Warriors Orochi 4’s launch price on PC is an insult. Koei Tecmo are ripping off Musou fans.

So there’s this game I’ve been excited for wanting to try called Warriors Orochi 4. As someone who shows an interest in 3D beat em ups, I cannot simply ignore musou games as the warriors series shaped the 3D beat em ups we know today and as such I want to play more of them to see if I can actually get invested in the genre or not.

Many consider musou games to be cheap, throwaway titles built around catharsis. Sure they can be entertaining to play but they aren’t exactly known for having much depth/flexibility, they’re just games that let you kill hundreds of cannon fodder with flashy attack strings. Put simply, musou games are no different from sports games like Fifa in the sense that once you’ve played one of them, you’ve pretty much played all of them, however there is a bit of nuance that slightly differentiates them and as someone who shows interest in 3D beat em ups, I want to see how the genre has grown.

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Unfortunately however, Koei Tecmo appears to be a little overconfident with their pricing of Warriors Orochi 4 as they have decided to price the PC version at £49.49… oh but wait, that’s actually a special offer, the base price for Warriors Orochi 4 is a whopping £54.99! Yeah you heard me, they have the audacity to charge the same price of a collectors/deluxe edition for a standard edition game which is insulting to all fans of the series and pretty much everybody who has very little money to spend.

To make matters worse, many people have had salt poured into the wound by having the game run at an abysmal framerate. It appears that people are complaining about the PC port being terrible. When you consider the fact that they have the audacity to charge £54.99 for the game, it’s pretty understandable as to why people are angry about this. Now I understand that the pound has dropped recently and as such, the prices for games are going up (even though the quality is still not up to scratch with the games of sixth generation) and as such, we are forced to accept higher prices as a standard now. However, I have noticed that these prices fluctuate between £45.00, £50.00 and now with the release of Warriors Orochi 4, £55.00… all for standard edition games with no bonuses of any kind.

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Of course this doesn’t stop Koei Tecmo from selling a separate season pass on top of the base game for an additional £24.99 because apparently, paying £54.99 isn’t enough for us to be allowed to purchase a complete game. So if you’re wondering why I named the site Cynical Gaming Blog, it’s because of bullshit like this.

Welcome to modern gaming, where customers end up paying more for less, developers work longer hours for less pay and publishers are practically drowning in money to the point that they claim to need more money in order to resurface… except it just ends up making things worse and now they’re drowning in even more money.

Fuck the gaming industry.

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E-Sports were a mistake…

Remember when playing videogames was about having fun and not a contest of ego’s? Those were good times. Unfortunately due to the fact that people are making ludicrous amounts of money playing videogames professionally, videogames are no longer about having fun, they are serious fucking business, you want proof? How about the recent shooting that occurred today at Jacksonville?

You’re probably thinking that I’m crazy for generalizing the entire E-Sports community with this one insane individual… but the fact of the matter is that competitive gaming as a whole has influenced this. Why? Because ever since gaming has rewarded large sums of money, people have taken games more seriously to the point that every single online multiplayer game is filled with toxic gamers, particularly Warcraft 3.

Now it’s one thing to call people names and taunt people and another to go out shooting people but if you think about it, it kind of makes sense how a shooting could occur at such an event considering how toxic gaming has become due to the rise of E-Sports. Even without the violence, E-Sports and all form of online gaming have been known to have heated arguments and conversations. Because of this, many gamers have developed not only a massive ego, but also a hostile temperament.

You can’t play any game online these days without meeting at least 1 hostile individual and who knows what that individual would be capable of if you were playing with them face to face. Considering what happened at Jacksonville, it’s pretty scary to think about the people who we are actually playing with or against in a videogame.

So you’re probably wondering, what actually happened at Jacksonville? Well apparently one person who just happened to lose in the competition decided to shoot one of the competitors, presumably out of spite. This makes perfect sense when you consider the fact that competitive gaming is a battle of ego’s. Even if money was not involved, competitive gaming has always had this problem, it is merely amplified by the fact that money is involved.

My point is that if you have a community that is hostile to one another, you are eventually going to encounter situations like this. It only takes one person to snap before they start getting violent. Now I’m not advocating against videogames in general, rather I am advocating against E-Sports. Videogames do not inherently encourage violence, ego’s on the other hand do. It’s just like getting drunk at a sports bar watching a football and getting into a bar fight just because your team lost and their team won, there really is no difference.

