The Sandbox

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[ Blog ] Approaching #GamerGate, Part 5: #EndGame and The State of Gaming

It’s been almost a year and I can say with certainty that the only place #GamerGate really has any weight as a discussion anymore is on Twitter – the place it started at and where it should have stayed – and it’s done fairly well to stay off the mainstream media for the time being. I’m cool with that. That doesn’t mean that those deeply involved in either side are quitting anytime, soon, though: while the Gaters are content with pointing out self-proclaimed corruptions and conspiracy theories in the gaming industry, the Anti-Gaters are content with being completely antagonistic to the Gaters and pushing legislation to keep the kind of hate speech and death threats they fear from happening. Both sides are having mixed success in their affairs as a lot of Gaters are losing credibility – mostly because of the fact that the controversy has died down and the problem with gaming journalism is more of a problem with journalism as a whole and, by approaching it wrong, won’t ever get fixed – and Anti-Gaters are losing what credibility they have left as a lot of them are suffering from “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” syndrome.

As for me, GamerGate has brought to media attention things I’ve known for a long time and I feel validated by that: reddit proving, once again, that absolute power, in any form, corrupts absolutely; N4G being full of a bunch of elitist dicks that would elevate those that profit them directly and hold down those they feel are threatening; gaming journalism has extremely deep roots in “corruption”, taking handouts and favors of all kinds from developers and production companies in return for favorable mention and review; that people, generally speaking, are entitled, victimizing, whiny little brats that throw a tantrum whenever something doesn’t go their way; that evil doesn’t always come to you holding a pitchfork and breathing fire.

Beyond that, I don’t think I’ve really taken a side aside from my own: the fact that gamers should speak with their wallets and not with their voices because very few will respond to voices, these days; the fact that equality is something that needs to be approached on a social level and not by deconstructing any particular medium; the fact that we should all be looking inward – as people and as gamers – to find our own happiness as opposed to relying on others to make it and find it for us; that gaming has always been kind of a competitive “me first” and “I’m better” atmosphere and that has nothing to do with segregation, bigotry, racism, sexism, or anything other than people’s desire to be better than their peer, or at least their belief that they’re better than their peer, which is more arrogance than bigotry.

These things have always existed and, so long as the social constructs are in place that give them strength, will continue to be that way for a long time. The truth of the matter is that we like this. Have you ever heard the expression “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”? This is what keeps things in place. We may bicker and fight with one another but over familiar things that we know and understand as opposed to new and challenging things that may tear us apart.

While it’s true that gaming has always been a boy’s club, that’s not entirely because we didn’t include women. In its inception, it was a family event, playing a video game, much like a board game; as gaming nearly collapsed and was saved by Nintendo almost single-handedly, practically turning it into a toy for children. Much like the gender division we’ve brought into toys like Barbie and Tonka, for example, whereas boys are expected to like one and girls the other, video games were taught, at an early age, to be a boy’s toy. Girls grew to stick to the things they were told to like. Even as far back as the early 90s, I knew plenty of girls who had started getting into gaming pretty seriously… sure, it wasn’t without facing some kind of social stigma but at that time it was understood that all gamers had to face this kind of stigma. Fast forward into the early 2000’s and you could readily see plenty of women in the industry and in the fanbases. Go to a convention and there seemed to be just as many women as there were men and it seemed plenty of women were at least pretending to have an absolutely great time. Fast forward a little more to the last few years and suddenly women are the most oppressed beings in all of gaming and it was all men’s fault and certainly the product of an industry that chastised women and objectified them! I didn’t see the thirty people cosplaying as their favorite scantily clad woman complaining, nor did I see all of the girls I knew or had been in communication with in the 90s complain. Everyone was just too busy having fun with their games then.

While it’s true that gaming has been rife with corruption, so has everything else and, as big a business as gaming has become, you still have to realize that it’s a business, an industry; one that had troubles listening to its user base even in its infancy and through its complete growth. Money talks, bullshit walk, folks, and this is why stuff like what you’re seeing today is allowed to exist: the opposition would rather scream and yell and whine as opposed to do the things that actually get stuff done. With gaming, your buying habits, along with those of your fellow gamers, dictate what comes out on the market. Your reading habits dictate what gets written; heck, I’ve even made posts based on what you guys read most from my available posts. It’s an industry, before all else, folks, all of it, and if you don’t like it, then hit them where it hurts most: in their profits. Stop reading what you don’t like. Stop buying what you don’t like.  If everyone did that and summarily shut up about it you’d see a lot more changes in gaming and how it broadcasts information to you.

Plainly put, this is #EndGame and all this boils down to is a bunch of entitled, victimizing twerps fighting over who’s hurting more and it pleases me to no end that it’s no longer a real thing.

Where does this leave gaming as an industry, you might ask? Just like any dramatic situation, it’s done me a great favor of highlighting the kinds of people I would like to avoid and the kinds of people I don’t want providing products to me. There were gaming personalities on both sides of the gender line that I’ve validated myself in doing well to just avoid altogether since then and there are those where I’ve had “I knew there was a reason I liked them” moments with. It’s also highlighted a lot of the good progress gaming has made over the years for those that are willing to objectively observe and listen, especially for those on the outside of the gaming industry, looking in. There are strong personalities of all genders, races, and even species across gaming in its characterization and there’s a lot more in the way of control over the characters you don’t get to customize in some way, shape or form. It’s just been an education for the truth for those willing to uncover it and that’s always a good thing.

It’s not gaming that’s changed, honestly, guys: it’s us that changed and in changing we get scared. Goes back to what I was saying earlier about needing something familiar to fight, something familiar to fight over, something familiar that we need to judge and be judged on; trust me, gamers and gaming who have been around for as long as I have know a fair amount of judgment and it’s nothing new to us. Society is the problem and gaming is just the easy thing to blame, just like movies before it and music before that. Almost makes me wonder what kind of new technology we’ll grow to blame next.

[ First Impressions Review ] The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

This game was played using a prepatched digital copy of the game for the PlayStation 4.


The First Three Hours

It’s interesting, being on the other side of the hype train for once: normally, I’m the franchise fan that knows exactly what to expect and what to get excited about when it comes to a new entry in the franchise. Here I am, the fair weather fan who’s only heard and seen things from the franchise – mostly because I haven’t even owned most Microsoft consoles and I haven’t had a decent gaming computer in almost a decade – and I’m getting hyped about this new release strictly from an outsider’s point of view. That being said, the expectations weren’t entirely high but I was pretty excited to try it on.

