10/28/16- Skyrim Celebration

Today is a big day in the gaming world. Two huge game launches means that this will be a busy weekend for gamers. Titanfall 2 is reviewing well, and we already know what to expect from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. These are two completely different games for two completely different audiences, but I find myself compelled to play both, and it’s hard to choose which to start with. 

More than anything, though, thinking of Skyrim makes me long for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Skyrim was probably my most anticipated game of all time due to how much I played Oblivion. Unfortunately, Skyrim didn’t get the same treatment. I played around 20 hours and loved every minute, but my goal was always to finish all my other games so I would be able to devote all my free time to Skyrim

Logic, however, doesn’t side with me, because all the other games keep coming out. It’s an issue I never thought I’d have to deal with, but when the game I wanted to play five years ago now has a current-gen remaster, it may warrant some self-reflection on my gaming habits. 

Which is precisely why I want to play more Oblivion. With about 200 hours sank into the game, it’s the game I’ve spent the most time with in my history of gaming. It reminds me of the days where I didn’t need any other game. It alone could provide endless entertainment. Sure, other options existed, but all I wanted to do was play Oblivion until it was time for school or work. Add to that the DLC that was released, and I was in heaven (although I’m not a big fan of Shivering Isles like some people I know- Knights of the Nine was my jam). There’s not many games I enjoy more than Oblivion, simply put. I feel like Skyrim will be the same way, so I’m not pushing it off any longer. 

Gaming isn’t as simple as it used to be. There are so many games fighting for peoples’ attention that it becomes difficult to just play one game anymore, as much as gamers might like to. Most games now have season passes as well to entice gamers to hold onto their copy of the game. At the end of the day, though, we should be playing the games we truly enjoy, not putting them on the back burner for months or years looking for the perfect time to play them. The perfect time to play a game is any day, at any time. Go enjoy a game today. I know I’ll enjoy Skyrim Remastered

Thanks for reading. 

10/27/16- Gears of War 4

It’s difficult trying to keep up with gaming these days. As they tell teens in middle and high school, free time isn’t nearly as common once you have a job and other responsibilities. On top of that, working at a retail establishment based around gaming means that I always need to stay on top of the newest games coming out to inform people and help them make the most of their money. 

When I was younger (not that I’m necessarily old) and had plenty of the aforementioned free time, Gears of War was my jam. An alien-infested earth where humankind is struggling to survive? A gun with a chainsaw built in to cut enemies in half? I’ll take 20! Here’s all my money, Microsoft. Use it wisely. 

I finished Gears of War and Gears of War 2, but never finished Gears 3 or Judgment. Not that I didn’t want to play the latter two, they just came out at inopportune times for me. Gears 3 came out as I started college and sold my Xbox 360, and I still didn’t have one when Judgment released. Thank goodness for Xbox One backwards compatibility! I’ll get to them one day. 

Then Gears of War 4 was announced. I kept my expectations in check, and upon starting the game, I was glad I did. There’s nothing groundbreaking about Gears 4. The mechanics from all four previous entries are still there, albeit slightly expanded upon. Fancy weather effects are added in an attempt to change things up and give you something to do besides shoot baddies, but that doesn’t really do anything for me. The ‘roadie run’ is just as difficult to steer now as it was 10 years ago. The chainsaw lancer (and chainsaw battles I constantly engage in) is still awesome. The active reload mechanic is still awesome (side note: I haven’t received any achievements yet for this, but if I remember correctly, the first two were much more rewarding for being good at reloading. Welcome to 2016, I suppose). The new DB enemies are annoying. The new drone enemies are basically Locusts and might turn out to be, as far as I know.

Surprisingly, the story is what changed my mind about the game. I had no attachment to JD, Kait, or Del at the beginning of the game. Some of the humor amongst the trio is cheesy, but I’m a sucker for puns. Add to that the chemistry created when the group needs Old Man Marcus’s help, and you’ve got a great contrast between young, dumb fun and grumpy pessimism. Which, strangely enough, perfectly describes the difference between me from 10 years ago and me now!

With all that being said, the game is still really fun. I mentioned that it’s the same Gears I played years ago. But that’s not particularly a bad thing. There are a few mechanics and control layout choices that need to be changed, but otherwise the game is still a fun romp through swarms of enemies, especially during co-op. Gears of War 4 is exactly what we need it to be. Nothing more, nothing less. In 2016, that’s not good enough for most people, but it’s more than good enough for me! 

10/26/16- The Overwatch Addiction

I’ve never been into online shooters much. When I was younger, I would always play the campaign modes for shooters like Call of Duty, Gears of War, and even *shivers* Medal of Honor: European Assault (rest in peace, MoH). The primary reason for this was because I didn’t have internet or a capable connection, but I also didn’t find much joy in competing with strangers online, so I was never drawn into those modes. I felt like they weren’t aimed at me at the time.

As I grew older, though, I made friends with several gamers who enjoyed online gaming. As a result, I found myself testing the waters with games like MAG and Call of Duty: Black Ops. I found the proper mixture of friends and addiction in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Perhaps it was a sign of the times: I was maturing into college and had less and less free time, much less time to devote strictly to gaming. 
My overall game time declined and the amount I played online shrank to zero. I didn’t have time to play enough to be good at an online shooter, and none of them interested me enough to even consider moving my time investment to their online play.

Over the years, the way I play games has changed, and while that’s a topic for another time, it does directly correlate with my topic for today: Overwatch

Overwatch is a perfect storm for me: I’m in the mood to game, I want to play a first-person shooter, and I want to play online. I’m not gonna lie though; the only reason I decided to pick up the game and start playing was due to the Halloween updates. Blizzard has a way to keep players engrossed with the same damn games for years. Turns out Overwatch will be no different.

Now, I can’t stop playing Overwatch. I wish I could say the urge to play multiplayer comes and goes, but it’s never been around like this. Overwatch is a special game that makes me feel accomplished with what I do in every match, even if I don’t get all the kills or the most assists. It’s fun for everyone. If I want to destroy the opposition, I’ll select Pharah or Soldier 76 to mow them down. If I want to set traps and goof off, I’ll play Junkrat. If I want to help others out and save them, I’ll play Mercy. The game has so much choice and variety. It’s everything a multiplayer shooting experience should be and makes me excited to play on a daily basis. That’s something I never expected to say and something I’m happy to say. Bravo, Blizzard. Keep it up.

Now I’m just sad I missed out on the Summer Olympics loot boxes. Regret is tough to live with. I’ll deal somehow, I suppose. 

10/24/2016

It’s the small things in life that intrigue me. More specifically for this post, I’m referring to video games. Being such a big fan of video games, I constantly look at all the small details around a game’s hype and subsequent launch. People are always excited to play the newest, latest, and greatest games, but at what cost? Why is there always a need to keep up with what’s current? To always be in on the conversation of the latest games when one could enjoy them on their own time? A few interesting games are coming out this week: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Titanfall 2, and Skyrim Special Edition. None of these three games have as much hype as Battlefield 1 did last week, yet I hear and see many more people discussing these launches rather than celebrating and talking about Battlefield 1 now that it’s released. Just something interesting I’ve noticed that I don’t think I’ve never seen before. 

On top of that, Xenoverse 2 simultaneously has the worst cover art I’ve ever seen and one of the coolest Collector’s Editions I’ve seen. Skyrim‘s cover art is just a zoom and re-cropping of the 2011 release’s original cover art. What does cover art, or the perceived effort put into it, say about the launch of a game, if anything? 

Just some random musings I thought I’d share today. Thanks for reading!