Video Games That Tackle Social Issues

Ellie and Riley

Video Games – we all enjoy it. Whether you’re young or old, a student or an employee looking to pass the time with a little fun; we all enjoy video games. It is a means for us, an outlet, to do the things we can not do in real life; to experience the things that is not readily accessible to the most of us. Video games also help us understand different types of people by having diverse and – for some games – very realistic characters. But, not a lot of us see the underlying meanings behind the video games we play and enjoy. The implications hidden behind the realistic graphics, the heart-warming soundtrack, and the innovative gameplay. Here is a list of some of the video games that tackle different social issues. Sit back and let us dwell deeper into the meaning of these well-known video games.

War“This War of Mine” 

Video Games: This War of Mine is a video game about civilians surviving in a war-torn city.
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Let’s start with a very well-known topic – war. We’ve all heard of different stories about war. And war has been a choice of topic or genre by a lot of video games. But, the creators of This War Of Mine, 11 Bit Studios, approached this genre in an innovative and immersive way. In this game, you don’t play as a well-trained-muscle-torn super soldier equipped with a planetary cannon. Here, you play as a civilian caught very deep in the war-devastated fictional city of Pogoren, Graznavia. You will struggle, because ‘gather’ is putting it lightly, for food. Scavenge for medicines or supplies and try your very best not to bump into soldiers or other hungry survivors.

The day and night cycle plays a significant role in the game mechanics. During the day, you’ll be managing your hideout in a very detailed manner; while keeping an eye on that sniper whose not letting you out. When darkness falls, you’ll be sneaking into buildings and areas for supplies; while avoiding being killed by other people seeking means for survival. You will also be making a lot of moral decisions; whether you’ll kill that one annoying person to save the whole group or watch as everyone slowly suffer. Add to that, the beautifully-made charcoal-style aesthetics; and you have a game that will leave you thinking and reflecting about war and its effect on the human soul.

 

Privacy“Watch Dogs 1 and  2″ 

Video Games: Marcus Holloway and the gang
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Have you ever felt like being watched? Like Big Brother is always around you, lurking in the dark, studying and recording your every move? We are living in the age and time of information and the improvement in technology is far from slowing down. Also, the number of people uploading all of their information in the internet is increasing. Which is why black hats are more eager to steal any sensitive information they can get their hands on.

Watch Dogs, is a video game about hackers waging war on the government for manipulating information and invading the privacy of their people. This video game does not really tackle or explain ‘hacking’ in detail; but it shows what hackers can do with the information that the people, themselves, gave out there in the internet. This game is a sweet reminder that internet privacy is sometimes just an illusion to make us feel safe. It also reminds us that the internet is a very dangerous place to be placing all of our information.

 

Social Difference – Multiple Video Games (Witcher SeriesLife is Strange, The Last of Us, other video games)

Video Games: The Witcher
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So what if you have white hair, feline eyes, sterile, and has high resistance, if not immune, to diseases? So what if you have pointy ears and lives longer than humans? We are all living things and we can co-exist if given the chance and consideration.

The Witcher series, which is set in the world of Temeria, is flooded with racism and discrimination. Elves and Dwarves are discriminated for not being human, despite the humans being the invaders of the land. Basically, humans are the foreigners and, yet, they are pushing away and abusing the original inhabitants of the land. Luckily, Geralt, despite being discriminated himself, acts as the median between the two worlds. That of humans and of ‘non-humans’. Geralt does not make any rush decisions when doing a job. He investigates first and looks for a way for both parties to work together. With an exception, there is no consideration to be given for evil-tainted individuals, human or non-human.

Video Games: Life is Strange
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Life is Strange is a video game that takes place in a small town called Arcadia Bay. A place where a lot of things happen. Including alcoholism, bullying, and child abuse. Child abuse being a social issue that’s very rampant nowadays; this video game shows the whole issue in a different perspective. You play the game and see the world through the eyes of a teenager with the ability to control time, Max Caulfield. The game also includes other issues like teenage pregnancy, social anxiety, and brats who think like they are on top of everyone. Max’s story is also a depiction of how it feels like to be bullied for being “not among the famous”. This is a game definitely worth checking out if you want a relaxing soundtrack and a story that is full of twists.

Video Games: Riley and Ellie
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The Last of Us: Left Behind, sparked a controversy when Ellie and Riley hinted quite a number of times about their feelings with each other. We all remember that photobooth scene, right? How about that scene where they dance to a tune and then unknowingly attracted a horde of infected? All of these hints led to one conclusion and a lot of people were shocked. Some related and found themselves in the position of the protagonists in terms of personal identity; some accepted the fact and were happy for the pair; but, for some…they just do not approve of the whole charade. The relationship they have and the characters themselves doesn’t actually raise an issue; but the different ways people responded to the writing of the game, present an issue on sexual discrimination.

There you go. Here are just some of the games that tackle some of the issues we are facing up to this day. There are still a lot of games that depicts issues not mentioned here. If you have played a game with an interesting theme, comment them down below and let’s have a talk. Looking forward to hearing from you!

The Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake Is Coming This Summer

Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake

Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake

Platform: PS4

Release Date: July 11th, 2017

FF12 Ashe
Image Credit:https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/404023/final-fantasy-xii-the-zodiac-age-ps4

Full disclosure, I did not finish Final Fantasy 12 (FF12). I can admit as a fan of the series, after Final Fantasy 10 (FF10) I was looking for a certain experience and this game did not do it. It was evident that the battle system and the over world were practice for their Final Fantasy 11 (FF11) MMORPG and I wasn’t trying to be a part of it. I got a healthy way into the story and while it was full of political intrigue something about it didn’t grab me.

This isn’t going to be a bash piece on FF12 but rather an invitation to players who may have missed this game during the PS2 era. Or if you were like me and didn’t give the game the chance it may have deserved and want to give it another try. Square Enix had their Fiinal Fantasy 30th Anniversary event that outlined the different games coming out this year including the release date of FF12. With that out of the way here is some information about the Final Fantasy 12 HD remake that is coming this summer.

Final Fantasy 12 Is An HD Remaster

Vaan and Penelo
Image Credit:https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/404023/final-fantasy-xii-the-zodiac-age-ps4

This is a remaster not a remake and that means that the game itself is relatively intact. There are no huge overhauls to the major systems in the game but they did decide to give it a lovely gloss of paint. If this doesn’t impress you check out the trailer they released that can show how the already beautiful game was made even more lovely. This update is also extended to the audio sounds to add more depth to the character’s performances. Some of the lines have been re-recorded to complete the package.

The Bad Ass Judges Are Still Here

FF12 Judges
Image Credit:https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/404023/final-fantasy-xii-the-zodiac-age-ps4

There has not been any major changes to the story but here is a brief synopsis. FF12 takes place in the world of Ivalice, (yes that one). The city of Dalmasca was recently occupied by the Archadian Empire leaving it in ruin. Princess Ashe, the heir to the throne who had her wedding crashed, has devoted her life since this take over to liberate her country. On the flip side of that players meet Vaan and Penelo, two street urchins with dreams of becoming sky pirates. Political intrigue complete with Judges ensue as players join these rag tag companions to free their homeland.

The Licensing System Is Getting An Upgrade

final fantasy 12 remake, Zodiac Job system

It’s not a serious upgrade as the gambits and license board are still present. However, they have added the Zodiac Job system which has made the game more like FF10 and possibly harder to break. In the original game all of the license boards were identical while in the remaster each character’s board is different. They have even made it so that every character cannot obtain each Esper which is more traditional for the series.

However, they have added the Zodiac Job system which has made the game more like FF10 and possibly harder to break.

The other big change has to do with the characters limit breaks or Quickening in this game. The characters can only learn 3 of their Quickening licenses with the fourth one disappearing from other boards when achieved. This is something that I will need to explore but this is a different step for the game that could impact the game play in a major way.

There Are Quality Of Life Additions

final fantasy 12 remake, trial mode

The point about the licensing board is major but they have also added some quality of life changes that players will appreciate. They have added a “speed mode” which will quicken movement on the map. The new Trial Mode allows players to take saved characters into 100 battles that test their strategic prowess. This adds an extra element of challenge for players that take a break from the main story or when the adventure is complete. Finally they have added PlayStation trophies, auto saving and shortened load times for more fluidity. It’s apparent that PS2 limitations stopped these changes from happening so it’s good to see it added here.

Are you excited for Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake? Do you plan on picking up the remaster? Will the time that has passed make the game be received better? Let us know in the comments below.

Until Next Time Guys!

5 RPGs That We All Forgot But Are Still Awesome

Final Fantasy XII

RPGs

2016 has been a great year for Role-Playing Games (RPGs) and just to name a few, we have XCOM 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Final Fantasy XV. Also, a tormenting torture device called Dark Souls III came out last 2016. While these games have their own share of glory and fame, some wonderful RPGs were forgotten in the box down in our basements. To give you a drop of that nostalgia potion, here are 5 RPGs that we all forgot but are still awesome.

Vagrant Story (also known as “The Phantom Pain”)

RPGs Gem: Vagrant Story
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Once upon a time, in the year 2000, the developers of Final Fantasy (Square Co., Ltd. which is now known as Square Enix after merging with Enix) decided to make a game with a lot of puzzles, a unique battle system, and a weapon and crafting system that is comparable to a lot of modern games like Fallout 3 and the Elder Scrolls Series. That game was Vagrant Story. Also known as “The Phantom Pain”, Vagrant story is an action role-playing game that has elements of a dungeon crawler game, a hack and slash game, and a rhythm game.

The game received high ratings from various video game critics. Knowing Final Fantasy developers, they sure hid a lot of gems in the game for you to discover. Go add Vagrant Story in your list of “to-play” games and enjoy the world of Valendia.

Valkyrie Profile Series

RPGs Gem: Valkyrie Profile
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Valkyrie Profile is a series of RPGs based on the Norse mythology and follows the story of three Goddesses of Fate namely – Silmeria, Lenneth, and Hrist – as they (well, mostly Lenneth) venture into the world of mortals, in the realm of Midgard, in order to gather brave human souls to serve as ‘einherjar’ or warriors for the coming Ragnarok, the final battle which decides the fate of all creation.

