Games nowadays have far more content than they ever have. That is both a blessing and a curse. It is hard to find time to actually play all of the extra content in modern games and hard to divide the proper amount of time to said extra content. For the most part, I’m the type of person who gets to the credits of the game and that basically means that I’m done playing it. I move on to something else. But sometimes there are those couple games that actually stick with me and I have to put more time into them. I decided to pick 5 games that I’ve put the most time into and discuss why they were so addicting in the first place:

1.Team Fortress 2

tf2_group

Team Fortress 2 is one of the best first person shooters ever made. It is so balanced with its class system and each class is noteworthy and useful. I’m also awful at Team Fortress 2. Yet I’ve put at least 100+ hours into the game, despite not playing it much at all in recent years. From playing the game by myself online to playing with multiple friends, the game has always been fun. I love being wonderfully horrible at the spy class or being okay at spamming with a pyro. It doesn’t matter what class I play, this game will always have a special place in my heart.

2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

uncharted2multimain1

I’ve probably played through the single player of Uncharted 2 at least 3 or 4 times. It is one of my favorite campaigns in a video game. I love the story and the characters more than most games. It takes the concept of making a video game cinematic in the best way possible and Naughty Dog seems to have kept that idea going with The Last of Us and hopefully Uncharted 4. This game helped me realize how great of a medium video games are in terms of storytelling. They have a place to tell stories. But, funny enough, I’ve also put 80+ hours into the multiplayer of Uncharted 2. I was playing this game online when maybe 12,000 people were still playing. I adore the multiplayer of Uncharted 2. The fact is the multiplayer was fairly balanced due to a lack of content. Although I don’t play the multiplayer anymore, it is still one of my favorite PVP multiplayer games ever, even better than Uncharted 3’s multiplayer. I commend Naughty Dog for making a unique multiplayer experience that I will always love.

3. Super Smash Bros Melee

supersmashbrosmelee

I couldn’t actually tell you how many hours I put into Super Smash Bros Melee, probably hundreds of hours. I was a kid when the game came out and it was the game I played most as a kid. And as a kid I had the most time…I wasn’t a college student so that helped. Melee and the Wii U Smash game are still my favorite ones and I still like Melee better simply for nostalgic reasons. From keeping my Gamecube on overnight in order to unlock certain characters to playing with three friends in the hectic multiplayer to playing alone, I will always love Melee. Nintendo crafted a perfect multiplayer gaming experience that anybody can pick up but can take years to truly master.

4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

modern-warfare2

I don’t actually play Call of Duty much anymore. The franchise has gotten fairly stale for me over the years and I just don’t care for it. I decided to give Advanced Warfare a try in 2014 and I actually had a decent time with it but it wasn’t enough to fully bring me back into the franchise. Regardless, Modern Warfare 2 will always have a special place in my heart, despite the fact that it is a broken multiplayer game. The balance is laughable in the game, from Noobtubes to Commando, the game is absolutely awful with balance. Yet, I kept playing it. I have over five days worth of gameplay on it (if I remember correctly). I still had tons of fun with it and I still pick it up every year or so to play a couple games just for the hell of it. And you bet I would be the first one to download an HD remake if they made one.

5. Pokemon Ruby

pokemon-ruby-screenshot-3

I would like to assume that this is the Pokemon game I put the most time into but I’m not entirely sure it is. I probably played through it multiple times over to the point that when I played Omega Ruby I had everything memorized. I know the game in and out, which must mean something. I still consider Generation III Pokemon my favorite Pokemon Gen and it’s probably all because of nostalgia, I will not deny that. None of it is for real technical reasons. It holds nostalgic value. I’ve only recently decided to get back into the franchise with Omega Ruby and I’m now backtracking to Pokemon Y right now. But these new games will never have the impact Pokemon Ruby did on me, it was an important experience I had as a kid that truly influenced my creativity in the best way possible.

What games have you sunk the most time into? What do you think of my picks?

Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments below. This is the author of the post talking to you. His name is Jesse Jordon. Isn’t that great to know? He’d like to be a games journalist someday. Whatever the heck that is. You can follow me on Twitter @jjordon96

Portal and Half-Life movies still happening, according to J.J. Abrams

In a recent article by IGN, it was reported that J.J. Abrams has stated that his joint project with Valve (a Portal movie and a Half Life movie) is still in development. An interesting tidbit to point out is that the director of 10 Cloverfield Lane (which is produced by J.J. Abrams) also directed the short fan film, Portal: No Escape. One can easily wonder whether the director will be pinned for the Portal film.

The question is, are these movies necessary? What do you think? I tend to take the stance that video game movies are fairly pointless and don’t really have a reason to exist, especially a Portal one which doesn’t make any sense to me.

Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments below. This is the author of the post talking to you. His name is Jesse Jordon. Isn’t that great to know? He’d like to be a games journalist someday. Whatever the heck that is. You can follow me on Twitter @jjordon96

Gaming on a Budget: Nintendo Selects saves the day

si_nintendoselects

A series of posts meant to save you a couple quarters. I’m a broke college student so I understand the pain of trying to game on the cheap.

Nintendo is releasing twelve new titles under its “Nintendo Selects” banner tomorrow. Essentially, this banner is designed to put some of the very best games Nintendo has made at the price of $19.99, which is a steal for some of these games.

Starting with the Wii U, we have: Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3, and NES Remix Pack. Super Mario 3D World is an essential game for anybody who owns a Wii U. If you don’t have a copy, now is the time to play a solid addition to the 3D Mario games. I haven’t played Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze but I love Donkey Kong Country Returns and I’m sure Tropical Freeze is just as good. (I myself am planning on getting a copy of Tropical Freeze now.) I don’t really have much info on Pikmin 3 or NES Remix Pack but I’m highly considering getting them as well.

The 3DS will have these titles under the Nintendo Selects banner: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Mario Party Island Tour, and Yoshi’s New Island. Ocarina of Time is an obvious classic…that I’ve barely played. Yeah, I know. I’m planning on grabbing a copy and I’m sure anybody who hasn’t played it will do the same to play what is considered one of the greatest games ever made. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a simple remake of a great game. If you don’t care about co-op on a TV and just want a great platformer for on the go, absolutely get it. Mario Party is strange for a 3DS but I guess if you want to play it alone…you can. Yoshi’s New Island is another one I plan on picking up despite hearing somewhat mixed things. Yoshi platformers are (almost) always a good time.

Even the Nintendo Wii is going to have new titles under the banner: Super Mario Galaxy 2, Animal Crossing City Folk, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Super Mario All Stars. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is one of the greatest games ever made. If you don’t have it, play it. Now. Please. I don’t care for Animal Crossing but if you do, you can now get it on the cheap. Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii is probably worth buying over the 3D one in order to play with friends. It’s a great game. The last title is a collection of four classic Mario titles ported to the Nintendo Wii: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 2 USA, and Super Mario Bros. 3. Though I don’t think the ports are perfect in terms of precision, it still may be worth a purchase. Otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with dusting off a NES to play these games in their original form.

Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments below. This is the author of the post talking to you. His name is Jesse Jordon. Isn’t that great to know? He’d like to be a games journalist someday. Whatever the heck that is. You can follow me on Twitter @jjordon96

Have Video Games Become Too Easy: The Omega Ruby Conundrum

expshare

Omega Ruby is a gorgeous remake of a wonderful game. But why is it one of the easiest games I have ever played? And are games in general just getting too easy? Or maybe a world where Omega Ruby and Bloodborne can coexist is a good thing? I’m not entirely sure but I’m going to try to answer the question anyways.

Omega Ruby has so many great things going for it: 3D graphics, mega evolutions, and elimination of pointless backtracking is something I’m quite okay with. But why is leveling up almost a complete joke now and the default setting is to have EXP Share turned on and have it affect every Pokemon? I understand that you can turn it off with ease but it is incredibly disappointing to have it be the default setting. I don’t want my Pokemon to be 5-10 levels ahead of the ones I encounter in the gym nor do I want to one hit K.O. them when I didn’t even train beyond fighting trainers you are supposed to encounter. I didn’t make this happen. Game Freak decided to take a game that was already pretty easy (just right I would say in terms of difficulty) and decided to make it jokingly easy. Is this a common trend in general?

Let’s take something like the games developed by Naughty Dog in recent years: Uncharted and The Last of Us. I would say for the most part these games also fit in the category of having just right difficulty, if played on normal difficulty. But these games have a reason to be easy or just right more than Omega Ruby does. Naughty Dog wants the player to be able to enjoy the cinematic storylines as much as possible without the player getting too stressed. (Although it is worth pointing out that I think The Last of Us does a wonderful job making the player feel a little stressed to get a post-apocalyptic feel going.)

Omega Ruby lacks an interesting storyline because it’s a goddamn Pokemon game. But it is also an RPG, albeit a beginner’s RPG. RPG’s should still require me to level up and grind at least a little bit and not simply hand it off to me for free. The Final Fantasy games are not difficult but at least want me to grind a little bit here and there and challenge me sometimes. I want that in Pokemon (again).

