A Short Hike – Review (PC)

If I am to be honest, I am a little burned out of playing video games. I currently have no deadlines on when I need to publish things and I still find myself dropping games after a few play sessions. The only one that I have stuck with in recent memory is Marvel’s Spiderman (In all fairness, it was amazing). I do not know if I can contribute this development to working longer hours than I am used to or just being older but games just do not hold my attention like they used to. Enter A Short Hike by developer adamgryu , a little indie game that I picked up on the sole fact that it was free. I never really intended to play it just like all of the other free games that I never really intended to play, but between another rabbit hole of youtube content and staring at a blank wall I decided to give it a shot. Man oh man am I glad that I did.

A Short Hike is just as the name implies as you play an anthropomorphic bird, Claire, who is out on a vacation with her Aunt May to the beautiful and picturesque Hawk Peak Provincial Park. She wakes up after arriving at the camping spot only to realize that her phone does not have reception. She is expecting an important call later on and the only way she is going to receive it is if she goes on a short hike to the top of Hawk Peak. From the moment you take control of Claire, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. The ultimate goal is to climb to the summit of Hawk Peak, but the game does not force you to that goal. You come across a host of different characters during your time camping. From the fisherman who teaches you the calming nature of fishing, to the climbers club that trains you how to get to the top of the mountain faster, everyone here seems to be enjoying there time and they all have interesting things to say. Because of this I found myself going out of my way to talk to every character to see if there was anything that I could do for them.

I may have spent a little to much time searching for collectibles in order to trade for other collectibles that I might need. In my play through I never found a use for the fish I was collecting, or beat a certian hiker in a foot race even though I had at least 6 golden feathers, but I still found this weird joy in doing the activities. I also played about an hour of beachstickball until I was able to get the 20+ hits because I was that determined. The game found subtle ways to make me want to participate in its activities beyond the rewards I would get from them. I ended up doing it because Claire and I were on the same journey of relaxation.

Aside from the smaller activities your goal is to get to the top of the mountain, and you accomplish this by collecting feathers. The feathers act as your stamina gauge and dictate how long you can climb as well as how long you can glide, with you using one ever time you flap your wings. The gauge refills when you touch the ground so if you mess up a climb you can normally reset and try again without much fuss. That being said when you get closer to the peak of the mountain it does get colder and that will effect your feathers. It seems like you only need 7 feathers to get to the top and I finished my game with 11. Once you reach the top the game will trigger a cut scene that I will not spoil here, but I will say that it hit me straight in the feels. And once that is done you will be able to glide down while taking in an awe inspiring aerial view of your adventure.

I went into A Short Hike looking for something to take away my repetitive boredom and left it feeling shockingly relaxed. Right from the start you and Claire are along for this ride together and it is your decision how she spends her time at Hawk Peak. The game does not take itself too seriously nor does it make you feel like you have to accomplish anything at all. A Short Hike is a game designed to get you lost in its characters and organic story telling, and it leaves the rest up to you.

A Short Hike is available on Steam for $7.99

Pokemon GO Gets Invaded!

One of the things that has been sorely missing from Pokemon Go since the beginning is NPC Trainer Battles. I mean sure there are the training battles that you can have with the team leaders, but those skirmishes do not carry any stakes. This is why I feel that the introduction of Team GO Rocket (ridiculous name aside) is a step in the right direction for Niantic’s AR Giant.

As it stands the encounters are pretty straight forward. While playing, be on the look out for a PokeStop that is doing its best impersonation of a Silent Hill Nurse. Once you walk up to the twitching item pole it will turn black and a Team GO Rocket grunt will pop out to indicate that you can have a battle here. This encounter is made all the better by the comments that the grunts make when you approach them and beat them. Each grunt seems to have three Pokemon that all center around one. (Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard). Each of these Pokemon will be rocking a shadowy aura around them. This makes them stronger than their average counterparts, so you might need to pour some stardust into your team in order to stand a chance against some of the tougher battles. Shadow Snorlax is a sleepy demon from hell and deserves all of the punishment it gets.

