The State of Monster Hunter: World

After 180 hours of playing the latest entry in the Monster Hunter franchise, is there still anything left to do?

It’s been almost two months since Monster Hunter: World was released, and I haven’t put it down since.  The almost never-ending cycle of hunt-craft-hunt is addicting, but just how long does it last?  Luckily, Capcom has lots of content in store, but it isn’t without its flaws.

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On-going Support

Like past Monster Hunter games, Capcom is committed to providing additional content, such as expanding the monster roster, for free.  The only paid DLC is cosmetic, such as gestures and costumes.

So far, Capcom has unveiled interesting collaborations with Horizon: Zero Dawn, Street Fighter, Devil May Cry, and Megaman.  These various events will keep hunters coming back to try the new quests and get the event-specific gear.

This past week, Capcom released its Spring update, which not only added a new monster, but also added some QoL improvements and weapon rebalancing.  The update also includes a Spring Festival event that opens up a wide variety of quests and makes the main hub look like a Japanese cherry blossom festival.  This commitment to refining the game shows the players that the game will evolve as they invest more time hunting.

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Multiplayer

One of the best things about Monster Hunter is the ability to hunt with other people.  Working with others helps break the tedium of hunting solo and may even make it more efficient.  Basically, online players are organized into different sessions with a max of 16 players.  You can invite friends to your session and also password protect it to make it private.  Squads can be set up in game to organize your hunting community.   A new SOS system allows others to quickly join in on someone else’s quest, even if it’s already in progress.  However, the way multiplayer works in World has room for improvement.

In previous Monster Hunter games, multiplayer was centered around the Gathering Hub, which was a lobby where you would see other Hunters, set up quests, and even have arm-wrestling matches.  World has this too, but it hasn’t been utilized the same way as past games.  Before, parties would stay together after finishing a quest, but now you can’t go back to town without disbanding.  This is especially true for SOS quests where players are from different sessions.  Even if everyone is in the same session, you’ll have to set up the party for every quest, and there’s nothing stopping someone within your sessions from trying to get into your quest (although the leader is able kick people to get the party they want).  Luckily, the Spring update allows you to return directly to the Gathering Hub instead of the town, but it’ll take time for newcomers get used to going back to the hub.

Probably the biggest issue is connectivity problems.  First, when trying to join quests or sessions, the game doesn’t update the lists in real-time to show if it has filled up; instead you just get an error.  This is especially true in end-game quests, where parties get filled up quickly.  It’s easy to spend 10 minutes trying to get in a quest because it’s just trial-and-error.

Connecting to others can also be tricky, especially for private sessions.  People have been saying NAT type affects this, but Capcom hasn’t been descriptive about how to troubleshoot these issues.  There are error codes, but no description of what is behind each code.  For playing multiplayer, it’s easier to create a session by yourself and join SOS quests, but this doesn’t foster a sense of community since there’s no consistent squad to hunt with.

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The Grind

What keeps me playing Monster Hunter for hours on end is improving my build to take on more powerful monsters.  And although there’s a plateau on powerful monsters (until Capcom releases new ones or a harder difficulty), there’s a lot of ways to be even more efficient.  With over 100 different pieces of gear and customizable slots for various skills, there’s lots of different sets to try out.

Armor and weapons are made using parts from monsters you hunted.  Some pieces are quite rare, but the investigation rewards added in this title have much better odds for those rare pieces than simply carving the beast.  Also, the more you grind for that rare gem, the better you get at fighting that specific monster, so there’s growth in both your personal skill and gear.

The issue is  the end-game grind for decorations, which let you add skills for a more customized build.  The best decorations are completely left to RNG because they are not tied to any monster.  You can get decorations from any end-game quest, but most of the time it isn’t the one you’re looking for.  It’s nice because you can fight whatever you want, but there’s also no strategy to help get what you want.

Streamstones to upgrade your weapons are even worse.  Not only are getting one of these stones rare, but they’re weapon-class specific.  So most likely the first one you get is completely useless.  If there was a way to meld the useless ones and turn them into something you need, then this system would be so much better.

