Game of the Year 2017

This year feels like it has been very, very long in terms of gaming and other personal life events.  It’s definitely going to go down in my books as the year that games gave me lots of feels: anger, happiness, anxiety and disgust to name a few.  So, without further adieu, here are my top 10 games for the year 2017:

10.  Destiny 2

While at first it seemed that Destiny 2 was the answer to all our Destiny prayers and complaints, it seems now that we’ve reached the end game loot grind treadmill that maybe our hopes were misplaced and our expectations were a bit too high.  Nonetheless, Destiny 2 shows a lot more polish than its predecessor and is overall an enjoyable experience

9.  What Remains of Edith Finch

In a world where the majority of gaming consists of run and gun games or games that are heavy on action, What Remains of Edith Finch is a nice departure from all of that to tell a nice, yet creepy, narrative about the Finch family and what happened to each of it’s members.  I loved how each family member’s story was told in a different medium and I also loved exploring the Finch family house with its bizarre structure and equally strange decor.  It also didn’t hurt that I was able to complete the game in one sitting either!

8.  Final Fantasy XV

A very polarizing title among the community to say the least, I feel like the long wait for what we got was worth it.  While the end of the story ultimately left me feeling sad and left a few things unresolved, I feel like Square Enix gave us a brilliant masterpiece that they have since beaten like a dead horse.  I appreciate the continued support for the game post launch but I feel like it’s time to move on to the next project!

7.  Batman:  The Enemy Within [Telltale]

Telltale strikes gold yet again with their spin on the Dark Knight.  Season one was a riveting ride from start to finish and thus far season two doesn’t disappoint.  My only real issue with these games is the long wait between episodes and no matter how many times they patch it, the game still thinks I haven’t purchased the season pass.

6.  Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

This game was what sold me on buying a Nintendo Switch.  I loved the idea of Rabbids invading the Mushroom Kingdom and having a new tactical RPG to explore!  The battles are challenging enough with smart A.I. and lots of varied and beautiful environments to explore.  I’m a fan of tactical RPGs so this game was a no brainer day one purchase for me.

5.  Friday the 13th

By far the funniest multiplayer game of the year.  I used to think a 7 vs. 1 game style was not at all balanced and wouldn’t be fun but after several sessions I was proven that it’s not just about playing the game but about how much fun it is to play this with your friends.  The night where I was the last survivor will definitely go down in the history books as one of my most intense games this year.

4.  The Legend of Zelda:  Breath of the Wild

A stark departure from the traditional Zelda formula, Breath of the Wild is a challenging but enjoyable ride from start to finish.  I plan on eventually going back to find all the Shrines and Korok Seeds and maybe even give Master Mode a shot (I doubt I’ll have the patience to complete it) but for now, my Zelda itch has been sufficiently scratched.

3.  Nier: Automata

I really don’t know where to start with this game.  RPGs with multiple endings based on what I did (and didn’t) do in a game have long been a weakness of mine, so this game sounded like something right up my alley.  After a bit of goading from someone special I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I didn’t pass up the chance!  Hopefully someday I’ll have the time to go back and acquire all 26 endings and get the platinum trophy in this amazing game.

2.  Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Sorrowful, terrifying, heartbreaking, breathtaking, amazing, fulfilling…I could go on all day about how great this game is.  Just thinking about poor Senua and the journey that she must take to save her love brings tears to my eyes after all this time.  This is another fantastic journey that I’ll never forget.

1.  Horizon Zero Dawn

The crown jewel in my 2017 games of the year.  Released very early this year, I think at this point almost all but the most diehard fans have forgotten about this game.  The post apocalyptic world that Aloy and company inhabit is one that I enjoyed exploring and the overwhelming sadness of the game’s story will stay with me for a long time to come.

Honorable Mentions

Metroid: Samus Returns – not quite the 2D Metroid game I was hoping for but still an enjoyable game for the most part.

Fragments of Him – all the gaymers on my friends list owe it to themselves to play this game at least once.  Make sure you have a box of tissues handy when you do.

Nex Machina – every now and then I like to indulge in a little arcade shooter action and this release from Housemarque doesn’t disappoint.

Superhot – definitely one of the neatest and most innovative FPS games I’ve played in a long time.  I enjoyed the mix of action and puzzle solving along with the existential strangeness of the “outside world” in the game.  I’m looking forward to giving the VR version a spin in the future.

Soma – definitely a soul crushing experience from start to finish and one that I’ll never forget!  I think after all this time I’m “recovered” from the tragedy that happens in this game but it’s a horrifying experience that I cannot recommend enough.

