Mga Sumasampalataya

Oct 12, 2017

LATE TO THE PARTY: XCOM 2


Mikko was one of my best friends from Grade School. It was a fairly easy mission, I thought. So I chose to add him on my roster to rescue civilians during a simple retaliation mission from the Advent.

Mikko was a Specialist. He was a soldier with tech abilities, capable of healing his allies as well as provide protection in case of the alien’s attack.

I was ill-prepared for this mission. I brought him, a couple of rookie soldiers and only one experienced Sharpshooter for this fight. Because of a miscalculation of Mikko’s placement in the battlefield, he became the victim of a well placed plasma grenade.

Just like that I lost my childhood best friend.

I had to stop playing Xcom 2 for a bit because this loss, hit me hard. While yes, Mikko is only an avatar for the game I played, somehow I still have attachment to his character because he’s based on a real life person that I know in my life.

It is this simple reason why Firaxis’ strategic RPG right now is my favorite game of the generation.

Xcom 2 sticks with you long after you finish the game. It is a great turn based strategic RPG where you play the role of the Commander. You direct a squad of up to 6 soldiers per mission to complete several objectives to defeat and repel an alien invasion.

Being that this game does not have a truly structured story and characters, you are free to customize all of your soldiers. Change their names. Appearance. Personality. Their abilities. Even their backstories. You have free reign to tell a story arc independent of the main campaign. And that’s what kept me coming back to play this game.

As of writing I have gone through 4 playthroughs of Xcom 2, but only finished one campaign. The first 2 times, really got me distraught whenever I or my significant other died on one of the missions.  I made up  an intricate story for myself and my squad that’s fully independent of the campaign. I got so invested in each and everyone of my soldiers that merely getting them injured  depressed me.

That’s the magic of this game, I guess. They let you own your characters to hone, to improve, to create their own backstory, then they will emotionally devastate you by killing the character you loved!

I hated that so much. This game is very difficult. You will never be able to move forward until you accept the fact that someone will always die when you play the game. Just like in Game of Thrones, do not get attached to any of the characters because they’ll all eventually die.

Visually, this game is gorgeous. Every stage, although procedurally generated is fully detailed. Forests are lush, the cities look believable, and all of the cut scenes are truly pretty to look at.

However, the gorgeous graphics maybe a deterrent to a smooth gameplay experience. I have played this game over 50 hours in all 4 playthroughs, and I always experienced a drop in framerate and some lag. There were even times the game froze for me. And I was playing on the PS4 Pro. It was much worse when I was playing on  my original launch PS4.

And the load times are very long, even on the Pro. The time it loads from when you choose to start mission until the beginning takes at most over one minute.

Fortunately, those are my only gripes about the game. Everything else has been spectacular.  My preference in video games tend to sway towards this genre, and I have a lot of these kinds of games in my library. But Xcom 2 is the only one that got me really invested until the end. Yes, even in Easy Mode the spike in difficulty increases exponentially, but not too punishing that it will make you want to rage quit.

While the mission structure can become a bit repetitive, there's enough variety of enemies that will always keep you on the edge of your seat. This is not a game you can just play with your brain turned off. You always have to be on your feet. You have to strategize. Will this enemy be able to shoot at me even if I'm under cover? One of those citizens you're tasked to save is definitely a Faceless, which one of them will it be? Should I run the risk of losing a loot by blowing up with a grenade that effing robot that critically wounded half my squad? 

There's not one decision that is fully black or white. This is what  makes me think of this game even if I'm no longer playing it.


Yes, it gets depressing if you lose one of your soldiers, but eventually you will be OP’d enough that towards the endgame, you’re never going to worry about memorializing another Mikko again.

This is the reason why, even if 2017 flooded us gamers with truly amazing games, I still keep coming back to Xcom 2. Now I can't wait to have enough budget to play it's expansion: War of the Chosen!

9.5 / 10

***********************************

Late to the party will be my ongoing series of reviews of old games or tv shows or anything pop culture related that I really loved (or hated). Hopefully, I'll have the time to post more of these series moving forward.

(image grabbed from google)

Sep 8, 2017

HELLO YOUTUBE

Video Upload Date: August 25, 2017

"Hellooooooo Youtube!!!

"Did you miss me?

"You must be worried sick right? It's been what 6 weeks since I last posted a vlog.

"As you can see, my situation has gotten... worse. The doctors said I have to wear this mask now. Honestly, I don't even remember the reason anymore. My mind wanders everytime I'm in the hospital.

