Thursday, February 26, 2015

General Update

I'm trying to create a Game Time With Manny brand, but I feel like I'm all over the place. Over the past few weeks I've tried to consolidate quite a bit. I now have a Game Time With Manny Google+ page, which is linked to my YouTube channel. I'm going to try and post everything I do there. 

On the Twitch front I've been streaming a lot lately too. I play a whole lot of Inazuma Eleven on my channel, and play fighting games with my friends every Thursday. I'll be doing mostly Inazuma Eleven until the end of March. Every stream is uploaded to YouTube after the fact for archiving purposes.

I've been tweeting a lot lately as well. I used to think Twitter was stupid, but it's actually very helpful for getting the word out. I tweet whenever I go live, which means that I don't clog up the blog with one sentence posts. Twitter is definitely a great tool that I need to utilize more often.

I don't know, I just wanted to type up a quick thing about what I've been doing lately. Definitely follow the Google+ page to see everything I have going on, and if you want to see me live stream following me on Twitter and/or Twitch would be your best options for that.

I'll be back in a few days with the February edition of game time.

Peace out!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Game Time - January 2015

January is always a slow month for new releases, and this is one January where I am totally okay with that. I have a lot of games in my ever increasing backlog... Good thing I'm not playing them and have opted to play a ton of old games instead!

So, as you may have noticed, I've been streaming a lot more often lately. I am trying as hard as possible to share my love for Inazuma Eleven. I streamed all the way through the first game in less than a week and now I've moved on to the second. You can always check that out at Www.twitch.tv/drac96

I'm still working my way through Sunset Overdrive, but my interest is waning as the game goes on. That's the only "new" game I've been playing. I've spent a lot of time replaying old games this month. I replayed Pokemon Snap a few nights ago, and have been going through the original Super Mario. However, I will be writing here about the Donkey Kong Country series. I had never beaten the second one before, but now I have.

To go along with my more frequent streaming I did a playthrough of the Grim Fandango Remaster. Even though I played through it a few months ago for Extra Life, I still felt the need to play through the Remaster twice this past week. On my first playthrough I just wanted to see what it was all about, so I went through the game to get all of the trophies and listen to the director's commentary. I then went through it again on stream and beat it in under five hours.

Buckle up, it's game time!

Sunset Overdrive

It's official. I have been stricken with open world fatigue. Open world games are cool, but there is rarely anything compelling to do in the large open world, and the mission structure is almost always boring. Sunset Overdrive isn't really any different.

Yes, it has a whole load of style, but I just can't really ever get into it. The game is at its best when you're traveling seamlessly throughout the world. In terms of movement it reminds me of Jet Set Radio Future, but without roller-blades. For some reason the main character has magical shoes that allow him to grind on all surfaces, and he can inexplicably dash through the air. To me that's the best part of the game. The movement mechanics feel great, and make me as a player feel like I'm doing some legitimately cool stuff.

Traversing the world is fun, but shooting isn't.

Where it falls apart for me is that it is just another third-person shooter that takes place in an open world. Insomniac is great at creating zany weapons, but in the end you're still just shooting energy drink crazed monsters (basically zombies) with guns. It's even more frustrating, because almost every mission is a fetch quest, or deals with defending a single point. That sucks.

It's a shame the gameplay makes me feel this way, because I think Insomiac had some great ideas. The movement is amazing, and the world is filled with color and interesting characters. Normally these kinds of games keep me occupied, but I'm just getting a bit tired of them. I haven't played it in a few weeks, so hopefully when I boot it up later toady I'll feel refreshed. If not, I'll just have to take a break from open world games. It doesn't help that almost every release in recent memory has been open world...

Donkey Kong Country

During the SNES era I didn't personally own a lot of games, but I did rent a whole lot of them. I remember renting Donkey Kong Country one and two quite often. I personally was able to beat the first game, but never got a chance to do the second. For Christmas one year I was given Donkey Kong Country 3, which I still have now. I was also able to complete that.

New Years Eve Noukeo, Landers, and I were going to try and complete all three games on stream. However, Landers got sick, so we didn't go through with it. A few weeks later Landers and I decided to sit down and try to play through them all. We beat the first two games, but it took us nearly ten hours. We then went through the third game another day and that probably took us around two hours.