Once you finish the battle with the grunt you will have the chance to catch the first form of the Pokemon in question. You are set up, much like after a Raid battle, with a certain amount of Premier Balls based on your modifiers. It seems like you can get more by finishing the new Purifier and Hero badges that released with the encounters. The Purifier badge is filled out by how many Shadow Pokemon you purify, while the Hero badge is filled out with how many Team GO Rockets you defeat. So far I have only gotten 4 Premier Balls, but after a couple more battles this will most likely change. Once you catch the Pokemon you are able to leave them in the shadow form or purify them. Purifying your shadow babies makes them stronger, however it does cost candy and stardust.

It also looks like this event is just the start of a bigger story. The grunts seem to allude to a boss type figure pulling the strings from the shadows. This boss wants Team GO Rocket to take over the PokeStops for some evil purpose that is sure to be explained in time. I do find it funny that, what started as a Pokemon catching/walking simulator, has turned into a living world with its own lore that defines it. If this is how the next few years of Pokemon Go are going to play out than I am excited to see it unfold.

Why I Love the Emma Roberts Nancy Drew Movie

Let me take you back to the summer of 2011. To say it was hot in the state of Texas is an understatement, and I decided to become a cart pusher for Target. So my days went as followed. Wake up at noon. Go into Target and push carts inside until the sun went down. Then, when I was thoroughly exhausted, come home and watch the 2007 Nancy Drew movie until I fell asleep. I did this for two months straight. I don’t remember why I settled on this movie to be the background noise that I used to soundtrack my slumber but nevertheless, this is the one. And you know what, this movie is amazing.

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I don’t care that is has a 49% on rotten tomatoes and stars secondary characters from Disney Channel t.v. shows, Nancy Drew did something that children’s movies nowadays would never do. I was a completely serious plot about a murder that never felt like it was trying too hard. At no point in the movie did I feel like Nancy was in over her head. The film reassured me time and time again that Nancy was a capable young lady who could take care of herself and I was just a spectator along for the ride. It doesn’t even downplay the fact the CPS was called on the mother in the movie and her daughter was taken away from her. It deals with loss, love, and acceptance in a way that is very mature for a movie aimed at children. It also gets points for expert use of a Corinne Bailey Rae song in a scene that makes me cry to this day.

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The mean girls have Sidekicks!!!

Last but definitely not least the soundtrack of this film is astonishing. A mix of pop and alternative with just the right amount of indie to compliment Nancy’s personality. In the beginning, a song is playing over the film and it turns out that she is listening to it while doing research in a scene that is oddly human. Not only that but I found myself understanding her more based on the music she listened to. This movie may not be a cult classic or one of the best movies of all time and I’m sure this didn’t help Emma Roberts career that much but her portrayal of a character that I  grew to love so much will forever be in my top ten movies of all time.

Impressions: Marvel’s Runaways

I was more than excited when I heard that Runaways was being adapted for Hulu. Ever since the Marvel shows started airing on Netflix I have wanted something that was a little bit less, how do I put it, predictable. With Daredevil all the motives were clear from the beginning. Fisk was a bad guy doing bad things and Murdock was a good guy doing questionably good things. This trend flows through Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Ironfist, and into the Defenders. All through all of these properties, we know who to root for and who not to root for. More or less. But in Runaways airing on Hulu, the lines are a little bit blurred.

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Here we have a bunch of teenagers doing what teens do best, rebelling against their parents. The only difference is that the kids witness their parents doing something truly awful. While snooping around Alex’s father’s study during one of their parent’s PRIDE, an organization that is supposed to better the community, meetings Alex along with the other kids stumble upon a ritual that their parents are doing. In it, they sacrifice a kid for an unknown reason. This kid just so happens to be a runaway, someone no one would miss, or so they thought. This event forces the kids to band together in order to find out why their parents would do something so horrible. 

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And there it is. The “why”. You see, William Fisk had a hard childhood an grew into a cold man. Kilgrave had a hard childhood and grew into a cold man. Same for Ward Meachum. And Willis Stryker. It’s always the same story. Life sucks so I’m going to be mean. However, with the parents in Runaways, this is simply not the case. They are being forced into their current actions by an entity that they really don’t understand. That coupled with the fact that they actually care for the safety of their kids makes me want to root for them just as much as I root for the kids. 

