I blame the quarantine. I mean it, I completely blame the quarantine. Let’s rewind, what am I talking about, I’m talking about how I’m playing a Call of Duty game, not only that, I’m playing online multiplayer with their Battle Royale mode, Warzone.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the latest COD (released in September of 2019). It’s a soft-reboot of this sub-series under the Call of Duty flag of games. And while I am still making my way through the campaign (and we’ll talk about that another time), what I’m here to discuss is their ‘Battle Royale’ mode, Warzone.
I’m not this type of gamer, not by a long shot. And yet here I am, playing online with other people, watching a circle shrink as I run around a map trying to survive in a death-match.
I completely get why people love this type of game, it’s endlessly entertaining and it’s those unexpected moments that delight. When you find yourself being run over by a vehicle or manage to run into a building and quickly take-down 3 or 4 surprised players who were too busy reloading. Every death is entertaining and something to be learned from.
I’ve tried PUBG and Fortnite but those games just didn’t click the way this one did. I’ve ignored my Animal Crossing island for a few weeks now. If you’re looking for something to play, a game where you can just turn off your brain. You should consider picking this up. The Warzone BR mode is free, you’d only pay if you’re interested in playing the campaign.
One caveat. If you’re going to play solo like I do, turn off the mics. There’s no need to listen in on gamergate bros and bigots as they comment on your inability to play the game. It’s just not worth it.
I doubt I’ll ever purchase another Blizzard game again, and the only one that might seriously tempt me is Diablo 4, but I’d have to think long and hard about that because, I’m not a fan of their political stance with regards to China & Hong Kong.
All that being said, I have Overwatch on the brain. It’s Halloween and I’m thinking of Overwatch’s Halloween Terror event and all the cool skins you can pick up for our motley crew of heroes/villains. It’s the one thing I will most most about this kind of ‘event gaming’. Those skins are dope.
These skins look amazing. Even then, it’s double-edged. They may look amazing but there’s no guarantee you’ll unlock these skins unless you shell out a ton of money on lootboxes.
This kind of ‘event gaming’ is so seductive because of course you want the latest cool looking Halloween costume/skin. And it’s not just Overwatch, it’s a ton of other games: Destiny 2, Fortnite, World of Warcraft, Apex Legends, Pokemon Go, Rocket League, etc.
They may look cool, but looking cool has always come with a price tag.
Returning to a game you haven’t picked up in months can be a frustrating experience. Outside of feeling disconnected from the narrative of whatever game you’re attempting to hop back inside of, you have also likely forgotten a number of other aspects of the game: controls, attack patterns of bosses, and where you are in the game (literally, somewhere on a giant map unsure of your next step).
I wish more video games took a page from television serials and provided a “Previously on…” kind of recap. Dragon Quest XI, which I’m currently playing does just this and it’s a brilliant addition to an already stand-out game. I am glad the developers recognized that in a game that is potentially 120+ hours long, that it might be useful to have a short recap while your game is loading, explaining that your character was last on this island battling this evil demon and your next goal is to find maguffin A so you can restore order to the blah blah blah.
What often happens to me when I return to an older game is that I start a brand new save, so that I can re-familiarize myself with the game’s narrative/controls and then once I feel like I’ve recalled enough of the game, I will hop back into my older save which has more progress.
I do also wish that outside of a “Previously on…” type of feature, that more games would allow you to replay the introduction/tutorial because that would basically solve the problem of not knowing how to play the game after so many months (or even years) of inactivity.
So I apologize but this next post is going to be a deep in the weeds, very “you need to understand the meta of the game” kind of post. And if you’re not a fan of the roguelike game Binding of Isaac, well then what I’m about to say isn’t going to mean much. Though maybe you can at least appreciate the dedication and the sense of accomplishment for what I’ve just done in this game.
I finally unlocked the D6 by defeating Isaac in the Cathedral using ???. This is not easy. I’ve been trying to do this for months and months and I’ve failed again and again and again. The reason being that unlike most other dungeon runs, you have a very limited number of hits that you can take and the ability to replenish your life is also at a premium.
The Binding of Isaac is my “forever game”. There’s something about htis game that has just taken root inside of my soul and it’s the game I keep on going back to. I may pick up other games but I always return to this one.
I should also note that this is a game that keeps on giving, there have been at least 3 major expansions DLCs, one of which will be released later this Winter. And I’ve only scratched the surface. I still have some characters to unlock and a number of secret endings that I’ve yet to see. It will be a sad day indeed when I’ve unlocked everything this game has to offer.
So much drama over a few bloody pixels. This is a deep-dive into the controversy around Mortal Kombat, censorship, & video-game violence.
“Mortal Kombat’s fatalities were so graphic that they had to literally be seen to be believed. One kid would hold court on a playground and strive to convince a jury of peers that he’d seen one character rip off his face and breathe fire, reducing the other guy to ashes and bones. Another kid swore up and down that a fighter in a white jumpsuit and straw hat could zap characters’ heads off with a bolt of lightning. “That breeds interest and foot traffic,” later GamePro editor Dan Amrich said of the rumors surrounding MK’s gory finishing moves, “and before you know it, you have people looking closer because that controversial thrill was so unexpected. And that’s going to be very powerful with kids whose media is largely — and rightfully! — gatekept by their parents. Here’s a game you’re know you’re ‘not supposed to play,’ even if you haven’t been strictly forbidden to play it. It tapped into the lure of the forbidden.””
And just like that, I’m back into a 200+ hour japaense role-playing game (JRPG). The irony of this is not lost on me when I was waxing poetic about not having time for games like this just last week and how I had settled on Roguelikes as my preferred gaming genre. And while that still holds true for the most part (just last night I took a break from DQXI to complete a few BoI challenges), there’s something about this genre that finds a way into my heart and soul.
DQXI is one of the most traditional JRPGs ever made. The Dragon Quest series is more popular than Final Fantasy in Japan. I tend to lean more towards DQ than I do FF. And this isn’t shade at the FF series, I’m a big fan. It’s just that I think DQ feels more like my kind of game. I like that the stories are a bit more reliant on fairy tale conventions and Dungeons & Dragons style party members. It just satisfies a different itch.
I’m about 15 hours into DQXI and I cannot recommend this game highly enough. I don’t feel like I could write a proper review, so I’m going to just recommend you read this one by Tim Rogers of Kotaku. He says everything I want to say, only better:
Dragon Quest XI is hugely long and chill as heck. It took me about 80 chill as heck hours to finish the main quest my first time. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes chill characters, colorful aesthetics, Akira Toriyama’s art, extremely old-school role-playing games, fairy tale stories, or ridiculously detailed video game towns.