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Ragnarok Odyssey Ace & Pushing Keen out of his gaming comfort zone

ragnarok-odyssey-aceGaming for us may have mostly taken off with PC games but prior to that we did invest a good deal of time playing stuff like our Master System, Super Nintendo, and later on the N64 and PS2. We used to play all kinds of different stuff together but over the years he has withdrawn into a near impenetrable shell that doesn’t have much room for anything other than MMOs and a few other games. Getting him to even try other types of games can be incredibly difficult.

For years I’ve been trying to get him to play a Monster Hunter game with me but that hasn’t had much success at all. I think I might have mentioned a while back that the first attempt saw my PSP thrown to the ground in frustration. Anywho, a while back I discovered another game in the “Hunting Genre” called Ragnarok Odyssey Ace. From what I could tell it was the updated version of the game like Ultimate was for Tri. I picked it up for my Vita and after playing it for a short while I figured that I might be able to get him to try playing this with me.

Monster Hunter may not have drawn him in initially, but Ragnarok looked like it might do it. Bright colors, Norse-ish theme, wizards, etc. Plus the combat seems more approachable than Monstrer Hunter. If I couldn’t get him to try this out then there was really no hope. After a lot of complaining, guilt-tripping, extortion, and pestering I was finally able to convince him to play it with me. We downloaded the PS3 version of the game (which can play with the Vita as well) and gave it a go. [Read more...]

Disney Magical World Part 2

Now for the continuation of my Disney Magical World review.

Worlds to visit in Disney Magical World

There are four connected worlds that you can head out to explore. They are Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and Winnie the Pooh. They may not be called specifically that but you get the idea. Before you first set off to these worlds you are summoned by Yen Sid, the intense-looking sorcerer guy from Fantasia that I seriously think looks like Gowron, Chancellor of the Klingon Empire, but I won’t go there… Anyway, he tells you about ghosts and sets you up with your first wand. In other worlds you will play through several episodes that will have you fighting off ghosts. You can make yourself stronger in each world by crafting more powerful wands and adventure outfits from the components that you find there. These adventure levels are full of crafting materials, some of which can be on the rare side, and will require subsequent playing for gathering purposes.

Defeat ghosts with your wand!

Defeat ghosts with your wand!

The gameplay of these areas is rather simple. You have a main attack along with a magic attack that has a set number of uses. There’s also a dodge ability and you can charge your main attack up to make it stronger. Still, I find these episodes to be very enjoyable and they offer some great variety to the game. Some of them aren’t exactly easy either. You may get a ton of gems which can be used to heal and resurrect you but the more of them you keep for the end of the level the more treasure you obtain. So sometimes you will be trying to scrape by with half a heart left because you want your best chance of finding that stupid rare rock or whatever. Some worlds also offer some additional gameplay elements. Cinderella, for example, lets you attend Balls which play out in a rhythm game fashion. It doesn’t seem overly complex when compared to similar offerings but I’m bad at it all the same. [Read more...]

Disney + Animal Crossing = Disney Magical World

disney-magical-worldWell, pretty much anyway. Disney Magical World might be more like Animal Crosing -lite or Diet Animal Crossing but it makes up for this with several cool features that you can’t find in Animal Crossing. Like in AC, the game progresses in real time. However, unlike AC the time of day doesn’t affect very much. The only real significant things I noticed are visual changes, shop item changes, and requests and whatnot changing out every 12 hours. The time of year does seem to play a part though given that right now in my game there are giant easter eggs and bunny outfits all over the place. I’m actually very excited to see what shows up around Halloween and Christmas but I can only hope the game can keep me interested that long.

Meet Mickey Mouse and all sorts of wonderful characters

Meet Mickey Mouse and all sorts of wonderful characters

What’s it like? What can you do in Disney Magical World?

Well, the game takes place in a small kingdom setting that consists of a main square with several connecting paths that lead off to shops, the castle, and other worlds.The main hub is full of normal people like yourself but is also spotted with various Disney characters from Mickey’s universe. So you will see characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy and several offshoot characters like Scrooge, HD&L, and Chip & Dale. Every now and then additional Disney characters might pop in as well.

As for spending your time, you can fish and pick various materials that regenerate over time and sell that at McDucks to earn some extra cash. The far better way to earn money seems to be running your Cafe that you acquire early in the game. When you are done with that you can head off to one of the four connected worlds to complete various special episodes. With all of the money and materials you rake in from all of these things, you can create tons of different outfits and furniture to furnish your cafe and room. I’ll further delve into some of these things below. [Read more...]

