My Love For Choice Based Narrative Games

If you were a kid in the 90’s, chances are you had a Give Yourself Goosebumps book or two. One of the best children’s horror series ever (honestly they don’t make enough children’s horror series anymore). The allure of these books were that you were a part of the story and, even more than that, you chose how your adventure would unfold. Were you going to turn to page 54 to go down that dark scary ass basement? How about flipping the page to 99 to explore that creepy swamp your aunt told you to stay out of? The choice was up to you. Goosebumps is the reason for my love affair with today’s choice based narrative games.  Read More

Renegade Countdown: Top 10 Games I Can’t Stop Revisiting

Gamers are always eager for the next new release, announcement, or blockbuster sequel. However, there is a fundamental truth. No matter what game you may be interested, we tend to always come back to our favorite games. For some reason gamers can’t leave them alone. No matter how long it has been or whether it’s been played a million times over. So, today’s Renegade Countdown is all about the games I cannot stop revisiting. Read More

What’s the Point of Video Game Movies?

An image of the Playstation "Micheal" commercial, featuring the actor who play Nathan Drake.

Does anybody actually want to see Uncharted on the big screen?

If there is one thing I hate seeing news about, it’s the troubling efforts of producers to try and get the Uncharted movie started. It infuriates me. Sometimes I feel like book readers do when their favorite novel is turned into a major feature film. A loud groan comes out of my mouth, follow by an emphatic why? Why does there need to be an Uncharted movie? Especially when the story is told so well in the game.

Everyone Thinks Film Is the Pinnacle of Media

Apparently, something isn’t deemed a success until it’s made into a TV show or movie. It happens all the time, and I can somewhat understand the logic behind it. With comic books and novels, the narrative is limited to your imagination. Their voices, movements, and actions are all dictated by how they are portrayed in the book.

However, when the narrative is translated into film, it’s brought to life. It becomes real and exciting to see your favorite characters move and act for the first time. That’s why superhero movies work so well. We get to see our physical manifestations of our favorite characters for the first time.

Why Video Game Movies Do Not Work?

There have been several attempts to bring video games to the big screen. While some of them have found some form of success, they are all chessy. Hollywood has yet to take the medium seriously. Even if they did, I still find it hard to believe they would create anything better than the source material.

We have gotten to the point in video games where the graphics no longer look like polygons, the voice acting is top notch, and the stories are no longer made for children and pre-teens. Video games have grown up alongside gamers, and their narratives are mature and expertly directed. Sometimes as I play games like The Last of Us or Mass Effect, I feel like I’m already watching a movie. The stories have become that good.

So, when Sony decides they want to make an Uncharted movie, I say this: What experience can you offer on the big screen that I haven’t felt before while holding a controller in the palm of my hands?

Mobile Woes: Players Unwilling to Pay

A poster for the release of the mobile game: Super Mario Run.

Nintendo forgets that they are selling on mobile.

I woke up this morning to the news of Super Mario Run’s imminent arrival. As Nintendo posted the image you see above on Facebook, touting a December 15th release date and a price of $9.99, I noticed the angry face icon on the post. Quickly, I click on the comments section to find a flurry of gamers somewhat enraged about the price. It just goes to show that even Nintendo can’t escape the mobile woes. Read More

Enhanced Consoles: Good or Bad Idea?

Sony's enhanced console, the PS4 Pro.

Are you upgrading for 4K resolution?

The PS4 Pro just dropped, and next year the Xbox One’s Scorpio is set to release. I don’t know how to feel about these enhanced consoles yet. They are cool in concept, but do they bring enough to the table to justify replacing your current machine?

What Do These Enhanced Consoles Offer?

The biggest selling point of the PS4 Pro is its 4K resolution capabilities. As long as you have a 4K television, you can experience the Pro to the fullest. It also comes with enhanced processsing power, allowing it to run games smoothly.

So far, all first party PS4 games will be able to run in 4K. The PS VR benefits from the enhanced power as well. As for the Xbox One’s planned Scorpio, not much is known until Microsoft reveals it. 

