Kristina @zer0pm
The Gamer Geek

When a convention comes around whether it be comic, anime, or game-oriented – attending is a goal. I’m not a big cosplayer and not popular in the mainstream community, but that was never a prerogative or a priority of mine. I cosplay to meet new people, have a good time, and add exciting new experiences to change the pace from my other life. Conventions aren’t just a party for nerds, it’s a gathering for passionate individuals with like interests to come together, band together, and inspire together to embrace that which we love. That’s what makes it so great. One of these people who factors into all of these positives is Kinda Geeky. And thanks to this team, I have to the opportunity to share these experiences and hope to inspire and expand the con scene to a degree that gets the message across: being a nerd is cool
 

 

CAPCOM DOMINATION

Before everyone starts getting all hyped up for the games and gameplay revealed in E3, let’s give a special shout out to Capcom that have been dominating the gaming industry with their amazing big title releases.  In 2018, Capcom took the gaming world by storm with the release of the critically acclaimed MMO Monster Hunter World, the latest major console installation for the Monster Hunter series, the faithful remake of the horror classic Resident Evil 2, and the latest chapter of the origin of stylish action genre: Devil May Cry 5 (already mentioned in the previous article, mentioned again because the game is amazing!).

Monster Hunter World (MHW) is...well, exactly as it sounds.  Players control a budding hunter of their own customization and are thrown onto an island to “research” the traits of territorial (and often obscenely large) beasts.  And by “research”, that really means invading the poor unsuspecting inhabitants of scaly and furry variety, beat them (and what looks like tiny and same-sized versions of the target which is probably their kids and close friends trying to prevent you from committing genocide) to death for the purpose of harvesting their skin and flesh for wear and sustenance.  Yes, sustenance.  The meat that the players gather from their kills are taken back to the hunter base to be prepped and cooked by sentient cat buddies (no joke) which are then eaten for stat bonuses for future hunts and the cycle starts over again.  As dark and dismal as it sounds (for the monsters), the world of MHW is both vibrant and beautiful.  The developers behind MHW really put in some deep thought to bring out the colors from the blades of grass to the light cast over the forests and rocky landscapes to the scales of the vicious behemoth dragons players will eventually have to face.  The detail doesn’t simply stop at simply the environment and AI.  No, the real hook that brings players to this world everyday (yes, even to this day) is the ability for players to control and customize nearly every aspect of their hunters that best fits their unique play style.  Want a hunter that looks like an armored tank but runs like a ninja equipped with a bow that for some reason functions like a rocket launcher?  The game offers ways to create different armor and skill sets that are dependent on what kills hunters bring back to base once they have braved the wilds.  The stronger the monsters they take down, the better the gear.  Found a monster that is just too difficult to handle alone?  Easy, bring a friend; bring several or some really nice (and powerful) randoms on the innerwebs to raid against the beast together.  That’s right, MHW allows players to fight alongside each other and it is glorious.  The best thing about it is that there are no level requirements for players to queue up together, so if there is a mighty need to gather the best equipment as fast as possible, rally those powerful friends (or some super nice randoms) and dive headfirst towards gratifyingly difficult and fun times.  Monster Hunter World is currently Capcom’s top=selling and most played game to boot in 2019 and there is no sign of slowing with the next expansion coming soon to freeze over every gamer’s summer: Monster Hunter World Iceborne.

Speaking of latest installations, this next masterpiece from Capcom takes zombie horror fans back to Raccoon City for a wonderfully frightening nostalgia trip:  Resident Evil 2.  This faithful remake of the 1998 title of the same name follows two heroes: Claire Redfield, a young woman searching for her brother, and Leon Kennedy, a police officer for the Raccoon Police Department.  The story kicks off after the first Resident Evil (RE) that started it all where an airborne malady called the T-Virus decimates the majority of the entire population by killing them and reanimating the infected into mindless and ravenous zombies. The player can choose to play through the campaign of one of the two heroes, offering a different story for each perspective for a full-fleshed experience and grasp of everything that goes down.  Everything about this game was built from the ground up to cater to fans who have been with the RE series from the beginning as well as invite new players to experience the classic survival horror first-hand with modern consoles.  Now, to the gameplay…It plays similarly to the Evil Within series, players carefully traverse zombie-infested buildings armed with a flashlight and a gun.  Developers have removed the fixed camera from the original game to allow players greater perspective when switching between combat and stealth as well as improved control in exploration.  From there, much of the progression relies on collecting items that will help keep the player alive along with providing lore for the story.  Reaching certain areas of the maps will trigger jump scares where one hopes they have nerves of steel and reflexes to fight or flight.  More often than not, it will be flight, especially against a certain trench-coat wearing man who somehow manages to catch up to the protagonists by walking whilst they are sprinting for their lives.  Fun fact, hiding will not work and fighting back will do nothing in the remake (no matter how much wishful thinking that it would otherwise).  Like most Capcom games, RE2 Remake is relatively short, reported gameplay of both campaigns in one go being as short as an entire weekend (sleep and thumbs aren’t important, anyways).  Given that, that does not mean that players simply drop the game and move onto the next.  No, the fantastic thing about Capcom Games is that they encourage replayability over and over again with harder difficulties and additional story content: The 4th Survivor and The Tofu Survivor.  The success of RE2 Remake has given the green light for developers to remake other horror classics (fingers crossed for Resident Evil 4).  For those that simply cannot wait, the rest of the RE titles are available now for the PS4, XB1, and the Nintendo Switch.

Last but not least, the smokin’ sexy stylish hit that solidified Capcom’s place at the top of Q1 2019 in gaming as well as more than likely skyrocketed pizza sales worldwide is Devil May Cry V.  For those unfamiliar with the series, Devil May Cry (DMC) is the hack-and-slash title that sets the bar for stylish action and extreme combat gameplay, inspiring titles such as Bayonetta and God of War.  DMC 5 is the fifth installation of the series, although it is the sixth title of its name (no one talks about the reboot) and takes place sometime after DMC 2.  The story follows three devil hunters: the icon of the franchise, Dante of renowned demon-slaying fame with a love-and-hate relationship with motorcycles and pizza; rising devil hunter Nero from DMC 4 who cut his 90s boy band hair and loses his arm due to family issues (woops, spoilers?); and a new, mysterious character named V who has a tendency to read poetry while beating his enemies to a bloody pulp with a bird, a giant black cat, and a goop monster that springs forth from his tattoos (believe it or not, he’s even more extra as he gets stronger through customization).  Each hero has his own unique play style which offers a fun variety for fans to enjoy as they progress through the story.  Other than the arsenal of badass and improbable weapons and skills that make the game stand proudly, another feature that was unavailable in the previous games was the free camera system for improved exploration and traversal.  Fans have always raged whenever the scene and views change completely once their hero steps a pixel over to the next environment and get especially frustrated when the scene shift happens in the middle of a boss fight (eyeing the infernal tarantula and the weird blob thing that shoots lasers from the first game).  With Devil May Cry 5, there is no such issue, allowing smoother action sequences and a better appreciation for the world’s environment.  The story itself, while also short, leaves the desire to want more content.  While the developers have already disclosed that there are no plans for future DLC for DMC 5 (unless the higher ups can be convinced otherwise), the fun does not stop after the campaign.  Once the story has been completed, players can put their skills to the test with unlocked difficulties (one of which sets the parameters to basically have the gamer play as if they’ve been thrown in the world of Dark Souls) as well as the return of the Bloody Palace mode where survival is key to come out on top.  Beating the new game mode as well as the harder difficulties earns the player bragging rights for certain, but the game also rewards them with new aesthetics that have unique effects when used in combat.  For example, beating all levels of the Bloody Palace with V will unlock the extra ex-provocation taunt that will change his cane to a literal lightsaber (Capcom has embraced the Kylo Ren meme and it is glorious).  Devil May Cry 5 became the number one selling game in its launch and is available now for PS4, XB1, and PC.

The world has its eye on Capcom now and cannot wait to see what else they have in store for gamers everywhere.  For more info on any of these titles, feel free to check out the resources below.  Until then, remember to stay…Kinda Geeky.

                                                            

 

Resources:

 

Monster Hunter World

●       Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OotQrKEqe94

●       Iceborne Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDlOA9Pa5hE

●       Playstyles and Weapons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JycMIKonIZ4

●       Guide: https://www.polygon.com/guides/2018/1/25/16911176/monster-hunter-world-guide-walkthrough

 

Resident Evil 2

●       Direct Comparison - 1998 vs. 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dQxS84DNLU

●       Launch Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3wS-Q2KBpk

●       IGN Tips and Tricks (this one actually teaches you how to hide from Mr. X, yay): https://www.ign.com/wikis/re2-remake/Walkthrough#Resident_Evil_2_Walkthrough_Sections_-_Second_Run

 

Devil May Cry V

 

●       Game Awards Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2lWUQHUapM

●       Bloody Palace Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGc2CMcWfC8

●       GameWith Tips and Tricks: https://gamewith.net/devil-may-cry-5/

●       No Future DLC (sadness): https://gamerant.com/devil-may-cry-5-dlc-plans/

 

Best of 2018, Going on 2019…and Devil May Cry V

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Surprised by the long title?  This post is truly going for the stylish points this time around and the best games of all time score at the top. Let’s count them down!

