Video Game Tuesday: Quick Time Events

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about a thing that I’ve seen done way too much in games. It’s all about Quick Time Events!

Quick Time Events?: “A quick time event (QTE) is a method of context-sensitive gameplay in which the player performs actions on the control device shortly after the appearance of an on-screen instruction/prompt. It allows for limited control of the game character during cut scenes or cinematic sequences in the game.” That’s the Wikipedia page on QTEs, and while that is generally how things are done that isn’t always the case.

Really?: Yeah some games like an older Spider-man game (Spiderman 2 I think) had them included in boss fights and you’d fail a fight or something equally unforgiving if you didn’t perform the QTE properly. That hasn’t happened in most AAA games for the last couple years, but it used to be so overused that there are still memes about some really dumb QTEs. The Press F (or X) to Pay Respects for example is from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Was it really necessary to have that occur? I’d say no, although it might have seemed like an awesome idea at the time.

What are some good QTEs?: There’s a few, but generally I find QTEs that aren’t anything more than a single button press to be generally decent. I still hate QTEs and having them appear in boss fights in Final Fantasy XIV definitely caused more than a wipe or two, but those were pretty easy to deal with compared to some of the worse examples (like that Spiderman game).

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday, are there any really bad or good QTEs that you can remember? Post examples in the comments below.

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Video Game Tuesday: Destiny 2 PC Beta Impressions

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the recent PC Beta for a game that releases on consoles tomorrow. It’s my Destiny 2 PC Beta Impressions!

What changed from Console to PC?: Nothing really except for supers charging slightly faster it still felt like a stripped down and crappy version of the original Destiny a game I already despised after all the gunplay changes were made after the original launch. Not only that but on my not even a half year old computer the game wasn’t able to run on the preset Medium settings without significant slowdowns. I met all the specs so I’m not really impressed with Bungie on the PC Port. Sure those who have $2000+ sunk into their computer can run the game just fine, but those of us on a budget will do a hell of a lot better just getting the console versions. It could even be cheaper to just buy a standard PS4 and Destiny 2 to play the game and not experience all the hang ups I experienced on my PC. Even with messing with all the various settings to try and get the game to look as nice as possible and not have any issues I still had noticeable slowdown during intense firefights, which is something no one really wants to happen.

As for Gameplay changes, well I mentioned the supers charged faster, but many other things like the Hunter’s dodge, grenades, and melee abilities are all still on a way too long of a cooldown. Before I hear any whining about “There is gear for that” let me say that I am aware. However the gear we are wearing in the Beta should be that kind of gear, plus we start off at level 20 in the beta. Whether that is actually what we’ll start with at launch is a matter we’ll be seeing tomorrow.

Frankly I’m disgusted with Bungie, and if I hear that it’s another “Months” old build I’m going to call bullshit. Beta’s are meant to test the latest build, so I didn’t even buy that excuse during the Console beta. Gunplay changes that were supposed to occur in the PC port, like no recoil weren’t present in the Beta (Not that it’s really needed with a KB&M). It also felt really awkward to try and dodge enemies with a keyboard and mouse. Sure there is the precision in shooting you get from using a mouse, but Destiny has never really been about precision shots. They help, but it’s always been about dodging mechanics and frankly it’s a pain to do with a keyboard. I ended up having to hook up my PS4 controller just to get past the initial level.

The combination of slowdown due to whatever issue is on Bungie’s end and the imprecision of movement and ability usage with a keyboard just kept killing me. As a side note it was amusing to see that I wasn’t the only one to die repeatedly. Zavala died as well during his portion of the mission and his ghost respawned him shortly after mine did for me each time we died.

But all (insert other news site or streamer) said the game runs amazingly!: Yeah they did and they all got to experience it on the same systems. They got to experience it with a very, very high end computer build that was built by Bungie to specifically show off the game. That or they got to experience the game during this beta with their own very powerful computers. This PC Beta is the first time people with varying computer builds have actually touched the game. So while those people got to experience it on a system that can go over 100 frames per second consistently, the rest of us probably won’t unless we sink a ton of money into our computers.

