What I’m Playing, part 14

What Remains of Edith Finch

This is by far one of the shortest and most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve had this year.  I think it took me a little under 3 hours to complete and it was worth it.

You play as a young woman, Edith Finch, who is returning to her family home after the death of her mother to learn the history of her family.

Along the way you’ll learn the tragic fate of each family member in turn in a house that’s as much a character in the story as the family itself.  The controls are very simple, utilizing only the R1 button and the thumb sticks to traverse a house that’s equal parts eerie and has that homey, lived in feeling.

I kept expecting it to turn into a survival horror game at any moment but was thankfully proven wrong when that never happened.

All in all, I feel like the price point versus the amount of time I got out of the game was just right and if you enjoy a purely story driven experience then this game is right up your alley.  I have a lot to say about the game but after my last couple of spoiler filled posts, I feel like keeping this gem a secret that you should discover for yourself.

  • Is 100% attainable?  Definitely if you don’t mind replaying some bits of the story to farm for the trophies
  • % of trophies at the time of writing according to PSN: 50%

The Age of Triumph

Destiny, part 15

So, with the recent announcement of Destiny 2, Bungie decided to give Destiny a proper send off, with style.  Over the course of the last month, every week one of the four raids has been the featured raid.  What does that mean?  Well, if you complete each of the challenges in the raids it means extra loot drops and new ornaments for the Age of Triumph armor pieces as well as new exotics.  On top of that, they’ve finally brought back elemental primary weapons in the form of Adept weapons from each raid (the aforementioned “new” exotics) as well as raising the Light Level for the featured raids to 390.  The difficulty feels like being back in Year One all over again and for the most part I’m enjoying every minute of it.

The first week of the Age of Triumph introduced us to a 390 version of Crota’s End (why they didn’t start things off with Vault of Glass as it was the first raid in Destiny, I don’t know) and also brought us a new modifier for Nightfall:  Daybreak.

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(Pictured here: armor from Crota’s End with full ornaments)

Daybreak means that everyone’s super charges ridiculously fast, so it made doing the Nightfall that first week rather enjoyable despite having all 3 burns active.  As for the 390 Crota’s End, that was interesting to say the least.  All of our old exploits have finally been patched out after 3 years:  no more flying across the bridge gap while the rest of the team stays on the other side and wipes, no more running the lamps solo, no more killing Crota in one sword, no nothing.  The lamps must (well, not must, should) now be run as a group to help fight off the increased amount of Thrall.  That was a “fun” learning experience to say the least.  After that, the bridge must be formed the legit way.  No big deal.  Then came both of the challenges for 390 Crota:

  • Deathsinger Challenge – kill ir-Yut last after killing all the other adds in the room, but you must use a Hive sword dropped by the last ogre.
  • Crota Challenge – use different Fireteam members to bear the sword.  No one person may hold the sword twice and dropping the sword to do something else counts against the challenge.

Needless to say, the Deathsinger Challenge was an anxiety fueled nightmare the first time we tried it.  We have to split into 3 teams of 2 (2 people each on the left and right wizard/shrieker combos and 2 others out in the central area killing everything out there in sight.  If more than 2 people die, it’s a party wipe as all hands need to be on deck to fight off the adds and the eventual 3 ogres that spawn at the end, one of which will drop the Hive sword needed to kill the Deathsinger.  Even if she’s at full health, one swipe is all it takes to kill her and then, challenge complete!  Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, my record in the Age of Triumph book (more on the new book later) is 2 minutes 11 seconds for Deathsinger’s Challenge.  To be successful, you have to complete the challenge in under 2 minutes.  Hopefully the next time Crota’s End is featured I’ll get it.

The Crota Challenge was a bit easier to handle, even if the mechanics of the fight have been altered.  In order to succeed, different people in the Fireteam have to be the sword bearer.  So far, we’ve been able to do it in 3 swords.  The fight mechanics have been changed a bit too:  sword bearer grabs the sword and the chalice, calls for the team to shoot Crota with rockets, then when he goes down the sword bearer attacks and then backs off just like before.  Then after that is the twist: once Crota gets back up, the fireteam has to shoot him with rockets then immediately switch to sniper rifles because he activates the Oversoul and it must be stopped in order for the fight to continue.  If you don’t stop the Oversoul, it’s a party wipe.  Once the Oversoul is stopped and the sword bearer attacks then backs off, it’s back into the crystal chamber as before.  Then after sword #2 is change #2 to the fight: the party must then split into 2 teams of 3 and duck into the base of the right and left towers to deal with the ogres as that phase has been moved up a step in the sequence.  After the ogres, the fight goes on to sword #3 and hopefully, Crota’s demise and a nice pile of loot.  At the time of this writing this is the only 390 raid that I’ve managed to complete all the challenges.

