Persona 4 Golden Review

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Ive been on a serious PlayStation Vita kick the last month or so. Ive had Persona 4 Golden for a few years now and have been meaning to sit down and give it a serious go one of these days but it just kept getting pushed back. I find I don’t have the time I once use to when it comes to smashing hours into a game. Even when that game is portable. But this time around I made a serious conscious effort to finally play through Persona 4 Golden. I consider Persona 3 to be one of the best JRPs I have ever played. Im not sure how well it still holds up now but from my memory of playing through it in high school it was one of the most genuine JRPG experiences I ever had. Who would have thought mixing dating sims, Pokemon and a collectible card game with a traditional dungeon crawler would yield such results.

Persona 4 Golden is no exception. It is a further refined version of the play style and systems made popular in Persona 3. I haven’t played Persona 5 yet but due to how well that games doing I would suspect its been refined even further there. Persona 4 Golden starts off with your voiceless, nameless (Yu Narukami the in game story name if you want to use it) character moving to Inaba a small country side town of Japan. You live with your uncle Dojima and little cousin Nanako. Soon after arriving you find yourself intertwined with a world inside the TVs and a series of murders you and your high school Investigation team have to solve. The characters are all so dynamic and genuine. You can’t help but feel a friendship grow between them. During my first play through I would think on certain days oh I haven’t seen so and so in a while I should go hangout with them, not because of some advantage I might gain later but because I like the character and want to see what they are up to.

As the game progresses you will build “social links” with others who inhabit the town. These social links are directly connected to a persona type. I look at it like types of Pokemon. You have Fire, Dragon, Psychic and so on in Pokemon and in Persona you have types like Magician, Justice, Chariot. A lot of which are based off tarot cards. The more you use these persona in battle the more they will level, again like Pokemon. The stronger your social links are with the corresponding person that represents that personas type the stronger your persona will be and the more powerful the personas you make of that corresponding type in the future will be. It’s safe to say the out of combat social link aspects are the most important part of the game overall. It’s also the most interesting part for me personally. I genuinely feel connected to the characters I formed strong bonds with through the game. When I finished my first play through I felt a sinking feeling in my chest thinking about how its over and I won’t see them again from my perspective.

Which is partly why I’m playing through it again on New Game Plus (NG+). Got to catch all those Pokemon right, I mean Personas. NG+ is an option you unlock after your first play through. On your first play through you will encounter options you wont be able to use due to insufficient Courage or Knowledge and such. These are things you will raise through the game as you do certain things. They can be maxed out and it would be best to max them out before the end of your first play through. Which you can do very easily on your first play through by simply keeping an eye on it and doing the corresponding tasks to raise them. Another thing that carries over with NG+ is your Persona Compendium which is basically your list of Persona you have created or found over your first play through. Some other things also carry over but I would say these are the most important and standout aspects you get to take with you. Also something very useful with NG+ is the option to change your difficulty in game. On your first play through you will be locked into the difficulty you choose when you start the game so choose wisely. I went with Normal and found it fairly challenging myself. Im now replaying it on Very Easy and well its very easy. This is meant to be a Trophy run for me so I’m ok with that but I think the best middle ground for me would have been “Easy”. If I were to pick it up again just for fun in like 10 years that’s the difficulty I would pick.

Speaking of trophies. You cannot get all the trophies in your first play though. You can get a lot of them but you will be missing some that are ment for a following play through. Which is partly why NG+ exists. Its a genuinely great feature for a game like this. I don’t have many cons for this game but one I will bring up is when it came to the overall investigation of the murders I found every person I was suspicious of ended up being a key part of story. Best way I can put it without spoiling anything is I called it every step of the way and I’m talking about the True Ending here where there’s a lot going on. In the games defense I am a big fan of mystery in general. Sherlock Holmes is one of my heroes so naturally when dealing with a murder investigation in a game I’m trying to break it down very aggressively. Also a bit of a humble brag here but I am also a licensed private investigator here in Canada so I’m a bit more suspicious than most people would be simply playing through this game. It’s also why I love Naoto Shirogane so much. So thats one issue with the game which again is more an issue with me than the game itself.