What others games have this issue? Well I suppose we could take a look at Nintendo once again. Mario has added power-ups that make you invincible if you mess up enough. Donkey Kong Country has done the same (although Donkey Kong Country is actually quite difficult). Mario still has a just right difficulty but adding these strange temptations of invincibility is bizarre to me because it is a glorified cheat code. I understand its maybe more for children but Mario isn’t very hard in the first place and neither is Pokemon. Donkey Kong Country having this mechanic is also strange because it is supposed to be hard and being invincible eliminates that, even if it is an optional temptation. I suppose my argument for this isn’t perfect. These are optional mechanics but even the temptation itself is quite strange in my eyes, just as EXP share being a primary mechanic is as well.

Video games are better than they ever have been. I do not want to go back to the days of overly difficult platformers that are more frustrating than fun a lot of the time. But I would like it if developers stopped this attempt at making games so easy to the point that they aren’t fun anymore. Omega Ruby is a near-broken game. I don’t care what way you toss it. Using Groudon in the 8th gym literally broke the gym due to him blocking out water attacks completely. That’s just a shit mechanic. EXP Share working for every Pokemon basically blocks out the concept of even bothering to train. I don’t want modern games to follow the trend of Omega Ruby. That will ruin games. As much as I still had fun with Omega Ruby as a nostalgic trip, it has immense issues that needed to be addressed. Games should still give me a slight challenge. That’s part of the reason anybody plays them, part of gaming is to feel a sense of accomplishment and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments below. This is the author of the post talking to you. His name is Jesse Jordon. Isn’t that great to know? He’d like to be a games journalist someday. Whatever the heck that is. You can follow me on Twitter @jjordon96

A Pokemon Fan creates Ash Ketchum’s room in Unreal Engine 4

Youtube user Jarlan Perez took it upon himself to recreate Ash Ketchum’s room from Pokemon in Unreal Engine 4 in honor of Pokemon’s 20th anniversary and let’s just say it’s pretty awesome. I know nothing about using game engines so to me this is pretty impressive. Take a look at the video and let me know what you think. Are you excited that it is Pokemon’s 20th anniversary? And what do you look forward to in Pokemon Sun & Moon?

 

Pokemon Omega Ruby: Or how a college student finally decided to play games again: Or how the nostalgia bug has consumed me: Or who this a long title

It’s pretty difficult to actually find time to play games when all you do is read books and write papers all week. College is stressful. And kind of enjoyable and kind of sucks at the same time. So I decided it would be a great idea to get a 3DS and a copy of Pokemon Omega Ruby to try to relax for once and not do homework for ten hours a day (that’s a bit of an exaggeration probably). The fact is ever since I’ve gone back to college I’ve barely even played video games. I don’t have the time and my passion for them has dissolved a bit (which is why I’ve completely disappeared on here for like a year), but playing Pokemon has really changed that once again. It reinvigorated a passion for gaming that I haven’t had in awhile. Is it partially a nostalgia factor? Absolutely. But it is so much more than that.

It’s hard to actually find time to play games that are heavily story-driven when life is so busy and that’s when handhelds and Pokemon come in handy. Pokemon Omega Ruby doesn’t exactly have the greatest story (none of the Pokemon games do but would one really expect it from a game that is technically designed for children and the story is low-key environmentalist propaganda for children, let’s be honest). (Protect the environment, children.) This paragraph has been a disaster of parentheses and I think I’m going to get out of it. (Clearly, college has not taught me how to write like a normal, academic person.)

I’m three badges into Omega Ruby but it’s everything I could have asked for. It takes a game that was a significant part of my childhood, a game I played so many times over and have the whole damn thing near-memorized, and crafts it into a gorgeous remake with wonderful new graphics and new content. It’s everything twelve-year old me wanted Pokemon to become. And well, I guess that is a reality now. It’s like I’m playing a new and old game all at once and it kind of trips me out a bit. It’s like an entirely different experience that I’ve forgotten existed.

I pushed aside my love for Pokemon after Diamond and Pearl because I simply didn’t care for the games very much. I found them to be kind of mediocre and underwhelming, even as a kid. (Despite the fact that I put 60 hours into Pearl, but we’ll ignore that obvious fact, okay?) But playing Omega Ruby makes me want to go pick up every single Pokemon game I’ve missed out on, especially X & Y. Let’s just say that my excitement for Sun & Moon is pretty substantial.

But playing Omega Ruby has done more for me beyond simply loving Pokemon again; it reminded me the simple joy of Nintendo games and gaming in general. All I’ve really played the past year or so was Star Wars Battlefront, Destiny, and occasionally Smash Bros. on the Wii-U. I simply didn’t find myself having enough interest in gaming or enough time. Video games take a lot of goddamn dedication to actually play. It’s hard to find the time. It really, really is. But I think I can make the time if possible. I’ve realized that it really helps to calm me down in between schoolwork and with the 3DS it makes playing games wherever I want on campus far easier.