This isn't your Grandpa's Donkey Kong!

Just as I remember, these games are fairly difficult. Donkey King Country 2 is especially devious. The first two games took us a long time, because we weren't used to how the series handled at that point. If we did another run through, I'm sure we could do it much faster.

Prior to these play sessions I didn't like Donkey Kong Country 2 very much, but I've come around to it now. The music in it is incredible, possibly moreso than the other two entries in the series, which also have great music composed by Dave Wise. In fact, I'm listening to the song Klomp's Romp from the first stage of the game as I type this!


I feel that this series gets a lot of undeserved flak. People seem to think that the platforming hasn't aged well, and that the graphics look terrible. I still think the graphics look good, and they were top notch for their time. It's even more impressive when you think about how all three games were made within such a short time frame. The platforming is still some of the most satisfying I've ever played as well. It's something that's easy to learn, but hard to master. The series certainly ramps up in difficulty too. The first game starts easy and gets very hard. The second game starts easy and then immediately becomes punishingly difficult. We lost around thirty lives on a single level. After that we really had to step up our game. By the time we got to the third game I couldn't tell if it was much easier, or if your skills had just evolved from playing two.

This series is one that I have very fond memories of, and it was nice to see that reality matched up with my nostalgia for once. We're still planning on streaming it sometime, but we don't have any solid plans yet.

Grim Fandango Remastered

I'll say it before and I'll say it again, Grim Fandango is one of the greatest video games ever made. There are two games I attribute my continued video game obsession with, and they are The Ocarina of Time, and Grim Fandango. I first played Grim Fandango when I was around ten years old. It came out in 1998, and I played it a few years later. I was obsessed with Manuel Calavera and his journey through the Land of the Dead.

My dad worked in a computer store, and I would visit him there all the time and play a bunch of games. They mostly built computers and sold components, but they always had a shelf of software. It rarely ever sold, so the same games would mostly be there. One box that always caught my eye was Grim Fandango. Eventually I convinced them to let me play it, and I ended up with a burned copy of Grim Fandango. My dad left that job, but eventually went back to it a few years later. When he returned Grim Fandango was still there, and they decided to just give it to me. Sadly, I don't have the box, but I do have the original game discs.

I love all Grim Fandango related art.

It's been seventeen years since the game's original release, and now it has been remastered. The original publisher LucasArts was shut down when Disney acquired Lucasfilm. In a recent deal brokered by Sony the studio headed by Grim Fandango's writer Tim Schafer was given permission to remaster the game.

While I've played Grim Fandango countless times, many people have not. To make matters even worse it doesn't run easily on modern PCs. It only works, because fans have made programs and patches to get it to run. However, now anyone with a modern PC, PS4, or Vita can get in on the action. I've seen a lot of people complaining about this as a "lazy" port, but that's just plain wrong. As someone who's played this game recently I can tell you that the character models look a whole lot better. A whole bunch of lighting was added, you can play in 16:9, there are new camera-related controls, and director's commentary. Most important of all it's now available to many people in an easily approachable format.

I still think this would be the coolest tattoo ever.

I can't stress enough how much I think people should play this game. It is legitimately one of the best video game narratives I have experienced, which is helped by the fact that it's 90% narrative! The whole world comes together so well. Hell, it had incredible voice acting even in 1998! If you haven't checked this game out, you definitely should. At the very least you should watch my Extra Life stream where I played it.

Let the Hunt Begin!

There may have been no new games this month, there will be one in February. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate comes out on February 13th. Due to GameStop sucking, I won't be getting it until at least the 23rd. I won't get into it, but there's some stupid reason that they had to order the Monster Hunter 4 New 3DS bundle through their website. So I had to pay in full and get screwed on shipping!

I don't really care when I get it, because I'll get plenty of use out of it no matter when it comes. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was my first entry into the series and I played it for almost 400 hours. This game has more content, and new mechanics! I bet I'll play it for even longer than Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. I'm very excited.