Another small issue I have is after you max out a social link you really loose the incentive to see that person again. It feels a lot like I got what I needed from you now buzz off. Which feels really bad from the standpoint of someone you got to know well enough to max out their social link. Even something as simple as experience points following a maxed out social link to the corresponding persona type would have been a good enough incentive. I wonder if they made a change to this in Persona 5.

Persona 4 Golden is a 10/10 all day every day. This game is a reason to buy a PlayStation Vita if you haven’t got one already. If this is the only game you ever get for the Vita than it would be money well spent. I cant seem to get myself to put it down. Ive even gone as far as having a 2 different dreams about the game. Im already planing out my fall schedule so I can finally play Persona 5. Keep an eye out for that review.

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Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

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When I finished watching Antman and the Wasp I have to say my feelings were indifferent. I didn’t dislike the movie but I didn’t like it either. I found it hard to watch a Marvel movie after Infinity War. Everything comes off as being small in comparison. Pun intended. I didn’t like what they did with Ghost at all. I’m really getting tired of this every character needs to be either not white or a woman regardless of the source material. If you want to add in more people of color or woman into your media make new interesting characters for them. Don’t take characters we know and love and change them for your agenda. I’m looking you Starfire.

I also didn’t care about wasps mother one bit. Sure she might help kick off things with Thanos in the future but I don’t think she was overall needed for that. I’m sure they could have easily tweaked things here and there to get the same results. Other than that which is quite a bit really I liked the movie. I think Paul Rudd was hilarious and lovable again as Ant-man. I love the dynamic he has with his agent caretaker. They sold me on the relationship they had from the moment they were on the screen together. I really want to see more of this agent in the future.

Michael Pena as Luis is also back and he’s got a good bit of screen time. I think Luis is one of my favorite characters in the MCU. I wouldn’t mind a show or movies about Luis going around getting himself into trouble. I would love to see that. Overall I think the movie was a fun watch and worth seeing if you are a Marvel fan or an Ant-man fan. If you’re not one of these 2 groups you aren’t missing anything by skipping this movie.

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SHAZAM! – Official Teaser Trailer

I love Shazam as a character. As a kid, I liked him more than most Super Heros. It was exactly what any kid would want. Being able to be a kid with Super Powers but at the same time, grown-ups will take you seriously. I wasn’t too sure about this movie leading up to the trailer and I’m still not but it has for sure swayed me to be more hopeful.

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Writers Notebook

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I’ve found myself writing a lot more recently and decided to get a notebook to dedicate to writing. I wanted to transcribe anything I find useful from my previous notebooks. When doing this I found an interesting trend with my writing through the years. This is a 4 year span of notes I’ve been taking. All the tabs represent writing points and exclude things like “Video games I need to beat” lists. The pink tabs are during my time in college 2014-2015. The blue tabs are all after college when I was still figuring out my job. Clearly, this is when I had the most time to write. I actually held back on the tabs here. 2015-2016. The purple tabs are from when I was comfortable and established with my job. As you can see there was a huge drop in writing 2016-2017. And the green tabs are 2017-present(2018 as of writing this). I started using my notebook differently with the most current Moleskine, because of this I ended up having far less in it than I otherwise would have around this time.

Based on the level of consistency with the last 3 I would be on my 5th Moleskine now if I kept up with my previous writing trend. That writing trend being the back half of the notebook being used as a journal. I stopped doing this because I didn’t see the point of keeping a journal. I thought any writing points I needed I can add throughout the notebook. What Ended up happening is I started writing less. Which now is fixed with the dedicated Writers Notebook. I went with the Moleskine large soft cover for my Writers Notebook because I didn’t want too many pages on a subject if I can help it. If you are looking at picking up a Moleskine notebook and having trouble deciding between the soft cover and hard. I personally prefer soft cover. I find it overall nicer but I do find it more difficult to write in on a general basis. That being said if you need to write say standing in a train than I think the softcover it better. You can fold it back on itself and write fairly comfortably.