One humorous incident of note with this raid:  upon our first completion, everyone on the team switched characters for an immediate second run.  Hilarity ensued as our team consisted of 5 Defender Titans and one Nightstalker Hunter.  Needless to say once we got to the end of the lantern maze, we were pretty much invincible on the final plate before exiting into the next room.

Age of Triumph week 2 saw the Vault of Glass come to the spotlight and brought with it 2 new challenges for the community to deal with:

  • Templar Challenge – keep the Templar from teleporting (a bit easier said than done)
  • Atheon Challenge – every member of the Fireteam must shoot and kill 1 Oracle when Atheon opens the Timestream and splits the team in two.

The Templar Challenge isn’t really that bad as long as you can keep the team alive during the continuous onslaught of Vex while wailing on the Templar.  As for the Atheon Challenge, this has to be one of the 2 most sinister raid challenges in Destiny (the other being the Golgoroth Challenge in King’s Fall) and is sadly on the list of challenges I have yet to successfully complete.

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(Pictured here: armor from Vault of Glass with full ornaments)

Age of Triumph week 3 saw my favorite raid, King’s Fall, take center stage, but this was met with some bittersweet reception by others as they apparently still find the raid to “take too long” and “is too complicated/complex” but those are the very reasons why I enjoy this raid.  I was a little happy and a bit disappointed that the same 3 challenges from Year Two were put into effect for the featured raid slot:

  • Warpriest Challenge – no one on the fireteam can have the damage bubble more than once
  • Golgoroth Challenge – everyone on the fireteam must hold his gaze during every damage phase
  • Oryx Challenge – detonate all 16 bombs at the same time then kill Oryx.

I was happy to see that the challenges were already ones that we knew how to do, but a bit disappointed that they didn’t come up with something new (and that Golgoroth’s challenge hadn’t died in a fire like I would have hoped) but it is what it is.

After several days of total failure and some heated words in the thick of battle, I was not able to complete the raid like I would have liked.  I took my reward of a couple of Adept weapons and a couple pieces of Warlock armor and called it a day.  Hopefully the next time that it’s featured we’ll have more success.

 

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(Pictured here: armor from King’s Fall with full ornaments)

That brings us to this, week 4 of the Age of Triumph an the featured raid of Wrath of the Machine.  The challenges:

  • Vosik Challenge – use one of the last 2 SIVA bombs to close the door to the clean room during the end of the round.
  • Aksis Challenge – kill everything in the room, don’t die, make sure you stun Aksis, make dinner, take a shower, try to balance your work and social life and shove a broom up your ass and sweep in your spare time (in other words I don’t know how this one works)

Have, on my part, been met unanswered as I don’t particularly care for this raid and I don’t really know why.  I guess because I just don’t really find it fulfilling like the others; there’s nothing new to learn even in 390 mode as it’s just additional irritation on top of being an anxiety fueled nightmare even on normal mode.  I’m sure with the window of time we have until Destiny 2 (September 8th) I’ll just have to suck it up and do the raid and challenges whether I want to or not (especially if I’m going to get those new Adept weapons.)

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(Pictured here: armor from Wrath of the Machine with full ornaments)

At the time of this writing, I have acquired 4 out of the (I think) 16 new Exotic weapons but I hope to get them all before the end of Destiny’s life.  We haven’t reach a consensus as to whether or not we’ll keep playing once part 2 is released, so I might have time to get them, I might not.  If I don’t I won’t cry about it since nothing from Destiny is going to carry over to part 2.  Still not sure how I feel about that, but, it is what it is.  Maybe Bungie will make something that’s so great that we won’t want to go back, or maybe it will fail spectacularly and will be the final nail in the coffin.  All we can do now is wait and see.

