Press Start – Destiny 2: Forsaken

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While on a mission with Cayde-6, you experience a mission gone sideways. Things happen. Serious stuff guys! Friends mourn the loss of their friend… and the universe moves on. But not you. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Thankfully, you are geared up against the cold blackness of space. It’s time to lock-and-load, my friends. Vengeance is the players, says Destiny 2: Forsaken.

Death of Cayde-6
Death of Cayde-6
Death of Cayde-6
Deal with the Devil
Deal with the Devil
Our Heroes
The Journey Begins

After reading so many good reviews, I finally picked up Destiny 2: Forsaken. I’ve sunk a few hours into the game already. Forsaken reminds me of why I like Bungie games:

  • Solid Controls
  • Cinematics
  • Huge Set Pieces

I am enjoying what I’ve played so far. More thoughts to come; more thoughts on the topic of revenge and the Christian.

How about you? Have you played through the Destiny 2: Forsaken campaign? What did you think?

The Anthem Begins

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Walking into GameStop this past Saturday, Wyatt and I headed to the counter.

Store Clerk: Hi, how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, I’d like a copy of Anthem. I’d prefer the Anthem Legion of Dawn Edition. You know, the one that is $5 right now.”

Store Clerk: “Sorry, all we have are copies of regular Anthem. You can buy all 60 of them if you’d like.”

Me: “Nah, I’m good with one copy.”

Then, making small talk:

Me: “I’ve heard a lot about how bad Anthem is. I figured $5 was a good price point to experience it.”

Store Clerk: Mumbles something about the game. Almost as if he is bitter about the Anthem experience as a whole. If I were to guess, I’d say that he spent $60 at the game’s launch. I haven’t played enough to say that I’d be mad too… but store clerk’s bitterness was harsh.

.: First Thoughts :.

I think I found Destiny’s long lost brother! Anthem, at least story-wise, uses the same type of Mad Libs storytelling. Except where Destiny would talk about the “darkness” and the “Speaker”, Anthem talks about a cataclysm called the “Heart of Rage” and the evil (?) “Doctor Harken”.

Anthem excels at:

  • Unique Level Design. Due to the flight mechanics, Anthem’s levels have a vertical design to them. One moment you can be soaring up onto a ledge; the next moment flying down into a cave.
  • Flight. The flight mechanics in Anthem are liberating. I. AM. IRON MAN. I love what flight adds to the game.
  • Shooting. Shooting in third person feels great. You can tell BioWare has learned quite a bit since Mass Effect.

Things Anthem needs to learn her brother Destiny:

  • Load Times. For real. Destiny hides its loading through hyperspace screens where your character/ship is “traveling” somewhere. I don’t mind watching my cool looking ship barrel through hyperspace. On the other hand, load times in Anthem equal a progress bar at the top of a static splash screen, with hints displayed at the bottom of the screen. I hate the way loading is handled and how long loading takes (maybe 3-4 minutes).

.: Just Keep Flying :.

Wyatt and I have loved what we have played so far. I’m sure we’ll dive back into the game soon. I’ll keep you posted.

Have you played Anthem? What did you think?

E3 2019 – Halo Infinite

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The mere mention of Halo immediately brings me back to the first time I discovered Christians gaming together. I will never forget spending an evening with Fuller Theological Seminary students, playing Halo over a network. There is nothing quite like playing games together.

Destiny 2 – Send the Light

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Finished up the original Destiny 2 campaign over the weekend. Bungie managed to tell a somewhat decent story. I loved the bookends, the beginning and the end of the game. But I’m still not sure what happened in the middle… Cayde-6 and I are now friends? Tight gunplay mechanics continue to rule the series. No matter what, Bungie knows how to make a shooting game feel good. Real good. In the end, I wish had some friends to play through Destiny 2 with.

Destiny 2 isn’t perfect, but I enjoyed what I played. The game makes me miss the Master Chief of Bungie’s Halo. The Guardians, the Destiny player characters, lack character. The calm and determined physical presence of the Master Chief would certainly be most welcome.

My Guardian.

Titanfall 2

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The titan has fallen.

Titanfall 2 is an incremental upgrade/step forward for the Call of Duty formula. Mashing together the tried and tired Call of Duty fried pie shell with the filling of a boy and his robot story. This results in taking the best parts of Mirror’s Edge, the parkour, and putting that gameplay mechanic together with lots of shooting and emotional robot storytelling.

