Personal Perspective  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Personal Perspective  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Unmet expectations: games that failed to live up to the hype Tue, 18 Aug 2015 04:51:59 -0400 katlaborde

Every year, there are games we get so excited for we end up putting them on an impossibly high pedestal. Whether it's because the earlier titles in the franchise were stellar or the developers behind them could seemingly do no wrong, we are sometimes let down by ridiculous hype. These titles are not necessarily bad games, but due to overwhelming hype from the eager public, these games were put through the wringer and tarnished in the process. 

Final Fantasy XIII 

Before the release of Final Fantasy XIII, every addition to the franchise was always hyped to be the next big JRPG. However, with the let downs that came with the thirteenth entry, people's excitement for new Final Fantasy games have become more reserved.  The previous installment, Final Fantasy XII, was well-received with a sprawling world, making the linearity of Final Fantasy XIII disappointing in comparison .

From it's either bland or beyond irritating characters, I'm looking at you Vanille and Hope, and utterly confusing plot, people were lost in a spiral of nonsensical exposition. Not all was lost though. The game was beautiful and boasted a fast paced, in-depth battle system that could be exhilarating when you were taking down a boss. The thirteenth addition to the long-lived franchise may go down as one of the more forgotten iterations, failing to live up to more popular entries such as Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy X.

Assassin's Creed III

Sure, looking back now, the original Assassin's Creed was pretty lacking, but it's sequel, Assassin's Creed II was one of the best games from that year. With the follow ups Brotherhood and Revelations completing Ezio's story, the next numbered entry was finally revealed in Assassin's Creed III. With fans craving a shift from Ezio, the game showed a lot of promise and garnered lots of attention. Its setting during the American Revolution to its Native American protagonist, Connor, this title looked as if it was going to take everything the franchise had done so far and expand upon it.

Now, Assassin's Creed III is by no means a bad game, but what the public got was a brooding and uninteresting character with Connor that could hardly carry its ultimately uninteresting story. Although fans were sick of Ezio, Connor lacked any form of personality. Luckily though, all was fixed with the great follow-up, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.  


Admittedly, I didn't play Destiny beyond its demo, but that's all I needed to see to turn me away from the ultimately underwhelming addition to Bungie's previously grand resume'. I wasn't too surprised when the scores hit the big game sites, scores like 6.5s and 7s, definitely not the amazing reviews everyone would have expected a few years before.

Destiny ultimately proved to be a hodgepodge of other games thrown into something that resembled a MMO. From Peter Dinklage's bland voice work to the "been there done that" gameplay, there really wasn't a reason to explore the post apocalyptic world, no matter how gorgeous it looked. The game felt way too limited and nowhere near as grand as it wanted you to believe. 

Watch Dogs

When Ubisoft showed off Watch Dogs at E3 2012, gamers were excited to explore the tech heavy sandbox of Chicago. The trailers showed off a free roaming, open world environment similar to Grand Theft Auto, but with a heavy emphasis on hacking the world around youAfter a six month delay, Watch Dogs was met with mediocore reception when finally released.

Gamers were expecting a unique gameplay experience, but were met with an unsatisfying Grand Theft Auto clone instead. Although the game had a variety of missions, the game's story and main character were underwhelming. The release of Grand Theft Auto V a few months earlier might have been why games were ultimately unimpressed with Watch Dogs. However, the franchise does have the potential to become a formidable opponent in the open world sandbox genre.

With more hyped games like Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Final Fantasy XV arriving later this year and next, let's hope that these titles can live up to the hefty expectations we've put on their shoulders and not crumble under the weight like some others.

Did I miss any overhyped games that you think should have been included on the list? If so, let your voice be heard in the comments below! 

Favorite Gaming Moments: Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation) Thu, 13 Aug 2015 02:30:01 -0400 katlaborde

With Square Enix recently announcing a remake of this uncontested PlayStation RPG classic, a look back at its greatest moments is necessary. Like many others, I have a fondness for Final Fantasy VII. It introduced me not only to RPGs, but also brought me back into gaming. Everyone has their favorite moments from this classic entry in the ongoing series, but I wanted to share my own personal favorites.  