Also remember that they and we weren’t allowed to touch any of the harder content, the stuff where you get dozens of enemies firing at you at the same time. So while the game might be easier to aim with on a computer, like I said Destiny has never really been about precision and has always been more about being able to kill enemies while being extremely mobile.

So again I’m really not impressed with the game, considering that I have a computer that is easily comparable to a PS4, I expect to be able to run the game on a similar level of graphics quality and expect the same smoothness I got during the console beta.

Overall: Unless you have a computer with thousands of dollars sunk into it, don’t bother with this crappy port. Even with such a computer though you’ll probably want to hook up a controller just so you can successfully dodge  enemy fire (which you will be doing a lot of in Destiny 2) if you are coming from consoles. Everything else I’ve already said about Destiny 2 still holds true, and with the game launching on consoles in a little over a week I’m not holding my breath expecting Bungie to actually pull off a decent enough comeback to warrant the year delay that got us Rise of Iron.

Video Game Tuesday: Patch Notes

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a topic many gamers should read a heck of a lot more often. It’s all about Patch Notes!

Patch Notes?: Patch Notes are notes of any and all changes that occur when a game is updated. These are most of the time fairly boring reads, especially in the bug sections, but nevertheless such things are really worth reading. Especially the bug portions, because it might just help you avoid getting a game breaking bug, or getting corrupted save files and losing all your progress in a game.

All of your progress, really?: Yeah, really. In MMOs it’s especially worth reading any and all Known Bug sections of Patch Notes before playing. The ideal time to do so? While your game is updating. In fact it’s also worth having your phone or tablet’s web browser open to any community sites, be that a fan site like Blizzard Watch for Blizzard games or a really active subreddit like the Final Fantasy XIV subreddit. This should be done during any major patch, and especially during Expansion launches. They’ll put up things like PSA’s about what not to do. For instance in FFXIV’s latest expansion Stormblood, there was a particularly nasty bug with the first Primal fight players experience in the expansion at level 63.

If you entered the instance and were sitting or doing any emote at all prior to entering you would be kicked from your character and be unable to log in to that character at all once you finished the instance. This was particularly bad, and was just one of the many issues that were occuring during Stormblood’s launch. There were also congestion issues and server issues that were occurring due to DDoS attacks on the FFXIV servers, and later on to the actual ISPs themselves.

Okay so back to Patch Notes, they are not all boring. Some games actually have a ton of fun with their patch notes, and it’s just a fun thing to be reading when you are bored. Crusader Kings II is one game whose Patch Notes are genuinely hilarious almost all the time. Like this little jewel “-No longer possible for AI to plot to assassinate self (unless they are a lunatic).” Brilliant, and it’s actually relevant!

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Are the any particular Patch Notes that you remember just being absolutely hilarious? Feel free to share them below!

Video Game Tuesday: Playing to Win isn’t Always Fun

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a topic that is about how being super serious isn’t always entertaining. It’s about how Playing to Win isn’t Always Fun!

What do you mean “Playing to Win”: Well I mean that pretty literally, sometimes it’s just more fun to just goof off in games, and in fact some games don’t have set objectives and are made purely for goofing off in.

Like what?: Well Minecraft for one is a perfect example of a game that’s made purely to goof off in, you can create amazing things in the game including working calculators, but it’s really mostly used to just goof off and make stuff. There’s a reason why Rooster Teeth has a weekly episode of their Let’s Play crew just playing Minecraft. It’s got pretty much endless potential to just mess around with friends.

What do you like?: I personally keep Grand Theft Auto V always installed on my PS4 just to load up on days where I’m stressed to just goof off online. I go around creating havoc and just having a blast destroying other players. Sure it’s not always a nice thing to do, and I tend to do it to people who aren’t doing special activities like the Motorcycle Club stuff, but just going around and goofing off is pretty fun.

