My Thoughts: Nintendo Direct 9/4/19

Hello everyone, and I am the Baumeister. Today, is something completely different.  It’s a reaction…blog.  Yes, I know in this modern age, that everything has gone to video form.  But, I figure that I can work faster with a more…readable format.  So, with that being said, I am going to give my thoughts on:

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If you haven’t watched the direct, check out the end of this post if I got it posted there.  If not, just search Nintendo Direct 9.4.2019 and it should be there.  Now, before we begin.  I won’t necessarily be covering everything.  Just, some of the major points.  I will not please everyone with some of my thoughts and opinions.  And that’s ok.  Now, presented in bullet format, here we go!

  • Overwatch is coming to Switch…and I have to say that I’m not excited.  While it looks like a great game…it’s something that I am definitely not interested in.  Just not my cup of tea….so to speak. (Game releases October 15, 2019)
  • Luigi’s Mansion 3 looks fun.  The unique floors mechanics look great and makes me want to dive in.  ScreamPark looks fun. (Game releases October 31, 2019)
  • Super Kirby Clash‘s jobs kind of remind me of Final Fantasy a little bit.  Free-to-Start scares me a little bit. The game also is a same-day launch. I love that about Nintendo’s Directs.
  • Trials of Mana looks intriguing, but I haven’t gotten into much of the Mana series.  Though, I do like the job mechanics.  (Game releases April 24, 2020)
  • Return of the Obra Dinn looks like something that could be up my alley.  While not necessarily scary, it’s got some gameplay elements that I enjoy, and the time rewinding could be fun.  (Game releases in Fall 2019)
  • Little Town Hero is a new IP from the Pokemon creators, and I’m invested.  And the game’s music was (is?) created by Toby Fox, who many know from Undertale.  If they launch a demo, I’ll definitely have to check it out before making my determination on purchase. (Game launches October 16, 2019, with pre-purchase and pre-loading available some point tonight.)
  • All the Super Smash Brothers Ultimate news will go here.  Banjo-Kazooie drops tonight (9/4/2019), and we get a new character announcement.  It’s…some guy I’ve never heard of from a Neo-Geo game. It’s Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury. He’ll get released in November of 2019.  They drop info that more characters will be available outside of the Fighter’s Pass DLC characters.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening looks so stinking adorable.  Chamber Dungeon is intriguing.  (Game launches September 20th)
  • I love Dragon Quest XI, so S makes me excited.  Not only that, but all the extras that are getting added are REALLY tempting me in picking it up on the Switch.  (Game launches September 27th, but there is a demo out now)
  • Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing is Disguise, and it’s prequel Deadly Premonition Origins are intriguing.  I’ve watched Twitch streamer Proton Jon play this game, and I’m kind of interested to see just how absurd the rest of the game gets.  (Deadly Premonition 2 launches in 2020, while Origins drops today)
  • DOOM 64 comes to Switch.  I need to get into the DOOM series. (Game drops November 22, 2019)
  • Rogue Company is something that I probably won’t be into, but it still looks fun. (Game launches some time in 2020)
  • Pokemon Sword and Shield gets some news.  Character customization gets all sorts of new options. Pokemon Camp feels like they’ve (possibly) improved on some of the features from Pokemon Amie (I think that’s what that feature is called in X/Y).  Wonder if they implement/improve on some features from the Secret Bases in Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire. Curry on Rice is weird, but it reminds me of the Berry Blending feature.  As for the new Pokemon: Polteageist is very cute, while Cramorant is odd, but I laughed at it’s ability: Gulp Missile.  (Game launches November 15, 2019)
  • Ok.  This news is huge.  SNES Online Library (I’m not going to type out the entire name. That’s just silly).  There’s a good amount of games that we got on the SNES Classic, but there’s some like Stunt Race FX, Brawl Brothers, Demon’s Crest, among others that weren’t on there, and I really like that.  Adds a different variety.  That, and more titles will be added as the months go on is great.  Now, I hope they don’t abandon the NES library, and keep adding for both libraries.  I’m still waiting for Battleship on the NES dangnabbit. (The SNES library drops tomorrow, September 5, 2019)
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is an interesting choice.  I think I’ve seen it also for PS4, but I’m still intrigued. (Game launches September 24, 2019).
  • They’ve got some interesting games coming to the Switch: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition (which I still need to play); Assassin’s Creed: Rebel Collection; Dauntless (again, online multiplayer not my cup of tea; Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch; Call of Cthulhu; The Outer Worlds; Devil May Cry 2; Vampyr (those last five were a part of a rapid fire game announcement).  Out of those five, I’ve only briefly played Wrath of the White Witch and DMC2.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons gets a new little video package with Tom Nook introducing us to the Deserted Island Getaway Package.  Animal Crossing is such a cute series, and as more information drops, I seem to get more excited for the game.  (Game launches in 2020)
  • Last game announcement of the day is Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition.  It’s a game series, like many others, I haven’t played  but looks intriguing.  I’m a huge fan of JRPGs, and I’m excited for another one to try. (Game launches in 2020).
  • Now, the one thing I don’t remember seeing in the Direct that did get announced (and I may have missed it while typing), is the announcement of new character skins for the Mii characters in Smash Ultmate, including Sans from Undertale.  Now, I don’t know if a lot of these characters skins get this treatment, but Sans also comes with a remix.  I can only assume that the remix is of Megalavania, his boss fight theme.  If so, that is awesome.  Megalavania is one of my FAVORITE video games songs of all time.  Granted, he is only a Mii skin, but still.

