Tips and Hints for Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Author: Nathan Doverspike

EDIT: After searching the internet for recent patch notes, it appears the corrupted save file bug I ran into while playing the game has been fixed. That doesn’t guarantee that the game won’t crash, as it did for me and THEN I experienced the save corruption after 12 hours of gameplay, resulting in having to restart the game. I highly recommend this game, even if there is a chance the game can crash occasionally. The combat, art style, and exploration alone were worth another go at it, even if it means I’ll have my fingers crossed that I won’t have my save corrupted again.

Over twelve hours into Battle Chasers: Nightwar, and I can honestly say this is the most fun I have had with a dungeon crawler RPG since Diablo 3. This game isn’t just gorgeous (I love the art style and effects during battles); it is also challenging without being too frustrating. If you have just picked it up, or are interested in what this game is all about, keep on ready for some tips and hints.

Grinding Is a Necessary Evil

Like a lot of RPGs in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, grinding is a part of Battle Chasers. I don’t despise it since it lets me work on different strategies and leveling up characters I may not use as much as someone like Garrison (who has a great name and awesome abilities). Some may not be as thrilled about the possibility of grinding to see all the content, and I understand if it isn’t for everyone. For me, it hasn’t bothered me. I put too many hours in the original Neverwinter Nights as a kid and this is nowhere near as grind-fest heavy as that classic.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar_20171005194131

Exploration and dungeon crawler are two areas this game nearly perfects.

Explore, Explore, Explore

This game is set up to let you explore the world, a chunk at a time. As you progress through the story, you open up new distinct areas with their own enemies and dungeon to discover. Not all areas are crucial to forwarding the plot, and I highly recommend visiting them. You may get whooped at first, but you can always come back or talk to other NPC’s to see if they have a side quest for you to undertake as well. Who knows, maybe clearing out those spiders in the sewers gets you some much needed gear and a level or two that you need before returning to a challenging dungeon.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar_20171005220316

Battle Chasers: Nightwar_20171005220316

Plan your Attacks Wisely

The action bar on the left side of the screen shows you what order your characters and enemies will take their turn. Use this to your advantage. Each attach has an indication of how long it will take for the character to use that ability. Some are instant, while others take a turn or two before they act. Using a very fast attack to finish off a weakened enemy might just be the edge you need to defeat a boss that summons more enemies during battle. Time these wisely, as they can be the difference between defeating a tough boss in a Legendary dungeon and getting your RPG-loving rear handed to you.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar Victory

Just looking at that Mimic is giving me Dark Souls PTSD.

Don’t Forget to Equip Perks

Yup, that’s right, I forgot to equip perks for the first four hours I played this game. Every time you level up you gain points that you can spend towards equipping perks for each character. For example, Gulley might have 4 perk points but the perks you want to equip cost 3 and 2 points, so either you grind a little until you level up, or you make a choice on which one you want to equip. All of these are passive stat boosts or enact certain conditions based on other abilities in battle. You can increase attack power, get more health from healing abilities, or even get a permanent boost to your overall defense as long as the perk is active. These can dramatically change how your characters perform in battle, so experimentation is highly encouraged.

Hopefully these few tips and hints are enough to help you glide your way through an incredibly beautiful and interesting world. While the story isn’t as integral to the game as I might want it to be, I am still really enjoying my time with it and look forward to pouring more time into it this weekend. For a small studio and a game half the price of other AAA games coming out recently, this has been a pleasant surprise of an RPG.

Did I miss anything? Did you pick up the game? If so, how are you enjoying it so far? Let me know in the comments!


Why Final Fantasy The Trading Card Game Is My New Favorite Hobby

Author: Nathan Doverspike

A couple months ago, I made the decision to sell off all 15,000+ Magic The Gathering cards I had amassed over 18 years of playing/collecting. While a difficult decision, I told myself it was for the best and that I was over the collectible card phase in my life. Then a coworker introduced me to the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game, and I now have a new favorite hobby and a few new friends. Here’s why you shouldn’t overlook this game, whether you play Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, or another popular card game.

