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?

American Mcgee’s Alice and Mental Illness

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American McGee’s Alice is a game that I have been wanting to play, but at the time I could only get the sequel: Alice: Madness Returns on Origin. Last week, I saw a Facebook ad that Humble Bundles released Alice: Madness Returns – The Complete Edition so I decided to get the game again so I could play the original game and get the fun DLC for the sequel which include like new costumes and weapons. I am very glad I did as I loved this game especially due to how it portrayed mental illness!

Background

American McGee’s Alice is a horror interpretation of Alice in Wonderland by American McGee. Alice’s parents died in a fire while she was asleep. She managed to wake up and flee, but her parents did not survive. Alice could not cope so she became catatonic and was put in an asylum until she woke up. Alice goes into Wonderland after her stuffed rabbit appears to beg her for help.

Alice is in Wonderland which has been deformed showing how her mental state has declined. The Queen has corrupted Wonderland turning into a land of ruin and horror. You can see her corruption in the form of tentacles that have spread throughout the different levels. The inhabitants of Wonderland are also corrupted with the Chesire cat being so thin you can see his bones and horrendous creatures such as the boojum roaming around. The music also has a psychological effect on the gamer with eerie synths mixed in with old children’s toys. Occasionally a haunting chorus or mechanical like sounds will be in the soundtrack as well. This music also shows just how much Alice’s mental state has deteriorated since the tragic loss of her parents. Alice’s mental state is also part of the game. Your health bar is a Sanity meter which deteriorates as you take hits and powerful attacks can only be used through Willpower which is like the magic in this game. Most weapons except for the beginning weapon require Willpower to use.

The Loss of Innocence

When the game begins, Alice sees The White Rabbit which kinda resembles her stuffed rabbit except The White Rabbit is in better shape. Alice’s first task is to track down her beloved Rabbit with the help of Chesire’s advice. Chesire serves as Alice’s guide throughout the game. I believe you could ask him for hints as a button exists for that, but it doesn’t work in the remastered version that I played. I believe he also looks so thin because Alice has a real black cat and if the cat survived the first it would also be very thin.

Alice’s first area is a short mining area where the workers have been enslaved. They no longer have a will to fight back so they just do as The Queen says. Alice only wants to look for her Rabbit so she mostly ignores them. Then she goes to a school with Insane Children. Unlike Alice, there is no hope for these children. They are lost in their madness and have been experimented on by someone. They represent various mental illnesses like the happy and crying one symbolizing being bipolar. Alice is different from them as there is hope that she can still wake up from Wonderland and won’t be lost in her madness. Alice must gather ingredients from the school to grow smaller so she can find the Rabbit who shrunk himself.

Finally, the last world is The Vale of Tears which shows Alice’s grief as the water is literally tears from her statue. The first boss is The Duchess who enjoys killing people and The Queen lets her. She’s the first boss which shows you just how corrupted Wonderland has become.

After finally catching up to The White Rabbit, she loses him in The Vale of Tears. The White Rabbit is squished by The Mad Hatter who has grown quite mad. Alice loses the one friend she wanted to see most and she does not know how to go on. She feels that death follows her everywhere. Mentally, Alice cannot recognize that she is not responsible for her parents’ death. The Voracious Centipede is the next boss she faces who is Alice’s last obstacle before she can grow up. Alice shrunk into a small state so she can be with her Rabbit. Now that her childhood has been destroyed with the Rabbit’s death, Alice must grow up by eating a Mushroom which allows her to physically grow and face the Queen.

Facing Guilt

Alice ends up in a hellish landscape which acts as a hub world. This world connects to the next set of levels before Alice will finally fight The Queen. But, Alice must first go through this hell and find pieces of for the Jabberwocky staff which will open the door to The Queen.

While Alice is finding these pieces, she is captured by The Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter shows just how “mad” Wonderland has become. He has turned himself into a machine and has started doing experiments on The Dormouse, The March Hare, and The Gryphon. He also experiments on The Insane Children which shows Alice’s fate. These Insane Children are turned into automaton monsters that attack Alice. They can only do what their creator commands them and no longer have any “sanity” or “will” of their own. Alice’s brain seems to be aware that this will be her fate if she doesn’t wake up soon. Alice has to first fight Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum which reference the orderlies who have been abusing Alice while they think she is not aware of what’s going on around her. Then, Alice must fight her madness through The Mad Hatter.