With a dedicated writers notebook, I found it much easier to work on my writing and blog post, this post included. Its hard to beat the level of convenience you get with having a single reference point. I didn’t organize it in any special way. Just numbered the pages, transcribed any quotes or ideas I had over the years and left a few pages after to expand on. If I fill those pages up ill just leave a small note on what page it continues on. I’ve already found that I’m seeing results in my writing after doing this. Just last night as I was going to bed I came up with some talking points for a project I’m working on. I jumped out of my bed and wrote them down in my Writers Notebook. I’ve already started implementing them into my project today. It’s not the first time I’ve come up with ideas like this but I never got out of bed before to write it down. The lack of having a focal point made me lazy and wander off. I would tell myself ill just remember it. Now I don’t have to.

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Blizzcon 2017 Thoughts

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World of Warcraft Classic — I’m really surprised they announced this since all the Vanilla WoW kids seemed to have given up a while ago. Once Legion came out most WoW players on the bandwagon stopped caring about Nostalrius since all they wanted was content and the guys who were on the bandwagon just for the hell of it weren’t going to play to begin with. The small fringe groups of Vanilla WoW fans stopped playing WoW altogether or moved onto another private server. Even the ones pushing for Vanilla WoW servers in my group of friends stopped talking about it well over a year ago and they were never really into WoW to begin with. Blizzard didn’t really talk much about this and based on what they said I’m sure it is a fair bit off. Just to be clear I’m all for this I just prefer new content. Everyone looks back at these expansions with rose tinted glasses but every single expansion had its shares of pros and cons. I’ll for sure give it a try when it comes out.

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth — I was a little sceptical and still am about this. Anyone who’s been following BlizzCon for a while can tell you the whole “Bringing the War Back to Warcraft” line is a bit cursed. The last time we heard it we got Cataclysm which had its ups but also had a lot of downs and Warlords of Draenor which mostly had downs but some ups. I blame Blizzard for WoD. Not WoDs fault it didn’t have any content and garrisons were a bad idea for the same reasons they didn’t end up putting player housing in Vanilla way back. I’m just saying I’m sceptical of Battle for Azeroth. A really good opening cinematic that got my heart pumping isn’t enough for me to be satisfied. All the following coverage just kind of looked ok to me. Legion has been awesome and I think we will look back at it as one of the best expansions. Compared to that this looks lukewarm so far. That being said I am really liking what they are doing with the amulets which are pretty much replacing our artifact weapons. I still think artifact weapons are far more interesting but I understand the reasoning for cutting down 2 to 4 weapons into one amulet. Even though you lose a lot of epic flavour with it. Little quality of life improvements like this are nice, just the overall epic scale doesn’t seem to be there.

P.S. Only 3 new sub-races per faction? Still no Red Orcs?…sloppy Blizz, sloppy…Upright orcs though, so thanks for that.

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Diablo — ?

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Starcraft 2 — If you’re a consistent fan of the RTS genre or Just Starcraft in general then there seemed to be some good updates to the game. Blizzard is adding in the expected quality of life improvements and it seems to be more accessible to new players. It also looks like they are making the base game free to play which is pretty cool. None of this will get me playing but I can see returning players and new players going back to the game over this.

