Posts Tagged ‘gaming


Trophy Hunt, 10/3

Things are slowing down a bit, as many of my physical games have been boxed up for the move, many of my digitally owned games have either already been stripmined of their trophies or are just completely unappealing at the moment, and GameFly is temporarily on hold so I don’t end up with a Vita cartridge or PS4 disc lost in the mail somewhere, but progress has still been made.

The Sinking City and Yomawari: Night Alone have both given up their Platinums. So far as TSC goes, I think it gets kind of a bum rap; sure, it’s got some issues, but overall I thought it was one of the best Mythos-related games I’ve played. It’s the game that last year’s Call of Cthulhu wanted to be, and despite the Mass Effect 3 “dial-an-ending,” I still found it enjoyable, engrossing, visually stimulating and suitably creepy. The trophy list was kind of small for a game of its length, and there weren’t a lot of clever or “outside the box” trophies, but it wasn’t full of “why the hell would I want to even try to do that?” trophies, either.

Yomawari was enjoyable as well, and in many ways better than it’s predecessor, Night Alone, though there was some very tedious pattern learning with the boss monsters, overall I didn’t regret my time with the game. The trophy list itself was fairly even with a mixture of game progress, collectibles, and “do X this many times.” No funky ones, and thank God it doesn’t have another one like “Long Night” from the original (play a 3 hour game for 50 hours. Who thought of that one?), though the “Die 80 times,” depending on how well you do during the main game, may be a bit of a grind… and the game tends to crash, so be wary. If you’re curious, I do recommend checking out NitroRad’s review of the games, which is pretty close to my own opinion; you can find the YouTube video right here.

Also almost completed Rise of Insanity, though I will have to go through it a second time to pick up a couple of collectibles and a pair of “do this at X time” trophies I missed. Fairly enjoyable game, and worth grabbing on a sale, with a list that isn’t too traumatic to complete. No Platinum, though.

Progress being made on Devil May Cry, though new trophies earned; picking at earning S-Ranks and beating Very Hard and Dante Must Die mode on DMC3, though stuck doing it as Vergil since I inadvertently saved over my Dante file, and don’t feel like going back and grabbing all the blue orbs, abilities, upgrades and piles of Vital Stars/Devil Stars before I can try to tackle the higher difficulties. At least Vergil was mostly upgraded after his initial run. Devil May Cry 1 is about halfway through Hard and doing the Secret Missions. 2 continues to rot, even though it really isn’t much more work for Platinum. Just need like 3 Blue Shards for Lucia and it’ll be done. It’s just painful to contemplate playing through it to get them.

Started Yakuza 3 in earnest (I had completed the first chapter, then put it aside because I still have to finish 6Kiwami 2 and Judgement, picked it back up because I have it digitally but the other three are physical and boxed up.) Busy knocking out the miscellaneous trophies (break 30 weapons, find junk on the beach, catch a tuna, train a hostess, etc) while grinding XP before moving on to the game proper, but have reached Chapter 4. It may actually be the first Yakuza I can actually platinum, since they don’t have the damn “Complete the List 100%” thing, so the fact I can’t get my head around Shogi and Mahjong and only vaguely understand Oichi-Kaibu won’t punish me.

Lastly, I went back to The Evil Within, which I swear I really will 100% one day. Finished The Assignment, with the exception of Kurayami mode (which I’ll go back for and do in tandem with The Consequence‘s Kurayami mode). Will probably be tackling The Consequence this evening or tomorrow morning, if the Gods don’t bless me and magically make Ghostbusters Remastered appear on my hard drive.

Maybe there was more progress made than I thought; this is a pretty long post. Oh well. We’ll see where it goes from here. What about the rest of you? What games are you working on, and is there something you think I should tackle? Let me know down below!


Trophy Hunt – 9/26


Okami has fallen. The platinum now resides in my trophy shelf, immortalized as my 125th Platinum. Hooray?

By the time I finished the game, I was honestly starting to hate it; it was severely overstaying its welcome, and the boss rush and 6-stage final boss, especially after the pain that was the Wakwu Temple, was just dragging its feet in an apparent attempt to pad the runtime. When I started, I was skeptical… not really understanding why everyone seems to think it’s one of the best games ever. By the midpoint, I was warming to it, somewhat; still not one of the best games, but definitely a decent game. By the end, I hated it again.

Oh well.

