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About Me

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  1. This can be the new "what are you playing this weekend" thread. Lately, I've been completely absorbed in Persona 5. It's amazing. I played 10 hours when it first released, quit for over a year, now I'm back at it, hardcore. Just completed the 4th palace last night. I absolutely adore the mix of traditional turn-based RPG play and social simulation. I'm over 40 hours in and still have a looong way to go, but I'm enjoying the ride quite a bit.
  2. Many thanks to DMVfan123 over at ResetERA for this extremely comprehensive summary. GAMEPLAY: In a way, the combat dance is reminiscent of From Software’s Souls games, but not in a punishing way. Respawn wants players to succeed, but not without a little effort. The Force is also used to augment combat, allowing the player to mess with enemies in satisfying, clever, and powerful ways. When the saber is sheathed, Respawn’s vision for the adventure has classic gaming roots and is inspired heavily by the Metroid series, pushing players to freely explore worlds, and come back to them later with new powers that can be used to reach different areas. Never once do players see a waypoint on the screen telling them where their next objective is. Respawn doesn’t want to hold your hand, and instead hopes you plot your own path through dangerous worlds that are teeming with just as much hostile wildlife as heavily armed Imperial Forces. With a lead in hand, Cal has BD-1 bring up the map of the region, which is displayed as a 3D hologram projected from one of the droid’s eyes. The game doesn’t pause at this point, so the player needs to be careful when using the map. A clear holographic display of the environment appears, complete with geographic and industrial elevations. The map colors in areas the player has been to, and also highlights points of interest in gold. The map is a critical component that helps players explore. Jedi: Fallen Order is one of the few games out there that doesn’t use a waypoint system. Greez willfully transports this small group of characters to any planet at any time – both to progress the story and for freeform backtracking. We don’t know how many worlds there are yet, but the concept art and clips from the trailer hint at a good number of them. Asmussen says the ratio of established Star Wars planets and new planets original to Jedi: Fallen Order is about half and half. Each world houses a hub where the ship lands. Here, the player can return to rest up, save, apply skill points, and spark conversations with characters to learn more about them, the worlds, and overall story. The ship also offers other activities Respawn doesn’t want to reveal just yet. When players choose a new destination, the flight is handled in real-time, meaning there won’t be any load screens, giving the player time to engage with the different activities on the ship. Along with Bracca, the quest to restore the Jedi Order takes Cal to Kashyyyk, the wookiee homeworld. At this point in the game, the player has complete freedom to chart their own course through the wilderness. Some areas feature multiple paths that can freely be explored, while other areas may have paths that are blocked or inaccessible, perhaps requiring an unlearned Force power or gadget to open them up. “We looked at the structure of Metroid Prime closely,” Asmussen says. “It’s not exactly like Metroidvania. We also looked at games like Bloodborne and Dark Souls that have the same types of methodology. We studied those games and they inspired us to find an experience that works well for our game.” As players duck off into the corners of environments, Cal stumbles upon chests that reward him with a variety of upgrades. These chests hold items that can extend his Force and health meters, as well as skill points that he can cash in on a skill tree to unlock new abilities and move sets. Respawn wouldn’t go into what kinds of skills Cal can unlock, but did give us a look at the screen, which features a sea of interlinked circles. Since Cal doesn’t heal over time during combat, he needs to rely on health canisters to get a boost on the fly. If his health is low, he can snap his fingers or ask BD for help (performed by pressing up on the d-pad). The canister pops out of a compartment in BD’s casing, and Cal catches it, and within just a second, applies it to himself for an immediate shot of health. These health canisters function exactly like Dark Souls’ Estus Flasks, and won’t replenish until the player finds a save point or returns to The Stinger Mantis. Retreating to a save point comes with a risk, however, as enemies will respawn. Determining when to burn health canisters is part of the strategy tied to