So I guess this is a strange article. The point is, find time to play games. Make an effort to do it because I know it has been beneficial for me since starting Omega Ruby. College is stressful as all hell and having something to actually relax with has been wonderful. And it’s pretty wonderful when you have a significant other who actually wants to play Pokemon with you at the same time. It’s stupid shit that tends to make life worth living and the most fun.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse (PS4) Review

Dragon Ball video games have been in a very strange state in the past few years. I’ve personally avoided plenty of them due to bad reception and them feeling like a general waste of time. Xenoverse is something a bit different, but, in a good way, in a very, very good way, and despite some technical issues, the game is the best Dragon Ball has been since Tenkaichi 3 for the Playstation 2/Wii.

The actual concept of Xenoverse is strange in itself. It has MMO elements and a unique plot that is the best concept for a Dragon Ball game since…well, ever. Instead of getting a typical retelling of the plot of Dragon Ball Z, we get something totally different and a twist to the typical telling of the plot. You create a character (who can be Namekian, Saiyan, Earthling, Frieza Race (yeah…it’s actually called Frieza Race), and Maijin) that is the main character of the story. Trunks also plays a significant role as you go back in time with him to various moments in Dragon Ball Z that you have to fix the timeline of. Two mysterious characters named Mira and Towa are messing with the timeline and you have to fix it so the events remain the way they were originally in the plot of Dragon Ball Z. For one thing, we get to create a character. For another thing, he’s the main character. And lastly, we get a unique plot. Did someone finally realize how goddamn stale the past few Dragon Ball games were? That we actually needed something new? It’s amazing it took this long.

The main MMO hub world of the game is called Toki Toki City and it is like a typical MMO town found within just about any normal MMO. You can buy things from shops, you can take on quests online and offline (Parallel Quests which are basically used for a level grinding device more than anything), have an iconic DBZ character train you, or interact with other players. The issue is…the servers are kind of garbage right now. They don’t run more than half the time and most of the time it seems like they enjoy being offline. On top of that, you can only go to Toki Toki City. The game contains no other menus. There isn’t a quick V.S. mode menu on the title screen, which is incredibly obnoxious and the local play seems a bit quickly put together considering you can only play on one stage and only can play 1 vs. 1. Another small issue is that you can’t boost attributes in between story levels without actually exiting out of the story mode and then loading it up again. It’s small issues like that that hinder Xenoverse from being a really great game.

The combat itself is fluent and some of the best combat in a DBZ game. It’s hard to say that it is better than Tenkaichi, which is where I feel they perfected the combat, but it still works pretty damn well. It’s fast-paced, allows you to equip different skills, and on your created character you get to build up your stats in your own way. It’s hard to really say much about it beyond the fact that it is a typical anime fighter style of combat involving quick presses of Square and Triangle (at least on the PS4) and combining that with simple two button pushes for special attacks. It’s been done before but is at its near best in Xenoverse.

One of the most lacking departments is the amount of characters. There are not very many characters in Xenoverse, especially with how much we’ve been spoiled with past DBZ titles. There are 47 characters. Is that a decent amount? Sure. I can be a bit more forgiving. This is the first title in the Xenoverse series in which I am sure we will get another one of next year or the year after. It’s worth realizing that this is an entirely new game and that expecting a lot of characters (in the hundreds) shouldn’t be expected in a first title. My hope is that we get a sequel with a lot more characters and more content in general and I hope to see more MMO elements being incorporated, as in having more varied quest content beyond just beating up a bunch of different dudes in different areas. I’d like to see them get crazy and do weird MMO stuff in a fighting game if they could.

Xenoverse is a really solid title and is worth the sixty dollars. It’s clear to me that actual work and care was put into this title. It isn’t a cheap cash-in for the DBZ franchise. It seems like a true passion project made for DBZ fans and fans of fighters and the MMO content just makes it all the better, even if it is minimal. The game is on the cusp of being something really amazing. It’s great, but it doesn’t quite hit the spot it should. It needs more content and it needs more varied game design but it is a game that is in the need of a true sequel that will do everything to improve an already great game.

Pros:

+Great combat, the best since Tenkaichi

+MMO elements that fit right into a DBZ game

+Your created character being the main character

+Unique storytelling

Cons:

-Lack of characters

-Lack of varied Parallel Quest mission design

-Server issues and minimal kinks that need to be worked out

Score: 8.0/10

Author of this post (and the only person posting on this blog):

Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book Passing Out Pieces for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).