dark souls ruin games
May 26th, 2020 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Well, yes. But also no.

In case you didn’t know, videogame “ethusiasts and/or journalists” are complaining about the recent revelation that Ghost of Tsushima is going to be a hard game. Have a look.

Complaining about game difficulty, what a shock.

Airing your grievances about games being hard is fine, it’s your right. The devs have already clarified that the game actually has multiple difficulty modes, so nobody has anything to worry about. But, complaining about difficulty in videogames, specifically Dark Souls, is all too common. While it can be cringeworthy to hear people describe all hard games as “soulslike”, they have a bit of a point.

You see, Soulsborne is actually kindof sortof ruining games. But no, not like you think it is. The resurgence of hard games isn’t the problem. There’s just too many games aping the souls formula, directly. In terms of my exposure to the OG series, I hated Bloodborne. Because I didn’t even know what I’m supposed to do at the start, wasn’t even the combat. I’ll try it again some day but probably not because so many games just use the formula, and I’ve played those games.

The most recent ones I played were Jedi Fallen Order and Remnant From the Ashes.

Let’s start with Jedi Fallen Order because I can be brief about my experience. The game is essentially “what if Dark Souls but Star Wars?”. At the end of the day I enjoyed it but the difficulty settings annoyed me. The difference between the designated Easy and Normal modes are night and day. Normal like was throwing brick walls at my face frustrating. Easy was like “hahaha lightsaber goes brrrrrrr”. Okay? It was fine.

Next is Remnant from the Ashes, which is “what if Dark Souls but third person shooter?”. It does not play well as a single player game. The developers made it that way. And you can matchmake, buuuut even on GamePass, very few people were playing. It took forever for me to get someone to help me with a boss. Plus the first boss was doing cheap shit like spawning endless minions on top of bullet sponge health bar. You absolutely needed two people, one to fight the hordes of minions, one to focus on the boss. I actually don’t even remember if I beat it or not.

Later on I got matchmade into someone else’s game and helped them do a quest that I wasn’t even at yet. It was just endless tunnels and tunnels and tunnels of enemies that it eventually went from “tense” to “obnoxious”. Despite getting some good XP from the experience, it also advanced the plot… for his game. I got back to my game and I’m still several missions behind and, as I said, rarely can get anyone to join. I heard it gets more visually interesting later on but… yeah it was just a total slog.

Now before you tell me to “git gud scrub”….

I’d like to present to you my resume of tough melee combat games I’ve tackled. Most of them have a faster pace than Soulsborne games.

I love my lightning-fast brawling games. I’m an avid fan of Platinum Games. I’ve beaten Nier Automata, Transformers Devastation, and Bayonetta 2 in their hard modes. Same for DMC5. Spastic jumpy punchy action dodgy slashy hackey fun. I get to choose when I want the game to be challenging. But I don’t see the entire industry trying to design their games to be more like Platinum.

Platinum allows me to enjoy my game before I tell it to start kicking my ass. I get good by mastering the game and then dramatically increasing the challenge and playing it again the moment I’ve finished. And once again, the fast motion is fun. I’d love to see a game that plays like Platinum Games with a Souls-tier difficult “Normal Mode”. Oh wait, there is. Astral Chain. The game gives starts you off with a baby mode, and easy mode, and then jumps straight to “Platinum Standard”, which skips normal and goes straight to hard. It also reminds you how much you suck at the end of every encounter. Not only is the game hard but they decide very early on in the game to tell you what the controls are, only AFTER you fight 5 minibosses simultaneously. I’m not making that part up.

So yeah, uh, not every game has to specifically do Dark Souls.

And those that do frequently miss the point and just make them super hard or insurmountable. if I had more patience I’d probably finish Jedi Fallen Order on “normal” but it came off the heels of me having finished a Platinum Game on hard and the muscle memory kept me from enjoying the challenge. With Monster Hunter World, Salt and Sanctuary, Hyper Light Drifter, Nioh, Sekuro Shadows Die Twice, The Surge 1 & 2, Blasphemous, Code Vein, the list goes on. We have plenty of game that are either like Dark Souls are compared as such. Not every game needs to be so very similar.

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hard mode gamers digest
May 26th, 2020 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Hey, we made a second episode! WOW.

Hard Mode Gamers · Hard Mode Gamers Digest #2

Topics and transcripts:

00:00 – Ghost(s) of Tsushima is giving Assassins Creed fans the Feudal Japan Game they crave.

3:09 – Intro.