I also finally kicked Puzzle QuestChallenge of the Warlords to the curb. It’s been literal years since I grabbed the PS2 Classics version, and began inching my way through it. Honestly, having finished it again (because I had it for PSP and PS2 back in the day, and bought it again for XB360), I don’t know why I was so bloody enamored of it. It’s slow, clunky, ugly, and frequently blatantly unfair. (To this day, I swear the CPU opponents “know” what’s going to fall when they make a move. The number of times some random green in the corner starts an 8+ move cascade with multiple +5 Skulls involved seems a little too frequent for mere chance.) But at least it’s done.

Stared The Sinking City, which is much more entertaining… to me, at least. The combat is a little janky and unnecessary, and sometimes navigation is cumbersome (walk down this street, hop on a boat, take the boat to that street, get off the boat, sneak through a combat zone, get on a boat, get off the boat, and now you might be where you were headed), but overall I think it’s a solid game. The fact it doesn’t hold your hand, making you actually do some detective work to sort out where you’re headed and why, is certainly different and (in my opinion) enjoyable. In a lot of ways, it feels like the game Call of Cthulhu wanted – and failed – to be. CoC still has a couple of things going for it over TSC – the graphical style (though not the fidelity, I fear), better load times, and more detailed environments – but if I have to pick one for my Mythos gaming, Sinking City wins. (But can we maybe get the two developers to work together, plastering over each other’s weaknesses, and make a Mythos game that shakes the walls of R’lehya? It’d be AWESOME.)

About halfway through the game, about 35% through the trophy list. It’s pretty enjoyable so far, though I would likely be somewhat irate if I was playing without a “warning list” of “no return” trophy points and choice-based ones. Almost every case has two (or more) resolutions, and there’s generally a trophy attached to each. Given that, while I enjoy the game, it’s not really one I see myself wanting to complete in full more than once, save-scumming is a must.

Still picking at the Devil May Cry trilogy, Labyrinth Life and the Vita God of War collection, as well as Siren. Will probably be taking on YomawariMidnight Shadows this week as well, if GameFly and the postal service cooperate with me. Just hoping that one doesn’t have another “play for 50 hours” trophy like the first one.

That wraps up the trophy round up on this end; what about you folks out there? What are you playing? What should I be playing? What trophies have you earned that you’re stupidly proud of… or do you wish you could hide on your profile? Let us know down below! Until next time.

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Trophy Hunt – 9/19


Another slow week, and one of surrender.

HTOL#NIQ got shipped back to GameFly, unbeaten. I am broken. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t care about the game, I didn’t care for the game, I felt the mechanics were awful, and what the trophies wanted from me was liable to cause a stroke. Overall, just not worth it.

I always feel bad when I give up on a game – unless the trophies I’ve given up on are specifically glitched/unachievable, or tied to multiplayer that is underplayed or unavailable, or they are just far beyond my skillset (the gambling-related stats in most Yakuza games, f’rex) – but even though I frequently play terrible games, and will do so to completion, even I have limits. Gaming is supposed to be fun, not abject misery, and HTOL#NIQ was quickly heading in that direction.

I did some digging in the backlog, and knocked out a couple of troublesome flies left over from my last visit to Devil May Cry 2. The only thing left to do in that one is fully upgrade the life bar. Amusingly, it’s also one of the few I need for Devil May Cry 5. I just seem to have problems hunting down the one blue orb I missed somewhere in this series. (I think it’s also one of the last trophies I got in Devil May Cry 4 and DmC, and it’s liable to be one of the last in Devil May Cry as well.) Also ripped through the rest of normal difficulty in the original Devil May Cry, and am picking my way through Hard (with a guide, hopefully finding all the little blue rocks this time.) Once I kick those two out, it’s probably time to try to finish VMD difficulty in Devil May Cry 3 and go find that last orb in 5, before I beat the hell out of myself trying to platinum 4. Then I can have the whole series all on one platform and all with Platinums. It’ll be shiny and happy.

Speaking of Capcom games (and their subsidiaries and former employees,) I also made a little more headway in The Evil Within. Doing a slow run to find all the collectibles, before I learn to hate myself in Akumu. And finally, have gotten around to really playing Okami. I’ve tried before – I owned it for PS2 and never left the village, owned it for Wii and don’t think I even ever booted it up – but this time I’m actually playing the damned thing.

