Video Game Tuesday: Loot Boxes Are Evil?

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m answering a question I’ve been asked recently. Loot Boxes Are Evil?

Loot Boxes?: A term used to describe a virtual item that could be likened to a booster pack for a trading card game. However since this is a virtual item and made purely of code you can’t really trade the items gained from a Loot Box to someone else for money or other goods. You won’t see people on Ebay selling Overwatch Loot Box contents like you would with rare trading cards from something like Magic: The Gathering.

Evil?: Well recently people have been in an uproar over the stunt EA pulled with the recently released Battlefront II monetization plan which was in lieu of paying for DLC. You had to either spend ridiculously long amounts of time to unlock heroes like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, or spend real cash to get a chance at earning them. Frankly I hate EA, I will never ever respect them as a publisher because of the practices they use like this Loot Box debacle, or yearly game releases of series like Madden. This last one is really unnecessary, just add the new atheletes that get drafted that year into the game with DLC for god’s sake.

So EA is at fault?: Pretty much, there is a bit of blame to be laid at the feet of the developers at DICE for going along with their plan for microtransactions, but at the end of the day they are working for EA to produce a game. EA has frequently been named America’s most hated company for a reason, beating out banks and telecom companies like Comcast or Time Warner. They tend to use sleazy means to get people to spend more money on their products.

So why all the uproar?: Well for one it was a Pay to Win situation, where if you spent the money to buy the heroes you had a serious advantage against other players, or at least that is how I understand the issue. I very well may be wrong on this, however as some really cool politician (and I can’t believe I’m putting those two words together in writing) from Hawaii said, EA is playing off kid’s desire to be heroes from Star Wars in a game and milking them and their parents to gamble away their money. It’s a sleazeball practice and frankly really needs to stop. Cosmetic items like Overwatches skins in their loot boxes are one thing, but getting gameplay changes like the ones in Battlefront II is unacceptable.

What about Gacha Games?: That is a topic for another day, which I’ll cover in the very near future. However there are some differences and those are pretty important. Will those differences hold out against the weight of public sentiment? I’m as clueless as the rest of you, personally I doubt they’ll get nearly as much recognition.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! What are your thoughts on the topic? Leave a comment below!

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Retro Game Friday: Rogue Squadron II

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Rogue Squadron. It’s Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader!

Plot: The plot is pretty decent, it follows the exploits of Rogue Squadron during the time of the original trilogy. So we have Luke and Wedge as our player characters.

Gameplay: This is one of my favorite games because of how simple it was to fly the various ships in this game. Lots of games try to make it hard to fly in them, and frankly I find that to be frustrating and shortsighted if it’s purely a single player game. My favorite ship to fly was the A-Wing, I always preferred speed over anything else, but it was quite fun to play all the various ships, including the Buick.

Music: Classic Star Wars, which is great.

Art: The only thing about this game that hasn’t withstood the test of time is the artwork, I’m sure there are mods out there to update the game to make it more palatable in today’s market, but back in the day this was really quite amazing. I remember seeing the E3 Reveal of this game and thinking that I could barely tell if it was a scene from the movie or game footage at first.

Overall: If you love Star Wars, or Combat Flight Sims, you need to play Rogue Squadron II!

Retro Game Friday: Star Wars Obi-Wan

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a relatively obscure Star Wars game. It’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan!

Plot Synopsis: It takes place in around 32 years before the Battle of Yavin, in the weeks prior to and during the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Plot: Yes it was a prequel to the first prequel movie. Frankly I don’t remember the story being all that great, but at the time I was obsessed with all thing Star Wars, and was only a kid, so cut me some slack.

Gameplay: The gameplay was pretty interesting in that you used the Xbox’s two thumbsticks to control both Obi-Wan and his lightsaber. It was a pretty bold move, although it really didn’t save the game, which if you haven’t ever heard of it isn’t surprising since it got a fairly low score from critics back when it released.

Art: The art is really aged, but that’s pretty expected given that it’s 3D.

Music: I remember it being classic Star Wars music, other than that I don’t remember anything.

Overall: An easily skippable game, unless one is incredibly bored don’t bother with it even if you get the chance.

