State of the Game: Resident Destiny, Evil Fantasy XV

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For a long time it was difficult to find a happy medium when it came to gaming. I was either knee deep is some story-rich RPG, or for a time I was playing one MMO at a time and little to nothing else. I played nothing but MOBAs and other lobby-based competitive games for a long period of time, and I still dip my toes into new entries in all of these genres. I have always been a little wishy washy or fickle in nature, so I’ve always gone in waves where I delve deeply into one genre, grow tired of its tropes and move on to something new. I usually come back around time and again, but with that bits of real life interspersed I will also go in waves where I don’t play as much. Having other hobbies like Magic also take away from gaming, but provide valuable face time with real people. It seems that over the years I have found myself becoming neurotic over purchases made, my backlog and/or spending all of my time on one game. When I was hosting the Couch Podtatoes Podcast, it made sense for me to be on top of all the sales and play the newest games, because people who were listening to the show weren’t there to hear us drone on and on about the same game. There are game specific podcasts for a reason, and if that’s the only game you play then that podcast would probably suit you better. This isn’t to say I had a massive audience, but the people who were listening were expecting Eri to have a list of new Indie games to rave about and I’d typically have some list of recent big titles to hype up. It became our thing but also part of the stress I put on myself to actually play these games but also work and have a social life. It became a trying thing, and eventually something have to give. As such, the podcast is no more (but I long to produce another) and I’ve reduced my output on the blog. I’ve put more time into social outings (like Magic) and have actually started to get into somewhat of a routine, finding the balance to be not exactly to my liking but better for my individual personality on the whole.

The result of that stream of consciousness drivel above is that I’m in a happy head-space these days; the self-induced pressure to perform to some inhuman standard no longer rests on my shoulders. I suppose this should should have been a rant better saved for some other post, but the words keep flowing so I’m going to continue on anyway. Don’t worry, I have games to discuss in a moment. The gist of it all is that I’ve found some sort of happy medium where I’ve managed to have a few days a week to myself to game away and make progress on more than one game, and I don’t feel as guilty about the laundry list of games I haven’t completed. In many cases, I’ve cleared out games from the backlog simply because the titles weren’t engaging. If I’ve played a game for a few hours and it’s not grabbing me, I’m not pushing myself to finish it. Uninstalling has been a great weight off of my mind. There are still too many titles that I’ve procured during sales that I need to get to, and games that I currently enjoy are constantly pushing DLC down my throat (Total War Warhammer was the early unlock for next month’s Humble Monthly, but getting all of the DLC for the game was pricey… I also picked up the 3 DLC packs for Civ VI… sigh) but if I’ve already seen what I need to see, I’m okay with letting some lie in the pile. I have been making progress on more than one game here recently though, so let’s get this State of the Game on the road, shall we?

The three games I’ve put the most time into this past couple of weeks are Resident Evil 7, Destiny, and Final Fantasy XV. Yeah, the latter was finally on sale for $20 off so I picked it up. It looked too damn cool to pass up, and I’m glad I made the purchase. Despite having an RPG (Destiny) I was already working my way through, I didn’t want to miss the sale and I’m nearing the end of Destiny so that one will soon be out of my steady rotation.

I finally hit level 40 the other night on my Hunter, and managed to also complete The Taken King expansion (outside of raids). One thing that immediately stood out to me as being sort of fucked up is that despite playing through the whole game to that point, I only had a light level of 208 after finishing TTK, while Rise of Iron requires a minimum light level of 280… which means grinding for light before I even get to finish the storyline. Out of curiosity, I loaded up my Warlock who was level 7, and used the level 40 boost on him. He got a pile of blue gear, that gave him a light level of 280, just in time to run through RoI. So at this point I’m questioning whether or not I want to continue to level my Hunter until 280 light and then move on to the new expansion, or just play the Warlock through the new storyline and call it quits. Honestly I’m at the point where I’m pretty much done with the game, especially with Destiny 2 supposedly dropping this year. I’d almost rather save the effort and just quit now so I can jump into the sequel on the ground floor (and not wait until the end of its lifecycle like I did with the first game). I do want to see RoI though, as I did pay for the priviledge. I suppose we’ll see how it goes and how sucked into these other games I get. Here’s some pics of progress:

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Resident Evil is one hell of an experience. I have only played for a few short hours, but it is screenshot gold. I don’t really have much to share, and these pictures will likely be spoilery, but damn if it isn’t visceral. I will give a final impression once I’ve completed it, but if you like scary games you absolutely need to do yourself a favor and buy this. VR not required (but likely to require a diaper!).

