No Man’s Sky: Travel With Me

One of this year’s most anticipated titles has finally been released and has been out now for about two weeks. The game, No Man’s Sky and according to Steam the reviews for the game is practically at a dead lock. 49,257 reviews and 52% of those votes leave No Man’s Sky at a less than stellar “Mixed” review. But why? Did we over hype this game like we tend to do with every other game or did Sony and Hello Games just mislead us, it could be both. Regardless, No Man’s Sky is still a very unique game that inspires the gamer to embrace his or hers sense of adventure through time and space.

I haven’t yet put in the time that I wanted to in NMS and with Legion just around the corner I may not be able to fully give it my attention but it’s not going to keep me from trying. Collectively I have put in a little over 20 hours in NMS and so far from what I have done and what I have felt, it’s that the space odyssey game that is shrouded in mystery I have been looking for sense I finished Mass Effect for the third time.

The beginning of the game was a little rough I can admit. Mainly because I wasn’t really sure what I was playing. And when it comes to playing a game with limited direction the feeling of being overwhelmed by a new game can be defeating. Also it didn’t help that the red blob known as Atlas wasn’t much help in guiding me on my new found journey. So safe to say I spent the first hour or so trying to figure out the mechanics of the game. Honestly I’m still learning but the further I delve and the more words I learn throughout the planet the bigger fan I become.

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NMS is at its core an immersion game. A game that drops you in the middle of a desolate planet with not much more advice other then “just survive.” It’s a lonely game that at times has made me feel exhausted about seeing the same mountain or hill over and over again. But to know that there might be something new just over the mountain range keeps me trekking along. Scouring the planet for a particular metal or element while your life support meter drops and the flashing of lights from your suit begins. This brings out the fact that this game isn’t just about exploring and discovery but it’s also about survive. When I play NMS or any game for that matter I easily let the want to adventure get the best of me. Luckily in most games it’s not such a bad thing because of the sand box map layout. However in NMS adventuring just a couple meters beyond a valley could really get you turned around, but If my feet can take me there. I’m going. The great thing that I realized on Sunday was that you can actually ping a marker in distance through the binoculars. Whether it be a trade hub, drop pod, or battered down shelter the marker tool helps keep you moving without getting to far from your target of interest. This for me makes the game that more immersive. Not only are they areas to save your game or to upgrade/sell your gear but they become these areas that you actually look forward to. They become areas of great relief after walking for hours on end in hopes to discover more of the games lore. This past Sunday I made it a personal mission to dig a little dipper in the language in the game and because there is no actual map of reference you just need to follow your feet. So I went. In a span of two days I discovered a fair amount of words.a-strange-planet-landscape-from-no-man-s-sky-video-game-by-hello-games But the crown jewel was when I came across a massive stone that showed me more of the language which led me to understand that there is way more to this language then just game filler. I’m on a planet that is mostly inhabited by creatures native to this planet and yet there are stones with lore enlightenment willing to teach me. But because I was low on inventory, because I’m a hoarder, I needed to return back to my ship. It took me at least an hour to get back. Sure the marker said “Arrive in 21.00” but it doesn’t count if and when you get side tracked. On arrive I had this rye smile that I was home or at least somewhere where I knew where things were. Close to home as I’m going to get for now.

Which leads me into, what I think to be a very special part of the game, the alien interaction and their language. It’s not known why or how you arrived on this planet. Are you the last hope for some nearby dying planet that is looking to relocate or are you simply a rocket man burning out his fuse up in this galaxy alone. We don’t know yet. But we aren’t alone that’s for sure. The language is a key part throughout No Man’s Sky. If you want to trade you will need to know a few words so you don’t offend or scare one of the organic life forms. More importantly the language is going to further delve into the lore of NMS and with a game that is going to be further expanded through patches I would recommend that in this universe word farming is pivotal. Also to get a better understanding of what the language lore might bring in the future check out the official PlayStation Blog NMS a Universe Filled with Lore and Language.

All in all I enjoy No Man’s Sky. I look forward to finding new planets and species. Learning more languages and meeting new aliens. Sure it may have been subjected to over hype by us gamers and maybe we expected it to be so unique that maybe we can’t even appreciate it in our time, much like the Nintendo Game Cube. However No Man’s Sky is it’s own game and if you ever dreamed of drifting alone through space in hopes to find adventure and mystery No Man’s Sky is your game. Take it for what it is and not for what the mass media painted it to be. No Man’s Sky is a unique adventure and a breath of fresh air.

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E3 2016

Another E3 is here and I’ll be honest and say I haven’t actually kept up all that much on what’s going on. Primarily because I worked yesterday morning, but I did however make it in time to see Sony run away with yet again the honors of slaying it on Day Zero.