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Hearthstone — I personally quit Hearthstone a few months back to focus on Magic The Gathering and their upcoming Online CCG. Nothing against Hearthstone, just my TCG/CCG interests are taken up by Magic The Gathering.  I told myself Knights of The Frozen Throne will be my last Hearthstone expansions for the foreseeable future and with Kobolds and Catacombs…that statement hasn’t changed. Lol, that being said I will come back to Hearthstone to play the new single player “Dungeon Run” content. It is this contained adventure where you don’t even have to build a deck till you enter. You don’t have to worry about buying anything and you just have a good time playing. Pick a class, get some cards and build your deck as you play through the Dungeon Run. I see it a lot like you’re a new player in World of Warcraft and you are entering your first dungeon. You always find new solid upgrades as you go through. Great addition to Hearthstone to keep players like me coming back. What do I think of the new Kobolds and Catacombs expansion? My feelings are /shrug ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ couldn’t care less.

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Overwatch — Man what a surprise from my least favourite Blizzard game. I mean it still is my least favourite Blizzard game even though Blizzard seems to want you to hate Diablo the most. But damn does it look good. I don’t like Overwatch from a fundamental gameplay level. I find it remedial compared to almost every other shooter on the market. Which is exactly why it’s popular. You can be trash and still be useful and improve quickly simply by paying attention a little more. I mean I get why people like it. Everything from Blizzcon 2017 makes me get it even more. I mean how cool were some of those maps and the Reinhardt cinematic? I don’t even like the game but that cinematic got me thinking of getting a Reinhardt tattoo. The new hero Moira is a really interesting take on a healer. Her style and gameplay look really fun. She comes off as a more skill capped healer when compared to others like Lucio and Mercy. Cant go AFK and get MVP on Moira. The new Blizzard World map looks amazing. They said that in the world of Overwatch that Blizzard exists but in that universe they naturally have nothing to do with Overwatch itself. So Blizzard World is an Overwatch map but is themed after the other Blizzard games. Might be hard to follow but it’s a great addition regardless. Not bad Overwatch, not bad. Might just have to pop in the disk again sometime.

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Heroes of the Storm — Another surprising turn of events. I have been kind of done with Heroes of the Storm for a few months now but Blizzcon won me back. A whole bunch of new interesting hero’s like Honzo and Alexstrasza, reworks and quality of life improvements. Fine Blizzard fine. It seems I haven’t paid you enough through this game so I’ll give you some more over the coming months. The single thing that got me the most interested was their new ranking system. Its a new take on their current MMR system but instead of wins and loses counting for a large part of your MMR they seem to be focusing more on you and the hero you pick. If you play a difficult hero and play that hero well and also win you will jump up higher in your MMR. Same goes for if you play an easier hero and don’t perform well and lose, you will go down further in MMR. So winning and losing still matters but you can still move up in MMR as long as you are performing the best you can. They also showed how this leads to much fewer matches you need to play to get placed where you belong. This isn’t the exact numbers but it was something like 240 matches down to 190 matches with the new ranked system. They also said that number should go down further after its officially implemented in December.

Blizzcon 2017 MVP — Overwatch followed closely in 2nd by Heroes of the Storm.

Blizzcon 2017 Loser — Diablo (I mean really. Surprised?)

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Fujifilm X100F Review

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I have been playing with my copy of the Fuji X100F since its release on Feb,23,2017. This is the first Fuji camera I’ve owned but not the first one I’ve tried. Fujifilm’s philosophy is something I appreciate and can get behind. Good well-honed products with vintage style and old-school sense. Clean and well thought out with improvements with each new version. Now all that being said these improvements will cost you a really pretty penny. Maybe even 2. I need to say this first, I like the X100F. It’s my daily driver and my go-to camera for my Instagram accounts. I’m going to keep it and I would probably even upgrade to the next model whenever that comes out if the competition doesn’t do anything better. Which I doubt they will since Fuji has this part of the market locked down.

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I just want to get that all out of the way before I say I think it costs too much for most people. I consistently use 3 systems at the moment. Sony a6000, Olympus EM5MKII, and the new Fuji X100F. With all these, I think the X100F is debatably the worst camera in many ways. I would recommend the Sony and the Olympus here over the Fuji with ease. Is the Fuji the most expensive camera here? Yes. It’s as expensive as the Olympus with a 35mm equivalent lens. Maybe even a bit more expensive and it’s easily 2 times the price of the Sony. When it comes to specs and features the Sony clearly loses but hell its half the price. Besides the a6000’s big brothers the a6300 and a6500 are both feature rich and they come in competitively priced vs the X100F. The X100F isn’t even that much more compact than the Olympus and it’s both larger and heavier than the Sony.

