Friday Night Funkin’: A Fun Nostalgic Game

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This is different from the games I usually talk about as this is a browser game. Friday Night Funkin’ can be played as long as you’re on a laptop or computer so if you want to check it out, here it is! I found this game through TikTok. The videos kept appearing and I decided to see what platform it was on and found out it was a browser game. The game is still being worked on and new levels are being added. There is also a Kickstarter for the full game.

Story Mode

This game does not have cutscenes yet, but the story is basically that you are a boy in love with a girl and you must battle through music to impress her family and other characters in order to win her heart. Story wise and style wise it reminds me a bit of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Right now it only consists of levels and some dialogue that hints at a story.

Gameplay

This is where all the nostalgia comes in. I played Dance Dance Revolution a few times over at friend’s houses and this is essentially it. You use the WASD or arrow keys to match up to the “words” the characters are saying. They’ll make musical sounds if you time it right. The arrows show up on the screen so you know exactly when to hit them. This sounds easy, but it really isn’t. I played the story mode levels on Easy because I can barely handle Normal and Hard is a nightmare!

Characters

This is what really makes the game fun. The bosses are all very unique and have their own personalities. You see her dad who resembles a rocker and her gorgeous mom. There are also other characters like an anime boyfriend where they actually made the graphics look like those old Game Boy Advance games I used to love to play which made me smile! There’s also this creepy guy (I believe he is called the lemon demon as he has a lemon head) who is the only character that sings with words and he is really disturbing. He creeped me out because his face is creepy and he sings about wanting to kill you.

Dance Party!

This game is really fun if you’re a fan of rhythm games or just enjoy listening to a good beat. It’s fun to play and has great replay value! I’m excited to see more tracks released and look forward to the full game!

What is your favorite rhythm game?

Shin Megami Tensei Nocture: First Impressions

This is my first SMT game so I was really excited to play it! I am used to Persona games. I finished Persona 5. I have played, but not beaten Persona 3, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 5 Royal. I was interested in seeing the origins of the Persona games and the plot interested me. I have played up until the Manikins.

Plot

This has to be one of the most interesting ways to begin a story. It literally begins with the world ending so the worst case scenario has already happened. Your character becomes a demon and is tasked with choosing who will rule and shape new Tokyo. Tokyo has become a spherical world. I believe that I will eventually meet people who will have their own vision of what Tokyo should look like and I can pick whose vision I agree with the most. This game does have multiple endings.

Gameplay Mechanics

Having previous experience with Persona does help, but this game is a bit harder even on Merciful. Magic is similar. I recognize Dia for healing, Zio for lightning. Seeing the health or what a demon is weak too is only available with magic so far. It does not automatically come up like it does in the Persona games.

Recruiting party members is difficult. First, you need to be in the right moon phase. A full moon means that you’ll probably won’t get a party member. Second, some just won’t talk to you because they either can’t understand you or you are too low level. Third, they need to be persuaded similar to Persona 5 except that it’s random. They will ask for offerings then ask you a question and after that they’ll decide whether to join you or not. It is so far frustrating because I will get really close, like with Nyx all I had to do was answer her question, but she decided that she didn’t like my answer and left.

The moon phase as well as enemies appearing depends on steps taken in a dungeon. There is a nice little graph in the bottom right that will glow red when you are close to an encounter. The moon influences lunar chests with full giving you the best stuff. The moon also influences demons with a full moon causing them to go berserk and not want to help you. Fusion is basically the same, but the moon also plays an effect here. The phases of the moon will give benefits to demons being fused. I think full moon is supposed to be the best time to do this.

There are no social links or practically any socialization in this game. You can talk to souls or whoever is still left alive, but it is a very isolating game. If you are expecting to hang out with friends and create bonds, this will not be the game for you.

Worth it?

I’d say it is worth it if you have not played it before or want an introduction to the Shin Megami Tensei series. It is known to be difficult which is why I decided to download the free Merciful DLC. It’s very different from Persona in terms of it being a more isolating experience. I don’t mind that it’s designed this way as it actually makes the game calming for me. It just allows me to explore the environments and appreciate the story. The similarities are mainly that it does involve teenagers in the plot, you can recruit demons into your party, and familiar faces like Jack Frost.

In terms of the quality of the port. It’s got it’s positives and negatives. I love the graphic updates with the Unity engine and I do love that it is voiced because I understand that the original had no voice acting. But, the music has still been kept compressed which can be heard in battles and the movie cutscenes were kept in their original ratios. I also have experienced two black screens where the game just locked and needed to be restarted so I lost progress (the worst being around 20 minutes) and autosaves are not a thing. Still, I would recommend this game mainly for the story alone as long as you like philosophy.

Have you played a Shin Megami Tensei game before?

NieR Replicant: An Emotional Journey

I’ve gotten past the first part of NieR: Replicant and I wanted to highlight why I love Yoko Taro’s games. Both NieR: Automata and NieR Replicant have these very emotional stories that can be sad, but beautiful. Yoko Taro said in an interview with The Guardian that, “the reason why there are so many characters who suffer in my games … is that I want to show reality … The reason my games are chaotic is that the world is chaotic, not me. I don’t aim for bad endings – they just naturally come out.” This quote basically sums up what it is like to experience any game of his. There will be moments of hope, but also moments of sorrow. I found this game to be very comforting to play since it has beautiful environments and a lovely soundtrack. The story and the quests are my favorite parts of this game. Spoilers of Part One of the game!