After that comes a very emotional boss. The Jabberwocky. The Jabberwocky is all the pain and guilt Alice is feeling. He tells her that she was too busy dreaming of Wonderland to save her parents and the boss fight takes place in her house on fire. Alice receives help from The Gryphon, but he is killed when she has to face The Jabberwocky the second time. Alice must face her guilt alone, but The Gryphon gives her advice before passing away. He just tells her to try her best to face The Queen. It’s such a small line, but it has an impact on me. I have anxiety and sometimes it’s really nice to hear that I just have to “try my best” instead of feeling like I have to do everything perfectly.

Facing Yourself

Alice must then fight through The Queen’s castle. The castle is macabre; full of tentacles, blood, and flesh. It’s a physical reminder of how disturbed The Queen is. Before Alice can face The Queen, she has to lose everyone. The Chestire Cat dies while explaining to Alice how both she and The Queen cannot survive. The Queen makes sure that Alice has lost all of her allies and must face The Queen alone.

The Queen is a two part battle. The first part shows a figure with no face whose body is connect to Wonderland through tentacles. After that, the form changes into Alice and The Mad Hatter, The Queen is Alice and her madness. That’s why Alice must face her alone. She must face all of her trauma and mental illness by herself as she needs to free herself from this hell she’s trapped in. The Queen tells Alice that there is no hope causing Alice to feel despair. But hope appears in the form of a butterfly which protects Alice through the final fight. It quickly restores her Willpower while she fights against The Queen until The Queen dies.

The End

After facing herself, Wonderland is restored to it’s beauty. Also, all of Alice’s friends are brought back to life. Alice is able to wake up and leave the asylum. She also finds that her cat has survived. By facing her madness and learning to accept everything she has gone through, Alice can finally wake up and live her life the way she chooses.

Have you played American Mcgee’s Alice? What games do you think portray mental health in a positive light?

Beyond: Two Souls -An Emotional Journey

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I found out that Beyond: Two Souls was on Steam recently. I had watched it played years ago when it first came out on YouTube so I was really excited to finally play it for myself! I loved the story and I loved that I could create my own unique story.

Plot

Jodie has Aiden, an entity who has been with her since she was born. She is haunted by other entities because of Aiden. She is also forsaken by her family when she is young because her father thinks she is a monster child. Aiden is protective of Jodie so he sometimes causes havoc. You control Jodie and Aiden and shape Jodie’s story as she looks back on her memories and makes a choice about her future.

Aiden

Aiden is really fun to play as! You can move around somewhat freely as him. You just can’t stray too far from Jodie as you are linked to her. Aiden can be quite destructive as you can destroy things just as breaking a mirror when Jodie throws a tantrum because she cannot go out to see her friends. The most memorable scene was when Jodie was locked in a closet during a birthday party and you can leave. But, I got mad so I used Aiden to wreak havoc on the teens, plus one boy pretended to like her only to call her a slut later and I really wanted to teach him a lesson!

Major Traumatic Events for Jodie

War

Jodie is forced to fight for the CIA because they want to weaponize Aiden. She goes to Somalia to take down a corrupt leader. The people are fighting in the streets and it looks really bad. You see a kid with a wounded leg and you help him. When Aiden kills the leader, the kid’s father dies too which leaves him distraught. Jodie gets shot in the leg trying to flee. She then finds out on the plane ride home that the leader was elected by the people and was trying to stop the violence in the county. Jodie was tricked so she flees out of the plane with Aiden’s shield. Jodie then is forced to hide from the CIA and go on the run.

Homeless

Jodie runs away and the game skips to winter where she is dying because she is stranded in the cold. A man named Stan helps her and you meet his “family”. There’s Tuesday who’s pregnant and you can tell her that her baby is doing well. Jimmy is struggling with drug abuse and you can heal his wounds which helps him get sober. Finally, Walter who is a struggling alcoholic. Stan is struggling after his wife passed away and you can send a message that she wants him to be happy.