Games I Championed But Never Got Around To Playing

Prey – I played the demo and loved it and constantly talked about how great it was to everyone and I bought it at launch and even spent the extra cash to get the Best Buy exclusive steelbook aaaaaaaaaaand I never touched it after that.  I’m a bad gamer.  This game is definitely going into rotation sooner than later.

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October Horror Gaming 2017

So for the month of October, some online friends like to play horror themed games and this year, I decided to join in the horror.  So over the course of the month I played (and finished) the following:

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Soma.  This game still haunts me after all this time.  You can read my thoughts on the game here.

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Deliriant.  A rather disappointing first person game where you are walking through a house that’s rather unsettling.  The only oddities were the “moving” wallpaper and the hole in the wall that served as the exit to the house.  I was able to 100% the trophy list in one sitting.

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Dear Esther.  A very sad walking simulator where you’re a ship wrecked man alone on an island.  Not really a horror game per se (I thought it was, hence why I played it this month, plus I was told by a friend that it was very short) though the atmosphere is, at some points, a bit creepy.  Definitely worth playing with the commentary turned on.

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Among The Sleep.  A very boring “horror” game where you play a two year old kid who is running around in an Alice In Wonderland-esque nightmare world trying to find your mother.  I was bored most of the time since there was no real consequence for getting caught by the monsters in the game and also a bit aggravated by the collectibles since there’s no way to tell how many you have versus how many there are total.

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The Bunker.  A creepy game set in a cold war era nuclear bunker, this game is the first in a long time that I’ve seen that uses pre-rendered backgrounds where you have to click to direct your character to do what you want him to do.  It was definitely enjoyable for a night (finished in one sitting) and had a nice twist ending.

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The Town of Light.  The story of one woman’s harrowing journey in a 1930’s insane asylum.  The story was, at times, a bit more than I could stomach.  The story is based on actual events, which makes what happens even worse.  Most of the story is told through flashbacks and collectibles.  A walking simulator with a painful story to tell.

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Even though the plot to it has been spoiled for me over and over, I finally decided to come around to the game that arguably put Telltale on the map.  Despite knowing a few key plot points, the emotional impact of the game still hit hard at times.

 

So We Did Prestige Nightfall…

Destiny, part 26

So tonight, I got one step closer to the Destiny 2 platinum.  Since the release of the game, we’ve had struggle after struggle trying to complete a Nightfall because the modifiers have rarely been in our favor and this week our modifiers were Attrition (health and shields only regenerate after picking up healing pools from defeated enemies) and Timewarp: Killing Time (killing enemies adds time to the clock) so I convinced the clan to give it a try seeing as these modifiers are easy to work with.  They agreed and we gave it a try and were successful.  So successful in fact that now everyone in the clan has Rat King except maybe 2 people.

So then I decided to be bold considering our successes and suggest trying this particular Nightfall on Prestige difficulty.  It took a little arm twisting but eventually we gave it a try and we met failure after failure.  We kept getting to the final boss (the Strike in question was Inverted Spire) with 3 minutes to spare and kept losing by fractions of a few seconds because of failure to control adds in the last room or general mistakes along the way (I kept missing jumps in the opening area again and again but now I’m getting to the point where I can damn near make the run without having to stop and compensate.)

Tonight, however, lit a fire under Derrick’s ass.  After 2 attempts where we nearly killed Atheon’s wanna be replacement and not winning by mere seconds, Derrick and myself were determined to keep going until we were victorious.  A few minutes ago, we met victory face to face, but it was bittersweet.  We had hoped that we would get better gear or maybe another Engram from Hawthorne.  Nope, this was what we got:

Look how fabulous I am…

An Aura.  All the gear I got, and I mean all of it, was less than what I already had.  Oh, and we got a stupid fucking Emblem too that tracks how many Nightfalls you’ve completed but for some reason mine only says 1 even though I’ve completed it about 5 or 6 times this week.  Someone suggested that it’s probably counting the number of Prestige Nightfalls that I’ve completed, as though I’d be dumb enough to ever put myself through that kind of fucking misery again.  I literally wasted what free time I had tonight trying to get better gear for myself and my friends and that stupid Aura was all we got.  And an Emblem.  Oh, and even though the Faction Rally is over, one of my loot drops was a Future War Cult token.  Thanks RNGeezus, I fucking hate you too.

Oh, and the worst part is, after all that bullshit and misery that we went through, we don’t even get to keep the AuraIt disappears at weekly reset!  So now, I get to parade around the social spaces (and probably Crucible too, not that I’m going to bother finding out) showing off the fact that my e-penis is fucking huge to all the other scrubs that haven’t completed Prestige Nightfall yet.  But you know what?  They don’t really give a shit because they’re doing actual, useful, constructive things with their time like raiding or playing Iron Banner.

But at least I got my stupid trophy so that’s something, right?