Seated at the top of the throne is a personal favorite. Whose? EVERYONE, BOY!  Or girl or whatever starfish is reading this! God of War, the fourth installment to the critically acclaimed action-adventure game of the same name by Santa Monica Studios released on the PS4 (Sorry, Xbox). This series follows the story of the titular anti-hero Kratos who is comparably a Spartan Batman. He goes on an epic adventure with his son Atreus (not Atreyu from The Neverending Story, sorry) to find the tallest mountain peak in the universe (literally) and spread the ashes of his recently deceased wife (the poor man has a strange habit of being in these tragic circumstances). Like with any other God of War game, the player comes across epic monsters to fight along with gods to slay. While the story has a riveting narrative, what catches the players’ eyes are the enthralling and breathtaking graphics and seamless camera direction. There are no cutscenes that interrupt the gameplay which offers a smooth transition that really makes it hard to put the controller down as it literally is like an endless rollercoaster. Still not convinced? Well, this game was nominated GAME OF THE YEAR (2018) for a reason, it would be an injustice not to pick it up and try it yourself.

Need another epic odyssey adventure to add to the list?  No, it is not Assassin’s Creed Odyssey although that game too comes highly recommended for its amazing open world, rpg elements, this blog is steering more towards the long, LONG awaited Kingdom Hearts III. This story is driven mainly from the perspective of the main hero (who is just as iconic as Kratos), Sora, a spirited Keyblade wielder who travels through the many universes of Disney, Pixar, and Final Fantasy / Square Enix, to restore the hearts of the world and defeat shadowy beings called Heartless and their heartless counterparts called Nobodies. Confused? Play through the series and try to make sense of it. Although not quite literally the third game of the ongoing Kingdom Hearts franchise (as there are more than a handful of other titles under the name other than 1 and 2), KH3 is the latest iteration of the series that ties up the main antagonist’s Xehanort’s story known as the Darkseeker Saga, an old (and sometimes young??) Keyblade master (everyone has one of these, Sora stopped being special after awhile) who is trying to take over Kingdom Hearts (still have no idea what it is). This means that the series is still going!  So why do people come back for more?! Easy, the game offers a unique combat system that pretty much puts the series on its own level. Never mind the fact that the player smacks monsters around with a giant key, but the game offers special summons that pulls iconic characters from the Disney and Final Fantasy universe together for that fan-service fun along with some new mechanics that has Sora LITERALLY summon rides from the Disney parks to his aid. On top of this, he’s accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy.  Who doesn’t want to see that? Hyuck!  KH3 is available now for the PS4 and XB1 which means that everyone except for those who only play on the PC and Nintendo Switch can hop onto this magical ride of confusing fantasy that they most definitely won’t be able to get enough of.

Next is an upcoming game that will be the latest of another popular series, and long awaited for the writer of this blog; and is going to earn stylish points across the board for all gamers. This is Devil May Cry V!  In case it isn’t clear, V means the fifth installment of the series (no one talks about the reboot) that picks up after the story after Devil May Cry 2. It follows from the perspective of Nero, a young demon hunter who opened his own hunting business and has his prosthetic arm taken from him by an unknown enemy (not cool, dude). But don’t worry, he gets a new arm made by a southern girl that drives their truck that looks an awful lot like a mobile home.  Along the way, he fights alongside the iconic Dante, the original protagonist of the Devil May Cry series, who also happens to run his own demon hunting shop and is Nero’s rambunctious uncle (it must run in the family) as well as a new mysterious character name V (his real name is Vitale, but this is how he is introduced as an ode to the title) who hires Dante to help defeat the ultimate evil (how the stories usually go). What makes these series so loved is their unique stylish action combat that offers breathtaking ways to take down epic monsters in a variety of fashions depending on how the player wants to fight them whether it be a mechanical arm that can be used as a surfboard (not kidding), a motorcycle that can split into two hacksaws (not kidding and cool as hell), or a fedora hat (still not kidding).  To top it all off, the game is also set to offer a co-op experience which ideally means that players can play with their friends offline or online controlling either of these three dashing guys for some serious devil beat downs, more info on clearing up how this will work has yet to be revealed but Devil May Cry V will come crashing into local game business on March 8th of 2019 so mark those calendars and hold onto the pizza box for dear life (veteran fans will get this).

And that about wraps it up for this article; still need to know more?  For more info and reviews on any of these games, feel free to scroll and click on the links below and remember to stay Kinda Geeky!

 

Sources:

 

God of War reviews: https://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-4/god-of-war

 

God of War Trailer:  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gOE2BVRCUkM

 

God of War Tips, Tricks, and Reviews: https://www.polygon.com/game/god-of-war-ps4/39208

 

Kingdom Hearts 3 Official Website: https://www.kingdomhearts.com/3/us/home/

 

Kingdom Hearts 3 Overview: https://www.polygon.com/game/kingdom-hearts-3/13670

 

Devil May Cry Official Website: http://www.devilmaycry5.com/

 

DMCV Gameplay Demo: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dYZon-zVs5g

 

DMCV Article: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/devil-may-cry-5-demo-release-date-co-op-gameplay-a/1100-6463685/

 

 

Devil May Cry HD Collection

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Devil May Cry? More like Devils Making Zer0PM Cry: Ultimate Edition (Behold! The terrible jokes are back) and every single second of this glorious, painful classic was worth all of the tears (and the more occurring spouts of rage).  For those that have been living under a rock, 2018’s E3 and Gamescon has dropped the official gameplay trailers for Capcom’s next installment of the critically acclaimed stylish action series: Devil May Cry 5.  And what better way to prepare for demon-slaying than to go back to its roots with the Devil May… Look, just read the title and move on to the important bits!

  This HD Collection comes complete with the first three Devil May Cry games released. Before going to the pros, it is imperative to point out the cons to each of these games.  Keep in mind, these games are not remakes, they are remasters and the thing about remasters is that they basically translate to enhanced graphics and gameplay of the original works with little to no tampering to the mechanics.  What this means is that the games look better, the frame rate runs smoother, and has very few bugs (upside).  However, as mentioned that the mechanics for the most part were left unchanged, they have those frustrating camera angles that gives the player free roam on a set view…they just can’t change that view ever even as the scene changes the further the player progresses in each map.  This can be excruciatingly annoying, especially during boss battles as it can throw off the flow of anyone trying to beat down super hard monsters based on their fight patterns (and it doesn’t help that for nearly every boss fight, a single hit can be close to fatal – poor, paper-thin hero).  To be honest, even with the “enhancements” there is much from these classic games that truly “brings you back” in both good and bad ways as it truly tests the reflex control of players as well as their patience (lots of it).  The bad parts critiqued in the originals are not a discredit by any means to the creative and development team as this series will forever offer an exhilarating experience for old and new fans.  Ahead is a refresher of what each of their stories entail…

  Devil May Cry is the first of the games released in 2001, the time when a game like this and Onimusha became the nightmare for little girls (totally not speaking from personal experience), and set the standards of what is now called “stylish” games.  What defines a game as stylish? Well, how would one rate a white-haired, red trench coat-wearing badass shooting actual demons with handguns apparently hacked with enough ammo to put any military force out of commission dual with slashing with an improbably long and impossibly cool sword, which by the way stabbed the dude clean in the chest like a kebob, as said demons are sprouting out of the ceilings from their ominous portals of hell?  Yes.  At that point, the scale of awesomeness is broken.  Moving forward with the plot, the player controls the gunslinging, sword-swinging, rambunctious hero Dante, a half-demon (cause why not?), half-human hybrid fighting against the forces of darkness after hired by the mysterious Trish who bares an uncanny resemblance to his dead mother.  After struggling with what appears to be an Oedipus-complex, Dante agrees to this enigmatic woman’s request (right after she throws a motorcycle at him and wrecks his shop) and travels to an island in the middle of effin’ nowhere where he must explore an eerie castle (of course) in pursuit of destroying the ultimate evil – all within the time span of returning back to said decimated shop and finally give it an effin’ name before dinner gets cold (hint: he ends up calling it the game title).  Playing through the game, the atmosphere of the castle Dante explores sets the tone: dark, creepy, and ready for some serious stuff to go down.  The fights keep the players on their toes and that is not only due to the monsters they raise their sword too, but as mentioned before the camera angles that constantly change – a feature beyond manual control unfortunately.  This game is certainly the hardest but it will forever hold a special place in the hearts of DMC veterans as the original stylish game.

