So Long, 2017

It has been a wonderful vacation and I am feeling rejuvenated! Unfortunately, just like this year, it is coming to an end. I hope that you all enjoyed your 2017 and I hope that 2018 will be even better. I’m going to get back to relaxing, but I’ll just leave these here before I go:

Happy New Year!

Clashmas Update

It’s been a while since I talked about Clash Royale, so I thought I’d take the time to do so. Another big update occurred a couple of weeks ago, and it brought a lot to the table, like the Epic Quests Update a while back. I also thought I’d make note of my progress in the game, which I’ll touch on later on in this post. I’d also like to point out that despite not releasing this year, Clash Royale has been the only mobile game I’ve played for over a year now, and I would have gladly nominated it for my game of the year. It’s definitely my favorite mobile game of all time, and I’m not sure when something might come out to dethrone it.

The new updated added some new cards to the game along with a new arena. The Electro Valley arena slotted in between Hog Mountain (arena 10) and the Legendary Arena (arena 11, which is now arena 12) becoming the 11th tiered arena in the game. I was sitting in Hog Mountain, but automatically bumped up to Electro Valley due to my trophies being in the 3600 range, and this arena starting at 3400. I’ve actually broken into 3700 recently, but haven’t quite made the 3800 required for Legendary. Then there’s the 4000 mark which means you’re really climbing the ladder and it resets periodically.

The Hunter and Zappies were added in this update, and more recently they’ve revealed the Royal Ghost. I’ve played with all three in their challenges, and so far the only one I really like is the Royal Ghost. Hunter comes equipped with a shotgun with a really wide spread. Good at countering low health targets or to support from behind a higher-health tank unit. He does have a decent range though, so the spread isn’t super effective unless you place him close. Zappies are basically mini versions of Sparky, in that they take a couple seconds to charge up, and then they shoot electricity bolts that damage and stun. If all 3 are charged up and lock onto the same target it’s pretty much stun locked, but they seem rather ineffective for the most part. Finally, the Royal Ghost is a new stealth unit that targets ground units and is invisible unless he attacks. This means he can go undetected around air units and sneak in on towers. However, if someone places a ground unit near him, he will attack and then take damage in return. He does fair damage and takes a few whacks to go down.

There were also changes to the store, with some new chests added. The lightning chest is the only one I’ve tried, but it’s neat in that you can “strike” (re-roll) cards from the chest up to 5 times. A nice feature considering that lock boxes are fairly annoying, but they had a sale on a big chunk of gems and gold that I went for, so I decided to try one out.

I mentioned my trophy progress in the game, but there were a few other new developments. First off, I hit King level 12 finally, so that means my Towers have more health and do more damage. Getting to level 13 is going to take forever, so I’m not even focusing on that for now. I’ve also started to get into the habit of tweaking multiple decks. Having 5 slots and only using one seems silly, so I have my main deck that I use in competitive 1v1’s (the main ladder), another couple that I use to switch things up when I’m playing 2v2, and a couple other experimental ones that I sometimes use in challenges. Recently there was a triple elixir challenge that I used a deck that simply wouldn’t work with normal elixir fill times, but in this case it worked out okay. As such I have spent more gold on upgrading some cards that I don’t normally use, only to have a little more variety in my life. I enjoy the aggressive Hog/Balloon cycling deck that I main, but having a deck that uses poison over fireball and the Mega Knight is interesting and breaks up the monotony.

It’s safe to say that with regular updates like these, I’ll be playing this game for a long time to come. As long as I feel like I’m progressing in some way, I continue to want to log in daily (multiple times a day, really). Good job, Supercell.

The Year in Gaming: 2017

It’s that time of year when games are being awarded “Game of The Year” honors and people are rounding up their activities for the year as well. Year in Review posts aren’t something new here on this blog, but sometimes I make lists of my favorite games of the year, sometimes I talk about what was going on with my personal life and sometimes I even make lists about my favorite Metal releases or what have you. This year I’m going to talk about my year in gaming, particularly about what games I picked up, those I finished, and those that came out this year that I still want but haven’t purchased yet. At the end of it all I’ll throw out my nod for game of the year and call it a day. The only criteria for these categories going forward was that the games in question released this year. So let’s get started, shall we?

