Golden Age Gamers Discuss E3 2018 Predictions Part 1 – Nintendo

 

We Need More Games Like God of War

There is certainly a time and place for those games as a service, and if done well can be a very rewarding experience. For the purpose of this article though, I want to explore the reasons why we could benefit from more games like God of War.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Back in the 90’s, I was just a kid who found endless amounts of joy exploring worlds as a purple dragon that could breathe fire onto unsuspecting sheep and charge head-first into enemies. Never would I have thought that single-player only games like Spyro the Dragon (I can’t wait for the remaster to come out in September!) would become overtaken by games like Destiny 2, Farcry series, or recent Assassin’s Creed titles, games that prefer to be a service instead of a singular experience. There is certainly a time and place for those games as a service, and if done well can be a very rewarding experience. For the purpose of this article though, I want to explore the reasons why we could benefit from more games like God of War.

Awhile ago, I wrote and article condemning micro transactions in video games. It appears I am not alone, as the ESRB has begun cracking down on them, countries have started outlawing them completely, and there is even a petition online to have them halted altogether. These are steps in the right direction, but until these companies see a direct impact in sales (both Assassin’s Creed Origins and Farcry 5 were well received critically and sold well) I don’t see this issue going away. The loot boxes in Shadow of War, a game that was obviously crippled by their inclusion, recently removed them. I would give them a slow clap, but it’s too little too late for that game. These gamble boxes of random nonsense prey upon people who may have an addiction to gambling, or could possibly develop one due to this insidious practice. Jim Sterling, a moderately famous YouTuber, has been extremely vocal about the abolition of loot boxes in games for these reasons and others, and I highly recommend checking out his content to see exactly why they should be removed. They impact the balancing of the game, with the core experience often tampered with to make you feel inferior without dropping additional money to have better gear, weapons, etc. God of War doesn’t fall into this trap, and it deserves recognition for it.

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Horizon Zero Dawn is a great example of a single player game that was financially and critically successful.

Also along the lines of scumbag practices are season passes. These promises of extra content to gamers for extra cash often don’t live up to the money you invest in them. Whether it’s not as much story content, maps that don’t feel worth the price of admission, or outright screwing over customers with incomplete content, there always seems to be a downfall to a game’s season pass. God of War could have had one of these. There are multiple realms you do not visit in the game, and quite honestly I would pay extra to travel to them because the game is so extraordinary. But they aren’t available for purchase, and most likely won’t be according the game’s director Cory Barlog. For the first time in a long time, we have a COMPLETE game at release. No need to pay to finish the story, get more loot/gear, or unlock other content like characters that were already included on the original disc (Mortal Kombat I’m looking at you on that one). This gives us something to look forward to in the sequel.

Speaking of complete story, not since The Last of Us did I think a story was so well-done. It kept me engaged and always wondering how they were going to overcome their next challenge. Like the relationship between Joel and Ellie, Kratos and Atreus aren’t always on great terms. In fact, for the majority of the game, they butt heads more than a millennial and baby boomer stuck in a closet together. Which makes their evolution throughout the game that much more interesting. You see where each is coming from, you see the regret over the terrible things Kratos has done, and how hard it is for him to express that to his son. And without spoiling anything, you see how some of these rifts are closed by the credits, and how some more could be opened in future installments. Too many games are shifting to imitate a service instead of an excellent experience.

Being a single player game, without a season pass or expansions, you would think that sales would be down right? Publishers want to claim that multi-player games sell so many more copies, thus making them considerable amount more cash. God of War would like to disagree, with it selling over 3.1 million copies of the FIRST THREE DAYS! This sold more than Uncharted 4 (had multi-player) and Horizon Zero Dawn, both Sony first party games. It is hard to believe that if this were released on even just Steam as well as PS4, that the sales numbers would be even more impressive. Even still, the notion that single player games don’t make as much money would be labeled as busted if it were to be analyzed on Myth Busters.

It’s my hope as a gamer that studios continue to release quality big budget games that aren’t looked at as a service. Something that I can sink a decent amount of time into (currently sitting just short of 40 hours in God of War) and feel like I received a full and complete experience. The Last of Us did it, Horizon Zero Dawn did it (speaking about before the later expansion), and God of War did it as well. All were successful, and I strongly believe that single player games can continue being profitable for companies and provide their audience with experiences that stimulate their gaming senses. We just have to hope that publishers like EA, Activision, Ubisoft, and Warner Brothers come to their senses before another collapse occurs.

 

Pros and Cons of God of War (PS4) – The Summit of Gaming

While there aren’t many things to gripe out with this game, here are my pros and cons for God of War for your reading pleasure.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

If the title didn’t give it away already, this is one of my favorite games. Ever. I don’t say that phrase often either. Only Mass Effect 2 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt fit into that category for me in the last 10 years of video games. There aren’t many things to gripe about with this game, so here are my pros and cons for God of War for your reading pleasure.

Pros

The Combat Is The Best in The Series

From the minute you were able to throw the ax at an enemy’s head, have it stick in it and freeze them, then lunge forward with a flying punch to the face, I knew this game was going to be special. You don’t get as many weapons in this game as you did in the past God of War games, but they more than make up for it with robust

The Visuals Aren’t Just Breathtaking, They’re The Best

Graphics aren’t everything. Mass Effect 2 looks slightly aged now, but I still think it’s one of the greatest RPG’s ever. But unlike Mass Effect 2, God of War looks leagues better than its competition in a way that the Mass Effect series never did. The fact that I took a screen shot of mud in the game…should tell you everything you need to know about how great this title looks.