First of all, the mechanics in the game will feel very familiar to anyone who has played Magic or Pokemon, with cards called backups taking the place of lands/energy in those respective games. However, with most things in this game, there’s a twist that sets it apart and adds new layers on old strategies. You may discard cards into the break zone (discard pile) from your hand in order to gain two energy of that card’s element. For example, if I want to play a very powerful card named Vincent (featured below) on turn 1, I could put two cards from my hand into the break zone to play him. Where in Magic I would have to wait a few turns, most likely 3 if I have some tricks up my sleeve, I can play him turn 1 if I am willing to sacrifice my hand size and options down the road to gain an immediate and noticeable advantage early on in the game. While board control isn’t the only way to win, for the Fire/Earth deck I currently play it’s what keeps me from getting wiped out quickly by Ice/Lightning decks that focus on removal.


Seriously, this card is extremely powerful in addition to the sick artwork and foil background.

You defeat your opponent when you deal seven points of damage to them. That a relatively low number, and you would think that games would be over in five minutes because of that. But I’ve found that these are some of the most interesting and longest matches, which is probably why each round was only one match in the recent tournament I attended. Also, whenever you deal damage to an opponent, there’s always a chance that the card they put from their deck into the damage zone is an EX card, which activates the effect on the card before resolving and moving on to the next action. You read that right, you could possible have your strongest Forward, or your whole board destroyed because you dealt damage to your opponent, which is the only way to win by the way. It is such a curve ball in a card game and I LOVE IT!


Pokemon has the strategy of evolving your cards into more powerful forms, and while Final Fantasy doesn’t have that, it does have even more intriguing. See that “S” in the cost to play Death Penalty? That mean sacrifice a card with the same name as this one as a cost. In other words, it becomes a strategy to put cards with the same name into your hand (through drawing, abilities or searching) in order to use their special abilities that can usually change the whole landscape of a game. Vincent here can straight up destroy other characters that are used to attack or block with his ability, something that definitely comes in handy if your opponent has cards that rely on synergy to win.


Unlike other colors, you may only have one dark or light card in play at a time.

Light and Dark cards are another neat idea Final Fantasy uses that other card games don’t feature. These cards tend to be very powerful, sometimes excessively so. Which means there’s always a catch, and the catch here is that you may only have one in play at a time. So even though they are very strong, having too many in a deck will likely result in a loss. That isn’t to say they aren’t useful, but it takes some serious thinking to figure out which cards work well with others, and likewise which ones might not.

Another thing I love about this game is the fact that no cards are banned and all sets are valid for tournament play. Whereas in Magic, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! they have different formats depending on if you want to play with brand new sets or ones from the very beginning, Final Fantasy lets you use any set. The game is still somewhat new, so there is always the chance that this might occur. Still the cards in each set are so unique and interesting that it might not matter as much as those games if they do choose to ban cards or older sets in the future.

The most important thing about playing cards games competitively is the community; and this is really where Final Fantasy shines the brightest. Like I mentioned above, I recently attended my first competitive event, and even though I brought up the rear in the standings, I didn’t feel that other players looked down on my or felt insulted that I came with a barely modified starter deck. Instead, they offered advice and encouragement to keep playing and how they feel my deck could be improved. I took that advice to heart, and can’t wait to bring my newly revamped Vincent/Cloud deck for a rematch at the next event. Every player was polite, something I NEVER experienced at a Magic event (and from the stories I heard from fellow former players I wasn’t the only one who dealt with poor sports and overall rude players).

There are so many other aspects I could go into, like how monsters in this game are like artifacts in Magic, summons can be used almost anytime unless their card states otherwise, and how mono decks are some of the strongest out there, which is a stark contrast to other games. What about you? Have you played Final Fantasy The Trading Card Game? If so, what do you think? Let me know in the comments!


What Are Your Favorite Gaming Memories As A Kid?