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So why? Why would anyone go with the Fuji X100F? For me, it’s not about the specs. I understand how light works, I know how to shoot and I know how to edit in post. If I could get away with it I could do a quality shot on my iPhone. What I’m trying to say is on paper it can be clear what going this way and that. The thing I like about the X100F is its character. It’s spunk. It’s got a little jazz in its soul and a hint of swing in its step. I would say that’s all the stuff you can’t put a price on but Fuji clearly did. Everything on its own with the X100F doesn’t sell it for me. It’s all of it together and in my hands that does it. The X100F can party, I can hang out with the X100F any day and have a good time. A lot of the other cameras now days are just a bit standoffish. It’s all kind of skin deep, no personality. The X100F’s all personality. For work, there’s an endless list of cameras I can name which are better. For play and everything else, my X100F is at the top followed closely behind by my EM5MKII.

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So do I like the Fuji X100F? No, I love it. Do I recommend the Fuji X100F? Well…no, not to most people. You really need to know what you want and know what you’re investing in here. All that “character” can be a little much for a lot of people. There are other very comparable cameras with a good bit of character who will get the job done. If regardless of this you still insist on the Fuji X100F you are going to have a good time. If you are a traveler or street photographer you are going to have an even better time.

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I hope everyone enjoyed my review on the X100F. I know it’s not your standard review but there’s an endless amount of those all saying the same things. I thought I should just be straight with you all and not do the go to upright stern voice review. If you liked this please follow the links down below for more.

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Vainglory Review

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Vainglory is a game that shows how mobile gaming should be taken more seriously.

I’ve been meaning to write a review for Vainglory for months now. From the moment I joined The Cube as the App Store game writer, Vainglory was going to be my swan song to mobile gaming. Sadly it was just one of those things that kept getting pushed back for the right “time” and I also pivoted what I wrote about. Simply put I had my Vainglory review on the back burner. But no more.

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Vainglory is a mobile MOBA/ARTS game which has been “perfected for touch” as they put it. I agree. It takes place on a map called “The Halcyon Fold”. It has a single lane with a jungle bellow the lane. You play as one of 3 hero’s vs a group of another 3 Heroes. Like most MOBAs victory is decided by destroying the opponents “Vain Crystal”. (The namesake of the game but basically the Throne or Nexus.) Something different from most MOBAs is your heroes here have one less ability than usual for a total of 2 normal spells and 1 ultimate ability. Unlike most MOBAs that come out nowadays you still have last hitting and on use items. Which is fairly surprising since those are considered aspects from more “hardcore” MOBAs. It all ends up working really well since they kept some things in while streamlining other parts of the game. Overall it feels great and plays fast.

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Heroes are split into 3 roles. Lane, Jungle, and Roam. Lane and jungle are fairly straightforward to anyone who’s played an MOBA before. Lane is best played by hero’s who can poke from a distance and don’t have to commit as much for last hitting or poking the other laner. Junglers rotate around their jungle and sometimes the enemies depending on how ballsy they are looking for gank opportunities. Roam is a more tricky role and debatably the most skill capped. They are usually the leaders of the group and are expected to make the calls on when to go in or out and decide what’s the most important objective. They are a mix between a bruiser or support style hero depending on who you play.

They have a few game types but their main standard MOBA game type (Halcyon Fold) lasts about 20 mins. A decent amount of time but nothing crazy. They also have a few others which will take less time. The fasted game type being “Blitz” which is emphasized for only being just about 5 mins long or less. This is also their newest game type that was added with the latest patch. I prefer the standard game the most but Blitz is the game type that will see the most play from me when on the go. I’ll have 5 mins on the go far more often than 20 mins. Basically, you have options for how long you want to play and how you want to play them.