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It’s this reasoning that makes Runaways stand out from all the rest. Is it a little slow, yes. Does it sometimes dabble a little too hard in the teenage drama? You bet your buttocks. In the end, it is this interesting portrayal of a double narrative that will make me tune in every week in order to see how this situation pans out. Until then, keep running Runaways. 

 

Full Metal Furies – Review (PC)

The beat’em up genre is one that has always been challenging yet enjoyable. From Double Dragon to Streets of Rage and even Scott Pilgrim vs The World, being able to clear out a screen full of enemies is oddly satisfying. Following in the footsteps of those amazing games comes Full Metal Furies by Cellar Door Games.  In Full Metal Furies you control two of four playable characters (Yes I did say two). With the Sniper class you have the ability to take out ranged targets but you can’t move when you fire. This puts you as a disadvantage with quick enemies and makes  you think about when you want to attempt to attack. The Tank uses a giant shield in order to block attacks and a dash ability to get closer to her targets. The Engineer does high damage with her pistol and has a turret that reminded me of Borderlands. However, you can’t do any melee damage. The Fighter uses a giant hammer that she swings around wildly. These unique play styles would make for great game play by itself but the kicker here is that when you play single player you control two characters at the same time. 

In combat you are tasked with managing your own attacks and making sure you counter your opponents with the right skills. Each hero is color coded and the enemies will have shields that will match those colors. What this means for game play is that you will not be able to burn through levels with just one character. You are going to have to make sure you are switching between characters in order to destroy shields and deal damage. Levels are a little on the short side, and the over world map reminds me of something out of Castle Crashers but this adds to the accessibility of the game. The level structure makes for the perfect Nintendo Switch experience.

The story is almost your standard affair at this point. Beings are fighting over power and your characters are stuck in the middle. Go into Full Metal Furies expecting lots of jokes and wise cracks. Enemies are over the top and it is very easy to get surrounded in this game. Placement is everything and if you are not careful you will get backed into a corner and knocked out before you know it. Believe me, it happened to me more than I would care to admit. The thing that ended up working for me was finding two characters that worked together, the Sniper and the Figher, and using them to balance each other out. While using the Fighter I would create distance between me and my target and then switch over to the Sniper in order to pick off my targets at a distance. Having to balance two different characters with two separate fighting styles in the same fight is stressful  at first but becomes second nature with practice.

Throughout the game you will collect gold that you can spend on upgrades to skills for each character and beating bosses will allow you to get modifiers that changes the way a skill works for that character. Each upgrade has funny and cheeky text that goes along with it that adds to the life of the world that the game takes place in. In fact, my only real complaint on this game would have to be the random difficulty spikes. Since the switching system is something you have to get used to, you might find yourself dying over and over again due to punishing enemies. This is something I eventually got over until the game decided to smack me down again later on. The jarring change in difficulty made for choppy game play at times and took me right out of the fun the game supplies in droves. 

Over all Full Metal Furies is an amazing experience and one I can’t wait to come to systems like the Nintendo Switch. Its bite size game play is perfect for a console you can pick up and take with you. Pick up Full Metal Furies is you are into fast paced game play with interesting systems and a light but slightly hilarious narrative. 

Full Metal Furies is available on Steam for $19.99

Nexomon – Review (Mobile)

The mobile arena has a lot of Pokemon rip off games. Like a lot of Pokemon rip off games. Serious, stop reading this and type in Pokemon into your app store and start scrolling. I’ll wait. Are you back? Great! The main problem with the market over saturation is that a lot of them aren’t actually any good. The stories are either generic or nonexistent, the characters are carbon copies of existing characters, and the monsters are kinda boring. Things is the biggest reason for why I wanted to tell you about Nexomon, a Monster RPG that I have found to be actually quite good. So good I bought it, with my own money.

