case, "gamers".

...Or so I thought. Apparently within the "gaming community" a storm has arisen. Rather, several storms are on the horizon so to speak, as gaming journalists are under fierce scrutiny as well as the very vulnerable medium itself. On social media, common hashtags have surfaced such as #GamerGate and #GamesSoWhite. (For those unaware of what is trending, there have been numerous political discussions regarding racial depictions in video games as well as sexism in video game culture.)

Essentially, a culture war has been manifesting over gaming culture diversification, artistic recognition and social criticism of video games, which all incorporate a gamer's "social identity". 

Gamergate for instance, was the result of a sustained campaign of misogynistic attacks back in August of 2014 against game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu, in addition to the feminist cultural critic, Anita Sarkeesian, who were subjected to severe cyber-bullying and multiple death threats. Now, while some individuals using the #gamergate hashtag have stated that their goal is to improve the ethical standards of video game journalism by peacefully opposing social criticism in video game reviews (which they claim is the result of a conspiracy among feminists, progressives and social critics) others have used more distasteful methods. It's become somewhat frustrating (as well as downright exhausting) as some gamers view this phenomenon as a detour of legitimate gaming reviews focused primarily on the premises of the games themselves while others view this as a rather valid critique.

The most recent trend has been about the depictions (or lack thereof) of minority characters in video games. I tend not to dwell too much upon how many minorities are visible in a video game (despite being a minority in real life), but every now and then, I'm reminded of the panel on Politics in Video Games I attended at ColossalCon back in 2012. That panel discussed many subtle issues in many of the games I played. I typically will create characters (whenever possible in a customizable game) reflective of my own racial skin tone, but for the most part I feel that it's mostly aesthetic and has no bearing on how I play the game. My skills tell the tale, not how my protagonist looks.

One troubling thought that never occurred to me prior to that panel was the fact that the protagonist of the Legend of Zelda franchise, Link, was a blonde haired, blue-eyed character that could have been easily associated with the Aryan race along with Princess Zelda, while Ganondorf, the antagonist (and the only male minority Gerudo character) was not, and was considered "evil" (In some of the games, he's merely jealous of Hyrule's prosperity and acted out of envy. One game in particular, The Wind Waker, comes to mind.) More often than not, there are few, if any, meaningful minority characters at all in a majority of video games. Most of the time, players are playing as a Caucasian male. This is certainly not reflective of the times. That's not to say that there should be mandated quotas, but some ethnic diversity is more than welcome.

Nonetheless, it has sort of popped my proverbial "bubble" in the fantasy realm. I now look at some of my games through a begrudgingly tainted perspective. A once enjoyable escape from the harshness of reality, has now become grossly entangled in its grasp.

As a political science graduate, I can obviously see the correlations between my favorite pastime and politics. However, as such, it truly pains me to see how hostile and divided the gaming community has become. I like to view the personal and political aspects of life to be somewhat equal, but separate entities (much like the separation of "Church & State"). There may be a bit of a spillover effect from one end to the other, or vice-versa, but too much of one aspect without consideration for the other can, and often will, produce disastrous results.

I suppose what I wish to happen is a tolerance AND a formal acknowledgement of the cultural and ethical dilemmas posed in video games, at least for now (that is, until gradual improvements have been made). Change will not happen overnight. In addition, many folks are not as tolerant of change as others (which is fine, to an extent). Yet, what players & journalists need to realize is that the industry itself is only one facet of the problem, while the consumers themselves are another. Both are at fault, as I see it, because consumers have the power to boycott those products that they don't agree with, thereby forcing developers to re-evaluate their content in order to produce a worthwhile product. (I've done so myself countless times).

I hope that as the dust settles, we can get back to discussing the plots and storylines of games rather than being so enamored with the political miasma of a game. Games are meant to be thought-provoking, amusing, and enjoyable...not capable of inducing undue burden.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Splatoon Global Testfire

In the upcoming title Splatoon, players will be shooting colorful ink blots at opponents as well as surfaces, which the player characters, known as "Inklings" can swim through, in order to hide from enemies, increase movement speed, or climb up walls. In the online multiplayer mode, two teams compete to cover the map in most of their color of ink. In the single-player campaign, the player infiltrates an enemy octopus army that uses its own arsenal of various ink weapons.

During a very special Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo announced the Splatoon Global Testfire, an open beta test for the upcoming Wii U action-shooter game.

For those interested in participating, you must download the beta demo from the Wii U eShop, which is available now. Splatoon’s Global Testfire will run during specific dates and times in the United States. These times are listed in the schedule below:

May 8 from 8:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M. PT / 4:00 - 5:00 A.M. GMT / 11:00 P.M - 12:00 A.M EDT
May 9 from 4:00 A.M. - 5:00 A.M. PT / 12:00 - 13.00 P.M. GMT / 7:00 A.M. - 8:00 A.M. EDT
May 9 from Noon to 1 P.M. PT / 16:00 - 17.00 P.M. GMT / 3:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M. EDT

Participants that work for Nintendo will have their Inkling avatars wearing Lab Coats during the event. Nintendo has not indicated any additional dates or hours for the worldwide Splatoon Global Testfire at this time.