Okami is odd to me. Part of me hates it just because I heard too many people fapping to it and telling me how it’s the best game ever. Frequently those people didn’t bother buying it, judging from the sales stats (around 270,000 copies sold in NA for PS2, about 130,000 for Wii.) There are more games I hate for the fanbase than I hate for the game itself, and Okami is very close to the top of that list. Part of me thinks it shows its age poorly, and has a certain clunkiness that makes it hard to like. But it’s still somewhat enjoyable, and it is without a doubt pretty. It’s a basic Zelda knockoff, but it does what it does well and doesn’t resort to Monkey Island logic to solve some of the puzzles and collectibles, so that’s not bad. Still not something I would pay $40 a third time, but amusing enough. I’m about to go kick Orochi’s face in (which I believe puts me around the halfway mark) so it won’t be abandonded this time… but I still don’t think I’d be putting it on any of my “top games of all time” lists. Of course, most people will tell me that if I make such a list that it’s wrong. The first four entries of Metal Gear Solid 3Silent Hill 2The Binding of Isaac and Yakuza marks me as a nerd, a weeb, and not “artsy” enough, and my dislike of Braid or Fez leaves me outcast amongst my people.

Anyway. There may be a week taken off from Trophy hunting, as Gears 5 may soon be accessible to me, and there will have to be some time Achievement hunting in that, instead, and then there may be some time spent with the PS3 and PS2 classics section (I have to finish Siren, and I have the first three Fatal Frame games installed that still need love) for Halloween. But we’ll see.

What about you out there? What games are you working on? What games should I torture myself with? You can sometimes catch me playing them live over on Twitch, and if you want to stalk me, it’s Ashande on PSN and Typo Monster on XBL.

As always, if you like my stuff and want to help me keep doing it, you can drop a dime over at Patreon, or help support my surgery GoFundMe. Contributions are always appreciated, but never required. Until next time, folks!

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Trophy Hunt – September 6


It’s been a slow week in trophy-land, but not entirely unproductive. Horizon Chase Turbo and The Wolf Among Us have been added to the Platinum cabinet. I honestly was doubting whether or not HCT was going to be in there, and suspected it might rot at around 80% complete, but my stubbornness finally pushed me through the Endurance mode and to finish off the Master Tournament to get that oh so shiny 100% in there.

Yomawari: Night Alone and it’s pal HTOL#NIQ or whatever you want to call it aren’t done, yet. Night Alone just needs some collectible hunting and then leaving the Vita on forever and a day for the stupid “Long Night” trophy. HTOL needs actual effort; I haven’t played it much since the first day. Once they’re done, I think I’m going to loop around and try to knock out the rest of Corpse Party: Blood Drive; sick of looking at the icon on my home screen, and might as well knock out another “cutesy horror game” since I’m on the train already.

The Phoenix Wright trilogy is nearly complete; as of this morning, Justice For All is done, and the first case of Trials and Tribulations. All that’s left are two case-specific collectible trophies, one game-wide collectible trophy, and finishing off the game itself. Hopefully by next week Phoenix, Miles, Maya, Ema and the rest will have said their peace, with no additional “Objection!”s. (And, hey, Capcom, if you’re listening… there’s 5 other games that came out here you could bundle up. Plus another three you can toss in if you want to do some translating. Get on that.)

After all that, I suspect it’s going to be all Yakuza, all the time. JudgementYakuza 3Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Yakuza 6 all need some love, and by the time I get through those, I’m sure Yakuza 4 will be available. Plus Shenmue 1 & 2 are still waiting in line, and 3 will be dropping shortly, so… yeah. Drowning in weird Japanese culture/time-wasting/ass-kicking games for the foreseeable future.

What about you folks? What games are eating up your time? Let us know down below, and if there’s something you’d like to see me tackle, you can drop that down there, too.

If you want to stalk my progress, you can find me on Twitter, over on Twitch, or on PSN as Ashande, or Xbox Live as Typo Monster.