Plot

Nier, the protagonist you can name, has a sick sister named Yonah. He is a very caring and sweet brother who wants nothing more than to cure his sister’s illness. Unfortunately, she is cursed with the Black Scrawl, which will slowly kill her over time. A talking book called Grimoire Weiss states that defeating the Scrawled Verses and Grimoire Noir should cure her.

In terms of plot, this story is already very sad. The disease Yonah has is possibly incurable so you have to watch this young girl suffer. They do not have a family so they’re young and on their own. There’s already a strong chance this won’t end well because so far the Black Scrawl just kills everyone.

Side Content

There are a lot of side quests in this game. There are some that are relaxing ones like the fishing side quests where it’s just Nier and the open water fishing. There are also your average fetch quests like get 10 mutton to feed someone’s kids. There’s even some funny parts in this game such as being put in the middle of an arguing couple and having to decide who is right or wrong and you don’t have a choice. The most memorable so far was the one that had me crying. This quests centers on one old woman who lives in a light house.

Before this quest begins, Nier is introduced to her. She yells at him and she’s very nasty; demanding that he help her. She just comes off as rude. Then Nier gets a quest to deliver mail to her. The postman has a bad leg and can’t deliver mail so Nier delivers it and she’s mad that her mail is late, but later calms down. It’s then that you find out that her husband is far away from her and she misses him dearly. He keeps writing to her, but she hasn’t seen him in years.

But, this story has a few twists. Nier finds out out that the is dying, but not from old age. She has been infected by the Black Scrawl and her last wish is to leave town and see her husband. But, she can’t leave because no one else can operate the lighthouse. Except that’s not the real truth. The real truth is her husband has been dead for decades and all this time the postman and his father have been writing her letters so she’ll still think he’s alive. Her dying wish cannot be fulfilled as her husband is no longer alive.

Then, you have to choose whether to tell her or not what the truth is. She’s dying so you can choose to tell a dying woman her husband is dead or let her believe he is alive until she passes. I told her the truth and she softened up. She was touched that the villager’s tried to keep him alive, but admitted deep down that she knew that it wasn’t really him writing the letters. She feels at peace knowing the truth and the quest ends announcing that she has passed away.

The reason why this was so memorable was how emotional it was. I went from not liking this woman to feeling so sad that she was not only infected with a terrible disease that she hid from everyone, but she also could not see her husband last time. I did not regret telling her the truth because I thought it might be comforting to know her husband would be there to welcome her when she passed. The mini story drove home the emotional ending with a song I’ll talk about later that plays whenever a sad event happens in the game.

Characters

Nier and Yonah

Nier and Yonah are siblings with Nier being the older brother. It is implied that Yonah has been sick for a very long time and Nier has been looking for a cure. Nier is kind and caring. He looks after people in the village and is always willing to help others (which annoys Grimoire Weiss). Yonah longs for a normal life and sometimes feels like she is a burden on her brother always being sick. She also longs to spend more time with him, but he is usually out looking for a cure for her.

Kainé

Kainé comes across as a rough character. She is the only one in the game who swears and she comes up with some really good phrases. She is infected with a Black Scrawl that has taken over one of her arms. She wants revenge on one Sealed Verse. After that she just wants to give up, but Nier convinces her to keep going and he becomes her first real friend. Unfortunately, Kainé is overtaken by the Black Scrawl while trying to stop another Sealed Verse and she is petrified by Emil. Currently, Nier is trying to find a cure for her. The sweetest part of Kainé comes out when she tells Emil to not feel bad about himself because of his cursed eyes and tells him about her arm. She gives the boy hope.

Emil

Emil is a child who was cursed with eyes that can turn people to stone. He is forced to walk around blindfolded. Nier is asked by Emil’s butler to help him. Emil is afraid of hurting people and he seems like a sweet, shy kid. He warns Nier to not go near him so he won’t accidentally turn him to stone. Nier finds the cure, but at this time it needs translated so Emil still can’t take off his blindfold just yet. Emil is unfortunately forced to use his powers to save the village where Nier is at; imprisoning Kainé. Emil had to see Yonah kidnapped, Nier get stabbed, and had to petrify his best friend so this kid has witnessed a lot of suffering and it’s only the first half of the game.

Music

The music in this game is phenomenal, I love the vocals and how the music clearly conveys emotions. The lyrics in this game are a made up language so they don’t really translate to anything so the singer and the melody have to work in harmony to invoke an emotional response from the player. When you’re in the village, a soothing melody plays that is also important to the story as it tells the story of Grimoire Weiss and Grimoire Noir.

My favorite piece is the most emotional. This is the song I mentioned earlier that plays whenever something sad happens. It’s name is “Kainé ~ Salvation”. The lyrics might be essentially gibberish, but the emotions conveyed by the vocalist and the instruments portray a song of longing and heartbreak. I’ve heard this song so many times in this game that as soon as I hear it I start crying and I either have seen something sad or I know something sad will happen soon like when it played during the finale of Part One.