exploration. BD periodically leaps off of Cal’s back to gather items he sees that can be used to synthesize new canisters. Asmussen says obtaining additional canisters is a significant reward, as BD starts the game with only two of them. Exploration also unearths other chest types that contain cosmetic items to change the way Cal, BD, and The Stinger Mantis look. And yes, lightsaber parts are a part of that equation. If a blue blade isn’t your style, you can find different colors, hilts, and other components that alter the saber’s overall design. Just don’t expect to get a red blade for a Jedi. One of the Force powers Cal taps into frequently is close to the hearts of many of Respawn’s employees who worked on the Titanfall games. He can wall run for a good 15 feet, but only on specific surfaces that have a visual language players will get to know. Jumping toward a wall is as easy as hitting a button. Cal can also call upon the Force to perform a double jump, a move that breaks the laws of gravity in most games, but actually makes sense given the Jedi’s power pool. When Cal doesn’t need to use the Force, he can swing on vines hanging from trees. As Cal explores Kashyyyk’s wilderness, BD can scan fallen enemies and the environment to give the player a chance to learn more about the world through log entries. Respawn hasn’t settled on whether or not these optional discoveries will give players potential skill points if enough are collected, but does want to reward all forms of exploration. Kashyyyk was an impressive first look that featured plenty of puzzles and reveals I don’t want to spoil for you. This gameplay slice takes place roughly a few hours into the game, and lasts for around 30 minutes, which Asmussen says gives us a look of just 15 to 20 percent of this planet, implying Jedi: Fallen Order may be somewhat lengthy. The KXes are fast and athletic, and can pick up Cal by the throat and slam him to the ground, taking a huge chunk of his health away, all while offering a comedic quip. Some battles include vehicles like an AT-ST, which stomps around on the battlefield and alternates between firing lasers, rockets, and mines. The player can send all of these attacks back through the Force. Some troopers have energy shields on the end of their blaster, others have flamethrowers that can keep Cal at bay, and some even wield rocket launchers. These powerful foes still fall into Jedi: Fallen Order’s grunt category, yet each can give Cal a run for his credits. Asmussen says the game features a variety of boss and mini boss battles, and the creatures that appear in each world are unique to those places – meaning you won’t come across a different colored version of a beast you fought on a different planet. Almost every button press in the game has an augment that is executed by either double-tapping a button or holding it. Respawn designed the controls in way that all powers can be used at any time, and the player will never be asked to dive into a menu to swap them out. The controls are mapped in ways that are easy to grasp. On the PlayStation 4 controller, lightsaber strikes are mapped to square for basic swings and triangle for focused attacks. If the player taps triangle, they execute a heavy attack, but if they hold the button, Cal performs a force-powered, close-the-gap dash. The X button is jump, which can be used for leap attacks when followed up by either saber strike. The Force powers are all assigned to shoulder buttons. Cal may still be learning the ropes, but he has a firm grasp of Force push (R2), pull (L2), and a power that is unique to him called slow (R1). Slow lives up to its name and will slow down one enemy at a time to a near motionless state, which opens up a short window of time to circle around them and hopefully take them out. Slow can also be used on lasers, which hover in the air and move forward slowly, looking similar to the bolt Kylo Ren froze in time in Force Awakens. The combat system ends up being more about counters and finding clever ways to catch enemies off-guard, or deplete their armor meter to stagger them. The player also has to keep an eye on the stamina, Force, and health meters to know what tools to use. The calculated dance ends up being surprisingly intense, making you think intimately about every little action you unleash. It ends up being circular, with both sides looking for opportunities; a routine fans of From Software’s work have come to know well. STORY/CHARACTERS: The game begins on the planet Bracca, a Mid-Rim world the Empire uses as a shipyard where derelict starships are dismantled and harvested for parts. “They’re tearing down these old Republic vessels, which is symbolic to the Fallen Order,” says Stig Asmussen, Jedi: Fallen Order’s director, who also directed God