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

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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?

Witcher 3 and Worldbuilding

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of my favorite worlds to explore in gaming. As I am replaying the game, I am appreciating all the little things they do to keep me imersed.

Landscapes and City Life

The world is beautiful. Just look at any screenshot of this game and you feel like you’re in another world. The trees are beautiful and lush. The weather system is realistic like the when it rains or a storm is coming. The day and night cycle causes different things to occur like maybe the villagers are asleep at night. There are items you can collect while exploring such as different flowered trees being a symbol that you can collect herbs to use for potions.

The cities are also fun to see during different hours of the day. In the daytime you can see vendors and people shopping. You can also hear live bands. At night you can see guards patrolling the area or in Novigrad you can run into bandits. If you go into a tavern you can usually see someone there at any time of the day. All these little things make you feel like you’re in a real city.

Encouraging Exploration

One of the first things I do when I open up a new area is look at all the new sign boards in the area. Seeing them on the large map and going to them unlocks new fast travel areas and reading the signboards unlocks quests and question marks. Question marks are fun to explore because maybe you find hidden treasure, maybe you help the villagers gain back a piece of land that has been overrun by monsters, maybe you stumble across a monster’s nest. Another fun part is when you come across something that is way too challenging. A skull will appear next to the area you explored to let you know you can go back there later once you’ve leveled up some.

Characters

Each minor or major character in this game has a unique story that makes them feel real. For example, I am currently on the quest “Broken Flowers” and every single woman that I have met has something unique about them. The first woman I talked to turned out to be twins that were playing a prank by pretending to be each other. I also learned that one sister wrote a letter to Dandelion so that the other sister who had a crush on him could meet her. Later on, that same character led me to a “Fencing Lessons” side quest where I got to learn more about her personality.

Speaking of Dandelion, I do love how this game builds on fantasy stereotypes. We have the bard whose quest to find him has me running all over town talking to the many women he flirted with. But, based on what the woman have revealed, it’s possible that he was trying to talk to them to uncover clues about something he wanted to know about.

Story Quests

Whenever a quest line ends, you get a painting that shows the ending of that quest. My favorite was just a small side quest. I had to find Corinne because she could learn about Ciri through dreams and learned that she was investigating a haunted house. I found out that she was trapped in a nightmare by a godling named Sarah. Sarah just wanted to play and didn’t understand that nightmares were bad because she loved having them. She was also the reason the house was haunted because she loved pulling pranks. I could force her to leave or let her stay. I decided to let her stay and later on found out that she became friends with Corinne and they moved in together so Sarah could have a friend. I loved the painting because there was a little picture of Geralt tucking Sarah in like she was a little kid.

Favorite Worlds To Explore

I’d like for you to think of your favorite worlds to explore. Maybe there’s a game that you’re playing right now that also gives you the feeling like you’re in another world! I am enjoying replaying The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and I am looking forward to writing more about it as I progress more in the story.

Let me know your favorite gaming worlds in the comments!

Final Fantasy XIV: First Impressions and Calming Anxiety

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Final Fantasy XIV is my first major MMO. I have two free ones and this one is currently free due to a long free trial that will go up to level 60. After that, I can choose to pay for the game and it’s latest DLC and also start a subscription plan. I decided to get this on Tuesday after hearing the news about the free trial going up until 60 and I find the game to be very fun and soothing!

Past MMO Experience

So I have slowly being getting used to MMOs, but mine are all free ones. It started with my Android. I saw a game called Perfect World on there and I was in love with the mythology. I recently restarted so I could become a character that can shape shift into a fox called a Vulpine. The game is beautiful for being a mobile port. After that, Black Desert came out on mobile. I am playing as a sorcerer class and love it! It’s a fun game and I am interested in learning more about the black spirit and the story.

With COVID going on I was missing my friend so we each found an MMO. He enjoys Tera so we play that together occasionally and I like  Blade & Soul which has kung-fu style action and a story focusing on vengeance.