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Last but not least, as I mentioned I picked up Final Fantasy XV. I’ve been a fan of the FF series for a long time, with some stand out favorites were Tactics, 6, 7 and 9. I actually recently bought the FF9 port because I didn’t get to finish that one back in the PS1 days. FF7 will always be incredible and I still can’t wait for the remake. Tactics is my all time favorite just because I loved the setting and the gameplay. 6 is a classic that would also be great for a remake. I have played most of the others classic titles, but for some reason lost touch with the series during the PS2 era. I never played X, XI, XII or XIII. XIV was a decent MMO that unfortunately came at a time when I wasn’t really into MMOs. With that said, I was really impressed with XV when it was revealed and knew it was a game I wanted to play. After it released and I read some reviews, I knew I’d purchase it. I told myself I wouldn’t buy it when it was $60 because I couldn’t rightly justify the cost knowing I have other deep RPGs sitting on my hard drives. But $20 off? Yeah, I’ll buy that. Overall the game is completely different than any FF game I’ve played, and that’s not a bad thing. Having more of an open world is a nice touch (though I hear it becomes fairly linear later in the game) and I love the main characters and their banter. The combat system is awesome, if not a little confusing at first. After a few battles though, it really takes off. I look forward to seeing this one to its end, and will really start powering through it once Destiny is off of my list. Here are some pics of the early game:

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That’s all for this edition. Happy gaming!

State of the Game: Progress Report

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I had a few different games I wanted to talk about today, but I don’t think I have a full post’s worth of thoughts to write down on each, so instead we’re back with another State of the Game round up. It’s been a little while, but I should be able to fill this out pretty well. So what games are we talking about this time? Resident Evil 7, SMITE, Clash Royale and Destiny are on the menu. Let’s get started shall we?

Resident Evil 7

I mentioned getting started with RE7 and gave my initial impressions in a recent post, and I have played the game a little while longer since then. When we left off, I had just killed my girlfriend who was clearly not herself, but who then appeared to be herself again during the killing blow. She disappeared after I received a phone call, but it didn’t take long for her to show up again. I knew something was coming because Resident Evil games don’t give you a shit ton of ammo and healing supplies unless there’s a boss fight up ahead, and sure enough my lover appeared once again. This time she managed to cut my hand off, before I eventually let her have a ton of bullets to the face. She appeared dead, but then someone new showed up. I was welcomed to the family, and then attempted my escape. Unfortunately, my game time was cut short that day, but I do plan to get some more time in this week so I’m sure I’ll have more to share before I’m done. From what I’ve read, the game is only 10-12 hours long, so it shouldn’t take long to beat this one and get back to my backlog.

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Destiny

Speaking of my backlog, the one game I’ve been focused on for the past couple of months is Destiny, and I’m nearly level 40. I’ve nearly completed The Taken King storyline. I know there’s more to do in Rise of Iron, and I also know that there are raids and/or more difficult Strikes that I can go back and do. I also know there’s PvP and likely more end game content once I’m 40, but I’m still on the fence about doing the Light grind or about leveling another character. I have a boost, so it’s really only one other I have to level, but I’m thinking that once I’ve completed the storylines I’ll probably put it down for a while. There are too many other games on my list that I want to complete, and though I’ve written off some titles after a short amount of time, there are games I truly enjoy that are just collecting dust. At least I can say I completed the game, the main story, what have you. I won’t feel as guilty and will have at least gotten my money’s worth.