After getting to finally sit down and play the game, I can see why there are so many fans of the franchise: this game is right up there with the Mass Effects and the Dragon Ages and the Elder Scrolls games out there in terms of scope, quality, and attention to detail. Everything looks beautiful and sounds beautiful. I can’t get over how everything looks and feels this early on in release. You can tell, much like these other franchises, that the series has come a long way since its inception. However, unfortunately, it feels like it has a long way to go before it feels right.

Wild Hunt impressed me with its storytelling, voice acting, music, and general presentation from the moment I started the game up; things were simple, easily laid out, straightforward. Tutorials weren’t exactly long in the tooth and they worked it into the narrative, which is always a good thing for me. However, once they handed the reigns over to me, I felt like someone who was told how to work a crane that’s half-broken for five minutes and then let me go at it. You see, the game’s downright beautiful, the story and characters compelling, and everything about it is wonderful but running around and attacking and micromanaging just separated me from the rest of everything that was going on. The moment I jumped somewhere, tried to dodge or roll, the moment I tried to use a ladder or dive into one of the menu systems mid-combat, it felt as though I was being taken away from the experience to perform a chore. The division of speed and control between walking and running is terrible and disorienting. Most games like this have three movement cycles: walk, jog, run. Sometimes characters can sprint. Our main character goes from a slow walk to sprinting with a tilt of the analog stick and it’s pretty sensitive about it at times, meaning you have to be on a hair trigger if you don’t want to be barreling everywhere with no sense of control. Jumping is completely and utterly ridiculous and reminds me of Super Mario Bros. 2. I shit you not, guys, the jump animation and cycle for this guy is just stupid. He floats on a perfect axis as if he was lifted and dropped by a wire. There’s no way in any world that any person jumps like that. That’s just lazy animation and it feels stupid to watch and it feels stupid to perform. Attacking feels like pretty much any action-based role-playing game, such as Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition, but the dodging and rolling serve little to no purpose: due to the fact that collision detection is incredibly spotty, whether you’re dodging or rolling has no impact on whether you get hit, meaning you can exploit it endlessly if you get good at it or it just doesn’t work at all.

Another thing is that the difficulty, unlike other games like this, ramps up incredibly: I figured, since I had a lot of experience with games like this and that I’ve plodded through many of them rather well, I could take on the Blood and Broken Bones difficulty of this game and it would be a brutal challenge. I could not. I got into the game about an hour or so before I locked myself into a position where I couldn’t backtrack and grind out for more gear or levels. It wasn’t really difficult, in my mind, as it was ridiculous. I took it down a notch in the menus to the regular difficulty but by that time I should have been much better geared and I ended up having to start again. That was… disheartening. That doesn’t happen often in my life and I do not like when I have to do this. I suppose it’s my fault for making assumptions but on harder difficulties this game just does not give you a curve, it plops you in a situation where every battle is grueling, every situation dire, and every choice needs to be wise.

I don’t know if this is how the Witcher franchise has always been and if I’m just nitpicking but a lot of these things just irritate the piss out of me. It takes away from the immersion and I want to love this game through and through because everything else is so well done and polished.


Where to Go From Here

There’s a lot of potential, here, and, thankfully, a lot of the things I have issues with can either be patched or eventually overlooked. There is a seriously high quality production here and I see a lot to enjoy and I don’t want to miss out on that based on the fact that the game’s made me a little pissy. Besides, this looks like it could be a serious Game of the Year contender and I want to know for sure if this game’s got the chops to stand up to take the title.

Will I continue to play this game? For sure, if only to fully develop the story and its characters, at the very least. Everything is so intriguing and wonderful that I want to learn as much as I can about it. This game, in its current form, is already amazing and I can only see it getting better. I want to stick around for that.

Will I do everything there is to do in this game? I’m not sure about that. I mean, there’s a lot of intrigue there but if these technical issues don’t get resolved soon my intention to do everything there is to do kind of dwindles. I might come back for the DLC content that’s to come but that’s a completely different story. At this point, I’m hoping they just polish this game up and hope it was something that kind of came with the territory when you take a game that was primarily an XBOX/PC franchise to the multiplatform market, especially since the original XBOX and XBOX 360 were, essentially, glorified gaming computers. Porting can always be troublesome.

I hope things only get better from here. I’ll be sticking it out until, at the very least, one completion; hopefully, many more to come, because I’m getting a serious Mass Effect / Dragon Age vibe from this game and I like that.

[ Retro Review ] Uncharted Waters: New Horizons


Through the Nostalgia Filter

I picked this game up for the Super Nintendo way back when as a used title – it was one of my first purchased titles. Tecmo-Koei marketed this game a the ultimate role-playing game so it immediately caught my eye – as a lot of games did in that era that marketed themselves in the same way. In this naval exploration simulator, you choose one of six characters, one of which has ties to the previous title in the franchise. From there, you’re given a little background and a bit of advice to take with you on your travels. After that, you’re pretty much on your own – that’s where this game initially appealed to me: you had a roundabout mission but it was completely up to you on how to accomplish that. You had the entire world at your disposal.

This was a bit of a problem, however; unlike games like Pirates! that had give this type of game the treatment it deserved, this game attempted to simplify and refine that experience at the same time which, as you can imagine, was met with meager results. Playing this game, way back when I first got it, I can remember getting really excited in the first hour or so of play and then getting bored after about an hour of wandering and micromanaging; it was starting to feel like one of those educational games that really had no point but to force information and trivia down your throat that you would otherwise have not participated in.

It was just one of those games that I couldn’t commit to before I even entered my teens. It just didn’t feel exciting or engaging enough. Little did I know what I was missing out on by not giving it a proper chance…

Uncharted_Waters_-_New_Horizons_4Coming Back, After All These Years

I’ve got to say, I kind of wish I would have given this game more of a chance back when I first played it. While it is extremely slow to get going, the dialogue is paltry, the graphics are poor – even for that time – and the story is dry, there is a lot more to offer after plodding through the initial portion of the game. It’s a real shame, too, because I didn’t come back to this game until well after I’d found better, more popular games that did what this game does much, much better.