Well, if you watched, what did you think? Something catch your eye? Let me know in the comments below.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been…obediently yours.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: An Incredibly Immersive Experience

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review by yours truly.  Today’s game…

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And before I forget…

So, holy crap.  What. A. Game! For those who haven’t played this game before, you might want to scurry away.  There’s a lot of stuff that I can, and possibly will spoil here.  So, if the warning hasn’t already been stated enough, there will be spoilers.

Ready?…Here we go.

So, we follow Peter Parker, years after getting bitten by the spider that gave him his powers, and he’s trying to do what Spidey can, juggling his personal life with saving the city as Spider-Man.  Which can affect his ability to be on time.  He starts out by taking down Kingpin and sending him into prison.  After that, NYC starts to slowly spiral down into chaos.  A group, known as “The Demons”, start terrorizing the city.  Led by Mister Negative, Martin Li, he’s on a campaign to take down Norman Osborne, almost succeeding in doing so.  After Peter takes down Li, the chaos ramps up when the Raft gets broken into, and some of Peter’s super-rivals escape, with the help of Peter’s idol, mentor, turned enemy Doctor Octopus.  While all of this happens, he tries to balance his civilian life helping his Aunt May at F.E.A.S.T., working with Doc Ock on scientific projects that would help those who will need it, as well as reconnecting and working with Mary Jane Watson, his ex-girlfriend.  All of these story elements, which can seem like a little too much, actually bundles itself together very nicely, and creates a very great story.

The gameplay can be broken down into two sections: combat and travel.  Combat is simplistic for the most part, with one button controlling most of the attacks, while other buttons used for counters, gadgets, and other specific actions. In most boss battles, Triangle becomes useful after Spidey stuns his foe, leading into some quick story beats.  And since each of the bosses that Spidey faces are quite different, each reaction becomes different.  Which is great.  Though it can be a little repetitive after a while, it also doesn’t feel like it’s a chore to go through combat.  Unless, you get two giant thugs charging you at once.  Also, the Crime events feel a little formulaic after a while, but can be spaced out over the course of the game.  I did them all at once, so after finishing the last city section, I got a little tired of them.  But, then I wouldn’t have to deal with them until the next Crime section opened up.  As for travel, it feels so…right…traveling through the skies of New York City as Spidey.  The only thing I had a problem with in travel is getting stuck to a building every now and then, and not having a way to get down from there.  It’s also fun to just walk around the city streets.  Granted, it’s a greater hazard because various factions could take Spidey down anywhere that we go.  But, it also fits in with the aspect of anything can happen on the streets of New York City.