With E3 here and live it brings about that feeling in me that makes me think, “How awesome it’d be to be there as a part of this industry.” This is now my fifth E3 that I’ve given my focus to and it seems that every year it feels the same. Not in a bad way but in a way that makes me feel renewed about my interest, passion, and overall gaming community. It’s a week where gamers all around the world sit on the edge of their seats and wait in anticipation to see what is lined up for the coming year and the near future.  It’s like Christmas in the summer, just better. It’s much more hopeful.

We are all so lucky now to live in a time where we have access to instant information via twitter and constant coverage thanks to sites like Youtube and Twitch.Tv. It’s a blessing but let me tell you I really do miss the G4Tv days where Adam Sessler, Morgan Webb, and Kevin Pereira ran the floor covering all the up to date info on what was going on during E3. It felt even more like a special event. I remember I had it all set up. Wake up in the morning, coffee, set up my laptop, iPhone, and TV. That would be my entire day. I spent all day sitting and watching live coverage and reading every update I could find. Even on games that I could care less about, but the point was that this was a time to learn and see what every company was doing. What they were planning, the moves they were making, the new IPs on the verge and what companies were teaming up with what console for the year. It was a time and still is that time to see the business side of the gaming world but most importantly the creative side of the gaming world.

Day zero is the show and conference king of E3. All the major Platforms come out to bring their best for E3. A couple years ago it was the release of the new “Next Gen Console” for all platforms, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. The head liners were the reveal of the “Xbox One”, “Nintendo Wii U”, and “PlayStation 4.”It was the best way to enter this new generation of console gaming, underlined comments via twitter, ridiculous console prices, crazy launch day requirements, and hopeful titles to carry these consoles into a new age. All I could remember was how excited I was about seeing console gaming on a new level. I was also a little scared because I knew it would cost money which at the time I didn’t have but excited none the less.

Yesterday brought forth that same excitement.

I went into work in the morning knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to have my phone out checking my twitter to see what is going on but I did however get a call.  It was around noon when the store phone rang. I answered and it was a guy asking me if it was possible to preorder the new Xbox One console. I was like “New console, didn’t that conference just start?” The guy on the phone says “Yep.”  I instantly in my head thought they are launching off their conference with the reveal of a new upgraded console. That can’t be good. What was funny was I actually said this to the guy on the phone and his response was too funny. He just kind of stuttered and said “Huh, yeah?”But for some time now we have all known that Microsoft has been slacking behind the PS4 in sales and popularity. So revealing a new console to hopefully change the way people look at Xbox was a must need move, but this isn’t the time to compare and contrast the two consoles. Maybe at the end of this week when all is said and done. However, being home in time to watch the Sony conference was amazing. Seeing the orchestra and the stage instantly set the tone for what was about to take place. It was a conference for games and the gamers that play them. “The drums, they are coming,” okay so I won’t reference Lord of the Rings too much, but the DRUMS! And then we saw it, him. This brutish, hulking of a man with familiar tattoos and the burliest of beards that even puts mine to shame. Stood there and arose from the shadows, Kratos. Kratos has been a figure head of the PlayStation since PS2 and to see his rebirth on the PS4 put a smile on my face for nearly an hour and eighteen minutes. Just thinking about it is giving me chills. This is the magic of E3 where anything can happen.

And we still have the rest of the week to delve deeper.

But this is truly why I love the gaming industry. Change is about and everyone is on edge to see what new games are on the horizon. Nintendo had their conference this morning which has slowly evolved from an actual conference to a gab fest where they just talk about the games with the creators. Which is still great, but forty minutes of Pokémon Sun and Moon is a little too much. But we did get a chance to see the new Zelda games which looks great. So with that, Ill wrap this up and like you I will continue to stay posted on what’s going on at E3 and later on this week I’ll do coverage of the games I’m most looking forward to. So, should be fun.

So until then happy E3!

The Tale of Two Dragon Brothers

Earlier today Blizzard released their third animated shot entitled “Dragons.”

The animated short “Dragons” delves a little deeper into the rocky relationship between Hanzo and his brother Genji. We learned that the two were brothers when the announcement trailer of new characters dropped a while back during the closed the beta. But never really knew the extent to why the two were on opposite sides.

The video goes into some detail setting up the two characters’ bio in a classic Japanese story telling kind of way. Which is ultimately leading to the final climax between the two brothers on a balcony in Hanamura. The video is jam packed with emotions and feels. For me at least it’s inspired me to work on my ninja skills when Overwatch drops later this month on the 24th.