Trophy Hunt – August 30


It has not been a good week, trophy wise. I finally kicked Game of Thrones to the curb, so there’s that, but beyond that it’s been slow going. There’s been some picking at the backlog (Dead Rising 2: Off the Record saw me picking up a handful of trophies that I didn’t have out of sheer laziness) but mostly it’s been adding Uneared Trophies to the list without chipping any away. The Yakuza Collection now taints my card with 1 out of 50 in Yakuza 3 (I will get to it, but for now it’s denting my percentage alongside its siblings, JudgmentYakuza Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 6, all of which I really need to sit down and just finish already.) The Wolf Among Us has been begun, but I haven’t had the time to sit and plow through it; it seems significantly longer than other Telltale offerings… but at least it’s actually good, unlike its cousin Game of Thrones. Yomawari: Night Alone and Firefly Diary are there, too, but are unlikely to be fast completions. Yomawari, especially, with the “Long Night” trophy, requiring you to play for 50 hours, is gonna take a bit.

Labyrinth Life and Phoenix Wright are both chugging along; the former is just insanely grind heavy and takes forever. Not its fault; just the kind of game it is. I’ve gotten almost everything from it that one can get from just beating the game and mild investment, now comes the hours of repeating the same dungeon again and again and once more to build up the Nectar to level cap everyone and max out a weapon. It’ll happen… just not this week. Phoenix Wright is just slow in general; each case takes a significant amount of time, some require repeating for collectible-type trophies, and there’s 14 cases to muddle through. I’m currently on case #2 of Justice For All, so only two more in that volume and 5 in Trials and Tribulations, so I’m at the halfway point. It just takes a bit.

All in all, not a great week for the hunt. Only one Platinum (Game of Thrones) and no significant progress elsewhere. My estimate that I might be able to pull 5 in a week was indeed overconfidence. But alas, perhaps next time.

If you want to stalk me on PSN, you can find me as Ashande on there; I’m also on XBox Live (though much less frequently) as Typo Monster.

What’s in your backlog? What game is giving you fits in the quest for 100% completion? Let us know down below!


Trophy Hunt – August 16


Not much exciting on the hunt this week. Managed to knock out Code: Realize – Boquet of Rainbows, though was bored to tears by it as I discovered it’s just a compilation of the first two Vita games with nothing new to offer. Ah well, another Platinum for the case, at least, right?

Also dredged through the “games I downloaded when they were cheap and never bothered with” list, finishing off Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror and The Coma: Recut. Knocked out as much as I think I can of Dead Island: Riptide and Dead Rising; for Riptide, there’s some online-only co-op trophies that I acknowledge I’ll never get, and finding the rest of the collectibles is something I just can’t force myself to do right now. The controls and mechanics are just terrible, and having to recover from death every six steps isn’t my idea of a good time. So far as Dead Rising goes, the “Gourmet” trophy seems to have glitched out – I’ve eaten everything in the mall, using a checklist, three times now, still isn’t popping – “Savior” and “Transmissionary” are things I do not possess the patience for (the AI’s behavior and the twitchy controls conspire to make me break controllers and fail those two trophies repeatedly) and I really don’t have the desire to sit around for 14 hours to hit “7 Day Survivor.” Otherwise, that list is done.

Still working on Doom, trying to kick out the multiplayer trophies. All that’s left there is levelling up to a point where I can equip a piece of Cyberdemon armor. Then I can turn my attention to the campaign and bliz through that and be done. Yay.

Lastly, started on Horizon Chase Turbo – which is the Rad Racer sequel we never knew we needed until we played it – and Super Neptunia RPG – which is the (slightly broken) Valkyrie Profile sequel we always wanted and never got. Probably have those two kicked out by next week, but we’ll see how it goes.

Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms remains the bane of my existence, but I will have that bloody Platinum soon. At worst, there’s only 75 more free play runs (yes, I’m keeping track) before it pops. Hopefully. If it doesn’t glitch. Ugh.

If you want to stalk me and see how it’s going, you can follow me on PSN (as Ashande), or you can click the pretty trophy card right here:

Until next time, folks!

KA Spiral no signature


Trophy Hunt, August 9th


The hunt continues. In a constant bid to inflate my e-ego, there are always more trophies to be earned, more imaginary accolades to set on the shelf. Some weeks, the chase is akin to Godzilla storming through the middle of Tokyo. Wrecked games everywhere, hundreds of little “ding” noises to signify accomplishments.