 

The new events in the pipeline will definitely keep me coming back from time to time.  Until then, trying to improve my gear will keep me going.  Hopefully Capcom will fix multiplayer connection issues and streamline the end-game grind in the meantime.  If you’ve yet to get the game, now’s a great time!  Amazon currently has the game on sale for 25% off!

 

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Bargain Gamer: PS Store Flash Sale Ends 1/22

The PS Store is having a flash sale this weekend!  The sale is primarily indie games, with a few AAA titles like Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Battlefield Hardline.  Everything is $5 or less.  Here are a few games that caught my eye.

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Jackbox Party Pack 2 & 3 – $4.99

A while back I brought up a sale on these games, but I didn’t expect them to be even further discounted this much.  If you didn’t grab these awesome party games before, this is one of the best deals.  Each pack comes with 5 different games, so you’re basically getting each game for a buck.

God Eater

God Eater: Resurrection – $4.99

When Monster Hunter moved towards the 3DS, Bandai Namco got into the genre with Gods Eater Burst on the PSP.  This is a remake of that game, updated with some features of its sequels.  The best way to explain this game is if Monster Hunter was fused with anime.  The combat system is similar but simpler, while there more of a focus on a storyline compared to MH.  If you want to get used to the big monster hunting genre before MHW comes out, this could be a stepping stone.

Dark Cloud 2

Dark Cloud 2 – $4.94

This Level 5 game first came out for the PS2 in 2002, and last year it was spruced up for a PS4 release with some graphical improvements and trophy support.  This is a dungeon crawler RPG where you actually get to build the world.  The dungeons contain parts to build shops and houses that for villages that you layout in a similar fashion as SimCity.  A massive crafting and weapon upgrading system will engross you for hours.

Honorable Mentions

  • The Escapists – $4.99
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – $4.99
  • Mount & Blade: Warband – $4.99
  • Broforce – $3.74
  • Rogue Galaxy – $4.99
  • PaRappa the Rapper Remastered – $4.94

Hopefully you’re paying close attention to this blog because the sale ends Monday morning (January 22) at 8 AM PST, so about 36 hours from when this is posted!

Final Fantasy XV Updates: Too Little Too Late

About a year ago, Final Fantasy XV released, capping the hype that had been building over its 10 years in development.

Continue reading Final Fantasy XV Updates: Too Little Too Late

Bargain Gamer: Black Friday Round-Up *UPDATED 11/23/2017*

*UPDATED 11/23/2017*  Most store sales are live online as of midnight!

*UPDATED 11/21/2017*  The PS Store Black Friday Sale is now included!  Prices are for PS+ subscribers.  Note that PS Store purchases do not charge sales tax, so some sales may be better than going to a regular store.

*UPDATED 11/17/2017*  Gamestop’s Black Friday deals have been added!

To make up for not having anything last week, I’ve put together a compilation of video game sales happening on Black Friday!  Many sales have been released or leaked, so check out all the available catalogs here.

Since most stores have similar pricing for their sales, I’ll be organizing the list by item, instead of by store.  If a store has something different than the rest, I’ll make sure to note it.  Stay tuned for updates as more sales are unveiled!

Consoles & Accessories

Nintendo Switch

Unfortunately, there aren’t any discounts on the Switch, not even any special bundles to sweeten the deal.

Nintendo 2DS Ocarina of Time Bundle $79.99  (Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Gamestop)

This bundle comes with a special Link styled 2DS (green with gold buttons), along with the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time.  A cheap way to enter the 3DS family if you haven’t yet!

For those wanting the best 3DS Nintendo has to offer, Gamestop is selling the New Nintendo 3DS XL for $140.

XBOX One S 500GB $189.99 (Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Kohls, Gamestop, Newegg)

At Target you also get a $25 Target Gift Car, and at Kohl’s you’ll get $45 Kohl’s Cash.  An even better deal if you regularly shop at these stores.

PS4 1TB $199.99 (Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Kohls, Gamestop, Newegg)

Again, Kohl’s has a special bundle of $60 Kohl’s Cash with purchase and Gamestop will give a $50 gift card.

Also, Gamestop is selling a PS4 Pro 1TB for $350.

PS4 & XBOX One Controllers $39.99 (Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Kohls, Gamestop, Newegg)

Controllers rarely get any cheaper than this, even on Amazon.

