Blog #9: Trying to make sense of my love for Persona 3

Persona_3_portable_fanbookYesterday when I was browsing YouTube, I stumbled upon a wonderful upload of Persona 3’s OST. “Oh sweet, I’m gonna have a listen” I thought, only to be wrestling with the feels 10 minutes later. The song was “Memories of You” (“Kimi no Kioku”). What the hell was going on?

Introducing Persona 3

What was so odd about Persona 3 is that thinking about it critically, there was a lot to like, but I never really thought of it as a great game in an objective sense. It’s a quite unusual JRPG. There are weird quirks and jankiness, it’s unintuitive to the Persona novice and there are probably many things its creators would want to reassess. (more…)

Blog #8: Finishing Portal 2 once more and getting back into my favorites

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XCOM has become a really really involving affair, and time for sequential, prolonged sessions has been become hard to come by in the last week. I’ll be continuing that game when my holidays start. I beat another game (yay!), though it’s one I’ve beaten before (uh, ok?) – Portal 2. It felt best to keep things light, so it’s been back to Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. Also, for some light RPG gaming I finally took the plunge into Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall in anticipation for the third campaign Hongkong, which I’ll be only really playing at the weekends. Finally, I also jumped back into one of the greatest games of recent years, Mark of the Ninja.  (more…)

Game of Thrones Season 5 Analysis and Verdict

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Having written an in-depth look at all the main character story lines this season it’s time to give my verdict on the season as a whole. It’s been a few weeks since the final episode and there’s been a lot of discussion online. Is Game of Thrones past its peak? Are we all getting fatigued now? Can D&D really rival GRRM? I’ll try to ponder these questions in this article and make sense of the current backlash against the show. (more…)

Blog #7: XCOM, Bastion and Her Story

Recently strategy gaming’s been on and off the menu. The RPG fatigue is still in me, so it’s been a time of neither here nor there. XCOM beckoned and the backlog needed beating, so I’ve been all over the place.

XCOM: Enemy Within

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Immediately, this game feels awesome. It’s completely committed to its hardcore B-movie presentation, and that’s just so endearing. Take the voice acting of the council’s representative for example. Pure awesomeness.  (more…)

Game of Thrones Season 5 Character Review

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Game of Thrones Season 5 is a wrap and as always, it’s the worst time being a GoT fan, because right now is the longest amount of time to wait until the next season. Well, I guess the worst time being a GoT fan is once the whole thing is over and done, and the only thing that’s left is an emptiness. I had that problem when Breaking Bad finished. Or when I got done reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Anyway. Season 5 has been the most difficult season to date to judge. It’s been a week and I’m starting to digest things a lot better. I’ll be getting into specifics for every plot thread and grade it and then share some overall thoughts on the whole thing big picture wise. (more…)

Blog #5: First EU4 campaign completed and moving on to Civilization 5

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So I completed my first full EU4 campaign last weekend.

Played as France and ended as Revolutionary France. I’d played campaigns before but always stopped after around 100 years. I’m still relatively new to the game so I felt it would be good to see an entire campaign through to the end. As France, I had a good time diplo-annexing my starting subjects, then kicking out England from the continent. Burgundy proved a real difficulty at the beginning because I didn’t know how to judge my strength against theirs. One time, I declared war against them when I had reduced my military spending. Goes without saying that that was a lesson I learned through some pain! (more…)

Blog #4: Europa Universalis 4 and Blackwell Legacy

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Long time no write! Since the last blog, I’ve been getting more and more burned out on RPGs. Playing at the same time: Pillars of Eternity (which I put on hiatus), Guild Wars 2 and The Witcher (just jumped back in for a moment though) AND Elder Scrolls Online (again, just to check that out) is just not sustainable. It got me to the point where I grew increasingly cynical about caves, loot and monsters. A change of pace was in order. So obviously I get drawn back into my other favorite genre: the grand strategy game. (more…)

Blog #3: On genres and labels and the way we think about games

Has Call of Duty bastardized the concept of experience points? And is that a bad thing?

Has Call of Duty bastardized the concept of experience points? And is that a bad thing?

I discovered a cool new gaming podcast called “Axe of the Blood God” (that name alone earns it quite a bit of kudos from me). It’s focused on RPGs and you can find it here: http://www.usgamer.net/archive?tag=axe-of-the-blood-god.

The first episode, they are tackling the age old question “What is an RPG?” right out the gate. It’s one of those questions, like “are games art?”. They seem important issues that need resolving, but are in truth utterly pointless to stress over. In that episode, the guys and gals discuss how they would categorize games, what they think is elemental to an RPG and look at some edge cases. Are RPG about stats? Are they about narrative agency? Do they have to have turn-based combat and parties? Where does a Dark Souls or Zelda fit in?

All the while I was listening to their back and forth, it became pretty clear that genre labels are outdated. I’ll try to follow that train of thought some more here. (more…)