Author: Nathan Doverspike

With the recent rumor of a Sypro the Dragon trilogy remaster coming in 2018, it sent me on a massive nostalgia trip. It made me think of all the late nights I stayed up way past my bedtime on a school night playing Tomb Raider 2, Sypro the Dragon and Ripto’s Rage. I have so many fond memories of gaming as a kid, and I want to know: what are your favorite memories gaming as a kid?

For me, there are two specific games that I vividly remember loving as a kid and also enjoying playing with others. First is Tomb Raider 2, which is a game I have a deep love/hate relationship with. I hated how bad I was at jumping in the game (pretty sure it wasn’t just me though from all the FAQs I read back in the 90’s). The other memory is playing the game with my dad, with whom I didn’t always have an ideal relationship with at the time. Even though we butted heads on more times than I can remember, he was always willing to sit down with me for an roughly an hour or two countless nights and help me figure out the puzzles, and even assured me that it wasn’t the end of the world when I accidentally deleted a save before the final boss and had to replay the last quarter of the game all over again.

The other memory is more of a compilation of playing Halo 2 with a childhood friend. Time hasn’t been kind to our friendship, but I’ll always appreciate and thank him for all the times we stayed up all night, drank Mountain Dew/Pepsi, and played Halo 2. We would play online (one of the first Xbox Live games that was truly great), cruise through the fantastic campaign split screen (back when that was still incorporated in video games), and play shotguns and energy swords against each other for bragging rights. I hope that my kids will have similar experiences with a friend that they will remember forever and look back on fondly as they grow older.

That’s enough about me, what about your experiences? Are there any particular games that you remember playing as a kid? Do you ever revisit them from time to time, or have they aged poorly over time? Let me know in the comments!


What is the Most Disappointing Video Game You’ve Played?

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Tax season is here! And after totally up my deductions, including student loans, marriage, and buying a house in 2017, our refund is….less than last year? Yup, that’s right, even though everyone I spoke to told me our refund should be quite impressive this year, it’s once again disappointing. Even though we expected it to be pretty good if not great, it still managed to be less than anticipated.

Which brings me to the heart of this article: I want YOU, the reader, to tell me what your most disappointing games have been. Maybe it was something like Mass Effect: Andromeda (that’s my choice), where it failed to live up to its predecessors in nearly every imaginable way. Or maybe it’s a game that had a great story and mechanics, only to disappoint with a thud of an ending. Let me know in the comments



Tips and Hints For Evil Within 2

Author: Nathan Doverspike

The Evil Within 2 would have been my biggest surprise in 2017, had I played it in 2017. I arrived a little late but nonetheless enjoyed the hell out of the game. From the twisted and horrifically grotesque enemy designs, to the crazy finale and gut wrenching plot, I was hooked the whole way through. To help you out on your journey back into STEM, here are my tips and hints for Evil Within 2.

New Game + is Great, But There’s a Catch

This is one I wish I knew before I started the game. I finished the game in casual mode, and if you would like an explanation of the different difficulties you can check out this article. You can reduce the difficulty while playing, but you cannot increase the difficulty once you start a save slot. Also keep in mind that beating NG+ gets you additional weapons and resources, so it’s definitely worth playing through a second time just to experience the new arsenal.

Explore, Explore, and Explore Some More

On my first run through the game, I thought I explored the open world pretty thoroughly, but I managed to miss a couple weapons and opportunities to upgrade my skill tree even further. Also, there are keys scattered throughout the game that allow you to open up one of the nurse’s lockers. Finding these keys can really help if you manage to get more ammo or health that stay there until you retrieve them.

Play on a Lower Difficulty For Run And Gun Gameplay

I played Evil Within 2 like I played Resident Evil 4 when it came out back in the day. I did a terrible job conserving ammo, was louder than a rhino in a china shop, and shop every enemy in sight. Playing on casual allowed me that freedom, so don’t expect to brute force your way on the more challenging difficulties.