The ONLY thing that I really hate, and it’s not just something in this game, but in most games in general, are flying enemies.  Silver Sable’s mercenary group, Sable International, has an enemy type that uses a jetpack, and I struggled with taking them down over the course of the last Act of the game.  There’s something about my want of a lock-on for those specific types of enemies that does not exist in this game (for a good reason), and I feel like I could have done without them.  It can be rather difficult trying to take down those foes when there’s three of them trying to subdue you, firing trapping contraptions, or trying to disrupt Spidey’s gadgets.

That being said, I love all of Spidey’s gadgets, and most of the suits that we can unlock over the course of the game.  Now, as far as I’m aware, there are more in the DLC “The City That Never Sleeps”, and while I haven’t been able to unlock all of the other suits (I’m not THAT skilled at these types of games, so the Taskmaster’s top-tier challenge rewards are going to elude me), I’m happy with the suits, and the powers that they unlock, ESPECIALLY the final regular story suit.

I could go on and on about this game, about the unique cast of allies that Spidey has, to the amazing and breathtaking visuals as Spidey perches on top of the taller skyscrapers, but I shouldn’t.  What I will say is that you should grab some tissues once you beat the final battle…because you’re going to need them.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for this game.  Thank you so much for reading through this.  If you have a PS4, I HIGHLY recommend this game to you.  Enjoy the scenery, take out some bad-guys, and feel just as awkward with Peter around MJ (trust me, I’ve been there Peter).  And until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been…obediently yours.

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Final Fantasy XV: Well Worth The Wait

Hello everyone, and welcome back.  It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? That’s because…

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I’ve been playing this.  And almost all the DLC (minus the multiplayer).  In fact, I completed the main story of the game on July 12, 2019; Episode Gladiolus on July 19, 2019; Episode Ignus on July 19, 2019; Episode Prompto on July 19, 2019; and Episode Ardyn on July 20, 2019.  And now, for the obligatory

Alright, let’s get down to it.

Now, I’ve been a big fan of the Final Fantasy series, ever since I first picked up Final Fantasy X way back when I was still in high school.  So, when I heard that Final Fantasy XIII was going to have a expansive universe, I was pretty stoked.  And watching the contrasting trailers between the brightness of Final Fantasy XIII, and the dark, gritty look of what was Final Fantasy Versus XIII.  But then, Versus XIII sort of…disappeared off of the radar.  As Final Fantasy XIII spun off into the two side games, I occasionally thought about Versus XIII.  Then, this game was announced.  And at the time, it wasn’t on my radar too much, but since it was a Final Fantasy game, I figured, might as well look into it.  And then I purchased it.  The first time I played through the game, I got as far as the beginning of Chapter 9, when our band of guys made it to Altissia.  There, I stopped.  For the life of me, I couldn’t remember why I stopped.  But I did.  Then, I lost the save file due to my PS4 having a system crash and I had to restart the file over from scratch.  Which, wasn’t a big deal.  It had been a few years since I picked up the game, and within a short period time, I was back traveling around Eos, taking down hunts, and progressing the story along.

And that story.  If there was ever a time that my heart just broke for a character in a video game, it was definitely for Noctis.  With every step, his quest kept getting more and more difficult.  From the loss of his family, and control of his kingdom; to meeting up with his bride-to-be, only to have that STOLEN from him by the ultimate baddie (which, I didn’t see Ardyn’s development coming the way it did), Noctis kept fighting for the greater good of the people. Especially when the world has been plunged into everlasting darkness.  And even though it took the sacrifice of himself, he does what he set out…no, destined to do.