Beautiful Tragedy

I think this is what I would use to sum up how I feel about this game so far. There’s some sad moments in this game especially that part one finale. I mean I needed time to process what happened because Kainé’s Black Scrawl was taking over and Emil petrified her. Yonah was taken. Nier was stabbed and I was afraid he was going to die. There is hope that Kainé might be able to be free, but knowing the creator I doubt this will end happy. But, I do like that he is able to tell these sad stories and they’re beautiful between the complex characters, the beautiful music, and the long journey the characters go on. A small side note that helps with the journey is both games I have played with a friend. I gave my friend the game for his birthday since it was right around release date so we talk about the story. He already beat it so he knows a lot more than I do, but it also makes it memorable when you play with a friend!

Have you played Nier Replicant or any Yoko Taro game?

Resident Evil Village: First Impressions

I was really excited to play a vampire game again! I’m new to the Resident Evil games as I have only played a bit of the 4th game. Luckily, there was a story summary of the previous game included in Village so I could get the background I needed to understand this game!

Story So Far

The story is about Ethan Winter’s journey to find his daughter after his wife is killed and his daughter, Rose, is taken from him. Something about Rose is special to the vampires that live in the village which I’m guessing it has to do with his wife getting infected by a fungus in the previous game.

Vampires and Werewolves!

It did take a bit too long for the first jumpscare to happen, but from then on it’s been a fun and scary ride. The first buildup took a while by following a long narrow road and I also kept missing junpscares because I would walk through them while they triggered. But, once the first monster came, it started getting really intense!

The werewolves ambushed me in the game even on easy and they would just come up behind you without warning! I jumped several times. The character design is really interesting ad they look both human and nonhuman at the same time. Seeing the giant werewolf was also scary, I thought they were bad enough, but then the big guy came.

The Vampires are also really fun! I love the little personalities to them. I’ve only met one sister, but I do love their dialogue such as them referring to Ethan as “man-thing”. Lady Dimitrescu is really pretty and I cannot wait for her boss fight. She’s definitely intimidating being over 9 feet tall!

I’ve only had one boss fight so far with the first sister. It was really cool how she slowly turned into a crystal. I’m eager to see what the other sisters boss fights will be like as well as Lady Dimitrescu’s!

Fun Horror Game!

I definitely recommend this game if you love anything horror especially if you like vampires and werewolves. If you’ve played previous games though, I’m not sure. It’s really fun, but it’s not really a zombie game (at least not so far). I can also say it runs really well on the PS4. I haven’t had issues and it looks great!

It’s scary but not too scary. It reminds me of a good horror film where’s tension and monsters, but it doesn’t go over the top and become too nightmarish.

Have you played Resident Evil Village? What were your thoughts?

What I’ve Been Up To

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So tax season is finally over so I can finally get back to writing! Most times I was just too tired by the time I was done working on the weekend to do much so that’s why I hadn’t been writing for a while. I’ve really missed writing and the blogging community! So here goes my update!

Games I’m Currently Playing

Right now I am playing NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… (quite a long title). This was one of the games I was looking forward to playing this year and I love it! Just like NieR Automata, it is an emotional game with a lot of moments so far that have made me cry like the lighthouse story. This game is essentially about a brother attempting to find a cure for his younger sister’s disease with the help of a talking book, Grimoire Weiss.

I also played the Resident Evil Village demo last weekend and I am really looking forward to this one! I love vampires so having an entire horror game about vampires to play is just perfect! So far, I am loving the graphics and the mystery surrounding the vampires. It also was scary and I did manage to jump a few times especially when I was being chased by a horde of vampires.

New Games I’ve Gotten

A friend told me about a portable hard drive that I could get for my PlayStation so I’ve been able to finally get some more games on it and I also moved Cyberpunk 2077 to it so I can get all the DLC for it whenever they release.

My PS4 now has Spiderman which is really fun so far. I really enjoying being able to swing around New York and I love that it’s open world so I can explore the city! I also got Red Dead Redemption 2 which I am really looking forward to playing! It looks gorgeous and I am interested in playing a game as a cowboy. I just added Assassin’s Creed Unity as I’m a big fan of the Assassin’s Creed games and I’m looking forward to being a part of the French Revolution.

I was also able to get Blue Reflection, Spyro Reignted Trilogy, NieR Automata, Assassin Creed Syndicate, Yakuza 0, and Yakuza Kiwami back on my PlayStation 4 now that I have the room. I did not finish Spyro so I am really looking forward to being able to play it.

There were a ton of sales during tax season so I got a few games on my Steam. I just bought Dead Rising last weekend as it looked like a lot of fun. I’ve seen the Game Grumps play parts of it so I am looking forward to actually playing it. I also got Asssassin’s Creed II because I was interested in exploring Italy and Fallout: New Vegas because I have never played a Fallout game. Finally, I got Black Desert Remastered while it was free on Steam because I had it on mobile and wanted to get the PC port.