Got to hand it to this game, though, for it’s somewhat less about the “in the movies” version of sailing the seven seas and more about what I would imagine realistic sailing would have been in the era depicted in the game. Not everyone gets swept up in a journey of grandiose proportions within a matter of days like it seems a lot of games are – sometimes it takes days, weeks, months, even years in order to get anywhere and that’s what this game is about. Once it gets going and you’ve gotten a handle on trade, supplies, crew, ships, and so on and so forth, you get introduced to some of the more exciting aspects such as battle between ships and crew. By that time, the story for each character starts unfolding, too.

One of the larger things that brought me back to this game was its soundtrack: one of the shining moments of this game, written by none other than Yoko Kanno. You might not remember that name right off the hop but you might if I mention one of her more popular works – Cowboy Bebop. Yeah, you wouldn’t think it was one and the same but the quality in the music shows and it was at its best on the Super Nintendo version of this game. I had heard a tune somewhere that instantly reminded me of the overworld theme from this game; I had to give it another go, if only for nostalgia value alone.

I wouldn’t imagine many people remember this game and even fewer people have ever played it but I did enjoy it a little and it’s always good for a brief revisit.


[ Review ] PlayStation Now

Were you one of the unfortunate few that had to give up their PlayStation 3 in order to get the PlayStation 4? Have you ever thought “Hey, I’d like to play that game but the chances of me finding it, because it’s not that popular or it’s out of print, are kind of slim”? Have you ever wanted to try a game on but you weren’t sure if you wanted to buy it and, like many cities in North America, renting physical copies of video games have become a thing of the past? Well, hop aboard, guys, let me tell you all about my first experiences as a PlayStation Now subscriber.

psnow_trailer_logoPlayStation Now: The Service

Now, you’re probably wondering what this is all about – in talking about it with just my local circle of gamer friends, there still seems to be a tiny bit of confusion surrounding the service and what it’s all about. As you’ve probably heard, PlayStation Now is a cloud-based service that allows you to stream some of your favorite games to your console of choice. All you need to do is install the application for PlayStation Now, pay a subscription fee of 20$ per month or 45$ for three months, and browse to your heart’s content. You’ll have to pass a connection test once all that is done to make sure your connection speed is up to the task – and, trust me, if my connection can do it where I’m at and which internet provider I’m with, you can, too – you’re all set to go.

If you’re familiar with Netflix then you’re already familiar with how PlayStation Now is set up: based on varying categories, you’re lined up with a selection of games to choose from. You find one that you like, you select it, it takes you through the initialization process which, for me, never took more than about 30-40 seconds. There’s a few things to note, here, though: the start and select buttons are done in a different way if you’re doing this with a PlayStation 4 controller or on your PlayStation Vita but they show you the differences in control and make no qualms about getting you set up as quickly as possible.

One of the main complaints about this service was the initial approach to payment: each game was individually paid for on a rental basis and, even then, the rental prices were crazy. All things considered, some of the prices were reminiscent of what places like Blockbuster used to charge; they had reason, though, as they had overhead to worry about and employees to pay. That was somewhat fixed by changing things to subscription method: while the price is still a tad steep, 20$ a month is still cheap, comparatively, for the ability to choose from and play the entire selection of games.

Speaking of game selection, while it’s still, pretty much, limited to games that you could play on the PlayStation 3 in one form or another, Sony is planning on continually expanding this as licensing allows – some third party companies might not want to jump ship on titles they’re still making retail sales on. I’ve gotten my subscription today and I wouldn’t be wholly disappointed if the selection stopped right in its tracks. The fact that it’s going to grow only keeps me wanting to stick around.

It should also be noted that of the platforms I’ve tested it on – the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation TV – only the PlayStation 4 worked in the way I’ll be describing below. It wouldn’t work in the same way on PlayStation TV as it’s still running an outdated version of the app and has the per-game rental charges still as the only way you can pay for the services. I was also unable to try it via Remote Play from my PlayStation TV to my PlayStation 4 because it blocked me from being able to do so, much like trying to Remote Play Netflix, which is nothing but aggravating. I can’t imagine it being any different on my PlayStation Vita but I’ll admit I haven’t tried it there, yet. That’s bound to change, though, as they bring the rest of the brand out of beta and go into full release.


PlayStation Now: The Experience

This is probably one of the most painless setups for an online streaming service that I’ve ever had: I literally took the time to add the funds to my account – the longest part of the process, I might add – and it wasn’t more than ten minutes after the service was paid for that I was well into the tutorial of the first game I brought up, Tokyo Jungle. Given, yes, I already had the app downloaded back from when I wanted to see the game selection for an article I was writing, at the time, but downloading it again for the PlayStation TV didn’t take more than three or four minutes so I can’t see that being much of a problem if you didn’t have the app prior.

Once you’re into a game, though, it feels just like the real deal, to be honest. I tested it for input lag and, sincerely, there’s very little, even on my shitty internet connection. Tokyo Jungle played very well and it was entirely a surprise right from start to finish. I felt, though, that Tokyo Jungle wasn’t exactly a demanding game, in terms of processing power and visual streaming so I opted to find something a little more so: that’s when I tried on Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. Episode 2 was just as responsive and while there was a little visual stutter, it wasn’t unlike Remote Play between the Vita or PlayStation TV connecting to the PlayStation 4, where heavy network activity would cause that, sometimes, and at the times where I had a little stutter, there was some heavy network activity, so that explained that. Like I’d stated before, my current home network situation is not the best, so the fact that it ran as well as it did surpassed my expectations.

I’ll be honest: the day I tested all this was not one of my best days. I only tested a couple games because I wasn’t feeling entirely well but based on what I was able to try I’m actually excited to go back and play some more.



PlayStation Now: Should You Get It?

If you can spare the cash, monthly, honestly, you should get it. Even if you can’t, you should fork up for at least one month to try it on. It’s really something else. When I felt like it was Netflix for PlayStation games, that was based only on suggestion from the information I’d been hearing about the service but now that I’ve gotten the pleasure of trying it for myself, it sincerely feels like that’s a label that is very appropriate.

That being said, though, I think there are two main groups that would jump onto this service in the near future: those that had to give up their PlayStation 3 in order to get a PlayStation 4 and those who are new to the PlayStation brand or those who just would like to try games without having to purchase them first. I know the physical rental racket isn’t very lucrative since Netflix came around and killed Blockbuster, pretty much, so this kind of thing seems quite awesome to those who don’t want to get roped into purchasing a used game just to try it out, later finding they didn’t like it and it was a waste of money.