The game has a unique battle mechanics wherein, you link or assign the characters to the buttons on the controller and when pressed, the respective character linked to that button performs an action. It’s a mechanic worth experiencing and the story is fine, especially it covers human behavior and honor. If you want to play this forgotten gem, it’s available on the PlayStation Portable. Enjoy and defeat those enemies, Nibelung Valesti!

Final Fantasy Tactics (Original and the “War of the Lions” version)

RPGs Gem: Final Fantasy Tactics
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Who doesn’t love Final Fantasy Tactics? Well, that is probably because you haven’t played it yet, young squire. This entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was made last 1997 and was re-released for the PSP in 2007 as “Final Fantasy Tactics: The war of the Lions”. Which added new movies, scenarios, jobs, and a lot of words that made me grab a dictionary. You can’t miss a single point in the wonderful story of greed, revenge, corruption, friendship, and betrayal that gave life to the world of Ivalice.

Oh and, various characters from the ‘main’ Final Fantasy franchise also appeared in FFT. Having trouble where to get it? Well, worry no more. The game was made available on the smartphone last 2011. Go on and visit your app store and grab a copy of this critically acclaimed entry in the Final Fantasy universe.

Breath of Fire III

RPGs Gem: Breath of Fire
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First off, I’ve also played Breath of Fire IV but I never finished it…and I apologize for that, my dear BOF IV fans out there. That being said, I chose Breath of Fire III, the first three-dimensional entry in the series. It offers a lot of mechanics that will make you play for hours and hours. Collecting all of Ryu’s Dragon Genes, fishing, and learning all the skills, are just some of the things that will make you come back and play some more. Battles occur quite similarly to another RPG – ehem, Final Fantasy – which is random. I won’t spoil the story, because there are a lot of plot twists in this game accompanied by a very gorgeous soundtrack. Plus, the diverse characters that will make you properly plan the composition of your party in order to defeat the myriad of enemies that will cross your path.

The game was re-released for the PlayStation Portable for you, guys, to pick up and enjoy.

Xenogears

RPGs Gem: The Xenogears Title Screen
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Have you ever heard of that game that has a long-haired main character? The one that fights with his fists and has a giant Gundam-like robot? Well, that is Fei Fong Wong. He is the protagonist of the gem that I think is lost in the back of the minds of most people, Xenogears. This game tackles a lot of social issues that makes it more appealing to more matured audiences. Issues include slavery, war, prejudice, and corruption. A lot of critics hailed Xenogears for its somewhat controversial take on religion, humanism, and psychology.

The gameplay involves the use of Action Points or AP in order to execute combos. The Triangle, Square, and X buttons on the controller are used to perform those combos. Then, there are gears. These are combat robots, fighting machines that bear a similar fighting style as the owner or pilot. For example, one character in the game, Bart, uses a whip when outside his whip-wielding Gear. Xenogears has anime-style cutscenes which are backed by gorgeous soundtracks composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the composer for Chrono Trigger, Xenosaga, Soul Sacrifice Delta, and a lot more.

You can get it from the PlayStation Network and enjoy the brain-teasing world of Xenogears.

I hope you enjoyed my list of some of the top RPGs of the previous generations that seem to have been forgotten. If you are looking for games to play while waiting for that next-level role-playing game coming out in just a few months, you can try the games above. You will not regret it.

How about you? If you know any role-playing games, that made you feel like you live in another world, that seem to have been forgotten now? Let us know in the comments down below and happy gaming!

5 Games That Will Take You Over 100 Hours to Complete

Hours

Not all games are created equal. However, that’s the best part about video games. You can play them however you want. Breeze through to the finish line in record time, or go for gold in being a Completionist. Completing every task, quest, mission, and achievement available. Sure, it will take a lot of time, but gamers don’t mind. In fact, game length is a common complaint for a lot of games. But rest assured. There are some games that can fill those desires for lengthy gameplay. Here are 5 games that will take you over 100 hours to complete.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt continues the epic journey of Witcher Geralt of Rivia. Geralt, in search of his adopted daughter Ciri, the Goddess of Time and Space. Geralt must track down Ciri through every twist and turn with the help of his longtime allies and some former acquaintances. Battling monsters, beasts, evil henchmen, and creatures of myth and lore.

Completing just the main story will take you about 30 hours. However, going for the complete finish, including all questions, missions, and locations; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt offers you complete gameplay of over 200 hours.

Fallout 4

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Fallout 4 is a sole-survivor post-nuclear fallout game. Being the last survivor of Vault 111, you and your canine companion are left in a destroyed world. Fighting for survival every moment. The fate of the Wasteland rest on your shoulders. You—the sole survivor has the choice to rebuild this tarnished world.