It might be time for a nice, loooooong hiatus from Destiny 2.

What I’m Playing, part 23

Soma

Please note that this entire post is going to be a spoiler for the game.  Thanks!

So for the month of October, I decided to join other gamers in playing horror themed games for the month and I decided to start with Soma.  At first I had no idea what to make of this game since only 2 of my online friends had played it and they both loved it.  And now that I’ve been posting that I’m playing it, other gamers on my friends list have taken note, so it must be a good game, right?

Something’s Not Right

At first, I was really bored with the game.  The protagonist, Simon (who sounds a lot like Daemon Hatfield from IGN), wakes up in his apartment after a weird dream to a phone call about coming to the doctor for a brain scan.  The tutorial area (Simon’s apartment) teaches the awkward controls on opening and closing doors with the analog sticks and how to pick things up and how to run.  Fairly basic stuff, though I can tell a lot about Simon from his surroundings: he loves to read since he has books all over the place and his eating habits are terrible since there’s fast food containers all over the place.  I also liked that you could read emails on his computer and send the daft that he’d written.  Then there was the strange/awkward phone call while he was on the subway with his coworker and I started to wonder if I hadn’t sent the email, would that conversation have been different?

All of this, so far, was interesting but I’m still bored.  And then…

Then I finally get to the hospital for the scan and have to solve a simple puzzle to get to the back room where the doctor and the chair are waiting for me.  I sit down, listen to a bit of dialogue between Simon and the doctor and everything goes black and I wake up somewhere else…

Um, ok Soma, you officially have my attention.  What the FUCK is going on?  At this point I’m so absolutely confused that I keep playing and hoping that answers come soon.  Is this one of those games where they don’t show you the big evil horror, you’re just hunted by it through out the game?  Or is the evil thing there, I just haven’t met it yet?  I would soon find out.

After discovering a bit more context from objects in the game through what I assume is some sort of psychic ability and learning that I must avoid/hide from the white light creatures, I finally press onward and am greeted with the first big reveal:  I am in some place that’s under water!  Definitely getting a Bioshock vibe from it all now that I know this.  I make my way a bit further and find (after a bit of crawling) a poor robotic like creature trying to stay alive.  I talk to it to try to glean as much information as I can and when that fails, I unplug it from the computer it’s attached to out of spite.  Presto!  That restored the power and now I’m in contact with a woman named Catherine who tells me to get to the control center in the domed room upstairs.  The sound quality is a bit jumbled so I have to turn on subtitles in order to understand what’s being said by anyone.  I go on my merry way without a second thought…until I get to the next room.

After falling down from the catwalk, it occurs to me that I am suddenly not alone anymore and the next reveal happens: I can see a monster!  And I can hear the monster!  I quickly crouch and slowly and silently follow it around the room, feverishly trying to figure out what I’m going to do when I spot the stairs in the back of the room.  I wait until it gets far enough away and I run up the stairs, burning myself with steam and close the hatch behind me.  Safe at last!  I wander around this new area and find the corpse of some poor soul who didn’t make it, a few locked doors, a wall map, a locked computer and a robot that’s complaining about being in pain and needing help.  I wander around for a bit and by this time I’m exhausted from the events of the day so I decide to call it a night.  All in all I’m still a bit bored and on the verge of just passing on the game entirely because I’m just not getting it plus I’m filled with nothing but confusion about how the game started versus where I am now.  Maybe sleeping on it will help, we’ll see.

The Next Night

So I decide to return to this bizarre underwater world and give the game a second chance after all.  I make the pain robot scream a few times by cutting off the power and cutting it back on then I find the passcode for the terminal on the body in the hall.  I punch it in and unlock the storage closet and the power supply and I see the note attached that says flip it at your own risk, so I did.  That’s when the ‘oh shit’ moment happens and the monster from before comes up the stairs and is now wandering around where I’m trying to hide.  After clenching real hard, I make a run (well, a crouched hustle) for the terminal and power up the control center up stairs where I need to get to so I can talk to Catherine again.  I dash up the stairs after several long minutes studying the monster and it’s walking pattern and close the hatch behind me.  Safe again!  Catherine and I converse for a bit when all hell breaks loose and the dome breaks and the room begins to flood.