Released in 1997, Final Fantasy VII received high critical praise as well as often being cited as the best of the series among fans. The seventh entry was also the first use 3D graphics including fully rendered 3D characters on pre-rendered backgrounds.

I remember being impressed by the game's graphics especially with the comparison from the game's advertising campaign touting the graphics as resembling that of a movie.

It took me awhile to complete the game, but it was definitely an emotional and exciting experience for the entirety. Below are some of my favorite moments from the game:

Cross-Dressing in Wall Market

Cloud gets chosen to be Corneo's "friend" for the night.

When Cloud gets separated from Tifa and Barrett after an encounter with ShinRa during a reactor raid, he meets local flower girl, Aeris. Yes, I know of the 'Aerith' and 'Aeris' debacle, but I'm sticking with Aeris. Aeris forcefully joins Cloud on his trek to reunite with his team as they both head to Wall Market.

Before entering the town, Cloud spots Tifa entering the town on a chocobo cart. After questioning the bouncer at the local brothel (yep, new to Final Fantasy as well), Cloud learns Tifa plans to meet with local scumbag, Don Corneo. When Cloud and Aeris head over to Corneo's mansion, Cloud is refused entry since he is well...not a girl. The solution to the problem? Dressing Cloud up as a woman of course! Not only was this a bit risqué for the time, it was a pretty interesting little mini-game.

Depending on the quality and quantity of the clothing items you pick up, it will affect Corneo's decision when he has to choose between Cloud, Aeris, or Tifa to...*ahem* spend some time with. If Corneo chooses Cloud, an amusing little scene plays out between them. Humorous, quirky, and a bit risqué, this scene is definitely memorable for most gamers.

 Infiltrating the ShinRa building

After President Shinra kidnaps Aeris, Cloud, Tifa, and Barrett devise a plan to infiltrate the evil company's headquarters. Right from the start, the game has you make decision on how you want to do this: barge right in through the front door or climb close to 100 flights of stairs. Well the stairs are just that, climbing up endless staircases each screen peppered with amusing dialogue from your associates, or taking the more epic route, fighting through random battles and having to ride an out of control elevator. Option 2 it is!

This part of the game offers some interesting gameplay moments such as having to use stealth to get by guards, and puzzles. Of course, some major story moments take place as well such as the team discovering President Shinra has been killed by someone named Sephiroth. 

For once, not their fault.

 I have always enjoyed moments in gaming such as the infiltration of the ShinRa building. Even though there is a feeling of the game's story wrapping up, an entirely new, and often worse, threat is revealed setting the characters down a turbulent path towards achieving peace.

This particular events leads Cloud and the gang away from Midgar and opens up an entirely new open world for the player to explore.  Also, the boss fight on the elevator and Cloud's encounter with new president, Rufus, was pretty exciting as well.

The Death of Aeris

Whenever someone thinks of Final Fantasy VII, this particular tragic moment is often at the forefront of their mind. At one point during the game, Aeris runs away to the City of Ancients with Cloud and the gang following shortly behind her on her trail. Eventually, they find Aeris praying on a pedestal underneath the ruins of the city. When Cloud approaches her, Sephiroth falls from above, delivering a fatal blow to the flower girl.

 Although tragic, this is probably one of the most memorable moments in gaming. When I first played Final Fantasy VII, I had no idea about Aeris' death until I witnessed it for myself. Even though I never really liked the character, I cannot deny the importance and shock of her death.

When thinking about her death now, it makes me realize how lost these moments are now. If Final Fantasy VII came out today, her death would be spoiled for gamers on the same day of release. Just like you have to watch Game of Thrones the same night it airs, or otherwise avoid the internet entirely if you don't want spoilers. For this reason, Aeris' death was a more personal experience for gamers. Some were devastated over losing a great character and others, like myself, were mad they had wasted so much time leveling her. Regardless, the importance of her death to, not only Final Fantasy VII, but gaming itself cannot be denied. 

Weapon Attack!

