February Releases

February is a great month. For starters, it’s Mr. Buttonmashing’s birthday month. It’s cold and miserable outside for most of the northern hemisphere, so it’s perfect for gaming. And it’s short, so the cold isn’t that bad. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of February 9th
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Dying Light: The Following
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend
Alekhine’s Gun

Week of February 23rd
Far Cry Primal
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2
Megaman Legacy Collection


No new releases for the Nintendo Wii U in February.


Week of February 16th
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright – Tempting…
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
Project X Zone 2

Week of February 23rd
Megaman Legacy Collection


Week of February 2nd
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4
XCOM 2
Fortified
Sorcery! Parts 1 and 2
Cobalt
Tales of Symphonia

Week of February 9th
Defragmented
The Renegades of Orion 2.0 – I watched most of the video for this game on the Steam Store page and it is a singularly bizarre experience.
Doors
Wayward Terran Frontier: Zero Falls
Firewatch – As a long-time fan of the Idle Thumbs podcast, I feel like it’s my duty to give this game a try.
ARSLAN: THE WARRIORS OF LEGEND
Space Pirates and Zombies 2 – I played and enjoyed the first SPAZ.

Week of February 16th
Talisman: The Horus Heresy
Dead Effect 2 – A game with an upgrade called “Thor’s Biceps” can’t be all that bad.
Street Fighter V – There is something that feels distinctly wrong with playing a Street Fighter game on the computer.
Dub Dash

Week of February 23rd
The Descendant
Disgaea PC – There is a very good possibility I will be picking this one up.
The Town of Light


PS4 Banner

Week of February 2nd
Gravity Rush Remastered
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Megadimension Neptunia VII
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel

Week of February 9th
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend
Alekhine’s Gun
The Last Tinker City of Colors
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Dying Light: The Following

Week of February 16th
Street Fighter V

Week of February 23rd
Megaman Legacy Collection
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2
Far Cry Primal


No new releases for the Playstation Vita in February.

What are you picking up this month?

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

In My Digital Hands

Diablo_3_reaper_of_souls_box_art_0

As Nick said in the most recent Weekend Gaming post, the Buttonmashing crew is back into Diablo 3 in a BIG WAY. That includes the Reaper of Souls Expansion, which Nick and I finished up Sunday night.

The Loot Loop struggle is real.

LOOT LOOT LOOT.

Weekend Gaming – Diablo 3

All aboard the loot train!

…Say that again? The loot trains left years ago? The most recent one left last week? Well, I shall walk the tracks.

Indeed. I am late to the party. But considering how Diablo III has had years to evolve into the game it is now, I’d say now is as good a time as any to jump in.

I can’t pinpoint why I hadn’t committed to D3 sooner. The timing perhaps never felt right. Maybe I was waiting for the price to come down. I don’t know. The game was always in my sight, always a possible buy, but its favorable particulars went noticed…

That is, until last Friday when PC Gamer posted the news of D3’s new patch (which it declares to be ‘a biggie’) and the launch of season 5. I watched the embedded video and my interest finally flared. What in the Everlasting Mother Love is all of this, I thought. Rifts, Seasons, Set Dungeons, additional map zones, adventure mode. Clearly, Blizzard has addressed D3’s end-game problem – reports of which was another snag that kept me from buying. ROS

After I watched the embedded video, I watched the embedded video again. After I re-watched the embedded video, I sat in silent meditation, reflecting on the gamer’s doldrums I felt myself drifting into. Could D3 be the necessary shakeup? And then I discovered that Blizzard now sells the vanilla and the Reaper of Souls expansion together for $40. Welp, that pretty much sealed the deal.

Now, one week later, and almost finished (I suspect) with Act IV, I am still driven by my Everlasting Mother Love ignorance. A line of inquiry about what this game is continues to piece itself together the deeper I investigate and the more I play. There is a giddy excitement resulting from the fact that I don’t fully understand what rifts are, where they are or what they do, or what happens during seasons and what happens when they conclude. And just what exactly can I do with my Death Magnet Monk once I complete the campaign? The meta-inventory for my loot works… how? Greater Rifts? Scaled Torment Difficulty?

Conversely, I find it interesting to learn about this iteration of the game and how it compares to its three years of evolution. Doubly so to hear about it directly from other ButtonMashers as they re-visit the game, having moved on before RoS was released.