I’m positive that outlets like GameStop and EB Games are going to have a lot to say about this as they make a lot of money from refurbishing games and peripherals; not that I particularly care, honestly, because those kinds of stores have been cutting corners and ripping us off for a very long time, all while hiring the lowest common idiot to work at most of their stores…

It’s pretty great and you get a lot of bang for your buck. That’s about as neutral of an opinion as you’ll get out of this guy.


[ Blog ] Oppression in Gaming: The Cold, Hard Truth

I’ve had it up to my eyes with this shit; I’m done with tolerating it and being nice about it and tip-toeing around it like a good little blogger does. I’m really going to tear into this one because I’ve been biting my tongue for far too long regarding the issue of entitlement and actual oppression in the gaming community. There are far too many people who got into this community without knowing anything about what it’s about and what it’s been doing for decades and suddenly demanding change. Just because you’ve been gaming for years and you suddenly became adults doesn’t entitle you to demanding change from something that has, for all intents and purposes, been just fine without your bitching and moaning about it.

However, since this latest entry from the self-entitled whining middle-class was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I will address this post first and foremost before I jump into anything else, as this will set up a good majority of the points I would address anyway:

  • First off, the implied emote “*puts on rantypants, complete with Corellian bloodstripes*” is a cheap way to earn geek cred. I would have just as summarily shook my head at a man who used an emote like “*set phasers to stun*” because, with exception to The Next Generation and maybe Deep Space Nine, I think Star Trek is incredibly lame. Using a term like “rantypants” also keeps me from taking you very seriously, just as my constant swearing will probably keep you from taking me seriously. Neither of which have anything to do with gender.
  • This whole “gegging” thing implies that everyone that challenges your geek cred or value as a person wants to sleep with you or date you. With an attitude like that, don’t flatter yourself. This is not because of awkward social graces, this is because of a preconception you’ve created in your mind in response to people being degrading to you. This makes you seem extremely shallow and, yet again, has nothing to do with your gender, to me.
  • Let me be clear about the whole situation in Best Buy, for you, child: first off, Apple is shit; also, half of the people who are really into Star Wars are spending more money on merchandise and not on overpriced, shitty computers manufactured by the cheapest labor possible. Wearing a cute skintight t-shirt that looks like a print that came from Abercrombie and Fitch along with buying some overpriced dipshit “buying this for the name” technology is going to earn you some disdain, regardless of your gender, because you look like a trend whore. It would be the same, for me, if I were still working retail and you came in wearing a Guardians of the Galaxy and bought a pair of Beats by Dre, brand new, and happened to be a forty year old man. It has nothing to do with your gender, it has everything to do with making choices like a retarded sheep. Don’t even get me started on why you purchased a Macbook in the first place, you sniveling shit. There are way too many people just like you for me to tolerate on both sides of the gender line, there.
  • This line of bullshit right here:1. I get yelled at for not being nice.Guy: So what kind of geek are you?

    Me: The kind who’s sick of answering this question.


    You will get ridiculed anywhere for not being nice, you dumb bitch! This bit is biased because of gender, I will admit, but only because it is such a stereotypical thing for some women to take things in a discussion completely out of context because of some stupid preconception that doesn’t have anything to do with reality. You copped an attitude, you got an attitude back. That’s life for you and that part of things has nothing to do with gender.

  • I love how this entire post reeks of assuming that everyone wants to sleep with geek girls and that the major oppression is that geeks think geek girls are “fake” because they don’t like a certain thing or they don’t know certain things about the things they like. If you didn’t seem so goddamned self-centered I’d be more inclined to take you seriously. You mention “being a dick” and “bedding” geek girls in some way or fashion at least five times in the article, each. However, we males are the only ones who are allowed to be sexist pigs, apparently!


And since dismantling this dumb shit’s entire post isn’t enough for me, why just take my word for it? Here’s some excellent counter points from a couple people on Facebook and her own blog – identities of the posters are kept anonymous and editing was done to protect the posters:


“The geek gatekeeping isn’t about gender it’s about protecting ourselves from the mockery that we grew up with and even as adults still face. It eventually became a way for us to engage with each other on shared fandoms and also for minor ribbing about things we did not share in common. If you see this as a gender thing it’s likely because you look through everything with gender colored glasses.”


“Being challenged to a debate about something in Geek culture isn’t something to cry about. Why not answer the question or defend your stance on a certain matter or type of fiction. Geek guys have been doing this since day one. I don’t think that Geek girls should get a pass, and just accepted into the pack because they say I’m one of you.
And of course like any other sub culture, evolution will occur. Changing power balances will appear and elitism will show it’s ugly head with anything that becomes popular and mainstream.

So what I’m saying is move with the times, stop complaining, suck it up. The world isn’t rainbows and kittens, whether it’s in school, in public or the workplace. The world consists of Ying and Yang. Saying you want to get rid of all the bad is just futile.

Negativity breeds positivity in order to challenge it and bring balance, and vice versa.

Being a geek is all about the mind, and not your brawn. Use it.”


I’m gonna tell you a little story about how I was picked on when I was younger. I wasn’t picked on for any visible handicaps, I wasn’t picked on for being a girl, I wasn’t picked on for having money or for being poor: I was picked on for being smart, for not having the greatest social graces, and for liking things most other people didn’t like. I was still a nail that stuck out and, therefore, got hammered down. Like any other kids, though, we just wanted to belong. We found others who were like us because we wanted to belong, we wanted to feel joy in doing the things we did, and we wanted the chance to share it all. In also sharing our negatives, the bond was strong for just being there. In my small gaming community, we would sit at home and play 2 player games and share tips on how to beat the single player ones. Mega Man and Super Mario were always popular because we’d always be finding new ways to beat them. It also grew awfully competitive, especially since most of the people we hung out with were boys, even though there was a couple girls; especially as the local community began to grew as more and more people had access to video games.

Things at school and in the social crowd at large, though, never changed. I had to live with ridicule and oppression from a good deal of people for what I liked and what I did. Being called a geek or a nerd – especially a nerd, that one always dug deep for some reason – was always a point of shame. Not because I didn’t like what I did or didn’t have pride in my hobbies but because everyone seemed to look down upon me for it.

Let me be clear, here: I didn’t get to be completely okay with being a geek or a gamer and by the time I was okay with it, it still wasn’t widely accepted in the global community at large and it wasn’t popular culture until long after I came to terms with it. I was more than okay and I already had an established network of geeky friends that I was in good with by the time everyone was okay with gaming and, later, geek culture in general. I had to build my pride in my geek culture on my own and with no one’s help. It had to be forged and a lot of times that pride came in spite of hate that was not based on my age, standing, race, or gender.

