Retro Game Friday: Splinter Cell

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that really took the Stealth genre and made it popular. It’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell!

Plot Synopsis: In April 2004, the President of Georgia is assassinated, allowing Georgian billionaire Kombayn Nikoladze to seize power with a bloodless coup d’état. In August 2004, former U.S. Navy SEAL officer and Gulf War veteran Sam Fisher is recruited by the National Security Agency to work within its newly formed division, “Third Echelon.” Working with his old friend Irving Lambert, Fisher is introduced to technical expert Anna “Grim” Grimsdóttír, and field runner Vernon Wilkes Jr. In October 2004, Fisher is dispatched to Tbilisi, Georgia to investigate the disappearance of two CIA officers.

Plot: The plot is pretty standard Military Thriller which should come as no surprise as this is part of the Tom Clancy franchise.

Gameplay: This game took the stealth genre and made it mainstream paving the way for future games like Assassin’s Creed. The main draw of the gameplay was the use of the light and shadows. You were encouraged to take your time and carefully move from shadow to shadow to get around. You couldn’t really go in with guns blazing and just shoot your way through the game. You had limited ammo, and even than your armaments were usually more non-lethal than anything else.

Artwork: Sadly the art has aged incredibly poorly, but at the time they were pretty damn good.

Music: I don’t remember any of the music sadly.

Overall: A fun game, but with a very aged art and gameplay compared to modern day games, it’s probably best left in the bargain bin.

For those who like: Military-Thrillers, Tom Clancy, Stealth.

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

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Video Game Tuesday: Is Cayde-6 Really Dead for Good?

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with my answer to a question I’ve been asked by a few friends. It’s all about Is Cayde-6 Really Dead for Good?

Huh?: So in the upcoming Forsaken “Expansion” for Destiny 2 beloved character Cayde-6 is going to be killed, supposedly permanently. Many people, including his own voice actor Nathan Fillion, don’t buy that.

So what about you?: I don’t buy it for a second. There are multiple reasons, from gameplay to lore.

Gameplay: If they really kill Cayde for good, that will cause problems with people playing in the Tower. For those who haven’t done the expansion, Cayde will be showing up to do his usual giving out of activities and the like. But what happens when you have people who have done the expansion and haven’t done it in the same fireteam load into the Tower? If they really mean to kill him off they’ll remove him from the tower, which would require a completely separate instance of the Tower which would cause issues with players in fireteams. Otherwise the impact of Cayde’s loss will be meaningless if we can just waltz up to him and grab a treasure map from him like usual every week after he supposedly dies.

Storytelling: Cayde is a wiseass, and that’s a good thing because honestly Destiny needs someone to lighten stuff up. Cayde has always been the one to do that, and if you kill off that character you lose a huge part to the story. Things will get incredibly dark, and even some darker series like Game of Thrones need some lighter moments and characters interspersed to balance the story out.

Lore: First off, it’s supposed to be really freaking hard to kill a Guardian, which Cayde is. Even more is the fact that he’s an Exo, which means every time he dies he loses a few memories and gains a new number. Cayde’s died 5 times before, but Banshee the gunsmith has died 43 times. Finally, Time Travel has always been a thing in Destiny lore. It’s central to the plot, as both the Exo Stranger AND the Vex travel through time. We even get Cayde out of Vex time warp shenanigans in Destiny 2, and that isn’t even touching upon the whole Osiris expansion, which heavily touches upon the time travel aspect of the Vex in great detail. If Cayde were to die for good, we could just hijack a vex machine to prevent it. Boom done deal, Cayde doesn’t die. It wouldn’t be the first time we messed with the timeline in Destiny to our advantage, that’s the whole point of us going into the Vault of Glass back in Vanilla Destiny in the first place. So I’m not buying into the whole Cayde is really dead for good thing Bungie is spouting. Because from gameplay, storytelling, and lore standpoints, it’s total bullshit. Now Bungie could really kill off Cayde, but it’d be a huge mistake on their part. We’ll see how they decide to play their cards, but I would expect Cayde to be sticking around.