It just saddens me that gaming has this problem as well. I hate what E-Sports has done to gaming and I utterly despise the person who committed the shooting. I hope they rot in hell forever.

I really don’t know what else to say… this is just an absolutely fucking shit day for all gamers, even the innocent competitors. Though I may despise the competitive gaming community, none of them deserve to be shot.

 

If you want the full news article on what happened, here’s the link: https://nypost.com/2018/08/26/multiple-people-killed-in-shooting-at-video-game-tournament/

 

Castlevania: Curse Of Darkness Review

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Castlevania is one of Konami’s most popular franchises and for the longest time, I had never actually played any of them. My first Castlevania was actually the original NES game which I picked up on the Wii Virtual console. I found it to be extremely difficult and never got far into it, however I later played Super Castlevania 4 and despite struggling through some really tough sections, I eventually managed to beat it and while the game initially felt like a frustrating ordeal, by the end it actually grew on me.

Ever since finishing Super Castlevania 4, I suddenly got the urge to play other games in the series but I didn’t know where to start. One Castlevania game that caught my eye in particular was Castlevania: Curse Of Darkness, a 3D Beat Em Up game set in the Castlevania universe with the ability to summon demons to fight for you, as tempted as I was to pick the game up, I ended up playing Symphony Of The Night instead due to the fact that it was considered the series’ magnum opus and that Castlevania Curse Of Darkness received pretty mixed reviews.

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While Symphony Of The Night didn’t disappoint me in the slightest, when I finally played Curse Of Darkness, I realized that I had picked the wrong game. I mean don’t get me wrong, Symphony Of The Night is a wonderful game and definitely lives up to the hype but Curse Of Darkness was just begging for me to play it simply because it caters specifically to my tastes for better or worse.

Imagine what would happen if Chaos Legion, Castlevania Symphony Of The Night and Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner combined, that’s exactly what Castlevania Curse Of Darkness is, it’s a 3D beat em up, much like Chaos Legion in which you hack n slash enemies and summon demons to assist you but at the same time your demons can evolve and level up much like in Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner.

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The level design appears to be reminiscent to that of Castlevania Symphony Of The Night in the sense that it tight yet somewhat open-ended. However I would argue that Symphony Of The Night provided more incentive to explore and there was a lot more freedom in terms of where you were allowed to go once you acquired the required abilities to traverse certain areas. That’s not to say that Castlevania Curse Of Darkness removes the aspect of backtracking to acquire new items, rather the progression in general feels a lot more linear.

I would argue however that the game more than makes up for this with its combat which is surprisingly flexible for a Castlevania game. Make no mistake, Castlevania Curse Of Darkness is not a metroidvania at its core, it is a 3D beat em up so if you are expecting a 3D version of Symphony Of The Night then you may be disappointed. Personally I find this to be a good thing as I enjoy beat em ups.

The combat itself feels like a combination between Chaos Legion and Dynasty Warriors, you have your basic attack string which can be cancelled into a finishing move by using the circle button. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well it would have been if it wasn’t for the Innocent Devils. By pressing triangle, you are able to command your Innocent Devil to perform a special ability… sound familiar? Yep it’s just like in Chaos Legion except this time, your summoned companion has several abilities to choose from, allowing you to mix things up. By pressing left and right on the d-pad, you can scroll between each ability in the heat of combat meaning that you don’t have to go into the menu to change abilities which allows for more flexibility in the combat.

Much like Chaos Legion however, Castlevania Curse Of Darkness doesn’t focus on building combos like Devil May Cry, rather the combat is designed around fighting a larger quantity of enemies much like Drakengard and Dynasty Warriors. As such, Castlevania Curse Of Darkness doesn’t try to be like Devil May Cry, rather it chooses to its own thing and in doing so, it manages to hold its own against other 3D beat em ups of its kind. However, I find the quantity of enemies to be slightly lower than other games of its kind and this can make a lot of the game’s arenas feel a bit empty at times as they can be pretty long and wide.