For those who like: Star Wars, Lightsabers, Action

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Star Wars KOTOR

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m going to cover a game I loved back in the day. It’s Star Wars KOTOR, or Knights of the Old Republic!

Plot Synopsis:  The story takes place approximately 4,000 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire. Former Jedi Darth Malak, a Dark Lord of the Sith and Darth Revan’s former apprentice, has unleashed a Sith armada against the Republic. Malak’s aggression has left the Jedi scattered and vulnerable; many Jedi Knights have fallen in battle and others have sworn allegiance to Malak.

The game opens with the player’s character—the player can choose a face and be male or female (canonically a male)—awakening aboard the Republic ship, Endar Spire, which is under attack by Malak’s forces.

Plot: The plot is pretty great, and I won’t spoil it for you if you’ve never played, but if you haven’t you really need to.

Characters: All of the cast is pretty good, but all I need to say is that HK-47 is the best. End of story, meatbag.

Gameplay: The gameplay uses a variation of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition, which allowed turn based combat to flow relatively smoothly. It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty good. That being said, you could just power through the game using lightsabers once you got them, which is a bit of a bummer. The moral choice system though was quite innovative at the time however, and it fits the Star Wars mythos perfectly.

Art: It’s very dated, but it’s still pretty decent. Better than the N64 era of games at least.

Music: Classic Star Wars.

Overall: If you’ve never played this game and love Star Wars even a little, go do so now. You’ll thank me later.

For those who like: Star Wars, RPGs, Moral Choices, Excellent Plots, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Gameplay, Good Music.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Two Bizzare Manga Adaptations

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This week for Manga Monday I’m covering a couple oddities. It’s all about two bizzare Manga adaptations!

Star Wars: The original trilogy has a Manga adaptation chock full of the crazy large Manga eyes and everything. It’s pretty bizarre, but also hilarious to see the original trilogy in Manga form. Check it out if you ever have the time.

Assassin’s Creed 4: My favorite Assassin’s Creed game also has a Manga adaptation, and this actually is an amazing piece of work. It may be shorter than I’d prefer given the content of the plot, but I’m still thrilled to see the action captured so well in ink. If you love Assassin’s Creed you need to check out this Manga, as it’s a great series and serves pretty good as a replacement of playing the game itself.

That’s it for this week’s Manga Monday! Do you know of any other bizzare Manga adapations?

Retro Game Friday: Star Wars Republic Commando

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game I enjoyed quite a bit. It’s Star Wars Republic Commando!

Plot Synopsis: At the beginning of the game, Delta Squad is deployed from the RAS Prosecutor individually into the front lines of the battle of Geonosis. There, Delta RC-1138 (“Boss”, the player character) meets up with Deltas RC-1262, RC-1140, and RC-1207 (“Scorch”, “Fixer”, and “Sev” respectively).

Plot: It’s a Star Wars game, don’t expect masterpiece worthy writing, but for a Star Wars game it was pretty good.

Gameplay: The gameplay is a squad based shooter, like Mass Effect without the RPG elements, and it was pretty damn good. I enjoyed the gameplay quite a bit.

Art: Being developed for the Xbox it isn’t that amazing now, but back then it was pretty freaking amazing.

Music: Star Wars music, you either hate it or love it.

Overall: This is one of the better Star Wars games, so if you are a huge Star Wars fan, you may wish to play it.

For those who like: FPS, Squad Shooters, Star Wars.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Rogue Squadron 3 Rebel Strike

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering one of my favorite games on the Gamecube, It’s Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike.

Plot: It’s a Star Wars game, nothing else need be said.

Gameplay: The space battles were quite fun, and lived up to the excellent gameplay of the first game. The ground battles on the other hand, were not so great. There was also local co-op, which was quite fun to play with another person. The version I played, which was from the local Hollywood Video was also scratched up so bad me and my best friend couldn’t believe it was still playable. There was one part during the second Death Star battle where Lando would constantly be shouting “We need more time!” and it became a running joke between us. Surprisingly that was the only bug we encountered in that game.

Music: Again it’s a Star Wars game, nothing else need be said.

Art: Great for it’s day, not so much now.

Overall: If you can get a cheap copy it’s worth a few hours of play. Other than that move on with your life.

For those who like: Star Wars, Rogue Squadron Games, Flight Combat Sims.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.