Creating My Character

Pretty much the first day was spent creating my character as it was actually difficult. I was between the Miqo’te which were cat-like and the Au-Ra which were dragon people. It was so hard, but I’ve never played as a dragon before and I loved the scale patterns on my character. After that I could decide the tail, the scale patterns, makeup, and any extra features.

After that, it was time to pick the class which was even harder than the first choice. The issue I was having is I needed to choose between a physical class and a magic class. There was also a world I wanted to start in, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to the class. It was Limsa Lominsa which kinda looked like Alcamoth to me from the pictures. I decided to go with a Lancer and I thought I would play a physical class better, and I can do more classes on one character later.

After that there was a goddess and birth date. I decided to match my birthdate to the goddess I chose. I chose Halone who was a warrior.

Story and Quests

I got distracted by side quests like I usually do so I have not seen much of the main plot. I know that there was a war in Eorzea caused by Bahamut 5 years ago. I am an adventurer who has arrived at Gridania and I am currently helping out the locals there.

So far I have learned how to collect items, fight enemies with my lance (which have so far just been ladybugs, squirrels, and mushrooms), and learned more about how the game works. I have not had any memorable quests yet, but I am still having fun getting experience and just exploring!

Exploration

This has been the most fun for me and the most relaxing part of this game! Some players have minions so I can see red pandas, dogs, and moogles. I saw the cutest delivery moogle hovering over a rock. I also have seen fireworks at night which was fun! Last time I logged on, it was raining. The world is so pretty and detailed! The fireworks were the most relaxing part for me because I just had my character dance around while I watched fireworks and it was really nice to just relax.

I also learned about FATE running around which are timed events. I went into a village and there were opo-opos running around. I was too low leveled, but I had fun learning the combat more. I did find another one that was in my level and also helped me get my first main quest done because it involved a lot of fighting mushrooms!

Future Plans

I would like to explore more classes. I want to try to do the Arcanist class for my character so she can have physical and magic. I also want to go to Limsa Lominsa when I am able to. I really need to get a chocobo so I don’t have to walk everywhere, but I’ll need to level up more first. I am looking forward to playing more of the free trial becuase it is fun and relaxing game for me to play!

What are your thoughts on Final Fantasy XIV?

 

Adventures in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Replaying The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been really fun! It’s all I have been playing lately so I wanted to highlight some memorable things that have happened while I was playing.

Exploration

I entered the Novigrad and Velen areas and the first thing I like to do is collect quests and explore the area as reading notice boards brings up question marks for treasure or monsters. So I started visiting the notice boards and exploring all the question marks that came up.

I forgot that once you exit the tutorial area, exploring can be dangerous because you can easily run into very powerful monsters. That’s how I have a fast travel location that spawns me into a group of powerful ghouls which I have to run away from. I have also had to come back to some question marks later because of golems (which I somehow forgot were a thing) and wyverns (basically dragons that can’t fly).

Another funny and scary thing that happened while I was exploring was a leschen appeared. They scare me, I don’t like how powerful they are plus the creepy long black robe and antler skull head. Of course he had to appear while I was adjusting to wearing glasses while gaming since they’re meant to give my left eye a boost and protect me from blue light and glare. So a nice stroll through the forest admiring how detailed things were from further away turned into a chase, but I somehow got away from it!

The only other glasses related incident happened during a quest that luckily didn’t involve combat at the time. I like drinking tea at night and knew that it can fog up my glasses, but I also liked how clear I can see the TV with them on so I figured while exploring a side quest I could keep them on unless combat happened. So while this woman was telling me please do not explore this side quest further as no one needs to know what happened to her sister, my glasses started fogging up but I could still see her and see that she was hiding something.

Contracts

Patrol Gone Missing

This one I came across accidentally. I was exploring and a wyvern appeared. I panicked because they’re typically too high level for me so instead of planning like I have been trying to do before fights; I just kept hitting it with my sword. I somehow survived and then the contract was complete.