XBOX Live & PS+ Memberships $49.99 (Target, Gamestop)

The traditional $10 off on subscriptions make Black Friday the perfect time to renew.

Also, Amazon Prime and Gamestop currently (as of 11/20/17) has PS+ year long memberships for $40.  Not sure if it’s a Black Friday deal, but definitely the cheapest it will be for a long time, so now is a great chance to stock up on a subscription for next year.  Sorry XBOX users, I didn’t see a similar deal for XBOX Live subscriptions.

Games

Tried my best to put this in alphabetical order:

  • Assassin’s Creed Origins – $29 (Walmart), $34.99 (Best Buy & Target), $39.99 (Gamestop), $41.99 (PS),
  • Bioshock: The Collection – $15 (Gamestop), $19.79 (PS)
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection- $15 (Best Buy, Gamestop), $19.79 (PS)
  • Breath of the Wild – Special Edition – $49 (Walmart)
  • Call of Duty WWII – $39.99 (Best Buy), $43 (Walmart), $45 (Target), $50 (Gamestop)
  • Crash Bandicoot Insane Trilogy – $24.99 (Best Buy& Target), $29 (Walmart), $29.99 (PS), $35 (Gamestop)
  • Cuphead w/ free soundtrack sampler vinyl 45 – $20 (Gamestop)
  • Danganronpa 1-2 Reload – $19.99 (PS)
  • Danganronpa 3: Killing Harmony – $44.99 (PS)
  • Dark Souls III – $23.99 (PS)
  • Destiny 2 – $27 plus free Cayde-6 figure (Gamestop), $29.99 (Best Buy, Walmart, Target), $38.99 (PS)
  • Dishonored 2 – $14.99 (Best Buy), $20 (Gamestop, PS)
  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider – $15 (Best Buy, Gamestop, PS)
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 – $25 (Gamestop)
  • Dragon Quest Heroes II – $25 (Best Buy, Gamestop)
  • The Evil Within 2 – $25 (Gamestop), $29.99 (PS)
  • Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition – $30 (Gamestop, PS)
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – $30 (Best Buy, Gamestop)
  • Final Fantasy XV – $15 (Target), $20 (Gamestop), $29.99 w/ DLC season pass (PS)
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia – $29.99 (Best Buy)
  • For Honor – $14.99 (Target & Best Buy), $20 (Gamestop), $25.19 (PS)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn – $19.99 (Best Buy, Walmart, Gamestop, PS)
  • Injustice 2 – $14 (Gamestop), $19.99 (PS)
  • Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Remix – $20 (Gamestop)
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue – $19.99 (Best Buy, Gamestop)
  • The Last of Us Remastered – $10 (Gamestop)
  • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – $29 (Walmart)
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite – $40 (Gamestop)
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda – $14.99 (Best Buy), $19.99 (PS)
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War – $25 (Gamestop), $29.99 (Target & Walmart), $35.99 (PS)
  • Nioh – $19.99 (Best Buy)
  • Mirrors Edge: Catalyst – $4.99 (PS)
  • NBA 2K18, Madden 18, FIFA 18, etc. – $29.99 (Best Buy & Walmart)
  • Nier: Automata – $24.99 (Best Buy, Gamestop), $35.99 (PS)
  • Overwatch GOTY Edition – $29.99 (Best Buy, Walmart, Gamestop, PS), Target has Origins Edition
  • Persona 5 – $30 (Best Buy, Gamestop, PS)
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – $15 (Target), $19.99 (Best Buy, Gamestop)
  • Rocket League – $15 (Gamestop)
  • Sonic Forces – $30 (Best Buy, Gamestop)
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole – $29.99 (Walmart, Target), $34.99 (Best Buy), $40 (Gamestop), $41.99 w/ Stick of Truth (PS)
  • Tekken 7 – $19 (Walmart), $24.99 (Best Buy, Gamestop), $35.99 (PS)
  • The Last Guardian – $19.99 (Best Buy)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – $20 (Gamestop) $27.99 (PS)
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – $20 (Gamestop, PS)
  • Valkyria Chronicles Remastered – $13.49 (PS)
  • The Witcher 3: Complete Edition – $19.99 (PS), $25 (Gamestop)
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – $24.99 (Best Buy, Gamestop), $29.99 (Target, PS)
  • World of Final Fantasy – $20 (Gamestop)
  • XCOM 2 – $19.79 (PS)
  • Yakuza 0 – $30 (Best Buy, Gamestop, PS)
  • Yakima Kiwami – $19.99 (Best Buy), $20.09 (PS)
  • Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA – $27.99 (PS)

