Games

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?

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U)

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How do I get my wife – who used to play video games a long time ago – to play video games this passed week? Let her watch the oldest boy and I play Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on the Wii U! She watched us play while she fed our youngest, asked a few questions here and there. Before I knew it, we had failed at a level and she was asking for the control pad! Yes! My wife actually picked up a controller and played video games with us this week! Our oldest son had a ball watching his mother play.

My wife used to play a few games here and there when we first got married. She’d play Dead or Alive 5 or Mortal Kombat because she liked kicking my butt. But that’s pretty much all she would play outside of the usual table top games of cards or board games. This week, though, she’s been into Captain Toad, Super Mario Bros Wii U and the classic SNES version of Super Mario World. I left her to take a shower the other night and when I came out she had the Wii U control pad playing it on the small screen.

But back to Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker!

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Captain Toad features 79 stages, divided into various chapters and levels and bonus levels. In each stage you must manipulate the camera in order to find hidden areas in the zone that Captain Toad must walk through to collect the required items. Each level seems to have 3 diamonds to collect and a goal for the over all level. There are also golden mushrooms in certain levels that you must also find. As you complete each one 100%, you get a stamp on the upper right of the page to signify that it is complete. The levels are presented as pages in a book with all your stats displayed before entering.

The catch to Captain Toad is, just like in the Super Mario 3D World mini-stages, you can’t jump. Captain Toad must walk everywhere he goes while avoiding obstacles and enemies. It’s an extremely fun game, and while it may look simple at the start, the levels get progressively more difficult. Especially the level goals, such as avoiding all the Shy Guys on a particular level. Or collecting a specific number of coins in a run.

There are familiar tunes and hints at other Nintendo properties through out the game. Beautiful graphics, humorous characters and an actual story as well as Captain Toad starts out looking for his kidnapped partner, Toadette. The game also supports Amiibo’s, though that connectivity is coming later this year and what it will entail has yet to be announced. Personally, I’d like to see it offer character specific levels. For example, scanning a Link Amiibo will unlock a Hyrule level for you to play Captain Toad through.

The Wii U is back in the game, folks. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Smash Brothers, DK: Tropical Freeze, Bayonetta 2 … this is the system, y’all. It may not be “hardcore” enough for the Xbox or PS4 fanboys, but Nintendo has finally … FINALLY hit its stride with this console, and I couldn’t be happier. If you have a Wii U collecting dust on your entertainment stand, brush it off and pick up a few of these games. Gather your family around and enjoy yourselves for the pure sake of enjoyment.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (PS4)

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** Take the following first impressions with a grain of salt, True Believers! I’ve never played Lego Batman 1 or 2, so this is my first experience with this portion of the Lego Universe. **

I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed on here before about how big of a Lego fan I am. The only thing that limits my love of Lego products is the limited space in which we live. Allow me to introduce the first brief impressions I’ve gotten from TellTale Games latest Lego video game installment: Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. And I’m afraid I have a lot of strong complaints with this one.

First, the name. Lego Marvel Superheroes was excellent. It was a story that involved the good guys, the bad guys, the guys we aren’ too familiar with – all of them thrown into a giant Lego Marvel Universe. It was awesome! Each character had their own familiar powers and was made to feel unique and powerful as you adventured around the city and into each stage.

Here we have Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. But why? This story involves the good guys, the bad guys, the guys we aren’t too familiar with – all of them thrown into a giant Lego DC Universe. Yet it’s billed as the third Batman game in the franchise. Why not: Lego DC Superheroes, or Lego DC Universe! But no, we get the extra long name for a game that could have just as easily been called: Lego DC Justice League. So the first confusing part of the game right off the bat is the naming of the product.

Second, we have the levels. Believe it or not, despite being the actual level design that I’m talking about, this is not the worst issue with this game that I feel needs to be pointed out. That said, the levels are long, drawn out and get boring pretty quick. And confusing! There are times during the missions when I will have to pause the game, get out a laptop, smartphone or tablet and look up a guide to know what it is I’m suppose to do next to advance the story. It gives you no real clues whatsoever. I refused to look up some information one night and walked around the level for a good 20 minutes trying everything I could image. Turns out there was one tiny little display in a far, dark corner that needed to be broken so I could get one Lego piece to complete a build. What the holy flipping bat guano is this?!

I appreciate challenging game sessions, but to walk around for 20 minutes with no sign whatsoever that i need to break a tiny little brick display over in an unlit corner? Pfffffft!

Third is all the costumes required for the main characters to achieve certain goals in order to move forward in their quests. In a single level of Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham DC Superheroes Universe United Incorporated, you have to change Batman’s costume 3 or 5 times. Seriously. Okay, okay, I’ll give it to  Batman to have multiple suites. That’ll certainly help the stores sell those two dozen Batman utility suites the toy company puts him out in. Arctic Suit Batman. Night vision Batman. Batman Batman. It’s insane. I can see some unique costumes related to historic DC events for the characters, but not Bomb Suit Batman. It’s a bit much and only adds to the already confusing mess of the huge levels that can last in excess of 45 minutes to an hour for one mission. Yes, it’s broken up into 3 stages, but it uses the strung along method, and while other Lego games have done this with success, here it just makes me scared to step away for awhile because I’ll have completely forgotten what all I’ve already been through.

And my last big complaint is the main story hub. The Watchtower. The space station the superheroes use as a base of operations to watch over the Earth. This is probably the most confusing mess of all. It is so spread out and unclear of what is where and how to use the sideways teleports and where they take you and so forth. I mean seriously. It is so bad that even the developers knew they had to do something. So they did! First, you got Batmite (don’t ask me, I’m not that kinda fan) who has these little glowing question marks floating all around. When you’re confused (which is a lot) you hit the question mark and Batmite will pop up and offer you a goofy tip. This also happens within the missions because, again, the developers even knew it was going to be a big old heap of mess.

Oh, and as if Batmite wasn’t enough (you know what? I’m not even sure if his name is Batmite, now that I think about it. He’s like this fat fanboy kid who dressed up like Batman and looks kinda clumsy) they’ve decided to throw Conan O’Brian into the mix! That’s right, Conan has his own Lego character. He doesn’t do much, he just kinda follows you around The Watchtower and makes these little comments about what something does.

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NOW.

All that being said.

Playing the characters can be fun. Some of the characters are really fun to take control of and play through the levels with. The flying seems to be much improved over Lego Marvel Superheroes, but that’s about it. Everything else is about the same or just under par in my opinion.

And if you’re wondering why I didn’t talk about the story aspect … well … I really don’t want to add a 5th reason why the game is a bloody mess. Let’s just move on, shall we?

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is a really hard, messy Lego game. If you’re a fan of the entire Lego line of video games, you’re going to pick it up anyways like I did. If you pick it up based on your experience with Lego Marvel, you may be disappointed. Overall, it’s not going to kill you, but it may require a new prescription for blood pressure medication.

Oh, and did I mention Adam West was in it? That’s right! You know how you had to save Stan Lee in Peril in Marvel Superheroes? Well Adam West in Peril is DC … er, I mean, Batman 3: Beyond Gotham’s answer to that.

Don’t let me scare you away. I’m a little over halfway through the missions myself and I’ll finish the game out of a sense of duty if nothing else. And take everything I’ve said with a  grain of salt because, as I said above, I’ve never played Batman 1 or 2 in this series. If you’re a DC fan, pick it up. If you’re a Marvel fan, go play Lego Marvel. If you’re a comic book fan in general, go play Lego Marvel, then if you really, really just have to, pick this one up.