Games

First Impressions: Bloodborne (PS4)

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I’d like to write you a nice blog post about my impressions of FromSoftware’s Bloodborne, a PS4 exclusive title. However, that won’t be possible. Why? Because all those reviews you might be seeing online saying this game is not for the casual gamer are all correct. I can play stealth games, I can play shooters, I can play action platforms with puzzle solving elements. But Bloodborne is heartless in its difficulty. It can even be brutal if you don’t know what you’re doing or decide to rush headlong into every fight. But, it’s not a bad game at all!

Bloodborne is beautiful, the atmosphere set up by the visuals and audio is breathtaking. The sounds passing enemies make by scrapping their scythe across the floor makes me shiver. It’s top notch console horror. I haven’t been this creeped out by a video game since the first Resident Evil or Silent Hill game. All that praise aside, though, and Bloodborne is still too difficult for me to play. Doesn’t mean I did’t want to pick it up and try it out, and I’m glad I did because it is an experience everyone should at least be exposed to.

Alas, this was probably my last day with the game. If I’m not going to be able to advance and maneuver my way through the levels at a decent pace, and am going to spend the majority of my time waiting for the load screens telling me I’m dead, I don’t have time for that. Time is valuable, and if I can’t easily advance through a game at a sensible pace, then it’s just not for me.

So should you pick up and play Bloodborne? Well, like I said, I think everyone should at least experience it. It’s a remarkable game that evidently had a lot of love go into it. But if you aren’t patient, or can’t stand dying every few minutes, then you should definitely skip this game. If you are frustrated by having to start entire levels back over because you didn’t make it to that next save point, then you should skip this one.

On the flip side, if you love difficult games, like a good challenge and prefer to duck and dodge between blows, this is your game. It really is beautiful, and you owe it to yourself and the developers to at least give it a try. As for me, though, I’ll stick to my easier casual games.

Tips on Creating a Successful Online Gaming Community

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There was a brief moment in time when I had the bright idea to start an online gaming community of like-minded people. This wasn’t a well thought out plan, mind you, or a simple one as I came to find out. Building a good, strong community of people who are willing to participate and support one another is near impossible if you aren’t willing to put in the effort. Aside from that, if the people you are looking to as a community aren’t willing to join in conversations or events, that adds to the difficulty. So what are the things one should be focusing on to make a community work?

Below are three sites I’ve stumbled across that give some pretty decent ideas for anyone wanting to get a social group up and going.

1. Top 10 Tips on Creating a Successful Online Community (from Popten.net)

2. Build a Popular Gaming Community in 5 Steps (from Boostlikes.net)

3. 3 Ways to Grow a Successful Game Community (from Scumlabs.com)

Finally Beat Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Storyline

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My greatest accomplishment so far in 2015 is finishing a game. I’m not talking about 100-percenting-it, but completing the main storyline and receiving the outcome of my hard work. Last night I went to the war room and embarked on the final assault against Corypheus and his mighty dragon. While the fighting in DA:I can get repetitive and boring quickly, I was still antsy about my ability to compete the fight. What I was pleasantly surprised with is that after each major round, as you’re chasing your enemy around the ruins, you encounter refills for your stash of healing potions. So between each fight, I was able to fully heal all my party, refill my potions and continue on. By the time Corypheus finally fell, I had one healing potion left, and I was so happy.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of those games where I invested a lot of time. A LOT. Upon defeating the main villain, I had a total of 80 hours in gameplay. That was mainly with side quests, mind you, but still, 80 hours of a single game save. And I’m still not done! There’s plenty more to do in the world of Thedas, plenty more side quests and minor rifts to close after saving the world. And so I venture forth and add to my already large chunk of time invested in this amazingly beautiful game. Who knows, I may even start a second character and up the difficulty. It was just entertaining enough that I wouldn’t be against the idea!

Thank you Bioware and EA for the fantastic, epic adventure you let me be a part of. Now if you’ll excuse me, I still have some exploring to do.

Two Months Destiny Free

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As hyped as I was for the release of Bungie’s Destiny massive multiplayer online first person shooter (mmofps) I can honestly say that after 2 months, I haven’t missed it. It quickly became repetitive and just wasn’t up my ally as far as shooters or online games go. Maybe that’s just the World of Warcraft snob in me speaking out, but it got old quick. And even now, reading about the updates – or I suppose I should say expansion packs, I’m still underwhelmed.