  Devil May Cry 2 takes place years after the events of the first game which zeroes in on a plot that has basically nothing to do with its predecessor.  Dante comes across an evil relic in a museum he breaks into to help out another chick that recruits him into fighting another mega boss threatening to drown the world in chaos.  Nothing new but still badass. Judging by said the new female companion’s accent, the game takes place in France, traversing between some abandoned village on the mountainside which immediately gets bombed down by demons not long after Dante’s arrival to an equally abandoned sky scraping city which also gets reduced to smithereens once the hero beats down the boss before the eldritch abomination decides to invite him over to its hellish pad for one final standoff.  Capcom might as well rename this one Europe May Cry because whatever is left of it will certainly shed some tears in the form of rubble as soon as the hero places a steel-toed boot on its asphalt.  This one received the least favorable reviews out of the three for its poor story direction that held almost no correlation to the other storylines and incredibly short gameplay.  Hopefully with the release of the fifth installation, it will somewhat make sense but until then the only thing worth praising is the fluid combat style and character design of the iconic hero.

  Devil May Cry 3 is not a sequel but a prequel to the first game taking place during the time Dante’s twin brother was alive and lucid and not some sort of mind-slave to some jerkoff demon in which the said demon serves as a final boss (it should be noted that Bayonetta’s final boss bears an eerie resemblance in appearance and combat – nice nod, Capcom).  Apparently both brothers are on opposite sides of the forces of good and evil as Virgil, the blue trench coat-wearing, katana-wielding twin (that’s what he’ll be referred as from now on) summons a giant tower out of nowhere which apparently to Dante was an invitation to climb said incredibly evil-looking, demon-infested  structure (to the top) for a family reunion that pits them to a duel, presumably to the death, for a necklace that served as a memento to their deceased mother as it holds the key to unlocking a dastardly ploy to submerge the world in total darkness (bear in mind, it was night when the setting took place so that seems rather redundant in the literal sense).  In this one, Dante’s female companion rides a decked out motorcycle with enough firearms to give the hero a run for his money and a personality that screams “daddy issues”.  Out of the three games, this one was certainly the easiest and offered a cleaner combat style especially when traversing through each of the maps.  This and the assortment of unique weapons Dante collects throughout the game which he obtains after defeating some fairly entertaining bosses (cause defeat equals friendship), the combat offers a variety of different fighting styles to change it up for the player to upkeep and improve their level of badassity without losing its luster lacking in the first two games.

  Each game has their charms but the common factor is their ability to reel players in with their cool and slick combat system that makes anyone want to just sit in front of their television for hours sending demons back to the pits of hell in style.  Additional treats the players may find throughout each of the series is the questionably and conveniently placed motorcycles that seem to make an appearance in some form or another in the stylish slash-and-shoot series.  And now with the latest DMC gameplay trailer released during Gamescon, the player can now use a god damn motorcycle as a weapon!! A WEAPON!!! How cool is that?!  So if that gets anyone hyped, pre-order Devil May Cry 5 today and prepare yourselves with the HD Collection until its launch in March 2019.  Until then, devil-slayers, remember to stay… Kinda Geeky.

 

Gamet0ber

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     Instead of featuring one game this in article, THREE games will be given special mention in this nerdy post!  To kick off the spooky month, these games will not only make players run for the hills…to their nearest game shop, but give a bone-chilling experience like no other.  Be warned there are spoilers again so for those faint of heart, TURN BACK NOW.

     …..Still here?  Great, moving on!

     The legendary creator Shinji Mikami who directed and produced the hit horror survival series Resident Evil births a new terrifying adventure of unprecedented proportions where it will mess with gamers' minds (literally) - high-pitched screams go out to The Evil Within 2.  What does one think when they hear Resident Evil?  The most common answers would be zombies and eldritch abominations, guns, and an evil organization bent on world domination of the human race using a science experiment/project that goes completely awry.  Sounds about right?  Well, this game and its prequel follow the same premise only without fighting across hordes throughout a doomed city, the player is running through the nightmarish world….OF SOMEONE ELSE’S MIND!  Whoa, that’s a serious mindblow there (APPLAUSE)!  Taking place right after the first game where the protagonist ace detective Sebastian Castellanos is forced into the horrified cesspool of a mind of a dangerously intelligent and vindictive scientist named Ruvik; bent on killing everyone in his dream world to spite the possibly just as evil ruthless organization MOBIUS. The device used to link Sebastian's mind and everyone else that went with him to Ruvik's mind is called STEM. This is a machine designed to create a world within the world of a person's mind that can be explored by others. It was a project meant to explore the memories and experiences of the main mind and all linked to it – clearly that theme park never sailed towards the sunset.  After defeating Ruvik (or- err…his mind? That ending was left ambiguous), Sebastian returns to drinking and bad habits to deal with the traumas he has faced in the STEM world, which leads to him losing his job at the department (ouch).  3 years later, a STEM machine resurfaces under a new name UNION with the core at this new Inception world being Lily Castellanos.  Same last name?  That’s right, the core to the next breed of nightmares is Sebastian's daughter. One could only imagine how creative a world made by a cutthroat organization that kidnapped a little girl who was most likely terrified out of her wits would look. In this new world, it is collapsing and with Lily slowly dying inside her own mind setting the foundation for Sebastian's next wonderful adventure to save her. Developed by Tango Gameworks and released by Bethesda, the Evil Within 2 will test the boundaries of how much one’s stomach and heart can take as well as define the meaning of true survival horror.

     Next on the list is released exclusively for the PlayStation VR (and Steam) – a murder mystery full of mystery and more questions than answers that test not only one’s investigative skills but their bravery: The Invisible Hours.  The premise of the game finds seven people invited to a party by a wealthy and powerful figure Nikola Tesla (anyone open a history book lately?…How about a Wikipedia page?) a world famous electrical engineer and inventor of the early 1900s.  The developers Tequila Works delve deeper into US History by giving Tesla a complex and eerie personality by making him blackmail his own guests, all who apparently hold secrets one would find disinclined to disclose to the public (Oh, one of these guests also happen to be Thomas Edison, that very same one that everyone SHOULD know from the history books).  Safe to say, there’s no love for the “gracious” host (even used fingers to further accentuate the emphasis of the quoted adjective). Due to this, the party takes a surprising twist when the host is found murdered in his own house!  Queue in the dramatic music and lightning strike sound effects (the setting takes place during an actual storm too.  With no immediate evidence of who would commit such a crime and their motives behind it, everyone turns up to be a suspect (Yes, INCLUDING THE PLAYER)!  From there the player has complete access throughout the beautifully detailed mansion to find the clues that not only prove innocence and guilt (probably a mixture of both in the process), but to uncover the mystery behind the sudden and gruesome death of Tesla.  The story doesn’t just follow the actions of the player either.  As time progresses and clues are found, even whilst passing through the halls of such a grand mansion (where apparently the only resident after the incident is a blind assistant – ahem ahem, suspicious…..), events amongst the other suspects will trigger as well so the player can not only learn more about the characters shut in together in the house but experience the drama in first-person perspective in what the developers call “immersive theatre”. Who is the killer?  Why kill Tesla (other than for the blackmail, obviously)?  Why did Tesla invite these people?  What do they have in common (Bet money says they don’t)? Who’s next?  DUN DUN DUUUUUUN!

     Last but not least and the GamerGeek’s personal favorite, major shout out to all Lord of the Rings fans, it is here and out for release – Middle-Earth: Shadow of War.  This highly anticipated game developed by Monolith Productions and produced by Warner Bros. is a direct sequel to the positively acclaimed game Shadow of Mordor.  It follows the story of the ranger Talion of Gondor risen and possessed from the depths of death’s pit by his spectral companion elven lord Celebrimbor – both undead, vengeful men who simply walk into the orc-infested black plains of Mordor to show the Dark Lord Sauron a thing or two about the hellish art of raising armies into battle.  This epic adventure is a must have for all J.R.R. Tolkien fans and those familiar with the Batman: Arkham series as it meshes together the mysticism of the medieval - fantasy genre and the one-of-a-kind stealth combat system that requires more than just smashing the same buttons over and over for the same attack combo as well as a unique recruiting system which allows the players to basically mind-control enemies to bend to their every whim. Not nearly as scary as the previously mentioned games, the amount of difficulty set in the game as well as the sheer fact that orcs will practically chase you down until the ends of the earth for so much as looking at them funny does get the heart pumping like no other.

     These hit games are released now so boot up that console or computer, dim down the lights and pray the monsters don’t instakill on the first try; because all of these games are worth the adrenaline rush. More info and gameplay videos will be provided below. As always, thanks for reading and remember to stay…KindaGeeky!