Fallout 4’s main story line will take you just a short 25 hours. But where’s the fun in that? For the completionists out there, according to howlongtobeat.com, Fallout 4 offers about 150 hours of entertainment.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is highly regarded still for its immensely vast open world map. Despite being release 6 years ago (2011). Skyrim gives players the option to completely customize their character. Choosing a race, sex, scars, hair and facial features, and your name. Thrusted into the rise of the long extinct dragons; you, as Dragonborn, are the only one who can put an end to the dragons destroying Skyrim. And the dragon of prophecy, Alduin.

Skyrim is one game that just seems to have missions as quests pop up at random, no matter where you go in this world. You can expect to follow the main story quest for about 32 hours. That’s if you don’t detour with side quests. However, for the Completionists, Skyrim will take you no less than 230 hours to finish. That includes all the locations, side quests, and achievements.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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Continuing the work of Snake from previous Metal Gear Solid games, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, follows the aftermath of Ground Zeroes and the destruction of MSF’s base. Falling into a coma, Snake awakens nine years later and quickly gets back to work. Forming the Diamond Dogs.

You can expect quite a length main story of 45 hours. With totally complete gameplay of over 160 hours. Surpassing all previous Metal Gear Solid games in glorious fashion.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Dragon Age: Inquisition, set in the land of Thedas. Which is plunged into great turmoil over a catastrophic event. Filling the land with darkness, Dragons conquer the skies. A once great, quiet kingdom, now left to the shadows. War develop among the Templar and Mages. Prompting nations to take up arms against their follow brothers and sisters. The fate of the land lies in your hands, Head of the Inquisition. With legendary heroes fighting at your side, you must restore order to this once peaceful land.

A main story that can give Metal Gear Solid V a run for its money at around 45 hours. However, you can expect almost 3 times that to finish. At 125 hours, Dragon Age: Inquisition surely can provide you with many long hours of gameplay.

I love lengthy gameplays. I enjoy the journey to find and do everything. Even if that means I don’t find out the end of the story right away. These were some of the most popular games in recent years. All of them were critically loved for their continuous gameplay. Lasting days on end of entertainment. If you’re looking for some games that can take you days, weeks, maybe even months to beat, look no further than these.

Let us know what you think. How long did it take you to beat these games? Any games you think deserved to be here instead? Leave your thoughts below!

5 Things Players Should Know About Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Square Enix has put out a number of mobile games in the last few years. Its not surprising since the mobile amd handheld market has been thriving in the region while console sales have stalled. Im not a big mobile gamer because of micro transactions and data usage but I wanted to check it out. I have played the game for a few hours and have unlocked all of the basic mechanics. Here are 5 things players should know when playing Brave Exvius.

Brave Exvius Has All The Final Fantasy Staples

BE Shiva Summon
Image Credit: http://finalfantasyexvius.com/

I feel like whenever I write about Final fantasy games that aren’t the main series that this has to be the first thing I say. The game has crystals, summons, chocobos, classes or jobs and of course fan service with our past favorite characters. There are quests, towns, dungeons and Npcs to talk to an deliver their stories. The summons have 3D animations and the characters as well as the environment are beautiful. The game reminds me of a traditional jrpg in this way which was a surprise. Anyone who is the fan of the series wont be disappointed.

The MSQ Is Designed To Be Completed In Small Bites

BE Story Scene
Image Credit: http://finalfantasyexvius.com/

It is a mobile game so the story and elements are designed to be flexible to pick up and put down on the go. The MSQ is completed in  series of battles, initially 3 or 4 plus a boss fight at the end. Each fight can be completed individually so you dont have to binge it or lose progress. There is usually a story section when u first enter a new area then there is dialogue during each fight. The areas are challenging and it wasnt until I got to the castle dungeon where I had to start grinding levels a bit to not get owned.

I have gotten to the point where players need energy to enter certain dungeons and battles. This is a way to pace the fights and disengage from the game. Or to get you to buy Lapis for more energy.

The Battle System Is Easy To Use But Hard To Master

BE Battle System
Image Credit: http://finalfantasyexvius.com/

Players are able to press their character’s icon block to perform a basic attack. To get to magic, items and summons will require players to swipe in the cardinal directions. I forgot several times to swipe before getting to magic for my mages and wasted attacks so paying attention is key. Monsters do have elemental weaknesses so remembering that can make encounters easier. Also, players are able to bring a “companion”, other players playing the game, with them. Its not level capped so if you have a high level friend it can change the tide of the encounter. There are also summons in the game that can be used when the gauge is filled.

I mentioned grinding earlier, so at times players may need to go to previously explored areas to grind in the newly accessible dungeon. It has all of the normal features like random encounters to help boost levels. This isn’t really a battle feature but to make your characters have higher levels, players can fuse lower level characters through to boost experience.

The Forge System Can Be Complicated

BE Home Screen
Image Credit: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.square_enix.android_googleplay.FFBEWW

There are treasure chests in dungeons that drop gear and items but more than likely you will be making your own stuff. Shops in town sell recipes for gear, items and abilities that players will have to forage for materials to make. Npcs also give recipes as rewards or they can be found exploring towns. The items can be made in 5 minutes but there is only one slot for each category initially. Players will need to buy more slots with the in game currency Lapis. More on that in a minute.