At this point I think 2 things:  1) I really fucked this up and I’m going to die and I’m going to have to reload my save and start over again and 2) hopefully after I die I wake up back in Toronto and this fucking nightmare is over with for now because I need a serious break from this discomfort.  No such luck on either part as I suddenly am alive and breathing underwater.  What the fuck (again)?  I climb out of the ruins of the comm area and find myself on the sea floor.  I run around outside, avoiding a crazy robot that wants my fluid (or whatever it was, I didn’t stick around, I just ran) and find a way back into the building.  And suddenly I have a flashlight?  What the hell?  Why wasn’t I shown this sooner?  Are they being serious right now or are the developers poking fun at horror games?  Whatever is going on I just ignore it and press on to the shuttles.  I crawl around for a bit, leery of the idea of using the flashlight at all (after all I might as well be sporting a giant KILL ME sign in the dark) but I keep searching and I find this:

What the fuck is that?  Whatever it is, it’s keeping her alive.  And more importantly, yay another human being!  I was beginning to think I was the only one in the whole damn game.  After talking to her a few times, I reluctantly unplug her machine from the power supply so I can get the shuttle working again.  I feel really bad about doing that, but I press on anyway.  I board the shuttle and hope that it gets me to Catherine without a hitch, but I’ve played enough horror games to know that this isn’t going to end well.  I board the shuttle and I’m treated to an in-flight movie about what the hell is going on.

The Big Reveal

Holy shit!  So after the video, the shuttle of course crashes in a fiery heap and I’m left to tread along on foot.  I run to the end of the tunnel where another of these weird flower sphincter things is and this time, much to my horror, instead of simply sticking my finger in it (which is still questionable and gross) my character sticks his whole fist in it!  What the shit?!?!  Ugh, ok, that was a bit more than I was expecting.  I go back to the door and make my way back out into the ocean, run from some more of these weird robots and find the area where Catherine is.  But once I’m inside things go bad really fast.  She screams at something to leave her alone and my fight or flight instincts kick in and she warns me not to look at it as I’m running toward the room she’s in.  Uuuuuhhhhhhh…..ok, what the hell is THAT?  I look at it briefly then turn away thinking that as long as I don’t look at it (like Catherine SAID), nothing’s gonna happen, right?  Nope.  Whatever that thing was pulverizes me and disappears.  I’m thinking ‘game over’ and Soma is thinking ‘GOTCHA!’ as Simon comes to in the room with Catherine, albeit a bit worse for wear.

That’s when things start to get very real, very quickly.

It turns out that Catherine is another robot that thinks she’s a human.  And she (and the computer in the next room) reveals what the hell is going on:  we developed a technology to launch satellites into orbit from under water so as not to have to rely on fuel anymore.  Then, a comet hits the Earth fucking everything up and the only way to save humanity is to digitize their brains and place them in a satellite called The Ark and launch it.  Only, much to their horror, The Ark hasn’t been launched yet, it’s still on Earth.  I wasn’t really surprised by that, though I did have my doubts when I was doing the searches.  The little searching mini game was neat and easy to figure out once I understood that the scan went longer the closer I got to the target square.  After finding out that I’m now responsible for launching The Ark and getting Catherine (and somehow myself) on board and the fact that Catherine is now in my Omnitool, I decide that’s a good place to stop for the night because that’s a lot of shit to decompress, not to mention drudging up the old ‘what does it mean to be human’ thoughts again.

Night Three

Nothing matters at this point except launching The Ark.  After staring at the start screen for several long minutes trying to psych myself up for the task at hand, I return to this waking nightmare.

I exit the building where I found Catherine, try to use a small submarine that’s nearby only to find that it’s not functional.  I follow some lights on the sea floor and realize that I’m being hunted by that thing that attacked me earlier.  I run into the ruins of a ship – The Curie – and crawl through it to the other side.  I think I’m safe and then BAM! that thing appears for a split second and scares the shit out of me.  God damnit, this is not cool anymore.

I’m inside the ship but there’s one of those fucking things in here.  I’m panicking.  As it approaches I quickly look away hoping that it will save me from whatever is about to happen.  To my surprise it works!  It goes way out of sight…but where?  I’m still getting the static distortion as though it’s near, but I can’t see it.  I hide in a side room, hoping it will pass me by and it opened the fucking doorWhat the shit!  I look away again and it disappears.  I don’t know how long I can keep this up so I need to find that other submarine and quickly!  After an uncomfortable walk through the ship to the engine room and ripping out the black tentacles from the engine, I run like hell back to the sub from that monster (I died the first time because I didn’t understand what was going on.)  Catherine launched my sub and we crashed and now I don’t know where I am.  There’s some robot talking to himself and I found a door into a building.  I go inside and there’s blood everywhere.  This is all beginning to feel so hopeless.

Where am I?

Theta

I have reached Theta after an uneventful but emotionally uncomfortable zeppelin ride.  I’m coming to the realization (both in and out of game) that I’m not human – I’ve been a robot all along!  I land and proceed to the building in front of me, but first I have a very depressing conversation with a robot named Robin.  It’s becoming very heavy, this weight, this personal horror.  I stopped the game and bury my face in my hands for a minute.  This is when I could use the comfort of your hand on my back, but you’re not here.  I have to go on, I must go on.