Games I Actually Finished:

Resident Evil 7
Telltale’s Walking Dead Season 3
Bioshock Remastered (didn’t release this year)
Bioshock Remastered 2 (didn’t release this year)
Destiny (didn’t release this year)

I poured through my blog posts for the past year and there were a shit load of games that I played, but many of those I didn’t finish were MOBAs, CCGs, or MMOs (no finished state). I did say I wasn’t going to count any sort of games that didn’t release this year, but the games listed above were completed despite not being a new release and I wanted to catalog what games I actually completed. Resident Evil 7 and Telltale’s Walking Dead games were fantastic and I beat them shortly after release. I played through the original Destiny early in the year but didn’t have an interest in the sequel after reading much of the blogosphere’s opinions on it. I only recently finished up the first two Bioshock games and though they were excellent, these latter three titles aren’t in contention for game of the year.

Games I Bought But Didn’t Finish:

Mass Effect: Andromeda
I Am Setsuna
Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap
Cosmic Star Heroine
Codex of Victory

I bought a lot of games around the beginning of the year. I was still subscribed to Humble Monthly, so I was getting games left and right via that platform and Playstation Plus, on top of anything I purchased. The above list were games that released this year and that I picked up and played, but didn’t complete. Some are in the backlog to finish and honestly some of them probably won’t be finished anytime soon. I would like to play Mass Effect Andromeda soon, but for now I’m concentrating on finishing the Bioshock series. I’m rarely on the cutting edge of new games in my catalog as I typically wait for big titles to go on sale but outside of Mass Effect these were smaller indie titles and though they were all good in their own ways, I only tried them out and never completed them. Perhaps I’ll be able to add them to the completed list by this time next year, but that really depends on how much time I devote to Magic: The Gathering and Everquest II over the next year.

Games I Want To Buy:

Gran Turismo Sport
Divinity Original Sin II
Wolfenstein 2
Quake Champions
The Evil Within 2
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite
Horizon Zero Dawn

There were a bunch of new releases over the year that I’d really like to pick up. Gran Turismo is my favorite racing series and the newest version looks great. Divinity Original Sin II got rave reviews, though I do need to finish the original first. I did complete the first Wolfenstein so I’d definitely like to pick up the sequel (it’s on sale on Steam right now too!). The other games are sequels to games I’ve already enjoyed, or a remake in the case of Prey. Finally, Horizon Zero Dawn is the type of game that probably made some Game of the Year lists, but I was waiting for the complete version that released this month, so perhaps I’ll grab that one soon.

Systems I Want:

SNES Classic
Nintendo Switch

Lastly, 2017 saw the rise of Nintendo from the ashes. Not only did the company make some decent releases on mobile platforms, they’ve continued portable system dominance with the 3/2DS systems. I’m tempted to grab one of those but I didn’t list it here, because I’m actually kind of interested in the Switch, which itself is a semi-portable device. I also really want on of the SNES Classic systems to go along with my NES Classic, but it’s likely I’ll be price gouged on that just like I was with the original. It’s surprising to me to be interested in a Nintendo system again (outside of the Classics which are just plain awesome), because I’m usually against their kid-friendly platform and lack of “mature” titles. However, having played some Super Mario Maker on my step-son’s 3DS, I’ve actually found the desire to play some of the newer games. I’ve heard great things about the new Zelda and Mario titles, and well it’s stuff I grew up on so I’m interested. Plus it’s a more portable device so I can take it with me when I go on trips, etc. Lastly, my step-son is very interested in games and Nintendo tends to make family-friendly titles that aren’t too difficult so it will give us something to do. I may pick one up next year after I get my tax return.

So with all of that said, 2017 seems to have been a pretty good year for gaming. I’d now like to give my nod for Game of the Year, and because I didn’t play many titles to completion this year I only have a couple to choose from, and I’m going to give my award to Resident Evil VII.

The game was amazing. The first person perspective really brought a whole new life to the series, and it was actually very creepy throughout. I enjoyed the hell out of it and would place it much higher on the scale that some of the more recent entries. Of course, I probably could have played something else and just as easily given the award to another game (there are certainly other titles out there that are worthy) but in my experiences this year, it was the game that stuck out most in my head as my favorite experience.

So there you have it. Another great year of gaming down the tubes. See you next year!