Jenny O’ The Woods

This one was really sad, but there are sad contracts in this game. Usually if you come across a wraith contract, you know something traumatic happened to her. In this case she loved someone and wanted to leave her abusive relationship. The guy found out and killed them both. She appears at night in a black dress and was hard at first due to a small error. I didn’t wait until night to prepare with bombs, potions, and oils. I meditated during the day to wait until night came to make her appear after drinking the potions and preparing the oils so they wore off and she killed me quickly. When I prepared at night and then summoned her, the fight was easy!

The Merry Widow

This one was a creepy one. It involved a grave hag and she kept talking about her wanting her bones back. She was in the old graveyard luring kids out and killing them. She also had a tongue vine move that could really hurt so I had to make sure I dodged so I would not take damage.

Side Quests

Thou Shalt Not Pass

I love the reference to The Lord of the Rings films! Basically I needed a pass to enter Radovid’s areas. I could have gotten one for finding out who was killing the troops. It turned out to be elves and I like elves so I decided to leave them alone. Because I did not tell the guard who was killing the troops I had to get them from a shady merchant. Somehow the guards fell for it and let me in even thought the writing was atrocious and there was no stamp.

Wild at Heart

This was the most recent sidequest I did. This man lost his wife in the woods. The village including him thought she was killed by wolves. While exploring her sister came by and told me not to explore further because there was no use finding out how the sister died. I could have stopped but I wanted to see what had happened. It turns out she technically killed her sister. She was in love with her sister’s husband who was a werewolf and did not know the sister knew he was a werewolf. She brought her sister to see her werewolf husband to scare her off from marrying him which led to him accidentally killing her. He then wants to kill the sister for forcing him to kill someone. I let him do it because I was mad that she killed her sister out of jealousy and then the werewolf asked me to kill him so he wouldn’t kill anymore and Geralt automatically did that.

Meeting Characters From Previous Games

Letho

I met Letho after a widow asked me to save her old home from monsters. The home was abandoned and full of traps where I met Letho. He was on the run after the man who hired him to slay the king in the last game decided to kill him to hide what he did. I chose to follow Letho where he confronted the people who were after him and Geralt offers him a place at Kaer Morhen.

Lambert

I found Lambert, who I know now from both the books and the games, while I was hunting a werewolf. Lambert killed the werewolf and then he is after all the men who killed his best friend Aiden (who now reminds of Beyond: Two Souls because I just completed the game). I helped him find leads, but I need to go to the next area to finish the quest. I want to finish the main quests in the area I am currently in before continuing.

Continuing Story

I have finally see what The Wild Hunt can do again. I was meant to meet a contact that was following Ciri. The Wild Hunt came and killed him and now the area is permanently covered in frost. I am on my way see the witch who saw Ciri last.

What games have you all been playing recently? Any stories from the games you have been playing?

 

Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition: First Impressions

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I beat Xenoblade Chronicles on my 3DS recently and was really excited to get the Definitive Edition on the Switch so I could play the game the Future Connected story and also having the option to replay the game on a bigger screen with easier controls, an enhanced soundtrack that I could hear from my TV as opposed to the little speakers on my 3DS, and improvements to make the game easier to navigate and play.

Improvements to the Main Story

The quests are now much easier to navigate. You will see exclamation points on the map and when you choose a specific side quest, the exclamation points will turn blue and a helpful path will show you where to go. No more looking everywhere and googling to find a specific item or monster!

Meeting people and interacting with them is important in Xenoblade as bonds are important to this story. It’s much easier to find characters as they appear with green dots on the map. Also the auto run feature is so helpful because the maps in these game can be massive so having the game run for you makes navigation much easier!

The cosmetic option is fun because I can put outfits together instead of having odd mismatched gear. The game comes with some already available like swimsuits for everyone or alternate colors for the uniforms they wear when they first appear in the game.