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Speaking of the arenas feeling huge and empty, the game’s protagonist, Hector moves considerably slower than other characters in the series and this is made even more apparent when you are trying to run from one room to the next as it can take a while to get from A to B which can be a bit irritating at times. I often find myself dodging to get to each area as it is faster than jogging but if you choose to do so, be careful if you have the double dodge ability switched on because if you dodge too quickly, Hector will have a long recovery period so you will have to time your dodges as you move between areas. Despite this, I highly recommend turning on the double dodge ability as it allows you to chain dodges faster, thus allowing you to move faster. Just be careful when you use it in battle as dodging too quickly can leave you vulnerable due to the recovery period.

Thankfully the dodge ability is accompanied with a guard ability and they both share the same button which means that even if you fail the dodge, the guard can still save you so long as the dodge animation has ended. Be careful though as enemies can break your guard if you guard for too long so it’s important to keep on the move in order to avoid getting hit. Once you unlock the perfect guard skill, you can time your guard perfectly in order to stagger the enemy, leaving them vulnerable to your combo’s so it’s a good idea to keep that in mind when guarding.

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I really like how the game offers plenty of options for defensive play as not only is guarding and dodging flexible but there are also skills your innocent devils can use to keep you safe from enemies and deal damage simultaneously. Curse Of Darkness may appear to be shallow on the aggressive side at first but once you unlock new Innocent devils and acquire new weapons, it really opens up. There are lots of different ways to play this game which is what ultimately makes Curse Of Darkness’ gameplay so appealing to me.

Aside from combat, Curse Of Darkness has a lot of RPG elements, so much so that it could arguably be considered an action RPG. Each enemy you slay will give experience to both Hector and your Innocent Devil companion. Bear in mind that in order to gain experience, the Innocent devil has to be summoned. Therefore it is often encouraged to switch things up every now and again to spread the experience points between each of them. On top of all that you may also acquire evolution crystals from enemies, these crystals can be collected by Hector to evolve the Innocent Devil that is currently summoned.

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Each Innocent Devil has its own evolution paths and in order to get the evolution you want, you will have to use a specific weapon. It’s often encouraged to experiment with different weapons each time you get a new Innocent Devil. If you screw up then don’t worry as your innocent devil can produce devil shards which give birth to new innocent devils so you can try new paths with them. In addition, these new Innocent Devils will carry over the stats of your current Innocent Devil, making them stronger in the long run.

Weapons and armor are crafted by obtaining materials dropped by enemies and combining them in the combine menu. You can also steal materials off of enemies by pressing the circle button on them when the lock on cursor is purple but it can be quite difficult to do so against some enemies as to trigger the steal option, there are certain conditions that must be met with each enemy and some steal conditions are absolutely ludicrous. Stealing is hands down the most challenging aspect of Curse Of Darkness and can be quite frustrating at times, especially against bosses as you only have one chance to steal from them outside of the boss rush mode which is a pain.

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In addition to stealing and killing enemies, certain ingredients can be found in secret areas which usually require the abilities of certain Innocent Devils to access. This is similar to the form changing in Castlevania Symphony Of The Night in the sense that they’re used to traverse areas of the map that were otherwise inaccessible except this time, each Innocent Devil has its own abilities and some Innocent Devils may not have the abilities you need, requiring you to incubate another devil shard to pick another evolution path in order to acquire the abilities that are needed.

This can be a tad annoying to some and a bit cryptic but it’s only necessary for those looking to get 100% map completion as many of the items can be obtained through stealing anyways, thus diminishing the value of finding secret areas which may disappoint fans of Symphony Of The Night. On the bright side, it encourages players to experiment with different Innocent Devils and make use of the devil shards.

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Aside from devil forging, weapons play a major part in combat as each weapon  type has its own set of combos and finishers. In addition, some weapon types have a one-handed and two-handed variation which perform very differently. For example, one handed swords are handy against mermen as they have the tendency to dodge a lot and are often attack in groups. Since one handed swords have long attack strings, reasonable AOE potential and high attack speed, they are a great weapon to use against them. A two handed axe on the other hand would have trouble hitting them as it is a lot easier for them to dodge a slower weapon despite its reach.

To get the most out of Castlevania Curse Of Darkness, you really need to be experimental and not stick to a favored playstyle. On surface, the combat may not appear to be very flexible but that’s because in order to change weapons and innocent devils, you have to use the menu and since changing weapons and innocent devils is important, you will spend a lot of time going in and out of the menu screen to do so.