This was not that sort of week. I did finally put The Coma: Recut to bed, which was far more stressful than it needed to be – the last chunk of the game suffers from a severe lack of save points, and given the random nature of your pursuer, bad controls, and less-than-functional stealth mechanics, I ended up repeating the same 20 minute sequence around forty times, instead of the twice (once for each major ending) it should have taken. But it’s done. Beyond that, not much progress. Some picking at Dead Island: Riptide (why I bother, given that there are several Online-only trophies required for the Platinum, that I know full well I’ll never get, and given that the game is utter shite on top of it, I don’t know), still trying to level up in Doom (gotta wear that Cyberdemon armor and get 10 Spectre kills for the sweet, sweet, Golds, yo,) and puttering about in Judgment (which, like all Yakuza games, is 100+ hours of doing random crap for the lulz, after which you may receive a trophy.)

GameFly is supposed to be delivering Code: Realize: Bouquet of Rainbows today, so should be ticking some trophies off on that one, at least. And I could always go back and actually finish Game of Thrones to mark up a fresh Platinum if I really hated myself. (As an aside, GoT suffers from the same problem the show and the books have: somehow they take a story all about rape, incest, murder, war, zombies and ancient gods and make it dull as all hell. I don’t know how they manage that.)

Now if I could just manage to break into the top 2,000 in the country rankings… (I actually managed to hit 1997 for an hour or two, but then the usual flood of $3 trophy farm games with multiple stacks hit, the usual suspects raped them in two hours, and back into the 2,000s I went. Le sigh.)

If you want to stalk my progress, you can hunt me down on PSN as Ashande. Sometimes I stream my games, which can be found right here on Twitch.

Hope everyone’s weekend goes well, and if you’ve got suggestions for games to assault for their trophies (or see something on my list you’re having trouble with), let me know down below!

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Trophy Watch: August

I talked a bit about being fixated on trophies and achievements yesterday. Continuing the theme – and for a lack of anything else to mention this morning but not wanting to give up my streak – I figured I’d share what I’m grinding on this month. It might become a weekly or monthly series… dunno yet.

My backlog is huge, but thanks to my extended convalescence, I have time to work my way through it. I’ve made quite a bit of progress of late, but the need is never fully satisfied. This month, we’re starting strong, already knocking a Platinum out (via Death end Re:Quest, which is possibly the most screwed up anime visual novel/JRPG you’ll ever play, and if you get the chance, I highly recommend it) and chipping away at some long-time low percentage lurkers, Doom (2016) and Dead Island: Riptide. Also of note is the newest in the Yakuza series, Judgment, which I admit I will never platinum (like all Yakuza games, there are just some things I cannot do, such as grasp the intricacies of koi koi, oichu-kabu, or mahjongg to the level required to win consistently. Given that every one of them has a trophy relating to 100% completion, which includes winning a virtual crapton of money in those games, it’s unlikely ever to occur.) but that I love nonetheless.

What’s next? Well, Far Cry 5 and its DLC have been eyeing me (though, given that I don’t have any PSN friends to do the co-op trophies with, it will probably never be 100%), and I really should go back and finish Darksiders 3 and Spider-Man‘s respective DLCs… but Atelier Sophie and Ace Combat 7 also want some love. We’ll see. If you’ve got a suggestion (or if there some other game you’d like to see me attempt, potentially on my stream over on Twitch), let me know via Twitter or in the comments.

Just going to drop my trophy card here, so folks can see where I’m at, if that’s of any interest to you. If you feel like it, shoot a friend request or a follow to me over on PSN; the PSN ID is Ashande. (Or, though I don’t play it as much, if you’re an Xbox fan, you can find me as Typo Monster on there.)

Thanks, everyone, for reading. Hope your month is going well. I’d also like to give a shoutout to OhNoTuxedoMask for being the top Patreon! Give her a follow, because she’s awesome. If you’d like to join her, you can always check out my Patreon right here; or if you want to help me keep breathing, the GoFundMe for my surgery can also be found. Support is always appreciated but never required.

Until next time…

KA Spiral no signature


Gatekeeping “Gamers”

“Git gud!”

“Piss off, casual!”

“Is that even a game?”

“Ugh, console plebs.”

Those are the sorts of things one might hear if you were to browse the forums of a gaming website. There’s a fascinating amount of bickering to be found on what constitutes a “real” game these days, and quite a few individuals will spend more time arguing about that – and mocking those they consider to be “inferior” or “fake” gamers – than they will just enjoying the hobby. It’s bizarre.