of War 3. During the heart of the Clone Wars, Cal was learning the ways of the Force. Asmussen says he may have gone on a few missions, but he wasn’t sent out by the Order like Anakin and Obi-Wan to deal with major issues. In the aftermath of Chancellor Palpatine’s Order 66 (which decrees all Jedi are enemies of the Republic), Cal’s entire life was turned upside down, and he had to abandon everything he knew, turning from a purveyor of hope to an enemy of the state. Respawn doesn’t want to say much about Cal or his history, implying he could be someone significant. But unlike Rey’s origin story in The Force Awakens, which created more questions than answers, Cal’s origin is revealed as the game unfolds. Players won’t be left hanging waiting for a sequel to fill in the gaps. These revelations aren’t delivered in flashbacks, but instead are learned as the game moves forward; Respawn wants to deliver as much story as possible in real-time as the player still controls Cal. Some slower or more impactful moments are handled in cutscenes, but most of the narrative sequences don’t disrupt gameplay and are woven into the action. Cal (who is brought to life by Cameron Monaghan) managed to stay hidden on Bracca for years, but ends up being outed through an event Respawn again doesn’t want to reveal. Someone on the wrong side learns he’s with the Jedi within minutes of the game’s beginning, and the player is suddenly hunted by the Empire. It doesn’t sound like there is much of a grace period to explore Bracca early on. As stormtroopers and the Emperor’s finest hunters are called in to execute Cal, he finds help from an unexpected source. “He comes in contact with a mysterious lady, a former Jedi Knight named Cere (played by Debra Wilson) who thinks she has a shot at restoring the Jedi Order,” Asmussen says. “Cal is skeptical of the mission, and unsure of the Jedi Order, but he believes in survival. She makes a pact with him: ‘If you help me out, I’ll help you finish your Jedi training.’ From what we know, during this period of the Emperor’s rise to power, most of the Jedi have gone into hiding or are dead. After years of war, the galaxy is at a point of acceptance with the Empire’s directive. Worlds are looking for a faction to rise up and reestablish control. Many of them willfully accept the help of the Empire and turn a blind eye on the highly trained weapons it sends in, like Darth Vader and the Inquisitorious group to eradicate the Jedi. Could Cere know the location of a large group of lost Jedi? Again, Respawn wants to keep the story under lock and key, but whatever Cere knows becomes the game’s McGuffin to a degree. Cere is a constant in Cal’s life, but she won’t be with him on the battlefield. Cal is sent on missions while Cere handles reconnaissance. Cal instead develops a tightknit friendship with a small droid named BD-1. Much like a boy and his dog, Cal and BD are inseparable. While BD can freely walk around on the terrain on his little AT-ST-like legs, he mostly sits on Cal’s back, which of course expedites traversal and exploration. This small crew ends up being dangerous cargo aboard a ship called The Stinger Mantis, a new vessel type Respawn and Lucasfilm created for the game. Star Wars artist Doug Chiang helped bring this unique ship to life. The ship’s exterior is blue and silver (but can be customized by the player), and the interior is darkly lit with orange and black hues on the seats and walls. Living quarters are in the back and a small lounge is in the center, as is a galactic map that the player can interact with. The ship has one large wing jetting up like a dorsal fin. It also has a small turbine that can rotate with the wing for various flight needs. The engines on the backside burn blue when taking off. This unique vessel is helmed by the equally unique captain Greez Dritus, who is part of a stout alien species that is another new canonical creation made by Respawn and Lucasfilm. “Greez’s inspiration was John C. Reilly and Mr. Furley from Three’s Company,” Asmussen says with a laugh. When players choose a new destination, the flight is handled in real-time, meaning there won’t be any load screens, giving the player time to engage with the different activities on the ship. Along with Bracca, the quest to restore the Jedi Order takes Cal to Kashyyyk, the wookiee homeworld. In a brief lull of the action, another unexpected guest drops in, this one slamming onto the window right in front of Cal. We see a middle-aged man in green armor who is curious about the occupants of this commandeered Imperial vehicle. It’s Saw Gerrera, the Clone Wars veteran who was played by Forest Whitaker in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. “Hey. Who are you?” he yells through the window. The voice is immediately