The game feels familiar from my time with D2 all those eons ago, but still something very fresh. To my eyes, Diablo 3 is now far more arcade-y than I previously thought. And right now, I so need it.

What are you playing this weekend?

Weekend Gaming

fallout_4_communismIt’s the first real weekend of gaming of 2016 (that New Years Day nonsense doesn’t count), so what better way to get the year started with some video games!

I recently (and very belatedly, I’m ashamed to admit) hopped on the Rocket League bandwagon. I heard people rave about this game for weeks on Twitter and podcasts but never took the time to check it out (Dota 2 still had me firmly in its grasp). It went on a nice deep discount during the Steam Winter Sale, so I picked up a four-pack for me and my fellow co-bloggers.

Rocket League is some good stuff, man. It hits on all this buttonmasher’s cylinders — matches that are quick and easy, excellent co-op, and that sweet, sweet nectar of “HOLY SCHNIKES, DID YOU SEE THAT?!”. Rocket League also hits the Portal 2 areas of my brain, where connecting on a centered ball and slamming it home with a perfectly timed jump is as satisfying as that “ah-ha!” moment in Portal 2. Except in Rocket League those moments come all the time. The satisfaction is real.

So yeah, I think I’ll be playing quite a bit of Rocket League this weekend.

I’m also making significant progress in Fallout 4. As much as I’m loving Fallout 4, I’m also starting to see some serious repetition in a lot of the side “missions”. I’ve defended my settlements enough times to know that it’s a never ending battle, so I’m going to focus on the main mission for a while. I think I just hit a major milestone, so I’m going to follow this next batch of missions to see where it takes me.

So it’s Rocket League and Fallout 4 for me. What are you playing this weekend?

January Releases

gameboxesIt’s a new year and a new batch of video game releases for the month of January. There aren’t any major titles this month (with the exception of The Rise of the Tomb Raider on the PC) so I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to grab any of these titles. Besides, I just recently discovered the joy that is Rocket League, so my gaming plate is full. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of January 19th
Resident Evil Origins Collection – Capcom keeps banging that Resident Evil Remake drum, don’t they?
Life is Strange

Week of January 26th
Warner Bros Lego Marvel Avengers


Week of January 26th
Warner Bros Lego Marvel Avengers


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Week of January 19th
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam – One of my junior buttonmashers will be very excited to hear about a new Mario & Luigi RPG for the 3DS.

Week of January 26th
Warner Bros Lego Marvel Avengers
Final Fantasy Explorers


Week of January 5th
Dead TrailZ
Dungeons Are Random
Contract

Week of January 12th
Big Action Mega Fight!
Oxenfree

Week of January 19th
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
The Deadly Tower of Monsters
Resident Evil 0 / biohazard 0 HD REMASTER
The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human
Crashlands

Week of January 26th
Bombshell
LEGO MARVEL’s Avengers
Rise of the Tomb Raider


PS4 Banner

Week of January 19th
Resident Evil Origins Collection
Life is Strange

Week of January 26th
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel


Week of January 19th
Steins;Gate

Week of January 26th
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers

What are you picking up this month?

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

Weekend Gaming – Thea: The Awakening

I didn’t even know I needed Thea: The Awakening in my life. Up until a two weeks ago I was doing just fine with what I had – doing just fine with getting tilted while playing Chaos Reborn and then releasing that rage on the endless Uruk population in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. But then Thea sort of wiggled her way into my field of view and batted her eyelashes at me. ‘Hey baybay,’ she wooed, ‘don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?’

Yes. I was tempted by the fruit of another and I yielded. Thea’s game descriptions and screenshots and reviews were very appealing. Rock, Paper, Shotgun just yesterday posted a full review declaring that the game “breaks the mold by doing a lot of different things at once. It just needs to do all of them better.”
TheaCoverArt
Now some 15 hours in, I am, admittedly, not all the way sold on Thea. But the more that I play the more I get a feel for the game. It reveals itself gradually. This is exciting as I see that I have barely scratched the surface. But I still have reservations because, at least from my semi-n00b perspective, I wonder how systematic the game will become, how repetitive will campaigns become in order to unlock new gods?