One Last Time Drakey-Boy Part 1

Almost nine years ago Naughty Dog, the game developer that brought us Crash Banidcoot  gave us the cinematic adventure known as Uncharted. Naughty Dog had created this amazing tale of a free lance treasure hunter named Nathan Drake who was armed with pistols, machine guns, and a wit that only Nolan North could implement into this character. But like all great characters in time there is always a crew to back them up. In this case an old “bastard” named Victor “Sully” Sullivan voiced by Richard McGonagle.

After three major titles exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and one other title that launched exclusively on the PlayStation Vita, Uncharted is coming to its final end. This week Naughty Dog released Uncharted 4 A Thief’s End. This is Nathan Drake’s swansong. One final hurrah, because let’s face it any good thief or treasure hunter knows that there is need for just one last heist to get out of the game for good.

Today I started playing what could very much be the last Uncharted game I’ll ever play. It’s an emotional experience that I’m having with this game, because for every moment that gives me chills and brings an obscure smile to my face. It hits me that this could be the last time I enjoy a game of this caliber. Sure Naughty Dog will continue to create masterful works of art such as the Last of Us. If there is ever another one. But Uncharted has had a special place in my heart. It’s the cinematic mix of action adventure and historical fiction that has always spoke to me. We all at one time or another have seen Indiana Jones and know what it’s like to wonder what it’d be like to be a treasure hunter or scholar for an infamous treasure. Uncharted has been that for me. Whether I was scaling the Tibetan mountain side or cutting my way through some South American jungle in search for treasure and fame. Uncharted has been a game that inspires me to continue to have some deep connection with history. Not because I want to be a treasure hunter but that knowing your history is a very cool thing and can lead to very cool places. But soon I will say goodbye to Drake.

So as I continue down this path of learning more about a man who I’ve grown to know well. I take in every moment. If you’ve played these games since they first arrived I hope you feel this connection that I have for Uncharted, but on your level. We all have those characters we hold with high regard, Master Chief, Lara Croft, and Solid Snake are just some of those icons. But here is one who story is ending. He’ll be laid to rest because the Uncharted series has deserved it. They don’t bleed out titles every year just for financial gain nor have they ever failed to hit the mark with their narrative. Uncharted has truly been of the greats and should continue to be known just as that.

A Week in Darkness

Dark Souls III has been out for a week now. And I have gotten real friendly with the “You Died” sign. So much so that it seems to taunt me wherever I go. Now I am not a Dark Soul veteran which would explain why I can’t just fly through bosses like some. I have to die maybe three or four or seven times to finally get lucky. It’s a bit unsatisfying. But it’s signs that lie on the floor of a dark dungeon spewing embers that read “Keep going. Don’t give up” that keeps me from breaking my controller in half.

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It’s almost this bad. Credit

Now I played Bloodborne but after never getting passed the Goliath at the end of the street from the first lamp. I gave up, not rage quit, but gave up and shelved the game for months. But I finally came back when I felt brave and bold enough to learn how to play the game. That’s the clue to these games. Not everyone can just fly through levels and bosses like some. Some, like me need to learn and watch. Be patient. I can say, that being patient in game where other gamers are collecting awesome gear, weapons, and achievements is hard. Because you feel like you are missing out something. Dark Souls isn’t going anywhere and it’ll continue to haunt your dreams until you learn to play. I know, who learns to play games now a days. We have to. Especially if we want to enjoy and partake in an epic series like Dark Souls. This game unlike Bloodborne is so much more rewarding. Gear is a constant thing here. Learning how you want to play is another thing.

When I first started up the game I had an idea of what kind of character I wanted to play as. A herald. A herald who relied on keeping good space by poking the enemy and using holy discipline to guide me. Well that’s really hard to do. A lot of bosses I learned can be beaten a lot easier in close range. I mean standing right on top of them almost dancing with them. But the spear that the Herald uses makes that a bit hard. So I put Aveline to the side for a while and moved on to Johanna, my knight in shining er chain mail. There’s a clear difference with this character. Especially when it comes to staying close in fights. I am able to roll out and cleave with good damage and decent attack speed.  These two feats are proving to be real difference makers.

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I haven’t gotten very far into the game. I only just beat the second boss that lets you pass into the next zone. But it’s a slow learning process and I’m taking my time to learn the game and the lore. This kind of game deserves that attention. But like the guide book says “Take Breaks.” Clarity after a step back from the game can really and truly help. For now I’ll count my self lucky for coming this far without breaking something or crying in a fit of rage. But there is still plenty of time for that I’m sure. Maybe one day I’ll even take on the idea of a spell-sword. I hear that attempt is super hard. But all in do time. I will say that I’m proud that I cheesed the hell out of the NPC that carries the Uchigatana! I will claim that any day!