For my Switch, I got Persona 5: Strikers and Vampyr. I am a big fan of Persona 5 so I am really looking forward to playing it’s sequel. Vampyr’s story intriqued me and I went with the Switch version because I figured it would be fun to take it with me on the go. You play as a vampire doctor during the plague and you can decide whether to maintain your humanity or become a bloodthirsty vampire.

Finally, I got Pandora’s Tower for the Wii U. I’ve always wanted to play this game so I decided to try the Wii U version and so far it’s great! I haven’t had a problem using the GamePad for the motion controls.

Games I’ve Completed

I was really busy working so I couldn’t find a lot of time to play, but I did beat Cyberpunk 2077 and BloodRayne. Both are great games and I am looking forward to playing BloodRayne 2 and the eventual DLC for Cyberpunk 2077.

Game’s I’m Looking Forward To

I am looking forward to Resident Evil Village after playing the demo. I am also really looking forward to Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD this month as I am a fan of Persona but haven’t played an SMT game. The plot sounds very interesting because it appears to be about you finding someone to rule the world after it gets destroyed and there are multiple endings. Finally, I can’t wait to play Skyward Sword as I have always wanted to play that game as well and I am looking forward to the Switch port.

What have you all been up to recently? Let me know!

Remembering Jackie Welles

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This post will contain spoilers for the First Act of Cyberpunk 2077. I bought this game for the PlayStation 4 and it was not looking great. But, I was interested in the story because I felt an instant bond to Jackie Welles. He reminded me of friends that I had so it was easier for me to bond with him despite his regrettably short time in the game.

How Meet

How you meet Jackie depends on your life path. I played through all three intros out of curiosity, but my main path is Street Kid.

Street Kid

V meets Jackie doing a favor for someone that worked at his mother’s bar which is why he later decides to trust V. The bartender owed a debt to a man named Kirk. Kirk tells V the debt will be repaid if she can steal a luxury car for him. When V followed his orders the car door opened and Jackie was threatening V to get out of the car because he had also been hired to steal it. After that, the police swarm in and take us both down and knock us out. When V wakes up Jackie was relieved that nothing had happened to them and after hearing that V did all this for someone else ,especially someone that works at his mother’s bar, he decides that V is an upstanding person and wants to work with V.

Corpo

V and Jackie have been friends for quite some time. He shows concern for V when he sees that she gets so stressed she gets sick at work saying that the job is going to kill her. V is told by her boss to take down his rival. V asks Jackie for help with this job but, due to him describing himself as a man of principle, he is not happy about the job. Then, Arasaka comes after V while Jackie is with her and strips her of her job. Jackie threatens them when they are about to try to take V in so they leave her alone afterwards.

Nomad

V has been hired to smuggle goods and Jackie Welles has the cargo. They have to go through a border check to get into Night City which ends with border patrol chasing them as they have stolen corporate goods. After narrowly avoiding the officers, they open the cargo to find an adorable iguana. Jackie decides to help V find a place to stay and wants to work with her in Night City.

Background and Personality

Jackie was part of the Valentino’s gang until he was shot in the heart at 19 and his mother found out that he was part of the gang. This is where he gained his principles as the Valentino’s value loyalty, honor, and respect. Despite not being part of the gang anymore, he still shows pride as you can see he wears a Valentino jacket and shirt, has tattoos of the Valentino, and his bike also has Valentino on it.

Jackie is also someone I would describe as full of life. He’s vibrant, happy, funny. He treats you like family frequently calling you hermana. He also will look after you. When you do story missions together, he’ll tell you if there’s trouble or to hide.

Jackie wanted more out of life. It’s clear based on conversations where he mentions wanting to be part of The Afterlife, a club where you know you made it if they name a drink after you when you die. He wants his own home for his girlfriend Misty. His life has been moving slower than he expected and he’s been struggling to get the kinds of jobs where he will earn big money.

Story

Jackie tells V that a large fixer named Dexter DeShawn wants to meet her. He gives V a small task at first to secure a flatbot from Maelstrom, a gang known for their insane amount of cyberware and being hostile. This route can go forward in a few ways. In my version I received a chip with money on it from Militech. It came with a virus which led Militech to find Maelstrom and a fight ensued.

After V gets the bot, The Heist could begin. First, Dex gets V and Jackie into The Afterlife so Jackie and V could see the bar and order drinks. I usually don’t drink in games, but Jackie wanted to order drinks so we could celebrate together so sharing a drink with him made the moment special. I also learned about his signature drink which he told the bartender so he could one day have his name in The Afterlife. Dexter gives the group a plan on how to steal a special chip from Arasaka and then you can choose whether to start the mission immediately or do other quests.

The Heist was very difficult emotionally. I was looking up lore on characters and accidentally got a spoiler about Jackie’s death so I was well aware and crying through the whole thing. What made it worse was how happy he was. Jackie kept talking about the future he wanted. He tried to rent a Delmain cab once for a relatives party to make it special, but it was too expensive. When he makes it big he wants to take Misty to the nice restaurant at the hotel the Heist was at. He has a good feeling this job will make us rich and we’ll be happy.

