A Drive to GameStop

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Last night, Wyatt and I took a drive to GameStop (which we used to do all the time before the pandemic). I got to learn the latest from his adventures with Apex Legends. Specifically:

  • How Wyatt loves using the character Seer.
  • How he might use his Apex Coins to buy Ash.
  • Or maybe he will just get the battle pass.

As talk of Apex Legends died down, Petra whispering quietly on the stereo background, I asked:

“How was school today?”

“It was good.”

And then:

“How are guitar lessons?”

“They are going great.”

We talked a little bit more as I pulled into the GameStop parking lot. Grabbing my copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons to trade in, we went inside the store. A few moments later, we were the proud owners of Metroid Dread.

We spent the next hour passing the controller back and forth. Dying. A lot. But we had fun playing Metroid Dread, learning how to jump (it is an art), and getting our heads around the spastic movements of protagonist Samus Aran. Just as we were finally comfortable with the controls it was time for Wyatt to take a shower and go to bed. Overall though, we had a pretty solid night.

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?

Dragon Quests and Man Colds

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Sunday morning, I announced to my Sunday school class that I felt a man cold coming on. I asked for everyone to sign up to bring meals for me. Tabitha wasn’t in the room at the time (she was checking kids in), so I also made them promise not to say anything to her. Sadly, no one took me up on my dire request for sustenance.

By Sunday evening, I was running a fever. Ended up taking Monday off as a sick day. I slept a chunk of the day.

Yesterday, I visited a clinic. Found out that I have both a sore throat (which I didn’t know) and a sinus infection. So now I’m on antibiotics and out of it at work. Seriously, I just went to CVS to pick up a birthday card for a co-worker. When I got back to work, I wondered how I ever drove to CVS (felt that out of it).

Sat down last night and had a chance to play some more of Dragon Quest XI. I wasn’t so sure about my decision to pick up the game last weekend. The GameStop employee wouldn’t stop gushing over the new Spider-Man game. Even going as far as to say it made him cry at least 3 times, and he doesn’t normally cry. I told him I was going to Redbox Spider-Man and instead introduce my son to a non-Final Fantasy JRPG.

There is a cadence to Dragon Quest XI. A rhythm to the overall pacing and storyline. I wasn’t sure, at first, if I liked how slow the game felt. But the more time I have put into Dragon Quest XI (sitting at about 3 1/2 hours so far), the more I’ve come to appreciate what the game is.

Be a man…. We must be swift as the coursing river.

Last night, I was making my way through a wooded area when I came across a dog. The dog woofed at me and then I kept going until I came to a bridge that was destroyed. Needing to find a way forward, I backtracked to where the dog was and noticed that he wanted me to follow him. So I followed the dog up a path. It was then that I found some sort of shimmering ball that I touched. Suddenly, I saw a memory of a woodcutter upset that the bridge he had built had been destroyed. Turns out a monster had destroyed the bridge and had then turned the woodcutter into a dog. Things are not always as they seem, right? I then pursued the monster, battled him, and returned the woodcutter back to his human form. He then rebuilt the bridge, and I was on my way.

Dragon Quest XI, so far, has told stories that are not original but that are executed in clever ways. The woodcutter/dog story caught me by surprise. It was a small quest story that showed a lot of thought, especially for what is supposed to be an 80 hour game.

At 3 and 1/2 hours, I have picked up one party member so far (Erick). I’m looking forward to the adventure that is it come and to enjoying the journey along the way.

Sonic Rip-off

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Wyatt and I went to GameStop and traded in a bunch of his 3DS games for credit. He claims he is finally done with Pokémon until the Switch version comes out in November. Wyatt then picked up Sonic Forces with his newly acquired funds. Being the good dad, I had read several reviews on the game. I knew that Sonic Forces wasn’t supposed to be all that great. However, my knowledge and preferences paled in the light of a little boy who had credits burning in his pocket. We exited the store with Sonic Forces for the Switch.

He played for a chunk of Saturday afternoon.

He then had a friend over later on in the week. Wyatt’s friend told him that he was close to the end of the game. Surely not, I thought. He just got the game. There is no way he is almost finished.

A quick Google search proved Wyatt’s friend correct. Sonic Forces is a 4-5 hour game at best. $40 for 4-5 hours worth of gameplay. I know we could get into a debate on a game’s value versus time, but I don’t want to go there. But I do want to note that in addition to checking a game’s content, one might also want to check a game’s length.

Sonic Forces = $40 new (no used copies)

GameStop Trade-In Value = $22

Maybe, in the end, the game being short is a good thing. Less time for Wyatt to hog the Switch. More time for him to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Now if only the weather would cooperate and stop raining. Do you hear me, Texas? I’m tired of the 90 degree weather mixed with low 70’s and rain. Bring on the Fall!