Which Octopath to Travel – Therion

If you haven’t gotten sucked into Octopath Traveler yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? With 8 characters to choose from, it can be overwhelming. After all, your main character is the only one you can’t switch out over the course of the journey. This week, I want to talk about the character I unexpectedly fell in love with:

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I did not meet Therion in the demos and I’m really glad I didn’t because he has been such a wonderful surprise. Much like my irl “type,” Therion is brooding, aloof and inconvenienced by everyone around him. He’s as charming as he is sarcastic and always down for a drink. After all what better place to get gossip and leads than the local tavern?

Therion takes great pride in his thieving skills and reputation. But pride comes before the fall and our anti-hero is tricked into a grand job that ends with a Fool’s Bangle secured around his wrist, signaling to all in his trade’s community that he failed. In order to get the cuff removed, Therion must seek out and return three stolen dragonstones to House Ravus.

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His thief skills are insanely useful, mostly because his HP and SP steal abilities come with TWO dagger strikes. And typically he recovers at least as much SP as he spends on the skill. In towns, I rarely need to buy healing aids because I can steal them at a success rate of 80% or better. This makes quick work of dismantling enemy shields if they’re weak to daggers.

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Choose Therion if:
you’re a Scorpio.
manipulation is kind of your thing.
hanging out in dive bars sounds appealing.
you hate everyone.
paying for things irritates you.

Will you choose Therion?

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The eShop is Excellent Right Now

You know who DIDN’T take a summer vacation? The Nintendo eShop. There are SO MANY great games in there right now. This week, I picked up a bunch of fantastic new stuff. Here are my recommendations:

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Crypt of the Necrodancer – First of all, the pace of this rogue-like rhythm game keeps me on my toes at all times. You can’t miss a beat! Your character hops around to the beat of the music, attacking creatures and bosses in time with their patterns. It’s enchanting and challenging all at once. Plus the soundtrack is one of the best out there.

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Hollow Knight – Do you like bugs? Tim Burton? Metroidvania games with hand-drawn artwork? I couldn’t resist this game. I love things that are dark and adorable so the opportunity to be a cutely creepy Hollow Knight and run around murdering bugs with a nail really appeals to me. And with new free DLC coming Aug 23rd, there’s no better time to pick this one up.

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Overcooked 2 – One thing Nintendo Switch kind of lacks is a variety of local multiplayer games. Overcooked brought a fun, frustrating option to the Switch and now the sequel offers a whole new level of challenge AND online play. It’s perfect for some couch co-op (or a Nintendo Meet Up event). I have a love/hate relationship with this game because it makes me realize how competitive I am and also how much I suck at managing a fictional restaurant.

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Salt and Sanctuary – I started playing this action-platformer last night and immediately became addicted. Here’s another game that is beautifully dark and hard as hell. You can customize your character and select a creed to establish your sanctuary. Collecting salt allows you to level up and bring healers and merchants to your sanctuary. However, if you’re killed, that enemy confiscates your salt and you only have one chance to go back and defeat it or lose your collected salt forever. It’s really tough. I can’t wait to try our the local co-op and find out if my friends are worth their salt?

Tell me what’s on your eShop wishlist!

E3 Recap

E3 2018

E3 2018

I’m back from California, sun-kissed and head spinning with all the amazing things I took in. I’ll have a couple posts coming up about my trip, and as E3 was my main reason for heading to the West Coast, what better place to start?

First of all, I work in tech so I was able to nab a complimentary industry pass. I don’t recommend attending as a gamer. Glux had a rougher go of things with a gamer pass. Not only was the “gamer” community stereotypically smelly, rude and pushy-shovey, but once they were admitted they clogged up the lines and made everyone miserable. It was a much more enjoyable experience with Industry early access.

That said, E3 was like nothing I’ve experienced before. The booths, the swag, the calibur of other professionals buzzing around the show floor… It was so inspirational. I can’t even go into all of it, so here are my highlights.

Best of: Booths
Bethesda stole the show with an immersive Vault 76 walkthrough experience, complete with actors in each of the rooms to make it feel real. IGN got some amazing shots of the vault.

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Well hello there, Vault Boy!

When entering the main hall of the convention center, Square Enix’s Mayan ruins-themed booth filled the immediate area. To celebrate Shadow of the Tomb Raider, they took us into Lara’s world, complete with a professional Lara Croft cosplayer stalking the grounds.

Of course, I spent a lot of time around the Jurassic World Evolution compound. Outside, there was a broken fence, presumably torn down by the velociraptor inside, as well as Denis Nedry’s Jeep. Through the looming gates, monitors showed the latest dinosaur creations and their specific DNA make up.

Finally, the Largest Booth Award goes to Fortnite for being the single game with the biggest E3 presence. The back third of South Hall was essentially an ode to Fortnite. The Battle Bus was there with props for a photo opp. Staff in forts handed out branded cups. There was even a mechanical llama pinata! Rows and rows of demos filled the rest of the area.