Bioshock 2: Remastered Complete

Like the first game before it, Bioshock 2 Remastered took me around a month to complete. In real-time, it was actually just over 7 hours to complete the story-line, but I did do other things in the interim and to be fair I was sick for a few days and didn’t play much of anything (still trying to get over the last of this lingering cold). That said, I have some commentary about this title along with some screens of the end of my playthrough. This isn’t exactly a new game so most of you can probably skip this post, but I like getting these things written down for posterity.

Bioshock 2 didn’t fare as well as its predecessor when it came to review scores or community opinion. There are some neat and novel ideas present, sure. It was clear that your character from the first game died at the end, and they did a good job of tying up loose ends (Fontaine taking over for Ryan at the end of the first game and then being over taken by Lamb by the beginning of the second), and explaining what happened with the little sisters, who you are, etc. The concept of playing a Big Daddy was cool, but in some cases I felt over powered compared to the main character in the first game. Despite Rapture being a similar place in this title, it still seemed to lack a bit of charm, felt much more linear and honestly it was a little too short. I blew threw it a full 3 hours faster than the original, and there wasn’t even a final boss fight. Overall it just wasn’t as good.

This of course is a byproduct of the fact that we had the original, it was very good and we’re making comparisons. If this game stood alone, you would have less of an understanding of Rapture, but it probably would have felt like a better game. This time around I chose to be the bad guy and harvest all of the little sisters for ADAM. I had several maxed out plasmids and upgraded weapons by the end of the game and felt nigh invincible. I likely got a different ending because of this, teaching my “daughter” Eleanor to be a ruthless killer as a result, and she not only killed her mother Lamb, but killed me at the very end as well. It’s a shame because it feels like they could have gone further with the story of Rapture, but I know that the sky city in Bioshock Infinite sounds intriguing as well. Not sure how the story will tie in (if at all) but I do look forward to getting into it.

Here are screens of the final bit of my playthrough. I’ll be back with more on Infinite as soon as I get into it!

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By The Numbers: Week 16, 2017

Well, the season is over for me. I’ll go ahead and make my picks going into this week and I’ll do it once more for next, but at this point it’s game over. The Packers have been eliminated from the Playoffs as of Monday evening. We still had a very slim margin had some of the games gone a different way, but we all knew that if we didn’t beat the Panthers we weren’t going to make it. Rodgers had a terrible day, throwing 3 picks. We still had the opportunity to win though, as a bullshit reversed call on a Touchdown essentially gave them the win, but it is what it is. 8 years in a row we went to the playoffs, and now it’s just the Patriots who have that kind of a streak. Oh, to play in the AFC where the teams are mostly garbage. Rodgers was placed back on IR and Hundley will get to finish off the season. Rebuild and do it better next year, is all I can think right now. Really wish one of those times in the last few years that we made it to the NFC Championship that we would have succeeded, Rodgers needs ring #2 and the organization needs ring #5 and we need it before he gets too old. Two broken collar bones in like four years is not conducive to a much longer career. Here’s how I did with my picks for last week:

Broncos 24, Colts 14 – Correct
Bears 21, Lions 17
Chargers 28, Chiefs 20
Ravens 30, Browns 20 – Correct
Cardinals 21, Redskins 13
Eagles 27, Giants 10 – Correct
Bills 24, Dolphins 20 – Correct
Packers 30, Panthers 21
Jags 31, Texans 13 – Correct
Vikings 30, Bengals 19 – Correct
Saints 35, Jets 7 – Correct
Rams 27, Seahawks 24 – Correct
Steelers 27, Patriots 26
Titans 31, 49ers 20
Cowboys 23, Raiders 17 – Correct
Falcons 27, Buccs 21 – Correct

A mostly correct week, at least better than last. Here are my picks for week 16:

Ravens 27, Colts 13
Packers 20, Vikings 17
Lions 24, Bengals 10
Chiefs 30, Dolphins 24
Patriots 35, Bills 24
Bears 27, Browns 10
Panthers 28, Buccs 14
Saints 30, Falcons 21
Redskins 21, Broncos 14
Rams 30, Titans 20
Chargers 21, Jets 10
Jaguars 45, 49ers 14
Cowboys 21, Seahawks 20
Cardinals 23, Giants 19
Steelers 34, Texans 16
Eagles 38, Raiders 21

See you next week.