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

Retro Game Friday: De Blob

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a cult classic. It’s De Blob!

Plot Synopsis: Initially a lively and colorful city populated by its equally colorful and diverse citizens, the Raydians, Chroma City is suddenly invaded by the INKT Corporation. A corporate military dictatorship, INKT is led by the villainous Comrade Black and dedicated to the eradication of color through its “War on Color”. Chroma City quickly falls to the invading army of Inkies and color-draining Leechbots, leaving its landscape barren, its flora withered and its fauna in hiding. The citizens are rounded up and turned into “Graydians”, encased in homogeneous gray prison suits distinguished only by a bar code on the back of each shell. The Graydians are forced to serve as both menial labor and as a living resource of ink, the latter of which is mined literally from their sadness…

Plot: The plot is nothing amazing, and it fits the family game setting that De Blob has. So nothing amazing, but nothing super bad either.

Gameplay: The gameplay is pretty simple, you get paint of the three primary colors and paint the world to restore it. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s pretty fun for a while. That being said it’s a bit a one trick pony as the gameplay doesn’t really ever change all that much.

Art: The art is okay, but is dated. Thankfully there are ports with updated graphics to the current generation of consoles including the Switch.

Music: The coolest part of the game, at least to me as a person who knows game design from coding to artwork, is the fact that the music changes as you play. As you continue painting objects the music becomes more and more active, and Blob’s current color determines the instrumental being soloed. It’s pretty interesting, and a brilliant piece of game design.

Overall: If you get the chance, you might want to check this out if it’s on sale.

For those who like: Platforming, Fun Gameplay, Great Musical Score.

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

 

 

 

 

Video Game Tuesday: ArenaNet Debacle

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a topic that gets me riled up. It’s all about the recent ArenaNet Debacle!

ArenaNet Debacle?: So for those unaware a couple writers for the Guild Wars 2 Developer ArenaNet made some angry, and absolutely justifiable, comments via their Twitter accounts. The nastier parts of the gaming community, including remnants of the sham #GamerGate movement among many other more bigoted parts of the community, called for their immediate firing from the company. And they were fired. It’s an absolute PR disaster and sets a terrible precedent that if people get angry and vocal enough they can call for specific developers to be fired. It’s bullshit of the worst kind and absolutely unacceptable behavior from the gaming community.

What should have happened?: Well ArenaNet should have updated their Social Media guidelines. Developers shouldn’t have to take crap thrown at them from ignorant asses that no nothing about making games. Defending themselves is perfectly acceptable, and following ArenaNet’s firing of the writers many other companies have updated their own Social Media guidelines. They also should have defended their developers rather than throwing them to the wolves like they did. Frankly I think what they did is completely unacceptable and stupid on their part.

The fact that people from such nasty parts of the gaming community, including the bullshit #GamerGate movement, got people fired is beyond stupid. What happens when all the good developers get fired? You get games like Candy Crush or even nothing at all.

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

Retro Game Friday: Trauma Center

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with another game for the Nintendo DS. It’s Trauma Center: Under the Knife!

Plot Synopsis: Derek Stiles is a doctor at Hope Hospital. After the near-death of a patient due to his negligence, he encounters the scene of a car crash and ends up working on a patient with incredibly severe injuries to the heart. Just as it seems like the patient is done for, a power within Derek is unlocked, and miraculously saves the patient. The power emerges once more, and Derek saves another patient when a seemingly routine operation gets dangerously out of hand. His superiors recognize the ability. They tell him that his power is said to be that of a descendant of the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius, and his gift is known by the same name, though is more frequently referred to as the Healing Touch….

Plot: Honestly I forgot that this had a story, as I was never very keen on this whole game. I have a huge fear of needles, so this entire game is more than enough to put me into a panic. Honestly I touched this game like once, before never thinking about it again until I read the title somewhere recently.