 

 

 Sources:

 

The Evil Within 2:

·         E3 Trailer - https://youtu.be/amHj6-GnEy0

·         Gameplay Trailer - https://youtu.be/XCmscJkha34

·         Official Website - https://theevilwithin2.bethesda.net/en

·         Early Walkthrough by TheRadBrad - https://youtu.be/EXWoT6AORM0

 

The Invisible Hours:

·         Release Trailer - https://youtu.be/vMWt3jgFMpc

·         PSVR Gameplay - https://youtu.be/vMWt3jgFMpc

·         Gameplay Trailer - https://youtu.be/5qANEEqmy-c

 

The Shadow of War:

·         Live-Action Trailer - https://youtu.be/RuD5pVwIBzo

·         Story Trailer -  https://youtu.be/oQ7aLU6rHLk

·         First Look Gameplay - https://youtu.be/86inBFrAuDs

·         Nemesis System - https://youtu.be/uk197PKSQu4

 

 

Destiny 02: Class Breakdown

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     No, the title is not a typo.  It was completely intentional because name-dropping is what the GamerGeek does best.  Moving on!  Welcome, Guardians, to Zer0PM’s tips and tricks guide to the newly released critically acclaimed online-multiplayer FPS (first-person shooter) video game: Destiny 2.  Developed by Bungie and published by Activision, some people may recognize Bungie as the creator of the popular FPS game Halo (dropping some familiar characters like Master Chief and Cortana to jog the memory) which was first released by Microsoft for the Xbox systems in 2001.  Now they’ve moved on to greater projects with the Destiny series which is now released on all platforms.  It follows the same genre of military science-fiction where the player controls the hero assigned with the daunting task of saving not only their own world but the entire universe from malevolent space creatures (since alien sounded too bland) that threaten to either dominate it or destroy it.

     For those unfamiliar with the Destiny series or what the plot entails, let’s start with the first game.  The player awakens in a dystopian automobile graveyard where they are apparently brought back to life by a chatty floating robotic fairy light called a Ghost that wastes no time in informing them that they are chosen by a giant ball in the sky to combat the evil forces that now terrorize the Earth.  The giant ball in the sky is called The Traveler which not even civilization can pinpoint its origins (just know that it’s super big and super old), but apparently it travels (get it?) from planet to planet to bestow the inhabitants with a special superpower called the Light (doesn’t take a wild guess on what the antagonist forces that combat this are called……..Darkness, if that wasn’t clear).  These powers of Light are divided into three: Void (darkness, ironic), Solar (fire, duh), and Arc (lightning, not so obvious).  Knowing just that tidbit, the same premise follows for Destiny 2: waking up in a ravaged setting gone to hell and being forced to shoot the way to survival.  It should be noted that one does not need to play the first Destiny to play the second, though it is highly recommended for easter eggs (lore).  What’s the character controlled by the player like?  Following the theme of three, the person behind the controller can also choose one of the three classes while creating their character which will be broken down into RPG terms indicated by parenthesis (because “air quotes” just quite don’t cut it as far as setting the tone goes)...

     HUNTER.  The Hunters are the rogues in regards to gameplayWhile most certainly the squishiest (most susceptible to dying), they are easily the most mobile of the three classes with both speed and skillsets that focus on swift, acrobatic combat complete with a handy-dandy military knife.  Remember the three elements mentioned before?  The rogue class is immediately expanded into three respective sub-classes for greater diversity in both PVP (player-versus-player) and PVE (player-versus-environment).  The Solar element awakens the Gunslinger subclass in the Hunter where Overwatch fans can compare to their favorite cowboy McCree* as a master of the heavy-duty revolver (it’s High Noon* somewhere), giving three blazing shots that does massive area-of-effect explosive damage upon impact.  The Void elements awakens the Nightstalker (badass name), the Legolas* of the Hunter subclasses as it lets the guardian shoot using a purple bow and arrows of pure dark energy.  Oh, did that Hunter miss their mark?  No, as wherever the bolt lands, it creates an anchor that tethers to nearby enemies to not only slow them, but weaken them significantly and leaving the poor souls open to massive damage. And last but not least, the Arc element heralds the Arcstrider.  In the first game, the lightning thief wielded only a tiny knife that electrocutes people on contact and makes them superfast on their feet.  The updated subclass in Destiny 2 is not so different, only they now wield a thunder staff and become parkour masters!  The Hunter class is the most picked class so far and the best for new players to the Destiny world for their balanced kits.  Plus, they wear badass capes.

      WARLOCK. The Warlocks are the mages (who could’ve guessed).  They command the elements at the tip of their fingers but without the mantra and crazy hand gestures.  They are the least mobile of the three classes, but damn it can they fly like no one’s business!  This class is focused on self-sustaining, healing, and area-of-effect damage as opposed to the Hunter’s one-on-one combat or the Titan’s one-man barricade mechanics.  The Arc subclass grants the Warlock the ability to call upon the storm, guess that’s why the class is called Stormcaller.  This allows the guardian to literally float around the area and electrocute nearby enemies to death like a messiah ready to smite some poor souls to the depths of black space.  The Void class has the Voidwalker in which the Warlock can (and this is not even exaggerated) Kamehameha* an aimed area that explodes on impact and kill everything around the impact.  Just like the Hunter with their Arcstrider class, the Warlock’s Solar subclass receives a slight makeover as well. In the first Destiny, the Warlock commanding the power of fire can self-resurrect themselves upon death to continue the current fight (because Guardians do not quit!), the new game removes this perk and gives the mage a flaming sword thus appropriately calling the class the Dawnblade!  Referring back to Lord of the Rings, Gandalf the Grey became Gandalf the White.

     TITAN. Literally a walking tank as far as appearance and gameplay goes.  They are slightly more versatile when it comes to moving around the map than a Warlock, though does not get anywhere as easily as a Hunter.  But don’t let their hulking appearances fool…..seriously, don’t as Titans have the capabilities of carrying their fireteam* to victory in the “glory of battle” as Shax* would say.  This class is the heaviest and most-picked for PVP for their bruiser capabilities of not only taking a hit, but packing a punch themselves.  Speaking of punches, a Titan’s Arc subclass dishes one out literally in the super move called the Fist of Havoc where they can literally come in from the air and make a Superman* landing or more appropriately a Thor* landing to those that have seen the most recent MCU trailer like a giant thunderbolt of hate.  This ability will literally electrocute everything nearby into dust.  Another nod to Thor shouts out to the Solar subclass the Sunbreaker, where the Guardian also wields a hammer that’s perfect for not only bashing enemies heads in, but hurling fiery projectiles of inferno badassery.  Think that’s cool with all of these Marvel references?  Not done yet.  The first Destiny grants Titans the ability to call upon the power of Void Light and project a spherical shield that protects everything inside and provide extra health.  This is removed in Destiny 2, of sorts.  Changing the name Defender to Sentinel, these tanky Guardians are given a purple shield and basically become Captain America*.  That’s right, with the throw of their mighty shield, all enemies of darkness will yield!  It’s a good thing said enemies don’t really know how to duck.

     Still haven’t decided? Don’t want to be locked into one role?  Don’t worry.  The good thing about the Destiny games is that each account can create up to three characters.  Three characters, three classes, go forth and save the world as one of each!  Below are videos and a bit of gameplay of how each class plays as well as the significance of the three elements in the environment. Hopefully this quick breakdown rallies more potential players to join the fight against evil invaders, but rest assured that more covering the massive lore and gameplay will be coming soon.  Thanks for reading, Guardians and remember to stay… KindaGeeky!


Notes:

Overwatch – A popular MMO game created by Blizzard

·         McCree* - an Offense hero from Blizzard’s Overwatch that is designed as a Gunslinging cowboy. 

High Noon* - McCree’s infamous quote for his super ability Deadeye where he can instakill multiple targets when locked on

Lord of the Rings – A fantasy-fiction series written and created by master story-teller J.R.R. Tolkien which was adapted to the highly successful movie series of the same name

·         Legolas*- Prince of the Woodland realm and one of the main characters of the Lord of the Rings, he is the elven archer most famously portrayed by Orlando Bloom in the series

·         Gandalf the White* - in the books and the movie, Gandalf battles a demonic Balrog, seemingly falling to his death.  He returns to the world of the living and has transcended from Gandalf the Grey to Gandalf the White, considered the most powerful wizard of his council.  In the movies, he is portrayed by Ian McKellen and also wields a sword in a badass fashion.

Marvel Comics

·         Thor* - a character from the Marvel universe portrayed after the hammer-wielding Norse God of Thunder of the same name.  He is portrayed in the Marvel Cinematics Universe by Chris Hemsworth where he makes a superhero landing to Asgard like a dramatic bolt of lightning as shown in the Thor: Ragnarok movie trailer.