The Heist goes wrong when an assassination occurs at The Arasaka hotel. The son of Arasaka kills his father, alarms ring out, and V and Jackie are in the middle of everything. Jackie gets shot in the stomach, the chip’s container breaks and Jackie slots it in his brain, and you have to sneak or run out into the Delmain cab.

Once V enters the cab Jackie slowly die in V’s arms while he hands her the chip. That was very hard to watch, it may have been one of the hardest things I’ve watched in a game. On top of that Dex blames V and shoots her in the head. V is saved by the chip only to find out that her brain is being slowly taken over by Johnny Silverhand whose life was stored on the chip.

Aftermath

There’s a side quest that unlocks where V finds something to give to Jackie’s ofrenda. She goes to his home and finds Misty there who says that she still waits an hour for him every day. V then learns more about Jackie by going through his things. The sweetest thing was he built a sand mandala because Misty told him to make one. He also told her he’d love to use the sand to build them a home. I chose to give him a bottle of unopened rare tequila that he kept for luck. Unfortunately my game bugged and I had to reload three times before I could select the bottle. At the ofrenda you get Jackie’s bike and his guns.

V can still call Jackie after his death and leave him voice-mails. I also found out by going through my Journal that the text for the quests were written with his voice. It was really touching to see a final goodbye from him telling me to keep moving forward for him.

Lessons Learned

Upon meeting the character and interacting with them, I loved that Jackie obviously lived life to the fullest. He wasn’t held back by fear and that’s what I wish I could do. I would like to let go of the fears I get from having anxiety and learn to be in the moment more.

For the sudden death, it definitely taught me to hold my friends close and let them know how much I care. You’ll never know when you’ll lose someone. Jackie was really young, he was 30 which is only 4 years older than me. I hope I will never lose any of my friends young.

As for lessons learned in the game world, it shows just how cruel Night City is. You find this one character that just wants to help people and is a good person and he gets killed. It also set the game’s serious tone as before it was more fun and focused on action.

What did you think of Jackie Welles as a character? Were you able to bond with him in the short time he was in the game?

The State of Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4

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I was very excited to play this game at launch. Unfortunately, when I woke up that morning I saw news that the game wasn’t running well. I waited for my physical copy to arrive and then had to wait for it to download 102 GB because the console versions are larger. The original state was very bad and even though with the current patch it does work, I would advise waiting for further patches.

Launch State

The original state of this game was bad for the little bit I played it. The graphics and lighting were poor. Textures had no detail and graphics were in general very blurry. There were loading issues with textures so things would appear pixelated. It was struggling with any action in the game.

It was bad enough that I was thinking about refunding. Then the next day a patch came out that fixed things enough that I liked the game.

Current Graphics

Graphics are still low quality, but they do have more detail. I noticed that people’s faces had more detail and the lightning had been improved. Graphics can still be poor quality like signs sometimes have blurry textures so its hard to read. A homeless guy’s sign didn’t render properly so I was struggling to read the words. Textures still pop in so if you look in the distance in the city you can see how poorly detailed things are.

If you are planning on still playing, here are some tips that I found online or just by me tweaking settings. Turn off all graphic effects except Lens Flare and then turn on HDR if you have a compatible TV. Set the maximum brightness to 2000, paper white to 600, and tone mapping to 1.50. I would not set the paper white higher as it gets so bright it causes a double vision effect making it hard to concentrate and read. If you don’t have HDR, turn Chromatic Aberration on. Now turn your sharpness on your TV to a medium setting, I had it at 13 and then the game does look much better!

Controls

The controls needs a bit of work, but it could also be due to frame drops during intense combat. Driving was also hard at first because I could easily oversteer the vehicle when making turns.

The recommended control scheme I found by searching online was to turn dead zones down to their lowest amounts and turn all bonuses in the advanced options to 0. This allowed the controls to be tighter when driving and made combat smoother.

Bugs and Crashes

So far I have only encountered 2 crashes on my console. Both happened on the same day when I was able to play the game on the weekend. The first happened after I took a break from the game to think about a decision, I came back and chose my option and then the game crashed a few minutes later. The second I don’t know what happened; it was weird. All of a sudden, I started feeling like something was visually off with the game and then I noticed that things were blurring when I moved the camera and the game was really stuttering and I could tell the frame rate was dropping. Then, it just crashed. Both times when it crashed it completely reset my settings so I had to redo my settings so I made notes on what I had the game set to.

As for bugs, I’ve got plenty. I’ve had T-posing NPCs. I’ve had cars and people randomly spawn in. When a cyberpsycho died in the game his mouth was still moving. One time when my car spawned in when I called it, it landed on top of another car and got stuck. I found out that if a car flips over, it will do nothing, then the person in the car will stand on top of the car and then both will explode into fire.

I also have an odd bug that also happened twice where my controller disconnected. I’ve no idea how the game disconnected my controller as there’s no issue with the controller. I’ve played Valhalla for hours or used my controller to play Steam games with no issues so it’s not my controller.