Graphics wise the game is so beautiful now! It’s a major change from someone who was playing on the lowest graphics on the 3DS and still found the game spectacular. The monsters look more realistic, characters have more details. My favorite change so far has to be Reyn. Yes, he did lose his cartoonish look, but I do love his new character model!

The soundtrack is amazing! I love the orchestra and the electric guitar sounds awesome! I love what they did to the soundtrack! I stopped to listen to the opening song when the game loads up and it was just so beautiful!

I do love that there is a Casual mode as it’s so far making the game easier on me! But, if you want a challenge there is an Expert mode. I always play on easy so I’m not about to try that, but it does appear that you can easily make this game tougher if you want to.

Future Connected

Melia and Shulk travel to Alcamoth because Melia wants to restore her home. Alcamoth attacks them and they crash land on the Bionis shoulder. They meet High Entia survivors who tell them that they had to set up the defense system of Alcamoth because a fog monster has been attacking anyone who enters.

The battle system is similar so far. Luckily, I still remember Melia’s strong Topple combo so I have been doing well in fights! There is a Nopon battle attack that unlocks when you fill the talent gauge where they will aid you in battle, but I still need to advance more in the story so I can unlock it. I got sidetracked collecting the Nopon.

The Nopon Ponspectors are my favorite part so far! You aid them in quests and then they join your party. They follow you around in a little Nopon train. It’s so cute! That’s why I haven’t advanced much in the plot. Anytime I see the Nopon Ponspector icon, I find them and do their quests so they will follow me. I have 6 out of 12. You also help the High Entia with quests as well.

A Great Game For New Players and Old Ones Too

I think the upgrades will make this much easier for someone looking to try these games! I could have had a much easier time with this game if I played it on the Switch, but I have not seen the boss battles I got stuck on yet so it may still be challenging there. On the other hand it will be easier to grind and level up now that quests are easier to track!

As for Future Connected, I am really enjoying! The Bionis shoulder is really cool with it’s cliffs and hills. I am interested to see how the story will develop once I stop collecting all the Nopon and play the story more. I really want to know what happened after the game ended! For new players, please play the main game before starting this as it spoils major plots that ruin the first time playing through the game.

What do you think of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition? Are you enjoying Future Connected?

 

Experiencing Games With Friends: Persona 5 Royal

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My best friend and I got Persona 5: Royal on the same day. It’s fun to experience this game again, but it’s even better to experience the changes with a friend! My friend managed to finish the game fairly quickly while I am still getting through it because I play games very slow plus busy with work and I don’t stay up late.

New Animations

The first thing I noticed was when the new song and opening video started which I was so excited about! I had gotten the game first so I was telling my friend how fun the new song was.

While we were playing together while talking on the phone, we noticed that the faces of the players in the text bar changed. The game would give the characters a couple of expressions, but now they seem to be more defined and we both noticed that it gave the characters a lot more emotion!

New Characters

The two major characters were Kasumi Yoshizawa and Takuto Maruki. I thought Kasumi kinda resembled me with long hair, but we both agreed that I’m way too clumsy as she was doing some complicated moves during the opening animation and prologue. I am hoping I can bond more with her character as I just unlocked her as a Confidant.

When my friend got way further into the story than I did, he said he was similar to Maruki. At first, I was confused because Maruki is awkward. But, he does like to help people and my friend is really sweet and looks after people (I’m only saying nice things about you because I know you read these, joking you’re the best!). Maruki also appears to enjoying cooking and my friend really loves cooking and has taught me some things!

New Mechanics

The first thing we both loved was the grappling hook because it was fast and fun! He also loved the showdown, but I have unfortunately not been able to trigger one yet. I only just finished the second palace so I’m sure I’ve got time. I learned the hard way about ransom always being a technique because I thought it was new, but no just got very unlucky!

I also love the Thieves Den as it’s really cool! I got a statue of Carmen while I was calling my friend while playing and I was so excited that Morgana and Ann started talking about Carmen. I also love playing cards with them!