Yes, Bungie says there is something like an 11 year plan with Destiny, but at the rate their going, I’m not sure if it’ll make it to 11 years. Maybe if they just give the game away, or drop the price to about $20 and throw in a couple of updates, maybe they can rely on micro-transactions to save it. But right now, I’m glad I traded my disc in for the credit while I could.

I hear folks talking about playing Destiny on Twitter, but there is a lack of that same excitement. They talk about their grinding to get levels, faction points and gear. Heck, there are better games to waste that time on and for better rewards and end game without the broken mechanics.

But that’s just my opinion.

Does anyone else feel the same way? Or am I being unfair toward a game that launched less than a year ago? Should a game like Destiny be given leeway to improve upon itself (whereas other games would be considered broken if released as Destiny was) or am I being fair on my critique? Please, feel free to let me know. No hard feelings.

Mobile Gaming for January 2015

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What are you playing on the go? What apps do you have on your smartphone that you’re dabbling around in for entertainment? Here’s a rundown of what I’ve been enjoying (and getting tired of) for awhile. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I’ve lost my creative spark upon returning to work after two weeks off – hence, no updates!

Run, Sackboy, Run! – It’s Sackboy from the Little Big Planet series of games. This is a side scrolling run and jump game for distance. As with all these types of games, you’re running to get the farthest distance while collecting items that will give you a power-up or currency to buy upgrades, costumes, etc in the Shop. To coincide with the release of Little Big Planet 3, there is two special collections you can complete that will give you a t-shirt and a gnome costume for your console game.

It’s a fun little time killer that you can pick up and play and then put right back down without missing a beat. Free, of course.

Angry Birds Transformers – Oh my gosh, this is getting out of hand! The birds and pigs have now expanded into the realm of our beloved Transformers, and it’s pretty fun! The birds are the heroic Autobirds and the pigs are the despicable Deceptipigs (I’m honestly not sure if that’s the exact name of the bad guys, but let’s just assume it is.)

Each level starts with AstroTrain flying you into the beginning. You then have to run through the level shooting the various pigs that are also shooting back at you. You can transform into a vehicle to speed passed dangerous falling objects and tap to call in a friend to help eliminate  harder sections of the level for a few seconds. The goal is to make it to the end where your pals are waiting to pick you up. You collect coins and pig kill count that can both be used to (coins) upgrade your characters and (pigs) unlock more characters.

Not an Angry Birds fan, but this is a pretty fun little running game that you can waste a lunch break on.

Spider-Man Unlimited – YET ANOTHER RUNNER! That’s right, except this one is also a runner/swinger/jumper/slider/whatever. You collect, level up and modify a variety of collectible alternate universe Spider-Men while collecting yellow viles, defeating enemies and avoiding obstacles. Fun, but it can lead to issues when you run out of space to grow your Spider-Man collection.

Epic Island – I posted a brief review of Epic Island some time back. I’m sad to report that I’ve pretty much lost interest in this game. It’s now become too much of a grind. All my dungeons are level 5 (they can rank up higher but 5 is the required level to consider it complete). I’ve unlocked all the sections of the island and participated in the Halloween event. I’ve even made it to the main boss’s hide out. You now have to grind, combine or buy equipment powerful enough to defeat him because what you’ve collected so far is more than likely not going to be enough.

The game does offer faction and pvp rankings, but once you make it to the boss, chances are you’ll be bored to. Unless, of course, the grind for gear is your thing. It’s not Diablo 3, but the gear grind is real and gets to be annoying/boring after awhile.

Marvel Puzzle Quest – Sort of a Bejeweled clone and a collectable card game. You battle a story mode variety of villains or go into a pvp series of events to compete for prizes. I’m invested monetarily in this game because you require space in your inventory to add new character cards. You can earn Hero Points, but that’s a long road to travel. It’s so much easier to let iTunes charge you for a few hundred at a time at $4.99 a pop. Yes, I am ashamed, but I do it on occasion, darn it.

The character cards can be leveled up and upgraded by using additional “covers.” It can get boring and repetitive, but it’s still a go-to for me every once in awhile.

And finally, the two latest additions:

Bingo Blitz – I don’t know why, but I love a good bingo game. This has become one of my favorite game versions. There are various cards to play and unlock collectibles on.

Pocket Trains – An 8-bit train simulator from the folks that brought us Tiny Tower. It’s fun enough to waste some time.

What are you playing on the run?