Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mighty No. 9 - Is it Truly Mighty, or is it a Feeble Folly?

Mighty No. 9 , a game developed by Keiji Inafune and his new company Comcept, has finally launched after a lengthy series of rather frustrating delays and a distasteful commercial pitch. However, does it live up to all the hype?

The short answer to that question is a depressingly solid "no". As a backer (or "becker" as we we were called) supporters of the Kickstarter campaign were well knowledgeable about Inafune's past successes with Capcom and their famous blue bomber Megaman. So, suffice to say, we were eager to support him with his new spiritual successor.

The game was crowdfunded with nearly $4 million dollars worth of funds collected in 2013. All of the stretch goals were met, but with frequent delays and the promise of multi-platform compatibility across last gen as well as current gen consoles, Inafune ended up biting off more than he could chew. With such an ambitious undertaking, there were bound to be complications.

Unfortunately, the reviews that have come in after Mighty No. 9's launch have been far from pleasant. I myself felt no emotional connection to the characters. We're sort of jettisoned from the start into fighting as Beck without much knowledge of his creator, his female counterpart Call, or any of the other characters (at least in the opening level) let alone what motivates them or why. Voice acting in particular for Beck's (potential) rival Ray was, from my perspective, a rather poor performance.

One of the most concerning aspects of the game though is that there are long, black loading screens (on the Wii U version at least) which occur for extended periods of time even after you've died and are waiting for the last checkpoint. These constantly remind me of the sad emptiness that is the void of life.

Most morbidly perhaps is that I somehow never got notified that the survey for entering your name into the credits had even been sent. Apparently, the e-mail was dated Friday November 21, 2014 at 3:49 AM. I had gone all this time under the assumption that I had already completed the survey and everything was set in motion. However, considering the length of time it took to produce, one would've thought a reminder e-mail or some sort of official announcement would have been made ensuring that fans who donated towards that reward tier were getting what they were paying for. I'm partially at fault for not checking my e-mail inbox for it specifically, but the message was sent on the week of my birthday so arguably, I would've been far more preoccupied with the celebration than my spam filter. (I'm sort of hoping that I am not the only person who did not get their name featured and I'm hoping that future updates may provide the opportunity to correct this predicament, but considering the negative backlash from the gaming community, maybe it is best for me not to have my name listed as a supporter at all.)

I'm right there...and I paid to have my name included...*sigh*

For what it's worth (to me at least) the game still plays like a traditional Megaman game. The nostalgia is still there, but it just seems a bit unpolished. (I've never been very good at Megaman X or the classic 8-bit series) It's not as aesthetically pleasing nor does it have the same charm, but it has the same gameplay mechanics.

Comcept previously spoke of a possible anime or sequel based on Mighty No. 9. It may not get that depending on how well the game sells.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Destiny: Rise of Iron - It is Time to Be Reforged?

The new expansion for Destiny has officially been revealed, making it the first big addition to Destiny since The Taken King, and it's only going to be available for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. That puts Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 Destiny players in a rather difficult situation: To upgrade, or not to upgrade?, that is the question.

Players will still be able to play Destiny (at least, for the foreseeable future) on last-gen consoles (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360), but no additionally new content will be made available for those particular versions of the game. The various players' characters on last-generation consoles will carry over to the current-gen versions of the game so long as those players are upgrading within the same console family (So, if a player decides to upgrade from the PlayStation 3 to a PlayStation 4 for example, their save-file data will resume from where they last left off. However, moving from say an Xbox 360 to a PlayStation 4 account will not work).

When the month of August arrives however, character progress on last-gen and current-gen consoles will also become entirely separate entities, meaning any progress made after August on last-gen versions of the game will not be carried over to the current-gen version of the game. So, unfortunately, this means that there is a deadline for player to make their decisions.

Asking fans of the game to spend hundreds of dollars on a new console and to re-purchase Destiny (and thus, all of the expansions) in order to continue playing, is an extremely bitter pill for many consumers to swallow. (I'm fortunate enough to have begun my journey on the PlayStation 4 thereby circumventing all of this frustration.) Fortunately, Bungie and Activision claim that they are attempting to work out some kind of program to make the transition a bit smoother.

“We are exploring potential options for players to upgrade Destiny from last-gen to next-gen and will have more to say about that with our hardware partners soon...” an official statement from Bungie reads. Perhaps we will know more during their E3 2016 presentation.

As for the expansion itself, titled Destiny: Rise Of Iron, there will be a brand-new playable area known as "the Plaguelands", which encompasses a devastated and dangerous part of what used to be Russia. Players will be introduced to a new breed of mutated Fallen.

Perhaps one of the saving graces about this new DLC is that the beloved Gjallarhorn rocket launcher is becoming a viable weapon once more. This time, it will reemerge with a new black and silver motif. The Twitch reveal stream promised new weapons and armor (a staple for any expansion at this point) a new campaign, new patrol areas, new social spaces, new PvP content, and a whole new raid.

However, all of this just means more of the same in a sense...more monotonous grinding on the same chapters of the story, more of the same weekly strikes and nightfall challenges repeated in a vicious cycle, and "new" raid rewards that are not worth the hours spent constantly fighting against the same enemies, in the same pattern.

The only aspect worth mentioning is the potential narrative this expansion could bring forth. I would prefer quality storytelling and plot-driven dialogue to any of the recently announced gameplay elements.

With Destiny 2, rumored to be released in the Fall of 2017, one has to ask whether or not it is truly worthwhile to partake in this expansion at all.


As for myself, I've had a very tiresome, love/hate relationship with Destiny.