The Nintendo Direct Presentation revealed a plethora of information regarding the central hub, Booyah Base. It also provided an in-depth look at the vendors and types of equipment available for purchase. The Splatoon Amiibo set will unlock three NES-style mini-games when the game launches on May 29, 2015.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Smash Bros. Fighting Ballot - Cast Yours Today!

"Who's the manliest man to ever wear a red-clad clad outfit with a pink cape? Viewtiful Joe of course! He's the embodiment of every wannabe superhero out there. With the mystical V-watch given to him by Captain Blue, he fights to save Movieland! He's perfect for the Smash Bros. battlefield because of his signature moves of slowing down or speeding up time (something that the timer item already does!). He would look great on the big screen with his catchphrase transformation, "Henshin-A-Go-Go, baby!". Joe would just be a perfect fit for the franchise. Please give him his shot in the spotlight!"


This is the message I sent to Nintendo regarding my pick as the next Smash Bros. Character. Submit your vote here:

Please only one vote per person.

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Dragonball: Xenoverse Review: Not Quite Over 9000

Dragonball Z: Xenoverse is a Dragon Ball game developed by Dimps for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows (via Steam).

Essentially, Towa and Mira (Female and Male Demons respectively) have begun interfering with time using manipulative magic (possession, enhancement of abilities, et cetera) in order to wreak havoc which later results in the Demon God Demigra's release from the Chasm of Time (a prison dimension both separate and a part of time). Demigra, once freed, also begins to damage history almost to the point of being irreversible. The player's role as a Time Patroller is to fix the timeline with the Supreme Kai of Time and Future Trunks by restoring certain events during fights.

From Left to Right: Supreme Kai of Time, Future Trunks (Time Patrol Trunks)

It's fresh a take on the familiar Dragonball Z storyline without being a complete rehash of things most fans have seen and heard before. What is so great about the game is that your character feels like the center of attention and absolutely vital during the plot. It's more of an RPG (Role Playing Game) than it is a typical fighter. You can gain experience, level up, and allocate attribute points as needed.

One major aspect of DBZ Xenoverse is that you can pick from up to five different races to choose from when creating your own character. You can choose from Majin, Saiyan, Human/Earthling, Namekian, and Frieza's Race (Arcosian? It's never really explicitly stated that was the name of the villain's race, but at this point, I feel as though they Akira Toriyama probably should've properly named them.) There's a pretty decent selection yet, I'm kind of irritated that Supreme Kai or Android races aren't available and that there is no "thin" Majin options for males (They're all fat).

From Left to Right: Towa, Mira
The gameplay mechanics are decent, but they're not great. The combat system is a tad overly simplistic, almost to the point of being bare bones button mashing. It becomes repetitive and frustrating at certain intervals as you're alternating between strong melee attacks, weak melee, ki blasts, and ultimate or strike super attacks. The most irritating aspect however, is when players are fighting against more than one opponent, as the COMs tend to spam attacks and will attack mercilessly as you're locked onto only one of them at any given time. There is no training mode to practice acquired skills, nor is there a preview option for when the player acquires a new outfit or piece of clothing before purchase.

The AI is absolutely terrible for certain missions (in particular, the ones where you have to keep allies alive while maintaining your own health all while trying to defeat your opponents in the time allotted).

In addition, there are no beam struggles (which means no iconic laser clashes like the Galick Gun verses the Kamehameha).

The currently level cap is 80 (at the time of this writing) and I'm honestly hoping that will change. I'm questioning why it wasn't just placed at 100 for the sake of it.


Overall, this is a 7.0/10.0 (C) rank title. It's most certainly worth a rental, but depending on your preferences, it may or may not be worth an actual purchase. I would argue that it's not as good as DragonBall Z: Budokai Tenkaichi III (In my personal opinion, the greatest game in the franchise.), but it pulls its own weight. It far exceeds the most terrible game in the franchise, Dragonball Z: Sagas, that's for certain.