Weapon getting a faceful of cannon fire.

My personal favorite part of the game. After Cloud freaks out handing over the Black Materia to Sephiroth, monsters are released from the planet known as "Weapons". With the rest of Cloud's gang having been kidnapped by ShinRa, they must devise a plan to escape Rufus' grasp.

During this section, you take control of Tifa and Barrett working with your other group members to escape from Junon all while one of the Weapons wreak havoc on the harbor town. The music is especially great in this section, notably the Weapon theme. Also, if you're a Tifa fan like myself, she gets her moment to shine by slapping the hell out of that annoying cackling hag, Scarlet. Plus, most importantly, access to the Highwind!

The Final, Final Battle

The cotton candy background isn't that menacing, Sephiroth.

Okay, so the first time I played through the game I admittedly groaned finding out I had to fight Sephiroth again. However, after replaying through the game once again, the awesomeness of this fight cannot be denied.  

Sephiroth's theme is legendary; likely one of the greatest video game music tracks of all time. His epic summon, Super Nova, does go on for a bit too long, but the dread of being hit from his strong attack is felt. Also, when the screen flickers signaling that you've beaten him, you can't help but to feel relieved. All and all, this might be one of gaming's greatest boss battles.  

I know a lot of you guys have your own favorite moments from the game. Please let me know about them in the comments!

Also, see my favorite gaming moments from Tomb Raider!

YouTube [Link], Final Fantasy Wikia [Link][Link], & The Manitoban [Link]

Optimistic About Nintendo's E3 Announcements: A Shut-In Fan's Perspective Fri, 19 Jun 2015 05:47:01 -0400 GamingGuru

From the living room of my youth, with countless hours on Super Mario Bros. on my Nintendo Action Set under my belt, nothing could have prepared me for the massive live events that we experience today! Sadly enough, the simple act of "growing up" also made me aware of what happens when I'm in the throes of a massive crowd.

When I'm surrounded by thousands of other people on an open floor, I almost feel like I'm drowning in humanity and B.O. In the interest of my mental health, I've talked to a few psychiatrists about it, but none of them ever diagnosed me with social anxiety. thanks!

I did what any other millennial would do: I turned to the Internet!

I did find one History Channel video, featuring some dude from Rutgers University, who suggested that it could be an issue with "personal space," but nothing has really panned out and my research is still ongoing.

And that's the best part about video games: they don't require you to go outside! Regardless of what causes my anxiety (if that's even what it is), it didn't stop my excitement for what Nintendo would unveil at E3 2015!

Direct Event for the Global Win

Even though Sony and Microsoft were live in attendance at E3, Nintendo chose to livestream their announcements via Direct Event. Watching from the comfort of my home and free from anxiety, I silently applauded Nintendo for choosing a digital format for their announcements. I wouldn't be missing out on anything by foregoing E3, but I could still be a part of it!


This simply blew me away!

Interjecting some Muppet-style comedy along with dramatic gameplay and emotional development stories, one thing became clear right from the start: these folks absolutely LOVE what they do for a living!

Star Fox Zero Announced

Watching and listening to Miyamoto tell his deeply personal story behind the arches in the Star Fox franchise struck a nerve with me. This is a man who has truly taken positive experiences in his life (the Fushimi Inari shrine & drawing anthropomorphic characters) and shared it with the world. He was absolutely gushing when discussing the unique perspective and control scheme of the game, which makes use of the Gamepad's gyroscope to fine-tune aiming.
The Internet Responds Like...the Internet...

However, multiple sources immediately and vehemently began criticizing Star Fox Zero right out of the gate. One source over at the Verge described the unveiling as "not making a good first impression" due to its "fiddly controls", even going so far as warning potential consumers to "not get too excited".

Yet other sources decry its lack of multiplayer support and that it looks like an HD remake of Star Fox 64.

Beyond that, it seems that the number of detractors is far less than the number of fans excited for Star Fox Zero.

As For Myself...

I'm excited to see that Nintendo is beginning to develop games around the Gamepad. A cockpit view in conjunction with a world display paints a unique and immersive picture.