Bargain Gamer: Double Discount Sale & GameStop Power Pass *UPDATED*

9*UPDATED 11/15/17* Gamestop has temporarily suspended the PowerPass program.  The speculation is that Gamestop’s Point-of-Sale system was unable to handle tracking the rentals.  Those who bought a pass can return their checked-out game for a refund.  In addition, they can receive any pre-owned game for free.

This week I’m writing about the Double Discount Sale on the PS Store and also a brief commentary on GameStop’s upcoming rental program.

Double Discount Sale

This week’s PS Store sale spans many different titles, and the idea is that PS+ subscribers get twice the discount as everyone else.  Which basically means that this is a normal sale for PS+ subscribers, but a mediocre sale for everyone else…

So if you are a PS+ subscriber, here are some games to point out.  This week I’m not putting the non-subscriber price because it probably isn’t worth it.

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Overcooked $6.79 (Retail $16.99)

Good local co-op games are hard to come by these days, so seeing this 60% off is exciting.  Have fun frantically cooking with friends!

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The Jackbox Party Pack 3 $12.49 (Retail $24.99)

Even though you’re probably just getting it for Quiplash and Trivia Murder Party, the Jackbox Party Packs are a great way to get an entire room of strangers having fun and busting out laughing.  Although I prefer using Steam for these games (so I don’t have to lug around my PS4), even Steam prices haven’t gotten this low!

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Horizon Zero Dawn $27.99 (Retail $49.99)

This is the lowest I’ve seen this massive open-world game so for.  However, you may also get a good deal by waiting for the Complete Edition to come out in December, especially if you have Amazon Prime or the Best Buy Gamer’s Club discounts.

All sales last until 11/7.

GameStop Power Pass

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So last week, GameStop confirmed that it will be launching a rental program for pre-owned games.  Basically, for $60, you can rent out any pre-owned game from any GameStop store for 6 months.  You can only have one game at a time, and you must be registered in their free rewards program so they can track which game you have checked out.  There’s no restrictions either, other than the game has to be pre-owned, so if you manage to find a pre-owned copy of a game that released last week, it’s fair game.  But here’s the kicker:

At the end of the 6 months, you get to keep one game which you’ve checked out.

There’s a lot of potential to “game” the system by grabbing a recently released pre-owned game as your keeper, while being able to play almost any game for half a year.  This is really good for those that like to try different games without feeling buyer’s remorse.  No more getting burned by Day 1 glitches and disappointments.  Since the gaming industry has been pushing more and more towards pre-ordering, this program has potential to be a game-changer.

But before we get too excited, there’s some things to keep in mind.  On copies at brick-and-mortar stores are eligible, so no renting through their online stock.  While right now it may be easy to go to your local GameStop and find the used game you want, this program could flip the supply-and-demand, resulting in it being very difficult to find what you’re looking for, especially just after release or for not as popular titles.  GameStop could also change the terms of the program later on, adding some restrictions on eligible rentals.  And obviously, if you take pride in your personal game collection, then this may not be the program for you, since you only keep one game every six months.

If you’re down for the GameStop Power Pass, sign ups start November 19th, and the program itself launches early next year.

Bargain Gamer: NISA Publisher & Sale of the Dead Week 2

This week, I’m taking a look at the PS Store’s NISA Publisher Sale, as well as the new additions to the Sale of the Dead.

NISA Publisher Sale

If you’re not familiar with NIS, it’s the Japanese game developer/publisher most known for Disgaea.  Their North American branch, NISA, was responsible for localizing many other Japanese games such as Persona 4 Golden, Trails of Cold Steel, Danganronpa, and Etrian Odyssey.