3:21 – Last of Us Part 2, now I want to play it even more than before.

6:29 – Fallout 76 Wastelanders is still boring. Or is it?

9:58 – The Xbox Series X startup chime and a short recap of the games that were showcased at Inside Xbox May 7, 2020.

16:23 – Why am I still playing Fallout 76?

18:40 – Wuhan Flu Ain’t Nothin to F With, a Wish.com Story.

22:07 – More Fallout 76 rambling.

26:03 – China is censoring multiplayer games (and Why Blizzard were being foolish).

29:00 – How the lockdown gave us some serious downtime for gaming.

You can watch this with the video accompaniment on our Facebook page. Why not give us a LIKE while you’re there. You can watch all our videos right from FB using Facebook Watch!

Otherwise, if you want to you can go to YouTube. Just remember that YT is dying.

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April 8th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Are you ready for Next-Gen?

With every new generation comes the same question. What titles will be available at launch. Since the console itself has yet to be announced launch titles are still pretty far out. So I think this is the best time to introduce my top 5 request. Regardless of how likely or unlikely.

DriveClub 2

In my opinion drive club failed for two reasons. The first reason was timing. Driveclub was supposed to be a PS4 launch title, but it missed the mark. It was announced during the PS4 reveal in February 2013. Playstation 4 arrived in September of that same year. But Driveclub didn’t make it to store shelves until October 2014. A barrage of delays pushed this game back an entire year. By that point almost all interest was lost and the game still managed to have issues on day 1. To be completely honest, Driveclub did not meet full expectations till January 2015. Almost two years after the initial announcement. So despite going on to accumulate over two million copies sold, Sony’s recent announcement that servers would be shut down as of august 2019 proves it didn’t meet the goal. 

It’s hard to compete against diehard fans.

And in an ultra rare turn of events I put some of the blame on the lack of title recognition. That’s right my second reason is, this game had no fan base to start with. Trying to go up against the behemoth Forza, arguably the greatest racing game of all time, is already a challenge. Then pair that with the challenge of battling Gran Turismo, the second racing mammoth, and you’re asking to die. Don’t get me wrong, I love rooting for the underdog but he has to at least have legs to stand on. Delays and incomplete arrival would not have hurt Forza or Gran Turismo as much as it wrecked Driveclub. Hell, even Need for Speed can get it wrong a few times and fans will still be there. 

DriveClub |
Evolution Studios

That’s the key, fans were still there. Gran Turismo had fans. Forza had fans. Need for Speed had fans, Driveclub has ambition. And a lot of the time that just isn’t enough. The good news though is now Driveclub has fans. This is the perfect time to give it a sequel and build on the little successes. The Driveclub community will love it. And if al goes well, Driveclub might actually be able to compete with the other franchises. Especially with the whole super cool VR advantage. Am I right?

Infamous: (Insert Subtitle) 

First and foremost I must admit, I was not a fan of infamous until I played (and finished) Infamous: Second Son. And now I need more. Similar to my relationship with Uncharted (jumped in at Uncharted 3), I went back and played all the other infamous games to fulfill my need. But now there’s nothing left. The Infamous series is one of those rare situations where i fall in love with an open world game. Maybe it has to do with the super hero aspect. Or maybe it’s the super polished storyline. Whatever it is I absolutely love it. 

Infamous: Second Son |
SuckerPunch Studios

Infamous: Second Son was a great example of where the franchise could go without it’s original protagonist, Cole MacGrath. It also showed how well the team at SuckerPunch could handle replicating real locations. So where in the world could the next Infamous story be set. First idea is the gritty streets of Chicago. We already saw what a near futuristic tech controlled windy city would look like, so why not fill it with a superpower crisis. I really can’t imagine a bad cameo from Kanye West. At all.

The second idea is vacation land gone bad. I can’t think of many games set in Florida. In fact the last game that, that I know, was absolutely Florida based was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. And that also happens to be the only GTA game i’ve ever finished and whole heartedly enjoyed. So imagine an Infamous game set in Miami. Beaches, drug warfare, and superpowers. Maybe cut back on the drug stuff, so Infamous can be a T rated game, just a thought. 

SOCOM 5

What happened to Socom? One of Playstation 2’s greatest titles. The first real attempt at online multiplayer by Sony. 2011’s Socom 4 was an embarrassment to the legacy of Socom and the final nail in the coffin. Prior to this, the series had already been struggling to remain relevant in a world dominated by first person shooters. But I think now is the best time to bring it back.