I’ve heard it myself in a few variations; I’m supposedly not a real Silent Hill fan because I actually enjoyed Downpour and thought The Room was a less-than-stellar product. (I do toe the company line in saying that Silent Hill 2 is the best, though; in fact, it’s my second favorite game of all time.) I’m not a real gamer because I think games like JourneyBraidAbzu or other games that claim to be about “emergent gameplay and storytelling” are frequently so much pompous trash, and I don’t enjoy them. I’ve been informed I’m not a real gamer because The Last of Us bores me to tears, because I can’t stand Kingdom Hearts, and there’s quite a few of those old LJN games that I actually had fun with. I’m not a real Metal Gear fan because I didn’t think The Phantom Pain was awful. And so on and so on.

But the main thing I’m going to discuss today has to do with the artificial reward system found in most games today. Call them Trophies, Achievements, Benchmarks, whatever, there’s a magic list to show that you spent way too much time doing something in a game, typically alongside a percentage to show you how rare that thing is and make you feel better about yourself. This has changed the way some people play games; no longer does one enjoy the story and decide the game is done when they say it’s done. Now it’s about doing bizarre (and often counter-intuitive) things at just the right time, or grinding some tedious (and often overinflated) number of repetitive tasks out, or hunting for collectibles that ultimately do nothing except prove you spent too much time worrying about minutia (and following video walkthroughs, in a lot of cases.) Because you’ve gotta get that 1000 points or Platinum Trophy, or else you’re not a real gamer.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this reward system. It gets me to play things I might otherwise not have, or stick with a game longer. Sometimes it leads me to explore areas I would otherwise have ignored, or to push myself for the 100% or beating the game on the highest difficulty. Far too much of my own self-worth is wrapped up in my PSN Profiles ranking. But there’s some bad sides.

During the 360 era, I was obsessed with achievements; I would play games specifically for them, even if it was garbage that I hated. There were some games on my card that I was proud of – Fallout 3Fight Night Round 3Crackdown – but a large percentage of the list was made up of games I couldn’t stand, that were done solely for the achievements. Avatar: The Burning EarthTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesMadden ’06 and dozens of other “easy peasy” sports titles for games I couldn’t care less about. (My interest in sports games has always been low. Give me something arcadey and over the top, like Blitz, or give me a good boxing or hockey game, I’m in. Anything else? Nope.) It was stupid, and pointless, and just filling GameStop’s coffers for an inflated sense of self. I got over it.

These days, I’m still a hunter. Mostly Trophies, as there isn’t much for Xbox One that really grabs my interest, but when I play a game (for either system) I do my best to clear the list as best I can. But I don’t buy or rent games just for trophies anymore. I play what I feel like playing, and do my best to complete it. But because I like laughing my ass off at how bad something can be, and frequently stream the results, there’s also a lot of crap on my trophy card. Things like Little Adventure on the Prairie or My Name Is Mayo. I get those on my ticket for the lulz, as it were. But in some trophy hunter’s minds, that makes me “not a real gamer.”

My 100% in Borderlands or Darksiders 3 doesn’t wash away the stains of Mr. Massagy, even though all of them were played for the same reason: To have fun. And I did. Isn’t that the point?

Of course, there’s also those folks (the ones who have the top rankings on PSN Profiles), who only seem to play quick-and-dirty games. The ones you can swipe a Platinum from in an hour or two, and even better if they have multiple region stacks and save compatibility. They’ll have the same game from 8 different countries, a Platinum in all of them, in the course of an hour, and somehow think they’ve accomplished something. You typically have to scroll quite a ways down their list before you find a game that’s not at 100%, and typically that will be the first thing most folks would call a “real” game. A lot of folks despise these individuals – and I can’t say there isn’t a twinge of anger at them from me, as well, since climbing the ranking is almost impossible with these people at the top – but those same folks will then decide who is and isn’t such an individual based on certain games. If they find Doodle God in your backlog, you’re not a real gamer and that’s the end of it, no matter how many Uncharteds you’ve finished.

It’s kind of silly, really. Why spend so much time arguing over who’s a “real” gamer based on a bunch of imaginary rewards that are literally there for no reason other than e-peen (and so easily manipulated that it doesn’t even really mean that much) when you could be off enjoying the hobby?