AI Behavior

I’m coming from Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto games so I was shocked at how bad the AI behavior is. So, there was a scene where I had to capture someone in a diner. First, for some reason the cops were called and they spawned in immediately outside. So, I can’t tell whose a gang member and whose a cop. So, I took out the Tyger Claws gang and hid. Eventually the police gave up, but the Tyger Claws were still attacking. When I got outside of the area, everyone was crouching and hiding even though the action was over and they were far away.

Police do just literally spawn in and them doing that can slow the game down for a bit. They don’t arrive at a scene. They are also very hostile and will attack if you get too near to them. I was walking down to a fast travel location because I didn’t know what it was at the time. All of a sudden a cop said “drop your weapon” even though I had nothing out and started shooting. I just walked past him to explore and he took it as a threat.

As for people, they are not very interactive. Some have interesting dialogue that they will say to each other, but they mostly just tell you in various ways to go away. At least there’s one hairless cat you can pet in the game that’s friendly. There’s also street vendors, but you can’t buy food from them.

Positive Aspects of The Game

If you’re wondering why would anyone buy this then I do want to mention why I’ve decided to not try to refund it. The story is really fun and I’m interested in it; plus Jackie. I love Jackie, as soon as I met him I just had to keep playing the game! He’s a fun character that’s very comforting because he treats you like family.

Side quests can be fun. There are unique quests or some fun ones that repeat like researching cyberpsychosis by knocking out cyberpsychos. There’s weird NPCs like I found Jesse Cox in the game! He was flaming crotch man because I had to take him to a ripperdoc to an implant gone wrong. That was really funny!

The world is really pretty and with work I feel like it could be an immersive game! If stuff like AI was worked on and interactive elements like being able to eat food on street corners or go to the barber like in Witcher 3 would also be really nice RPG elements.

The cyberpunk aspect is really cool! I love the style and the emphasis on corrupt corporations. I am interested in how the cyberpunk theme and style will be developed throughout the game.

Verdict

This game has potential to be a really good game on consoles and in general with some patches. For now, if you are a console player and own this game, consider playing something else for the time being like I’m going to focus on Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. If you are looking forward to buying this, wait until at least February because the latest news from CD Projekt Red is that there will be major patches in January and February. It sucks that the game I was looking forward to the most this year did release in this state. I’m hoping that this game can be really nice looking and play wonderfully after a few patches. Right now it can be played even though it can crash or have frame drops during battles, but I would rather wait until it is better looking and completely stable before playing.

What are your thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077 on consoles?

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: A Gem That Still Needs Some Polish

Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

I was really excited to play this game when I got back from vacation! At first it took time to get used to mainly due to bugs and I spent too much time focusing on completing Norway before continuing plot. But, now that patches are coming out and I’m in England I’m really enjoying the game! Also my PS4 (not a pro model) sounds like it’s a jet plane trying to keep up with this new game!

Plot

Elivor seeks revenge for her father’s death by taking out her father’s killer, Kjotve. Once she does that with the help of Harald, he declares that he wants to be the king of Norway and unite the different  clans under him.     

Elivor and her brother are against being ruled under a King so they move to England to start their own clan and seek out alliances so that their clan can grow stronger. They are also working with The Hidden Ones to take out The Order of The Ancients as Kjotve was one of them.

Combat and Stealth

The stealth aspect of Assassin’s Creed games are here, but they need to first be taught by The Hidden Ones before Elivor can do them.

Combat is about trying different styles. You can try different weapons combos or use one two-handed weapon like a spear. Right now I am using an axe and a shield. You can upgrade weapons and put runes in them like fire damage runes or weight reducing runes.

Special abilities come from leveling up on the Skill tree as well as finding books in the game to unlock Abilities. I love this feature because it encourages you to explore!

Settlement

The Settlement serves as a base you can upgrade by getting supplies by doing quests or raiding villages.

You have a main hall where you rest, receive letters, or forge alliances.

There’s customization with tattoos, mounts and mount training, boat customization, and also little things around the settlement like customizing trees.

You can also upgrade weapons, hire a Jomsviking to help you, open a trading shop, do fishing (which I haven’t unlocked yet), and set up posts to exchange hunting trophies or artifacts for rewards.

Activities

Raiding is how you get supplies for your settlement. You use your horn to summon your crew and raid towns for riches. Its really fun and I enjoy the music that plays! Hunting is back and do far I’ve fought a giant Elk! I love the challenging bosses. Roman artifacts can now be found in the form of masks hidden in the area. Cursed areas are also new where you look for a cursed skull. I also stumbled across cursed bosses I believe? This woman appeared and she seemed to have cursed a land but she was way higher leveled that I was so I can’t talk about that much yet. Hunting down The Order of The Ancients is back and instead of mercenaries wondering around; there are  Zealots. I love that this back because I really enjoyed it last time!

Fishing is new, but unfortunately I need to build that settlement so I can’t comment on it. There’s a fun platforming activity where you platform across glitched platforms as Layla to fix the simulation and gather data. There are also world puzzles such as putting an image together or walking through doors in the right order.

My favorite little part is petting dogs and cats! The dogs put their paws on you and the cats are huge! I know there are quests where I can get a dog and one where I can get a cat and I’m really excited!