So what about playing to win?: Well I tend to avoid the PvP aspects of games because I personally don’t find them much fun as people take it way too seriously sometimes. League of Legends is a pretty great example of people getting way too invested in pick up games. Now I’d understand if they were playing in ranked mode, but if they are just playing casually I’m not expecting someone to be perfect. PvE activities for me tend to be more fun as it involves either the plot, or just good old team work oriented gameplay with other players.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. What are some of your favorite games to just mess around in? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Video Game Tuesday: Destiny 2 Beta Concerns

Hey all I’m back with a look at Destiny’s latest Beta. It’s my Destiny 2 Beta Concerns.

My concerns: We don’t have confirmation that the three subclasses added in The Taken King are going to be coming to Destiny 2. We have others like the Voidwalker, Gunslinger and Striker that were in the vanilla game, and the “new” subclasses. However they aren’t really new, because they are almost exactly the same as the ones that are being replaced with the exception of their Supers. I can understand that the Defender Titan and especially Sunsinger Warlock supers were overpowered, and lead to things like people soloing Raid Bosses. I can get why they were removed, it’s a balancing nightmare and frankly overpowered in the case of Sunsinger. In addition I was hoping to see Bungie embrace the fact that PvP (Crucible) is a vastly different experience from the main game. But instead of fixing the issue for just PvP, it seems they’ve also screwed over every PvE player as well. Bladedancer’s removal is odd.

They have completely changed the Primary, Secondary, and Heavy Weapon systems. They are now Kinetic, which is just standard guns and contains the primary weapons from Destiny 1 plus a couple others like the sidearm pistols and the new SMGs. The Energy weapons replace the Secondary, and are exactly the same as the Kinetic, except that they deal elemental damage as well. Finally the Power category which contains every Secondary, minus the sidearms, and the Heavy Weapons. No longer is it possible to equip both a Sniper Rifle and Rocket launcher. I understand why this would have been an excellent change for PvP, and in fact is quite brilliant and would solve a lot of the balance issues faced in the first game. However the gameplay in the first strike showed me that while the weapon systems have changed for PvE players, the enemies behavior and mass numbers haven’t. A lot of strategies in Destiny 1 revolved around taking out enemies from as far away as possible with a sniper rifle and rocket launcher any that got too close in groups.  The enemies haven’t changed since Destiny 1, and you certainly aren’t getting your new class abilities recharged very quickly or your super abilities either. However what you are able to now use highly limits strategies. Harder difficulties are going to be nightmares and will result in a lot of people getting upset.

There are of course ways around that, and it would make tons of sense for the new class abilities to allow you to make up for having to get closer. Except they don’t. The new Titan barriers aren’t a full sphere, and they don’t allow your bullets or abilities to go through.  I can get why having just one or the other occurring making sense from a balancing point of view, but both? No having both occur is just nightmarish. So not only can you kill yourself by shooting a rocket, and having a barrier get set up right in front of you as you fire killing you instantly, but you still aren’t fully protected from enemies that will surround and swarm you in higher difficulties. The Warlock pools of healing and power are better, and might make a lot of difference, but the cooldown on them is going to require you to rotate multiple warlocks using them one after another to protect your team, that sounds like a balancing nightmare for Developers and making a lot players play Warlocks if they want to experience Raids or the like. Finally Hunter’s dodge ability has a much too long cooldown for such small window of invulnerability. I ‘d rather see them removing the invulnerability from it and giving the dodge ability a cooldown of 3 seconds, instead of the 30+ I experienced in the Beta. Will any of these issues be fixed prior to the full release of the game? I doubt it, given Bungie’s lack of forethought and planning in terms of fight mechanics in the past, I’m probably going to be severely disappointed by Destiny 2.

 

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: What other MMOs can learn from FFXIV

This week for Video Game Tuesday is I’m covering a topic that sets apart my favorite MMO from all others. It’s all about What other MMOs can learn from FFXIV!