  • Cayde-6 is voiced by Nathan Fillion.
  • It's a well made shooter, but rather poor MMORPG because our customized characters have severely limited options, no options for dialogue, and no questioning of their initial revival. (What killed our guardians in the first place? How long were they dead? How are Guardians brought back to life? What causes perma-death?)
  • Each gun managed to feel unique, with different recoil, spray, and design attributes.
  • Boss battles seem to be rather epic in scale and ferocity making their defeat that much more entertaining.

Cons (Oh boy there are a lot of them...):
  • The single greatest weakness of the original "vanilla" version of Destiny was its failure to use and adequately communicate the game's surprisingly extensive lore, unfortunately delegating all of the amazing character backstories and weapon analysis to trading cards that were only accessible online via Bungie's website. This was slightly improved with The Taken King's cinematics, but not enough to fully immerse players (and thereby restoring all of those that bought their initial copies to active engagement).
  • The game has no matchmaking for raids whatsoever so unless you have six friends that can consistently play online, on a regular basis, coordinating responsibilities effectively, you'll be missing out on opportunities to earn the higher level and exotic gear only available through those raids, which often take several hours and do not guarantee anything worthwhile, ever. In addition, your progress resets every Tuesday rendering even the tiniest checkpoint uneventful. What I can't grasp is why Bungie refuses to include matchmaking. If you throw enough bodies at a door, it'll eventually open. Players will come to learn their roles in the raid much more quickly and they'll take far less time through trial and error.
  • The solution to the aforementioned problem is to join an LFG (Looking For Group) website in the slim hopes of establishing a well-balanced team, getting stuck with an even more poorly coordinated group of players with constant dropouts and further mixed results.
  • There are no options for private lobbies where you could customize the game types or play solely against your friends.
  • The lore and truly flavorful elements of hte game are confined to cards called Grimoire, which are only accessible via Bungie.net which means one has to exit the game to get the full effect of the story's campaign.
  • Clans have disbanded due to the constant repetitive and monotonous nature of this game.
  • You can't rotate the character when you are at the character customization screen.
  • You can't alter your character once it has been made. You must delete that character and start over from the beginning if you truly dislike their appearance.
  • Players can't try a gun before purchasing it with Legendary Marks or Strange coins.
  • Players STILL can not trade gear. If I happen to get more than one exotic weapon or piece of armor, I can not trade the duplicate to a friend of mine who has been trying desperately to obtain that item. It's absolutely ludicrous.
  • Customization has become a nuisance due to the "Light" system, which has gone through several dozen revisions up to the sub-par current standard we have now.
  • Every expansion's enemies are just re-tooled versions of existing ones. For example, the "Taken" in the Taken King were just shadowy-versions of pre-existing Fallen, Hive, Cabal, and Vex with shakier animations. The latest Rise of Iron enemies are just redder versions of existing Fallen. It seems to be very bland and unoriginal. Often I feel like this latest trailer exemplifies the lack of content with its frozen, barren landscape in the background.
  • The so-called "social-spaces" are anything but social. They're just central hubs where players can store their loot, pick up bounties, cash in engrams in a feeble attempt at gaining a higher light level, and marketplaces for a few obsolete guns. Xur occasionally has what players need, but even he runs on a random number sequence.
  • The whole game is online. Which means if you have a shotty internet connection or the game's servers are no longer in use, you essentially have a $60.00 frisbee.


Now to those wondering, I've played a combined total of 563 hours (which equals 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours 44 minutes and 4 seconds) with all three of my characters on Destiny as of the time of this article. Comparatively, my best friend and clan leader ("The Seven Deadly Wins" is our Clan) played for a total combined time of 240 hours (1 week 3 days 53 minutes 52 seconds) with his characters and my other colleague just barely clocking in at 197 hours (1 week 1 day 5 hours 40 minutes 48 seconds). So, I've had far more game time than they have, yet both of them are refusing to play into Bungie's hands for the next expansion's asking price as am I.

Many argue that how many hours you have gotten out of Destiny is equal to the amount you've spent purchasing the game. However, my counter-argument to that is "how many of those hours were not wasted effort getting mediocre gear or grinding until you had to set the controller down and turn off the console from frustration? Was the game worth the full value of the $140.00 you've spent?" If the answer is not an IMMEDIATE yes, then there was a problem.

My qualm: $59.99 for the base game, $39.99 for the first two expansions (if you bought the season pass like I did as a year one owner) Dark Below and House of Wolves, an additional $39.99 for The Taken King, and now $29.99 for Rise of Iron. Grand total of $169.96 plus tax. Was it worth it?

When one thinks about the art of video games, it should be considered as an investment that players get some sort of fulfillment and joy out of, whether it be a great journey, a story that captivates, or some overarching sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. They game itself is far too much a lottery in that the random number generator determines the player's ambition.

Frankly, we as the players need to view this title with a bit more scrutiny. We need to be asking the harder hitting questions like "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?" (The only classes of Guardians that make it seem "authentic" are the Warlocks and Titans).

Destiny: Rise of Iron is expected to debut on September 20, 2016. Hopefully it won't be full of empty promises and disappointments. My ONE hope is that Bungie has considered all of their faults and misgivings about what this game was versus what it could have been, applying that to the sequel in a proper and cohesive manner.

Works Cited:

Craft, Scott. "'Destiny: Rise Of Iron' Splits Progression For Current And Last-Gen Consoles." IDigitalTimes.com. IBT Media Inc., 10 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

Koch, Cameron. "Bungie Is Looking To Help Last-Gen 'Destiny' Players Upgrade To Current-Gen For Rise Of Iron Expansion." Tech Times RSS. TechTimes Inc., 10 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.