I  still deal with this shit from time to time and exclusivity isn’t just something that happens in “boys’ clubs” like gaming or in sports, for example; no, no, have you ever been a single male trying to comment on feminism and parenting? You can’t. You get ridiculed, you get ostracized, you get singled out and harassed simply because “you would never understand.” Extreme examples, sure, but it’s not like this kind of thing is strictly a male territory. Ever tried to debate whether or not mothers should cover up while breastfeeding in public? You can’t. Even if you’re female, you can’t. If you disagree with them, you’re the enemy and should be stamped out. This isn’t just in gaming, folks.


Now, a moment for all of those who would choose to insist, in spite of all of this, I will take a moment to address you directly: grow the fuck up. Seriously. The same guy who would yell and ridicule you for doing dumb shit would likely be the same guy who would ridicule me for doing dumb shit: not because of class or because of gender but rather because he’s kind of an elitist dickhead. If you’re old enough to pick up a controller and play a video game you’re just as able to put it down, say “fuck this, I can’t take this” and walk away from it and embrace something that’s a little more convenient for you. That’s what embracing a hobby is all about: finding what you enjoy and being able to share it with others who also enjoy your hobby.

Also, on a separate note, here: just because you’re into something a lot doesn’t make you a geek. “Geek” is kind of an outdated term, now, because it used to be a slang term for people to single out the smart kids, the strange kids, the kids who didn’t fit in. In a lot of cases, “geek” doesn’t really apply and it’s used more as a flag that gets shoved in everyone’s faces than a badge of accomplishment. It’s now used as a term to single out all the people who aren’t in geek culture, shoving in people’s faces what they’re missing and why they should love it too. That’s never been what it’s been all about and I think the definition has been washed out over the years.

Lastly, a personal message to Mrs. Delilah S. Dawson who, in a picture to the referred to blog post, adopted the all too popular “ugly face” to address her readers… get off the cross, man. Enjoy what you do or shut the hell up and do something else you enjoy. If someone’s competing with you and you don’t quite match up, that’s called losing. What you’re doing is the equivalent of blaming lag for your lack of skill. It comes across as childish and it wins you no points, either in-game or with the people you’re playing with. This isn’t about sexism, people wanting to have sex with you, or about anything like that. This has nothing to do with privilege. This has nothing to do with oppression. You’re just acting like a baby, throwing a tantrum, and people don’t like babies when it comes to video games, especially in an adult setting.


By the by, for the rest of the people out there who think that this comes from an all-the-time drive for sexualization and desensitization of people in gaming culture, I beg you look at the above characters from the newly released Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, whereas an entire class of main characters get to strut their stuff without being overly sexualized. Skirts are there for school uniforms and, honestly, if you’re going to take an issue with that you should take an issue with skirts as a school uniform thing across the world.


[ First Impressions Review ] Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

This review was written using the Day One copy of the game for the PlayStation 4 that was unpatched.


The First Three Hours

Where this game seems to be concerned, there are three types of fans coming into this: those, like myself, who are excited to play the game based on watching the Japanese version of the game for years, those are cautiously optimistic based on the fact that it doesn’t play like many previous games in the franchise, and those who don’t really know much about the game at all and simply want a look at the newest Final Fantasy title. Being one of those that knew a bit about the Japanese version of the game beforehand, I wasted no time before plopping down on my couch, opening an energy drink, and getting right into the game. Little did I know that it was going to waste just as little time getting right into me.

Type-0 is not one of those role-playing games that takes its time introducing its characters and setting but rather slips you right into the middle of things: there are four nations, each centered around a crystal that’s responsible for each nation’s military power, mentality, and belief structure; one of them, for whatever reasoning decides to begin a major invasion of one of the others. The attack is well-coordinated and sudden, leaving the defending nation without much chance to retort and is quickly routed. Things seem really desperate until Class Zero arrives, a group of children who are able, with your help, to repel the invasion and start fighting back against the invaders. As war, beliefs, and intrigue seem to be large motifs – at least, in the beginning – you’re looking at a game that borrows more than a few story elements from games like Tactics in how it’s emotionally harrowing and really jarring right from the get-go, setting a dark tone for the rest of my time playing the game, so far.

The same thing goes for the gameplay mechanics, too – it holds your hand for only long enough to throw you into the middle of the action. It wasn’t too difficult for me to grasp the basic concept of combat, in its different types, and it wasn’t too difficult to grasp the development concepts, either. It really kind of felt like some really well-fleshed-out cell phone games did: it provides a simple but deep experience that’s easy to grasp but hard to master. After the initial mess is over, you get set into your routine: you have a set amount of time between your main story-driven missions and each action you take, be it a side mission, dialogue with an NPC, or undertaking school lessons to increase stats or gain EXP, drains two hours from that time. When the time is up or you skip the time altogether – yeah, you have the option to do that, though I don’t know why you would – you get to participate in the next story-based mission.

The voice acting is fairly par for the course though some roles are based on really terrible archetypes and are overacted based on said archetypes. There’s one guy that won’t stop saying “yo” all the time and the first l’Cie you face will repeat the same phrase about ten times in about five minutes. It’s really irritating but it’s easy to get over. The music is about par for the course as far as a Final Fantasy game is concerned, too, as it’s well done, not too overbearing, and feels proper to the scene, most times. The graphics are where I’m most divided – the textures, spell effects, and particle effects all look really nice and you can tell where they did the most work in bringing this to the PlayStation 4 but you can still see a lot of the old system – the PlayStation Portable – in this game. I would have liked them to spend a little more time on the game and upgraded the models and, perhaps, fixed the camera focus so that way things that are out of focus don’t look like complete shit.


What’s to Come

Honestly, I think I’ve dug my feet into this game enough to say that I’ve settled into its routine: day to day missions, evolving the story as I go. I like where it’s taken me so far and I don’t see things getting much different, really. I suppose only time will tell but my hopes are still very high for this one and I can’t wait to see what it brings! I’m hoping there’s plenty of surprises.