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On launch day for the Age of Triumph, a new 13 page book was introduced for us to chip away at, only this time instead of intangible in-game rewards for our accomplishments we are met with a new carrot on the stick: a shirt with our gamertag on it!  I didn’t really care about this at first, but at the time of this writing I’ve reached the final rank in the book (rank 7) and I’m at 96% complete.  You can still get the shirt without “completing” the book, the catch is that the price tag is astronomical ($777,777.77 without the discount code you get from the Age of Triumph book versus $20 with the code.)  If I do succeed in getting the code from the book and decide to buy the shirt, I’ll most likely put it in a shadowbox and hang it on the wall instead of actually wearing it.  I just hope I don’t have to actually do everything in the book because I could care less about the Trials of Osiris and Crucible pages and I’m hesitant to delete my alternate Warlock for a new Hunter.  So if those 3 pages are out, that leaves me with trying to finish the Raid page and the Warlock page if possible.  I’ll see what happens in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

Life and Death, part 5

I feel really sad today.  My friend, my Gerrybear, is making a hard choice to have his 20 year old cat put to sleep.  I wish I could be there with him as he goes through this terrible time and I hate that he is going through it alone.  Yesterday when we were video chatting, he mentioned going through it alone and I hated that.  As empty as it is, I offered him my condolences and told him that I’m here for him.  Since I can’t physically be with him I just feel like that sentiment is worth nothing.  I’m also sad that I won’t get the chance to meet Rogue, the cat, in person.  She seemed like such a sweetheart in all the videos Gerry sent me of her.

 

What I’m Listening To, part 8


The way these posts work is, I’m going to post the lyrics with my thoughts in between the lines like this.


Alanis Morissette – You Owe Me Nothing In Return

I’ll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance if you want it
I will give you encouragement to choose the path that you want if you need it
You can speak of anger and doubts your fears and freak outs and I’ll hold it


You can talk to me, about anything, anytime


You can share your so-called shame filled accounts of times in your life and I won’t judge it (and there are no strings attached to it)


You can let down your walls with me and share anything you want with me


 

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

You can ask for space for yourself and only yourself and I’ll grant it
You can ask for freedom as well or time to travel and you’ll have it
You can ask to live by yourself or love someone else and I’ll support it
You can ask for anything you want anything at all and I’ll understand it
(and there are no strings attached to it)


You can ask me for anything that you’ll need and I’ll give it to you


You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

I bet you’re wondering when the next payback shoe will eventually drop
I bet you’re wondering when my conditional police will force you to cough up
I bet you wonder how far you have now danced you way back into debt
This is the only kind of love as I understand it that there really is

You can express your deepest of truths even if it means I’ll lose you and I’ll hear it
You can fall into the abyss on your way to your bliss I’ll empathize with
You can say that you have to skip town to chase your passion and I’ll hear it
You can even hit rock bottom have a mid-life crisis and I’ll hold it
(and there are no strings attached)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return


You can talk to me about anything baby because I love you and I need you in my life.  Let me be your rock, your shield, your sword.


 

What I’m Playing, part 13

Talisman:  Digital Edition

One of my all time favorite board games has finally come to PSN!  It’s a bit on the expensive side ($30 USD) but at least it includes ALL the expansions currently available for the physical copy of the game.  If you’ve never played the game before and this is your first time, the only small mercy is that there’s plenty of pop ups that explain how things work and whats going on at any given time.  On the bad side, playing against the computer is total bullshit and positively boring so, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, find some friends to play it with instead!

  • Is the platinum attainable:  Yes with a lot of luck (win a game without losing a life?  holy shit…)
  • % of trophies at the time of writing according to PSN: 0%

What I’m Playing, part 12

Call of Duty:  Black Ops 3

As part of our quest to find another multiplayer game to play together, one of the games that we decided to try out was this one because 3 of the others already had a copy, so I decided to pick one up.

We haven’t really played it much since we were a little disheartened by the PvP multiplayer portion (we sucked at it) plus it’s just not that much fun for us as a group.

I personally liked it for it’s over the top action sequences and the fact there are a LOT of sexy, masculine, testosterone oozing men in this game.  It’s a pleasure for me to just watch your character on the title screen clean his gun while smoking a cigar.

I like the Destiny like abilities that your character has and the DIY cybernetics that you have to choose from plus the fact that there’s a 4 player campaign co-op.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to this again sometime.

  • Is the platinum attainable?  Pfft, yeah right…I don’t have that kind of time.  Plus I’d have to stop masturbating to the title screen and actually play the game.
  • % of trophies at the time of writing according to PSN: 1%

What I’m Playing, part 11

Horizon:  Zero Dawn

Even though it’s just March, this game is definitely a contender for my Game of the Year.  Guerrilla Games has done an amazing job crafting a rich and beautifully detailed world in which primitive man lives in a world filled with technologically advanced machine animals (cue Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals album).  The weather effects in this world are fantastic – rolling fog, heavy rains, sunny days, star filled night skies – all of them are amazing to behold.  It’s a very good idea that a photo mode was included in the game because I’ve taken some stunning screen shots of this world along with the rest of the gaming community.