"I'm also bald now too. What do you think? I still look dapper, no?

"Man, this whole Big C thing is a downer. The last 6 weeks I've only been in this room. The hospital and the cancer group I joined a couple of months ago.

"I miss travelling. I miss my 'TubeDudes'! They've been off to their Eurotrip the last couple of months. I was supposed to go with you! Ang daya niyo! I watch y'all's videos and inggit na inggit ako sa inyo!!!

"Stage 4 man. It's a constant struggle to stay positive. I don't really want to think of the "D" word. But there are nights it's just there screaming at you and trying to get your attention.

"A couple of days ago, there was this lady from my group who... how should I say this? She lost the fight. I was not close to her. But it still hit me hard... her passing. One day it's going to be me.

"It's scary.

"I'm fucking terrified.

"Sorry guys. This video's not about that. I just wanted to say Thank you! I know I haven't been active in any of my social media accounts, but everyday you're still messaging me with your well wishes and support. I appreciate it so much. Reading your comments, your tweets and your messages really keep me strong this last few weeks.

"It makes me want to fight and not give up. It's like I have these super powers. Knowing I inspire you, in a way it makes me feel more powerful than my cancer.

"So thank you!

"Although I think it's weird and kinda morbid that you still follow my channel. I mean I've been re-watching the videos I uploaded since I learned about my disease.

"I'm watching me die.

"It's weird you know.

"Hey. This might be my last video in awhile. Honestly, I'm getting weaker. I'm okay. I'm mostly in pain. And I can't really carry this heavy camera anymore.

"I just wanted to make this video to let you guys know I appreciate all of you.

"I'm grateful for your support.

"And goodbye for now."




















Video Upload Date: February 17, 2018

"Helllllooooooo Youtube!!!

"Let me tell you an incredible story.

"About a miracle..."

*************************************************************

I've been watching Youtube lately, and this story was inspired by what happened to this vlogger named Wil Dasovich.




Feb 10, 2017

JOLLIBEE

Kinuha ko ang cellphone niya. Mukha siyang tangang umiiyak sa harap nito.

"Ano drama mo?" tanong ko sa kanya.

Pilit niyang binawi sakin ang kanyang telepono. "It's nothing, watch mo 'to. I can relate. Hahaha." Kinalikot niya ang telepono at binalik sakin.

Pinanuod ko ang video. Tungkol sa isang lalaking na-friendzone. Para daw sa mga taong patuloy na umiibig nang walang hinihintay na kapalit.

"Nakakarelate ka dito? Tayo ba yan?" biro ko.

 "Nah. Nakamove on nako sa'yo. I mean, right now I can genuinely say I am really happy for you."

"Di ko feel. Hahaha!"

Ngumiti lang siya. Pero parang may kakaiba.

"Change topic?" tanong ko.

"Treat mo ako ng chickenjoy, para naman may silbi kang friend."

Umoo na lang ako.

Malapit lang ang kainan. Pero parang ang haba ng naging lakad namin. Tahimik. Walang imik. Sobrang apektado ata talaga siya sa video.

I made a funny face. Sana mabasag ang tensyon. Dumila siya sakin. Gumanti ako. Nagtawanan kami. Parang gaya ng dati...

Namatay ang tawanan. Bumalik sa katahimikan.

"Are you okay? Are we good?" usisa ko.

Tumango lang ito.

Habang kumakain kami, binigay niya sa akin ang balat ng manok. Di na daw niya kayang ubusin. Alam din niyang yun ang paborito kong kainin.

"Hey, alam mo naman na you can tell me anything, right?" ang tanging nasabi ko.

"Yeah, I'm okay. Ang funny noh, how relatable that video was. Parang tayo, I mean, yeah the circumstance is very different, but yung kwento namin is really the same if you think about it."

"I'm sor -"

"No no no... Don't say sorry! You have done me no wrong. I am so grateful to you kasi despite what happened, you still stuck with me. And I am really fine that we're the best of friends. I'd rather you be that more than anything else."

Nagsisimula nang mangilid ang luha niya.

"I'm so sorry that fucking video made me so emotional today."

Niyakap ko siya. Para malaman niyang naiintindihan ko sya.

Tinulak niya ako.

"Hahaha. I'm okay. Pero fuck you bro, ginawa mo pa rin akong best man sa kasal mo. Still can't believe I said yes. So I guess fuck me too."