Jose is an interesting addition to Mementos. I think he looks like a robot, but my friend wasn’t sure. I like collecting flowers and stamps for him! We also have different ways of traversing through Mementos. He prefers collecting all requests before completing a section while I complete the section first and then take requests so I can easily get to the floors that they are on.

Plot Changes

I know that there is a third semester which I am told by my friend is amazing so I really want to play it. Besides that the cleanup section was really funny! I was laughing at Maruki attempting to sprinkle the salt in an artistic manner and teased my friend that yeah he would also be that extra when he cooks!

Confidant Changes

The first thing I noticed with Ryuiji was hanging out with him resulted in a phone call afterwards It now seems that every time I bond closer with a character, they call me which is super sweet! I love getting phone calls from friends so I really enjoy that addition!

Boss Changes

I noticed when fighting Kamoshida that he summoned slaves which made me angry. I was just enraged when he summoned Shido, who he sexually assaulted,  and put her in a playboy bunny costume demonstrating how he saw her. I was very disturbed and desperately wanted to defeat him.

Madarame got me with his mirror images. I was so annoyed that they kept respawning until the end of the fight, but it was funny that they eventually got weak because he is a terrible artists. The one dumb thing I did was use abilities that targeted multiple people as one or two Madarame clones would be weak to it, but the other ones would block it back at me.

New Experiences Every Time I Play

I do love that every time I play this game, I see something new! My favorite part is sharing what I’ve seen with my best friend. It allows us to bond during quarantine. That’s what I love about playing video games while corona is going around; they still allow me to bond with friends and become closer with my friends.

What games have helped you bond with your friends recently?

 

Xenoblade Chronicles and Changing Destiny

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Destiny is the second main theme of Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. It starts with the idea of using the Monado to change fate because it is the only weapon that can fight the Mechon to Shulk using the Monado to see the future. Eventually the idea of changing destiny goes to changing the fate of the world. This game is really ambitious when it comes to the story which is why I love it! For this please do not read if you have not played or finished the game as this will involve the crazy twists at the end that really shake up the story and universe! 

Shulk and the Monado

Shulk is the only character that can wield the Monado properly as most people end up getting hurt by the weapon. Shulk also gains special abilities from the Monado such as visions. At first it seems like they cannot do much as his vision that Fiona will be killed still ends up to her death.

But, once he starts talking to people and being open about his visions, he is really able to change the future. One moment I remember is when he sees a vision that Sharla will die trying to save her brother Juju from a Mechon. He is able to stop the future by warning Sharla and Juju is saved.

The gameplay also allows you to change the future. Shulk can see what will happen in battle and you can tell a character how to avoid the attack or stop it yourself with the Monado. For example, if you see that a character will take enough damage to kill them, either tell them to put a shield up or use a Monado art and they will survive the attack and take less damage.

World

The world was actually designed to fight each other due to Zanza, the creator of this world. It seems like the people of Bionis and Mechnois can never get along, but he wanted that. Zanza wanted power and to do that he decided to destroy Mechonis. He brought the Monado to earth so that someone would be foolish to pick it up. Zanza needs power because without destruction, he will cease to exist. The people of Bionis give him energy when they die.

When someone did, Zanza took over their body and started fighting Mechonis. Egil, the leader of the Mechonis revolution, witnessed this destruction he vowed to destroy Bionis to kill Zanza. Egil at the end sacrified himself to protect Bionis from Zanza and the Mechon started helping Bionis defend against Zanza.

The fate of the High Entia were also changed. High Entia had this rule where they wanted a Homs and High Entia to produce children so they would be more like Homs. At first that seemed really weird, but they were trying to change their fate. Zanza created them so that they would turn into monsters called Telethia who would kill the people of Bionis for Zanza when he commanded them to. Melia and the other half High Entia were able to avoid becoming Telethia and were able to live a normal life though they mourned the loss of their families.