So the mystery of how I got here is revealed at last: Simon died at the beginning and his brain scans were used as a template for an A.I. development kit.  The last bit of hope I had for getting back to that other reality is now gone.  This has all become spectacularly insane.

I’ve rebooted the router in the server room below.  Sheer terror.  Whatever that thing was that was wandering around walked close to me several times but didn’t see me in the darkness.  I went back to Catherine’s lab to get the cipher for the submarine and had an irritating time trying to trick Brandon Wan into giving me the information.  Once that was over I had the option of erasing the data or just shutting down the simulation.  Neither of them felt like comfortable choices to make, so I just shut it down.  I’ve killed people in games before, but this…totally erasing someone’s existence or just turning it off…I don’t know how to put this emotion into words.  I don’t like it.

I failed to get the sub and now I’m being hunted in a lab.  I managed to get the chip to unlock the elevator but I have to avoid the creature that’s here.  It’s attacked me twice but I’ve survived.  My pulse is racing.  The elevator has crashed.  I’m so dead.  I managed to escape the monster through some dark tunnels and rooms.  I found myself in what I assume are sewage tunnels.  When I pulled the lever to open the door, I was surprised to see the monster had found me.  I started to run only to be flushed out some pipes into the sea.  I live, for now.

Omicron – Night Four

I find I am no longer able to read the black boxes of the dead.  Have I lost the ability somehow (due to damage to my body?) or has it just run its course.  I keep seeing what I assume are subliminal messages when I’m reading terminals.  Is my body damaged or am I going crazy?  Or is it something else?  I’m trying to find parts to repair a power suit so I can get to The Ark.

It’s gotten to the point that I can’t bear to watch my character heal himself.

Existential crisis moment.  Panic attack.  I managed to get the items needed to repair the power suit to make the transfer to the new body.  But it didn’t work out like Simon – or I – planned.  Instead of a complete transfer to the new body, Simon is still in the old one too.

After an argument with Catherine, a panic attack and the realization that I’d be condemning the old me to stay in this hell forever and all alone…I made the choice:

What have I done?!?!  What.  Have.  I.  Done?!?!  I’ve lived with this scenario, this living nightmare, in my mind for years of being forced to take someone off life support and give them a humane death instead of selfishly keeping them alive.  And now that it’s happened…

I stood there and watched as the old me slowly stopped breathing.  I picked up Catherine and left.

I get on the elevator and listen to some very heavy thoughts between the two of them about life and death.  Simon mentioned what was the point of going on because everyone was gone.  I’ve often lived with that fear.  That someday everyone I know would be gone and I’d be all alone.  Uncared for, unwanted, alone.  I felt the brush of this terror years ago in my youth when my parents had died.  There was so much said between them in that moment, and I have a lot to say on all those subjects, but words fail me at the moment.  I am at a complete loss.  I have to fix the elevator.

That was a terrifying run from the elevator across the ocean floor to the front door of site Tau.

Site Tau – Night Five

After last night’s events, I stopped to decompress and compose myself.

I’ve just met the last living human on Earth, and I don’t even remember her name.  She’s hanging on by a thread and has given me The Ark.  I did the humane thing and put her out of her misery.

Sarah was her name.  I stayed with her until she took her last breath.

I’m so angry right now that this thing that keeps appearing and talking to me doesn’t scare me anymore.  I want to punch it in the face.

Whatever – or who ever – this thing is has now led me to Alpha and to the heart of he WAU (the substance that’s been controlling all the monsters I’ve had to run from in the game but it’s also been healing me when I needed it.)  It’s telling me to poison the WAU and kill it but I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do, but there’s no other choice.

It ate my hand and then killed the creature that’s led me here.  I ran from it and now I’m at Phi.  I’ve got The Ark loaded into what looks like a giant bullet and I’ve found Catherine’s human body; her remains.

The Ark is loaded, I’m about to fire it into space.  I’m filled with dread that this isn’t going to work and that all this will have been for nothing.  I’m also filled with anxiety that I might save humanity.  I have to keep going.

I was left behind.  I launched The Ark but I was left behind.  In that moment, I was filled with despair.  The same despair that I felt when my parents died and left me behind, when Tyler died, when Jeff died, when Max died.  I was left behind.

After the end credits, I was greeted with Ark Simon’s awakening in a cave.  I ran and ran until I came upon Catherine standing on the shores of a lake with a massive structure in the background.  The lie of the afterlife never looked so beautiful.