This game also touches on how people treat the homeless. Jodie struggles to make only $5.00. After Stan gets groceries with the money (if you can get the $5.00), he is beaten up by two guys on camera and Jodie can save him. These guys later set the house you’re staying at after Tuesday gives birth on fire. Jodie can save everyone from the fire and they go on to lead happy lives.

Stan and his “family” are one of the many caring people that Jodie meets. It’s tough on Jodie because she is used by everyone. People want her for Aiden and her abilities and she just wants a normal life.

Caring People in Jodie’s Life

Jake

You meet Jake after Jodie has to run away and she goes to Nevada. She is starving and dehydrated and comes across a barn. She meets Jake and his family. His father, Paul, offers Jodie a place to stay where she can stay as long as she wants. Jodie helps them with an entity that’s been haunting their place for years. Jodie finds peace there and decided to go back to see Cole.

Cole and Nathan

Cole and Nathan become Jodie’s adoptive parents when her foster family couldn’t handle raising her. Cole calls her “princess” and Nathan comforts her and treats her like she is his own daughter. Cole is really kind to Jodie, but Nathan does change. He loves his wife and kids which makes him so desperate to see him that he wants to use Jodie when he sees her again so he can be with them.

Ryan

Ryan is the opposite of Nathan. He starts out as really annoying and I thought he was an asshole. You have a date night with him and you think that he likes Jodie. I was so nervous for this date because I haven’t been on one and I was stressed about the cooking and what to wear. It was funny! But, I hated him when I found out that He tricked Jodie into killing the Somali leader. When Jodie confronts him, he says he was following orders and doesn’t see why she is upset.

It’s not until the last parts of the game that I changed my mind. First, Jodie is put on another mission by the CIA in exchange for her freedom. She has to destroy a portal to the world where entities come from; the Infraworld. Ryan rescues Jodie after she is attacked trying to escape after she shut down the portal. When Ryan believes Jodie is dead, he stays with her and refuses to leave her side. Jodie lives, but then the CIA tries to kill her by putting her in a medical coma because she knows about their plans for their own portal to the Infraworld. Ryan abandons the CIA to help Jodie and then I liked him much better. He cared so much for Jodie that he went against orders to help her.

Ending

After everything Jodie has been through, she decides to spend time alone. Her last trip to shut down the Infraworld portals for good causes her to lose Aiden. From there, I can pick her ending. I struggled and asked a friend for help. I decided for her to live with Jake because she would be with family plus I did really like Jake! I loved this game and I loved that I can play it and change the story and see different outcomes. I really recommend that you play this game!

What did you think of Beyond Two Souls or any other games by David Cage?

 

Random Events I’ve Seen in GTA Games So Far

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Being an open world game means that you see some really strange stuff exploring the different cities in the Grand Theft Auto games. Some stuff happened in missions, others were while I was just exploring looking for missions or things to do.

Vice City

Right away my favorite car was an Infernus because it was very fast and I loved the look of it. I found it because it was being driven by other drivers in the area.

The civilians in this game have dived out in front of my car several times like they’re trying to do insurance fraud. One guy dived underneath my car while I was parked and then got stuck so the other NPCs in the game started hitting my car. Cars have the same issue. I’ve been driving and they will swerve into me even if I am driving straight.

My favorite radio stations so far are Flash FM for 80’s pop and V-Rock for the 80’s rock. I also learned that cars on the side of this road do not mean free as taking a motorcycle conveniently placed next to a mission turned into a police chase.

My favorite dumb death of mine has to be me at the beach. I wanted to explore the beach and go into the water because I could do that in Grand Theft Auto: V. Nope, I drowned and it was barely up to my head.

Hardest mission for me so far was the worker’s riot mission as I was very quickly overpowered by the workers whether I drove in or walked in. I won by fleeing in a vehicle and watched them getting taken down by the police or the terrible drivers in Vice City.

I’m currently on the mission where I was told to destroy a building because the character who hired you wanted the real estate. I did not realize he meant use a tiny remote controlled helicopter to do that.