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. But what about you folks? Am I right in thinking arguing over who’s a “real” gamer and what constitutes a “real” game is a waste of time? Do you think the Achievement system in games needs to go away, or become a bigger thing? Is there a Trophy or Achievement that you have that makes you ridiculously proud? (For me, it’s “1000000%” from Binding of Isaac: Rebirth) Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

As you all know, health problems have been beating me down quite badly of late, and I could use some help. If you like the stuff I do and want to help me keep doing it, if you could drop a dime in the bucket either through Patreon or GoFundMe, or even just like/share/comment/etc my stuff, it’d help a lot. Not a requirement, and if you think I’m not worth it, it’s okay… no hard feelings. But it does help. Thanks.



Game Review: Darksiders III

It’s been an interesting year. I’m not going to go into all of it here; there will probably be a post about it later, but the short version is it’s been a long December, and one is hoping next year will be better than the last. Illness, financial concerns, and mental and emotional difficulties have plagued this one.

This is supposed to be a happy post. Despite all the bad press about gaming over the year, there’s been a lot of good things that have happened, with some amazing titles.

There’s the obvious ones; God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption. Everyone knows those names. Two of those are amazing games, the third is competent (unlike many, I am not a huge RDR fan. I don’t have anything against it… it just doesn’t hold me down and make me play it.)

There’s some lesser-known titles that deserved some love, too; Octopath Traveler was an incredible old-school RPG (and yes, I still think it was robbed on some counts at the video game awards) for the Switch fans, Call of Cthulhu was also pretty good and enjoyable title, though I don’t think it was worth the initial outlay. When it drops down to $30 or so, it’s well worth your time. Yakuza 6 and Shenmue HD both dropped this year, and if you enjoy brawling RPGs, crazy minigames, and “slice-of-life” sims, all three are well worth checking out.

The clear owner of my heart right now is Darksiders III. It’s taking a bit of a beating, with people complaining about too many Dark Souls similarities, unfair and unintuitive difficulty, graphics that aren’t quite photo-realistic and amazing.

I think they’re wrong.

Darksiders III looks good for what it is; a labor of love from a smaller studio who basically relied on that love, hope, and the support of fans – alongside a healthy dose of luck – to give rise to it. It’s not a AAA title, and it’s not meant to be. But the graphics are still damn good, pleasing and understandable. The character and enemy designs are great, clearly cut from the Darksiders mold. From the moment you start the game, you know what you’re getting into if you’re in any way a fan of the previous titles.

Gameplay wise, the Dark Souls comparisons are a little odd. The checkpoint and XP/currency system is similar, yes. Control and combat wise I think comparisons are being overblown; Fury is infinitely more maneuverable than any of the Soulsborne protagonists, and there’s a great deal more fast-paced hack and slash than you’d expect from those titles. Some enemies need you to drop back and study their patterns a bit more than your average God of War-like game, but those are intended to be the more difficult or mini-boss type enemies. Once you level up and unlock a few of the additional skills and weapons, it’s not quite like that.

So far as difficulty, I don’t see it. I’m going at it on Apocalyptic, as I did on the previous two titles, and yes. Combat is challenging. Not insurmountable, and I never feel as though my deaths are unfair. Grinding and learning patterns gets you past it. It feels appropriately difficult. A lot of folks complain about the lack of a minimap and the way the compass in the game works… but it doesn’t seem that hard to know where you are and where you’ve been. The compass adjusts quite quickly and is always pointing in the direction you need to go. If you can’t go the way it wants, swinging the camera around for a moment will typically show the path, usually a minor puzzle that needs dealing with (most of which are neon and color-coded to which power you need to do it.)

I think the root problem isn’t with Darksiders; it’s more in the mindset of gamers. Old farts like myself probably played more games with minimal direction or confusing UIs, punishing difficulty spikes that were designed to suck up your quarters or your continues. Compared to some of those, Darksiders is a walk in the park; at least you have that wonky compass (which still works better than that found in, say, Destiny, cough cough) and the reasonable expectation that learning the mechanics and patterns of a fight will lead to victory without random chance and glitching screwing you out of it.

All in all, I have to say Darksiders III is well worth it, and a lot of places still have it discounted to $40 post-holiday, so a great time to jump into it. Give it a shot.

If you didn’t know, I have a Twitch channel; I’ve mostly been playing Binding of Isaac‘s new Forgotten update and the PSVR on there, but I try to get on reasonably regularly. It’s been a bit of solace, as gaming has been about all I can do lately. If you want to check it out or follow me, clicky-clicky here.

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