What Final Fantasy XV has done well is the little side stories that we get when our party members are separated out from the group in DLC form.  From Episode Gladiolus, which gives us the story of what happens when Gladiolus leaves the party in Chapter 7, which is a great solo battle against the Swordbearer, Gilgamesh.  Epsiode Ignis takes place during Chapter 9, after Noctus is taken out during the battle with Leviathan, and explains how Ignis ends up blind; but also make a decision that could effect the rest of the game. Episode Prompto gives us a look into what happened in between the time that Noctis knocked Prompto off the train to the time where the party meets up with him in the Magitek Factory, and gives more explanation into his backstory.  Episode Ardyn covers the backstory of Ardyn, especially after his release from his supposedly eternal prison. Just, make sure to complete the main game before playing any of the DLC Episodes, as they give some heavy spoilers in the main game.

There are also many things to do in this game besides the story mode, both pre-and-post game.  From all of the hunts (which there are SEVERAL, including the hours-long fight against the Adamantoise), to exploring around the world looking for food bits for Ignis’ recipies, or fishing for hours trying to raise up Noctis’s fishing skill.  Plus, there’s the second dungeons hidden deep down within the original explorable dungeons of Eos, only available after completing the game.  And, from what I’ve completed so far (as of this writing: one), they are hard.  Not only are there very little rest points, but they are chock full of daemons, ready to eat your alive.

Overall, this game, at least to me, was WELL worth the wait.  I plugged hundreds of hours into this game, and should I choose to do so, I could play for hours upon hours more.  Sure, it may not be perfect by any stretch (loading times seem to get longer the further along I went), and there were a couple of moments where I thought it froze on me, but overall, it’s a pretty good game. If you haven’t already played a Final Fantasy game, go ahead and pick this one up.  As I was talking to a coworker today about it, he was worried about picking up a Final Fantasy game and not knowing anything about the world.  And, you don’t have to.  Especially this one.  Some of the names in the game are familiar to long-time series players (Cid, chocobos, Marboros, Ifrit, Bahamut, etc), but it’s a whole new experience every time one picks up the game.

With that being said, thank you so much for reading. I had a lot of fun playing this game and the DLC content.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and as always, I have been obediently yours.

 

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The Last Of Us: Left Behind: Gripping

Welcome back everyone.  It’s time for another video game review (and so soon too), and what better way to follow up with a companion piece to yesterday’s review of The Last of Us than with the DLC, Left Behind.  (Finished June 22, 2019)

And I can’t get into this game without some major spoilers from The Last of Us, so…

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…ahem.

ANYWAY, so, what we get for Left Behind is a dual-part story; one is the time frame where Ellie is trying to patch Joel up after he suffers that nasty fall onto that rebar in the University of Eastern Colorado as we are trying to escape; the other one is where Ellie’s friend Riley comes back to see Ellie after disappearing and running off to the Fireflies.  But of course, things can’t be that simple in this game.  Riley is being sent away by the Fireflies, and she was essentially doing a farewell trip with Ellie.  But those plans changed after a super pivotal scene in which Ellie kisses Riley, which makes Riley change her mind about joining with the Fireflies.  But, before they could decide what to do next, the Infected make an appearance (drawn in by the music that Riley had put on the store’s PA), and eventually, both girls get bit.

And all I can say is that this was too damn short.  But, it had to be.  This is a pocket view into two small sections; one featuring the “present” with Ellie trying to save Joel in the middle of a Colorado winter (which can be bad enough as they are, I’d hate to see what they’d look like in a post-apocalyptic future); the other featuring the moments before Ellie gained her unique affliction.  It doesn’t need to be any longer.  I finished it in about two and a half hours or so (that might have included a break in there along the way), and that’s perfect.  While there are so many more stories that could still be told, this was a perfect little sampling.