Creator and Destiny

Zanza and Meyneth, the creator of Mechonis, have two different visions of the world they created. Zanza wants the world to fuel him. He enjoys conflict and destruction because it gives him power. Meyneth only wants the people to have a happy future where they can decided their own destinies.

This world was created by Zanza (which is where the ending just really changes the story). So the world was created as a computer program to look at how universes are made and evolve. Zanza, or Klaus as he was known, decided to execute the world before it was fully tested. That led to the destruction of our world and the beginning of Bionis and Mechonis. The Monado has power in this world because it is the computer that build this world.

Ending and Lessons Learned

When Zanza destroys the universe, Shulk and his friends fight him. Shulk is able to create his own Monado and can still see the future. He is able to defeat Zanza by seeing the future. After that he gets to decide the fate of the universe. He decides to let the people decide their future and the people of Bionis and Mechonis live in harmony on Colony 6.

This game teaches us that destiny and fate can be changed. We are not stuck on one path if our future is not how we envisioned it to be. Instead we can create our own future with persistence. Shulk tried everything he could to change the future over an over 100 hour story and he was able to change it and create his own future. So whenever you feel stuck or like your future isn’t going the way you want it to, know that the future belongs to you.

What did you think of the ending of Xenoblade Chronicles? 

Xenoblade Chronicles and Perseverance: Tough Bosses

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Xenoblade Chronicles 3D has to be the hardest game I have ever played. I had to retry the entire game 3 times in order to get grinding and quests right. The first time I made way too many mistakes and ended up being very underleveled for all boss fights. I decided to retry again a couple years later, but loss\t interest. The third time I decided to try again, I had forgotten everything about the game so I decided to begin a fresh save. Now I am finally at the final boss. I actually managed to do pretty well with this game except for two bosses which taught me about patience and strategy.

Gadolt

This was the first boss that I ran into major problems with. Usually after doing most of the side quests, I could easily take a boss down, but not this one. He is also apparently one of the hardest bosses in the game which is how I got the achievement Phoenix for 50 game overs total (a good chunk was from him and also Metal Face).

The first thing I did was grind by doing all side quests to try to get closer to his level. That helped me a lot, but he still was hard. He’s a hard enough boss with his deadly attacks (I can still remember hearing “This shot will take you down” before he basically killed most of my party). So I looked on YouTube and also at posts by others who were stuck on the fight.

After trying to use different party members, I believe I won using either Shulk or Melia with Reyn and Sharla. Sharla healed everyone while I took out the guardians and eventually just kept knocking Gadolt out until the fight was over.

Disciple One

This one had me wanting to quit the game. She is known to be the hardest boss in this game. She summons enemies that grant her 100% defense against physical attack unless you take most of them down. On top of that she has powerful attacks and also she is a large boss in a small area surrounded by toxic ether. She can push your party members and you into the toxic ether just by moving around. I died here more than Gadolt and was very annoyed by hearing “You will pay for your insolence” several times during this fight.

Looking up help for this one was actually funny. It would go between helpful advice to hearing that people just quit the game at this point because of how tough she is. I just grinded until she was not in the yellow (yellow means that the boss is slightly harder because your party is too low).

Then, I just kept trying different party combinations. I eventually just used Melia, Riki, and Sharla because two of those mostly attacked using ether instead of physical attacks. It was basically luck that got me to win because I used chain attacks to take her down. If I wasn’t lucky she would take Melia out which would cause me to lose the battle fairly quickly.

Lessons Learned

I learned that with patience, strategy, and trying multiple times, I can do anything! I really learned about patience when I needed to wait a while to do quests and grind before I could fight a boss. I also learned strategy with choosing the right party that went could help each other out, making sure they had the right equipment with gems to increase certain stats, and making sure they had the right Arts selected. After I tried multiple strategies I would eventually defeat any boss.

I am currently stuck on the final boss who has three phases, but I managed to get through the first phase. I am using what I have learned to defeat the final boss!

What lessons have tough bosses in video games taught you?