The level design is nothing to text your best friend over. While I found the overall gameplay and design enough to keep me moving forward, I did get bored. Bored enough to try and break the game by playing on easy/regular (I’d alternate), pushing through the levels without killing anyone. Once I figured I could power through a level, especially towards the end of the game, I would just run until the next checkpoint kicked in. Why battle through tons of enemies and bullet-spongy robots when I could move the “story” forward?

There are moments where Titanfall 2 shines. Moments where I loved being in a gigantic robot mowing down the masses of enemy troops. But those moments of joy were fleeting. As hard as the developers tried to shake up the Call of Duty formula, Titanfall 2 still felt like Call of Duty 1.1.

I’m happy I played the game.

SIDE BAR: My son kept telling me that it looked like I was playing Destiny. Speaking of Bungie, Destiny, with gigantic robots you can call down from the heavens, would be sweet. Get on that, Bungie.

Pew, pew, pew. My robot died. I didn’t cry. Game Over.

3/5 – A fun distraction that you can now pick up for $5. 

Title: Titanfall 2
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows
Reviews on: PS4

Best Theology Video Games Of 2015 – Destiny: Taken King

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This year, I had the chance to help the guys over at Theology Gaming with their Best Theology Video Games Of 2015 list. Had fun writing about Destiny: Taken King.

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Best Mirror Of Our Faith Journey
Destiny: Taken King

Sin. Repentance. Redemption. Destiny mirrors the faith journey of the Christian. Made in the console shooter creator’s image, this 2014 title launched with solid mechanics and an uneven tale. Broken from a story perspective, mired in sin, Destiny was yet embraced by the gaming populace.The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions launched the game into an orbit of repentance. Redemption found in the Taken King. Sin, downfall, always but a step away. Developer Bungie continues the journey through the valleys and mountain-top experiences of game development.

Battling Across the Galaxy – Destiny

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I walked away from the Traveler. The Light. The Darkness. My fellow Guardians. I dispersed into the ether, sick of banging my head against the wall. The honeymoon was over.

Vanilla Destiny was a terrible experience wrapped in fantastic shooter mechanics. Destiny 2.0 is a whole new game with many UI upgrades and subtle improvements:

  • Quest and bounty tracking now have their own screen.
  • Light levels are front and center. Character stats are too.
  • Trading in bounties is as simple as pressing a button. This is revolutionary!

This is the game Bungie promised.

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I spent my weekend battling through the Crucible. Maybe 3 hours of play, max. I leveled 6 times. The best part is that I had fun doing it.

As a side note: I’m going to miss the voice of Dinklebot. As my wife said, Nolan North just doesn’t sound like a robot. More time with the game may change my mind, but I miss the Elf dude.

Wyatt wants me to upgrade my ship. Even after telling me that he didn’t understand why you would upgrade it when you can’t fly or shoot with it. The ship just looks cool and he understands that. What I’m wanting to know, is upgrading my ship’s skin a waste of money?

Until next time.

Off Campus – Destiny Log Entry 001

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The Traveler. The Golden Age. The Darkness. I listen in cynical awe as Destiny tries to drown me. The living room is dark. My headphones ring of Halo overtones of the past. Humanity is judged. The Traveler offers redemption.

Judgement

27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

Our bodies are frail. Dust. We are all destined to die. The writer of Hebrews talks about how following death comes judgement. One single decision. One choice. Keeps us from the forever darkness.

Awakening

I hear a voice that reminds me of the pissed-off elf-sized author from the film Elf! He identifies himself as Ghost. Apparently he has been searching for me for a long long time but never managed to check twitter or Facebook. Adjusting my headphones, Peter Dinklage breathes softly into my ear. My Titan rises after a century long dirt nap. Predators howl in the distance. Ghost tells me that we need to find shelter, fast. I don’t believe him. I can tell that Destiny is highly scripted. Nothing is going to happen to me. Silly Peter.

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The tired mind is rarely rational. The combination of music, lighting, and level design are making me tense. Did you hear that? I grip the controller tightly and venture on through some random ruins. Bad guys die. A spaceship is found. Ghost and I travel to the last city the Traveler can protect. My eyes burn. I am tired and want to go to sleep. However, the feedback loop has taken hold. I press on.
Head on over to Theology Gaming to read more