recognizable – Whitaker has reprised his role, much like he did in episodes of Rebels. Once a part of the Jedi Order, the Second Sister turned on her people and joined the Emperor’s Inquisitorious. She now kills Jedi. She first appeared in the comic book Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, but was first created by Respawn and Lucasfilm’s story group. Her appearance was an Easter egg for the forthcoming game. Companion droid BD-1 took over two years to design, a process that had Respawn and Lucasfilm working closely together to figure out his look, personality, sound, and overall functionality both in the game and for the greater Star Wars universe. One of the starting points came from an appreciation of the bond established between a bird and dog in Charles Schulz’s Snoopy. BD-1 is, in essence, a hybrid of both Woodstock and Snoopy’s personalities. “He’s kind of a bird that tweets around, and is also loyal like a dog,” says game director Stig Asmussen. BD’s antennae basically mimic dog ears, in terms of reacting to sound and situations. The final touch in making BD-1 a legitimate piece of Star Wars’ lore is enlisting the audio talents of Ben Burtt, a sound designer who has been a part of most of the Star Wars movies, TV shows, and games. He created the voices of Chewbacca, R2-D2, and even Darth Vader’s breathing. Burtt created the chirpy voice for BD-1, and works closely with Respawn on all of the droid’s audio. DEVELOPMENT: Prior to beginning development of Jedi: Fallen Order, Respawn pitched EA on a Star Wars project, but the two sides couldn’t agree on a deal that made sense. Director Stig Asmussen and a small team of developers at Respawn then set out to create a new intellectual property that featured third-person melee combat. When a demo was ready, Respawn pitched it to EA, which loved what was there, but thought it had great potential as Star Wars game. Respawn’s CEO Vince Zampella asked his team if they would rather continue working on the original IP or turn it into Star Wars. The team enthusiastically said “Star Wars.” The next step was getting the blessing from Lucasfilm. Respawn pitched the melee action game, but Lucasfilm was wary, as Jedi are not freely thrown around and are a sacred part of the franchise that need the right guidance. Asmussen and his team eventually delivered enough information and assurances to make Lucasfilm come around on the idea for a Jedi game. Lucasfilm helped Respawn figure out the era and story for this particular Jedi tale. IMPRESSIONS:
  3. Just a quick hello, shit has really hit the fan for me and my family. Bear with me. I find out out Wednesday night my son has a stage 4 brain stem tumor, FUCK!! My wife and I have been driving 4 hours a day for an entire week to go through the testing with him Bamm Thursday, he gets released to come do treatment in the hospital where my wife works and we life. Find out that night that's it is stage 4 inoperable. He asks if he can come down and stay a day, sure......and here the real kicker. On TV a warning Paradice California is being evacuated! Where my wife works where the treatment was to be. 20 minutes later my kid daughter is at my house and my wife and her jump in the car to paradise and grab cat and some stuff, FUCK, there to be right back. 3 hours later I realize the stuck in the middle of the paradise blaze. I lose power and cell services! No one saying evacuate magalia where we live, but 3 hour of waiting, I realize were fucked. I grab one computer. My dog 2 hand fills of clothes a few stupid shit and jump in truck. At this time I'm in line with a direction away from where my mife went. 5hours later I make it the 13 Mile's to chico and call wife on a stranger's phone, ok where all ok, about 2 more hours apart. We spend night in my truck behind all the first responders, and the start getting news. Paradise California is a complete loss, so is lower magalia where we live. I'm homeless and jobless and so is my daughter and all my friends. What the fuck just happened. Fastest moving wildfire in California in history, moving 80 football fields a minute. We literally have nothing. Nothing. It's hard, because we had everything, life was perfect. Dont blink gamers / friends. Hold on to what and whom you love. Dont let go!
  4. Figured we needed a thread where we can come together to complain... er... um.. chat about all things Destiny 2.
  5. Now that the calendar has rolled over to 2019, it's time to post our usual thread where we talk about what games in 2019 we're current playing, have completed, what we thought of 'em, etc. Remember that it's not necessary for the game to actually be released in 2019! I'm going to pick up where I left off in December by completing Metro: Last Light Redux as my first game of 2019.