Next month be prepared for some serious Monster Hunter 4 talk. See you guys next time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grim Fandango Remastered Trophy Guide

I just finished playing Grim Fandango Remastered, and got all the trophies in a single playthrough. With my extreme love of the game and many full runs through the game let me tell you how to get them all! Beware, because this list contains spoilers! You probably already knew that though, because you're looking at a trophy guide.

Note: Some of the trophy names have typos in them on PSN, which is insane. I typed everything as it should have been here,

Number Nine Ticket (Platinum)
Get all other trophies in the game.

The Right Way (Gold)
In order to get this you need to play with the tank controls for the entire game. It defaults to the new movement options, so go into options and switch to tank controls. Then start a new game, and play through the entirety of this remastered classic. It will be awarded to you during the final scene.

"What I did back in the fat days is none of your business. You know the rules." (Bronze)
When talking with Eva ask her what she did to get stuck in the Land of the Dead.

"Gets the aggression out, doesn't it?" (Bronze)
Eva has a hole punch on her desk. Use it while Manny isn't holding anything.

"Scaring the living is technically against the rules, but we all do it." (Bronze)
During the poisoning Manny travels back to the Land of the Living. Before you rip open the potato Bruno is in with Manny's scythe talk to all of the living people in the restaurant.

It's like I'm not happy unless I'm breathing in the thick, black, nauseating fumes..." (Bronze)
When talking to Glottis for the first time ask him why he doesn't quit his job.

"Lousy bony fingers!" (Bronze)
When talking to the balloon animal twisting clown have Manny yell bang. This causes the clown to pop a balloon.

"I squeezed down one of these tubes, like a pixie!" (Bronze)
Talk to Brennis the purple demon who fixes the tube machine. Ask him how he got in there.

"Well I could do something bad right now if that would help." (Bronze)
After bringing Meche back to his office Manny starts to question her. Have Manny ask every possible question before leaving to tell Don what you've done.

"Precisamente, amigo." (Bronze)
Once you're in the Lost Souls Alliance base have Salvador explain why the D.O.D. is corrupt.

"Join or Die! Again!" (Bronze)
In the Lost Souls Alliance base ask Eva if she has any messages.

"'ARROGANT FRAUD' doesn't work." (Silver)
When Manny sneaks into Dom's office have him interact with the computer. Each time you do he will guess a different password. Keep going until he guesses Arrogant Fraud.

"Run you pigeons! It's Robert Frost!" (Bronze)
Ask the balloon clown to make you Robert Frost. Before you scare away the pigeons on the roof of the D.O.D. run at them with the balloon out.

"The marrow of these trees, Manny, they suck it out, it's like cement!" (Bronze)
During the puzzle in the forest with the wheelbarrow talk to Glottis.

"We only have one mop." (Bronze)
When you run into Celso in Rubacava ask him if he knows where to get a job.

"...Used to scream like a banshee when the trade winds blew..." (Bronze)
During the initial interaction with Velasco ask him what's under his eye patch.

Year 1 (Silver)
This is automatically awarded during the cutscene following year 1.

"Great news -- we've discovered a new, secret talent of our tiny messengers!" (Bronze)
When year 2 starts go inside. On the desk near the door you can pick up a latter from Salvador. If you continue to interact with it Salvador will say many things. Eventually he will talk about the pigeons new found talent.

"Plus, we look good in these clothes!" (Bronze)
While Glottis is still at the piano in the casino speak with him about leaving.

"Well, maybe just a sip..." (Bronze)
At the bar in the casino you can and have to pick up the Marillo de Oro. Have Manny drink it.

"We are all citizens of the same nation, and our king rides a pale horse." (Bronze)
Ask Chowchilla Charlie for a passport. He is in Manny's casino.

"YOU'RE NOT EVEN LISTENING TO ME!!!" (Bronze)
Lupe is the door greater at Manny's casino. She will tell you about her new organizational system, but not go into detail. Ask her about it, and insist that you want to hear about it.

"It shone, pale as bone..." (Bronze)
You can see the moon above the dock where Velasco hangs out. Push square while looking at it to have Manny recite a sweet poem.