Demo time!
The first game I played was Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. In the 15 minute demo, 4 of us teamed up to take on one of three quests. Overall, it seemed the same as MHG on 3DS… just on Switch this time. Online play will be cool and there are some new monsters – my team of four was decimated by the new Elder Dragon Valstrax – but it doesn’t feel different enough to buy again.

Inside the Jurassic World Evolution booth, we sat down in a small theater where an Ingen executive gave a presentation about our mission as new park employees (and the risks involved). She told us we could choose to release and transport one of 3 dinosaurs into their designated pens… and then create a spectacle for park guests by provoking a dinosaur fight! Then we were ushered into the Jurassic Park compound where the demo stations were set up on three platforms. I played the Playstation version and enjoyed it. The dinos are so realistic and well animated. I’m not usually a fan of sims, but this is one I’m going to pick up when the physical release drops on July 3rd.

Jurassic World Evolution Jeep at E3 2018

… I think this was Nedry’s yellow rain slicker…

Luckily, Glux and I secured the very first time slots to play Super Smash Bros Ultimate. The standby line was… deterring to say the least. We got three matches so to make the most of it, we picked the two new stages first – the Sheikah Tower from Breath of the Wild and Moray Towers from Splaton 2. We let our random match up pick the final stage – he chose Donkey Kong’s Rumble Falls, which looked spectacular on the Switch! As for characters, I went with Bayonetta first and then loved the Inkling’s moves so much i played her twice. She’ll very likely be a new main for me. Glux tested the Inkling, then new addition Ridley from Metroid, and ended with Bowser. It’s worth the hype. I can’t wait to play again. As a bonus, we got Smash pins for being among the first to play!

Spotlight on Swag
Bethesda gave away the most swag. You couldn’t walk a booth-length without seeing 50 vault boy masks. Mine is hanging eerily in my office, successfully creeping out all who pass. They also had one of those souvenir penny presser machines set up with four different Fallout 76 designs. For 76¢ (appropriately) I selected the tricentennial design and then immediately preordered the tricentennial edition. In celebration of “Reclamation Day” party hats and cups were doled out to potential Dwellers. All that was missing, was Rad-free cake!

Twitch gave out some of my favorite swag of E3. You can attribute it to my high affinity for the brand, but they gave out purple sunglasses that I’ll actually wear. The tote bags they gave out are compact and quality with the cute Glitch logo. I also really liked their simple, branded nametag stickers that said “My Twitch ID is” with a big blank for your handle. I grabbed a couple to stick on my laptop and bujo.

What Nintendo lacked in swag, it made up for in content and quality. The Smash Bros logo pin is simple and nice. I’ll treasure it. They presented a lot of great photo opps with classic relics from Nintendo games too. DK’s tie, the Master Sword, Pit’s bow, Cappy… Sandbag was my favorite forgotten hero. Glad to see him get some much deserved appreciation!

Overall, I had a great experience. The only real downside was the gamer-clogged lines and the location – LA was the dirtiest city I’ve ever seen and I didn’t feel safe there even in daylight. We Ubered exclusively after 7pm every day, not that LA was particularly walkable anyway. I’m hoping my company will have a presence next year so I can go back to the Expo, all expenses paid.

What were your favorite moments from E3 this year?

Splat Fashion 3.0.0

Splat Fashion

With the release of 3.0.0 last week came over 100 new pieces of gear. I’ve always been a fan of throwing on a bit of military flare so mixing the new gear with some of my favorite pieces and weapons has me losing hours creating new looks and planning my ability builds.

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This is my standard gear look for ranked. Special Forces Beret with a mix of power chunks that suit my particularly strategic, versatile and insightful play-style, black inky rider stocked with sub up and speed up, and blue Moto boots with pure ink resistance.

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For these two, my coat changes sometimes based on what role my team needs me to play. My custom painted F-3 gives me an offensive advantage with pure special ups. When I need a defensive edge, I suit up in my Forge Inkling Parka with ninja squid and swim speed ups so I can make quick sprints or getaways to regroup.

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I’m still building out a lot of the newer gear – my White leather F-3, gas mask, pilot goggles (not new, but look hot af with the F-3s) and shark moccasins – but they’ve all been upgraded for max slots. I love the way they can change up my look while sticking to the theme I like.

Of course the military look couldn’t be complete with head to toe camouflage, right down to the weapon. The Moist Ghillie Suit paired with the Bamboozler creates an all-natural look well suited for an ambush! Also this set up cracks me up.

The options are becoming a bit overwhelming. Aside from saving certain gear to different amiibo, I wish there was a better way to organize my inventory. I don’t like any of the org options currently available. Honestly, I’d rather organize my own “closet” according to my priorities.

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While I’m a little confused about the TMNT theme of the upcoming Splatfest, I AM relishing the fact that I’ll essentially have three weeks to farm my Splatfest T to build out all this new gear.

What are your favorite pieces? Do you adhere to a certain type of aesthetic?

Thoughts on Bayonetta

After a very intense Splatfest that resulted in a heartbreaking loss for Team Money💸👼🏻, I was ready to dive into something new. On Friday, Nintendo released Bayonetta 2 for Switch. The physical copy comes with a code for the first Bayonetta game so I figured this was a good time to give the series a go. Ryan sweetly picked me up a copy and my long weekend disappeared into Vigrid.