[ Game Theory ] Final Fantasy VIII: The Little Game That Could

Ah, Final Fantasy VIII:  I decided to install this game after discussing its characters with a good friend of mine and while I’ve vocalized my utter disgust for the game in years past I’ve never really taken the time to discuss it openly. After the epic – and, in some ways, disappointment, in retrospect –  that was Final Fantasy VII, the next game in the franchise had some seriously big shoes to fill: in spite of its glaring flaws and obviously rough edges, VII’s writing and characters stood out and carried the game, even though the translation was murderous. From the moment you start VIII up, I get a feeling that this game would be even more epic and dramatic than the last; it starts to become more than a feeling when you start a new game and you get treated to one of the greatest opening cinematics in the entire franchise, even if it looks dated by today’s graphical standards.

That’s where the wonder and amazement start to fade off. You get thrown into a the Final Fantasy equivalent of a high-school drama that no one, apparently, seems to give a shit about, getting ready for an exam that, in spite of its seriousness, everyone also doesn’t take very seriously. Also putting the brakes to the epic feeling set out by the introduction is a slew of tutorials, making the game feel like a chore before you even get into it, seriously. Most of these tutorials cannot be skipped and just feel awkward for veteran or revisiting players. This is but the beginning and a strong indication of how the rest of the game will go…


The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Let me start this off by saying that this game is great, for what it is: the production values were incredible for the time it was released. All of the renderings, the art direction, the music, the menus, the sound; everything from top to bottom feels polished. This game was extremely ambitious: it took a simple battle system that worked and was perfected in VI and VII and added a completely new layer to the process: “Junctioning.” Like II and III before it, VIII added a whole new dynamic to battling with this system that made every playthrough feel different and customized: what GFs and Junctions did was make it so your strategy going into battle was entirely dependent on your activities in and out of battle. Enemies leveled up with you, as well, meaning that you couldn’t simply grind your way out of a challenge; you had to utilize the junction system in order to get the most out of the game, engaging players in a way that hadn’t often been seen before.

One thing I could never get past, though, is the fact that this game just suffered the opposite problem VII did: whereas VII was an unpolished game that didn’t challenge gamers too much so that way it could tell an excellent and enchanting story, VIII feels like an extremely ambitious game that sought to do too much and suffered, as a result, from a derivative story with bland characters and a miserable excuse for a script. This game would feel like more of a pleasure if it felt more like a Final Fantasy game and less like your stereotypical anime. While that might be fine for some people, that wasn’t exactly mainstream at the time of the game’s release, it wasn’t really called for, I didn’t care for it then and I most certainly don’t care for it now. Most of the characters are two-dimensional, have simple motives, and most of the motivation behind the story is either “kill the sorceresses” or love. It’s uninspired and if it wasn’t for the fact that they were doing a lot of new things with certain plot themes for the series – that doesn’t necessarily make them all good, by the way – I would have probably dropped this game, permanently, from the moment Squall and Rinoa had their moment on the Ragnarok.

In spite of all this ambition and effort they put into the game, what you get is a really nice looking, nice sounding, extremely polished mess. It feels as though the game could have been delayed for only a short time and if that time was spent tinkering with the game a little, it would have been many, many times better than it is. You have a battle system that’s meant to reward customization and strategy but it only rewards the player greatly when they exploit it, which becomes extremely easy later on in the game, once you know how to do it. Every battle becomes a breeze once you do this and since the game forces you to rely on this system to succeed, the motivation to exploit this becomes quite great. This completely turns the enemy leveling system into a novelty, which aggravates me because it’s an incredibly great idea. The junction system goes one step further to try and increase customization by introducing the draw ability, which forces you to drain magic from the environment and the enemies you encounter, which turns into a chore really quickly and feels like a stapled on feature to make sure that players can’t exploit the hell out of junctioning magic early on in the game. This game feels like it tried to do way too much with way too little focus and even the graphics kind of show it – whereas VII was ugly because of its Lego-block looking characters and antiquated spell effects, never did they look unrefined for what they set out to be; the characters and environments in the game are technically great to think about in terms of numbers and definitions but just doesn’t look great. Also, jaggies drive me up the fucking wall. They are all over the fucking place in this game compared to VII and there’s just no excuse for that… at least not at the rate it happens in this game. I know it’s a PlayStation One game but come on… when the previous game didn’t have this much, the next one on shouldn’t, either.


First Impressions

I’m a certain type of person – with the right kind of motivation, I’ll trek through something that I hate under the belief that maybe my efforts will be worth it. I received this game as an early birthday present from my stepmother and I had been talking about it nonstop since I got through Final Fantasy VII. I could not wait for the next entry in the franchise and once I finally got to it, I was riveted: the opening and the introduction had me hooked. For the time, everything looked and felt amazing so I was able to overlook a lot of the initial flaws in the game and make it about halfway through before the annoyances got to be too much to bear. I think it was around the time the fucking Gardens picked up off the ground and started flying at one another that I just put down the game for a short time, threw my arms up in the air, and walked away. It didn’t take me long to get back to the game; with the encouragement of a friend of mine we were both able to get through the game and with him around it was actually much easier to overlook the game’s annoyances and distractions as we would make fun of them and have a good laugh, sometimes, at the game’s expense.

Looking back on those times, I’m actually glad I had someone to play this game with and take turns with playing and critiquing it: it allowed me to actually motivate myself to go Completionist-mode with it and actually give me some insight as to the plot and its characters. Given, my opinions regarding this game were still pretty generally negative, it still was an experience I was glad to have because it generally taught me a lot of things about how to objectively look at a game, even if I hated it.


Revisiting the Game

I cannot fucking digest this game to save my life – I couldn’t even start the first couple of hours of this game without pulling hair out of my head. This game loves throwing tutorials at you that you can’t, mostly, skip, and the ones that you do will tease you because they will make sure you can’t proceed easily without information being shoved in your face. It took me nearly a half an hour to find the dormitories in the first part of the game because I didn’t realize there was a map near the entrance that would just take me there or at least show me the way. I shouldn’t have to look that information up or be forced to go through walls of text in order to find something out so simple. Hell, why couldn’t you just do it for me, anyway, since it’s not really integral to the plot or the game?

That’s been most of the game up to the point of writing this article: just waiting and watching and hoping that this game gets to the point where things get good – at least mostly. Those points are few and far between, for me, and it isn’t until these points does the rest of the game become worth it. It should be noted, though, that I know this game pretty thoroughly and, thanks to this, I’m not sure if I want to plod through most of the game just to get to these few key moments. Thankfully, one of these moments is fairly early on in the game – the mission on Dollet, that is – allows for me to jump in the game and maybe build up a little steam and motivation to get through it.