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Nexomon starts off like  almost every other Pokemon game. After a brief encounter with the bad guys who have stolen creatures called Nexomon from the population you embark on an adventure to stop their evil plan once and for all. I was prepared for the standard affair. Enter an area, capture a few creatures, beat some baddies, and then fight a boss all before moving on to another area to do the same thing. I wasn’t however prepared for the amazing story that was going to follow. Nexomon does a great job of not only making fun of itself but the genre of monsters catching as a whole. It has no problem calling out the stupidity of the main character as well as the characters around them. (One of my favorite parts talks about how a fishing pole is still called a fishing pole when “fish” don’t actually exist, the world only has Nexomon.)

The plot is so good that I’m not going to spoil it in this review. All I can say is that it is something that I have wanted a Pokemon game to do for a long time. Nexomon has shown that is isn’t afraid to take a slightly gritty and realistic view to a world that is populated with literal monsters. Its this feel that separates this game from the other piles of games like it.

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Battles are fought one on one with you being able to switch out if your Nexomon takes to much of a beating. The creature designs are actually really cool, with the art work taking a slightly more realistic tone to that of Pokemon. Each Nexomon can only use four moves, but here is the kicker, every move your Nexomon learns it knows forever. So, if you switch to a move you end up not liking you can can the moves back to something you are more familiar with. This allows you to take more risk in your team compositions. There are seven types of Nexomon for you to find and when you start your adventure you can pick from one of the seven types. You also have a bag for storing items and a Nexopad with an way more useful database than Pokemon has ever had. The database in the game not only tells you all the creatures stat values but also when it evolves. This makes is super easy to build my team to my liking and know exactly what goal I am working towards.

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Creatures are captured using Nexotraps, which can be found in the game, bought with in game currency, or bought with real money. At first, I was skeptical about this. If you can buy the capture device with real money than it must be hard to get in the game, right? This could not be further from the truth. The in game currency is made increasingly easy to farm considering that every battle nets you money, even the random encounters. Once I got to the point where my main could one hit most creatures I encountered I started farming for in game loot in order to stock up on traps for future fights.

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Now lets talk about something we all love, micro-transactions. Yes, even though the game is $2.99 it does contain micro-transactions in order to obtain an in-game loot called Diamonds. Diamonds can be used to buy different avatar skins for your character, pets to follow them, and Golden Nexotraps which function as the Master Ball of the game. You can also buy game modifiers that help with the overall experience like Skates to move faster and an Exp. Share to level up your party faster. These things are nice but don’t effect the game. What is a little pay to win is the Nexomon Boxes that give you rare Nexomon in exchange for diamonds. This coupled with the PVP that is in beta seems like a recipe for disaster but I haven’t seen it abused yet. Honestly, it is really easy to ignore the store stuff and go about your adventure so it doesn’t bother me too much.

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The most impressive thing about the whole game in my book is the size of the map. After spending about seven hours playing the game I finally got access to the fast travel aspect of the game, and looking at the map shocked me. I figured that I was at least half way done with the game, I was mistaken. The world of Nexomon still has many other regions to explore and sights to see. And with constant updates to the game, the $2.99 admission fee is well worth the ride.

FINAL VERDICT: Worth the Buy

Hands-On with Go-Tcha, the Pokemon Go Plus Subsititue

With Raid battles and improved Gyms at the forefront of Niantic’s plan for the summer, I have been on the lookout for ways to improve my game. I had been using the Pokemon Go Plus with varying levels of success and I was content with knowing that this was as good as it was going to get. Enter in Go-Tcha, a weird little wearable that acts just like your Plus assessor with a few more bells and whistles. The major improvement is that Go-Tcha is automatic. That’s right! When you enter that range of a Pokemon or PokeStop the device will automatically attempt to add the item or Pokemon to your collection. The interesting part is that it manages to do so even when I am driving around town.

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The device itself is tinier than I thought it was going to be, with one touch screen button for all of the features. You cycle through them with the red button and hold the button when you want to change the setting. With the Go-Tcha you can…

  • Automatically catch every Pokemon you come across
  • Only catch Pokemon you have never come across
  • Automatically collect from PokeStops (except the ones attached to Gyms)

In order to put the Go-Tcha to the ultimate test, I decided to do a head to head battle with my friends PokeGo Plus. After several hours of play, I noticed that the Go-Tcha seemed to have a better catch rate, with me catching three out of four of the Pokemon I encountered. PokeStops were read quicker than on the PokeGo Plus and the device would show the number of items I received on its screen.  Also, the form factor of the Go-Tcha made it a little less obvious that I was playing Pokemon Go which may or may not appeal to certain people who like to play on the DL.

