A Decade of Video Games – Games I Have Completed Since 2010

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Dem Mond!

I am in no way organized when it comes to cataloging which games I own let alone those I have completed. Below is my attempt to create a list of games released within the last decade that I have finished:

  1. ABZÛ
  2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
  3. Assassin’s Creed Revelations
  4. Batman: The Telltale Series (Season 1)
  5. Bioshock Infinite
  6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  7. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  8. Detroit: Become Human
  9. Destiny
  10. Destiny: The Taken King (expansion)
  11. Destiny 2
  12. Donut County
  13. Final Fantasy XV
  14. Firewatch
  15. Fire Emblem: Awakening
  16. Florence
  17. Inside
  18. Journey
  19. King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember (Episode 1)
  20. Kirby Star Allies
  21. Mass Effect 2
  22. Mazurka – A Ghost in Italy
  23. Minecraft: Story Mode (Season 1)
  24. Monument Valley
  25. Oxenfree
  26. Pokémon Y
  27. Race the Sun
  28. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  29. Sayonara Wild Hearts
  30. Spider-Man
  31. SteamWorld Dig
  32. SteamWorld Dig 2
  33. Super Mario Odyssey
  34. Tales from the Borderlands (all episodes)
  35. That Dragon, Cancer
  36. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
  37. The Final Station
  38. The Last of Us Remastered
  39. The Last of Us: Left Behind (DLC)
  40. Titanfall 2
  41. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  42. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  43. Virginia
  44. West of Loathing
  45. What Remains of Edith Finch
  46. Wolfenstein: The New Order

Now, to pick my game of the decade.

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?

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

Firewatch and Bloodborne made me want to walk away from gaming

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Firewatch and Bloodborne tainted my view of video games. Both experiences left me feeling that all games are dark, violent, and depressing. Filled with language I don’t allow in my house; filled to the brim with blood. I needed space. So I threw gaming in the backseat.

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The beauty of the Wyoming wilderness contrasted against human brokenness. Dark secrets hidden in outdoor splendor. My experience with Firewatch was gut-wrenching. I felt for protagonist Henry. The reality of his personal fairy tale falling a part. I wondered at the intentions of Delilah. Her name seeming appropriate. A distraction, like the watchtower in the game itself. None of it mattered though. The profanity-laced journey was for naught. Terror and mystery ended in smoke.

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Mixed-in with my quest into the woods, were sporadic play sessions of Bloodborne. Hearkening back to the muscle-memory games of my youth, Bloodborne scratched a deep down itch. But the dark settings and constant violence weighed on me more than I could tell.

I had told my friend Scott how I was feeling, burnt out on video games. His first response was, “It was Bloodborne, wasn’t it? Shoot.” Good friends often know you better than yourself.

For about a week, video games disgusted me. I had no interest in them. This scared me. But left me with a clear head to contemplate other things. To allow God to speak truth where I needed it.

I fired up Destiny over the weekend. Had a good time playing. We’ll see where that leads.

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.

Surf Report

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Surf ReportWelcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report. A quick stop to the Bryan shop.

.: God:

Church is about what you do, who you are, and being the hands and feet of Christ. Too often we, as Christians, get caught up in the physical building of the church. The walls we build can blind us and hold us back from doing what we need to do.

Yesterday, after a quick breakfast and message, my family and I loaded up and headed to a local grocery store. There we handed out giftcards, in the store (with permission), just to make someones day better.

I’m hesitant to write about this because I don’t want it to come across as bragging. I was/am excited about getting out in the community and making a difference, even if that difference is a giftcard to help with groceries.

.: Life:

Had a date with a rototiller this weekend. Together we attacked:

  • Two flower beds
  • Soil in the garden
  • A small space out front for seed planting

There is something satisfying about working outside.

.: Gaming:

Accidentally found myself fighting for the Traveler once again in Destiny. Completed a level I had been stuck on for awhile. Actually the reason I had quit playing the game.

destiny-2Destiny, even at it’s worst, is still a better game than Dragon Age Inquisition. The shooting mechanics are solid, there are no Rare-like fetch quests, and I feel like the game respects my time. The story may be a bit undercooked but the music/graphics/gameplay make up for it. I’m in love with Destiny again. Oh, I also made it to Venus. Goodbye Moon!

Side Note: My experience with Paperbound will be up tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Wave SplinterThat’s it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

Off Campus: Theology Gaming Podcast #59 – TGBS Awards, or Best of 2014

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A few weeks ago, I woke up in the early morning hours and podcasted with Zachary and M. Josh. Had a great time hanging out with the Christmas Guantanamo and the Destroyer of Christmas. If you have a moment, head on over here and give the old podcast a listen. The first 10 minutes are pure gold. Gold I tell you!

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