·         Captain America* - a character from the Marvel universe most notable for being an all-around, all-American nice guy/super soldier who wields a round shield that can hurt bad guys once thrown like a Frisbee.  For some reason, said Frisbee comes back and this is the same for the Titan Sentinal.

Kamehameha* - a super ability created and most famously used in the Dragonball as a blast of pure energy that pretty much kills almost everything it hits.  It is portrayed using two hands, although Warlock Voidwalkers use one.  However, the results and animation are almost the same.

Superman* - a superhero created by DC Comics to be created without limits and defend humanity.  Several characters like Shax mentioned before show shades of this which would explain their poses similar to the Superman pose.  He also makes landings similar if not exactly like the Titan Strikers.

Shax* - A character in the Destiny series that runs the Crucible (PVP) arena for the Guardians.  He is a Guardian himself and is of the Titan class.

 

Sources:

·         “Rally the Troops” – Destiny 2 Worldwide Reveal Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJLAJVmggt0

 

·         “Legends Will Rise” – Destiny 2 Live Action Trailer featuring Nathan Fillion and highlighting the three classes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSxElWwWVFE

 

·         “Which Destiny 2 Class is Right for You?” – GameSpot introduction to the three classes as well as their subclasses

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgZY7hQP7Ug

 

·         http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-4/destiny-2 - Metacritics archive of Destiny 2’s review from several resources for those that like to read more than one to make their defining research before the decision for purchase

 

 

Horizon: zer0 dawn

 

With the upcoming expansion of the positively acclaimed action, role-playing game, it’s about time Kinda Geeky sheds some insight on, as the title suggests, Horizon: Zero Dawn. It was released in 2017 by Sony Interactive Entertainment and has received the award for “Best Original Game” for three years in a row during its development. Gamer Geek has never played this game up until now (blasphemy!)…It’s true. From what can be told simply from the introduction of the game, it’s going to be epic and beautiful. The graphics are stunning to the eye, the open environment almost too real to the touch – it’s like walking into Skyrim but instead of dragons, the world is run by robot dinosaurs and mechanic Bambis (yes, the small deer). It undoubtedly takes place many centuries after the modern world of today, and it seems that there was some sort of collapse in the Advanced Technological-Industrial Age which led the world to its current state of said visual futuristic and paradisal Stone Age. The result of this collapse allowed both genres of mysticism and sci-fi to blend together to create a new universe that is simply waiting to be explored!

The game offers a strong, female protagonist by the name of Aloy whom is raised on the outskirts of a region her tribe the Noras call Mother's Embrace, a sort of wild Arcadia where man and machine thrive in peace and harmony. Unlucky for Ms. Aloy, her people labelled her an outcast from birth due to the fact that she was discovered without any presence of a biological mother to claim her as her own.  Following the game’s lore, since Noras go crazy over the whole mother theme as decreed by a couple of preaching old lady-priests with impractical hats and robes, called Matriarchs to give a nod to the mother theme, that is where the fantastic racism* kicks in.  It appears that those without tattoos, those who commit any sort of “crime” (term used loosely as the people are highly sensitive of what goes on within their jurisdiction), those who wander outside the borders, or in Aloy's case, those who are brought up without a mother are immediately and harshly met with neglectful, stern, and harsh treatment.

Because she got fed up of the said harsh treatment that she had been dealt with all her life (rightly so) and developed a powerful desire to learn of her true origins (also rightly so), Aloy began to train to hunt both animal and machine for most of her adolescent years to become the able-bodied warrior she is in the game's present time. Much of the credit goes to the tutelage of her adoptive father-figure, Rost. Like all heroes who get thrusted into the call of adventure, she (spoiler alert ahead!) loses her guardian daddy Rost in the midst of even more clashing discrimination between her tribe and a rival tribe who share a complex history of war and slavery. Desperate to avenge her guardian, Aloy leaves the comfort of her home as the newly appointed and respected Seeker, which is basically a government mercenary, allowing her to freely roam the open machine-ravaged world with her trusty spear and bows (she can carry three at once for some reason). It seemed like her people were as equally desperate to get rid of her as to have her despite her singlehandedly saving them against invaders.  All jokes aside, the more deeds she carries out, the more respect she deserves, and the more friends she makes.

Back to the feel of the game, it splendidly includes all of the elements that create great RPGs – dialogue choices, crafting, customization, and overall free control over the player character.  Its unique combat system allows Aloy to fend off enemies toggling between her bows (remember, there are three) that fire arrows, traps, AND bombs (dang, girl!) However, the most important tool in her arsenal is her spear that can hack into machines and override them to her will (she can make robot slaves). Using these two tools it should be added that Aloy is adept at stealth, crouching silently across the plains in the tall grass that for some reason matches her red hair for effective camouflage as she stalks her prey(s), making her a force to be reckoned with. Like all adventure games, interactive is a must to not only add substance to a good story, but drives it as well. One of the key items in the game that fits the bill is an earpiece that Aloy stumbles upon as a kid known as a Focus which is a piece of technology from the ruined advanced world before her time that allows her to better understand the unknown parts of her current world as well as the machines that roam it (in lame man’s terms, the thing is a tiny x-ray that apparently knows all and sees through all. Everything). This makes the player see the world in more than one perspective that adds more than twice as many possibilities to uncover. With that much to uncover and learn, it would be a very difficult feat to put the controller down.

Since its release, Sony has decided to give fans more to the already massive new Earth for Aloy to explore calling the new expansions “The Frozen Wilds”. It goes without saying on what kind of the place the protagonist will venture into next, but just in case, it’s a tad chilly.  For the red-headed hunter, it means more monsters and enemies to shoot down and pummel, more ruins to stumble upon, and friends to make (after she has completed some sort of mundane and/or complex task for them which she never refuses due to chronic hero syndrome). Sony is looking to release this new adventure on the dawn of November 7, 2017 which in hindsight from the date of post for this article is just over the horizon (applause). For more info on the second best-selling PS4 game, look no further than below. Thanks again for reading and remember to stay KindaGeeky.

 

 

 

Notes:

·         *Fantastic Racism – “a subset of the old trick of dealing with thorny issues through metaphor” as defined by TvTropes where “fantastic” is referred to “fantasy”.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FantasticRacism

 

Sources:

·         Sony announcement for The Frozen Wilds expansion

https://blog.us.playstation.com/2017/08/07/horizon-zero-dawn-the-frozen-wilds-launches-november-7/

 

·         The Frozen Wilds E3 Trailer

https://youtu.be/J5xsS1WZA54

 

·         For those who play the game or have previously played and have given up 'cause the game was hard as hell…

https://www.polygon.com/2017/8/21/16180320/horizon-zero-dawn-easy-story-mode-difficulty-patch-ps4

 

·         IGN videos, tutorials, articles, etc.

http://m.ign.com/games/horizon-zero-dawn

 

persona 5: Take your heart edition

 

     If anyone has ever wondered where the Gamer Geek has been?  In a dark and scary cave called her home wasting her life away in the newest Atlus game like the hermit she is.  The game referred is none other than Persona 5 and it was worth every second with the DLC worth every penny.  As a diehard Shin Megami Tensei fangirl, this game will steal your heart. Pun intended.

     Atlus specializes in Japanese role-playing games (JRPG) with Persona as the main franchise. Persona 5 was showcased all over the world, receiving positive reviews and much well-deserved hype when it was promoted at E3, the world-famous gaming convention (the Gamer Geek underwent great depression when she was unable to attend).  For the newbies, the Persona series takes set around the life of a high school student destined to engage in epic combat with supernatural obstacles that decide the fate of humanity.  Now that it has been said, that is pretty much the theme for nearly ALL of Atlus JRPGs. Plot sound familiar and overused?  Well Persona takes it in on a unique level.  While turn-based games may appear as a thing of the past compared to most video games today, this series’ original combat system, dungeon-crawling mechanics, and visual novel storytelling will not only keep the player entertained, but teach them a thing or two about strategizing in-game and in-life (it’ll make sense).

     Certainly it hits the heart in so many ways as games become attached to characters during story progression, but guaranteed – nothing will hit as hard or make others weigh heavy thoughts as much as the Persona series does.  The excellent and thought-provoking writing that the Persona series delineates goes beyond simply portraying the human psyche and emotions on a societal scale in a simple tear-dropping manner. The games' atmospheres, setting, and storytelling places the players in the shoes of the characters and makes them undergo human hubris that’s so realistic, so relatable, so raw that one cannot help but feel that fiction hits closer to the heart than realized.