Go-Tcha on the right, PokeGo Plus on the left

After owning the Go-Tcha for a week I have discovered the devices biggest weakness, it is way too tiny. That coupled with the terrible rubber that the device sits in makes it very easy to lose. In fact, I lost mine. One second it was on my wrist, the next the Go-Tcha was nowhere to be found. The device could benefit from a higher quality wrist strap, something that will make your $40 dollar investment safe.

However, I will buy the Go-Tcha again. Why, because it is just that good. Being able to hit PokeStops automatically while driving from place to place is a Pokemon Go players wet dream. It puts the game on autopilot and allows you to focus on the meat of the game. Catching Pokemon. I wouldn’t recommend the auto-catch feature unless you just need to fill your box with every useless Pokemon you can find, but for the price, the Go-Tcha is a worthwhile purchase.

Why Batman Should Have Been The Villain In Injustice

By now we’re all mostly familiar with the story of the Injustice fighting games, but if you’re not then be warned that spoilers lie ahead.

Superman, after being tricked into killing Lois Lane, his unborn child, and Metropolis, falls well off into the deep end. It’s an unforgettable story, detailing what happens when the world’s ultimate Boy Scout becomes the world’s worst dictator. However, I’m here to submit an alternate storyline that I feel would have hit home even harder. What if instead of Superman going off of the handle, it was Batman?

Batman as a whole is a far more interesting character than Superman is. Watching a man fight alongside gods, machines, and aliens all the while keeping up with and even outpacing them is inspiring. Batman isn’t the strongest man in the room. It is his ability to outthink his enemies that makes him a match for even the strongest beings in the multiverse. And yes, I know we have already seen a take-no-prisoners Batman in FlashPoint Paradox but that was Thomas Wayne, not Bruce, so I’m willing to overlook that one.

With that out of the way, on to why Batman would’ve made the perfect bad guy in Injustice 2.

Batman Already Deals With Morality

Let’s get this point out of the way since it’s the most obvious one. Batman already struggles with his darkness, though Bruce’s no-kill policy always seems to be brought into the spotlight. Whether by his dead protege brought back to life Jason Todd or his murderous biological son Damien Wayne, Bruce is always having to defend his reasoning to keep his dangerous rouges gallery alive.

Maybe it’s because he thinks he can help them. Maybe it’s because he realizes that they share a common ground. For the most part, people like Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Killer Croc are just trying to survive. Life dealt them a bad hand and they are simply doing their best.

It’s these reasons why Batman going dark would be a whole lot scarier than Superman. Whereas Superman sees the good in humanity, Batman understands it for what it really is. That is why it was so easy to sway Clark’s opinion, as he never really got it to begin with.

Batman Has Plans To Take Down The Justice League

It is commonly known that Batman has contingency plans. It is the argument that is used in almost every Batman vs X fight ever. Justice League Doom proves that Batman already doesn’t trust the League and has a way to take each and every one of them down if the time comes. This is why Batman would have been such an entertaining villain to watch. Even with Superman “unchained” in the first Injustice, Batman was still several steps ahead.

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

In fact, the best part about an evil Batman is that you wouldn’t see it coming. Bruce is already slightly detached from reality, believing himself to be Batman at all times. To him, Bruce Wayne died with his parents. If he were to go off the deep end the heroes wouldn’t see it coming until it was too late.

Batman’s Villany Would Force Superman To Be Smarter

Clark Kent is at his best when he is in investigator mode. It’s that brilliant side of Clark that wasn’t featured in the Injustice games. They were so focused on his strength that they forgot that Superman is a very complex character. He has had his powers taken away on multiple occasions, and every time he has used his head in order to solve problems. One of the first things an evil Bruce would do would be to take Superman out of the equation. If not killing him outright, he would probably resort to de-powering him.