"Consider it an homage." (Silver)
In the blue casket have Manny get on the mic and make some poetry. When you're done ask Olivia to do some. She will copy whatever you did exactly.

"We're straight stingers, you know?" (Bronze)
Talk to the sea bees about forming a union.

"Here, let me hold that metal detector for you while you cry..." (Bronze)
Carla is the one who checks passengers before they board the blimp in Rubacava. Drink the Marillo de Oro you got from Manny's casino and then try to go up the elavator there. He will be taken to the back room. While back there your goal is to get the metal detector from her. In order to get this trophy never choose the last dialogue choice dealing with the metal detector until she is crying and no longer telling the story.

"Manny, we've given up. All of us." (Bronze)
Membrillo is the local mortician in Rubacava. Ask him why he still hangs around.

"Come to see how the big boys play, eh Manny?"(Bronze)
Enter Maximino's VIP lounge. On the screen where you can see Nick there is a large red doorway in the background. Enter it in order to talk with Maximino.

"So, sorry, but I don't do... 'odd jobs.'" (Bronze)
In Maximino's VIP lounge speak with Nick and try to convince him you need a lawyer.

"Oh, yeah, I could take you down..." (Bronze)
This can only be gotten while Glottis is getting drunk in the VIP lounge, but before you get into the wine cellar. Aitor the green demon who works in the lounge will be waiting by the elevator to the wine cellar sleeping. Talk to him and exhaust all of his dialogue options.

"Oh Rusty Anchor" (Bronze)
Once you find Lola sprouted at the lighthouse, Manny receives a card with a tongue on it. Go back to the casino and give it to Lupe. She will then hand over a piece of paper that says rusty anchor on it. Before you rush out and give it to Toto, go downstairs and show it to Glottis. He will then serenade you with a sweet melody.

"ME, ME, ME-ME-ME!" (Bronze)
Once you have Nick get the sea bee out of jail he will be leading a chant where he originally was near the lighthouse. He will start, and then the bees follow. You need to interact and follow as well. If you do it too early or too late you will be chastised for not being in-time. Once you get far enough in the chant the bees will start to chant about Manny. When the entire chant is over it will begin to repeat. When you stop the trophy will be awarded.

Year 2 (Silver)
This is automatically awarded at the end of year 2.

"I wasn't always this color!" (Bronze)
When you meet Chepito for the first time ask him how long he's been under the sea.

*sniff* *sniff* (Bronze)
When Manny wakes up after being punched in the face by Domino there will be a cage of angels in front of him. Have Manny be mean to them until they cry.

"Save your breath..." (Bronze)
Meche thinks you're working for Domino. Have Manny try to explain the whole situation to her.

"Okay, how much of this haven't you figured out, Calavera?" (Silver)
Go into Domino's office and have him explain what his racket is.

"IT'S A BUST-ALL!" (Bronze)
Before you trade anything with Chepito exhaust all of his dialogue options.

"Stop showing off for the girl!" (Bronze)
Manny will find himself on the octopus-submarine fighting Domino. Have him whip out his scythe and then proceed to run at Domino until you get the trophy.

Year 3 (Silver)
This is automatically awarded at the end of year 3.

"Happy trails, Captain." (Bronze)
Enter the waiting room to see Chepito walking around in a fountain. Speak with him.

"I could walk out of this world and not look back..." (Bronze)
In the room with Chepito have Manny try to walk down the tunnel.

"I'm getting out of here. This world's for suckers." (Bronze)
Let Bruno out of his casket.

"...so large." (Bronze)
This trophy is easy to miss. When Glottis falls down at the beginning of year 4 you will find him surrounded by smaller demons. Do not talk to Glottis! Make sure you talk to the little demons first and exhaust all of their dialogue. If you speak with Glottis first he will make a drawing on the wall and the little demons will move there and no longer have any available dialogue.

"Oh, Lola..." (Silver)
Upon your return to Rubacava climb up the lighthouse to where Lola was sprouted.

"THAT'S NOT FUNNY!" (Bronze)
Once you've frozen the lemonade and are walking towards the booby trapped Bone Wagon have Manny examine it. He will make a terrible joke and Glottis will get upset.