  6. https://kotaku.com/sources-bioware-plans-a-complete-overhaul-for-anthem-1839892415 Mass Effect:
  7. Since @SaysWho? apparently can't be bothered. October was an above average month, though down from last year due to RDR2 Top 20 best-selling games of October in the U.S. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 The Outer Worlds Luigi’s Mansion 3* Madden NFL 20 NBA 2K20 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint WWE 2K20 FIFA 20 Borderlands 3 Ring Fit Adventure The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening* Mario Kart 8* Minecraft# Grand Theft Auto V Mortal Kombat 11 Overwatch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Code Vein Red Dead Redemption II The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* * Digital sales not included # Digital sales only include Xbox One and PlayStation 4 The 10 best-selling games of 2019 so far Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 NBA 2K20 Madden NFL 20 Borderlands 3 Mortal Kombat 11 Kingdom Hearts III Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Anthem Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Grand Theft Auto V The 10 best-selling games of the last 12 months Red Dead Redemption II Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII NBA 2K20 Madden NFL 20 Borderlands 3 Mortal Kombat 11 NBA 2K19 Battlefield V Xbox One Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint Madden NFL 20 The Outer Worlds NBA 2K20 Borderlands 3 WWE 2K20 FIFA 20 Grand Theft Auto V Gears 5 PlayStation 4 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 The Outer Worlds NBA 2K20 Madden NFL 20 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint WWE 2K20 FIFA 20 Borderlands 3 Mortal Kombat 11 Grand Theft Auto V Nintendo Switch Luigi’s Mansion 3* Ring Fit Adventure The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening* Mario Kart 8* Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Overwatch The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt* Super Mario Maker 2* New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe* Nintendo 3DS Pokemon: Ultra Sun* Pokemon: Ultra Moon* Mario Kart 7* Luigi’s Mansion* The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D* Super Mario 3D Land* Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon* Super Mario Maker* Super Smash Bros.* Minecraft* Call of Duty: Modern Warfare The latest Call of Duty is keeping that franchise’s momentum going strong. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare debuts as the best-selling game of October 2019, and is now the best-selling game of 2019 year to date,” said Piscatella. “This is the 12th consecutive year a Call of Duty game has ranked as the best-selling game of its release month. Call of Duty remains the best-selling video game franchise in U.S. tracked history by dollar sales.” Luigi’s Mansion 3 “Luigi’s Mansion 3 was the third best-selling game of October, while also being the month’s best-selling game on Nintendo Switch,”said Piscatella. “Luigi’s Mansion 3 set a new launch month franchise sales record, besting the previous high set by Luigi’s Mansion.” Fighting games in 2019 “Year-to-date sales of fighting genre games are at an all-time high, with genre sales 11 percent higher than the previous year-to-date high set in 2015,” said Piscatella. “Both Mortal Kombat 11 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have significantly contributed to that success.” Hardware Hardware sales fell 41% vs October 2018 to $182m. YTD hardware sales fell 23% vs 2018 to $2.1b. Switch is the only console to make gains both in October and YTD. Switch is again the best selling console this month and remains the best selling console of the year. PS4 is the third fastest selling console in U.S. history, after the Wii and PS2. Per Mat Piscatella:
  8. Didn't see this posted anywhere so I thought I'd share. Some new stuff in here I've never seen before. Still high on my most anticipated list.