SMITE

I’m still playing Smite several times a week. After completing The Odyssey, there was a new Celtic event added to the game, as a new God from a new Pantheon was added and I guess that’s a big deal. I didn’t really care for the new God, but I did enjoy the event, and I got a skin for her as a result (plus a few chests). At this point I have 41 mastered Gods and I have officially hit level 30. I still need to start playing conquest and play a few ranked games, but I’m nearing completion of the Platinum trophy, and that’s part of why I’ve continued to play as long as I have. That and it’s the only game I play with a couple of my friends so it gives us something to do and time to chat.

Clash Royale

Clash has become a daily thing. The clan gets a chest every few days and we have managed to churn out the crowns and get the full reward each time. I’ve grown my deck considerably, and think I only need 10-20 cards to have them all. Leveling them up is a different story. I have 3 legendaries, but can’t seem to get extra copies of them. I have even more underpowered epics and rares, but things are progressing each day. I’ve made it to Arena 8 and am account level 9, so I guess you can say that I’ve moved up, but I’m starting to rise and fall a few hundred crowns day in and day out. It’s rather frustrating, especially knowing I’ve now spent some money on the game and still don’t have some of the best cards, while others might have lucked out and earned those cards for free. Ah well, it is the nature of the game. It’s still fun, and a great way to kill a few minutes relatively anywhere you go.

Lastly, I downloaded the new games from my Humble Monthly subscription. As usual, there were some extra copies of games I already own, some games I had zero interest in, and that’s about it. I did pay early for next month though, as Total War: Warhammer was the early unlock, and that’s a game I’ve wanted for a while but was waiting to go on sale. $12 for it is a great deal, and it’s not really all that old just yet. I have yet to play any of these new games but I will check them out and be back with another mini-impressions post on that. Playstation Plus games released today as well, and though I know I’ll probably play Little Big Planet 3, the others weren’t as exciting. I also picked up the Alien Isolation collection during the mid-week madness sale ($12 for the whole shebang isn’t bad — and a deal I couldn’t refuse), and Disgaea PC 1 & 2 in a bundle. It’s an old series that came out during the PS2 days but is similar to FF Tactics, so it sounded up my alley.

The backlog grows, and I can’t make it stop.

Taking on The Taken King

It’s been a little while since I talked about my progress in Destiny. Most of you who are used to me and my on again off again nature with any one particular game probably thought I had given up on it, but no that isn’t the case this time. I’m still plugging away. Currently sitting at level 29, around 150 light, and have just started off the Taken King quest lines. The game is still holding my interest, but I don’t play it every single day. I still have other titles that I’m playing here and there as well, but I’m determined to at least level one character to 40. Will I do the end game grinding? Maybe… maybe not. Will I level the other two classes (currently working on Hunter) to 40? Well I do have a boost that I’ll likely use on one of the other classes. My Warlock is level 7 (from my first little spurt of time with the game) and I created a level 1 Titan. So far I’ve enjoyed the Hunter enough, and I don’t know that the other classes really differ enough to warrant going through all of the content again. I also haven’t touched the Crucible yet; perhaps PvP will keep my interest for a while before the sequel inevitably makes this game obsolete.

After the last post I wrote about Destiny, I was about level 17 and thought that I was nearing the end of the vanilla content. I was right. Within the next play session I had completed the original game, which did appear to have an ending of sorts, but was easy to open back up as they continued the story line. Next, it was on to the House of Wolves story line, and that saw more time on Earth, the Reef, and Venus. It culminated in another piece of Legendary gear, and by the time I had done that, various bounties and finished any side quests, I was about level 27.

Tonight I jumped into the starter quest for the Taken King. I assume that running through this questline will get me to level 40 (perhaps before I finish, because leveling has been a fast clip). The Rise of Iron content is probably mostly end-game stuff. I will see this through to its end for sure, but then it might be time to move onto another title from the backlog. We’ll see how much I still want to play once I’m there. Overall I’d say it’s a great game, and I’ll get into the sequel sooner, if it comes to pass. I know that waiting til the game was nearly completed was a good call for the pocketbook, but with a game like this where they are planning a sequel rather than making a persistent world and just adding it like a traditional MMO, it’s probably better to play along as the stuff comes out. Thankfully it’s not a game where the level cap is larger and the whole game is a slog. If more traditional MMOs were more intriguing like this game, maybe I’d play some of them. I have a feeling though that this game does have that slog at the end, particularly if you want to raid and do all of the end game stuff. So that’s probably where I hang up my hat. We shall see.