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Curse Of Darkness isn’t the first Castlevania game to have this issue as Symphony Of The Night also suffered from this problem. While this could be problematic for people who want to play a more seamless 3D beat em up, I personally don’t have an issue with it as the menu is paused and not in real time. This means that I don’t have to consider time spent navigating the menu as a resource cost. I’d also like to point out that Curse Of Darkness doesn’t require you to equip items in order to use them like in Symphony Of The Night so its menu navigation isn’t half as irritating as the equip menu isn’t as cluttered.

So Curse Of Darkness is not only a solid 3D beat em up but it also has some pretty deep character management to the extent that it could even be considered an action RPG. Despite how common it is to see RPG elements these days, I’d argue that Curse Of Darkness has more depth in its RPG elements than most beat em ups and I personally consider this to be one of the game’s biggest strong points as the ability to level up and evolve your Innocent Devils is rewarding in itself as there are many different possible evolution forms for you to discover which gives more of an incentive to play the game.

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I personally think that this winning formula is ultimately what makes Curse Of Darkness stand out from other 3D beat em ups. If you’re looking for a game that is similar to Drakengard, Chaos Legion, Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner or even Kingdom Hearts 2 then you’ve found the right game because all of these games have one thing in common, they are all action games in which you primarily control a single character and they each have some kind of leveling system to give players a feeling of progression. This is what Castlevania Curse Of Darkness is all about and it’s the best of the bunch in my opinion as it arguably has the perfect mixture of action and RPG elements within the framework of a 3D beat em up.

That’s not to say that the game isn’t without its flaws, while the need to constantly access the menu mid battle and the more streamlined level design could be considered flaws, they can easily be overlooked. What cannot be overlooked however is the visuals which are pretty mediocre for a 2005 game. It doesn’t help that a lot of the locations in the game look as if they were copy/pasted, particularly in the final area. To the game’s credit, there are some unique locations at certain points which help mix things up but the majority of the game has you exploring what looks to be a copy/paste of a previous room.

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If it wasn’t for the in-game map, navigation in Curse Of Darkness would be an absolute nightmare as nearly everywhere you go looks the same. It doesn’t help that the arenas are big an empty as it can take ages to reach an area that looks different due to Hector’s slow movement speed. As such, the value of exploration in Curse Of Darkness is crippled because if all the rooms look the same, what’s the point in wanting to see what is through the next door? It’s just going to be another copy/pasted arena with enemies to kill.

On the plus side, like in most Castlevania games, the music is on point. Despite its dark gothic setting, many of the tracks are surprisingly upbeat which can feel a bit jarring at times but the same can be said for most Castlevania games. The music succeeds where the visuals fail, some of the tracks help build a strong ambiance while others play to the game’s strengths by being more dynamic. As such, there’s a nice variety of tracks on offer.

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Despite this however, due to the game’s lackluster visuals, any attempt for the game’s soundtrack to build a strong ambiance falls flat. So while many of the tracks that build a strong ambiance are nice to listen to, they tend to blend in with the visuals poorly. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Curse Of Darkness’ soundtrack and I highly recommend listening to it outside the game to better appreciate it. The music is arguably the most fun part of backtracking to previous areas if you ask me.

Aside from the visuals, the only other flaw that could be considered a major flaw is the fact that the Innocent Devils themselves aren’t exactly balanced as some abilities are better than others, therefore you may end up using the same abilities over and over again simply because they are better than the rest. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of useful abilities in this game but some of them just aren’t as good as others and some of them are a bit too good to the point that they could be considered overpowered.

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I personally think that this flaw is justified due to the fact that there are many different Innocent Devils and they each come with their own abilities, it would be difficult to balance them all. With that said, Chaos Legion also suffered from balancing issues and I can safely say that Curse Of Darkness suffers from them a lot less than Chaos Legion despite the fact that Chaos Legion only has 7 legions to manage with only 1 assist ability for each.

As for the story, there isn’t really too much to say really. The story revolves around the characters Hector and Issac primarily who appear to have some sort of rivalry. Hector himself appears to be a dignified yet somewhat paranoid character who is prepared to fight anyone who stands in his way in order to avenge the death of his former lover by defeating Issac, a flamboyant servant of Dracula who scorns Hector for making a mockery out of him by abandoning his service to Dracula.