San Andreas

Confession time: I’ve never got past training wheels as a kid riding bikes. My biking skills are still awful in this game. I kept falling off during the very first mission in the game just like I did as a kid. I also messed up the tutorial because when I crashed the bike I landed on the car chasing me. The game did not realize that anyone would crash on top of a moving car so the car pursuing me just kept driving around in circles with me on top until it fell on it’s side exhausted from the effort of trying to shake me off. I also got stuck in the skateboard park on this bike and that was awful trying to get out of! I just could not jump out of the hole. It was a tough tutorial for me!

I am enjoying the RPG like mechanics. I manged to get lean by trying to get out of the skateboard park and failing a few times. Also the food you eat and how much you exercise affects your character. I did manage to figure out the gym mini game and decided to keep trying to build muscle until the game decided that I was done exercising my character for the day.

My favorite thing I bought for my character was a leopard cowboy hat. I bought it because I was trying to get a weird accessory, but he honestly looked great in the hat!

Grand Theft Auto: V

When I started playing as Trevor, I witnessed the police chasing a car driving recklessly but the guy got away. I was afraid to help because I did not want the police chasing me next. The drivers in this game are just as terrible as they were in Vice City. I also learned to not go into the desert without a car because I kept getting killed by cougars. So far with Trevor I can’t tell who is more deadly; the cougar or Trevor and his friends.

As Michael, I wanted to drive the red sports car parked in front of his house, but as soon as I started to get in, one of the kids took off with it!

While playing as Franklin I saw a mime, but I could not interact with it and then a bank robbery happened, but I was too slow. I did do well with Franklin in the tow truck missions except the car I was towing accidentally bumped someone while I was taking it into the towing lot. I ended up failing the mission because the guy was chasing me so I could not drop the car off and ran out of time. All because the towed car slightly bumped him!

I loved having a dog as Franklin. His name is Chop. The game noted that I could train him if I got the mobile app. I did try, but I struggled understanding the phone mini games and I kept losing and Chop started disliking me in the app (which would cause him to dislike me in the game) so I gave up on that. I appreciate walking and playing fetch with him!

What are some memorable events that you have seen in any open world games you have played?

 

Giving The Grand Theft Auto Series a Try

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The Grand Theft Auto games were originally a game that I did not want to give a chance. They’re known to feature criminals as protagonists and are also known for controversy.  But, after seeing them on sale on the PlayStation Store I decided to give the games a chance.

Why Give Chance

Besides the games being on sale, I am also really missing normal life. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, San Andreas, and V are the closest I can get to reality. I get to drive cars, hang out with people, get a haircut, watch TV.

I also softened up to them after playing Saints Row The Third on the Switch and Saints Row IV on Steam. I’ve also seen a YouTuber called Call Me Kevin play San Andreas and Vice City and they seemed like weird and funny games.

What Do I Think Now?

I really like them. I find them to be funny due to their satire. Nothing is safe in this series. My favorite satire so far is in Grand Theft Auto: V  which has a website for a teen clothing store. The store advertised cheap perfume being filtered in through the store and also that their clothing sizes are 4x too small so if you fit in a 0 you should probably seek medical attention. I remember going to one of those stores for jeans in real life and also finding out that the sizes were way too small so the game was super accurate!

I also love the side quests in Grand Theft Auto: V. My favorite is the “Exercising Demons” runner who you meet near a beach. You walk up near her, she starts swearing furiously so Micheal asks her why she is angry. She then yells at Micheal saying “I’m not angry, I’m EXERCISING!” and then you have to race her. I just love how she was just the angriest person when she was exercising. I would hate to be at a gym near her!

Progress

I haven’t gotten too far in the games as I have been distracted by Persona 5: Royal.

For San Andreas, I am now on to Big Smoke’s missions. My favorite part so far was the famous meals that Big Smoke orders and it made me laugh especially with how the other characters were looking at him. Also CJ is interesting because he wants things to be different but a cop forces him to continue being in a gang so the cop can get money.