"Alam mo pwede ako pumili ng kahit sinong pamilya o kaibigan ko para maging best man ko. But it's not going to feel right kung hindi ikaw ang nasa likod ko. Ikaw lang ang naniwalang karapatdapat akong mahalin. Kaya kahit na ano... medyo lalambot lambot ka... alam mong di ako mawawala sa buhay mo."

******************************

Tagal ko ring di nagsulat ng short story.
 

Jan 6, 2017

MY FAVORITE GAMES OF 2016

2016 was a great year for video games. There were tons of really high quality titles that went out for gamers to spend their precious time on. Below are some of my favorites that came out in 2016.
ffxv
Final Fantasy XV
I had a huge backlog of games for this year. A list of games that I have not finished since the start of this console generation. However, when I got hold of Final Fantasy XV, I made sure this game is not going on that list of titles that I put on hold, unfinished or unplayed. I powered through the story and completed Final Fantasy XV. And I was happy. I have been a fan of this JRPG ever since I got hold of the PS1 Classic FFVII. Although this game looks far different and plays different, it never dawned on me that this was not a Final Fantasy game. FFXV is littered with all the tropes of a Final Fantasy title: Cid, Shiva, Ifrit, Ramuh,Chocobos, Moogles, huge bosses and even down to a confusing storyline. I have not played any other game religiously after I finished the main campaign and as of writing, I'm only 7 goals short of a platinum trophy.
wqpfbzr8pkt2qcfhmwndnh
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Nathan Drake's last (?) outing proves us why Naughty Dog is the BEST video game developer in the world. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is a master class in storytelling, voice acting, gameplay and graphics. A rare feat only achieved by a handful of developers can achieve. This game, as long as it was, was never boring for me. I loved Nate's interactions with his supporting cast. They're funny, heartfelt and genuine. This is the reason why Nolan North, Laura Bailey and Troy Baker never ran out of voice acting work. They are outstanding in their jobs. Storywise, I am glad this game is grounded. No supernatural forces to fight, only human beings, it kept the whole game believable. I was fully immersed in this world and it was especially hard to put down the controller finally when the game ended.
2916182-rottrgc1_final
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Yes I know technically this game came out in 2015 on the XBox One but I am considering Rise of the Tomb Raider a 2016 game because it was only this year that us Playstation owners got to play Lara Croft's 2nd adventure after the 2013 reboot. This game I liked. It's not as great as Uncharted, but Tomb Raider has it's moments. I preferred the exploration on this game. I loved that you can upgrade Lara and her weapons and the action on this title is just awesome. I honestly didn't care too much about the story, but tomb raiding in this game is my favorite activity. Everytime I complete a tomb, I feel a tad smarter.
witcher-3-blood-and-wine-669397
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
I know this is just an expansion, but dammit Blood and Wine is way more addicting than any of  the big game releases of this year! This expansion's main campaign is way longer than all of the shooters that came out this year combined. If it isn't obvious yet, I really fell in love with this expansion. The Witcher 3 in itself was a masterpiece and Blood and Wine is the cherry on top of a beautifully crafted cake. The map is huge. The story is engaging and it's a  very challenging game. I had a hard time finishing this chapter more than the main campaign and Hearts of Stone.
images
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
This is a game that's meant to be replayed. I only played through the story of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided once, but I know there are tons of side quests and collectibles that I have missed. The freedom to go through any mission the way you want to is incredible. I had fun attempting to go stealthy on my playthrough only to go on an all out killing spree whenever I get detected by my enemies. It is not the fault of the game, it is mine. In any case, the story of Deus Ex, is a little bit lacking, but I have to put it here because I really loved the gameplay. I enjoyed leveling up Adam Jensen into a character that suits my play style. The world I played in was small, but there is a lot to discover. Like I said, one playthrough is not enough when playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
greg
XCOM 2
I don't really know why I keep buying strategy games. I'm not that good at them. They're just games that add up to my backlog. But there's something about XCOM 2 that I can't stop thinking about this game. I get attached to the soldiers on my roster. 2 people already died from my team and I'm really devastated. They were two people I have invested experience to and they're gone. And it hurts. I do not know why I was so affected like this by a video game. Maybe because I can alter their looks the way I want them to look. And name them. And give them their equipments. This is such a great game and I can't wait to play more!
QUICKIES:
DARK SOULS 3 - This game is pretty... pretty hard... I just played the first hour though.
MAFIA 3 - Great story. Too repetitive to complete.
DISHONORED 2 - Haven't started the game so no impressions yet.
(all images courtesy of Google)