Hey all I’m back for this week’s Video Game Tuesday with a look at the previous year. It’s my Losers of 2019!
Anthem: Let’s just get this out of the way, Anthem was hyped up to be the big “Destiny” killer, it wasn’t. It was, and still is, a terrible game that was rushed and completely mismanaged for YEARS at BioWare. The gameplay is repetitive and the story was utter crap. Coming off the big failure that was Mass Effect Andromeda, BioWare again proves that they have fallen since Mass Effect 3 released. Am I still upset at the way ME3 ended? Abso-freaking-lutely. That was such a letdown to what was an otherwise epic series and the fact that it all boiled down to 3, 2 if you really screwed up, choices in the end was and still is an atrocity for hyping up the series to be all about lasting consequences for choices. So when I heard about Anthem I was skeptical, not only because I’ve been burned by Destiny so badly, but because BioWare still hadn’t gotten my forgiveness for Mass Effect 3. The fact it launched so utterly broken and lackluster just proved my suspicions were correct.
The “Dexit” Issue: I understand both sides of the argument here, Pokemon Sword and Shield wanted to focus on the new ‘mon and didn’t want to be dragged down by the other 700+ Pokemon that came before. However for the first mainstream entry on a console, Sword and Shield really alienated pretty much any veteran fan with the their decision to not include all the other Pokemon. Yes it’d be difficult to animate all those individual Pokemon, HOWEVER they have ostensibly been working on this for years. I’ve always held the belief that Nintendo was holding the option for a mainstream console edition in their back pocket since Red and Green (Blue for us Americans) released all those years ago.
That they didn’t have some people working on animating every Pokemon into 3D since 1996 is utterly laughable. Yes they might have needed to update some of them, but honestly they could’ve been having people work on those for years and years in their spare time. That said I understand that actually taking all that artwork and making it fit into a single system would be a huge undertaking. However it’s not like Sun and Moon didn’t have 3D models in those games and any good Game Artist always keeps high resolution models for safekeeping for future uses. Even if said models need to be pared down to fit current systems, they should have had plenty of the original files for future proofing.
Our Wallets: For real though, there were some great games that were released, or re-released in 2019. From Link’s Awakening to Death Stranding there were tons of games that were released and our wallets were probably thinner at the end of 2019 than they were at the end of 2018.
Days Gone: I had high hopes as an Oregonian for this game, but it was the typical zombie game with nothing really standing out.
Activision: They end their contract with Bungie, cut tons of jobs and lined the pockets of their CEOs while alienating tons of fans. Even the Blizzard portion of the company, for all it’s supposed to be pretty much a seperate entity didn’t escape unscathed from the leftover backlash from BlizzCon 2018 and lackluster launch of Battle for Azeroth. I didn’t have a lot of respect for the Activision side of Activision Blizzard before 2019, but it certainly was reduced even more after 2019 even for the Blizzard portion.
Hey all I’m back with some thoughts on a subject that was often a topic I was asked about while I was taking a break for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s my Thoughts on the Bungie/Activision Split!
So did you see this coming?: Yes and no, honestly if I was some of the investors at Activision I’d have been pissed at Bungie for the absolute pathetic showing they gave us with the original Destiny. The Taken King was a big step in the right direction, but after that came the filler that was Rise of Iron and the absolutely atrocious Destiny 2. Forsaken was actually quite fun, but that was only for a few months and still was highly exploitative of Bungie when you consider how underwhelming Black Armory was. So while I was a bit shocked at the turn of events a few months back I wasn’t surprised that Activision wanted to wash their hands of the clusterf*ck that is the Destiny IP.
But it’s a good thing right?: Yeah I’m going to say it’s got the potential to be a good thing, but until Bungie steps up and makes a game that actually can take advantage of all that Destiny could be I’ll be only disappointed with them. The fact that the game still lacks good space flight gameplay after all this time and so many various ship models made by the artists is nothing short of a travesty. I’d like to go around the solar system using my Thousand Wings and go back to various places like the Cosmodrome from the original Destiny. The fact that they bothered to tease it and didn’t let us go back to old locations is a travesty, and insulting to many players.
Honestly the whole losing all your progress from Destiny 1 to Destiny 2 was just as insulting, and while some say making a clean break is only a good thing I would beg to differ. If they were forced to make guns that outdid older ones like Midnight Coup or the IKELOS shotgun just to give the gameplay variations it’d only better the game in the long run. The fact that they continually add old guns like Thorn or Thunderlord to the game was just as much an insult as not letting us keep them.