I do not agree that all of the ‘different things’ in Thea need to be done better. (I likewise do not think the RPS review does a sufficient job of analyzing the rest of all those ‘different things’. Although, Rob Zacny’s initial drafts may have included them, but because of space had to do some surgical editing.) Let not the downsides of the clumsy UI and the occasional unfair, campaign-destroying random event eclipse the big picture. If the player approaches this like he is going to play an open world 4x, he shall therefore have a Thea: Rude Awakening.

Thea: The Awakening is not assembled to be a 4x. Its cogs are designed and manufactured by disparate groups who deal in different genres. The player must find his own way of working within this menagerie. Part of this methodology is entering the mindset involved in, say, playing a roguelike/lite. The expectations of Roguelikes/lites is that survival will be difficult, perhaps even unfair, but any progress made, however piddly, will be applied to an overarching mechanic that can be made available for future play-through. With new and stronger gods to play as, Thea: The Awakening grants a more sure, confident opportunity to expand in proceeding campaigns. At that point the player can then approach Thea with the mindset (and wisdom) to conduct a 4x-like-ish game.

It is the players responsibility to learn and act accordingly. I’m getting the sense that the player’s approach to Thea evolves overtime. And that’s really cool.

But, frankly, the above words could all be a bunch of hooey hocus pocus. In theory I have hope; In reality I’m going to continue forward and deal with the toils and trials of each day/night cycle, be prepared for the harshest unexpected event the best that I can, and always keep a keen eye on the horizon.

What are you playing this weekend?

December Releases

December is usually a dumping ground for releases publishers don’t really care about, having already released their marque titles the month before to get in before the holiday crush. This December isn’t much different than that but with a couple notable exceptions. I don’t remember a December in a while that has two quote-unquote Triple-A titles but this month has just that. Weird. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of December 1st
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Just Cause 3
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends


Week of December 1st
Xenoblade Chronicles X

Week of December 8th
Devil’s Third

Week of December 15th
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends


No notable releases for the Nintendo 3DS for December


Week of December 1st
Guardians of Orion

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Just Cause 3
HELLDIVERS
DRAGON QUEST HEROES™ Slime Edition

Week of December 8th
RollerCoaster Tycoon World: Deluxe Edition
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII – There is a trademark AND a copyright symbol in the name of this game. That has to be some kind of record.
Pale Echoes

Week of December 15th
Golf Masters


PS4 Banner

Week of December 8th
Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair


Week of December 8th
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space

What are you picking up this month?

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

Dodging Uncertainty: Teleportation in Chaos Reborn

“The goal that led him on was not impossible, though it was clearly supernatural: He wanted to dream a man. He wanted to dream him completely, in painstaking detail, and impose him upon reality”
– Jorge Luis Borges

True to itself, Chaos assumes many different forms to many different fields of study. To science, chaos illustrates just how disorderly our universe can be. We see how randomness is the lack of decipherable patterns, of uncertain behavior, unpredictable outcomes. Chaos is used in cryptography to harness all that unpredictability in order to mask the cipher and the message’s true order. In Mythology, chaos is the abyss from which the matter of our current world was fashioned. This act of creation was accomplished by demiurges who are not quite supreme deities but nonetheless wielders of great supernatural power.

Chaos Reborn (Snapshot Games Inc., October 2015) confidently grabs hold of chaos in its variety of forms and balances it on a needlepoint.

Lords of Reformation

The lore of Chaos Reborn puts the game’s setting in a world that once was one but now is fractured. Within the center of this swirl is Limbo. “Limbo,” explains the game’s lore, “is existence waiting for something better.” It is from here that players assume the role of wizards who come from elite bloodlines and are charged with going forth out of limbo to recreate with matter that is leftover and to repopulate… to become overlords.

Using the same magic that was responsible for tearing the world apart, players compete for dominance by materializing beasts and activating offensive spells from the aether chaos. Herein is the challenge because chaos is slippery. So very slippery. Spells can and do fail. Some don’t fail, but should. Very little is certain in Chaos Reborn.

Hooman
These spells and creatures consist of the player’s hand. Each card has a designated percentage which dictate the likelihood that it will be successfully cast. There are many ways of influencing this number, of teasing it up some to increase the likelihood. But, nonetheless, the player is still uncertain of the cast’s outcome before it is complete; the beast may materialize within a glorious beam of light or break apart before it is fully formed and disperse back to the void.