Why I’m on the Fence

That’s about it. I don’t know about you but my games run great on my PS4 and Xbox One. There isn’t much to justify selling your old PS4 (which isn’t really that old) and shell out another $400 for the Pro. 

4K is great and all but video games have reached a point where it is pretty hard to make an ugly game. I mean, you would really have to try to make a game look bad. As long as you have a PS4 and an HDTV, you are all good. 

Another problem I have with these new enhanced Consoles is the possible impact they have. Say the Pro does well, which it might, does Sony and Microsoft start to get into the Apple mentality? Are they going to release a new console every two years, with minuscule upgrades? I would hate to start missing out on a full range of features because I can’t afford to keep switching my console. 

5 Telltale Games That Need to Happen

Telltale Games Logo.

I’m a sucker for a good story, and nobody quite scratches that itch like Telltale games. Their episodic adventures of classic games, comic books, and tv shows take me into another world. So much so that I never want to leave.

Hell, I haven’t even bought Telltale’s Batman game because I’m afraid I’m going to finish every episode before they all release. While I am eagerly anticipating Season 3 of their Walking Dead series, let’s see what other games I would love to see the studio create. Read More

Stop Destroying Fan Games

The title screen for Pokemon Uranium

When you are too protective of your property, you will start to lose fans.

Big-name companies and fan projects have a complex history. We have seen many come up with their own interpretations of popular properties, only to be hit with a cease and desist letter soon after they release it into the wild. Publishers and owners react to these projects as a threat to their brand.

I, for one, am a fan of fan projects (what a mouthful) – especially when it comes to video games. And often, this kind of censorship feels like a smack in the face to the community who loves a particular company’s work. Fan games need to be encouraged, not destroyed, and when are so protective of your work, you alienate the very people who appreciate your creations. Read More

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Is Making Me Itch

Tai from Digimon, hitting a computer screen.

If my television weren’t expensive, Digimon: Cyber Sleuth would make me hit it as well.

This game is killing me. And while the nostalgia hits me at 1,000, sometimes, it is just so incredibly painful to play. I suppose I should back up a bit and tell you how my experience with Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth has led me to this conclusion.

I’ve been playing this game, on and off, for a couple of months, and I’m not saying Digimon: Cyber Sleuth is a bad game. It’s actually really good. However, a few minor inconveniences taint the experience. I should start by going through some of the game’s good points. It’s a terrific old-school RPG, harkening back to the original Digimon games back on the PS1, making it pretty easy to grasp and play.

A screenshot from Digimon: Cyber Sleuth

The digivolution system is the best part of the game.

Another fun aspect of the game involves its digivolution system, which is something I felt sets the game apart from being yet another Pokémon clone. While it borrows some elements of the popular pocket monster’s series, like its rock-paper-scissors fighting mechanics, the game encourages players to experiment with the different types of Digimon they can create.

Every Digimon can digivolve into a tree of new monsters, making the possibilities seem endless. If you choose to digivolve on Digimon, you are not limited to that choice. Simply bring them back to their previous form (which actually gives you a stats bonus) and try something new. It’s a Digimon lovers dream.

Where the Game Starts to Make Me Itch

When it comes to the concept, Cyber Sleuth completely nails it. However, there are huge flaws in the game’s design. And I wouldn’t talk about them if they did not distract from the experience as a whole.

My first grievance is minor, but nonetheless still annoying. This game commits a cardinal gaming sin: unskippable cutscenes. What makes it worse is that the cutscenes are slow and downright unbearable, especially when you have to go through the same one a second time.

An image of one of the dungeons in Digimon: Cyber Sleuth.

The game’s dungeons are incredibly short.

While that is pretty bad, my second grievance is where my inner game designer screams out. The dungeons are too short. In some missions it took me no more than three levels before I reached a boss, leaving me totally unprepared. I found myself running around the same area of a dungeon for two hours just trying to level grind.

To make matters worse, your Digimon are constantly in a state of flux as you change their forms, putting them at level one and forcing you to level grind again in such a small area. While I understand this game was created for the PS Vita, it fails to give you a natural form of progression.

This is not a deal breaker. I will still continue to play Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth for the fun of discovering what new  and exciting Digimon I can create. However, this game is going to be a slow burn.