Side Quests

For my playthrough, I have the game tell me where everything is so I can see all of the side content instead of walking around looking for things. I really love these and I just wanted to share my favorites:

  • Axehead who was wondering why he had a splitting headache who then told me a sweet story while I took the axe out of his head
  • A man who kept telling me to burn down his house so he could prove his faith when he was really trying to hide that he was a murderer
  • A wife and child who needed their house cleaned because the husband insisted on not bathing and I had to trick him into taking a bath.
  • Finding treasure by letting cats out of a house so they would chase the rats away

Bugs

This game is a bit buggy, but luckily it has gotten better and should get even more better with each patch. When I first played the game, it had just started experiencing save corruptions and The Seer quest was broken. Luckily my game wasn’t impacted and by the time I explored all of the first area, the quest proceeded smoothly. There were issues I was having with wealth that were frustrating. So when you killed the mini boss of a big wealth section you’re supposed to get wealth from them. I got a messed up looking mannequin and had to reload and do it again so the game would accept it. This has also been fixed!

I did see a low poly boat with a mannequin figure and also a child did appear to be growing while he walked during a quest because he was all of a sudden my height, but he shrunk down again!

First Time Advice

So I explored all of Norway before playing through the story and going to England. I do not recommend doing this! First, you cannot do the Leap of Faith until you unlock it. You also need to visit the first settlement in Norway to unlock steal assassinations which make entering wealth areas so much easier! Also Norway was mostly snowy mountains so I did find the first area boring after a while while England has a lot of different colors and environments. It would be better to go back and forth between the two areas instead of only focusing on one area at a time.

Be a Viking!

I am really enjoying this game now that I am in England! I am looking forward to upgrading my settlement and doing all of the activities and side quests! I am also interested in seeing how this story develops and it is currently focused on building a new life. I wonder if some great conflict will arise; something that will drive the plot forward.

What do you think about playing a Viking?

Alice: Madness Returns – A Beautiful Story With Flaws

I finished Alice: Madness Returns after I finally had time to sit down and complete it. It tells a beautiful story about overcoming trauma. The issues with I have with this game are mainly bugs and it feeling like a rushed game.

Story

In the last game Alice manages to wake herself from her coma by reconciling her guilt over her parents fire. But the trauma still remains. Her brain can’t let go of the fire even thought her psychiatrist, Dr. Bumby, encourages her to forget everything. The story takes place in both London where Alice tries to figure out what exactly happened the night of the fire and in Wonderland which is being ruined by an evil train.

Level Design of Wonderland

The game is separated into stages each with it’s own separate theme. You start out in Wonderland with Alice’s standard dress. You also get a steampunk dress for the Mad hatter, a Siren dress for an underwater level, a dress inspired by China for a China level, a hearts dress for The Queen of Hearts, and a patchwork dress for Dollhouse. The dresses were really fun and had lots of variety.

The levels were mostly fun. There was a ton of platforming that got more complex as the game progressed. Later on there are timed puzzles that were the hardest part where there would be two platforms that would change height based on the weight put on one of them like a scale. So you had to put a little clockwork bunny bomb down and race to the other platform before the timer went off. My other favorite levels were the little slides you could go down because it reminded me of a Harry Potter game I played, I think The Prison of Azkaban, where there were ice slides you could go down.

There are also collectibles in the level like bottles and extra dialogue that reveal more of the story. Collecting all of these will reward you with bonus content like artwork. You can use Shrink Mode during the game to find paths for these collectibles. There will be drawing of a bottle or perhaps a drawing of a memory. You can shoot pepper at pig’s noses to reveal hidden paths. Sometimes there are invisible walkways only revealed through Shrink Mode. My favorite was finding an Easter Egg where Spicy Horse’s logo could be seen by Shrinking down near a large teapot in the China world.

The levels did sometimes feel like they were dragging on especially since the environments looked similar. Besides the slides, there was nothing to really break up the levels. There are puzzles but these puzzles repeat like a sliding puzzle or a rhythm puzzle that lags. This game has no boss fights besides a final boss. There were mentions of a boss during Hatter’s stage but the boss defeats itself. I’m thinking that there was not enough time to design boss fights which is why they are not there.

Best Level

This goes to the Queen of Hearts level. There were occasional chase scenes with an Executioner. It also had a fun mini game section where you became a giant Alice and got to smash your enemies.

London Level Design

These levels were very small sections which did have some fun little parts. Basically each section of London would hint to the next area. So you go to a mermaid bar you enter an underwater level later. You got to a man obsessed with China you go to a level that is Chinese influenced.

The most intriguing part was when it wasn’t real at all. There’s one part where Alice gets eaten by The Red Queen. She wakes up in an insane asylum. The game then demonstrates techniques used in Alice’s era like leeches or drilling holes in the head. It then would show disturbing imagery such as a room with bloody drills in the ceiling or leeches falling down from the ceiling. Towards the end you could see insane people with disturbed faces.

Bugs

This game could be a bit buggy although it never crashed on me. The rythym puzzles felt like they were lagging as it was hard to time the notes correctly. I would think I was pressing at the right time and I wasn’t. There was also a weird bug where any time Alice entered a level she would automatically start running forward unless you hit a wall to stop here. It was a minor problem until I had to follow a corridor of lights and she kept running in the oppoesite direction until I paused the game.