In Vice City, I finished the crazy lawyer’s introductory missions. I would not want that guy to be my lawyer. He is neurotic and in his words he “could not even intimidate a child”. Not to mention he’s the lawyer of a mafia group. Tommy so far is a quieter protagonist  so I do not know what I think of him yet. The soundtrack is so much fun with the 80’s music.

For V, I am having the most fun since there is a lot to do in the game. I love Strangers and Freaks featuring side characters like the running woman. I also admittedly do like that it lets me skip missions if I get too stuck. The only mission I skipped was a race because I have trouble with the fast cars in this game. They tend to get out of control quickly when making turns and trying to brake while making a turn can sometimes lead the cars to spin out of control. I am currently working with Lester in this game.

Verdict

I really like these games. They’re weird and funny. The critique is my favorite part because I love how satire is used in this game from radio stations talking about violence to ads making fun of typical ads. The music is also great in these games!

One thing that is unique about San Andreas and Vice City on the PlayStation 4 is that it lets your see their original PlayStation 2 manuals which I enjoyed reading! I miss manuals and how fun they were, showing off areas of the game and setting the tone of the game before you even start playing! I loved reading the manuals for my computer games before I played them.

I am really going to enjoy playing these games despite how I am so far not too great at them. Vice City has been the hardest one for me to play so far.

What game or game series did you give a try? Were you surprised at how much you enjoyed it or did it end up not being your favorite?

Saints Row: The Third – A Unique Game For The Switch

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I decided to try the Saints Row series after Saints Row: The Third was released for the Switch! I really enjoyed this game and I would highly recommend it for anyone who has a Switch!

Performance

I wanted to address this because this was an issue at launch. When I first played the game after it was released, it did need to be put at a high sensitivity to make it easier to play and it was easier to play it in docked mode. I also did have an issue with weird textures like fog staying on the screen.

After the recent updates, the game runs perfectly! There are no sensitivity issues and now there’s an auto lock on to make the game even easier. There are no weird issues or bugs that I had. The next time I pick this up it might even have gyro controls because they did want to add that.

Basically, if you were worried about the performance on this game, it is definitely fixed and running perfectly now!

Plot

There are a few twists but the basic plot is to go after the Syndicate and the gangs involved in Syndicate to clear The Saints name as well as avenge Johnny Gat’s death. Other enemies do appear throughout the game with my favorite and toughest being STAG. I also liked that the game did have branching options depending on how you treated certain characters or which reward you picked.

Activities

Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV have similar activities such as Mayhem where you cause mayhem in Steelport. The biggest change was escort missions in Saints Row: The Third. The most entertaining escort missions were escorting Genki because he liked you to cause mayhem when you drove and escorting a tiger because the tiger would mess with your vehicle and would calm down when you power-slid the vehicle.

Completing these activities as well as doing missions, owning property, and taking out gangs would unlock a city take over which would cause the city to belong to the Saints again. I only managed to do one city as the others I still needed to drive around and finish all their side content.

Fun Moments

  • Defeating Matt Miller in cyberspace because the game kept changing from a first person game to a text adventure and sometimes the controls would switch or I would shrink. I just loved how chaotic that level was!
  • Meeting Zimos who only talks with an auto-tune mic
  • “Holding Out For A Hero” playing during the final mission
  • The Gangstas in Space DLC where I had to deal with an over dramatic director
  • The Trouble With Clones which allowed me to unlock Super Gat

“Holding Out For A Hero” Finale

I loved that this song played and it made the finale perfect! This finale is unique because you get two different paths. You can choose to either take down the main villain or save your friends. I chose to save my friends which made The Saints popular and heroes again! I loved that my version involved me climbing Steelport’s version of The Statue of Liberty; It was really fun scaling the statue!

I also did still take down the main villain, but it was in a movie called Gangstas in Space. This was a story mission at the end of the game with dramatic lines and over acting. The main villain was in a super suit in space so I had to throw lava crystals at him to lower his health.  The game ended showing the film reel wrapping up the final scene and then the credits began!

