Metal Gear Survive’s Unpopularity: Does it Matter?

The generally disliked new addition to the Metal Gear series looks promising, but will that matter to fans?

The generally disliked new addition to the Metal Gear series looks promising, but will that matter to fans?

Following the announcement of Konami’s next installment to the Metal Gear franchise, Metal Gear Survive, many fans have gone online to show their overwhelming dislike of the upcoming game. Upon looking up the gameplay trailers for the game, many of the available videos have an overwhelming number of dislikes, with many commentators claiming that MG Survive is the nail in the coffin for the series.

Metal Gear Survive takes a significant leap away from the traditional Metal Gear gameplay by incorporating a survival element similar to Day Z into the game. The premise follows the events in Metal Gear Solid V, after Mother Base is being sieged. A giant wormhole appears and sucks up the base with the remaining MSF forces and sends off to a wasteland full of zombie like crystal humanoids. The gameplay incorporates elements similar to Metal Gear Solid 5, but this time you’re struggling to survive what is essentially a massive zombie horde. The 15 minute gameplay trailer from TGS 2016 showed off the gameplay and what to expect from the game. Treating wounds, gathering and crafting, as well as stealth are all incorporated into the game, with team management and online co-op being a feature being promised into the game. From what I have seen, the game has a lot of potential to be a solid survival platform, especially with the mechanics being introduced into Metal Gear Survive. Base defense and the extensive use of “wormhole” technology really give this game the extensive survival combat feel, but at this point is it even a Metal Gear game anymore?

The biggest issue with the creation of Survive is how far off it strays from the original Metal Gear Solid series. From the gameplay trailer, Metal Gear Survive looks to be an potentially impressive survival game on its own, but the issue lies that it branded as a Metal Gear game. If this game were anything but a Metal Gear branded game, it would have been a lovely addition to the survival game genre. However the story that follows Metal Gear Survive completely differ from the typical political espionage/conspiracy that the Metal Gear series was built upon, so the whole implementation of zombies and wormholes feels completely out of place for the series. Unfortunately, due to Konami’s rocky relationship with Kojima, who recently departed from the company and left behind the Metal Gear series, many fans of the series find this game to be a simple cash grab for the series.  That is why many nay sayers to the new title feel that this is Konami’s way of effectively killing off the Metal Gear franchise through a complete 180 of the genre.

As a deep fan of both the Metal Gear series and survival games, I find this new title to be worth a play, especially considering the potentially fun gameplay mechanics being offered in Survive. What do you think? Are you going to try this game out?

Several New Street Pass Games Out for the Nintendo 3DS

New StreetPass games! Check them out!

New StreetPass games! Check them out!

Nintendo released another nice update for StreetPass users recently, adding new games and a new, more streamlined UI for the StreetPass software. To sweeten the deal of the download, users were given the choice to download one of two out of the 5 new games for a free download of it as well. The new streamlined UI has a more active pace for StreetPass, making changes like allowing bulk passes to be a viability now rather than the original ten user limit that would plague some of the more dedicated Street Pass collectors. On top of that, there is need for less delays in accessing the different menu options within Street Pass as well.

The five new games all make use of the Street Pass mechanic in a unique way. The first, Slot Car Rivals, has you pit your custom made RC car against your StreetPass buddies. This super fun little game makes use of very simple but enjoyable mechanics to race against your friends for first place. The Market Crashers game takes a bit of a unique turn for the StreetPass games and has you managing virtual stocks with the help of your StreetPass friends. Ninja Launcher has you throwing ninja’s out of a cannon to collect useful weapons and armors to defeat the enemies that come across your way. The Feed Mii game takes you and your friends on a culinary journey as you feed legendary heroes and aim to be best chef. And finally Mii Trek takes you on an adventure across ancient ruins to find out some apparently “shocking” secrets with your StreetPass friends.

These 5 new games now join the 8 other StreetPass games in which you can make the most out of your visitors. The new UI interface is a nice improvement for 3DS owners that like to go to large meet ups where dozens, if not hundreds, of street passes will be a possibility. With the new system, your StreetPass main plaza becomes the quick plaza, that changes the how you interact with all the StreetPass programs you have downloaded, making it much more intuitive, faster, and streamlined. Not only that, but with the new quick plaza, you’re no longer limited to getting 10 street passes at a time, as the update removed that limitation.

The latest games can be bought separately for 2.99$ USD or as a bundle for 8.99$ USD. If you have been looking for more fun games for StreetPass, you should definitely give these new games out.