     Moving to the characters, namely the protagonist whom the player completely controls from the start of the game, is usually a male high school student that the player can also name (the GamerGeek kept the Japanese naming theme going by going with Shinjiro Kurain in her first play-through – yes, her FIRST play-through, keep in mind the game with released in the second week of April and beaten at the end of the same month).  To maintain its visual novel-esque game play, choices are presented throughout the game that drives the plot in different directions; that along with the quaint day-and-night system factors towards one of the endings. There is a choice-system in the dialogue that allows the player to give their character a unique personality, sadly it is not like most recent RPGs where the protagonist's dialogue (let's call him Joker from here on out) carries on off of your choice as Atlus is notorious for their silent protagonist. Dread not as you can hear Joker's charismatic voice during combat and some instances throughout some scenes and special actions. Depending on what the player says in scenes or even to some important characters they spend time with will determine not only the player’s strength in Persona arsenal but additional features that benefit heavily while exploring the many dungeons and fighting the infinite number of enemies that stalk within. So yes, it will definitely be worth not only developing the main character in the plot but their bonds with others as the power of friendship is OP.  Just to add, one of the protagonist’s best friends is a talking cat which takes anthropomorphic forms between dimensions, takes him and the rest of the team how to be notorious and glamorous thieves. The cat friend also makes an endearing habit of being everywhere with the hero from sneaking in his bag, on his bed, and in his desk. Players will fall in love with not only this cat, but Joker and their entourage of melodramatic robin hood-type comrades – from their real world to alternate dimension designs, personalities and dialogues, to their convictions as they all endure their hardships together.

     Moving forward to the plot, the premise and theme of the whole game revolves around subjugation where quite plainly in the most basic of literal and figurative aspects the player and their friends must save society as they are slaves to the prison of others' or their own “distorted desires” and it is up to the protagonist and his friends to “steal their hearts” and give hope to those without power that change can happen and freedom from such subjugation can be achieved with a strong enough resolve. They do this by crossing over to a new world via phone app (yep, that’s right) to a different dimension inside their target’s heart, infiltrating beautifully aesthetic if not also structurally confusing dungeons, valorously combating fearsome monsters (let’s be honest, they look weird as hell but the strange journey doesn’t make the game any less fun) with the use of their Personas, the titular factor of the game that are the physical manifestations of a character's psychological resolve (there’s more to it if anyone follows the game’s lore from the very beginning, but that’ll tale a whole 'nother article), and they must accomplish all of this while doing well in school because saving the world from supernatural catastrophe requires at least a C in literature.

     Gameplay-wise, it is highly enjoyable and recommended. Every day in the game is different for everyone, no two experiences are the same and the fact that each day and each action is completely controlled by the player (besides obvious cut-scenes) makes the adventure just that much more personal and pleasingly interactive. Atlus never disappoints in delivering the best in JRPGs and will leave gamers asking for more (ideally in future DLC - wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Without further spoilers, more information about the game can be found below. Thanks for reading and remember to stay Kinda Geeky.

Sources & More Info:

·         Game Trailer: https://youtu.be/wPqSkzNNPIg

·         Dungeon Crawling & Mechanics: https://youtu.be/ynP5dLAWAkE

·         Combat System: https://youtu.be/fl3elI7hqRM

·         DLC: https://atlus.com/persona5/dlc.html

·         Confidants/Social Links: http://m.ign.com/wikis/persona-5/Confidants

·         Gallery of the Phantom Thieves: http://comicbook.com/2016/08/01/see-persona-5s-phantom-thief-costumes-in-action/1

 

Ready? FIGht!

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     Street Fighter was released in Japan in 1987.  It was created by Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto who were heavily influenced by martial arts. For everyone that’s been living under a rock up until this point, this game series became a canvas for fighting games today.  Up until 1992, five years after its first release, the game was only available in arcades. Instead of gaming controllers, there were “fight pads” (mentioned in the EVO 2016 article) with a toggle stick and an array of round buttons to pound aggressively at because everyone knows the harder the buttons are hit, the more powerful the damage the moves and combos execute once landed. (Gaming Logic 101)

      Every good story comes with a hero.  Ryu was the Goku (shout out to any Dragonball Z fans out there) of the franchise, good-natured warrior who respects those that can prove a challenge in his underlying pursuit to become the strongest. With every hero comes his lancer, his deuteragonist, his Han Solo. His Vegeta bears less anger management issues (until his change to the dark side for a brief moment, SPOILERS!) and holds an insurmountable respect for his longtime rival, one of the most broken* characters in the game series: Ken Masters. Ken, the red-wearing American fighter notorious for the special technique Rising Dragon Fist, otherwise known as the the Shoryuken.  The first Street Fighter follows Ryu as he travels all over the world fighting the strongest fighters if the region until he reaches the Big Bad in the final stage. This became the premise for most, if not all, beat-em up games that follows.

     The archetype of villains as far as any good plot goes, nicely dressed Nazi set for world domination only without the prejudice as all fighters are welcome! You just need a dose of mind-controlling evil is the only requirement upon applying. Jokes aside, M. Bison had a different name in Japan. In Japan, M. Bison was named Vega. Vega, the claw-wielding Spaniard with the mask, great hair, and goes without a shirt less than 15% of the time? Bison, Vega, and Balrog underwent name switches to avoid a lawsuit from famous boxer Mike Tyson so Bison was originally Vega, Vega was Balrog, and Balrog was Bison.

      Back to the gameplay, players were only able to control Ryu. The sequel: Street Fighter II (like it would name anything else) steps up exponentially by allowing players to control different characters with their own set of moves as well as fight each other as opposed to AI-controlled opponents. The most popular of the new characters being Chun Li. The beautiful Chinese Interpol agent that can deliver some mean kicks with some mighty thighs to match.  Her legacy would inspire other games and franchises to exemplify the raw strength and resolve women carry that matches that of any male which is impressively portrayed in the animated movie Street Fighter II (no one speaks about the theatrical-release of the live-action movies – this is a good thing). The legit live-action movie feature real-life martial artists Gaku Space (casted as Akuma) and Christian Howard (casted as Ken Masters) in Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist.

      In the first games, you have the standard punch, kick, and jump mechanics of varying styles that is unique to each character.  Combining specific character movement along with an action triggers unique “moves”. Successfully setting off a combo will unleash a special move, the most popular of the specials being Hadouken (“wave-motion fist”) and Shoryuken (“rising dragon fist). Landing one of those back in the day was an instant one-kit K.O. One can only imagine how frustrating it is to dodge a spirit ball flying towards their character when said energy ball takes up practically half the screen let alone a flying uppercut that can’t be stopped or hopped over once backed into an invisible wall. “Trying to get away from your opponent? It would be a shame if something blocked your path,” says game stages everywhere (Every single one of them). Still the series never falls short in providing heart-accelerating, pound-pounding excitement and in its success has evolved in both aesthetic and gameplay while maintaining the original mechanics.  In Street Fighter III (1997), they add on to the fighting system with the “parry” mechanic which now allows players to counter attacks. In Street Fighter IV (2007), the games appearance maintains its robust 2D sprite artwork and is implemented to 3D models to satisfy modern standards. On top of its special moves, they introduce ultra-combos, more commonly known as the scenematic “finishers”.

      Street Fighter did not come into console until Street Fighter II for the Super NES and did not hit the big screen in eSports until Street Fighter IV in 2014 which will then be succeeded by its sequel Street Fighter V (all released in the Xbox and PS consoles) in the biggest fighting game competition in the world EVO (Evolution Championship Series – find out more about the tournament in the links below).  In its reign as one of the top tier games in the world, Capcom collaborated with other franchises to create crossover games such as Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter x Tekken.

     Considering having gone to EVO 2016, attended Anime Impulse and met with real-life martial artists, AND Geeks of the Galaxy's most recent podcast recording which including zealous proclamations of the phrase “Sonic Deuce” – how has the Gamer Geek not cover Street Fighter yet?  Too many Lightning Kicks to the head apparently.  Luckily she managed to pull her Hadouken out of her butt.

      To close this article and stay true to the topic at hand, anyone wonders what “Sonic Deuce” means in the beginning?  It’s a term coined to portray the cross over between tennis and Street Fighter. Quite literally, it is the moment in game where two opponents are literally throwing energy projectiles at one another and the attacks negating once the energies meet. It is as epic as it sounds. Give it a shot if it hasn’t been tried already. Thanks for reading and remember to stay…KindaGeeky!

 

Sources:

History of Street Fighter

- http://m.ign.com/articles/2009/02/16/ign-presents-the-history-of-street-fighter

 

- https://youtu.be/GtPuCpe3LGk

 

Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist

- http://www.streetfighteraf.com

 

Geeks of the Galaxy podcast: Sonic Deuce!