Gameplay: You play as Derek, and perform various operations. Doing so quickly and flawlessly is the goal and is measured in points. To be fair the gameplay was tough due to the gimmicky nature of the touch screen controls. But those who could handle that would find that they can play the game very well.

Art: The art is highly aged, and even the 2D portions have aged rather poorly.

Music: I don’t remember a whit of it, sorry.

Overall: A game that is noteworthy for it’s take on the classic board game Operation more than anything else.

For those who like: Performing Surgeries, Touch Screen Gimmicks.

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

Video Game Tuesday: The Importance of Timing

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to talk about why doing certain things pisses off players and how to avoid them. It’s all about The Importance of Timing!

Timing? Yes, Timing. It’s pivotal in making the most money and keeping your player base happy. It’s also why people hate Bungie so much in regards to Destiny and it’s sequels content, or rather lack thereof.

Keeping to a schedule: If you commit to a schedule, and especially if you do so publically and on record, you have to keep to it to the best of your ability. Bungie for example promised frequent content updates for Destiny and it’s various sequels, but it’s frequently and often quite lacking. In particular is the dearth of meaningful content being released regularly, which is always a death sentence for an MMO. It’s why Wrath of the Lich King was the last great World of Warcraft expansion before the disaster that was Cataclysm. The content drought was incredibly long in between Wrath of the Lich King’s final patches and Cataclysm, and that was unacceptable in terms of business. The fact that Cataclysm was highly despised as well did not help matters and led to a significant decrease in subscription numbers for the game. And by regular releases, I mean in periods of no longer than two to three months, which is the acceptable amount of time most games have content updates. Final Fantasy XIV has a major patch about every 3 months, and in between those patches are smaller content patches that add additional content. Compared to a game like Destiny 2 whose first content update post launch happened 3 months and was universally despised and you can see why timing is everything in business.

So what about other games? Well other games, in particular games like Fate/Grand Order’s NA client which is two years behind the original JP client, the community has a general sense of what the hell is going on and what is coming out when. That all went to shit when Aniplex decided to move the Paid Gacha pull, where you paid ~$30 to get a guaranteed SSR servant, two months earlier and left out on two highly sought after servants in that banner, Mordred and Jack the Ripper. It’s a move that would have been acceptable if that was an NA exclusive event, but it was a replacement for the typical New Year’s Paid Gacha that occurs yearly for the JP client. So it pissed off a ton of people, including myself. Not only would it have made a ton of business sense to have both those Paid Gacha occur, in addition to the delayed Anniversary Gacha that just happened a couple weeks ago, but it alienated and upset many people.

In addition Fate/Grand Order’s localization team seems to think that announcing content updates at Anime Conventions is a smart move. That’d be acceptable if they lined up to the expected schedule that the community projected, but they didn’t. They let the NA Client fall 4 weeks behind schedule just to announce an event at an Anime convention that at most .01% of the player base went to. It was just another insult in a long line. Such things could’ve been avoided if they remembered how important Timing is.

So that’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. I’ll close out with a quote from Wit from the Stormlight Archives that puts it best. “What is it we value? Innovation. Originality. Novelty. But most importantly…timeliness. I fear you may be too late, my confused, unfortunate, friend.” 

Retro Game Friday: Nintendogs

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a title that was launched with the Nintendo DS. It’s Nintendogs!

Gameplay: This is a basic game in that it’s purely a pet simulation game. You interacted with the various breeds and picked one to play with. It used the various gimmicks included in the Nintendo DS, from the touch screen to the mic. Frankly it was purely a game made for showcasing the various gimmicks, rather than any meaningful gameplay.

Art: The art has aged incredibly poorly, but that’s to be expected from a game made purely in 3D.

Music: Not much to talk about here, it’s all very bland.

Overall: A skippable game, who’s only noteworthiness is that it was a launch title for the Nintendo DS.

For those who like: Dogs, Pet Raising Sims.

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