"Manuel! Is everything okay?" (Bronze)
In the Lost Souls Alliance HQ interact with the radio opposite where Eva is sitting.

Year 4 (Gold)
This is automatically awarded upon beating the game.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

All the Streams

In case you were not aware I have been streaming much more frequently these past few weeks. This past Saturday started the real stream extravaganza, and there's a good reason for that.

I've been saying for months that I was going to get a capture card for my European 3DS in order to stream a whole bunch of Inazuma Eleven. I sent the 3DS in a week ago, and got it back this past Friday. I was amazed to find out that it works much better than I expected it to. As you may have heard I have a lot of trouble with my El Gato Gaming Capture HD. The video feed is always a few seconds delayed, and audio sync is a complete nightmare.

I got my 3DS capture card installed from www.3DSCapture.com. The guy who does it goes by Loopy and I've got to give him major props. This capture card works like a dream. A thin, black box is integrated into the back of the 3DS. A micro USB port is then used to hook it up to the computer. From the website all I had to do was download a driver, and some basic capture software. I then opened OBS and it started right up. You just capture the windows of the capture software and it goes. There is no delay and I can actually hear the audio through my headphones!

With my hot new capture card I've been streaming the majesty that is Inazuma Eleven. It's anime soccer. You should really check it out.

The reason I'm writing this is to tell you all what and when I will be streaming, because this week I've got a lot going on.

Tonight, mere minutes after I finish typing this, I will be streaming Inazuma Eleven until I beat the story. That should take me about two hours. That's mainly because I've streamed it for over 12 hours since Saturday...

After tonight I will be taking a break from streaming Inazuma Eleven until some unspecified time next week. I will then be starting the second game in the series.

For the past few weeks I haven't been streaming Thursday Throwback, but I am now starting it again. This past Thursday Landers, Noukeo, and I streamed Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO. This coming Thursday we will be doing Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. We're getting back on track, so look forward to some hot action every Thursday for the foreseeable future.

If neither of those interest you, then perhaps you'll want to show up on Saturday when I stream a full playthrough of Grim Fandango Remastered. I streamed myself playing the original a few months ago for charity, but this time it's not. I've played it a bit so far, and it seems pretty awesome!

So yeah, that's what's going on with my Twitch channel. I'm trying to do a lot, and I hope it works out.

Go to www.twitch.tv/drac96 and witness all the magic! Make sure to follow me on twitter @Manatron to see when I go live.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top Ten Games of 2014

Since I've started this blog I've posted my top ten games of the year in text format. I'm going to continue doing that, but this year I also recorded a podcast where I discuss each choice a little more in-depth.

Keep in mind that these are my personal opinions, which may differ greatly from your own top ten picks for 2014. As usual I will start with the number ten game on my list and work my way to what I thought. If you want to read some more in depth thoughts on each game just click its name.

Let's this list going!

10. Transistor

The second game coming out of SuperGiant games, which shows they know how to make a good game. You play as Red, a singer who has lost her voice in a cyberpunk world. Armed only with a talking sword she must travel through the deserted city in order to find out what's going on.

The soundtrack, atmosphere, and combat blend together to create an unforgettable experience. I can't wait to see where SuperGiant goes from here.




9. Mario Kart 8


Mario Kart games don't really change much from year to year, but it's easy to tell when one is a quality product. Mario Kart 8 is certainly a quality product. It's the first HD iteration of the series and it looks beautiful. Nintendo has proven time and time again that they have the best art direction around.

On top of it looking beautiful it plays well. The karts have weight to them, and you actually have to slide in order to succeed. The game wasn't super surprising to me, since Nintendo knows how to make a solid kart racer. If you like Mario Kart, it's more of that!


8. Dark Souls 2

I got into the Souls franchise this year, and while the original Dark Souls is my favorite the sequel is pretty good too. It's more Dark Souls, but not necessarily as well thought out as the first. Still, you travel through numerous environment types and meet with infuriatingly difficult challenges.

With new mechanics it differentiates itself from the original, while keeping the experience fresh.




7. Rayman Legends

Rock solid platformers are getting increasingly hard to come by. Lucky for me Rayman Legends came out on current generation consoles, so I could take a crack at it. The Ubiart engine renders a beautiful world, that is backed up by some incredible platforming.