Now that I’ve played both this and the main game, I’m really hyped for The Last of Us 2.  Based on what we got from E3 2018, it looks amazing, and now that I’ve gotten to experience this game series, I’m invested into what will happen with Joel and Ellie from here.

Thank you so much for reading.  I’ll be back next time with another video game review in the future.  Until then, I have been obediently yours.

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The Last of Us: A Rollercoaster of Emotion

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review.  This time, I’m going to dive into

and…

because I have a lot to say.

First off, I want to say just how much the story draws you in.  From the beginning of the outbreak to overlooking Jackson City at the very end of the game, there is so much going for the story.  From the initial hesitation of Joel on taking this cross-country escort mission, to acceptance of Ellie’s skills, to the end where he treats her like his own.  Yes, there were a couple of times that I had to restrain myself from yelling at my television, specifically at Joel for being a complete jerk towards Ellie.  And yes, there are some tear-jerking moments.  And that’s what helps drew me into the game.  Whether they were moments of sorrow, or joy, they were a marker…a beacon of what the story gave us.

Speaking of story, a lot of the story also has to do with a redemption of sorts for Joel.  As I stated before, Joel really didn’t want to do this at first, but Tess, who saw a bigger score, said that they would do it.  Well, as luck wouldn’t have it in this game, we’d lose our extra traveling companion, and Joel is forced to take this young teenager to the Fireflies.  As time goes on, he gains some sort of fondness for Ellie, to the point where he sees her as a daughter.  Meanwhile, Ellie also grows on her journey.  Even though she goes through some very traumatic events (like her section taking on the pack of hunters that has been chasing them since the University of Eastern Colorado), she still also carries a heavy burden that I don’t think she’ll be able to let go any time soon.

And of course, what helps set the mood for the entire game is the music.  As I sit here and type this after beating the game and I’m listening to the music on the menu screen, I’m rather at peace.  It’s very…soothing.  Yet, at the same time, haunting.  There’s nothing more than having the music gently guide us through an area where we’re walking through.  Like any good music score, it helps set tension, or put at ease at any given time.

I also want to point out something that I found fascinating.  A few years ago, I read a novel called The Girl With All The Gifts, which had a similar premise to this game…a fungal infection spreading over the world.  Now sure, the fungi may be different (the novel’s infection came off of the backs of ants, while the infection from The Last of Us came from a mutation in a particular fungi), but the end result is the same…the world is running increasingly low on safe humans.  It’s just an observation that I do find rather intriguing.

Final note, as I completed this game in the twilight hours of June 21, 2019, I highly recommend this game to everyone.  Sure, there are a fair amount of combat elements, but there is a choice between guns blazing combat or to take a more stealthy approach.  Either way, this is one game that I would definitely come back and revisit sometime in the future (and I already am in a way by playing through Left Behind).  Until next time, I have been obediently yours.

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Layers of Fear 2: Messes With Your Head in More Ways Than One

Hello, I am the Baumeister, and welcome back to another video game review.  Today’s review:

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I officially completed this game on June 10, 2019 via the Formless Ending.

And…before I get anywhere…

So, let’s get right into it.

While I’ve said all that I want to about the game in terms of game and story during the course of the credits, I have to touch upon a couple of things in this game.  One of those things is the art direction of the game.  There are a lot of beautiful set pieces in this, ranging from the minimalistic in dark room or bright white corridors, to the elaborate sets like the pirate ship hedge maze escape and the ever-shifting look of our hub room.  A lot of times, the color shifts from a normal color palette to one devoid of color.  Sometimes the lack of color does hinder visual moments, but I do like what the developers were trying to do with it.

Another thing that I’ve really enjoyed is some of the music choices.  Not only the choice of music, but also the choice to not use music in some areas.  One of the songs in particular that I absolutely fell in love with was “Did You Sleep Well”.  While playing and not able to hear some of the sound effects that the audio clip below uses, it reminds me a lot of music that could play in the darker realms of Silent Hill.  Even in death, the sound of the Formless crunching down on you adds to the experience, despite how loud the actual sound clip is.