Competitive vs. Quick Play: Where the Line of Fun is Cut in Overwatch

Competitive or Quick Play, What's Fun?

Competitive or Quick Play, What’s Fun?

Overwatch has been an explosive hit for Blizzard. Between the fun gameplay and creative community, Overwatch has proven to be a very fun FPS experience, whether you’re a seasoned FPS player or just entering. However, with Overwatch’s competitive mode, the community is split on whether that itself is a fun experience. I for one love Quick Play, but I’m a competitive gamer at heart, so Competitive also has its fun perks. The issue with competitive to some however, is the potentially toxic community that can develop, as many seek to be the top and will often stoop to some low lengths to unhinge some players’ nerves. The fun of Quick Play lies in the fact that the seriousness and competitiveness in Competitive can either be applied or not applied to Quick Play, allowing players to really experiment with their play style or just generally have a more relaxed gameplay experience. However the downside to this is that there is little room for growth both as a player and within the game, as XP is significantly less in Quick Play than its competitive counterpart.

In my experience, the problem with Overwatch’s Competitive mode lies mainly on the emphasis of its ranking system and the lengths players will go to win. Raging becomes a common occurrence inside competitive, with some players aggressively critiquing and berating other members. This heightened instance of aggression becomes problematic for players who want a fun competitive feel without the toxic elements because it becomes difficult to enjoy or experiment with tactics without the consequence of insults and threats being made.  Some would argue avoiding this toxicity through playing with a full party of dedicated friends, but finding a group of people to join you in competitive is not necessarily easy for some. However despite this, it is not impossible to have legitimate fun with competitive, it is all a matter of how much enjoyment you receive working as a team or the rewards you get for winning. A solid, cooperative team can always make winning a blast and even make losing a little bit less painful as well. But the difficulty of finding a team with good chemistry is hard to find in any competitive scene too, and some friends may be instantly be put off by this game mode merely due to negative connotations of competitive play.

The fun of Quick Play are mostly self evident, with the lack of responsibility being one major factor. The elimination of responsibility for the team definitely drops a load off many players, but the consequences of an entirely reckless play style, including the infamous meme games where players all play as one class, which often lead to chaotic and disastrous results. Some players who want to improve their skill without resorting to competitive might have a hard time with players who play too laxly. There is also the issue that a decisive win may be more difficult to acquire because the randomness of the range of skills players may be grouped with. Because of this, some more skilled players may be grouped with very new players, resulting in a difficulty of adapting to each other’s skill set. Of course, quick play also serves as a perfect training ground to improve your personal skills across the variety of characters within the game, but for team based practice-unless you have your entire dedicated team with you- you might have a hard time achieving any kind of improvement because of the general lack of coordination between random players. Often times single players (players not in a party with anyone) will be grouped up with members inside groups, making them incapable of hearing you speak via voice chat. This severely cuts the player’s capability to coordinate with anyone because they are removed the only effective way to communicate with everyone (Sure the PC version has text chat, but it’s incredibly hard to do that in the middle of combat). This issue becomes as much of an issue in Competitive Mode as well, as attempting to rank with random players often leads to this same issue of lack of communication.

In the end, the experience and fun that a player gets out of Overwatch is dependent on their personality and play style. I find extreme satisfaction with both game modes, although my enjoyment of Competitive Mode is much more recent than with Quick Play. Through my years of playing competitively in FPS games, I learned the best approach is to enjoy the experience as you would with any non-competitive playlist. Not only does it prevent you from raging, but it keeps the experience fresh and enjoyable, all while helping you improve your skills and coordination. However the care free feel and randomness of the Quick Play match ups always brings up fun times. Even though your team might go full Winston for Harambe, you’ll always get a laugh out of it-even if you don’t always win from that strategy. Always experiment with your play style and most of all-just have fun with the game.

A Call for Arcades in the U.S.

Lets bring back these iconic places of gaming!

Lets bring back these iconic places of gaming!

Back before that raging popularity of consoles, arcades where the go to place for gamers to meet up with friends and play all the latest games. However, with the vast improvements on online connectivity and console hardware, people relied on gaming and hanging out with friends through online networks like PSN and Xbox Live. Arcade games became an arbitrary thing within the U.S and many began closing down as hardware improved. However, with the implementation of Japanese arcade franchise Round One popping up all around the U.S. people have rediscovered the fun of going to an arcade, although this time there being more alcohol, karaoke, and bowling.