Final Fantasy VIII

 What I Would Have Done Better: Refinement

I may complain about this game a lot but most of my complaints come from disappointment: they come from the fact that this game could have been so much more than it was and it falls flat in a large number of areas. I’ve made that pretty clear, though. One of the biggest things that could have made this game twenty times better is just a little more attention to detail. Junctioning could have been worlds better – as seen in Final Fantasy entries VI and IX – and the system for gathering magic could have been a lot less tedious, as well. In my ideal setting, you would have seen a system where you only had to Draw a magic once to add it to your arsenal and then strengthened its Junction potency by using it over the course of the game, giving each spell a kind of Final Fantasy II style experience system that keeps people from exploiting Junctioning too easily. It literally would have saved battling for me – grinding is one thing but entering into incredibly easy battles just to sit there for twenty minutes and use the Draw command for each character to stock a magic while, literally, nothing else happens is a chore. It feels more like you earned it as opposed to just jumping through hoops.

Another thing I would have refined would have been the leveling system for monsters – the initial idea that monsters would be at the same level you are is pretty novel idea but monster stats don’t scale the same way you do so this only feels like a tactic to ensure that the level of challenge for the player in a given battle isn’t immediately ruled out by grinding levels out, which feels like a kick in the kidneys for people who play that way. What I would have done was created a kind of system where field monsters – your regular cannon fodder, the enemies you encounter between story driven content – have a set level that scales as you do, much like the system that’s already in place, but the boss battles, story-driven battles, scripted battles, and the like will all be scaled on level depending on how much experience you’ve gained and how long you’ve taken or how many steps you’ve taken in getting to said battle. Math gets a little heavy here but bear with me: basically you would break down how much experience you’ve gained in total and how long a certain period of time was or how many steps you’ve taken in said period of time and turned it into a EXP/second or EXP/step formula and then applied that to a leveling system for each battle that’s unique to the battle. For battles like those with Seifer or other recurring characters, the scaling system remains the same and you get to experience them, for all intents and purposes, growing with you. It feels like a challenge AND it could add to the story. In the case of Edea, when you get her, you gain all the benefits of her leveling with you and battling against you instead of acquiring her at a set level, with a set amount of abilities. My reasoning for this is the fact that easy battles are still easy no matter what level you’re at and that just really makes the whole leveling system kind of a moot point.

One last thing I would probably refine is the whole Guardian Force Boost ability. I hate button mashing. It pisses me off to no end and I’d like to avoid it if at all possible. When that button mashing needs to be timed – in such a way that if you tap that button even once when you’re not supposed to, you pretty much make all that mashing you did worthless – it becomes annoying and infuriating at times. Funny thing is, too, is on the other side of that coin you have Squall’s Limit Break, the Renzokuken, a skill-based empowering of your ability that doesn’t piss you off. If it did, it was because you weren’t good enough. If anything, I would have just made GF Boosts more like the Renzokuken and I don’t even know why they made it a button-mashing marathon. That was just stupid.


What I Would Have Done Better: Rewrite

This is where I’m likely going to catch the most shit because, honestly, the story is one of the biggest contentions I have with this game and there are a large number of people who would be in direct opposition. I would practically rewrite almost every large scenario in the game. I’m serious about that. A lot of elements in the story are great but they often get overlooked for one reason and one reason only: the damned love story. Yes, we get it: Rinoa and Squall love one another. Yes, we get it: Squall would go to the ends of the Earth and then some for Rinoa. Yes, we get it: other people are falling in love, too, and it’s a large motivation for a lot of characters in the game. Even platonic, familial, and friendship-based love is explored, too, and while I’m not against this: when it’s used as a plot device and it causes some of the dumbest scenarios I’ve seen from a game with this production level, it infuriates me, as a writer. You could have spent an entire disc talking about how time compression works and maybe flesh it out a little more than “the raison d’etre for the last dungeon” or talking about what the hell happened between Edea impaling Squall after that battle in the parade or talking about the whole “succession of witches” thing but, instead, we get the equivalent of “OMFG THEY’RE IN LOVE DEAL WITH IT” and it comes off very childish and Twilight-like.

If I would have changed anything, largely, Squall and Rinoa would not have fallen in love at all. The biggest we would have seen in terms of love would have been between Selphie and Irvine and, maybe, beyond that, expand on Laguna’s “love lost” background, because that was pretty integral to his character, as cheesy as it was. As a matter of fact, I would have run a little more with a theory that’s floating out there on the internet regarding the outcome of that battle at the parade: that Squall actually dies. I would have turned the whole time compression thing on its ass by turning that point in the story into a kind of Chrono Cross scenario where multiple universes exist but the story would focus on two, primarily: one where Squall lives after the parade battle and one where he died. You get a little background in addition because, after that, you see Squall in a world of denial, at first: you see Squall pretty much lose his shit and end up in some kind of third world for a while – a world of delusion, where the story as we know it now takes place. Right about when Ultimecia pops up and starts doing crazy sorceress stuff does Squall begin to realize things aren’t making sense anymore and it reverts back to reality. From that point forward, you create an interpersonal struggle for Squall because the one that progresses from that point is the one that lives but due to Ultimecia screwing with time and space he fades between the version of reality where he died and he lived; this also allows for a lot of character development and also allows the player to explore many, many, many possibilities. Now, he’s not fighting because he loves Rinoa: he’s fighting to discover himself, which is what he should have been doing to begin with. When Squall finally comes to a point where he has finally come to terms with himself and what happened, Ultimecia pops up, compressions all time and space into one moment, says the equivalent of “you wasted your time chasing ghosts” or something cryptic like that, and beckons the newly driven Squall to chase Ultimecia down and wrap things up, once and for all. Because all reality is compressed into a single moment, that means that killing Ultimecia rids the universe of all versions of her, undoes the compression, actually explaining the damn ending – all realities are separating and returning to their proper structure, which would produce results similar to the current ending we have, which I can imagine would be horrific and torturous – and leaves us with a nice reality where Ultimecia never existed, which would explain the credits portion of the ending, as well. Then you can have Rinoa and Squall get all kissy-faced, if you want, because through all that, Rinoa would realize what kind of man Squall really is and actually develop a real feeling for one another instead of that fan-fiction drivel that exists in the game now. That actually helps clear up the fact that Ultimecia seems like nothing more than a plot device that conveniently allows the writers to lazily wrap up the game’s story and provide a final dungeon. She could taunt Squall through the whole ordeal in an attempt to make him give up hope; this could allow for some segments, if chosen, where Squall and Ultimecia would verbally conflict, allowing for some development of Ultimecia as a character.