Don’t Kill the Flame Thrower Enemies Before Chapter 13

Without providing any spoilers, DO NOT kill the flame thrower enemies roaming the world before chapter 13. I did, and therefore I couldn’t get the parts needed to repair the flame thrower which is needed for an achievement. Plus it’s one of the most powerful weapons in the game, so that alone makes getting it worth it.

Hopefully you find these tips and hints helpful, because I know they would have helped me decide the difficulty I wanted to choose as well as getting the flame thrower on my first play through. I am currently playing it a second time and experiencing as much if not more enjoyment this run through the standout horror title. What were some tips you found playing through? What did you think of the game overall? Let me know in the comments!



Micro Transactions in Single Player Games Are The Next “Season Pass” But Worse (Updated)

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Updated: Battlefront 2 came out, and it was worse than any game with micro transactions before it. Progression itself is based on random drops of varying loot that may (or may not) help you progress your classes, characters, and overall rank (you could buy premium currency, but EA pulled that out at the last minute and slightly adjusted the requirements for acquiring major characters from the Star Wars universe). Or, as is expected, you’ll end up with a load of junk cards that aren’t relevant to your play style and you’ll be stuck grinding it out to get any characters of value. Honestly, the grind is so excruciating that players are building robots to circumvent the horribly designed game. This is pretty much the worst possible outcome: a game that was promised to be better than its predecessor is unbelievably worse because…give EA all your money. Right, great reasoning EA. I take back the insult to WB Entertainment Interactive in the last paragraph of this article (fixed the previous mistake, you’re welcome WB). EA will without a doubt ruin Anthem with more micro transactions, because they are EA and EA is the worst. If you feel like reading more scathing words towards heinous video game practices, keep reading and enjoy!


Yup, you read that right.  Micro transactions in single player games are the next fad, the newest iteration of the darker and more greedy side of gaming, just like seasons passes were (and still are).  They were a way to generate even more money in addition to the cost of a full priced game, and sometimes offered very little, if any substantial content to the experience.  Plus, there is usually no clear indication what you were getting in most cases until the game was close to release or already available for purchase in stores.  They were a cheap and shady way to get money for content that was even cut from some games.  Other cases saw high-profile games, like Destiny, release content that, while satisfying, was way too short for its price (you can also buy loot boxes in that game as well, if you feel like you haven’t spent enough on the five expansions and base game like me). In a way, micro transactions in single player games are becoming even more sinister than season passes, and here are some examples to back up my claim.

Dead Space 3 – Released February 5th, 2013

Developer – Visceral Games

Publisher – EA


This one kills me, because it is one of the first ones to have micros transactions in a single player experience and it is one of my favorite franchises.  Even though Dead Space 3 had some disappointing aspects compared to the first two, it was still generally considered a solid game.  The coop was fantastic, especially since you were able to experience some areas differently depending on which character you were (Isaac or Carver).  The game play was also still solid, even if it did feel more like Resident Evil 5 than a Dead Space game at times.  That’s where my compliments end, and the criticism comes out.

For the first and only time in the series, you could make your own weapons with components you found in breakable boxes and hidden areas.  These crafting materials have ratings, from common to epic, and are designed to improve the weapon you are creating by giving it better statistics or additional attributes.  The problem?  You could just simply purchase a loot box, get an epic weapon, and wreck every enemy in the game.  That completely defeats the purpose of Dead Space games, which originally gave you that sense of dread and fear that you are always running low on ammo and an enemy could ambush you from anywhere.  Not with these epic weapons they won’t!  Even though I enjoyed the core experience, I didn’t approve of these changes and hope they never incorporate them into a future Dead Space game.  P.S. Please make another Dead Space game!