The 80′ and 90’s were a great time for arcades. Back then, people would meet up after school with their friends and hang out, playing all the now retro arcade cabinets, spending their allowance money in quarters to get the high school on the board. Back then there was no online networking or party chats, and access to games was much more limited than now. The fun of arcades was due to the symbiotic relationship between gaming and socializing, where friends would share their then niche hobby with other friends and talk about their day. There was no other way to share the gaming experience with your friend except by having them come over and play the games you purchased, but even then 60$ was a hefty price tag for games. The difference between spending 25 cents a game versus 60$ was what made arcade gaming such a lucrative business, but that eventually changed when video gaming became more affordable and accessible, especially through PCs. Suddenly Xbox Live blows up and affordable indie games become the newest hit and access to game discounts allowed gamers to not only purchase more games, but share them effortlessly with their friends online. Arcade cabinets also kept up with the times, upgrading the hardware, which ultimately resulted in prettier games with more content, but at the cost of higher cost to play. Arcades were no longer the alternative for players to meet up and hang, and ultimately became a product of the past times.

But there is a kind of charm to arcades that you can’t replicate through online gaming, and places like Round One allow  you to experience that, with a bit of a modern touch. Recently, there has been a small resurgence of arcades, catering to a more adult community through other activities aside from gaming such as drinking/food, bowling, karaoke, etc that further enhance the social experience. Some arcades, such as Los Angeles’ Bar/Arcade 82, lets older generation gamers and newcomers alike enjoy the nostalgia of retro games and pinballs while enjoying the perks of a bar. Arcades in a sense evolved from just being dedicated spots to share games and became a space to share gaming experiences. This kind of familiarity is exactly why more arcade hybrids should pop up; it gives gamers and non-gamers a place to enjoy the fun of gaming as well as the goodies of everything else they offer. With the increasing popularity of Round One, here’s hoping other adventurous people decide to open up their own arcade establishments in the future.

Crossbeats Rev: The Arcade Music Game You HAVE To Play

The game is like a mini rave with your fingers!

The game is like a mini rave with your fingers!

A couple months ago, I went to the Round One arcade in Roland Heights CA, to try catch up on my Dance Dance Revolution skills when I came across a particularly interesting music tapping game called Crossbeats Rev. Normally, Japanese games like this have a kind of login card that lets you access your game’s profile, which Round One was coincidentally selling to their customers. Naturally, I bought one of those nifty cards and tried Crossbeats Rev out and immediately fell in love with the game. The game not only provides you with awesome songs but also boasts regular events that provide you with more music to unlock with your profile!

Round One keeps the Crossbeats Rev cabinet’s connected online, so any events occurring in Japan will be made available to the cabinets in the US, although the game itself is in Japanese. For non-Japanese speakers, navigating the menus may be a bit confusing, but Round One fortunately keeps a pamphlet to help players unfamiliar with the UI get going. This might seem like a let down, but once you get the hang of it, navigating the menus becomes very intuitive. The Banana Card, which is the login card for the game, lets you create a unique profile for yourself, which stores your progress points and any unlocked music you acquired through playing the game and from events. People who have not purchased the Banana Card can still access the game as normal, but progress made within the game will be deleted upon ending their playing session.

The game itself plays like many other music games where a combinations of taps, holds, and flicks are utilized to play to the beat of the song of your choosing. There are headphone jacks present on the cabinet to maximize your hearing for the game (which is almost a must considering how loud crowded places can be).  The difficulty curve of the game is a bit challenging at first,  but rhythm is key to perfecting your skills. The music selection alone is amazing, with a lovely collection of songs ranging from EDM tracks to licensed music from famous video games such as Phoenix Wright and Street Fighter. The events that come to the game also unlock select tracks that range in genre as well, so players are never left with the same songs to play. You also have access to anime avatars, icons, and titles to customize your profile as well, although most of these options are in Japanese unfortunately.

The most entertaining element to Crossbeats Rev, aside from its colorful presentation and music library, is its constantly updated online services that provide the player with new icons, titles, avatars, and songs. Every event has a particular theme and with every completion of a game, you are rewarded stars that goes towards receiving many rewards such as points to purchase more music, avatars, etc. There are also a few exclusive songs you can only get during the event, so unlocking those stay on your profile permanently, which is smart as it brings the player base back on a regular basis.

For the time that you’re at a Round One, Crossbeats Rev is definitely something you’ll want to try out for a bit. It’s an enjoyable music experience that will have you wanting to try out all the craziest songs. The satisfaction of leveling up your profile is also cool, as you can semi track how much you’ve improved your performance in whatever difficulty you’re practicing on. Definitely give this game a go next time you’re near a Round One.

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