My main issue with this is that they don’t say where these materials drop the most frequently or even keep track of the items you find per dungeon. Players don’t need to be in a town to make items because it can be found in the home screen.

Micro transactions Are Here But Not Intrusive

“The game gives you several ways to earn lapis and summons through daily bonuses, completing the coliseum challenges and completing NPC quests”.

This could be my personal feeling about it but so far the cash grab hasn’t been that bad. I’m still at early levels so I don’t know if it increases more past the tutorial phase. The game currency is called Lapis and you can buy it to use for pretty much everything. The things you can buy are chances to summon more and rarer characters, energy, orbs for the coliseum, items etc. The game gives you several ways to earn lapis and summons through daily bonuses, completing the coliseum challenges and completing NPC quests. You can earn higher weapons through competing in the coliseum and more by using your friends in battles. This way is longer but it can be done which is what I appreciate.

In Conclusion:

So far I can recommend the game if your bored and have the data to spare. If you’re interested in trying the Brave Exvius for yourself you can find a link to the official website here. The game is available for Android and IOS devices.

Have you tried Brave Exvius? If What do you think about it? What other mobile JRPGs do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section.

6 Weirdest Gaming News Stories of 2016

Weirdest Gaming News Stories

2016 was an… Interesting year, to say the least.  Both inside the gaming industry and out, one unthinkable news story after another kept breaking.  Naturally, we’ll just stick to gaming here and take this time to look back on some of the most surreal news stories that came out in the last twelve months.  Granted, there are some major events that didn’t make this list, such as the CS:GO Lotto scandal and the controversial release of No Man’s Sky.  While those are undoubtedly important events, they aren’t exactly strange in the same way as these other tales.  That being said, these are the…

Weirdest gaming News Stories of 2016

Street Fighter V Gets Flava Flav DLC

Street Fighter V did not go over well.  Desperate to get on the stage for EVO 2016, the game was shoved out the door way too early with way too little content.  I know the lack of an arcade mode gets brought up a lot, but that’s because an arcade mode is the single most basic form of single player a fighting game can have.  If Capcom couldn’t even muster up the bare basics, that should terrify you.  Hell, we’re still waiting on it to this day.

Something the game has gotten: Costumes inspired by former Public Enemy hype-man Flava Flav.  Believe it or not, this is a picture of Ryu and Chun Li.  Drink it in.  These were released as a part of a sponsorship deal with Red Bull and my brain still hasn’t fully processed the fact that they exist.  Aside from the outfits looking hilariously out-of-character for both fighters… Really?  Flava Flav?  Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was able to get Snoop Dogg for their surreal rapper cross-promotion.  You couldn’t get someone with some relevancy post 2007?

An Anime Fan on Prom Night

Mighty No. 9 hurts my soul on every level.  I’ve been a Mega Man fan since childhood and seeing the Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9 seemed like a dream come true at the time.  Then, mid-2015 rolled around and things got very depressing very quickly.  The point where I knew things had gone off the rails was when Keiji Inafune announced not one, but two new Kickstarters for Mighty No. 9 spinoffs.  Now, let me just say that the Mega Man Legends games are two of my personal favorite video games of all time and my heart shattered when the long-awaited third entry was killed off just before it hit the finish line.  When a Kickstarter for a spiritual successor was announced, I should have been all over it.  Instead, I never put a dime towards it because I just couldn’t trust Red Ash without knowing how Mighty No. 9 turned out first.

Looks like I made the right move, because calling the new blue bomber a disappointment is an understatement.  The visuals were bad, the voice-acting was bad, the attempts at reinventing the Mega Man formula were bad, and the PC version launched with a memory-leak that caused the game to lag the longer you played it until your computer eventually crashed.  The cherry on the sundae of misery was a trailer that seemed specifically designed to mock its supporters.  Now I’m actually excited to see what happens to Mega Man next.  As bad as he’s had it in the last few years, it can’t get much worse than the not-so-Mighty No. 9.

 

Konami Vs Kojima Aftermath

The fallout between gaming auteur Hideo Kojima and his publisher Konami was perhaps the defining story of the gaming industry in 2015 and the aftermath of them parting ways still made for some of the biggest headlines of 2016.  Kojima announced the first game his new studio will be developing, Death Stranding, and has so far released two teaser trailers for it.  Both trailers were Salvador Dali-levels of crazy and apparently weren’t supposed to represent the actual games.

Meanwhile, Kojima’s former taskmaster proved to have a hard time letting things go by announcing Metal Gear Survive, a game based heavily on Metal Gear Solid V‘s engine and is an open-world zombie survival game, the single most diluted genre in the industry today.  With the year ending with gambling being legalized in Japan and Konami’s Japanese stocks being amongst the best in the industry, it looks like the company will survive without Kojima, but it’s doubtful that they’ll thrive.

Greenlight Goes Mad

Steam’s Greenlight program officially reached critical mass in 2016.  What started as a gateway for small developers to get their passion-projects into the public eye didn’t take long to be exploited by amateurs.  Last year seemed to have an unofficial contest to create the absolute worst Greenlight entry possible.