ESO Bugs and Inventory Management

Keen and I have been putting a lot of time into ESO lately, and have mostly great things to say about it.  The story is engaging and the atmosphere is immersive; however, there are several aspects of the game that we both find to be very frustrating.

kwama-worker

Nope, not that kind of bug.

Bugs

When MMO’s first launch, they usually have a lot of stability and performance issues, but it seems with ESO it is mostly things like broken quests. It is not just a few either. We rarely go a day playing without encountering at least one quest that requires rebooting the game, a creative work-around, /reloadui, or just giving up because the quest is just unable to be completed.

I understand that MMO’s are usually pretty buggy, but the amount of broken content in such an early zone makes it seem like this stuff was barely even play tested. Aside from that, neither of us have run into many performance issues and the game stability has been great so far. So it’s kind of interesting, but aggravating, how things seem to be a little flipped when it comes to bugs.

Another thing that may not be a bug, but is still annoying, is how monster spawn rates seem to be all over the place. Some dungeons won’t spawn monsters very fast at all, while other dungeons and areas will spawn monsters so fast that it’s impossible to keep up. This greatly affects some areas that require you kill everything before the important boss spawns.

World Size and Instancing

I have never liked instancing because it kind of feels like it breaks up part of the immersion of the game. But in the case of ESO, I actually have started to feel like I wish they would instanced the game more. For the most part ZOS did a good job of dividing players into these invisible phases and there is usually a good spread of people around the zone. However, when you get to public dungeons and dark anchors, things start to get very over crowded.

In small numbers, these places can be difficult but very fun and exciting to do. For instance, the other day, Keen and I, along with maybe one or two other people, completed a dark anchor and it was probably one of the funner experiences we had. We also got some pretty good loot from it too! Just today, we attempted another dark anchor, but as soon as it started, what seemed like 20 other people showed up. All of the enemies died super quickly, and by that I mean it was basically impossible to even get a hit off something before it just disintegrated. In the end we didn’t get to loot anything and barely got to contribute at all.

I don’t know how they can fix this problem with dark anchor events, but I imagine they could put a lower cap on public dungeons or something. At least that way you experience the dungeon boss dying before you get there.

Inventory Management

A remarkably large portion of our play time is actually spent managing all of the stuff in our inventory. We constantly have to go back to town to sell and trying to hang on to anything for crafting purposes ends up being a ridiculous juggling act. Earlier today, after we had wrapped up some questing, we spent at least 20 minutes handing items back and forth to each trying to manage our inventory and bank space, while making room for crafting supplies and breaking down items. Requiring real hours to research items seems like a good idea at first, but when you have a backlog of 15 plus pieces, which each require 6 to 12 hours to get rid of, things start to really pile up.  I will say that being able to store it all in your bank helps instead of having to carry it around with you everywhere.

Still Fun Despite the Flaws

I don’t mean to come off incredibly negative, because I’m actually enjoying my time in ESO way more than I have in any MMO in the past several years. These are just some of the larger annoyances that keep rearing up during our play time. All in all, I’d have to say that the good still vastly outweighs the bad, and I’m excited to see more of the game as we continue our adventure through Tamriel. Hopefully there won’t be many more bumps along the way.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare – The BEST shooter I’ve played in years

Plants-vs-zombies-garden-warfare

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare came out near the end of February with pretty much no hype or fanfare. I’m not entirely sure if it was really marketed at all. It was actually several weeks later that I noticed it had indeed come out, initially on Xbox One and 360 only, and that’s when I started paying attention. After watching several videos and streams I just knew it was something I would enjoy, and I was totally right.

The Basics

pvz-engineerThe game is a third-person shooter with the Plants vs. Zombies theme. Garden Warfare is essentially multiplayer only but you could play split-screen offline if you really wanted to. There are several modes including a horde-style defense mode where four plants defend their garden from waves of AI zombies, your regular TDM mode where you have to get 50 kills, Gardens & Graveyards where zombies are trying to push through 6-7 gardens to complete their objective while the Plants defend, and a newly added Gnome Bomb mode where each side has pickup the gnome and use it to blow up three objectives. Gardens & Graveyards is easily my favorite but I do enjoy all of the versus modes. The horde-style defense mode, the name of which escapes me right now, is one that I haven’t quite put a lot of time into. Mainly because it’s the kind of thing that requires good communication and a certain level of competency that I have yet to find. [Read more...]