Rayman feels weighty, but glides through the air just right. More platformers should feel as tight as this does. It helps that there are a ton of unlockable stages and characters to boot!



6. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

This game made the list predicated entirely on the nemesis system. The Lord of the Rings elements
are completely ancillary to the experience. The nemesis system allows for you to make your own enemies and rivals. You get into fights with unique enemies who will remember you and react with tons of unique dialogue depending on the situation.

Rarely do I hope that developers directly steal from other games, but in this case I do. The nemesis system is super cool and I'd really like to see it in more games.


5. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-

Guilty Gear has finally made its return. It looks incredible and is super fun to play. The story mode is like watching an anime, and more fighting games should follow its lead.

Very rarely do I go into training mode and practice combos in a fighting game, but with this I have. The combat system has been brought back down to a level that the average person has a chance of breaking in to. I'm not saying I'm going to get good at Guilty Gear, but I'm sure as hell going to try.


4. Super Smash Bros. for Wii-U

Smash is back. I love Melee, and what Project M is trying to do is admirable. I think that I enjoy
playing the new smash more than a mod though. The speed is the right distance between the slow motion of Brawl and the hyper speed of melee. It's a perfect blend of what makes smash very accessible and competitive.

The game is so jam packed with content it's hard to see it all. Out of all the games I played this year this one had the most fun multiplayer by a mile. Smash continues to be one of my favorite franchises of all time.


3. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call

Curtain Call brings back everything I loved about the original Theatrhythm, but adds the ability to
play multiplayer, and use the buttons as inputs. I still love to use the stylus, but it's cool that there is another option now.

The amount of music in this game is staggering. It has all the songs from the original, plus all of the DLC from that game. They then decided to add around one hundred more songs, and continue to throw out DLC. If you like rhythm games, and Final Fantasy you need to play this game.


2. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Initially I wrote this game off as being another dumb visual novel. I saw some footage of the game and decided to try it out. It's a visual novel, where you go into Phoenix Wright style trials, play insane
mini-games, and forge relationships. It mixes so many elements I love.

The main character is a talking bear, who wants high school kids to murder each other! It's over the top in a way that I can really get behind, but is appropriately grounded when it needs to be. The sequel somehow came out this year as well, and I'm chomping at the bit to play it.


1. Inazuma Eleven

I don't have the appropriate words to describe how much I love Inazuma Eleven. It's anime soccer on the DS. This year it finally got released in the U.S. on the 3DS Eshop. I bought it on a whim and couldn't put it down. Shortly afterwards my obsession with the game spiraled out of control and now I've beaten every game released in English and imported a European 3DS.

It's an appropriate mix of action, strategy, fun characters, and cool moves. There's a lot of content in Inazuma Eleven, and it's fun to find all of it. You put eleven players on the field and draw lines with the stylus to lead them, or tap the screen to have them pass/shoot. If they intersect with someone, or shoot on the goal they have the opportunity to use a special move, most of which are amazing. Axel Blaze catches the ball ON FIRE!

Inazuma Eleven grabbed me in a way that a game hasn't in a very long time. You could say I became obsessed with it. It was consuming every ounce of my free time for around three months until I had completed all four of the games released in English currently. It's a blast to play, and I'm glad I found it.

     -Manny

Friday, January 2, 2015

Game Time - December 2014

Looking back at all the games I played in 2014 I realized that this has actually been a pretty good year. I legitimately forgot that half the games I played in 2014 even came out during 2014. It was a long year huh? 

Even though we're living in the brand new year of 2015, I still have this final edition of Game Time to wrap up 2014 with. I did a lot in December. Much to my dismay I didn't especially complete any games. Instead I started a whole bunch more that I've just been pecking away at. However, it was the holiday season. I had to see my family, and hang out with friends who were home to visit.

It certainly didn't help that I purchased an Xbox One the day after Christmas to round out my current generation console collection. I purchased three games for it, all of which I've only scratched the surface of.