Now, I’ve skimmed through a lot of reviews, and a lot of the review say that the story isn’t all that scary.  And to tell the truth, the story as laid out, is weird.  Heck, through the ending I finished my first go-round with (Formless), the story is still left ambiguous.  While we find out in the latter half of the game that we are, at least through story pieces found throughout the world, James, the younger brother, there’s still a lot of questions that are left unclear.  Like, how did young Lily and James get on the ship in the first place? What happened to the ship that caused it to sink (I told you there’d be spoilers)? There are so many questions that I have, that may be answered by picking up more objects in the world and getting one of the other endings.

And that’s the beauty of this game.  It gives you choice.  You can decide how you want to play.  Do you want to listen to the director (voiced by Tony Todd), or do you want to go against direction? It’s all up to you in this game.  Oh, and a point I completely ignored in the previous paragraph.  I don’t find this game terribly scary (then again, I’m a weirdo who would watch a horror movie in the dark alone, then go straight to bed), but, I do find myself filled with a sense of dread, especially in tense moments where I knew that the Formless was waiting to come get me, and I pretty much went “nope” all the way down the hallway.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys games that look good.  Yes, there are moments where it will make you go “I can’t see anything”, but it still is a good game.  Yes, there are flaws.  Yes, there are frustrating moments because the game doesn’t tell you much of anything.  But, to me, it’s good.  And, until the next installment, I have been…obediently yours.

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Super Mario RPG: A Classic For The Ages

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review.  Now, I will admit, there are a lot of games that I have never played in my youth.  I can count on one hand the carts that my family owned for the Super Nintendo (Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Jurassic Park, Pac-Man 2, and Goof Troop), and both hands for the original NES (Super Mario 1/Duck Hunt, Super Mario 2, Super Mario 3, Battleship, NES Golf Tournament Edition, among a couple others that I can’t remember now).  So there are several generations of games that I missed out on during the course of my life.  Such is the course with Super Mario RPG.

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Super Mario RPG was a game, once I heard about it, I just had to play.  Even if it meant downloading an emulator and finding a ROM to play it on.  And while the emulation was a little flawed (some of the spells like Blizzard would obscure the entire screen), I still got to play most of the game.  But never beat it, until now.  My initial completion of this game is April 3, 2019.

I only that there were more Super Mario RPG games like that that we had gotten in the future, but instead we still got the still-enjoyable Paper Mario series and the Mario and Luigi series.  This game had just enough elements that would remind a player of a Final Fantasy game, but would come out with it’s own identity.  From the way we decided just how to fight in battle, to the overall humor and interactions that happen between the party characters and the various NPCs.

One of the things that took practically all game to get used to was the 2.5D platforming that we had to do in order to advance in some of the areas.  There was one point towards the end game where it took me twenty-plus tries to cross over a particular section of lava three different times (Over, back across, and then over again).  But that’s more on me as a player than it is poor game design.  Sure, there were sometimes where I cursed out the game for one reason or another, and sometimes it was more my fault than the game’s. But, the game isn’t necessarily perfect, especially when playing on the SNES Classic like I did.  There are some graphical errors and glitches that don’t take away from game progression, but it does take away from my overall personal enjoyment.

Also, I would love to see Mallow and Geno in more games.  Sure, they are properties of SquareEnix, but we’ve only been able to play them in this game.  Sure, they both appear in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, but only as Spirits, not as playable characters.  Sure, I know there are a LOT of characters that are in good games that we only get to see once, but there has been several chances to put them in multiple games.  It make me sad because we could totally have some fun adventures with both of them.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say about Super Mario RPG.  It is a fun game, and I wish that they could have done more with the series, but it is what it is.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and as always, I have been obediently yours.

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