I am greeted with one final shot of the satellite  – The Ark – orbiting the ruined, dead Earth.  I feel like it’s more of a high tech casket than anything else.  The real Simon died hundreds of years ago, yet he’s still alive in the room down below on the planet, and alive in The Ark.  But is it really him?

I feel devastated inside, yet glad that this nightmare has finally come to its bitter end.

Final Verdict

The concepts presented in this game – what does it mean to be human?  How do we know if we’re alive? – aren’t anything new or original.  These ideas have been explored by games before and by some of my favorite TV shows (Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse to name a few.)  The way Soma presents these is, however, a bit more terrifying than others, and ultimately leaves me with a sense of something lost or something that I just don’t have the answer to.

I am filled with more thoughts and emotions about the events in this game than I have words for.

I often think about mortality and immortality, about copying my consciousness into a machine and having “myself” live on like that, but is it really living?  Would it be living?  And immortality…would I really want it?  No.  The fact that you only have so much time on Earth is what makes it so precious, so fleeting.  I would never want immortality, I couldn’t bear the thought of watching the people that I love wither away and die while I stayed healthy and fit (not that I haven’t watched people I love die, but that’s another story for another time.)  There are so many people that I never want to live without, but I know that one day I’ll have to face that nightmare again.

Inter spem curamque, timores inter et iras / omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremem: grata superveniet quae non sperabitur hora.

Amid the hope and worry, the fear and anger / believe that each day which breaks is your last: the unhoped for hour will be a welcome surprise.

What I’m Playing, part 22

Fragments of Him

Fragments of Him is a beautiful, four part story about a man named Will and his relationships with his boyfriend Harry, his friend Sarah and his grandmother Mary.  Each part of the story is filled with a lot of harsh, bitter truths about love, loss and forgiveness that I won’t spoil here.  I just think it’s a game that you owe to yourself to play.  Just make sure that you have a box of tissues handy.

I do have some commentary on a couple of the stories, particularly the grandmother and his boyfriend.

His grandmother is, of course, old fashioned and doesn’t understand or agree with who Will is.  Her reaction when she discovers that he’s gay is negative, but not overly so.  Not in comparison to some other stories (both fiction and non) that I’ve heard.  When someone that’s close to you finds out you’re gay and has such a negative reaction to the point where they cut you out of their life or they say something negative…that sort of thing is hard to hear, and it hurts.  I’ll never understand, for the rest of my life, why people feel like they have failed as a parent if their kid turns out to be gay.  I’ll never understand why it has to matter so much either.

As far his boyfriend’s story, speaking from personal experience, they really hit the nail on the head.  When someone that’s been a part of your life for so long is suddenly gone, nothing matters anymore.  At least not at first.  When Harry starts to remove everything in their apartment, I knew what he was feeling.  I did the same thing after my mother died.  I had all this stuff that she had bought me over the years, but I couldn’t bear to look at it anymore, so I got rid of it.  Material possessions can never replace someone.  You learn to go on without them, but it takes time to heal.  How much time depends on the person.  You pick up the pieces and continue on with the fight, no matter how much it hurts at first.  You get used to the pain until it eventually stops hurting.

Final Verdict

I very much enjoyed this game and completed it from beginning to end in one sitting.  I like the monochromatic art style and the minimal glowing effect that shows around objects in the game that keep the story flowing.  The play controls are very simple and the music and writing are both beautiful.  This was very much a perfect rainy day game, and a good reminder that love is worth having even if it’s for a short while.

Year Four, Month One

Destiny, part 25

Mixed emotions of aggravation, elation and boredom have begun to set in.  My path to the Destiny 2 platinum has hit something of an impasse.  I only have 3 trophies left to collect before the platinum is mine: The Prestige (Complete the Leviathan raid or Nightfall strike on Prestige difficulty)  Belly Of The Beast (Complete the Leviathan raid) and Lest Ye Be Judged (Encounter an Emissary from beyond).  The only one that I forsee actually being the problem is Lest Ye Be Judged since that requires you to win a fucking Trials of the Nine match.  The Prestige I know I’ll get at some point once everyone in the clan is comfortable with the Nightfall and all the associated modifiers (at the time of this writing, to my knowledge, Prestige difficulty for Leviathan hasn’t been added to the game) and obtaining Belly Of The Beast is coming closer and closer as time goes by.

 

This past week, we managed to learn the mechanics behind The Gauntlet room and The Bathhouse room and we got to the Pleasure Gardens and started to learn it, but, due to time we decided to give it a couple tries then just go for the treasure chests instead.