Another thing it seems I've only scratched the surface of is Dragon Age Inquisition. How in gods name am I 40 hours into this game? The game I probably played the most of though was Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-. I played it both for my own personal enjoyment, and to record a bunch of video for my YouTube Channel. I thoroughly enjoyed it! In fact, I'm going to keep practicing it will into 2015. From the looks of it I may still be playing Dragon Age well into the year as well. It just keeps going.

Xbox One

Everyone seems to be upset with my purchase of an Xbox One. I don't really care though. I stand by my purchase. Never before have I had all the major consoles of a generation. Yes, there was an Xbox 360 in my home, but it was being used almost 100% of the time. So I missed out on a lot of great games this past generation, because I didn't really have the means to play everything. The same can be said about the GameCube generation. I had a GameCube when it was new, got a PlayStation 2 near the tail end of its life, and never had an Xbox.

I am now officially set and capable to play every single new game that's released, barring PC exclusives. I have all three major consoles and both handheld systems on the market. To be honest I thought that I'd immediately regret my purchase, but I don't. It was a little frustrating at first due to the Christmas hack attacks on PSN and Xbox Live. I needed to download some digital games and crazy large patches. The only thing that wasn't working on Xbox Live was downloading games.

It's so huge, and it still has a large power brick!

After a few hours of being pissed off Killer Instinct let me play the tutorial. I'm not good at fighting games, so Killer Instinct was pretty much made for me. That's not to say it's easy, but it is easy to do really cool long combos. Every move is a linker, opener, or ender. That means that you just need to figure out what links into what in order to do some crazy stuff. Since the combos are so long you have to end them or the opponent takes significantly less damage. You can also break out of combos if you know what strength attack the opponent is using. Overall it's a cool fighting game and I want to play it more.

I also purchased Sunset Overdrive, which I only played for about an hour. As a third person shooter with weird guns it seems pretty standard. The cool part is that you can grind and jump all around the city in a way that's very reminiscent of Jet Set Radio. I really haven't played a lot, but I find what I did play enjoyable.

I can't appropriately show how awesome the combos are in a picture.

My only problem so far with the Xbox One is that the UI is terrible. I don't even know how to describe how much I dislike it. There are square icons all over the place, but the ones you want to find are never there. Most of the tiles also do a poor job of explaining what they actually do, which adds an extra layer of bullshit. Like mobile phones the Xbox One has apps, and for some ungodly reason some of them default to a snapped view. If you view achievements it starts up in a snapped view. So you can see almost none of the information you're looking for. If I had a Kinect it might be better, because I could just yell where I want to go instead of looking for it. 

The Xbox One runs games well though, and it's going to have some killer downloadable exclusives in the next few months. There may not be many full retail games I want right now, but there will be. I figured I should save $50 by getting the thing now.

Dragon Age Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquisition seems like it's never ending. I've been playing for 40 hours and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. Part of that is due to the structure of the game. There are sidequests everywhere, and they all give little to no reward. Being a weirdo I am compelled to complete as many as I can, which has taken me hours upon hours. I've only done a handful of story missions, so I think in reality I'm only around halfway through the game. That's crazy.

Noukeo has played for way longer than me. He was at around 120 hours last time I asked, and he's at the same point in the story that I am! Due to that fact I've mostly given up on the side stuff, because it's my least favorite part of the game. In fact I don't really even enjoy playing Inquisition. Like most Bioware games I'm there for the story and the characters. What's sad is that in this case the overall story hasn't really grabbed me yet. The characters however, are all pretty good.

The Inquisition is a very diverse group of characters.

Bioware games have great character moments. If you listen to the game of the year podcast I describe a specific one I thought was amazing. The way you get to know the members of the Inquisition is cool, it just takes a while to get there. The beginning of the plot is wrought with political struggles, which can be a chore to get through at times. Where I am in the game now that has let up a bit, but politics is still at the forefront of the game. Once all the characters in your party settle down a bit they're actually pretty fun to hang around.

The big lug The Iron Bull is a Qunari mercenary, who talks a lot about sex and for some reason plays cards a lot. Seriously, I think I've played cards in like half of his character events. He's crazy and always has something interesting to say. The same goes for Cole. He's a spirit who has taken human form in order to help people. He can make people forget his existence. All he wants to do is help, since he can feel peoples emotions and hear their inner thoughts.