  9. 71% on Metacritic Despite not being particularly fond of the recent installments, the Jurassic franchise is one that has always held a special place in my heart. I've also been known to fall prey to the allure of a few building simulators. Sim City 2000 was one of my first real gaming obsessions, and I put more than my fair share into roller coaster tycoon. So with even middling reviews, I jumped straight into Jurassic World Evolution, and while it's a game with some very notable flaws, I got my money's worth. If you have been known to fall prey to that "just one more turn" mentality, you'll be familiar with the kind of addiction that JWE tries to instill. There are a set of systems built into the game to insure that you're always working towards something. You always have very concrete goals that you're constantly working on, in addition to the general desire to build a bigger and better Jurassic Park. There are three different factions that you'll need to appease as you build your park: Security, Science, and Entertainment. Each faction will offer quick "contracts" that can be as simple as building a specific building or incubating a specific dinosaur, or slightly more general in needing to reach a particular park rating or guest count by any means. Each contract completed will raise your profile with that faction. Each faction will also have one mission with a set of more difficult requirements to fulfill. All of these systems mean there are constantly things to do. You're always working on multiple things at once. You can choose not to do contracts or missions, but there are various rewards for doing so, and they synergize into a very pleasant feedback loop that keeps you hooked in the game. The game isn't about building a single park either, but a series of them across different islands. Each time you start with different challenges and have new missions to complete. The island progression means there's a real sense of advancement in the game, beyond just building a better park with more dinosaurs. You'll want to get each park to five stars and complete the missions to unlock everything the game has to offer. While those gameplay loops are very satisfying and well done, the core gameplay of actually building the park is not quite as successful. There are limited options for types of buildings you can create, and their effect at times seems minimal. There aren't difficulty sliders as far as I could tell, and it's actually quite easy to appease the guests, even given the limited feedback you receive. I found that a lot of my optimization was unnecessary. At a certain point, I was building things better for myself, not because it seemed to affect my score in a meaningful way. As you build out your park, you'll undoubtedly come across the single most frustrating part of the game: dealing with the terrain restrictions. Each island is rather small and has more elevation changes than it often appears to have from a mostly top down viewpoint. Buildings have to be placed on mostly level ground, but it's often very unclear why a certain building can't go in a specific spot, even after leveling the terrain. It's very frustrating that it doesn't show you what part of the building is having trouble; the whole thing turns red, and you get a very general error. The other major frustration is the system of dinosaur comfort. When dinos are too uncomfortable, they'll break out. Give them too little green space or too little forest, too many or too few of their species or others, or not enough food or water and it's just a matter of time before they break out of their pen, no matter what fence you have. It's annoying that you can't see these limits before incubating a dino, so you might release a single one when it's only happy when in a group of 3 or 5. Getting just the right amount of space for larger dinos can also be a real pain. It seems to be a system of what the dino can "see", not what is available to them in their pen. So if you build a large enclosure with plenty of the forest they crave, but they are in a big open field, they might stay there and break out before wandering over to the forest. It's an opaque system that can really frustrate, especially when you run out of space. Aside from building the park, managing comfort, and researching new dinos, you'll spend a lot of your time sending out rangers to refill feeders. In the least satisfying busywork of the game, you're constantly told when a feeder runs out, and to tell a ranger to go refill it. There's a cost to refilling the feeder, but the rangers can't get hurt and they can't accidentally let a dino out, so there's not much thought that needs to go into it. You just have to select your rangers and tell them to replace the feeders. In a big park, this can become rather tiresome. You do have the ability to manually drive a ranger jeep, and some contracts will require you to. It can be a good bit of fun, even if the driving physics were clearly not at the top of the developer's priorities. You can also pilot a chopper that is used to tranquilize a dino when it needs to be moved. As I mentioned before, the game is rather easy. After you get a park off the ground, money is rarely a concern. The first hour or two of a new island you have to watch your budget carefully, but after that I almost never needed to think about my income. I quickly racked up a few million in reserve and couldn't spend it fast enough. Even after forgetting to let guests out of storm shelters or losing a few dozen guests to escaped raptors, my income would recover so quickly that those issues were hardly noticeable. That last bit of optimization to get a perfect 5 star rating can be a little illusive, but for the most part the game is firmly on the easy side. Overall I think it's a rather poor building simulator that is packaged in a compelling theme and visual package with a set of systems designed to keep you playing. For me, that was enough. I enjoyed moving through the parks, getting better at building and finding better strategies for park layouts. After about 40 hours I'd completed the primary missions and gotten five stars on all the islands, and I haven't felt any real need to go back and play in the sandbox mode, or even finish my plans for a few of the islands. Without concrete goals pushing me forward, the limitations and frustrations of the actual building sim take center stage, and even a game full of dinosaurs can't overcome that.
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