I was introduced to The Gauntlet after a long 9 hour shift (my first day back to work after being on vacation with Matty last week) and I wasn’t really feeling up to it but ultimately I’m glad I sucked it up and gave it a try.  I took over Matty’s role as one of the 2 runners and found it to be an enjoyable experience.  I volunteered to be a runner every time and the clan seems to like that idea since I picked up on it fairly quickly.  Basically I have to run an obstacle course with the other runner to charge an orb while the rest of the team fights off adds and opens gates as I approach.  Once the course is complete I dunk the orb in a fountain in the center of the room then we do that 2 more times.  The second and third time, however, there are parts of the floor in the obstacle course that are missing, so jumping must be precise and careful.  The third time through the course, the entire team is running and my task is to skip the second gate and only recharge my orb on gates 1, 3 and 4.  Once the team passes through  the finish line for that round the room is complete.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy, though I did die before reaching the third gate because I apparently wasn’t running fast enough but at least I know how this room works.

One of the many rooms in the “underground” of the Leviathan raid.

The next night, we were introduced to The Bathhouse and this was where my patience was tested.  Basically, there are 4 buttons in the room and they must remain pressed in order to raise lanterns in the central chamber and those lanterns must be destroyed in order to pass the room.  Sounds easy, right?  Never in my life (aside from that shit ass bomb level in Gears of War 2) have I ever wanted to punch people in the face so hard.  What you have to do is split up into 2 teams of 3 people and rotate out and keep a buff going (Psion somethingorother) on your character so you don’t die while submerged in a liquid that slowly kills you while you’re sitting on your button all while fighting off adds.  Once the alarm is sounded, everyone comes to the center chamber and stands on the button there and fires at the lanterns.  We died over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over for about 2 solid hours before we finally got it.  I was ready to ragequit after 45 minutes, but thanks to Claire and her girlfriend Michelle we persevered.  If I ever make it to the U.K. I’m buying those two whatever they want for dinner.  (This is the same Claire that taught us how to defeat Oryx in King’s Fall, so I definitely owe her one!)

After this, we tried the Pleasure Gardens and I think this room is going to take a while to complete…

Faction Rally

Last week, we were introduced to Destiny’s first Faction Rally.  This time around, instead of just picking a faction and grinding ranks with them in order to get more loot, they sort of had a purpose.  Whichever faction gained the most ranks (support) they would sell whatever weapon they had on offer.  Dead Orbit had a scout rifle, New Monarchy had a shitty sidearm and Future War Cult had something in hideous colors.  In order to appease the clan I went with Future War Cult on my Titan but I went with (and secretly rooted for) Dead Orbit with my warlock.  I honestly didn’t care who won the rally because I didn’t find any of the weapons on offer to be anything particularly spectacular.

New Monarchy a.k.a. The Republican Party

Future War Cult.  I still can’t deal with their hideous color scheme.

Dead Orbit.  Bitches love Dead Orbit.

I find it a little odd that Dead Orbit and Future War Cult are literally next door neighbors in the hangar and New Monarchy is all the way across the tower away from both of them.  I wonder why that is?  Come to think of it, it was like that in the first Destiny game as well.  Either way, I went with Dead Orbit and Future War Cult on my characters and did things here and there even though I was (ahem) a little preoccupied last week with someone special.  Anyway, I logged in tonight after work and was greeted with this:

Woot!

So now came the realization of what happened which certainly cleared up all the confusion that was going around about what would happen when one of the factions won.  You see, at first there was talk among the clan that the faction that lost the rally would still have their weapon on offer, but at a cost of 5,000 glimmer while the winning faction would be selling their weapon at a cost of 1,000 glimmer.  I thought this sounded a bit strange from the beginning but decided to just let it play out and see what was what once the dust had settled.  It turns out that the winning faction did indeed sell their weapon for 1,000 glimmer – but only to their supporters.  Non Dead Orbit players had to pony up 50,000 glimmer if they wanted the gun – not 5,000.  Also, both the losing factions have nothing for sale for their supporters.  Nothing at 1,000 glimmer, nothing at 5,000 glimmer, just nothing at all.  I kinda feel like this whole thing was just a dumb waste of time over all (I have the Dead Orbit gun but I haven’t tried it out yet to see if it’s even worth a shit) and if I had known that my clan mates would get shit out of their faction’s weapon I would have devoted to Future War Cult on both characters instead of just one.

I also don’t like the fact that, now that the event is over, you don’t seem to be able to switch factions if you want.  I don’t really care for my characters to look like corporate shills in any way, because my viewpoint on Destiny is that we’re trying to rebuild everything and reclaim our planet and the only thing the factions want to do is just argue and nitpick over dumb shit.  I don’t care if New Monarchy thinks we need better leadership.  The Speaker is dead now so I hope you fuckers are happy.  I don’t care if Dead Orbit thinks we should just turn tail and run.  I can sort of support that idea, but at the same time our enemies will get Earth (and the Traveler) over my dead body.  As for Future War Cult, I can get behind that ideology too, I just can’t stand the color scheme.  I can’t.  I really, really can’t.  The only faction shaders I like (this time around) is New Monarchy.