My Custom Character: David
"I'm going to tell you more about this game, but first, let me take a selfie!"
Key Criticisms

  • No "Sonic Sway" defensive move.
  • Android Race and Supreme Kai Race options are unavailable.
  • No "thin" Majin options for male characters.
  • No Super Saiyan 3 transformations for custom characters.
  • Random Number Generator Reward System.
  • No Versus Mode available via the title screen. (You must select a character first, then go from the central HUB city Toki Toki Tower to get to the local and online versus screens, respectively.)
  • Occasional frame rate drops (Usually only occurs during intense combat with multiple enemies. I currently own the PS4 version of the game.) 
  • Audio not in sync with dialogue.
  • No proper Ki Blast Deflection (The basic ki blasts all characters have.)
  • No "Dragon Dashing" (or "Dash Clash") - When two players dash into each other at the same time, they should enter the "clash" simulation where both players will battle it out (usually in a Joystick struggle) for the most hits. Whoever get the most hits (in the hit counter usually displayed on screen) would win the struggle and knocks the opponent away, usually to be followed up with continued attack.
  • No adjustable difficulty settings
  • Limited character roster (For instance, Majin Vegeta is unavailable. Dodoria and Zarbon are not available and "base form" Teen Gohan is not either. He starts off Super Saiyan)

Praise/Noteworthy Aspects:

  • No QTEs (Quick Time Events) are present during the storyline, although clashes & beam struggles should be implemented.
  • Nice overall story (albeit one without main character dialogue)
  • Customization options are vast (Skills, clothing, et cetera)
  • True to form graphics (although, some characters look like they've put on a lot more tanning oil than needed).
  • Good Soundtrack


Typically, I use a scale of 1.0-10.0 (with 1.0 being the worst possible game and 10.0 being the absolute best). Additionally, I may use an A through F grading scale to further determine the quality (or lack thereof) of entertainment each game possesses. C rank games, for example, are of average quality while D rank games (while only slightly above F rank) are far worse. What sets D rank games apart from F ranked ones involves the basic fundamental playable mechanics of the game itself. (Most movie games fall under D rank category, while games like "Sprung" for the Nintendo DS fall under the F category as it should not even be considered a game).

Rent: This game is worth a trial run. It may have some aspects to it that are memorable or noteworthy, but may need a bit more polish. You'll have to try it to see if it's worth a purchase. Player discretion is advised.

Buy: This game is most definitely worth the money you've spent (possibly even more so). These are games you should go for.

Pass: This game isn't worth your time. It may have dropped frame-rates, glitches, poor storylines, bad or non-responsive mechanics, or other terrible components. I try to avoid purchasing poor games whenever possible and I read reviews (like you are now) in order to get a better idea of whether or not I'll like a particular game.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Practice of DLC & Why I Despise It

I think the most appalling practice that has come to fruition from the video game industry is the incorporation of Downloadable Content or micro-transactions for current titles. As a veteran gamer, I find it a little bit absurd that games have not only gone up in price since my youth (from a standard MSRP of $49.99 to $59.99), but I also find it cruel to have games now with a lack of content that is added after the initial release that the owner is required to pay for.

I understand and can sympathize with companies trying to get games out as soon as possible in order to meet deadlines and gain revenue, but now this trend has become commonplace without anyone really questioning why they're tacking on these added fees for content that is typically not worth the investment. If anything, publishers should just make the full game come out with all of the bells and whistles included.

To me, it seems as though DLC detracts from the overall experience, especially if other players want to discuss their experiences. It ostracizes those that either choose not to (or can not) purchase the DLC for the game their friends are playing. Often times, if the game has a multiplayer online feature, the DLC is required to play on certain maps (or stages) or it is required to equip special items for use. Those that do not have such content, cannot play with those that do. In some instances, it can be game breaking as certain add-ons disrupt game balance. Regular maintenance and patches can regulate this problem but it is still one that shouldn't exist in the first place.

In some instances, publishers have even put additional content (that could have been DLC) on the game disc itself, which the consumer can unlock buy spending additional money. Which means that the content is already on the disk. Therefore, my argument is that the practice of selling DLC is an exploitation of what should already be provided to the gamer. Essentially, publishers are using DLC as a way of increasing the price of games arbitrarily while being relatively inconspicuous about it.

With the current minimum wage being $8.15 per hour (in Michigan. I'm using them just as an example) and games roughly being $60.00 (not including tax & other fees), it would take approximately eight hours to earn enough to purchase one game. It would be a fairly reasonable argument to state that the game should have at lease that many hours worth of entertainment for the value. Yet, gamers are getting a fraction of what they pay for.

When a consumer sells a game, the purchased DLC isn't included with it, and the new owner will have to purchase all of that content over again. From the publisher's perspective, that means they're finally making some money from a used game sale. From the player's point of view however, it means there's no way to recoup any amount of the money they may have spent on their DLC. This make a game substantially less valuable in the long term.

Now, that's not to say that all of the downloadable content is absolutely vital to a game. Some of the extras sold are secondary to the game itself or not deeply impactful to the main storyline on a large majority of games. However, overall, they are meant to enhance the game and further the development of certain subplots or elements to it. As such, it seems like a sucker punch to those that are driven by deep meaningful gameplay experiences and those that want to view games as a form of art (like a book). Imagine your favorite novel asking you to pay an additional $19.99 for enhanced backstories about certain characters or for more descriptive text about the scenery depicted in the chapter. It seems rather ridiculous as it shatters the immersion of the player. It just seems like a downright manipulative practice.