Final Thoughts

I loved the credits for this because it had pictures of the staff and they did sing a song together. My favorite picture was the ones where one of the staff members was wearing a a hot dog suit! Overall, I found the game to be really fun although the activities can be challenging. But, I found the rewards to be worth the challenge. The main story was fun and I had a good time playing through it! The DLC was fun especially the ones involving Genki. I loved this game and I am so glad I decided to try it on the Switch!

What are your thoughts on Saints Row: The Third?

Saints Row IV: Having a Good Time

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I really loved playing Saints Row IV! It was so much fun with a funny story, interesting gameplay, and kept me laughing and smiling while I was playing!

Plot

Basically you are the President of The United States who has to escape a simulation and rebuild Earth after it was taken over by aliens being led by Zinyak.

Fun Story Moments

I loved saving my team from the simulations to help defeat the aliens

  • Saving Kenzi from a 1950’s simulation by blasting Rock music and using a dubstep weapon.
  • Saving Matt from a text based computer game
  • Saving Johnny Gat from a side-scrolling beat ’em-up game

I also enjoyed having super powers in the simulation such as being able to jump, glide, and smash. I loved gaining power over the areas by defeating aliens or climbing huge towers.

Fun Side Quests

I enjoyed spending time with Pierce singing “Opposites Attract” and “Just a Friend” until that song changed from rap to opera because Zinyak wanted to mess with us. I also enjoyed showing Gat Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax which he enjoyed. There was also a funny side quest involving hanging out with Fun Shaundi who was Shaundi’s younger self who was more carefree.

Ending and Credits

The game ended with a long boss fight against Zinyak. My favorite moment was a minor bug that happened during my game. Basically the game has you kill Zinyak in a Mortal Kimbat like style. The problem was is that my character was supposed to drop his head, but didn’t. So it stayed there any time my character appeared on screen from the ending to post-credits. This was especially funny when there was a dance scene to begin the credits and Zinyak was in it.

The credits made me like cry like they always do because of the adorable pictures of the staff and they voice actors sang two songs together like “Just a Friend” I just thought it was an adorable way to end the game. I also liked that there was a finance guy with the nickname “Financy Pants”.

Good Time

This game was crazy and just a lot of fun! I found the game to be really relaxing and it made me smile and laugh! I really enjoyed playing this game and I am looking forward to the next Saints Row game.

Have you played Saints Row IV? What was a game that you had a lot of fun playing?

 

Christmas Games – Saints Row IV: How The Saints Saved Christmas

turned on red and blue merry christmas neon sign
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This month has been stressful. I was struggling to feel the excitement of Christmas so I played this DLC from Saints Row IV hoping that maybe it could help me feel the “spirit of Christmas”. It actually did with a funny but heartwarming story!

Plot

Shaundi, a Saints Row member, comes from the future to state that the world is in a catastrophe. Christmas has been taken over by Claws and there is no more cheer left in the world. The President, the custom character you play as, has to save Christmas. But, The President doesn’t care about Christmas. So they’ll need to find the Christmas spirit to help save Christmas.

Favorite Parts

I loved the theme of finding the Christmas spirit since I needed to also find the excitement I usually feel around Christmas. The President starts out by not caring, but slowly begins to like Christmas as they help Santa Claus defeat Claws.

I also loved that the enemies became gingerbread man and nutcrackers because it was really funny! The jokes they made about Santa Claus were funny too like Mrs. Claus being an absolute badass when she was protecting the workshop from Claw’s army. She really was “decking the halls”.

Claws Boss Fight

The final boss fight with Claws was really adorable! He was invincible and you had to break his defenses by spreading Christmas cheer. This involved lighting the Menorah, throwing gifts to people, and finally throwing gifts at Claws. It wasn’t a hard boss fight, but the theme was really cute because you basically destroyed him with kindness! Also the gifts were stuff that the Saints Row members wanted.

Ending and Rewards

The game gave out several rewards for completing different levels in the DLC like a Christmas Dubstep weapon, Christmas costumes like Santa Claus, Christmas helpers such as Santa Claus and Claws will help you in the main game, and Christmas vehicles like you can ride a flying reindeer.