To heap chaos on top of chaos: Offensive spells like magic bolts and lightning strikes, not only have a percentage to cast but, depending on specific variables, also have a percentage to successfully hit their targets. Slippery, indeed.

One of the few certainties out there in the battlefield is that of movement. Each turn allows the wizard 3 actions: Movement, spell casting, attacking. So long as the wizard or creatures are not detained by spider webs, blobs, or the stone stare of a hellhound, movement from one hexagon to the next is 100% guaranteed.

Movement across the battlefield is therefore slow and calculated.

Sidestepping Uncertainty

One way to flaunt this slow movement is by using the Teleport spell. The spell is of a neutral alignment and comes with a 90% chance of successful cast and is guaranteed to place the wizard someplace within 8 hexes of his current position. Successfully using Teleport exhausts your movement and spell actions for the turn.

Similar to the offensive spells mentioned above, Teleport can be parsed into two actions: casting and function. The uncertainty of a successful cast, though generous, maintains the idea that chaos still reigns. But the sweet certainty of landing on the hexagon of your choosing completely unaffected otherwise contradicts the laws of this universe.

This is a perversion in the face of almighty chaos. Consider what the wizard doing: He is choosing to dematerialize himself, to remove himself from this plane, mix his corporeal form back into the chaotic soup, in an attempt to re-materialize. The wizard is assuming the same chaotic state of the very creatures he has thus far attempted to bring to pass. And yet, unlike the fate of some of these creatures, after a successful teleport cast the wizard is guaranteed a successful re-entry.

The game’s lore explains that the wizards who pass through the portals of Limbo out to the fractured realms are far from all-powerful deities. While still able to wield the power of creation many have yet perfected their abilities. This frustrates the guaranteed flawless teleport re-entry all the more. If there is a chance of a wizard failing to produce a simple rat organism from chaos, there should be an even greater chance of failing the second half of a self-teleport.

Indeed. This is an advanced spell which readily transmutes chaos into complex order. Not only is it just any complex order; it is the self. And it should not be flailed around by novices the way it currently is.

A wizard of the lore warns: “Those who exceed their positions, always face consequences.” As with all other actions a wizard makes, chaos should play a factor in the outcome of a successful teleport cast. And it should affect the makeup of the wizard himself. Perhaps a random selection of cards in the player’s hand should be shuffled back into the deck. Maybe a staff’s inherent mega-spell should change (until the end of the match if playing in Equipped). Maybe talismans should reset. Maybe talismans should change function. And maybe, just maybe, there is a chance that nothing will be altered.

And yet, what guarantee should the wizard have that he will even rematerialize at all? Perhaps there should be a greater percentage of failed reassembly based on the distance traveled from the point of origin. Likewise, maybe each opposing wizard can have vectors of passive influence; the penalty of teleporting further away from yourself is negated if you are placing yourself closer to an opponent. However the uncertainties are calculated, if the re-entry fails, the match is over.

Trumped by Chaos

Chaos is multifaceted, and Chaos Reborn knows this. Like a master wizard the game spins chaos into a wonderful tapestry of lore and gameplay. Let there be no enmity between player and the unpredictability of outcomes. Chaos is a state of nature and is without guile. But its nature conflicts with ours as we strive to have our designs realized.

Nearly every decision a player makes in Chaos Reborn must be thoroughly thought-out, executed and, if chaos so dictates, amended. Nearly every action has its chances for failure – as it should be. This is why Teleport in its current state is far too wieldy. The spell contradicts the facets of chaos which the game so adroitly uses.

Weekend Gaming – Chaos Reborn (again)

The lack of media exposure of Chaos Reborn befuddles me. Rock, Paper, Shotgun gave the game some love while it was in early access, but, strange enough, ever since official release two weeks ago there has been nary a hint of coverage – no major reviews, minimal youtube presence, and maybe an occasional person playing on Twitch.