The cash shop if you ask me is a bit of a mess. Even after getting used to it I feel confused at times with it. You can buy things with either real money or in-game currency. The real money currency is called ICE. The earned in-game currency is called Glory. On top of that, you can also get Opels which is a separate currency that can get you some skins. These special/seasonal skins can only be bought with Opels and not ICE or Glory. There are other skins you can buy with ICE for a fairly big premium or craft with cards. Yes, that’s right another resource that is specific to skins. If you are confused right now reading this don’t worry because I’m confused writing it. You can make skins using these cards and to get these cards you can buy them with either ICE or Glory or break down other cards for guess what? Yes, that’s right another resource called Essence. I’m not going to go any further but I think you got the idea. Hey, Super Evil Megacorp lets try and get it down to 2 maybe 3 currency’s /resources guys. Honestly its getting a little ridiculous.

Aside from the unnecessarily complicated currency/resource system, you have your usual fair of market content. Heroes, Skins, Chests, Account Boosts and so on.

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The game can be played on Android or iOS cell phones or tablets. It comes with customizable control schemes across the board to tweak to your liking and you can also get scaling options for varying screen sizes.

Overall I am genuinely impressed with this game. From a technical standpoint to a gameplay standpoint they nailed it. It plays smoothly and anyplace with an internet connection becomes a LAN party all of a sudden. They make it easy to stay in contact with your friends with the guild and party system. Alone or with other, if you have 5 mins to 20+ there is something to do on Vainglory. I give Vainglory a 4/5. If they fix their shop it would be an easy 5/5.

Ratting: 4/5

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Albion Online: A Beautiful Game Stuck In Development Hell

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I heard of Albion online near the end of the MMO boom. You know when there was a new MMO getting announced/released at what felt like every other week. I want to say that was around 2013 when MMO hype was still big and games were being announced but the overall MMO player base was starting to fall off. When I first took a look at Albion Online I wasn’t impressed or interested. It wasn’t my kind of game. I thought it was cool how they wanted to launch on multiple platforms, iPad, android tablets and PC. The idea of a fully featured MMO on the go as much as at home was an intriguing idea for me. All that being said the crafting/gathering/grinding nature of the game was a huge turn-off. Those were all the things I hated to do in most the MMOs I played. The more appealing selling points for me about Albion Online were the PvP, world explanation, and death penalties.

Albion Online is a fairly hardcore game to today standards wrapped up in a simple to get into package. After trying it out almost 2 years ago with their founder’s pack and testing the game out over its extensive alpha and betas, I think it’s in a bad spot. I think the developers are so afraid to let this game fail that they will inevitably make it fail. The game was never going to be big. It was made to be a niche title. Competing with Eve Online more than say World of Warcraft. After almost 2 years of “beta testing” and even longer of alpha testing, they are starting to lose their dedicated niche fans. This is a game I feel has been “ready” for at least a year now and they are still talking about 1 to 2 more wipes before release. They say this is the “final beta” but seeing as we have been in beta for easily a year to 2 years now that doesn’t mean much.

Their beta patches for updating the game could all have been nice content patches after the game should have come out over a year ago. Instead, they keep patching content into a beta that isn’t being played anymore since everyone is waiting for release. A release I feel will be too little too late. I thought this was just me but even most of the apologists on the subreddit have turned. Any post they make on their site is followed by a good number of people complaining about the wipes and release. The common consensus from everyone is to wait for the game to come out. On the subreddit, there is always someone asking if they should start playing and it is always followed by someone explaining there will be wipes and to wait for the release. I’ve been watching this for well over a year now. The whole time feeling the games been ready.