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

A Clark with no powers and nothing to lose would be an interesting perspective to explore. It would bring new meaning to the gear system as he would need something to give him the competitive edge.

Wonder Woman Would Have A Hard Choice

If Superman is the hero and Batman is the villain than the moral grey area would have to be Wonder Woman. It was easy for her to follow Superman to the dark side out of her love for him, but what happens when it’s Batman who takes the plunge? Wonder Woman has already proved that she is willing to kill if necessary, taking Maxwell Lord’s life when she realized that he had become too much of a threat. It would have been interesting to see whose side she would have fallen on.

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

Superman’s Character Would Gain Depth

The best thing to come out of an unhinged Batman would have been the Superman who has to take him down. I never really liked Superman as the villain, if that wasn’t obvious already. It’s not like I hold The Boy in Blue to any high regard, it’s just that he is kinda boring. All throughout the first Injustice he can’t see that most of the people around him are just using his new found position to get what they want. He was a pawn pretending to be a king.

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

If Batman was the villain to force Superman to try and reason with him, I could see Clark trying different solutions. Sending Dick Grayson after Bruce. Exposing Bruce as Batman in order to try and sway the pull he is gathering. Maybe Bruce would hire Clayface in order to trick the public into thinking that Superman is a liar. A brilliant cat and mouse game that ends with Superman having to make a choice. Bruce isn’t going to stop. He has outplayed Clark at every step of the way. The only answer Clark has left is to try and put Bruce down for good.

Injustice told the story of Superman’s sadness turned into rage. However, I would have rather seen the story focused on how Batman’s fine line between vengeance and justice shattered.

Divinity Original Sin II – Review (PC)

Back in the PS2 era of gaming there was a little known rpg called Champions of Norrath. By “little known” I mean that I played it with my brothers but no one else knew what I was talking about. They were all tied up with Kingdom Hearts II or whatever. In Champions of Norrath you are tasked with freeing the land of Norrath from the tyranny of the demon/monster Innoruuk. While traveling through Norrath my tiny 10 year old self was blown away by the level of detail and options that I was able to put into my character. This was the first time I came across Skill Trees and actual Character Progression. It was in this game the I started to see all the hype behind table top games. Being sucked into a character is easier when I feel like I have had a hand in molding how that character reacts to the world. It was this feeling within me that got amplified with the release of Divinity Origin Sin II.

I don’t know why I missed the first Divinity game but I knew when I saw Divinity II in action that I had to be apart of that world. Lets for one second forget about all the praise the game has gotten. Ignore all the spectacular things you have heard about this game. At its core, Divinity Original Sin II is about one thing, interaction. This first presented it self in the games opening moments. You, as a character and slave, are on a ship being transported to an island for those who use Source Magic. The problem with Source magic is that it attracts creatures that feed on its power, thus you and several others like you have been enslaved in order to be cleansed of this disease. 

While on the boat things don’t going quite according to plan as a powerful Source user damages the vessel. From this point on the choices you make are your own. Because I created an elf I had the ability to eat body parts of the dead an see visions, usually of their last moments alive. This changed the way I solved quest as I was always looking for something to eat in order to gain clues. On my quest I came across several locked doors. I turned to find clues to where keys could possibly be, but when I couldn’t find anything I decided to knock the door down with my weapon. In any other game I would have been swatting at the door in vein, not this one. It took no time for me to break down the door with my weapon.

With the door destroyed so too was my thought process on how this world was supposed to work. I tried the same strategy with treasure chest to varying degrees of success. I found that the best way to dispatch with enemies was to sneak between their lines of sight and make a beeline for the strongest one. This put the others into a small state of confusion as they seem to be processing what just happened. Taking away their time to prepare for the battle by getting into a defensive formation turned the tide of battle my way a lot. I learned that fire was my most powerful ally and my most loathe foe. I learned to plan out every avenue of attack and not to be afraid of trying something crazy. During a rescue mission I teleported the person I was trying to save out of his prison only for him to be killed by his jailer. I scrapped that idea entirely and had to try something new. This is the mindset that D:OS II injects into your brain, one of infinite possibilities. 