The Iron Bull is my favorite party member in Inquisition.

It would all be so much better if the combat in the game was any good. I loved Dragon Age Origins on just about every level. The characters were cool, and the gameplay was tough and filled with strategy. Dragon Age 2 came along and basically made it into an action game. Inquisition fits somewhere in the middle. It's mediocre MMO combat, that tries to shoehorn in strategy elements. Essentially you hold a button to auto attack and use your skills when they're not on cooldown. I'm on the normal difficulty and I tend to plow through most enemies with no strategy. You can however pause the combat and get a tactical view. If you want to can select skills and have the game move forwards at a snails pace. There's no reason for it though.

Inquisition is an odd game. I like it, but I don't seem to be having any fun while playing it. I like interacting with the characters, but the combat feels hollow, and the endless fetch quests are wearing thin.

Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-

Guilty Gear Xrd Sign looks incredible. At first blush it looks like a brilliantly drawn 2D fighter, but then it zooms out to show you that everything is fully rendered in 3D. When you win the camera spins around to reveal that everything is polygonal. The first time I saw it happen in a trailer my mind almost exploded. Now that I can do it whenever I want it's still one of the coolest visuals I have ever seen in a video game. 

On top of its crazy visuals Guilty Gear is actually fun to play. It helps that I like all the character designs a lot, and the characters themselves are actually interesting. This iteration of Guilty Gear continues the story, but is a reboot in terms of the fighting system. Guilty Gear got so complex that there wasn't really an entry level anymore. With Xrd Sign they made it accessible again. No longer are Roman Cancels super hard to pull off, and not every move needs to be frame perfect. Sure the depth is still there, but now I can actually approach the game without feeling immediately overwhelmed.

Sol Badguy is my dude!

I don't want to talk too much about it, because it's another anime fighting game. That's super reductive, but it is. No one wants me to get into the intricacies of how Guilty Gear is played, especially since I'm not very good at it. I will say that I'm trying to get good though. I've actually been practicing combos with my boy Sol Badguy. I've got a few that I can whip out in a real match, but I still have a long way to go. 

The story is probably one of the best in fighting game history and that's because you don't ever play it. It's essentially a three-four hour anime. You watch as the characters talk and occasionally sweet animations happen. It's cool, because you get a sense of what all the character are like and since they're all fully 3D it's the same models that are being used in fights.

The seamless transition to 3D is ridiculous.

Overall Guilty Gear is an excellent package. The story mode is cool, the online works well, and the fighting is fun. If you like fighting games you're robbing yourself of a great time if you don't pick this up.

2015 is Coming

In the end 2014 ended up being a decent year for video games. I feel like I end up saying this every year, but 2015 is going to be batshit crazy. Half the games I was looking forward to in 2014 were delayed to 2015, which means that 2015 is filled to the brim with games I absolutely want to play.

What's even crazier is that we're not going to have to wait until the fall. Tons of games are going to start coming out in early February, and even March. It's going to be a crazy year and I hope that you'll stick around and see all that Game Time With Manny has to offer.

I haven't been streaming as much lately, but I plan to change that in the near future. As you may have heard in our sweet Game of the Year Podcast. I really liked Inazuma Eleven, and within the next two weeks I am going to be getting a 3DS capture card. I don't know how long it will take to get to me, but I'd guess around one or two months. So you have a lot of Inazuma Eleven to look forward to!

Monday, December 29, 2014

GOTY 2014 Podcast

2014 has come to a close, which means that Game of the Year is upon us. As usual I have selected my top ten games. For a change of pace I got together with Noukeo and we recorded our talk about what we believe to be the top ten games of 2014. Our lists are both quite different but share many similarities.

The audio is a little weird for some inexplicable reason. At random intervals my mic will echo for a few seconds. It seems to be some kind of feedback from when Nouk and I talk at the same time. *Shrugs* It's not too bad, but it was enough for me to notice it.

I hope that you enjoy our discussion! If you're not a fan of Podcasts I will be posting a text version of my list within the next few days.