There were also odd glitches. When the screen was supposed to black out I could still see things happening which caused some funny moments like seeing The Mad Hatter being taken and the scene blacking out and he’s just hanging out waiting for the next scene to load. The final bonus level area where you can collect paint for hearts there were missing textures. It wasn’t my computer as I looked up other playthrough’s to check and no there were just black textures in some places. This also led me to believe that this was rushed as it should have been caught.

Major Theme: Trigger Warning of Sexual Assault

The game’s plot twist is the fire was not an accident. The psychiatrist, Dr. Bumby, raped Alice’s sister and then burnt the house down to hide the evidence. The game hints at this very early on until it is very much obvious in the Dollhouse level. How the game handles this is a mix of really well done and odd.

To start, I’m going to talk about the enemies. Your very first enemies are black sludge babies. This could be the earliest hint of abuse and if it is; the impact is lost. At first it is creepy and disturbing but various types of this enemy will keep reappearing so it feels like it gets turned into a generic battle. But, there is an effective enemy in Dollhouse. There are these dolls and when you hit them their clothes will fall off and then their beating heart is exposed. That was genuinely disturbing and I felt extremely uncomfortable with those battles.

There are subtle hints throughout the story and that’s’ when I think the game is at it’s strongest. If you’re paying attention at the beginning, there are kids with numbers hanging around confused around Dr. Bumby’s orphanage. Later on, the game shows this kids as dolls who are being groomed for further abuse by adults and Alice was being conditioned to be like them. That was very effective to show you something small and then do a major reveal at the end.

Dollhouse was a bit over the top. I think it was effective but it could be potentially too disturbing and triggering. In two parts of the level there are dolls with doors. One you have to enter in through a hole in the front of the doll where there’s a big hole below the chest and the doll looks like it’s screaming and the other door you enter in through a hole of the rear and the doll looks very upset. That made me extremly uncomfortable and didn’t want to proceed but it was the only way to get through the game. I feel that was a bit too strong of an image even though it was highly effective.

Final Boss

After Alice figures out that she was mentally blocking out Dr. Bumby grooming kids and that he was attempting to do the same as her via this train she becomes enraged. Bumby insists that she can’t win because she’s considered insane. This starts the final fight.

The boss fight is also very disturbing. He grabs Alice and you have to defeat him by hitting his tongue covered in the black sludge and doll faces from the first monsters you see in the game. It is very clear that Alice was probably assaulted by him as well. It was the toughest fight in the game and I did die in this section due to a hand move that could wipe out a few of Alice’s rose health icons.

This leads to an ending that’s probably the happiest Alice could have. She pushes Bumby into an oncoming train full of new children he intends to groom then she walks off into a London that is now like Wonderland in her Alice dress finally free of her abuse and with a full restored Wonderland.

Final Thoughts

While this game isn’t perfect, I still would recommend it. The fighting was fun even with the repetitive enemies. The platforming and slide sections were fun. It also was overall a powerful story of a women overcoming child abuse and also fighting to protect others. It’s also a tale of Alice finding herself again even and coming to terms with what happened to her and her family now that she knows everything. While it does have bugs they were pretty minor and the game was still very enjoyable. I would reccomend getting the version I got on Humble Bundle which is The Complete Edition so you could both this game and American Mcgee’s Alice.

What did you think of this game?

My Plan for 2020 Month of Halloween

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I love Halloween and enjoy dressing up and watching horror films! This year I have new games to play and films to watch! I am dressing up as Kairi from Kingdom Hearts 3. I was her last year and due to COVID I did not want to get a new costume. I am hoping to possible be Harley Quinn next year.

Games

I enjoy playing Ghost Master every Halloween. It’s a game on Steam where you control ghosts and solve puzzles which usually involves scaring people or freeing ghosts. It’s a game from my childhood that I was glad Steam had so I could play it again!

This year Alice: Madness Returns is going to be played! I am working on finishing it and with it’s creepy atmosphere it is perfect for Halloween. This game is the sequel to American Mcgee’s Alice where Alice must go back to Wonderland to figure out who started the fire that killed her parents.

Finally, a pleasant surprise. I woke up last weekend to find out that Silent Hill 4 was on GOG! I am super excited as I’ve always wanted to play a Silent Hill game! So far it is definitely creepy with the weird locked apartment you’re in and the tunnel that leads to the subway. The protagonist is also surprisingly nonchalant about everything. He is really calm for someone that has been padlocked in his apartment.

Film/TV

This year I met a new friend that has given me a long list of Halloween films to watch including some horror anime and Tim Burton films.

I am currently watching BeetleJuice and Let the Right One In. I saw Let Me In years ago and it was my favorite horror film and Let The Right One In is the original Swedish version of the film. It’s basically about a young boy who falls in love with is vampire neighbor.

I also want to watch the original Prom Night as I have only seen the remake and the remake is one of my favorite films! I love prom so I love that their is a film that is basically prom and horror. I also want to watch a horror anime and maybe an Asian horror film as Amazon Prime and my smart TV both have them.

What are your plan for this Halloween?