The Importance of Nintendo Labo

Nintendo releasing Labo this Friday, I discuss the potential of the product, the price of creativity, and the positive future without it.

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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.

MHWxDMC

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!

 

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!

Games are Freakin’ Hard (and that’s ok). An Analysis on Video Game Difficulty

NiOh makes me want to rip my controller apart, but it’s not the end of the world.

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Persona 5, Game of the Year? I’m Just Happy to See it Nominated

Persona 5 faces tough competition for The Game Awards 2017, but I’m just extremely ecstatic to see the niche JRPG recognized for its worth.

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Skyrim Diaries #4: Conquering the Dragons and Argonian Discrimination

Our hero Philip finds the courage to slay more dragons and encounters some discrimination within city walls of Windhelm.

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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)