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While the story does its job, it doesn’t really take center stage. One thing I can comment on however is the voice cast. Crispin Freeman and Liam’ O’Brien were the perfect roles for their respective characters, Liam especially since he has the tendency to voice a lot of flamboyant characters, particularly those who are aristocratic or insane. Crispin Freeman tends to play the dignified role well in pretty much every game he’s been in which makes him very fitting for Hector. I think the voice acting of these two characters is what makes the story as while the writing itself isn’t anything special, the delivery is perfect in every way.

While it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, Castlevania Curse Of Darkness does its best to cater to its crowd. If you’re a fan of 3D beat em ups then I can definitely recommend this game to you, I can also recommend this game to fans of RPGs in general as the Innocent Devils add a lot of growth and personalization to the game that many RPG fans will enjoy. Ultimately I’d argue that Castlevania Curse Of Darkness is a solid game as it manages to hold its own against other 3D beat em ups well enough to be considered a gem on the PS2.

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Plot/Story: Mediocre

Visuals: Mediocre

Music: Great

Gameplay: Great

Lifespan: Decent Length

Difficulty: Easy

Would You Replay? Yes


Overall: Great


Value: £40.00

Purchase Castlevania:Curse of Darkness (PS2)

 

Games I couldn’t Finish: Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Here’s a new video idea I came up with, glad I could finally get all of this off my chest.

The whole concept of leveling up could be removed from Witcher 3 and it wouldn’t change a thing, heck it would actually make the game better and more believable as Geralt has gone through 2 other games and countless books prior to this, he should be max level already theoretically speaking so he would have no problem dealing with powerful giants at this point. Why have a leveling system in a game where you play as an experienced Witcher? Instead why not make all the enemies in this game scale to Geralt’s level (in which case have no levels at all, instead just make enemies as tough as the difficulty level)? Not only would it give players a chance to fight these tough creatures early on but it would also make the game feel less linear because certain quests just aren’t doable at low levels, you have to do the low level quests before the high level quests meaning you have to do the quests in a somewhat linear order kinda. Sure you do have options but there are enough of them. If you fight an enemy that has a skull near its level, it’s considered to be “certain death” by the game.

Seriously though If they worked on the combat, cut out everything that makes this game an RPG, it might have actually been a better game. As an RPG though… nope.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, I hope you can take something from this video.

Theorycrafting – Humor is serious business – The Value Of Humor In Videogame Narrative

Now I have always believed that narrative is not a vital component in videogames but for some people, narrative can be the driving force of a game. I would argue however that games are not the best platform to deliver a narrative experience and that to properly execute a meaningful story in a videogame, it is highly recommended that its serious themes are accompanied with comic relief.

People play videogames to be rewarded and while a serious narrative can be engaging to some, it can become quite overbearing for others to the point that it can become tedious. Unlike movies, videogames are built around not only their narrative but also the gameplay. As such the narrative often takes a backseat in most cases. However it is important to remember that the narrative serves as a rewarding element and if you choose to cater to players desiring this rewarding element, you need to understand the value of humor because players do not play videogames for the narrative, the narrative acts as a reward to the player.

As such the narrative needs to be concise, it needs to be brief but most importantly, it needs to be enjoyable. If a game’s narrative focuses too much on its serious themes, the story can quickly become convoluted, this is because narrative that is too serious will often fail to grab the attention of readers due to the fact that there is no shift in tone, making the story feel repetitive. Because of this, impatient readers will be unable to take in all the information, thus missing out important details which leads to them becoming lost in the narrative and this leads to them becoming bored very quickly.

There is a fine line between writing for a videogame and writing a book. Both require a completely different approach. As books are written with the intent of connecting readers to an imaginary world, it is important to go into as much detail as possible to describe each scenario in order to paint a clear picture in the minds of the reader.

In most cases, it is also important for a book to remain consistent in its theme as a believable world is a lot easier to connect with. For this reason, the inclusion of humor in some cases would be out of the question because humor is not the primary focus of the narrative nor is it a critical component of the narrative. A book that revolves around comedy specifically would serve a completely different purpose however, such books do not focus on connectivity, rather they focus on amusing the reader, as such these books would require a completely different approach entirely, much like a different style of game would.

One thing that both books and movies have in common is that their stories are a strictly linear experience where nothing can be hidden from the reader, as such there aren’t as many methods to conveying a story in books and graphic novels as there are in videogames. I would argue however that this limitation is what brings the best out of books as in order for them to stand out, they need to be well written or else they will fade into obscurity.