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All that out of the way here’s what I think about the game as is. Overall it’s pretty great. Goes to show how much I’ve changed over the years that I find this kind of game fun now. But I’m not sure if I find it to actually be fun or if it’s a really good interactive checklist. It has that World of Warcraft effect to it where there’s always something else to do. Like World of Warcraft use to be in some ways everything you end up doing on Albion Online ends up being a grind. There’s always another tier or node to grind and if you don’t want to do that there’s another weapon or armor piece you can be more proficient in. All of it ends up being something tedious in some way or another but it doesn’t feel like a waste of time. The game is designed around these aspects, the more you do these things the “stronger” or a better way to putting it here is more “useful” your character will be.

The best players have the best gear. The best gear doesn’t drop from dungeons in this game they are crafted. To wear the best gear you have to be proficient at all the previous tiers of that type of gear or weapon. (Cloth, Leather, Plate and Staffs, Maces, Shields etc.) To make the best gear you have to grind material and level your profession. They really mean it when they say player driven.

The game has a large emphasis on group content. Mainly group PVP. Even the PVE content in this game can have PVP happen since the dungeons are not instanced and tagged players can be attacked by other players depending on the zone they’re in. The top players with the best gear, guilds, and coordination battle it out with other guilds at end game. Death in this game means you drop everything. I mean everything. So you better be ready to lose all your gear and inventory you are carrying if you die. They have made changes here and there to different zones and locations to cater to more casual players. Regardless at the top end, it’s still loot the dead. This is part of the risk-reward of the game and what makes it difficult. You can go deep into questionable areas but if you die you have to get back to your body within a time frame or you lose everything. Think about it like yours always playing Hardcore mode on Diablo. The difference being your character still exists and any progress you made on that character is still there. Just now all your gear and inventory has dropped out in the world somewhere and you kind of start back at hypothetical level 1. This is mainly due to how your classes work in Albion Online.

Classes in Albion Online are decided based on your gear. They come in multiple tiers and the aspects of the gear decide what abilities you have on your bar. For instance, if you want to tank you would equip the plate armor pieces and equip a sword and shield. The nice thing about this is nothing is stopping you from mixing and matching. Making says a “Battle Mage” with plate gear and then equipping a staff. Maybe even go with an even more complex hybrid build. I’ve seen all kinds of combinations in the game with varying degrees of success.

I think graphically, design and art wise the game look’s beautiful. An excellent example of simplicity is key. I’ve played much more graphic intensive games with far more detail come off as bland and boring. With Albion Online the colors are strong and the world looks alive. Each zone type is distinct and has its own flavor to it. The artwork on the loading screens and across their site just has something refreshing about it. “Whimsical” would be a good word to describe it.

Overall it’s a great game with lots of potential but I can’t recommend it. I think its a great game but due to the lack of the developers not understanding the needs of the community I feel it may have a short-lived release. Like most the players on the subreddit, I have to say don’t bother till it’s out. At this point that might be never or too late. This is the kind of game that lives off its dedicated players and those are exactly the people they are losing every day they keep the game in beta. I enjoy the game but I do not support the choices of the company and a lot of the changes they are making. It also begs the question how will they handle things when the game does come out one day? Only time will tell…a lot of time it seems.

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Overwatch : The Game I Hate To Love

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Let me start off by saying I don’t like Overwatch.

At least I didn’t at first when I tried it during beta and early release. I felt it was lacking in content, game types, maps, and substance. On top of all that I feel it cost too much for what is offered. A few well made cinematic’s don’t hide the fact that all the maps in the game are basically hallways designed to force high combat situations. You can call it the Call of Duty effect. Forced encounters with high combat interactions in short to medium bursts over a short match time. New/bad players don’t ever feel useless or bad thus making them have less chance of getting frustrated and quitting the game. Also allowing good players to still do well but still get caught here and there due to just bad luck and counter picking. This is in a nutshell what kept Call of Duty on top of the shooter market for so long while games like Battlefield and Halo have taken secondary niche markets.