Anyway, here’s a selection of random screenshots from my adventures thus far. I’ll report back once I’m into the newest expansion.

Onward, To Mars

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been playing Destiny quite a bit as of late. I’m really falling in love with the game, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been hooked by something that so closely resembles an MMO. I know, it’s not really a “true” MMO, but as far as pseudo-MMOs go, this one is about as good as it gets. I’ve barely scratched the surface, so there’s still plenty to do and it feels like I might actually be hooked enough to see things through to the end. Not sure how much I’ll enjoy end game grinding, or having to level up other characters, but at the same time I look forward to nearing the end and seeing all that the game has to offer.

I shared this picture last night, and shortly thereafter I surpassed the 100 light level, and also hit level 18. Finishing off a strike where I had to kill this horrible witch character on Earth was a challenge, but once that was done I was rewarded with my first legendary piece of gear, and that was a nice upgrade from the blue I had in the slot. At this point most of my gear is blue, and I’m starting to feel fairly powerful, despite the fact that I know end game is somewhere in the 400 light level range. Still, progress is progress, and I’m having a blast progressing through this story line and seeing all of the sights, meeting new integral characters, and of course improving my character. Perhaps I just needed an RPG in my life. Lord knows there’s plenty of those in my backlog as is.

I believe I’m moving towards the last bit of the original game’s content. I know that the first couple of expansions were “lackluster” according to friends of mine, but I’m definitely not yet into Taken King territory. The storyline has lead me from Earth, to the Moon, then to Venus, and I’ve met the Queen of the Awoken, who sent me on a mission to kill some Vex. Having completed that quest, she then sent me to Mars. This opened up a new city hub similar to the Tower, and a quest called House of Wolves which I believe is part of one of the first expansions. Regardless, that’s where I left off. The next mission is on the red planet, and from what I recall that is the last bit of the vanilla game, as I’m nearing the original level cap. I’m hoping that things continue on as smoothly and that the game transitions right into the other bits of content. I know I could look all of this up and have my questions answered, but for now I’m just enjoying the ride!

I have yet to play any games in the Crucible, but I think that should be pretty fun. I also just opened up the Strike playlists (vanguard) so I suppose that’s similar to being able to do dungeon runs at my leisure. It seems that leveling is pretty quick, at least to 20, we’ll see how the additional 20 levels go. I’m kind of sad at this point that I don’t believe there will be any more content added to the game in the way of expansions, but I guess since Destiny 2 is in the works, there’s at least that to look forward to. Honestly I’d take more content over more levels, as when you jump into other MMOs with outrageous level caps, it’s not fun to slog through all of the old content. In the case of Destiny, it’s not so bad. The story is engaging, the world is beautiful, the combat is tight, and the progression is fast going. Perhaps it wasn’t this way initially, but it’s going at a rapid clip to this point and it’s made it feel fun, rather than work. Perhaps I’ll hit that work wall at some point, but for now I’m loving this game.

If you play the game, feel free to add me on PS4, my user name is Built4Sin82. I’ll be playing this title for a while to come.

State of the Game: A New Year Edition

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It’s been a bit since I talked much about gaming, so I thought another round up post was in order to share what I’ve been up to. We’re looking at the usual suspects here, although I did make a purchase over the holidays that inspired me to finally give a game a chance that I’ve had in my library for almost a year now, but hadn’t really played much. Playing this game has been a two-fold endeavor, in that it’s a pseudo MMO, but it’s also something that can be struck from the backlog once I’ve played my share of it. You all know by now that I have no real love of MMOs anymore, basically writing them off but dipping my toes here and there. The most recent toe-dipping was with World of Warcraft, where the Legion hype managed to suck me in, but I didn’t play for more than a couple of months before writing the game off again. There’s still hope for Crowfall, and supposedly the beta pledges will be able to play the game finally this year, so that’s something, though I don’t know how well that will keep me occupied considering the game isn’t done. I’m still in the guild that was started up about a year ago for Crowfall, but I have been less than active as of late just because I’ve spent less time at the computer than I had earlier in the year.