- http://www.soundcloud.com/geeksofthegalaxy/sonic-deuce

 

EVO (Evolution Championship Series)

- http://evo.shoryuken.com/

 

Fun Facts about Street Fighter

- http://arcadesushi.com/obscure-street-fighter-facts/

 

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

- https://youtu.be/S0aEC6SjbfU

 

 

Pokemon Go

pokemon-go-logo.jpg
 

          Welcome all readers for another article purely to sate your gamer geek needs!  If the title doesn’t give it away then here it is - this new addition will revolve around the mobile game sensation taking phone activities by the storm since its release: Pokémon Go.  Made only for the Android and IOS devices, this addicting game is NOT created by Nintendo believe it or not.  It was created by the software company Niantic.

           For those who have not yet had the pleasure of testing out this game, it shares similar elements to the traditional pokémon.  At the beginning of the game, players can automatically customize their avatar to their own unique specifications.  They also have the option of choosing their allegiance to one of the three factions: Team Mystic, whose mascot is Articuno (best team!); Team Instinct, Zapdos; Team Valor, Moltres.  Once the avatar is made, the player jumps right into the game in Niantic’s unique movement system where the avatar moves along with the player covering distance across the map match by real life locations in real time.  By changing locations from one spot to another, the avatar will move along with them and different locations will contain different pocket monsters.  Neat, right?  That’s not all, the tall grass system applies as well, where players can randomly encounter pokémon.  The difference there lies in the capture system.

            Fans nostalgically remember the battle sequence where trainers and their team fight wild pokémon and fling their pokéballs at them when they’re weak enough or something of that ilk, correct?  In PokémonGo, there is no such combat epicness that sparks such childhood memories…against wild pokémon anyhow.  Instead, the player can go right ahead with catching the pokémon throwing pokéballs with a swipe of a finger.  This part of the system feels similar to that of a mini-game where the trick lies in aiming.  As bland as that sounds, this unique play on “hit-or-miss” has captured both interest and time from app users around the world.  It really is quite addicting. 

            To get back on the battle system, it was mentioned that players cannot battle wild pokémon.  While there are rumors that that feature may be added to the game in the future to follow similar lines to the original series as closely as possible, Niantic has made no such promises yet, but it makes up for that by having trainers battle each other.  Throughout the area within the players’ proximity are hotspots and they come in two forms: Pokéstops, where players can swipe on the location icon to refresh items such as potions and pokéballs, and Gyms, every die hard pokémon fan should know what these are.  Rather than premade AI trainers with a set pokémon team, PokémonGo users can battle each for dominance.  If the gym is white, it means it’s empty; blue for Team Mystic, yellow for Team Instinct, and red for Team Valor.  Any player can take over the gym for their team and the longer they maintain their holding on it, the more benefits they have.  The battles themselves are not turn-based like the traditional games; on the phone, it follows a tap-and-swipe system where the player will play against the rival team’s pokémon to attack and dodge continuously.  For the moment, there is no real-time battle system for this app so players can only battle another’s AI.

            At its release, PokémonGo made the charts as one of the hottest apps and was the most downloaded program in its first week.  The amount of users were rising to explosive numbers due to the franchise and statistically more people were becoming increasingly active because of its unique mobile features.  In the one of the hearts of California, players would be out on the Santa Monica pier well into the early morning hours, many not leaving until around 3am.  Pokémon trainers clearly don’t need sleep!

            Unfortunately, the app based around such an iconic series has been on the receiving end of bad reviews, critiques, technical errors, and overall pitfalls of users.  On the first month of its release, there were numerous complaints on the app’s buggy gameplay from the lagging capture system to the point where most users cannot even get past the loading screen. 

            Another flaw is their level up system for each pokémon.  While the process is simple: use currency to make your monster more powerful.  Easy.  The currency comes in two forms: pokémon candy and stardust, both which are acquired by catching pokémon constantly.  While it is easy to farm both, the level system demands high amounts of stardust which most users do not have enough of from capturing pokémon.  The purpose of these two currencies is to make their team stronger so that that can take on gyms; however, when it became too frustrating to grind for these two things, many players called it quits as the rival trainers continued to get farther and farther ahead.  It was near impossible for players to catch up for a chance of getting their own gym bonuses.

            Adding to this, people were growing restless and tired of catching Rattata and Zubat constantly as was the joke of many of the game’s memes.  So when several parties became interested in seeking ways to find better, rarer pokémon, they created apps that overrode the in-game’s tracking system.  Numerous apps for the game surpassed the system by showing the exact locations of certain pokémon on the map as opposed to the creators’ purpose of keeping the spots and encounters random and spontaneous.  Another cheat was when people began to grow lazy from the game’s walking system and decided to download an app where they can move their avatar anywhere without the player themselves taking a single step.  While it certainly made it more enjoyable for those players, Niantic would have none of it.  To counter this, the company removed the tracking system entirely and only displayed what pokémon were nearby (instead of how close they were as its original design) and created a monitoring program that detects whether or not a player is moving too fast by normal means of travel and will thus disable the wild encounters if it appears so.  Niantic would then post on social media sites to discourage cheating on their app.  While it certainly trumped most of the cheaters, it made a huge impact on the rest of the users.  Because of these updates, many players quit because at that point PokémonGo was “no longer enjoyable”.

            To continue onto the battle system, this one had problems in both the loading and the gameplay where players frequently have to restart their app in order to get it working properly.  It wasn’t too long where it became a chore for the three factions to display their team pride when they can’t even load into the battle properly.  Or even more frustrating to go on a winning streak only for the game to completely freeze on the spot right before the finishing blow.

            When user rating was dropping to a critical low, Niantic attempted to fall back into the good graces of its app users by updating the game that better fitted player preferences.  The company made it easier to accumulate currency, a unique buddy system, and brought back a new and improved tracking system that shows the location of the desired pokémon themselves.  In addition, Niantic added the 2nd generation pokémon to the wild encounters just recently on Monday, December 12 (more disappointing than it sounds).  Thanks to this more people are returning to the game and new users are bringing themselves to the mix of the Gamefreak hype.  If the readers here wish to give the game a shot, it should be remembered to be careful going out and about while playing but also remember to have fun with this sensational and unique app despite all of its flaws.  Below are several links on the game as well as tips and tricks for those who come across a little snag.

 

 

Sources:

http://pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/en/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2016/07/07/ios-android-nintendo-pokemon-go-review-day-one-bugs-monsters-and-glitches/#2dce4903315e

http://kotaku.com/pokemon-gos-new-update-just-isnt-enough-1790051208

http://www.ign.com/wikis/pokemon-go/Bugs,_Glitches,_Freezes,_and_Fixes

 

Multiplayer etiquette

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     For those of you coming into KindaGeeky for the first time: welcome!  For those of you returning patrons: welcome back!  This group of likeminded geeks extends the most gracious of gratitude for your support.  So the plan every month for the KindaGeeky writers: the Cosplay Geek (Karlibra of Karli’s Corner) and myself the Gamer Geek, we will share our passions twice every month.  The first article revolves around events, news, experiences of our passion; the second, opinions.  This is the latter and today all new and veteran gamers reading this will be educated (or refreshed) on my definition of multiplayer etiquette.

     Multiplayer refers to any game in which more than one person participates.  In video games, players may recognize this as: two or more sits down next to the console, two standing next to each on a dance mat for DDR or like-games, multiple players playing worldwide in one game sharing one server.  These players, depending on the game, will be gaming together or against each other, whether they are friends or strangers, competitively or casually.

     Etiquette is defined as the polite behavior expressed amongst a society or group.  When putting multiplayer and etiquette together it is simplified as “sportsmanship”.  As a long-time gamer with a heavy history of MMO (massive multiplayer online) plays, it cannot be expressed enough how important sportsmanship is when in game with other people especially for games with hard PvP (player versus player) focus.  To gain a better understanding of multiplayer etiquette or sportsmanship, here are the three do’s and don’ts.

     DON’T RAGE.  Whether it’s fighting a difficult boss or level, or poor plays are being made and frustrations are elevated, do not ever let your emotions get the best of you.  Anger is an easy feeling to turn to and the most poisonous of the three thorns of toxicity in a game.  When someone rages, they lose more focus and tend to blame their teammates or whoever they’re playing with to the point where they lose synergy and overall enjoyment of what is meant to be fun.  Today’s gamers will find situations like this in League of Legends, arcade fighting games like Street Fighter, and especially FPS’s (First-Person Shooters) like Call of Duty, etc.  It is infectious and can spread to other players like wildfire.

     When this happens: DO REMEMBER TO REMAIN CALM.  No one likes losing, but everyone wants to play for the sake of playing simply because it’s entertaining.  Pointing the finger, cursing, and yelling will not make anything better; it will not make you feel better about yourself; it will not make your team/party feel better let alone want to play with you in the future.  So when a game is looking bad, take deep breaths, keep communication with your party, and continue to play with a clear head and if it ends with a loss, it ends with a loss and you move on.  Losing doesn’t mean the end of the world, but “Remain Calm and Game On” is a creed to live by and speaks a lot of character in sportsmanship.