The story is your classic fantasy affair with a multiplayer twist if you want it. After killing or talking your way to freedom you are tasked with looking for the powerful Source user who trashed your ship in the beginning. However, the main story wasn’t what drew me into the world I was playing in. What really got to me what they depth of the NPC’s around me. Not only did they all have their own lives, dreams, and secrets but they also had unique personalities and responded differently to you depending on who you were playing as. D:OS II has a underline racism running through it with other characters being violent to races they deem are less than. There was a woman I met very early on who wouldn’t say anything to me because I was a elf. I also had an interesting conversation with a kid who thought I killed people and ate them for fun. I mean, I do. Sometimes. But this kid didn’t need to know about what my elf did in his spare time. 

Combat is a beautiful and frustrating process. On the one hand you can enter a fight doing everything right and end up destroying all the opposition with minimal effort. On the other hand I have entered fights I didn’t even know were there by triggering traps that I didn’t see coming in order to defend myself against waves of monsters I wasn’t prepared for. Live by the sword I suppose. In this game I learned just how important save scumming is. If I even sneezed the wrong way I would reload and earlier save. 

If I had to give the game any criticism it would have to be the map and direction system. While playing an open world like Skyrim it would seem like getting lost would happen all the time. However, I always seemed to know where I was going and how I was going to get there. Quest were laid out and I never got frustrated. Divinity Original Sin II is another story all together. I frequently get lost while playing. I get it, it is apart of the experience. When I was younger I wouldn’t have minded playing four hours and only progressing one mission because I seemed to just be walking in circles. As an adult with limited time this sort of thing erks me to no end. I would like to know exactly where I’m going and where I want to go next. Maybe put the mindless exploration in a harder difficulty. I’m not saying it doesn’t deserve a place in the game, what I’m saying is I don’t have the time I used to devote to getting lost. 

If you have not played Divinity Original Sin II I can not recommend it enough. If you want a deeply involving game that will force you to think outside the box when it comes to combat, looting, mission, interactions, and a whole host of other features than this is the game for you.

Divinity Original Sin II is available on Steam for $44.99

Raids, the Savior of Pokemon Go?

A long time ago, when Pokemon Go was just a secret wish in the hearts of Pokemon fans, I longed for a co-op game based in my favorite monster hunting universe. A game in which I and my friends could go out and capture lightning mouses and annoying pigeons together. Then, as if out of nowhere, Niantic swooped down and graced us with an AR game like no other (if you refuse to count Ingress).

Enter Pokemon Go in the summer of 2016. PKGO was a buggy mess that was mostly used for capturing rats and birds, yet there was something about it that made the game a hit. If I had to give it my best guess, it would have to be the player interaction. Even though we weren’t really playing together it sure did feel like we were. Now, with the launch of Raids and Gym upgrades, I am starting to see some of that magic that I did the first night I went out to play.

Let me start by saying that Raids are a ton of fun. Even though my first one ended up being a Magikarp, (something that made me laugh harder than it should have) I had a great time planning out my team in order to take down the super-powered fish of doom.

The game is set up to where you can only get one free Raid Ticket per day, however, you can buy extra Raid Tickets from the store for only 100 coins. That means that for $0.99, plus tax, you have the potential to score a super powerful Pokemon and some pretty sweet items. I got two rare candies, a golden razzberry, and 3000 experience from beating that fish into the dirt. Then, after ti was all over, I got to throw balls at it until it decided to do my bidding. Great times were had by all.

I can already tell from my short experience with the Raids that they are going to be better with friends. The feeling of taking on a big challenge with fellow players is something that Pokemon Go was missing. Now, I can finally do something with those heavy hitters I have been working on. (Bellossom has now been renamed DeathPlant).

With that being said, the Raid system isn’t perfect. Far from it if you ask me. Battles are way too glitchy and the bosses tend to flop from easy to overwhelmingly difficult without any real middle ground. It would be awesome to see Raids adjust to the level of the player but this seems to be wishful thinking. For now, Raids are a great excuse to get out and play again.