Injustice 2 – Released May 11, 2017

Developer – Nether Realm Studios

Publisher – Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment


Here is where the problem begins to manifest.  Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, known for publishing the Shadow of Mordor, also published the sequel to super hero fighting game Injustice, called simply Injustice 2, on May 11th 2017.  The introduction of micro transactions were met with cautious skepticism, since this is a fighting game with a single player campaign and multiplayer modes as well.  The purchasable loot boxes contain gear for random characters, that can be better or worse than their currently equipped gear.  They are also locked to a level restriction, but that can be changed by using one of the multiple currencies in the game to change it. Instead of criticizing it for having too many currencies, I am going to focus solely on the loot boxes.

I understand that the loot is disabled for some multiplayer modes.  I commend Nether Realm for implementing that in their game. It needed to have that, or else the multiplayer mode would be unbalanced and absolutely unfair for players not forfeiting their hard earned money. Thankfully, that isn’t what this concern is about. It is about having to spend real money in order to get better gear for characters, only for the gear to drop for characters you don’t even use. I never used Bane, and yet I ended up with a ton of gear for him since that is what dropped from the loot boxes. Don’t like what you get? Well why don’t you spend MORE money to get something better. But wait, better hope it’s for a character you like, because if not it will just get disassembled into more currency to spend on the next (usually) drop of garbage gear for characters I never used in the game.

Shadow of War – Releases October 10, 2017

Developer – Monolith Studios

Publisher –  Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment


Are you seeing a pattern yet? I sure hope so, because it sure is clear to me.  Shadow of War, developed by Monolith Productions and the sequel to the 2014 Game of the Year Shadow of Mordor made by the same studio, is releasing on October 10th, 2017. Originally slated for an August release, it was delayed two months before its release and scheduled for the new date in October. It is easy to overlook this delay as polishing, but I strongly believe it was due to the inclusion of micros transactions. A game published by WB Interactive in 2017 has micro transactions in it? No! It cannot be true! The dark lord Sauron must be the head of WB Interactive to make such a henious decision.

Seriously, another single player game with micro transactions in it, and it by the same publisher as Injustice 2, and released the same year just months apart. That’s not a coincidence. To me, this game doesn’t need the addition of micro transactions to catch my attention. The original did that by having fantastic game play and a serviceable story. It was, by all measures, a great game. Did everyone like it? No, and that’s okay. That doesn’t take away from how good of a game it was. The balancing between your character’s abilities and your enemies always felt fair, with a gradual learning curve and satisfying progression throughout the experience.

Shadow of War, which should now be named Shadow of Give Us More Money, has loot boxes and two different currencies.  One seems like a dummy currency: you earn it but can’t spend it on loot boxes. The other one, called gold (really…gold is the best they could come up with) is the premium currency and is dropped sparingly throughout the game and is used to purchase said loot boxes. The boxes come with three rarities, and can include minions for the multiplayer mode similar to Metal Gear Solid V’s base building mode, or additional weapons and XP boosts. Sounds invasive but not game breaking yet right? Think about this: will the game be balanced to take into consideration that a few whales might drop a couple thousand on loot boxes and just stomp out your base and make your gaming experience miserable? My guess is probably not. Making a single player game literally pay-to-win isn’t fun, and spending 40 plus hours to unlock a legendary weapon or Orc you could get by spending $20.00 on loot boxes sounds like a pretty terrible way to play a game.

It seems that the choice to add these loot boxes into the game came from the publisher. Even still, it is Monolith’s decision to sign with that publisher in the first place, knowing full well that it might mean altering their game to fit the publisher’s greedy and slimy desires. They want to make money, lots and lots of it, even if it means potentially ruining what could be a fantastic video game in the process. I don’t excuse Monolith, but I don’t completely blame them. However, their reaction and body language in a recent live stream that explained and demonstrated the extent of loot boxes does concern me.

To conclude, WB Interactive Electronic Arts is like a skid mark in my underwear: it’s ugly and hard to clean the stain out of them. They aren’t doing the gaming industry any favors, and I would be more than pleased to see them cut this crap out of having micro transactions in single player games before it gets even more out of hand than it already is. They prey on gamers who have a tendency to gamble, or flat out take advantage of those unable to control their spending. That’s disgusting, and we need to tell them how we feel by speaking with our wallets.

