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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Nioh PS4 Review - 10/10

Oh. You thought that "Dear Xbox" post was a joke? Nah, nah. Real. Alright. All jokes aside I was planning to get a PS4 from the get go but I pissed that away on an Xbox One and then I found a really cool guy to trade with me. As luck would have it the games he gave me, plus the Xbox One games I forgot to mention I had to the guy so I just kept them, as well as an amazing move from my past self putting some money on my GameStop card I had enough to buy this game. And let me tell you this game was totally worth an entire console and about five games. I was actually really looking forward to this and it was one of the main reasons I decided to get a PS4... apart from all the other sensible reasons. Well, I can't throw shade at Microsoft for this entire review... or can I? Ah well I guess I'll just get to the review.

The Good:
God where do I start? First off the graphics are really good and I don't just mean from a "Ya this game makes the rest of the games I've played until now look like total crap." I'm a man of substance and what I want is art and style. And this game has it in spades. First off its not content JUST to look real good but also make the game look interesting and unique. Keep in mind I just have a standard PS4 so I have no idea what those PS4 Pro people are seeing. There's a lot of small and minute details that I'm not really going to get into. Just think the particles, the graphics, the character designs, monster designs, areas, visuals and really anything that has to do with the eyes hits really well. I will say there is a nice juxtaposition between the 'mortal' and 'immortal' stuff in the game. If that sounds weird just think of it as all of the normal stuff, while it has its own style unto itself, is very basic across the board in the sense that it makes sense and has a baseline you can track pretty well. Basically human characters all look similar yet unique unto themselves. However, the monsters are amazing. They all have their own unique design which fits well into Japanese mythology and that's not even mentioning the bosses or the spirits you can have throughout the game. You know that whole 'Ubisoft Effect' where a game looks noticeably worse from the trailer to release? Well that really isn't the case here and I'm super glad about it.
A lot of people will compare this to Dark Souls but I honestly think its better in every way. The story is... well there actually is a story. Combat is deeper and varied with great levels. Every single enemy is a challenge even until you max out your character so every encounter is a life and death matter even when you can one shot them if you forget to use all of the mechanics properly or effectively. The bosses themselves are challenging, rewarding and just the right amount of bullshit to piss you off enough to take them out in the most badass way possible.
One of the biggest problems I have with Dark Souls in general is the player interactions. Most times I would just be going through a level and have some random asshole stop me in my tracks to either kill me or cut down my healing items right before a boss fight. While they've said the game will have PvP in the future the way that coop works right now is amazing. First off you never have to worry about bs like summoning a person only to have them immediately leave because they were waiting for a friend or some other stupid reason. In any given stage, provided they have a shrine to use, you can summon a random player who will assist you using a consumable item. Sure this person could leave but so far I've never had a person do that. You also can only summon a person who's already beaten the level you're on so there's this idea of an experienced person helping you with your fight rather than some idiot who wants to put their sign down to use you as a test to gauge how strong the fight will be. Players who want to coop with others can do so via a sort of hub world. You can randomly match yourself or specifically choose which mission to fight in. There's also another mode where you and another player can go side by side in a mission together and fight for the same goal. If one player dies you lose a bit of a shared life bar that when depleted means both players lose. You can also revive each other or yourselves in this mode so its not a one hit type deal. When I found myself stuck on a certain level or needing more level up material I'd do this missions and then keep doing them over and over again because they were just so damn fun to play.
In Dark Souls you have a set amount of equipment. The sword you pick up from a fallen enemy will always be the same sword another player could pick up. Which is fine but Nioh does it a whole lot better. When you kill most enemies they will drop equipment, ranging from general items to unique armor and weapons. You can increase the likely hood of dropped items through various ways and also increase the possibility of finding rarer items. In one mission you get this really powerful katana that does lightning damage. If you stack up enough lightning damage on an opponent they can actually be slowed for a while, so its a great item to get your hands on, especially for how early on in the game it comes. However, if you do the mission again you will get another sword with the same lightning damage but a few extra and possibly better stats. You can also randomly change the stats using an in game blacksmith so if you got a rare weapon or piece of armor but don't like one or more of the stats you can change them with a bit of money. There's also no upgrading weapons outside of getting better ones and sacrificing them to make your weapon stronger. So you could literally start the game out with a level 1 weapon and take it all the way into the final boss and even the New Game Plus and still have it do a lot of damage, however I wouldn't recommend this but to each his own. You have to actively find better weapons do to this too so you can't just farm the first level endlessly and expect to get much of anywhere.
Unlike in Dark Souls 3, every single build you could possibly make can be viable. While you unfortunately can't be a pure magic caster (though I would love to see that) you can specialize in a lot of areas. My first build revolved around using a single blade. Then I found out how awesome using two blades was and started going for that. After seeing a build video online I respeced my character and turned him into a more magic focused character. Since essentially every single player can act the same role it becomes more of a support role if you like magic or ninjutsu and an attacker if you just want to smash things with a massive hammer/axe, sweep with a spear or dice with swords. There was a lot of moments in Dark Souls where I was with a magic focused character and once their magic ran out they were about as useless as a wet napkin with about the same amount of durability as one as well. However, in this game I let my attacker take the initiative while I pop a few buffs, throw some spells at my opponent to give them a quick status reduction (making the fight easier for both of us) then rush in when I see they're taking some heat and dish out my own. See the skills in this game don't keep you from doing stuff they just make you better at it. In Dark Souls if you had a low strength stat you just couldn't use a lot of weapons. In this game you need those stats to unlock the traits of weapons and armor. My magic character can't have all the nice special effects that my strength armor requires but I can still wear it and get the defense I need for a fight. My weapon still does about 300+ damage even if I'm not getting the extra bits from the stats so I do a nice amount of damage so I don't hinder my partner or myself through the game. I personally like it because its not a detractor. "You don't have enough strength? Shame. Guess you won't get that extra damage/defense boost. But hey, the armor looks cool and still works!" If you're especially good at the game you can go completely barehanded and steal other people's weapons to use against them. I'm not good at this but I'm sure someone is doing it and looking insanely badass.