That was literally me just brainstorming that out. Imagine what I could come up with if I’d given it some time. I know love stories are great for some people. I know stories about high school drama are great for some people. I know your typical Gurren Lagen style is great for some people. However, when you blend all of those things together, and turn the “just because” that continually allows the characters to bend the rules and win over everything in existence into “love”, you get a tragedy of writing. I’m actually glad that, at least, the script wasn’t entirely horrid, because if this story was done with the kind of editorial quality found in the Final Fantasy VII localization, I don’t think I would have ever made it through the game for any reason whatsoever.



I guess I just really wanted Final Fantasy VIII to be something more than it ended up being and it’s stuck with me since then for two reasons: I was on the hype train in a bad way for this game and I just saw so much potential in this game that was squandered for stupid reasons. If this game ever gets the remake treatment it needs to be completely redone: this game and its fans deserve so much more. I want and I expect more from this game and I wish everyone would stop clamoring for the Final Fantasy VII remake that’s never going to happen before I die and give some attention to a classic that could have been so much more.



[ Blog ] Change Will Do You Good

We are at the precipice of change in the gaming industry, right now: how we game, going forward, can change in a way that’s massive and irreversible. It’s been quite apparent that a huge change has been coming for a while now and it’ll be on us before any of us really know it; no one really knows which direction gaming will take, for sure, because it seems to be moving in so many different directions at once. Between microtransactions, downloadable content, virtual reality headsets, streaming video games, the cloud, and goodness knows how many more innovations that are coming down the pipeline, there’s a very high probability that gaming is going to change and change for good. If #GamerGate has proven anything to me, it’s that the gaming industry is changing and society at large is reacting much how they always react to change: with fear, doubt, and general negativity.

You see, video games are much like music, movies, and pictures in that there are many different mediums by which to experience them because the experience transcends them all. Video games also suffer from many of the same issues that are just the nature of the beast: you need to change the medium by which the product is consumed or else you face market saturation or stagnation, the former almost nearly claiming gaming as an industry back in the 80s. We’ve been resting on a singular format for almost all of our entertainment – optical disc – for decades, now, and things have been slowly moving to purely digital formats to amend for that format change, which means that systems are able to become smaller and less apt to wear over time. We’ve also been resting on a singular approach to gaming for longer than I’ve been alive – controlling the game through input feed from some kind of remote or controller. That’s been changing largely in part due to mobile devices as a gaming platform but also with innovations in virtual reality headsets headed up by projects like Morpheus from Sony and the Oculus Rift and could change the experience completely.

Change is coming, folks: it’s coming fast and it’s undeniable. Something big is happening and it would be futile to resist it. It would seem, though, that unlike the days of the 80s where gaming was in its infancy and gamers responded by simply not buying games and speaking with their wallets – which led to Nintendo breaking out of the mindset everyone had regarding gaming and stepped into the console market with an Earth-shattering console, still considered one of the best console releases in history – things have changed in this day and age: people are not satisfied with simply not buying what they don’t like, anymore. They have standards and demands and each gamer has slightly different requisites for what a game should or shouldn’t be and the more a gamer feels slighted by a company the more vocal they’re going to be about it, regardless of how reasonable or unreasonable they’re being. While the complaints come from what has to be a minority of the general gaming public – because, in spite of this problem, games that receive the most complaints still find a way to sell – that minority has become increasingly vocal.

In spite of this, the industry has found a way to break through to create and innovate by creating new gaming technologies, by creating an atmosphere that allows smaller developers to succeed, by creating more and more experiences that allow the players, themselves, to tailor the experience to their desires. Gaming has finally become a place where it can finally stand tall and proud as something that everyone can enjoy and create; it’s become something that can stand on its own. All you need is the drive, motivation, and vision and you can create something many can enjoy. This is a great time to be a gamer, in spite of what the vocal minority might tell you, because everything and everyone will be able to come together in a way that will allow them to share their experiences without divide or consequence.

What side do you take on this?

[ First Impressions Review ] Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

You remember that article I made regarding this latest entry into the Call of Duty franchise and what I think Activision could do to bring the series out of its currently stagnant state? You remember how I sounded cautiously optimistic regarding what the game could be like in order to make it truly revolutionize the genre, for a change? Yeah, well, let’s talk about how Activision completely ignored that concept while also making a totally competent first-person shooter.

Diving straight into the game takes you straight into urban warfare, taking you through an introductory mission to acclimate you to the controls in the midst of combat. Things really haven’t changed all that much when it comes to the actual gameplay but the idea of added mobility through special abilities is definitely a welcome change from the dreadful pace of most rail shooters. All that is more useful in the multiplayer, though, against real enemies, as the AI still feels as if there’s no real formation other than “hide, shoot wildly, hide, walk into bullets, rinse and repeat.” The framing around the level was the same kind of dudebro stuff the series is well known for and after completing the first mission, I kind of realized that this game is really going to be no different than any of the others.

After a lot of fluff that ended up introducing you to Kevin Spacey’s role in the game – which, as usual, he plays as well as he can – you get thrown into… yet another introductory mission, which serves as an exposition to get you introduced into the private military company you’ll be serving with and to refine the skills you learned in the previous mission. It feels really badly put together and honestly could have been done away with by turning it into a cutscene, or something. It felt incredibly boring and, altogether, a waste of time.

Your next mission finally stops holding your hand but the control reminders are still always flashing in your face, reminding you of the stuff that you’ve had ground into your skull for the last two missions. It’s still very basic stuff. Activision had a really big chance, here, to drop a bomb, so to speak, on the first-person shooter genre and it just seems to be more of the same kind of padded… crap.

However, though, if you’ve really enjoyed the series in the past, you’ll find that there’s still more to love, with this game. Advanced Warfare flexes its muscles really well and does what it has always done without really missing a beat. My qualms with this game and, for all intents and purposes, this franchise, are not based in the fact that I think they’re all bad games; no, rather, I feel my issue with everything is that the formula that they’ve been standing by for so long has been tiring and grating on the nerves, kind of like that song you used to like on the radio before the radio stations played it straight to hell.

After playing this game for a while, I can say that this game gets a grand old “meh” from me. It doesn’t really do anything new other than star Kevin Spacey – which… shamefully… I will be playing just to see what his role ends up developing into…

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