What’s Dishonored 2 Really About?

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I finally just finished up Dishonored 2, and while I’m not going to “review” it, I have a couple fairly broad things to write about my experience with the game overall. Its later parts certainly live up to what I’d played at the time I put it in my 2016 game of the year list. What stands out to me coming off it though is that while Bethesda and Arkane billed it a stealth game about eliminating targets, I spent a whole lot of time doing nothing related to eliminating targets.

There was a point in the final level where I was about to enter the area where the final boss resided and I remembered I’d forgotten to figure out some extra objective way back at the beginning of the level, so I spent a few hours backtracking. This was supposed to be the climax of the game and I just put it on hold because I wanted to find more generally useless crap. Continue reading

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An Important Announcement

I tacked this on the end of my Friday post but I wanted to give it a slot of its own in case anybody missed it:

I’m no longer going to maintain my thrice-weekly update schedule. Instead it’s just going to be at least once a week, probably usually on Fridays. I might still post on other days if I feel like it, but I think it’s time I made some more space in my life and redirected some brainpower.

I’ve managed to keep up the Monday-Wednesday-Friday for easily over a decade including my years posting on 1up.com, but life has finally gotten in the way of that. It felt nice keeping up a schedule in a semi-professional way, but the truth is this blog doesn’t make me a dime. I do it in order to keep myself writing, because I like sharing my thoughts, and to have a base from which to advertise to anyone thinking about offering me paying gigs.

Have a nice day. Continue reading

Nintendo Switch: Not A Change But A Consolidation

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Following Nintendo’s Thursday night presentation on the Switch, I don’t see its upcoming console as a really significant change for the company. What I see is a consolidation of just about everything Nintendo has been doing over roughly the past decade. I see aspects of the Wii, the Wii U, and the 3DS, but all refined. I’m not sure how successful Nintendo actually expects this strategy to be, whether it’s actually looking to blow up again, or just survive. Continue reading

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Nintendo Switch Launch Period Speculation

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So the time has come. Everybody even remotely interested in Nintendo is probably gonna be up Thursday night (North American time) for Nintendo’s full reveal of its launch plans for its next major hardware platform, the Switch. That’s less than two months out and only just now getting answers on crucial details like price and launch lineup. Rumors and predictions are all over the place.

I don’t think I have any predictions on the system itself that will significantly differ from what all the major publications are probably already saying: the most likely price is $250 USD, the likely date is the weekend of March 18th, and it’s looking increasingly likely that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will make it to launch in Japan and North America. My previous posts on the Switch have also pretty much laid out what I think may happen to the platform long-term. That still leaves a lot of questions to consider for the launch period games though. Continue reading

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Final Fantasy XV and Modern Japanese RPGs

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I was able to take a bit of time out to play the first few hours of Final Fantasy XV, and I’m a bit surprised at how much tries to feel like modern big-budget role playing games while preserving many of the common tenets of traditional Japanese RPGs. I don’t know if this game has had a polarized reception, but overall I like the direction of what I’ve seen so far. I just don’t really know how it lands the execution of its ideas compared to similar games. Continue reading

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Mass Effect Andromeda’s Marketing So Far Just Isn’t For Me.

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The new footage of Mass Effect: Andromeda from Nvidia’s CES 2017 keynote looks okay I guess. For Mass Effect fans who are less interested in shooting aliens than in other popular aspects of the franchise, EA’s marketing for the game so far has been odd. The game comes out on March 21st and the level of hype in the air feels decidedly light for such a big release. Continue reading

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The Real Situation With JRPGs In The West

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During a discussion on GAF stemming from Square Enix’s comments about the popularity of the Dragon Quest games outside Japan, someone posted a chart that, if legit, proves something about the Japanese RPG market in general I think a lot of people may miss. This has to do with the actual size of that market which has colored conversations on the shifting fortunes of JRPGs in western territories over the years. Continue reading

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My 2016 Top 10 Games List

People seem to think 2016 was generally an awful year, but at least it was a good year for video games, probably even better than 2015. 2015 I feel is when AAA games emerged from a sort of rut that started after 2011 as developers were getting used to new hardware. 2016 is proof some kind of good trend is in full swing. I usually don’t force myself to pick 10 games I think are the best of a year, but the fact that I was actually able to pick that many games I immensely enjoyed this year is a great sign.

One thing I also noted is the games on my list tend to be exactly the kinds of games that performed somewhat below expectations commercially because of changing trends in the business. The big budget game business is starting to favor continuous services providing online interactions and rolling content updates. Most of my favorite games were singleplayer with little online interaction — the kind of game that generally stays the same after the initial purchase. I feel like we got a lot of great games of that type in 2016 — games where the developers somehow got a lot of resources to invest not into devices for player retention, but into simply crafting good level design and pretty game worlds for players to explore. Maybe that’s why their weakness in the marketplace against Games As A Service was more visible this year.

Before I start on the list though I should go over the games I couldn’t get to in 2016 and actually didn’t mention in my earlier post about this. Firstly, a lot of seemingly great RPGs came out in 2016, particularly on handheld systems, that I never even tried to find the time to buy or play. Fire Emblem Fates and Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse look like perfectly fine games. Pokemon Sun & Moon also got quite a bit of hype and praise but I’m so hopelessly far behind in Pokemon I mostly just scrolled past it all on my social media. I want to get to it someday though. Also, I pretty much didn’t touch most of 2016’s indie games. I think I was able to finish Firewatch and Inside and that’s it. I bought a few others like Oxenfree and Hyper Light Drifter. I’m sure a lot of those games were great, it’s just that the more time-heavy AAA games got really good in 2016.

And onto the list, starting from the top:

1_29719099415_555a44429b_o-copy Continue reading

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My Top Shooters Of 2016

My Game of the Year thing for 2016 isn’t going to have any categories for genres or anything even though a lot of great games of various types came out this year. I guess I just didn’t have the time or willingness to split things up like that this time around. One thing that must be addressed though is the landscape of shooters that showed up in 2016.

It’s probably one of the best and most varied lineups of shooters to ever come out in a single year. It seems like we got a good or great shooter of every “era” or “type” this year. The Doom-like shooter came back, some good third person shooters came out, a new multiplayer arena shooter is beloved by most everyone, the blockbuster military shooters this year were probably better than they have been in a long time, and some nice things even went on in the tactical shooter world in 2016.

First though I wanna go ahead and admit I’m not going to talk about Overwatch. It seems to be the overall industry favorite for GOTY, but unfortunately I don’t have that much interest in multiplayer games right now. I messed around with Overwatch a bit during the beta, and while I appreciate its characters and art, it’s just not the kind of game that draws me in. I decided not to play Battlefield 1 so I don’t know about it. I bought a copy of The Division but haven’t even installed it.

I’m also not going to talk that much today about Uncharted 4, which seems to be the other most commonly picked GOTY for 2016. Oh I immensely enjoyed Uncharted 4. I’m probably going to at least mention it in my final GOTY post, but its shooting action isn’t what really stands out about it in my memory. I don’t think that was a bad part of the game at all, just not really a stand-out thing when you compare it to the rest of the game as well as the rest of this year’s shooters.

Anyway,

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