The ending was my favorite part. The last part to saving Christmas was spreading Christmas cheer! The final cutscene involved the Saints caroling, making snowmen, and celebrating Christmas while “Jingle Bell Rock” played. It just made me smile and I started singing along!

After completing the DLC, I unlocked an activity called The Genki Holiday Special. You have to use telekinesis to throw holiday themed items such as a Christmas tree through hoops while on a time limit. I loved that the raised the pitch of the announcer’s voices so they sounded like elves and I thought it was an adorable activity!

I also unlocked Naughty and Nice where I rode in a sleigh while delivering coal and gifts to Steelport. I loved that Santa and Mrs. Claus talked to me while I rode the sleigh because some of the dialogue was funny. I laughed when Mrs. Claus berated Santa for leaving her with the elves while he got to take a joy ride around the world.

Saints Row Christmas Spirit

I enjoyed how this game helped me feel the joy of Christmas! The DLC was just long enough to keep me entertained without stretching out the plot. Each level was funny and has adorable Christmas music. The outfits allowed me to run around Steelport as Santa or Santa’s elves. I loved that the ending was all about spreading Christmas cheer!

What games do you enjoy playing around Christmas?

 

Trico and Patience

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I have been trying meditation for my anxiety. I have been using the  Calm app to teach me meditation.  It took time for meditation to start working. Meditation requires patience which can be difficult for someone like me who tends to not take time to sit still and relax. In a way, meditation is like The Last Guardian because the more patience you have with Trico in the game, the easier the game gets just as meditation gets easier with patience.

Meditation Struggles

The struggles began when I started my first meditation. I picked up a class targeted for anxiety instead of a beginner’s course so it did feel frustrating. I tried to do what they said and close my eyes and relax. But the meditation was almost 13 minutes. For someone that’s only done meditation a couple of times, that is a long time to sit there.

So what happened? Well first I decided to do it outside when it was hot so I got overheated. Then I just started feeling restless just sitting there doing nothing. I just did not want to sit still.

Trico Struggles

The beginning stages of handling Trico can also be frustrating. First, you have to get Trico to trust you and he just gets angry. You have to help him out of his chains and feed him so he knows you are not a threat. He learns to follow you, but he is still unsure of you. I gained his trust faster by petting him a lot which seems to make him like you more. I also purposefully looked out for treats because he liked them so much.

Trico also was afraid of water at first. He’s this big animal but water terrifies him. I had to coax him down with food and suddenly the water was not so bad anymore because it had tasty treats!

Meditation Training

So I switched to the 7 Days of Calm beginner session which helped me. I slowly understood how to meditate and how to stay patient. The narrator is aware that restlessness is common so they encourage through the restlessness.

The app is also encouraging because it lets you like your favorite sessions. It also has day streaks of how long you have been meditating and every sessions ends with a beautiful quote. Then there are also daily sessions which are really enjoyable and want you to come back every day.

Trico Training

Once you get far enough in the game, you can teach Trico commands. These can be used to help you get up to platforms that you cannot reach or jump across large chasms.

But, Trico is a wild animal so he may not want to do what you say. However, I found that through attention, such as pets and treats, he would respond to me faster and would help me faster. I would say he might be close to training a real animal.

Meditation Now

I have been doing meditation every day. If I do not do it first thing in the morning, I do it at night before bed. I am on the 21 Days of Calm which is the intermediate course and then from there I will focus on the anxiety courses. It does help me relax and I am trying to take what I learn from the meditation sessions and incorporate them into my life.

A common theme throughout meditation is patience and non-judgement. I have learned to be patient with my anxiety and I have learned to not judge my brain when it gets anxious. Instead I am more compassionate which helps my brain relax faster.

Trico at The End of the Game

Trico was well-trained by the end of the game. My patience and understanding of Trico led me to have a close bond with Trico. Trico would quickly respond to my commands and teamwork led me to complete the game and Trico’s story. I did not struggle with Trico not listening to me because I gave him attention throughout the game even when I did not have to.

Calm Future

I am hoping that through meditation and therapy I will be able to take better care of my anxiety. I want to be more patient with my anxiety and meditation is helping. I would recommend the Calm app and might make a future post about it!

What video game taught you the importance of patience?