What games do you think should have been on this list?  Do you agree with my opinion, or think I am a doomsayer and losing my mind?  Let me know in the comments!


Top 5 Games I’m Most Excited For In 2018

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Two Thousand and Eighteen is shaping up to be quite the year for video games. With heavy hitters across various genres, I can’t wait to dig into them when they release. In no particular order, here are my top five games (hopefully) coming out in 2018.


The Last of Us 2

Release Date: 2018 (TBD)

Systems: PS4

Developer: Naughty Dog

I’ll admit, I am not sure my first pick on this list is going to launch in 2018, but I want to mention it anyway. If it does release in 2018, it will most likely be a Q4 release according to most sources, but that’s alright with me. It is already shaping up to be just as heart-stopping and beautiful of a game as the original. Even though I loved the ending of the first one and thought the story might not need continuing, more Last of Us is always welcome on my system!


Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

Release Date: March 23, 2018

Systems: PS4, Steam

Developer: Level-5

I am sure fans will be divided on this title when it releases towards the end of March. It appears to be geared more towards a Western RPG audience, with battles featuring players taking less control of the monsters and more of the characters in the party. Players also have the ability to use Pikmin, I mean Higgledies, to attack enemies instead of regular familiars. Level-5 doesn’t have the famed Studio Ghibli working on the cut-scenes, and while I find that slightly disappointing, I still can’t wait to play Ni No Kuni 2. Want to know how much I loved the original? Check out my article on why Ni No Kuni is the Open World Pokemon RPG Game We’ve Always Wanted!


God Of War

Release Date: March 22, 2018

Systems: PS4

Developer: Santa Monica Studio

It’s a new God of War game, with Kratos facing off against Norse gods, what more is there to say? But seriously, I love the feeling I get from this game (reminds me of the novel/movie The Road but with Norse gods and more magical axes). This looks to focus more on the narrative than previous God of War games, and also lets you control the camera for a true third person view for the first time in the franchise. The combat looks visceral and I get a feeling both Kratos and his son(?) aren’t both making it to the end of this one alive.



Release Date: 2018 (TBD)

Systems: PS4

Developer: Insomniac Games

I loved playing Spider-Man 2 on the PS2 back in the day. That game was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed Spider-Man 3 (even though they changed the web slinging for some reason). A triumphant return to an open world Spider-Man game is just what this industry needs, and I have full confidence that Insomniac is going to pull it off with flying colors. Sure, the previews we have seen might have one too many quick-time events, but I am hoping that is just in the early part of the game that they’ve shown off.



Release Date: March 30, 2018

Systems: PS4, Xbox One, Steam

Developer: Madmind Studio

This one is a little out of left field, since one of the only first person horror games I’ve played in recent years is RE7: Biohazard (holy crap that game is good). Needless to say, if Agony is anything up to the visual quality I’m all in, not to mention the mechanic of possessing people and demons to escape Hell. This game looks terrifying, and if you don’t believe me just watch the trailer for it and you’ll understand my excitement!

Those were my picks for the top five games I’m excited for coming out in 2018. What are your picks? Do you agree with any of mine? Let me know in the comments!


6 Tips For Getting Started in Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Author: Nathan Doverspike

After almost a dozen hours in the breathtakingly beautiful world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, I feel it is safe to say I’m definitely enjoying my time with it. The JRPG, which is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, caps of a brilliant first year for the versatile new console. While the story isn’t as engaging as I anticipated, I can’t help but praise the art style, wonderful world, satisfying and sometimes challenging combat, and intricate systems. So without further ado, I present six tips and hints for starting your journey through Xenoblade Chronicles 2.