Since games are illustrated and have interactive elements that allow players to have more control over their experience, they do not need to rely on descriptive writing and often encourage players to discover the story for themselves through interaction, hence why talking to non playable characters in towns has become a commodity in RPG’s. This means that a varied style of narrative is plausible and in most cases critical as there is a lot more room for content. However videogames have another role to fill, engaging the player. To do this requires a strong, varied narrative that can be picked up quickly without players having to invest too much time into it beforehand.

The reason why many gamers consider character development to be critical to providing a strong narrative is simply due to the fact that videogame narrative needs to play out at a much faster pace than that of a book. While I have always disputed the importance of character development in videogame stories, I can easily argue that character development isn’t as important in books, in fact you could also argue that it’s not even needed.

The difference between reading a book and reading text off a screen might not seem like much on the surface but when you consider the people consuming the medium in which the text is written for, you will realize that they are both completely different. Books attract a fairly niché audience, usually introverted people looking to connect themselves to a world where they can take a backseat. Videogames on the other hand attract all kinds of different people, not all are patient enough to play through a long, detailed narrative and as such, videogame narrative should be catered with these people in mind as focusing on a niche would actually be a bad idea. Why is this? Because you aren’t writing a book, you’re making a game and games are meant to be played. The gameplay is a big factor and cannot be ignored, by catering your narrative to a wide audience, you can instead focus your gameplay on a specific niche. See what I’m getting at?

This is where my theory comes in. While it is not wrong for games to be serious or comical, too much of it can make for a very stale narrative. Unlike books where there is room for detail so that players can connect themselves to the story easier, in videogames there is not. This is because narrative is broken into chunks that are separated by the gameplay. These chunks serve as a reward for the player, the carrot on the stick you could say. As such the reward needs to be valuable. In a book, you aren’t reading to be rewarded and the narrative is not broken up, so you keep reading on.

Because of this games need to break up each individual chunk of narrative in a way that prevents it from getting stale so that players want to see more. Humor is a great way to spice things up and keep things varied so that the player can easily become engaged in the narrative. In fact I would argue that Humor is often critical in videogame storytelling, at least to some degree.

While some games get away without having much humor such as Warcraft 3, they still have the occasional quirky moment that keeps players on their toes when consuming the narrative.

Other games such as Grandia 2 have a great balance of both humor and serious moments that make for a very memorable experience.

While I won’t deny that Warcraft 3 has a far better story than Grandia 2, I would argue that as a game, Grandia 2’s narrative is far more complimentary than that of Warcraft 3’s and I’m not knocking Warcraft 3’s narrative, rather I am comparing the two in terms of videogame storytelling. I can’t imagine Grandia 2 ever getting a series of books or a movie like the Warcraft series has but as a game, the narrative does its job really well. In fact I would argue that Grandia 2 is the greatest example of a strong videogame narrative. It’s very easy to get into and the characters are easy to learn and identify, whereas in Warcraft 3, the characters require a time investment for the player to get to know and appreciate them, much like in a book.

This is where Grandia 2 succeeds where Warcraft 3 fails. I absolutely adore the Warcraft series’ storytelling as I love reading the books and watching the cutscenes so I won’t deny that its narrative is a valuable experience. However I would argue that Grandia 2’s cutscenes reward players with more value than the cutscenes of Warcraft 3. Understanding this is vital when writing a videogame narrative.

Now that you understand the differences, what about humor? How does humor make Grandia 2 stand out so well? That’s simple, the humor brings out the character’s personality. When the player first meets Ryudo, the game makes it very clear as to what type of character the player is going to be experiencing through its use of humor. Ryudo is a gruff mercenary with one hell of a bad attitude, you can tell that this is the case through his snarky one-liners which are not only humorous to read but they characterize Ryudo really well.

Ryudo is a very serious, no-nonsense type of character and doesn’t take kindly to other people holding him back, he is very principle driven and has expectations of other people requiring them to live by his principles in order for them to earn his approval. The game doesn’t tell you this however, instead you find out through the many implications found within his witty comebacks. By reading into Ryudo’s humorous statements, you can easily define his character. In fact you could argue that Ryudo is written so well that he doesn’t need any character development whatsoever, he could have remained the same type of character for the entire game and still be entertaining.