SOCOM 4 |
Zipper Interactive

Thank god for The Division 2, but can I get SOCOM 5 too?

The popularity of Fortnite could serve as a launch pad for Socom. Both game being third person shooters means Sony could push Socom 5 to Fortnite fans who want more military realism. The examples are everywhere. The realism is the reason I prefer PUBG to Fortnite. However, I rather play the latter because I prefer third person shooters. Thank god for The Division 2, but that’s a different story.

With the launch pf the PS5, Sony could bring back this awesome tactical shooter. I wouldn’t even judge if they looked to the more recent Tom Clancy games like Ghost Recon Wildlands for guidance. I’d prefer if Socom stayed linear and mission based, but I would be completely off put by an open world. In fact I think Socom 5 should take a page out of the Hitman book as well. Individual missions taking place in huge maps with various ways to complete the mission. Make it happen.

Rise & Fall of SOCOM |
GVMERS

Genji

I think we can all agree; games with samurai, ninja, or any blade based weapons are awesome. No questions asked. Yet, who could ever forget the ultra historical accuracy of the Giant Enemy Crab? That’s right no one. So do I really need to explain why a third entry in the Genji series is necessary? This one isn’t even an ask or want. It is a demand. Sure it was nothing like the historically accurate game they promised, but by god was this game a blast too play. 

Genji: Days of the Blade |
Game Republic

Of course, Genji: Days of the Blade, the second installment to date, still has some of the most amazing gameplay mechanics. And with multiple character to use based on techniques, skills, and timing every encounter feels fresh. Every character feels meaningful. Supported by the sudden resurgence of ninja and samurai popularity, Sekiro & Ghost of Tsushima being prime examples, it’s the perfect time. 

Considering the events at the end of the second entry it wouldn’t be hard to either pickup where was left off or reboot. Personally, I would love to see World Wide Studios take the reboot approach, unless original developers Game Republic still cares. Get in there and bring back all the special magic of the first two entries with a new age polish. I’m incredibly ready to embark on another journey with my samurai pals. 

Sly Cooper

Solid Snake, of Metal Gear Solid fame, is the mascot of adult stealth action. Sly Cooper is that and more for the all ages crowd. Originally developed by the masterminds at Sucker Punch, Sly Cooper is the best robin hood game ever. Why? Because the band of misfits made up of a smooth talking sneaky raccoon, an overly intelligent turtle, and a super strong hippo. Still not interested? Ok, they work together to steal technology from a criminal organization run by a lizard. 

Back in 2013 Sanzaru Games took a shot at bringing the Sly Cooper franchise back and it received mixed reception. Personally, I loved it and would love for Sanzaru to take another shot at it. And what better time than alongside the launch of a new console. Sly and the gang always found themselves on wacky adventures in an effort to line their pockets and save the world. 

I have little reason to believe Sony has given up on this franchise. Especially when you take into account there are various comics and a few spinoff projects based in the Cooper universe. Something tells me this is the most likely game of my wishlist to come to life. If that is the case, I guess I can’t complain. 

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time |
Sanzaru Games

Honorable Mention

KillZone: (Insert Subtitle) 

As a super fan of third person games, it was really hard for me to get into first person shooters. I really enjoy seeing the wild action animations of incredible cool character designs that i control. Also, most first person games make me really dizzy. Especially during the early days with Halo being the superstar. But I hated Halo. Not just as a Playstation fan boy, although that was undeniably a strong reason. The real reason was I didn’t feel connected to the story in any way and the gameplay was off putting for me. 

KillZone |
Guerilla Games

Enter KillZone. Sony’s first big attempt at a multiplayer shooter to challenge Halo. I remember reading a story in Game Informer and thinking “this ones for me.” The big draw for me with KillZone was the story it was aiming to tell. One of over coming a war with people who felt nothing other than complete abandonment. The Helghast, KillZone’s antagonist, weren’t necessarily evil. Instead, they were misguided and therefore relatable. This narrative made it possible for me to connect with the game in a way Halo never tried too.

KillZone new dawn may have ended at Horizon.

It’s possible Guerrilla Games must have been feeling franchise fatigue because things just got sloppy. Yet, I still hold out hope for a new entry even if the team is now completely tied up with a whole new franchise. I think it’s time for either a KillZone Reboot. Do it comic book movie style. Take the same story, fix the parts that didn’t quite make sense from entry to entry, and reintroduce it to a whole new audience. 

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