Things of interest in the game are the campfire save points, how ridiculously easy and fast it is to make new arrows and other types of ammunition (this has probably ruined me for other shooter games), the instructional videos for each weapon that you can watch at your own pace to give you an idea of how a weapon works, the dialogue trees that are similar to that of Mass Effect, the medicine pouch (which is used at any time by simply pressing up on the D-pad), the maps that you can purchase that show you where all the collectibles are (you only need to purchase them once, not multiple times like I did…apparently the first set of maps shows you everything that you need to gather) and last but certainly not least, the NPC men in this game are all quite sexy:  Roth, Erend and Olin to name a few.

Please note that this entry will be filled with spoilers.  Proceed at your own risk.

At it’s core, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a cautionary tale warning about the downfall of humanity through greed and the out of control advancement of technology.

You play as Aloy, a woman who spends the majority of the game trying to find out where she’s from and who her mother is.  The truth is that she’s a clone of a scientist, Elisabet Sobek, created by the terraform AI, known as GAIA, to try to prevent the world from being destroyed by the rogue AI, HADES.

The game starts with you as a young child who has been outcast from the rest of the Nora people because you don’t have a mother.  This is because the people of the Nora tribe don’t understand that Aloy is a clone and was created inside the facility that the Nora people consider a holy place.  During the opening, you fall into a very old cave, a place that the Nora consider to be unholy because it was from the “metal world” of the old ones.  In truth it’s an old research facility / bunker full of dead bodies.  It is here that Aloy finds and old bluetooth that still works (people in the game call it a Focus) and it is also here that you learn how to turn it on and off and how to use it to see things that are otherwise invisible and how to scan lore objects to pick up pieces of the story.

This cave is where you first start to learn that something terrible has happened to cause the world to be in the state that it is, but you’re not quite sure what.  After you leave the cave, you’re taught how to use the Focus to track the paths of the machines so you can stealth your way through the game.  I thought that I was going to hate this game for that reason at first, but over time I grew to enjoy outsmarting the enemy while I hunted them.

After Stealth training and the tutorial cave, you’re treated to a fun and wicked cool training montage where Aloy goes from being a child to an adult.

Over time, you slowly begin to uncover the terrible truth about what has happened in the world:  a man named Joe Faro created a line of war machines that eat biomass for fuel and are unhackable.  He turns to a former employee and now business competitor, Elisabet Sobek, for help.  Her solution is to create Project Zero Dawn which will renew and re-create life on Earth once Faro’s swarm of robots is destroyed.  It’s never really revealed just how she managed to stop them, unless it’s something in the GAIA program that I didn’t catch, but she did manage to defeat the robots.

The sense of hopelessness and curiosity about the past is overwhelming in this game.

What begins Aloy’s journey is that her guardian, a man named Roth, tells her that if she wants answers from the tribe she’ll have to participate in The Proving and win.  If she does, she’ll get whatever she wants.  So that’s what she sets out to do.  The Proving (which was a scripted event so there’s no way for you to lose) ended with Aloy and the rest of the contestants getting attacked by a group of raiders.  They had come to kill Aloy specifically but ended up killing everyone but her.  This sets you out on your journey to discover the truth about the world and your place in it.

Your first stop is in the city of Meridian where you meet the Sun King, Avad which spawns a host of side quests too numerous to list.  You also are reunited with the ever sexy Erend and are treated to many other pieces of NPC eye candy in the city.

Meridian is in the land far outside Nora territory in the middle of a jungle.  There is also a large desert and many snow covered mountains for you to explore.  The scope of the world map is breath taking to say the least.  During my time with the game, I discovered most of the map but not 100% of it.

From here the game goes on a very long wild goose chase to the far corners of the world where Aloy searches out the enemies of the city of Meridian as well as those that have personally done her wrong.

I’m not going to say anything else about the plot as I think I’ve said enough already.  The only negatives I can say about this game is that when people speak, their lips don’t exactly match their speaking voice and having the final boss battle of the game be timed is pure bullshit.

All in all the game is a fantastic journey of hope, sorrow, joy, loss and battle.  I didn’t bother with trying to find every collectible but I’m sure I will at some point.  According to the save file it took me about 55 hours to complete the game, and that was with doing quite a few side quests.

  • Is the platinum attainable:  yes, mostly through collectible hunting
  • % of trophies at the time of writing according to PSN:  48%