Of course Ryudo does change over the course of the game which is fine and all but I’m making a point here. Character development is not the important thing, what is important is writing characters in a subtle manner so the player does not have to waste time listening to the writer’s explanation of the character, this is basic common sense in all kinds of writing but the way Ryudo is written through humor really makes him stand out as a character, it not only gives him personality but it also gives the player a few laughs. This kills two birds with one stone which is very important when writing a narrative in a videogame.

My advice would be to read into who the character is and what the character is most likely to come into conflict with, now bend the conflict in a way that is designed to be humorous and there you have it. The beauty of having lots of different personalities is that they clash and when they do they can be expressed in all kinds of different ways but humor is an expression a lot of games seem to undervalue. I believe it is a very valuable form of expression that needs to be explored more.

However I want to talk about another problem. Games which are humorous for the sake of being humorous. Now I know we all have different tastes in humor here but games which try too hard to be funny just aren’t engaging to me. A lot of people see the Devil May Cry series as being a series built on humorous storytelling, they would be wrong.

Dante is a very serious character to the point that he can be made into a humorous character. The point is that the funniest characters are typically the more serious ones and humorous narrative requires a serious space to have any lasting appeal. On the surface, Grandia 2 is nothing more than a giant cheeseball but Grandia 2 actually has a very serious narrative with a lot of very serious themes and a strong message that it is trying to deliver to the player. Rather than coating it in melodrama however, the game builds a bright, colourful and comical atmosphere to accompany these moments which creates a strong contrast that ultimately brings a very varied and engaging narrative that can easily be picked up on by just about anyone. It is for this reason that I strongly recommend Grandia 2 to just about anyone who enjoys JRPG’s.

However, games such as Disgaea and Borderlands fail to deliver to me the same experience, despite being “humorous”. As I was unable to take the game seriously I was also unable to take the humor seriously. This was the problem with these games for me, it’s just not engaging enough for me to even invest my time into the humor. These games feel extremely hollow and it is because of this that they fail to engage me. I pray that developers in the future can understand the value of humor and seriousness in a videogame’s narrative and how they can be blended together to make for a highly engaging experience for the player so that perhaps one day we can experience another game that can match the experience of Grandia 2.

Nintendo want you to pay Ransom before they take your online privileges hostage

I fucking hate this industry

Today for the very first time, Nintendo are giving their customers the option to pay off their ransom in advance for 12 months… only for them to demand more money after that 12 months is up.

Do you know what subscription fees remind me of? Fucking Ganondorf! Every time Link beats his ass, he comes back every single time and Link has to kill him again… only for Ganondorf to come back and rinse and repeat… it’s a never-ending ordeal for the customer to have to pay ransom money to free their online privileges from the hands of these filthy console manufactures.

You know what? These companies are more than just manufacturers now… but what else can we call them? In any case lets change the subject. I’m going to give y’all a little history lesson. Back in the day, there was a wonderful little game called Diablo which came with a free service known as Battle.net. Battle.net is an absolutely wonderful service, just play Warcraft 3 online for a couple of minutes and you’ll see what I mean… oh wait.

Putting Warcraft 3 aside, Battle.net allowed players to connect with people all over the world and play together in a co-operative game of Diablo. As long as you had working internet, you could dive straight in to the wonderful world of online gaming. This was back in 1996 and all I can say is that Diablo is one hell of a game to play with friends, I highly recommend trying it.

Fast forward to the year 2002 and oh no… a console known as the Xbox received its own online service in the form of Xbox Live. Thankfully, the Xbox was pretty shit back in the sixth generation. Everybody was too busy playing all the exclusives on the PS2 to notice this shitty system.

The Xbox is hands down the worst console ever invented… now this may seem like harsh words considering the fact that the Phillips CDI alongside many other shitty consoles existed beforehand but the Xbox is by far the most criminal as is was the first console in history to successfully hold people’s online privileges to ransom. Many had tried to emulate Xbox’s paid subscription service models such as SEGA but none of them succeeded. For some reason, Microsoft were able to not only make a paid subscription service work but they also managed to muster up the balls to give us all the finger, because Microsoft are untouchable, they have a monopoly on Operating systems… mainly because PC gaming isn’t big enough yet… why? Because people keep playing these shitty consoles, that’s why.

I’m not telling you all to kneel before the PC master race, rather I’m telling you all to use common sense. Take a look at how all the bullshit we see in this industry started. Did it start with Activision? Nope, Activision invested in a lot of popular IP’s, yes but they didn’t have the means to exploit people the way they do now. EA? Nope, they may have milked countless sports games but they proved that they were capable of bringing us top quality games in the past such as Hot Wheels Turbo Racing and the Need For Speed series.