1. The Map is Your Best Friend

This one seems obvious, and it should be. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a massive world, with countless side quests which combined together can understandably be overwhelming at first. I found it best to consult the map if I ever had trouble finding where certain side quests wanted me to go (indicated by blue diamond with white question mark inside). The main quest has been fairly simple to track, since it is denoted by magenta diamonds with white exclamations marks inside, but even then I have gotten turned around once or twice. Just keep in mind that you CAN navigate over large roots to trees in the left part of the map where the gold person is found on the image above. I found that out after an hour of wandering around and then getting slaughtered by a level 75 King Kong-looking monster.


2. Spend Time Exploring the Menus

Like many JRPG’s, this game has A LOT of systems working simultaneously during battles. Whether it is upgrading your Arts, Affinity grid, or unlocking new Blades, there is always something that can be improved in your party if you know where to look.  The Affinity Chart above is a great example of all the upgrades available for completing certain tasks explained for each bubble. One might require you to revive a companion a single time in order to receive 20% extra health from potions dropped from enemies, while another may require you to enter 10 battles in order to get a permanent boost to physical defense. These may not seem like much, but you will appreciate that extra defense and health from potions when the battle lasts 10+ minutes and you have a skill that specifically drops health from enemies.

3. Don’t Expect Too Much From the Story

This one comes off as negative, but it isn’t meant to be. Setting your expectations appropriately for this game will help you enjoy it much more. After the great story from the original, I had high hopes for this one to continue that trait. It might fall flat on its face at times, and the lip syncing during cut-scenes might be laughably bad at times, but the game play and intricate systems make up for it. It won’t win any awards for the story it appears to be telling, but if you can get past that it will reward you with everything else it has to offer.


4. Grinding Isn’t Just Necessary, It’s Also Fun

Games like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 usually feature some form a grinding, whether it’s White Knight Chronicles, FFXV, games from the Tales series. Grinding is something that is expected and can even be relaxing if you do what I do and throw on a podcast to listen to while you go through the motions for an hour or so each night, chipping away bit by bit at your slowing increasing experience bar. I haven’t found the grind to be too cumbersome at this point, and hope it doesn’t become frustrating come late game content. The enemies have interesting designs, and rounding a couple up can result in fantastically engaging battles that leave you nearly out of breath and HP by the end. A dozen hours in, and I look forward to spending some more time fighting the denizens of Alrest.


5. Timing is Everything

Whether you are scavenging the clouds for treasure or fighting a plethora of monsters all at once, timing is everything. Whenever you choose to scavenge for treasure, you will be presented with button prompts. Hitting the corresponding button on screen while it is inside the inner circle in every prompt will result in better rewards from the dive, and can get interesting once you progress farther into the game and encounter enemies that are over 20 levels above you when you arrive on land.

Button prompts are also a key element of battles. While using your special attacks, depending on which ones you use with different weapons, you’ll have the opportunity to hit the correct buttons to do exponentially more damage. Timing your abilities just after landing a hit (auto-attack or Art) will increase the damage even further, so it is entirely possible to turn the tide of a lopsided battle in seconds once you begin to master the system.


6. Tackle Named Monsters of Equal Level

During my time, I encountered a few named enemies that may look like normal enemies, but are denoted by a special symbol and are much more difficult to bring down. I attempted to bring a level 12 beast down when I was level 15, and after 10 minutes of intense button pressing and frantically running to pick up dropped potions, I felled the beast and received numerous rewards for their defeat. I highly recommend trying to tackle some of these once you gain three characters simultaneously in your party. The monster I took down wasn’t overwhelmingly challenging, and I felt great afterwards! They even have a little gravestone where they were that allows you to fight them again should that be something you wish to do.

Overall, I’ve had a great experience with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, despite a few frame rate stutters and the occasional annoying character. It is a JRPG after all, and I can’t stop looking ahead and getting excited about what awesome Blades I will be able to unlock or wonder how this connects to the original game.

Have you picked it up yet? If you have, are you enjoying it so far? Let me know in the comments!