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Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance $15.99/$19.99 (Retail $39.99)

For fans of SRPGs, this installment, along with most of the other entries in the series, are on sale.  This series is known for the countless hours spent grinding and min/maxing your units.  The sky is limitless for upgrading your character, whether it be exploiting stats, gear, or abilities.  Eventually you’ll wind up with an OP squad of your own.

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Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony $44.99/$50.99 (Retail $59.99)

If you’re not familiar with this visual novel series,  it’s basically a cross between Battle Royale and the Ace Attorney series.  A group of high school students are placed in a murder game,  and you’re tasked with investigating and solving these murders in class trials.  I’m surprised that this game is already on sale since it came out last month, so it’s a great deal if you’re can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.  If it’s not on your priority list, I bet it’ll go on sale again later at the same price or lower.

For those curious about the first two games, the Reload 1-2 bundle is 40% off (though I’ve seen it as low as 50% off).  And for all 10 people still using their PS VITA, the portable versions are also on sale.

Sale of the Dead Week 2

For the second week of this sale, Sony simply added some games to the discounted list.

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XCOM 2 $23.99/$29.99 (Retail $59.99)

The sequel to 2012’s tactical strategy game will have you developing your strike team, watching them get slaughtered, then training a new batch of recruits to take their place.  The digital deluxe edition, which contains a few add-on packs (but not the expansion) is also on sale.  Not a bad price for a game just over a year old.

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Diablo III: Eternal Collection $35.99/$41.99 (Retail $59.99)

This bundle includes all expansions, including the Necromancer pack.  A good chance to start grinding for rare drops if you haven’t gotten to yet.  But if you’re able to play it on PC, there’s probably a cheaper deal if you wait for a Steam sale.

Honorable Mentions

Psychonauts $2.49/$3.49 (Retail $9.99)

Detention $9.09/$10.39 (Retail $12.99)

Grand Theft Auto V $29.99/$35.99 (Retail $59.99)

 

Both sales go until the morning of Halloween, so be sure to check it out!

Bargain Gamer: Sale of the Dead Week 1

As a gamer, there are so many games on my watch list that I wait months or even years after release.  When I finally get around to getting these games, it’s easier to find them for a fraction of the price through either Amazon or other sales.  My goal is to help share deals I see.  I may or may not have played these games, so there won’t be much in terms of a review.  But, I’ll try to explain why I think these deals are worth it.

For my first Bargain Gamer article, I’m highlighting a few sales from the first week of PS Store’s Sale of the Dead!  Personally, I’m not really into scary games, but if you’re into the thrill, then check out these games below!

TelltaleUndeadBundle

Telltale Undead Survival Bundle $21.99/$27.49* (Retail $54.99)

If you haven’t picked up any of Telltale’s Walking Dead series, this may be a good time to do so.  This bundle includes 4 full games (both seasons and the Michonne mini-series, along with the open-world 7 Days to Die).  If you already have some of these titles, each game is also on sale separately, including the most recent Season 3 (not included in this bundle).

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Resident Evil 7 biohazard $29.99/$35.99* (Retail $59.99)

This survival horror series goes back to its roots and is now half off, which is pretty good for a game less than a year old.  If you’re interested in the DLC or deluxe edition, those are also marked down.  If you’re interested in the other installments and spin-offs, plenty of those are on sale as well.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition $19.99/$24.99* (Retail $49.99)

This is probably the best deal of all.  All DLC and expansion packs of an already massive open-world RPG.  I’m currently playing this after getting during the E3 sale, and I’ve put in over 100 hours and counting. We sometimes talk about getting a good deal if you get an hour for each dollar, but with this game you can get over 5 times as much.  If you’re into games like Skyrim, I think CD Projekt Red has done an even better job at the formula.  Doing sidequests are varied enough while adding loads of depth to the wide cast of characters, so there’s no feeling of getting burnt out.

For Xbox owners, it’s also currently on sale for XBOX Live Gold subscribers for $20 as well!

 

Honorable Mention

Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition $4.49/$5.99* (Retail $14.99)

There are a ton of other games on sale that I couldn’t mention, so check out the full sale here.  These sales last until the end of the month!

*The cheaper price is if you have a PS+ subscription.