What is the biggest difference?: Well it’s really simple, Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) makes you feel like the hero of the story, and not just some passenger to an NPC’s story. No in Final Fantasy almost every NPC knows about you. You’ve killed gods, brought end to wars and taken down dragons. The NPCs you work with always acknowledge that you are the key figure in these fights, that without you none of it could have been possible.

Really?: World of Warcraft has had issues for years where no matter how powerful your character became, you were always not the main participant of the story. You as the player were never the hero in the story. Sure you might have taken down Nefarian, stopped C’Thun in Ahn’Qhiraj, killed Illidan and beaten Kiljaedan through the Sunwell. You might have brought down the Lich King and killed a dragon gone mad with power that tore apart the world, but you never really were the main character.

This problem is highlighted most with the Lich King encounter at the end of Wrath of the Lich King. You bring down Arthas all the way to 10% and boom you and your entire raid die. But Tirion Fordring, breaks from the ice that kept him out of the entire fight, breaks Frostmourne and deals the fatal blow to Arthas.  You the player on the other hand are shoved to the side until you get resurrected and hurry him along to death. There’s no thanks other than maybe a statue of the races of your faction in Dalaran if you killed him first on your server and some shiny weapons. That’s it, you get no real recognition. You may get a few NPCs thanking you, but in general you aren’t proclaimed the hero and lauded throughout the world. You were just there, helping Tirion while he slept in a block of ice until he decided to get out of it and finish the fight you were dealing with.

Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t have that problem and lots of MMOs, including not MMOs like Destiny, could do with learning from how Final Fantasy treats the player. You are treated as a hero, and even other players aren’t treated like you are by NPCs. It makes you feel special and gives further immersion into the world of Hydaelyn.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. What are your thought son the subject? Do you feel like the main character in MMOs, or just a minor actor compared to some NPC hero. Leave your comments below.

Video Game Tuesday: E3 2017 Reactions

 

Hey all I’m back with my thoughts on this years Electronic Entertainment Expo! It’s my E3 2017 Reactions!

Nintendo: Holy crap they announced a new Metroid Prime and a remake of Metroid II! Not only that, but they announced a couple of DLCs for Zelda: Breath of the Wild and gave us a release date for Super Mario Odyssey. Honestly I’m just happy at the fact that new Metroid games are coming out, but everyone should take this with a grain of salt. The last Metroid game to be released was Other M and we all know how terrible of a game that was.

Sony: Nothing really major, but they are definitely doubling down on the PlayStation VR. They also told us that God of War’s next game is set to release in Early 2018. Not only that, but they showed off what might become the best Spider-Man game ever released. I’m actually excited to play that, and we’ve had official confirmation that we won’t be chasing balloons!

Microsoft: They formally announced Project Scorpio’s details, and gave it’s final name, Xbox One X. Frankly they should have just kept Xbox Scorpio, it’s not as ridiculous a name. You’d think they’d have learnt from Nintendo’s mistake with the WiiU.  Crackdown 3 is finally getting released though, so there’s that to look forward to.

Ubisoft: Showed off the now officially confirmed Assassin’s Creed: Origins that takes place in Egypt. I got burned badly by Unity so I’ll probably skip Origins unless I get a review copy. They also showed more of Far Cry 5, and announced Skulls and Bones, which takes AC4: Black Flag’s ship combat system and makes it a standalone game. As I actually enjoyed the ship battles in Black Flag, I might be interested in playing, but I also enjoyed going over and taking down the enemy crew after ramming them.

EA: More sports games of course, Star Wars Battlefront II (DICE) and a new IP from the people behind Mass Effect, Anthem that is pretty much Destiny. If you’ve read my past columns on Destiny you might be able to guess at how thrilled I am by the prospect of another “Destiny”. /run EndSarcasm.exe

Bethesda: Skyrim for the Switch, boring. Wolfenstein II is a real game and is releasing on October 27th though, so maybe Bethesda didn’t just go for obvious cash grabs for the year.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.