Exploring the Worlds Is As Enjoyable As You Would Expect

With so much effort placed in making the visuals some of the best in a video game to date, just as much effort was placed in making the gorgeous locations just as fun to explore. From solving puzzles to defeating powerful foes in the late game content, I never grew bored of any of the numerous caves, beaches, or treks up a mountain. Finding new paths to take as you gain more abilities and progressively better loot was always a great time.

Extra Content After The Story

This is something that I certainly didn’t expect. I had a feeling this game would have a lengthy story for and action RPG, but I didn’t expect it to have a bunch of side quests and content that is unlocked after you complete the story. With all of this content available to complete, this game gives you reason after reason to keep playing, even after the main story is finished.

Bonus: New Game Plus Added

Did you finish God of War and ask yourself: What next? Lucky for you, Santa Monica added a New Game Plus mode that allows you to carry over all of your gear, experience, currency, and talismans to experience the story again. You also have the ability to skip cutscenes, craft new armor and weapons, and even some previously unavailable abilities will be available! The new armor sets add a wonderful twist with positive and negative effects, breathing new life into an already spectacular Game of the Year winner.

The Story

I don’t normally get emotional playing games, especially not ones that feature Kratos yelling and grunting his way through them (of which he does a considerable amount less than the previous titles). God of War redefined my expectations for this series moving forward, offering an incredible story and a very moving ending with twist after twist. I love where the story goes, and the curve balls the developers boldly throw at you until the credits roll.

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Even the mud in the game is impressive!

Cons

Odin’s Ravens

I understand the idea behind having clever things hidden in the environment for the player to find. However, to me the 51 Odin’s Ravens scattered throughout the game are more of a pain than they are worth to find. There are other collectibles like chests, artifacts, and special enemies hidden that are far more interesting and fun to find. Personally, I wish there weren’t as many to collect or didn’t literally blend in with some of the environments to the point of being almost completely impossible to see.

Attitude of Atreus Half-Way Into The Story

This is a minor gripe, since in the context of the story it makes sense. The story is about the journey and how it changes both Kratos and Atreus along the way. At one point, I grew tired of Atreus’s attitude. I understand what the developers were doing with his character, but it didn’t make it any less annoying. Thankfully, his personality doesn’t remain this way for too long.

How are you enjoying the game? Were there any points you think I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Tips and Hints for God of War (PS4)

Here are some tips and hints for God of War that I wish I had known earlier and some that have helped me enjoy the game even more as I continue my journey to the top of the summit (of gaming and Midgard).

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Almost 20 hours into this game, and I can honestly say this is one of my favorite games EVER. Not in the last decade, not favorite RPG or action game, quite literally top 3 games I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Here are some tips and hints for God of War that I wish I had known earlier, and some that have helped me enjoy the game even more as I continue my journey to the top of the summit (of gaming and Midgard).

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Not all realms are created equal.

Explore, Explore, and Explore Some More

As most RGP and open-area games go, it pays off to return to areas you’ve been. This holds especially true for the new God of War. Kratos and Atreus will receive ways to explore even more of the worlds as you progress through the story, so if you see something that looks important but you can’t access it the first time, make a mental note or real one on paper to return to that area. While some areas pay off more than others, I never felt cheated when I chose to spend some extra time exploring with “Boy”.

Mix It Up in Combat

While the axe is an adequate weapon, your fists can be just as deadly. Mixing it up in combat will help you overcome the myriad of enemies the game like to throw your way. At the beginning of the game, I found myself barely using my fists to pummel enemies. Now, I go all out, using the axe and fists, combined with the separate abilities that correspond with each style, to thoroughly obliterate my foes.

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The different environments are all beautiful in their own way.

Spread Out Your Upgrades

This goes for both your armor and skills. I foolishly upgraded an early armor a few times, then regretted it an hour later when I found a much more improved armor that I could have improved even further if I didn’t spend all my resources on the one armor set. You get a ton of loot in this game, and most of it is markedly improved over previous iterations. Keep that in mind when you are deciding what to spend those precious resources on.

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Stunningly gorgeous and equally dangerous.

Play It For the Story

A great story in a God of War game? Yup, and even though I haven’t quite finished it yet, I have seen more character development than many other RPG’s that have come out in recent years. It is obvious how much time and effort was put into making the story not just coherent, but engaging and moving. The characters are interesting, the setting spectacular, and the twists and turns the plot take are sharp and unexpected.

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To the summit!

Play With Headphones or a Nice Stereo If Possible

This one might not apply to everyone reading, and that’s understandable. However, if you have the ability to play this game with good headphones on or a nice stereo system, I highly recommend doing so. This game makes sounds I’ve never heard from my speakers before, and the World Serpent made my house literally shake from it’s voice. It’s something to behold that I never experienced in another video game before.

What do you think of the game so far? Are you enjoying the new camera and increased focus on story as well? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Games I’m Most Excited For In 2018

In no particular order, here are my top 5 most anticipated games for 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.

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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!

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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!

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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. Spoiler from the future: this game is one of the best I’ve ever played!

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Spider-Man

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.

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Agony

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!