So what is the route of all evil you ask? That’s simple. Microsoft. Microsoft are hands down the absolute worst company in the gaming industry… or they would have been had Activision and EA not taken their place.

You see, because of how much leeway we, the consumer have given to these companies, they think that they can get away with robbing us in broad daylight. Just look at Sony for example:

Standard Price Of Kingdom Come Deliverance:

Sony are thieves PROOF 2

Sony Price Of Kingdom Come Deliverance:

Sony are thieves PROOF

That’s £14.00 that Sony have stolen from every single person that has purchased Kingdom Come Deliverance and nobody bats an eye.

Ok so for all you idiots out there who think I’m exaggerating, sure Sony aren’t really thieves but from a moral standpoint you could argue that their actions are almost equivalent to that of thievery.

You could say that Sony are scam artists but that would be an understatement, I believe the term “thieves” better describes Sony in terms of how immoral their actions as a company are.

Now I have played every single Sony console, something I cannot say about the other two leading console manufacturers these days though I made damn well sure I got my PS4 second-hand the moment I heard that Sony were getting their own online paywall, courtesy of the Xbox One’s terrible launch.

You see, if it wasn’t for the terrible launch of the Xbox One, there is no way that Sony would have gotten away with taking people’s online privileges hostage but considering the fact that the Xbox One would only function with an online connection and the fact that it tried to deprive us of our right to deny publishers our money by purchasing second-hand games, Sony’s console was arguably the lesser of the two evils, this gave Sony a chance to do what they would never have gotten away with in seventh gen, taking people’s online privileges hostage at a price that would continue to rise as it grew more and more accepted.

It has come to the point now that we as consumers do not question this bullshit, rather we accept these things as the norm. We might have dealt a massive blow against lootboxes but we still have a lot of unfinished business to take care of. We mustn’t tolerate these online paywalls any longer… but how can we do that? That’s simple. It’s called having principles.

Step 1: Never give Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo any of your money

Step 2: Never encourage others to purchase any of their products unless it’s available second-hand

Step 3: Buy a 1080 TI, an Intel I7 processor, a power supply and a motherboard (be sure to ask an expert on which motherboard/power supply to get because you’ll need them to be compatible with the rest of your PC) and at least 8gb ram.

Step 4: If you don’t already have a HDD or a case for your PC then get one, you can either put it all together yourself or go to your local computer shop and ask them to fit it for you (they love this because they get your money for doing an extremely easy job)

There you go, now you have a good enough PC to play all the games you could ever want up to eighth gen consoles. It may not be cheap at first but in the long-term, it will save you a lot of money and will give you a lot more in return.

Anyways back to the history lesson. After Sony’s success with their online subscription service, Nintendo decided to follow suit as well.

Quite frankly it saddens me to see how pathetic Nintendo have been in recent years, I used to enjoy playing Nintendo games on their consoles a lot but it would seem that they are now a shadow of their former self. Not only are they arrogant enough to believe that they can get away with taking our online privileges ransom but they are also stupid enough to be the last major console manufacturer to actually do it.

Oh how the mighty have fallen… the Nintendo that crushed SEGA back in the console wars during the 90’s would be ashamed at the state they are now, back then, Nintendo were fighters, they were the Bruce Lee of the gaming industry, now they’re a bunch of clowns that forgot to put their makeup on.

Now I know that I declared Nintendo dead a while back… but somebody has brought Nintendo back from the dead. Is this the Lich King? Are the Dreadlords behind all this? Only one thing is for certain. Nintendo need to be put back in their graves and the only way to do this is to stop buying their systems… unless it’s second hand of course.

We need to stop being a bunch of monkeys and start sticking up for our rights, I’m talking to all of you people who continue to support these console manufacturers, stop being a bunch of simpletons and start using your bloody brain or your ignorance will doom us all!

As contemptful as this may sound, these words come from someone who is frustrated at our industry. My enemies are the console manufacturers and the publishers, not the consumer… but if you stand in the way then you’re just another obstacle preventing me, and many other gaming enthusiasts from making progress, just think of how frustrating it is to have to see this bullshit happen without being contested, then you will understand why I am being such an asshole… because sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.