Chaos Reborn deserves – nay, requires – as much love as possible. Admittedly it’s a tough time of the year to establish a foothold as an indie game. However, the game merits to stand alongside the big names of this holiday season. Sure, the UI is a total mess and the single player realms are a bit convoluted… These matters are minor and will be resolved in due time. Regardless of the current state of the aforementioned, the true power of Chaos Reborn is in the PvP, whose systems are drum-tight and responsive. All that is needed is bigger population of players. RUAWizard

Personally, this past week and upcoming weekend will be one of exploration, to investigate the different game modes and to steadily build my confidence and skills in vying for dominance in a place where so few things are certain and the tides of battle can shift in a single turn.

Yes! The RNG. The percentages. The chaos. It is a thing of beauty. And Chaos Reborn balances it on a razor’s edge.

I am finding that my view towards the uncertainties inexorably tied to each action within each turn are shifting. I am now thinking more offensively. Whereas before I would approach each turn with the mentality of something like: These hits are not guaranteed, so I better turtle up while I try to establish more board presence. This same strategy was utilized by many of my opponents. And when you have two wizards cowering behind structures and defensive creatures you therefore have very long and tedious and boring matchups. Nuts to this, I concluded, I’m going in for the kill, and I’m gonna do it with my bare hands. It was a risky endeavor but the payoff was a sweet victory.

That specific match set forth a change in how I view the RNG of Chaos Reborn. I use the percentages as assets not as impediments. I want to improve on playing the odds and knowing when to push, when to run and when to bluff my way into board dominance – but not get pissed when the RNG royally bones me. Chaos Reborn truly is a state of mind.

What are you playing this weekend?

Indeed, Mr. Christmas. There’s always a chance.

November Releases

Every November, the glut of the year’s Triple AAA games is unleashed upon us, and 2015 is no different. Fallout 4, Star Wars: Battlefront and some shooty game called Call of Duty: Black Ops III (never heard of it). There’s got to be something here for everyone. It’s that time of year! With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of November 3rd
Need for Speed
Snoopy’s Grand Adventure
Evolve Ultimate Edition
Lords of the Fallen Complete Edition
Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Week of November 10th
Alekhine’s Gun
Fallout 4
Rise of the Tomb Raider – Poor little Lara Croft. No one is going to play you this year, Lara!

Week of November 17th
Star Wars: Battlefront
DeadPool
WRC 5
The Crew Wild Run Edition
Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends


Week of November 3rd
Shovel Knight

Week of November 10th
Devil’s Third
Rodea the Sky Soldier

Week of November 17th
Mario Tennis Ultra Smash – I read somewhere that the Wii U was dead. Then I read that they sold a lot of consoles recently. Clearly everyone was stocking up for some Mario Tennis!
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends


Week of November 3rd
YO-KAI WATCH
Shovel Knight

Week of November 10th
Rodea the Sky Soldier

Week of November 17th
Moco Moco Friends
Stella Glow
Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon


Week of November 3rd
Dragon Fin Soup
Battle Battalions – This is a great looking video game game.
PONCHO
Dawn of the Plow – I think I’m pretty safe in saying that this is the first time a game about a snow plow has made its appearance in the Monthly Releases list. This game has a little Super Sprint/Super Off Road feel to it.
Life is Hard
Prominence
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Mushihimesama – This game looks like it’s a first ballot inductee into the Games I’ll Never Get Past the First Level Hall of Fame.
Rogue Harvest

Week of November 10th
Fallout 4 – There were a bunch of indie games coming out on November 10th, but there is no Indie Games, only Zuul. Fallout 4 is my first MUST BUY title in a very long time. I’m going to forget how to play Dota because Fallout 4 will take over my gaming life.

Week of November 17th
Mayan Death Robots – With a name like that, it at least deserves a looksie. It has a definite Scorched Earth feel.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Hard West
Fuego! – My Mexican heritage requires that I list this game. Also, it looks really fun.
Star Wars: Battlefront

Week of November 24th
Bombshell


PS4 Banner

Week of November 3rd
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Need for Speed
Shovel Knight
Air Conflicts Pacific Carriers
Lords of the Fallen
Evolve Ultimate Edition

Week of November 10th
Fallout 4

Week of November 17th
Star Wars: Battlefront
Sword Art Online: Lost Song
DeadPool
The Crew Wild Run Edition
Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series

Week of November 24th
WRC 5


Week of November 3rd
Norn9: Var Commons

Week of November 10th
Superbeat: XONiC

Week of November 17th
Sword Art Online: Lost Song

What are you picking up this month?
(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)