     DON’T BM.  BM is short for “bad manners” and this can include anything between name-calling, verbal abuse, and taunting.  This scenario is interesting because it can happen on both ends of a match.  If one side is on the winning end, half the time you’ll see in the game chat someone flaunting their side by putting down your own along the lines of “Your team sucks” or “Learn to group better, noobs”.  If one side is losing, players tend to do this with their own teammates similar to raging with “Learn how to play the game” or “This person is stupid and can’t do a thing”.  All of these comments are light compared to what I’ve personally seen.  If you’re winning, don’t be a sore winner; if you’re losing, don’t beat others while you’re all down.

     To avoid behavior like this: DO SHOW RESPECT.  Show respect to yourself and others by not engaging or encouraging bad behavior.  When someone is bming, it is important to take every comment with a grain of salt because most of the time, this display of rude conduct is a result of that person’s own personal flaws and they have no other outlet for their frustrations/venting but towards others.  It may seem like you’re simply giving up when someone is pushing you around, but honestly it isn’t worth it.  If someone is bming or bullying you in game, you’re giving them power by responding.  Show yourself some respect by respectfully ignoring them.  If they persist, let them and if it makes you feel better, send a report to the game’s admins of the abuse, cases like these are taken in measures put in your favor because the goal is for you to have fun with their game without the pitfalls of bad players ruining it.  When the game ends, show respectful behavior by commenting “GG” or “Good/Great game”, make your party feel good about the plays with a simple “Good Job team” or “Happy gaming”.

     DON’T TROLL.  What is trolling?  Ever played with a team in Call of Duty or Destiny and see a teammate run towards the enemy all willy-nilly?  Then they die?  Ever hear them snicker or comment “LOL” in the chat after?  This is bad manners with humor, which by the end of the day doesn’t seem hilarious to you or everyone else but that person.  Trolling is a result from either raging or bad manners, or even both.  Sometimes the troller instigates both, but most of the time someone resorts to trolling because they are a victim of rage/bm.  At this point, the player has no intention of playing the game succinctly or seriously, quite the opposite.  In fact, that person aims to make things as difficult for others purely for their own entertainment.  Its one thing to have fun in a game on your own, but please do not ruin it for other people.  That is a quick way to invite rage and bad manners and no one wants to suffer abuse of any kind.

     DO TAKE ACTION.  Unlike bming where it is better to let things go and play out on their own, trolling cannot be dealt with in the same way.  Trolling needs to be nipped in the butt and discouraged as this form of toxicity comes in mass.  Due to most games granting players anonymity, this form of negativity comes easy.  To deal with this, communicate with the person and call out on their conduct.  Half of the time, players don’t even know they’re trolling, and adjust their behavior accordingly.  This is how it should be; everyone wins and continues to play the game.  However, if you come across someone who trolls intentionally, report them.  Don’t consider, don’t think twice, end it where it starts and expose this to game admins in feedback or community posts.  Build a good enough case, it’ll stop that person from trolling (or ban them from the game worst case scenario) as well as encourage others from not following suit.  It may seem like tattle-telling, but like bullying, it cannot be taken lightly neither can it be allowed to continue.

     Overall, maintaining good multiplayer etiquette by being polite, friendly, and helpful leads to better, fun plays.  Follow these do’s and don’ts to become a better player and a better character which will invite others to do the same in their own growth as a fellow gamer.  Remember that gaming has a massive community and sportsmanship is the key to truly enjoy video games.  Most importantly, remember to stay KindaGeeky.  Thank you for reading!

 

EVO 2016

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I would like to start off this first article by thanking you readers as well as all supporters of KindaGeeky.  As the Gamer Geek, I focus on all things video games and any events related to whether it is a convention or tournaments I attend.  My goal is to immerse you, the audience, to embrace your inner gamer/geek and to explore not only the stuff that interests you but the avenues to express them proudly.  For example, I myself am a cosplayer, the media that I cosplay the most obviously are video games like League of Legends, and since then I’ve gained more confidence as a person since I allowed myself the opportunity to express my love for a game I enjoy playing so openly.  From there, I took to travelling to other conventions on the west coast and at some point even went out of the country.

EVO, also known as Evolution or Evolution Championship Series, is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, fighting game competition in the world.   Located at my childhood hometown Las Vegas, Nevada, I ventured out there to witness one of the most hyped events of the year.  Las Vegas is the ideal location for a weekend full of good times.  Although the dry heat was close to overbearing, it didn’t stop the gamers from keeping their cool as they battle each other for the title.

The games that featured this year are the traditional arcade games like the crowd favorite Street Fighter, Soul Calibur, Tekken, BlazBlue and Marvel vs. Capcom; as well as console fighting games such as Super Smash Bros. Melee, and introducing the new fighting game that was recently released Pokken Tournament (a unique, badass fusion of both the popular Pokémon and Tekken’s fluid 3D animation).  This event is unique due to the fact that the convention is held in two different locations: the first two days of the three day weekend being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and the finals for Melee and Street Fighter V (the tournament the audience are most excited for) are held at the Mandalay Bay hotel and is so popular that it is even broadcasted on live television on eSports (Electronic Sports).

Both locations are set up in a way as if you are sitting in a stadium or an open-spaced theatre.  The preliminary rounds and semi-finals held at the LVCC is held up in such a way with three enormous screens that shows live play and commentary of the games.  Surrounding the audience are the participants of the tournaments themselves with their own 4-by-4 seating and customized Fight Pads (the six button panels with the stick you see on arcade consoles) battling it out for the coveted trophy.  On the far side of the center are the booths that hold various merchandise of the featured games, I myself indulged in a SF poster signed by the artist, a Pikachu hat, and several shirts.  There were even some cosplayers there, the most famous being the lovely Vampy Bit Me, world-renowned for her amazing costume designs and love for old school arcade games, and the ever awesome BaneintheRain, a fantastic conbuddy of mine known for his striking resemblance to Christopher Nolan’s rendition of the supervillain Bane from the Dark Knight Rises.  In addition to this list of celebrities, there were gamers from all over the world who gained their fame from being the best at laying the beat down in arcade/fighting games such as Gamerbee (Bruce Hsiang, Taiwan), C9’s Mango (Joseph Marquez, USA), Daigo (Daigo Umehara, Japan), Fuudo (Keita Ai, Japan), Long Island Joe (Joe Ciaramelli, USA), and winner of 2016’s SFV tournament Infiltration (Lee Seon-woo, Korea).

The tournament itself, the main course of this mélange of entertainment, is exciting to indulge in.  Now when I say exciting, I don’t mean it’s like walking into a club or a party, it takes on a more chill setting where geeks alike gather and enjoy friendly competition like sitting down and watching an action-packed movie or a game of football.  You would think staying on your butt for days on end would be a boring pass time, but when you see just how determined these players are and how immersed the viewers are, you can’t help but feel their energy motivate you to invest your interests in these games.  If you would like to learn of these events, these games and their highlights, as well as the participants and celebrities I’ve mentioned previously, feel free to click on the links below.  If you’re also interested in investing in your own fight panel and play in tournaments such as these, I highly recommend checking EVO out first and get the firsthand experience of what defines friendly yet exhilaratingly intense gamers’ competition.

 

EVO (Evolution Series Championship):

·        http://evo.shoryuken.com/

·       http://www.redbull.com/us/en/esports/events/1331804493914/evo-2016
 

Infiltration

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSEDmC6rp0k – Final Round Victory

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70R79cKfsk0 - Interview

Daigo

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwRHNwEpU_8 – Daigo Complilation

Gamerbee

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFQJkyfmN-o – Gamerbee vs Oil King

Mango

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_xH1Tma0O0 – Mango vs Mew2King

Long Island Joe

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_xH1Tma0O0 – LI Joe vs Kazunoko

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFXNUwvBLas – LI Joe vs Eita

Fuudo

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxO1LwVvaVY – Fuudo Compilation

Street Fighter V

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeG0UbxZDqI – Highlights Day 1 & 2

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAcq6vDP-fs – Top 8 Finals

Pokken Tournament

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seRpIj_e1V8 - Highlights

Super Smash Melee

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W7U-MyZI0Q - Finals

Mortal Kombat

·       http://www.redbull.com/us/en/esports/stories/1331806453833/mortal-kombat-s-immortal-competitors-at-evo-2016 - Redbull eSports Mortal Kombat article

Vampy Bit Me

·       https://www.facebook.com/VAMPYBITME/

·       https://twitter.com/VampyBitme?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Fight Pad (Mad Catz)

·       http://madcatz.com/streetfighterv/#home