When Star Fox was first released on the SNES in 1993, us Nintendo players were still getting used to the shoulder and Y/X buttons on the new controller after having used A/B controls for so long.


This intimidated the hell out of me as a kid...

Fils-Aimes did state that Nintendo is all about "transformation" during the Direct Event, so even if the controls do need some help, I don't feel that we need to shoot Star Fox Zero out of the saddle so quickly. Let's not forget that we all started somewhere, and have had to learn as we went along.

"Nintendo is abandoning the Wii U..."

This is a comment that I've seen repeated over and over again in countless forums. Though I can see how some may think so, Reggie did say during the Direct Event that they will further "discuss" future games at a later time.

In fact, the Wii U is receiving at least 13 different titles going into 2016 according to Nintendo's E3 2015 Release Roadmap. Announced games that I'm most excited for include:

1. Super Mario Maker


2. Yoshi's Wooly World


3. Star Fox Zero


Another game that I'm super excited for is Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, slated for release this Fall. I'm not splitting any hairs as to why this North American port wasn't announced during the Digital Event (it was released in Japan September 27th, 2014), but I'm excited nonetheless. Consider yourself informed now and share with your horror-loving, gaming buddies!


Coming this Fall to Wii U!

So do I feel that Nintendo is abandoning the Wii U in favor of its upcoming NX console? Absolutely not. In fact, when considering Miyamoto's excitement over Star Fox Zero's use of the Gamepad, I'd say that Nintendo is finding new ways to use this innovative piece of technology in relevant ways.

Again, let's keep our eyes open and know that we are all definitely getting our money's worth with our Wii Us with some awesome, first-party exclusive titles on the horizon.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force

This actually looks pretty cool!

Out of all of the titles featured during Nintendo's Direct Event, Metroid Prime: Federation Force has received the most negative feedback. A lot of the feedback seems to focus on the fact that it was:

  • announced for the 3DS instead of being a home console release
  • it doesn't appear to feature Samus
  • it's multiplayer.

The vitriol has been so intense, that there is even a petition to cancel the game, with over 12,000 signatures from supporters.

No, really...stop.

Petitioning for a stoppage on development for any game is wrong. Why though, exactly?

  • A beta, or even alpha, version is simply a glimpse and not indicative of what the final product will be.
  • A game still in development is more or less a presentation of a concept or set of concepts.
  • Rampant banning of games whose ideas we don't agree with is a slippery slope that stifles creativity.

Yes, some of us may not be thrilled with some of the concepts presented in the trailer, but to tell you the truth, I didn't get much from it other than a small sampling of gameplay and a release date.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force Trailer

None of the executives spent a lot of time talking about the game, and it didn't have a Developer's Story feature or any other clarifying information to supplement it during the Direct Event. Further, the game isn't slated for release until 2016.

I understand that Metroid fans have been waiting for a truly immersive console release for quite some time (I'm one of them), some of them may even want reparations for the critically panned Other M (I personally enjoyed the game), but we mustn't get in the way of Nintendo's creative process.

In the end, I feel that Federation Force may be a precursor to something MUCH bigger, and even if it isn't, let's see where it goes. It's simply too early to tell what the final product will be.

Let's Be Hopeful and Grateful

Being a fan since the Action Set days, if it's one thing I've learned about Nintendo, it's that they know what they're doing and they don't ride on the coattails of others. Yes, some of their games may not be the most praised, and some gamers may decide to jump ship to other consoles all together.

Regardless of where or how you may get your game on, we must remember why we're in this hobby in the first place. What works for you may not work for someone else, and that's perfectly fine. I've always been an advocate for acceptance, and I feel that it can also exist in our own little corner of the world.

As I sit in my own little space, I'm glad that I can be a part of this community, even if the simple act of walking outside seems to be an insurmountable chore. Let's do each other and ourselves good, and be thankful that companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft can continue to create games and put a great deal of effort into these live events, even if some of us are current or recovering shut-ins.

His puppet body is ready, and so is mine! #MyBodyisReggie