For example, there was Hyrule: Total War, a mod of Medieval II: Total War based on The Legend of Zelda series that was submitted without the approval of the people who made Total War, Legend of Zelda, or even the mod itself.  I’m kind of cheating by including this as this issue dates back to 2015, but UnitZ, a Unity asset pack designed to be a starter kit for developing zombie survival games, has been submitted to Greenlight at least 9 different times by 9 different “developers” who have made little to no changes to the original asset pack.  World of Warcraft was submitted to Greenlight by someone completely unassociated with Blizzard.  A clip of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was submitted to Greenlight.  No, seriously, someone tried to market a clip of a late-night talkshow as a video game.

The only barrier to entry for Greenlight is a $100 fee and Valve just trusts their user-base to police the service for them.  Fortunately, much of the community has been fairly eagle-eyed and most of these attempts were shut down, but there are still plenty of cracks to slip through.  The floodgates have been opened wide enough that 40% of all games on Steam were released last year.

Everything About Pokemon Go

Oh, Pokemon Go, you could have easily filled a top 20 list of weirdness all on your own, couldn’t you?  Just the game itself was enough of a bizarre phenomenon, drawing millions of otherwise secluded people to wander the wilderness on the hunt for imaginary monsters.  That alone sounds like Nostradamus predicting the end of days and it only got weirder from there.  People found dead bodies while playing the game, thugs used the game to bait people into muggings, people abandoned their cars en masse to catch a Vaporeon, et cetera.

The folks making the game had their own share of bedlam, as well.  A big part of that was that the game didn’t have a dedicated community manager when it launched.  When major problems like the three-step glitch happened, there was nothing but radio silence in response.  As a result, the surprise hit of the year also saw a massive drop-off in players.  I doubt Nintendo was too torn up about it, though, considering they only signed on for a microscopic cut of the profits of one of the most anticipated titles of last year.  Everything that Pokemon Go touches becomes wailing insanity one way or another.  Are we sure that Niantic isn’t secretly some eldritch incantation?

Digital Homicide Sues Everyone

Digital Homicide will probably go down in history as the single worst video game developer to have ever existed.  If anyone is actually able to top them, I will partly be impressed, but mostly terrified.  Digital Homicide first garnered infamy as a shovelware developer for Steam.  Now, shovelware has been around since the Atari 2600 and Steam in particular gets A LOT of it these days, so that’s not such a big deal on its own.  What makes Digital Homicide special is that they were outright psychotic about it.

It all started when Youtuber James Stanton, better known as Jim Sterling, uploaded a first impressions video of one of DH’s earliest games, The Slaughtering Grounds, back in 2014.  The developers than released their own video titled Review the Reviewer that openly mocked Stanton for his criticism.  Animosity between the two parties continued to grow until it all came to a head in 2016 and Digital Homicide filed a lawsuit against Stanton claiming that his videos were damaging their business.  Then it got even crazier and Digital Homicide decided that they would just sue everyone.  I think they even tried to sue me around this time and that is not even a joke.  My name could very well have been on their litigious hit-list.  I honestly don’t know.

What we do know is that a lawsuit was filed against 100 Steam users for the crime of speaking ill of Digital Homicide’s precious garbage heap.  We’ll probably never know the full list of names that DH tried to take to court, but it did include such stellar monikers as Demonsword, Toon Vlux, and JDude330#HaeisBACK.  That case was ultimately dismissed after Valve pulled DH’s entire catalog from their service and left them without a source of income to fund their court case.  At the time of writing, the case against Stanton is still ongoing, but seems to be on the verge of being thrown out as well.

Those were the weirdest gaming news stories of 2016. Got any other bizarre news stories from 2016 that we missed?  Can 2017 end up topping last year in terms of insanity?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

 

Visual Novel Lovers Rejoice! Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Truth Are Coming Stateside

UTAWARERUMONO

Getting visual novels to the west on consoles has been harder than other genres. While JRPGS and fighting games have continued to get support, visual novels have been seen as a niche that may not have an audience. If players wanted to play them at all, PC was usually your only option. The trickle over has been slow but it has not been without merit probably thanks to the PS Vita. With that being said, rejoice visual novel lovers,  Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth are coming stateside.

What Is This Game About?

“Haku becomes involved with the war against his will and has to fight to protect his friends (read: Harem) while discovering the truth amid the deception”.

To put it simply, this game is not a pure visual novel. Visual novels are text based point and click adventures with no real “game play” to speak of. One example of this would be the Hakuoki series which is also getting a re release with Kyoto Winds this fall. This game would fall more in line with being a text heavy strategy RPG which is how it’s being advertised. If I could compare it to any series it may be the Banner Saga with how the story is told.

Kuon
image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/playstationblog/32373731255/

The premise of the game is that the player wakes up after being rescued by a girl with animal ears and tail named Kuon. She gives the player his name, Haku, where they attempt to help him reclaim his memories. Along the way he meets up with other animal hybrid people and gets swept up in a war filled with political intrigue. If players want more backstory, there was an anime released, Utawarerumono Of The False Faces, that can provide some more insight.