The Meh:
If I had to pick one thing I wasn't too happy about its the fact you can't really make your own character. The main character is William. An insanely handsome Irish pirate who looks a lot like Geralt of Rivia. Eventually you can change your hairstyle in like three different ways, as well as your beard and eventually have the ability to transmogrify yourself into a few of the in game characters. So if you didn't like his look then you just have to play around twenty hours into the game just to gain this ability! Also kill a whole bunch of dudes but you're in twenty hours so I already presumed you did.

At the end of it this is a finely crafted masterpiece. Every time I hit a wall and thought about stopping there was something that helped me along. Whether it was the idea that I had an amazing game on my hands or just the various avenues to go forward I really couldn't say. Its just a shame this game isn't on PC because I really want to play this game forever and I hope a lot more people feel the same way twenty years from now. But then again Demon's Souls still has active players even to this day so, who knows? Maybe my wish will come true.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dear Xbox: I'm Done

Hello again. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. My income situation has been a bit tight as of late so I wouldn't expect any new game reviews, unfortunately. Really I just came here to post just a simple thing.
When I started to get serious about gaming the first console I picked up was the original Xbox, and it really pains me that I have to make that distinction instead of saying Xbox 1. That aside my original Xbox probably got me into gaming. There was a decent library of games, my brother and I had a lot of fun just playing split screen together and when either of us were playing on our own the other would be fighting just to get a few minutes in. It didn't matter to us that our cousins had the PS2 and shared games freely or the fact that we really couldn't get all the best games they did. What really mattered is we had fun.
Pretty similar to the 360, except this time things got weird. That whole red ring of death came around and our gaming halted. It wasn't pop in a game and have fun but an entire process that took multiple weeks just to get it back in working order. But even still I didn't give up. I had an amazing time with all the games I could get my hands on.
I didn't get an Xbox One or a PS4 right away, mostly for the fact I was just barely out of high school and had no job. I weighed my decision and went for the Xbox, using my brother to loan me the money and paid him back every so often. Eventually it became apparent that I had made the wrong choice. The PS4 was getting these amazing exclusive games just about every month and the Xbox just kind of puttered on. In some ways this was for the better as I found some new love with my Steam account. However when I saw Scalebound and Crackdown my spirits lifted. Two cool looking exclusive games, one that was an entirely new IP and the other was from a series I felt a lot of love for, were announced. Finally the PS4 players would feel left out of the loop.
Of course you can see where this is going. Scalebound is no more. However, the problem I have with it is how this news was announced. They actually released a new trailer for the game some time ago, and it looked pretty good albeit from the stand point that it was a trailer and I was keeping my expectations at a sensible level. Still it made me remember how interested I was in this game. Not long after it came out that the game was cancelled and their reasoning was very vague and weird. By this point in time I had already not touched my Xbox for some time other than to be annoyed that I accidentally switched it on at an inconvenient time like when I was going to work or going to bed. After a while I just straight up unplugged it and haven't plugged it back in.
Anyways, before this my bank account was charged for its monthly Live fee. This pissed me off to no end first because I hadn't even touched my system in months and second because it completely drained what little money I had in my account with its $20+ subscription fee (ya I'm basically broke all the time). After Scalebound was cancelled Microsoft announced they would be making the subscription fee more expensive. First off its insane that we even have to pay to be online in the first place. I don't have to pay a monthly fee to Steam, let alone Origin or even UPlay. But Microsoft thinks it deserves even more of my money after it cancelled a game I was actually looking forward to?
So to conclude, this is where I end my relationship with Xbox. It was a great ride and I had fun, but you've put too many needless restrictions on what should be something I find enjoyable. I was looking forward to Crackdown but with the way things are going I don't think something I enjoyed would ever see the light of day. Change your practices and maybe get a few games worthwhile and you might just save what little bit of a player base you have. Personally I've been burned too many times and I'm cutting my ties. I would say "See you in the next console generation" but with the way you've conducted yourself I'd rather look elsewhere for my enjoyment.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Change to our Comment Section

When I first designed this blog/website, I had the intention of giving a voice to anyone and everyone.

Unfortunately, some people just can't be responsible and feel the need to spam my blog posts with their BS all day, everyday. I'm at work, I wake up, I'm using the restroom and I get some e-mail telling me that someone has made a comment on the blog. The last...10(?) times it has been 100% spam trying to link to this website for the Superbowl. I have no idea why they have targeted me but I am sick of it.

I apologize to everyone who comes to our blog for doing this, but I have no choice for the time being. We will have to moderate all incoming comments and they will require an approval before being posted. I have also required CAPTCHA, which I honestly hate to do, as well as required comments to come from people who are members of the blog and no one else.

I sincerely do apologize but you can thank this loser who keeps sending his bots to come here and disrupt our comments which were free to all.

I anticipate this to only be temporary and will change after some time. I am currently looking into a way to put an end to people like this so that they won't be a problem in the future.

Thank you for your understanding during this time.
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