Video Games Should Be Play to Win, Not Pay to Win

Author: Nathan Doverspike

It seems like a long lost time, but believe it or not a time existed when video games allowed you to play them to improve, instead of paying your way to victory. Games seemed way more satisfying during that renaissance. No need to open your wallet time and time again when you were shot and tea-bagged by someone with a higher grade weapon or character you could only get by spending $20.00; or you could just forget about family, friends, and bills to play the game for dozens of hours en lieu of dropping that cash. Full price video games SHOULD be play to win, NOT pay to win.


Before I get to beating the dead horse that is Star Wars Battlefront 2, I want to offer some praise to a game that I don’t personally play, but one of which I admire due to their business practices. That game is Overwatch, developed by Blizzard. This game, which released on May 24, 2016, has yet to charge one customer for a single map or in-game character, instead opting to go another direction for continual revenue. They offer in-game cosmetic rewards from random loot boxes. Wait, don’t I despise that form of monetization in modern, full price video games? Well, yes and no. In this case, because they offer no advantage to gameplay and are strictly cosmetic, I don’t see an issue with the implementation of the loot boxes (whether or not it is addicting and/or gambling is another topic entirely). It clearly paid off as well, since in Q1 of 2017 Blizzard reported Overwatch had exceeded $1 Billion in revenue. Not bad for a game that only requires you pay for it once and never forces your hand to reach into your thinning wallet for more and more dollar bills.

If Overwatch is the shining example of how to correctly offer additional content in this situation, there must be a bad example, right? Exactly, and for this I would like to present Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017) as the stinky, half flushed turd that just won’t go away. This monstrosity of a game has managed to piss off so many of it’s own fans, that the publisher has reported to have sold less than half the volume of copies as they did Battlefront 1 (2015) in the UK alone. Don’t get me wrong, they still made money on the game, but that’s a significant drop, even for a big publisher like Electronic Farts…whoops I mean Electronic Con Artists…wait I meant to say Electronic Arts. Whew, didn’t think I was going to be able to make it through that sentence. I’ll just refer to them as EA from now on.


If you would like to read about the scope of the drama, feel free to read this recap of the PR disaster. Here’s the short story: loot boxes are tied to individual character and overall player progression. Buy more loot boxes, and you have a better chance at getting better cards and upgrading your characters. You are literally paying to MAYBE upgrade a character you use and/or prefer. Yup, EA felt it was a good idea to force players to play for a ridiculous number of hours before unlocking either Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, the two most known characters in Star Wars. Even after cutting the number of in-game currency required to unlock them by 75%, it’s still based on luck. Basically, you may advance your progression in the game, or you might just get useless cards for characters you’ll never use. That sure sounds like a trap to me!


Eventually, after tons of outrage and contempt towards EA, they decided totemporarily remove the premium currency(it wouldn’t surprise me if they turn it back on immediately after the holiday season). That would solve the problem, except the grind to unlock all the characters and ships is still there; it’s just now “whales” or “dolphins” or “sea urchins”  or whatever they are calling them now can’t pay for it. That doesn’t address the issue that it takes far too long to unlock anything by simply playing casually (because some of us have jobs). Plus, the progression being tied to random loot still isn’t fixed, and might never be fixed if EA has the final word. While they did take a decent hit to their stock (it dropped 8.5 points overall in November, causing shareholders to lose $3 billion), they are such a massive conglomerate that they will have to have much worse months than that to make any permanent changes. Perhaps the increased pushed for legislation to become involved will persuade them to shy away from these greedy and downright predatory practices. While I don’t always think more rules and regulations are the correct solution, it might be the only band aid that patches this Wampa sized wound.

My hope is that more publishers and developers see the backlash towards EA and their practices, and in turn decide to take different avenues to monetize their games. These publishers and developers are entitled to revenue, as are we all. Let’s just hope that the next exploitative solution isn’t as revolting as the season pass or loot boxes tied to progression.

How do you feel about these practices? Do you prefer to drop some money on a game you like to possibly get better loot, or would you rather spend some more time to get that content instead? Let me know in the comments!