I mean just look at that!  Unf!  But, whatever.  I was told by clan mates that I’ll be able to change factions once this event is over.  I don’t know that I’ll participate in the next (or subsequent) faction rallies since this one was so disappointing.

Oh and I finally got this thing too.  It’s weird.

Year Four, Week Three

Destiny, part 24

I fucking hate this game.  I.  Fucking.  Hate.  This.  Game.  Right now I feel like the most pathetic Destiny 2 player on Earth.  Out of all possible opportunities I’ve had since launch to complete Nightfall, I’ve only managed to get it once.  On top of that, I’ve picked up the notorious Rat King exotic quest, which, at first I thought was going to be as annoying as the Outbreak Prime quest was back in Destiny since you have to complete parts of the quest with other players who also have the gun/quest, but this time everything was fairly easy to do until getting to the final step:  complete Nightfall with 5 minutes left on the clock.  At first I didn’t think this was going to be that difficult, but at the rate we’ve been going I think I’d have better luck learning how to read and write in Madarin Chinese.

We also haven’t made a lick of progress in the Leviathan raid and considering the people that I’m playing with, I doubt that we’ll ever clear it at this rate.  We got as far as the first puzzle/room on Monday and this is going to take a lot of practice and more patience than I think this group has.

I’ll get you next time Gadget!

Also this week, I thought I was having a breakthrough in my absolute hatred of Crucible.  There’s a couple of trophies on the list – Show Me What You Got and Lest Ye Be Judged – that once I learned the truth behind them I had a feeling were going to be trouble.  I was right.  Monday night after the raid group fell apart, I decided to start working on Show Me What You Got which requires you to complete Lord Shaxx’s Call to Arms Milestone for the first time.  I was having a good time and I even managed to accomplish this:

The only reason I didn’t get the trophy that night was because I stopped playing about 5 minutes before weekly reset happened thinking I could just pick it up in a little while and continue from where I stopped (which was at 95%) but much to my horror, as reset occurred, I lost all my progress.  There went about an hour’s worth of work right down the toilet.  Frustrated and defeated, I decided to call it a night and go to bed.  Next day (today) my clan mates said they’d help me out.  Well, that was all well and good until my PS4 decided it was going to be an uncooperative bitch and tell me five times that my Destiny 2 data was corrupted and that I’d have to take the disc out, delete the game and reinstall it.  No fucking way was I going to do that, not while my friends were on.  So I kept taking the disc out and putting it right back in, but my PS4 decided it was just not going to do what I wanted.  I took the advice of a clan mate and rebuilt the PS4 database to see if that would fix the problem (it didn’t) only to watch as alllllllllll the fucking games that were nice and neat and organized into folders were now strewn helter-skelter across my god damn cross media bar in a long, continuous, mockery of ogranization.

Fuck my life.  Fuck it hard.

As everyone decided to call it a night, I pressed on and continued to have a shit day in the Crucible losing match after match but watching that infernal percentage slowly creep it’s way to 100%.  Around the 95% mark, I get the data corruption error again and I decide I’ve had enough at this point.  I remove the disc, disconnect the external drive, took a deep breath and screamed at the top of my lungs (no I didn’t say what’s going on) as I deleted the game and then reinstalled it on the PS4 internal drive.  I sat in silent, miserable contemplation and wondered what it was that I did that was so awful that the universe decided that it was just going to shit in my corn flakes today.  I read an article about ‘messy games’ on Polygon as the 6GB patch re-downloaded to my PS4.  Once it was done, I returned to the misery of the Crucible and I kept going until the bloody Milestone was complete.

I finally got my god damned trophy.

After that was finally over, I called it a night.  I also decided that I still fucking hate Crucible.  Which brings me back to the other trophy I mentioned earlier…

Lest Ye Be Judged is, unfortunately, not about Xur like I had hoped.  It’s about meeting an Emissary of The Nine which you can only do by completing Trials of the Nine (the Destiny 2 replacement for Trials of Osiris) and you can only access Trials of the Nine after you’ve completed Shaxx’s Call to Arms at least once.  Now that that Milestone is done I have access to Trials and I’m going to keep putting myself through hell until I get the trophy for meeting the Emissary then I’m never doing Crucible or Trials again as long as the servers live.

Once that’s over with all I need to do is complete the raid (somehow) and complete a Nightfall on Prestige difficulty (kill me now) and get all the Hunter subclasses and I’ll have the Destiny 2 platinum.  I’m glad I’m taking a break from this fucking game while I’m on vacation next week.