I’ll be honest, I don’t see Bungie recovering from this in any conceivable measure in the next year and possibly never. They just lost all their Marketing and additional studio support that they had received in the past and used in “expansions” like Curse of Osiris or Warmind. They’ll need to work five times as hard with just the people they have on hand, and that will take away from the development time that could make Destiny 3, or whatever the next installment will be, better.
When Bungie split off from Microsoft, in a move really similar to what happened with Activision, right down to the people in Bungie HQ cheering, they pretty much fell off the map and weren’t seen for years until Destiny was announced, and even then the game we got years after that announcement was so far from expectations that it was a huge let down. I’m expecting the exact same thing to happen again, and while I can hope I’m wrong it’s not a large hope.
I’m back with a familiar topic for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about why Black Armory’s Launch was a Failure!
Black Armory?: Black Armory was the first DLC drop after Forsaken launched for Destiny 2, and it was a massive middle finger to the player base once again. There were many things I had faintly hoped Bungie had learned from in the past, but apparently five years into this series they still make really stupid mistakes.
Like what?: They decided to make the first new activity of the new DLC an activity that even people who had the very best gear the day before the DLC released couldn’t complete without being highly skilled premade group despite flaunting the ability to match make the activity andlocked it behind a tedious grind. Black Armory wasn’t like past DLC that included Story Missions, Strikes, New Vendor Gear, New Exotic Armor, or Crucible Maps, instead it included none of those things, and just added a new activity and a raid that was locked for a few days after it’s launch that started off at a new gear level that was vastly over the previous cap. They included no ability to catch up for those who hadn’t reached that previous cap, so those who were just hitting 500 power level were still unable to even contemplate doing these activities until a month or more had passed depending on their luck. This has been lessened with a recent hotfixed change that made Prime Engrams drop more often up to the 600 power level cap, but that’s a really shitty bandaid that doesn’t fix the issue with RNG deciding to give you the bird and still requires players to grind constantly.
The fact that the very first activity was geared for people at 630 power level was a big fat screw you to the player base considering the cap was 600, and getting 1 or 2 increase in power level is a serious grind for everyone at the level. People who had stocked up multiple bounties with Powerful Rewards and keys from the Raid could easily skip most of the grind and get a character past this with ease, but most people weren’t expecting to have to continue doing the same old content just to even think about doing the new stuff and still most likely fail.
This was a serious mistake on Bungie’s part, and instead of really creating a solution they hotfixed it the next day to give the activity a 5 power level decrease in total, meaning people had to spend only a day or two less in a very lucky week to get to that level. I’ve long held that Bungie has no clue how to properly communicate with their consumers, and this is another mark in the long list of proof I’ve been keeping of this fact. I had been playing Destiny 2 nearly daily since Forsaken up to the release of Black Armory, a thing that hasn’t happened since the Dark Below way back in 2014. That quickly changed when I was told to continue the grind just to do a new activity that wasn’t really all that fun in comparison to the work required to do it. I’ll be deleting Destiny 2 off my PlayStation’s hard drive once again and I’ll hope Bungie gets a clue in the future on how to treat their player base, but it’s a tiny hope now and I expect only more screw ups from them.
That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!
This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game that I didn’t get to play quite a lot. It’s Tenchu: Stealth Assassins!
Plot Synopsis: In feudal Japan, a pair of ninja: Rikimaru (力丸) and Ayame (彩女), are members of the Azuma Ninja Clan since childhood. The two ninja serve the heroic Lord Gohda, and work for him as his secret spies to root out corruption and gather intelligence in his province. However, the evil demonic sorcerer Lord Mei-Oh seeks to destroy Lord Gohda, and using his demon warrior Onikage who wreaks havoc throughout Lord Gohda’s province.
Plot: The plot was okay from what I remember. Honestly I didn’t get a whole bunch of time to play this game as my cousin only rented it once or maybe twice. That and I didn’t get to play much as I was rather young at the time and my parents didn’t want me to play it.
Gameplay: The game was really unusual for the Action/Adventure games of the time in that it included a sense of verticality that wasn’t present in many of it’s counterparts. This was done through the grappling hook that the player could use. In addition it had two playable characters who were quite different. Rikimaru who is slower, but more powerful and Ayame who is faster but less powerful. My favorite to play was Ayame, as I’ve always preferred the speed archetype and the fact that she had more combos was awesome.
Art: Sadly the game is very aged, and the artwork is very polygonal.
Music: I don’t remember it at all, sorry.
Overall: This was a fun game at the time, but I’m unsure if it’d be satisfying to players now.
For those who like: Action, Adventure, Stealth, Ninjas.