So the game that I’m playing currently is Destiny. I received a PSN giftcard for Christmas, and decided to use it to buy the Rise of Iron expansion. Previously I had purchased The Taken King, and I mostly did so because I had several friends playing the game at that point in time. I had a bit of a falling out with one of those friends, and a couple others had refused to buy the expansion saying that it cost too much money. Hence, my play time with the game screeched to a halt despite the fact that I could have been playing it solo this whole time (not to mention knowing several bloggers and others on Twitter who play that I could have taken up arms with). Having spent more money on the game, and knowing that a Destiny 2 is in the works, I figured now was the time to really give it a fair shot. I’m glad that I did.

I must say that Destiny is one hell of a game. It’s not a “true” MMO in the traditional sense, but it has plenty of elements that make it feel MMO-like. It’s really more of a lobby type game, but there are plenty of open-world areas and you’ll see other players running around, sometimes joining forces with them while doing a strike mission. It’s also one of the best looking games I’ve played on my PS4. No, I haven’t and don’t intend on upgrading to the PS4 Pro version of the system because I suspect in the next couple of years we’ll see a new Playstation altogether, and I’ve only had mine for a year so spending the money to upgrade didn’t really make sense. Also, it’s not necessary, as the upgrade isn’t really all that impressive. My system works just fine as is, and most of the games I’ve played for it still look great, even if the architecture of the platform is lacking compared to my gaming PC.

To this point I’ve leveled a Hunter to 11, and have been burning through the storyline at a rapid clip. I do have a boost to 40 from buying the expansion, but I figured it was best to go through the game from start to finish first, and then perhaps boost one of the other classes so I don’t have to level through everything again when the time comes. I have a Warlock that is level 8 from my first romp with the game as well, but I’m unsure if I’ll boost that character or if I’ll boost a Titan. Time will tell, but so far I’m enjoying the Hunter very much. I have yet to dip my toes into any of the PvP matches, but I look forward to seeing all the game has to offer. Something about Shooters always pulls me in more so than traditional MMOs, so this has been a great fit, despite the fact that I didn’t think it would grab me like it has.

Otherwise we’re looking at the usual suspects. I’ve played SMITE nearly daily for months now. I’ve mastered over 30 Gods, and I’m nearly level 30 account level with would max me out and allow me to play in the ranked queues. I still have a handful of Gods that I prefer playing, and I still feel like I’m one of the better players in each match that I complete. You can see some evidence of that over on my YouTube channel where I’ve shared some dominating matches. Going forward I want to hit that max account level, try out ranked and continue mastering gods. Oh, and I finished up all of the Odyssey quests, and that was a fun distraction.

On the mobile front, I’m still playing Clash Royale. I joined Syncaine’s clan, Supreme Cream! and have been contributing as I can. There are various aspects of the game that are simply not available without a clan, so it’s been nice to have that. We trade cards back and forth and you can also play in friendly battles. Tournaments are also a thing, but I’m not quite high enough account level to participate. I’ve hit level 7, but 8 is required. The main issue that I’m having at this point is not having the best cards available, as most are earned semi-randomly. I’ve been running my head into the wall against players who have had better luck upgrading their decks, but eventually that should even out and I’ll be back to climbing. I’m in arena 6 currently, but there are a few more to go that require gaining rating. I’ll get there.

Lastly, I’m still building up my establishment in Tiny Tower. Nearing 80 floors and have over 150 bitizens housed. It’s really just maintenance mode at this point, with a little bit of min/maxing regarding the optimal placement of bitizens in their jobs. Still a fun little time waster, but not nearly as engaging as CR.

I was gifted a few games for Christmas, and I tried those out over my break. Some were pretty cool, others were only so-so. I’ll try to share more about those at a later date. But for now, I’m going to finish off this work day so I can get home to play more Destiny!