Haku becomes involved with the war against his will and has to fight to protect his friends (read: Harem) while discovering the truth amid the deception. The other interesting part about this game is that it does include adult scenes and is coming over relatively uncensored. There was one scene taken out due to the portrayal of physically disciplining of a child.

Why Should You Support It?

Let’s be real, the Japanese market is what’s keeping the Vita afloat. I mentioned in a previous article why Sony should make Vita 2.0 and games like this are the main reason. While I’m sure the Switch will be successful, it will take a while for games like this to come over on the console. If consumers are not supporting these types of games now they may not come over at all. Players may say what they like but the hardcore following of Danganronpa supporters may be the reason why its getting a PS4 remaster.

If you’re interested in playing a SRPG with adult themes on consoles this is the game for you. Pre-orders just opened on Amazon and Gamestop so take a look! This game will be available on the PS4 and Vita but you guys probably know what platform I’m getting it on.

Have you played visual novel games before? Do you think there is an audience for it here in the West? Are you going to pre-order this game? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Best New Features in Dishonored 2

Best New Features in Dishonored 2

Dishonored

Dishonored 2, the long-awaited sequel to Bethesda’s 2012 Game of the Year, Dishonored, hit stores in November of 2016. Since its release, Dishonored 2 has had all who’ve played it in love with its updated gameplay and features.

Dishonored 2 continues the story of the Royal Protector, Corvo Attano, and Lady Empress Emily Kaldwin. The game brings with it the same style as the original. Including some familiar faces along the way. However, Dishonored 2 surpasses its predecessor with some new enhanced features that give gameplay a much-needed boost of creativity. Here are a handful of the best new features Dishonored 2 has to offer.

Improved Character Powers

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One of the best features in this game lies in the characters use of powers. Depending on who you choose to control, Emily or Corvo, both have powers specific to them.

Corvo, as you have played in the first game, has the same powers. However, this time around you can further expand those. You’re still equipped with Dark Vision, Windblast, Blink, Possession, Devouring Swarm, and Bend Time. As well as the basic enhancement like Shadow Kill, Vitality, and Agility. These powers now can be further enhanced. Giving players more options on how to spend runes. For Instance, Devouring Swam use to have only 2 levels. Small and large swarms. Now, you can choose options like Greater Swarm, Tiny Swarms (multiple small swarms), and Rat Piper (rats will follow you).

Emily has an entirely new power set from her father. Excluding the basic enhancement of course. Emily has the power of Shadow Walk. Which allows here to take the shape of a shadowy figure and stealthily attack or sneak. Mesmerize, is new and gives the ability to summon a spirt that attracts attention and captivates onlookers. Far Reach is about the same as Blink. You also have Dark Vision, the same as Corvo. Domino is the power to chain targets together. Once activated, you can link targets and only need to attack one of them and they all have the same result. The coolest power of Emily’s is Doppelgänger. This powers allows you to summon a specter that is identical to Emily. Which can be upgraded to fight, draw attention, or switch places.

Timepiece (Brief Mission)

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The Timepiece was my favorite part about this game. Although, it is only used for only a single mission. The Timepiece is a device given to you by the Outsider. Its name is not at all confusing. In fact, it tells you exactly what it does. The device allows you to transport back in time. So, while you run through a rundown mansion in the present, you can either glimpse into the piece using a screen on the device or activate it and go to that moment in time.

It was so fun to see the difference from what this place looked like before the event. Not to mention to flip back and forth from present to past to get around damaged pieces of the house. Without a doubt, the best part was seeing how your decisions in the past effected the future. Meaning, you could change how the house and people ended up. Simply by your choices.

Combat Difficulty

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The one thing the first game lacked with a competitive combat system. Meaning, you could easily predict I the first game how you would be attacked and when. In Dishonored 2, the enhanced combat system made it chaotic and seemingly difficult predict. Making the player rely on strategy to win battles and skirmishes.

Also, the enhanced combat difficult gave attackers more of a “gang up” style of attack. Giving players a headache with attacks that could be made by 4 attackers at once. A big change of pace in difficulty and style of play.

More Weapon Upgrades

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When it came down to weapon upgrades, Dishonored didn’t put much complexity into it. Allowing you to shoot further, or more accurate, or have more ammo. However, in Dishonored 2, you could not only upgrade the weapons themselves, but each addition weapon and ammunition.

This time around, gave us the much-appreciated ability to upgrade more than just the main weapons and their ammo. Now you can upgrade every piece of your arsenal. From stun mines, grenades, bullets, darts, bolts, and springrazors. You could search each level for the upgrade blueprints and unlock each of the improvements. What could be better than continuously getting an advantage over your enemies?

More Open World

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When I played the original Dishonored, I was surprised about the smallish size of the world. You really didn’t get to explore a lot. And only some building were accessible to you. In Dishonored 2, you’re welcomed into a much bigger world than the first game. You can venture into more buildings than ever. Collect more materials to sell, steal, or to gather for ammo.

On top of making more buildings accessible, the world itself it much bigger in size. The map takes some time to explore. Bigger and longer street, more roadblocks, gang territories, and obstacles. As a result, calling for players to find their own way to reach the target. I don’t know about you, but I do love a good open world map.