I find the popularity of Overwatch to be surprising since gamers are constantly asking for more difficult games but the most popular games on the market are usually for much more casual audiences. Regardless of the philosophy of gaming, is Overwatch fun? As of writing this review and basing it on only the game itself I find it to be an amazingly fun toy. Yes, you have read right. If Battlefield 1 was tactical training with high-pressure BB guns and Halo 5 was paintball than Overwatch would be a bunch of kids in the park with nerf guns. Does that mean it’s not fun? Hell no. It’s a blast. I’m just saying don’t take it so seriously. I have friends on PC talking about team builds, strategy and going up and down in ranks but still doing poorly. On the other hand, I have friends in the top 500 who have prestiged multiple times telling me it’s not that big a deal.

Overwatch has become my “main game” now. When I want to play something seriously or just mess around for a bit, Overwatch is where I go. It plays to a lot of different play styles due to the multiple hero setups and the quick action packed matches. If I don’t feel like focusing and just want to hang out with friends I’ll play something like Mercy or Lucio, maybe Bastion and just sit in a corner and crack jokes. If I really feel like playing I’ll play Reinhardt, Tracer or Soldier. Regardless of how well I’m doing and how I’m feeling at the time, I feel I just like joking around and yelling on mic with friends.

Who you play with will make a big difference. I’m not talking about winning, I’m talking about enjoying. A big part of the reason I didn’t enjoy Overwatch at first is due to the friends I was playing with. They were very try hard and took a very casual game too seriously. They would go on about team composition and timing certain abilities but still consistently lost or had trouble moving up in rank. Having played far more complex and competitive shooters through the years I noticed our losses were more due to bad fundamental skills rather than game knowledge. A lack of communication, not knowing when to push off the advantage, not knowing when to back off the disadvantages and simple things like don’t just funnel in one at a time when their whole teams up. Even when it comes to team composition, just because a composition is strong in the meta doesn’t mean it’s always going to work or be used to its full potential based on who’s playing what. Play around the person, not the hero.

I felt the game was too casual for my taste to play alone and I was only ever getting frustrated playing with friends. I’m not saying I’m the next MLG champ at Overwatch but I know my fundamental with shooters. Regardless of how simple the game and what the meta might be the fundamentals are the most important thing in any shooting game. This is made even more clear when another group of my friends bought me Overwatch as a joke on PS4 for Christmas. All of them that didn’t have PS4s at this point got PS4s for Christmas and Overwatch was the game they decided on over Call of Duty, Battlefield and Titanfall simply because they knew I didn’t like it. A bunch of them already had Overwatch and have now prestiged multiple times. But I and the new PS4 owners went in fresh. They insisted that I would enjoy the game more with them. They were right.

Not only do I have a great time playing with them but I’ve met other friends through playing as well. On top of that, we’re winning more. Why is this? Because they have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of shooting games. We barely have to say when to push and when to back since they are aware of what’s going on. In the moment’s someone does say anything everyone reacts on reflex to what’s said and act accordingly. Sure we still lose our share of games but it’s pretty good for pissing in the wind with half your team drunk off the minds or eating while playing.

Now, this isn’t a PS4 vs Xbox One vs PC thing. This is a don’t take a fun toy too seriously thing. Overwatch is a blast but a lot of people need to accept it’s a very simple casual game at its foundation. Unless you really believe you will be the next MLG pro just have fun and enjoy the game. This kind of extends to all games actually. Overall I really like Overwatch now. I still don’t agree with a lot of what it offers and I do think it cost too much for what they are offering. But if that means we don’t have to pay for future DLC then I’ll live with it. As a game, it’s fun regardless of play style and drunkness. If you have been on the fence regardless of what platform you are on I recommend Overwatch. Even more so if you have chill friends to play with. I won’t be giving Overwatch a rating out of 5 as I would normally do since if I were to break the game down as I do with other games it would end up having a pretty low rating. I feel that would be a bit counter-productive to Overwatch’s overall philosophy. So instead I’ll give it 2 thumbs up and a glass of rum and coke.

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