Final Thoughts

Dishonored 2 was a challenging but entertaining game. Bethesda looked to improve on some of the criticism from the first game. The new features that added to Dishonored 2 gameplay made the game as great as it was. I loved the story and the direction they went with it. However, without the new features, this game would’ve struggled to pull more fans into the franchise.

So, how’d I do? Did you enjoy the article? Let me know your thoughts on Dishonored 2. What did you like or dislike about it? Leave comments for us. Don’t forget to share our page. Enjoy Gamers!

Underage Video Game Gambling Epidemic Growing

underage video game gambling

Underage Video Game Gambling

Wouldn’t it be awesome to make money playing video games? Gamers have come a long way from just being addicts and hobbyists. We’re in a new generation when it comes to gaming. A generation that has transpired into a world of Professional Gaming. That’s right–gamers who earn a living playing video games against other gamers. The ultimate gamer’s fantasy come to life.

Underage Video Game Gabling
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Professional gaming has increased in popularity in recent years. With it, so has a growing epidemic. As it turns out, professional gaming and video games have been a platform for underage gambling.

The Problem

Minors all over the world have been placing bets and wagers on the outcome of online matches in video games. Not only is underage gambling a major problem, but the fact that it’s unregulated makes it even worse.

When gambling is regulated by adults and for adults, gambling becomes a non-issue. The case in this specific instance lies in the fact that unregulated third-party gambling sites are attracting underage children. Using the opportunity to win money. Also, the ability to win locked merchandise within games from other players. Such as character skins, weapon attachments, and weapon skins. These sites also offer a Jackpot which entices minors to wager more to win. Should we consider this as casino games?

Underage Video Game Gambling
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What Is Being Done to Correct This?

Most countries have very strict rules and regulations when it comes to gambling. Some countries have even completely banned Online Gaming entirely. Such is the case for most of Europe. More and more minors are continuing to gamble on these video game sites. Which has prompted many to call for ratification.

There have been many discussions regarding how to eliminate underage video game gambling entirely. Some have urged video game companies to raise age limits on any game that can be wagered on. Making it difficult and even impossible for minors to play until they’re of gambling age. However, some officials, like the South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, proposed a bill that aims to rework the existent rules of gambling to including video games as “interactive” gambling. Thus banning them from being gambled on.

Gaming has always meant to be fun. An escape from reality into something we can immerse ourselves in. It has never been about gambling. However, the fact remains that we do have a serious growing problem on our hands. It calls for the need to quickly prevent any further problems. Underage gambling remains unregulated and no cease and desist letter is going to cure the problem. Actions must be done on the legislative level. The times now, it’s time to get to work.

So, what do you think about underage video game gambling? Please leave your comment below.

5 Things You Should Know About Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria

I just loaded up the collectors edition on January 24th, 2017 when it dropped. I’m only about 6 hours in but I felt compelled to say a few things about the game. Tales of Zestiria left a bad taste in the mouths of fans from the series, mine included. I didn’t finish the game because something felt off from the opening menu. There was a controversy surrounding the game that didn’t help. In any case, here are 5 things you should know about Tales of Berseria.

1. It’s More Linear Than Zestiria

Linear in the sense that the Xillia series was linear. Zestiria suffered from being open world just for the sake of it. The world was colorful but bright and empty. The open areas of the map give the illusion of openness but not quite. I like having a clear direction to travel and the world being open for the sake of it has not been appealing for me personally

2. A Controversial Scene Was Removed

There was talk of a controversial scene in the very beginning of the game. I’m not going to spoil it but there is a video that highlights the part that was changed. The scene occurs very early in the game and the company promises that nothing else was changed in the US/EU release. That is evident by the skimpy attire that Velvet, the main character, runs around in. I love her outfit but of course there is always the option to change her clothes as you find more costumes.

3. Tales of Berseria’s Story Is Dark

The prologue sets the tone for the game. Since I just started I can’t say how it will end. But I can tell you that Velvet takes “by any means necessary” very seriously. The game made sure to let you know that this was not the typical “feel good” story. Zestiria tries to make the player feel like the journey is justified while Berseria does not hold your hand. A lot of the actions Velvet and company take have real life consequences to the people around you.

4. The Battle System Is Fun

They fixed the camera! Thank god because that was a hot mess in Zestiria. The main character Velvet can be very OP though once u figure out how it works. I have been using Velvet as my main attacker and all of her moves are connected to the face buttons on the Dualshock controller. It has been great watching her move across the screen in a flurry of kicks and punches. In addition her demon arm adds an exciting elements to the battle.

5. The Characters Are Great

I love that the main protagonist is not the traditional hero. Rokuro is my new husband. Their personalities shine through in the skits and various conversations held in the over world. Magilou is the designated comic relief and she was a joy so far in the journey. I can’t wait to see how all of their stories conclude in the end. Side note don’t forget to download the free dlc on PSN that contains additional skits.
Have you tried Tales of Berseria? How do you like it so far? Is it better than the Zestiria? Let us know in the comments.