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First of all, this is not the kind of game I’m used to seeing on a Nintendo console. I wrote emails to Nintendo for MONTHS begging them to bring The Binding of Issac to 3DS. I always got the response that due to the religious themes and overtones of the game, they weren’t allowing it. That game is now out on both 3DS and Switch. In Bayonetta, you are literally a bad-as-fuck dark witch whose main goal is essentially to destroy God as well as all the angels and beings of light that may stand in your way. It’s brutal. It’s incredible!

I’m a big fan of the noir style of the game. Many cut scenes employ still frames of film scrolling by to help tell the story. There are a lot of sepia-toned flashbacks, black and white and red lipstick, and of course, gangsters and shady bartenders who might be devils. Rodin might be my favorite NPC.

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Bayonetta is on a mission to uncover her past as well a mysterious jewel called the Right Eye. On her journey, she fights all manner of cherubim and demi-dieties who hint at her impending role in the resurrection of Jubileus, The Creator. I did not immediately notice that her outfit is composed of her own hair, which she can also wield as a conduit to summon demons!. The hair dragon and hair raven were two of my favorite manifestations.

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Of course, the game is deeply sexy, but Bayonetta is always in full control of her sexual agency, which I really appreciate. She’s not there to be sexy for the male characters; she’s there being sexy for herself and kicking angel ass. It’s so refreshing to play a female protagonist who is so unapologetically feminine and fearless. Aside from her gun-heeled stilettos, she keeps her outfit changes in a compact and fires her lipstick like a bullet to finish a critical battle near the end of the game. So empowering.

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I played through this game with my jaw on the floor mostly. The innuendo. The violent and graphic destruction of angelic beings. Bayonetta’s nudity every time she summons another hair demon. This has to be my favorite scene of all time.

It never gets old and I cannot stop watching it! Bayonetta is the witch I’ve always wanted to be. How did I not play this game sooner? I’m looking forward to playing Bayonetta 2 this week. Until Then, don’t ever forget these immortal words of wisdom:

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Game Updates: Splatoon 2

I’d love to go pro in Splatoon eventually. Now that I have time to practice, I’ve joined a clan! Great group. Killer players. I get to practice regularly, perfect my strategies and master stages I h-a-t-e-d before. Sometimes I even try out other weapons – trying to become more versatile in my arsenal proficiency.

I’m a Siren!

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My W/L ratio remained stuck at a pretty even scale for a while, but now? NOW? I’m crushing it. And only getting better. Tonight, this divide will grow even greater!

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And it’s not just my ratio that’s improved. I’ve ranked up almost everywhere. Clam Blitz has been slow going with randoms, but I actually really enjoy that mode even though I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who knows how to play. Most games I’m playing offense, defense, jammer, goalie AND slayer. And I still win.

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S rank is within my grasp! See you out there, squids!

Nintendo Direct Wishlist

I’m pro at getting my hopes up. With an impending Nintendo Direct, I’m holding my breath for these five announcements:

New Smash for Switch – It’s inevitable. It’s too perfect for Switch to not happen. I’m certain they’ll add a Splatoon Stage and Inkling fighters, even if they’re DLC later. But it needs to go further. Nintendo has thrown a lot of support behind indies in the last year, so I’m hoping for the induction of some indie characters. Seeing the number of indie characters voted for in the Smash Ballot, it just makes sense to include some of the more popular indie characters who could have really fun fight moves. I’d love to see Shantae’s hair whip and Shovel Knight’s shovel drop.

Virtual Console – This is a way of sneaking an extra thing into my wishlist: details on Nintendo’s online service. All we know is it’s coming, it’s required for online play and it’s $20 per year. I want to know what kind of archives we’ll have access to. I’d love to see a lot of Gamecube games reworked. I never had a GameCube so Virtual Console would be my first experience with some of the best Mario games in the franchise.

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Splatoon Updates – In the glamor shots of new weapon announcements I’ve seen Arowana Mall in the background, and maybe Mahi-Mahi Resort, so I’m expecting more maps from the original game. Personally, I’d love to see Hammerhead Bridge return. Clam Blitz is still so new, but for me, it opened the door for future ranked modes. Hopefully we’re not done getting new modes. I also hope they nerf some of the rollers’ vertical stats. They should not have both ridiculous range AND power. It’s obscene. Mostly, I REALLY want Nintendo to give us Marina and Pearl amiibos (please oh please oh please!). I don’t even care what they unlock in the game. I just want that adorable duo as little figures!

New Animal Crossing– Sure, this is incredibly unlikely, but a girl can dream. Pocket Camp has gotten so boring so fast. I love the RV concept, though. Maybe in a new full AC we can visit other towns in the RV instead of the dream suite or train. Then we’d have two spaces to decorate as well. Some new features I’d like to see: mounting bugs on the wall (you can’t even see them in the hermit crab cages). Ability to keep a couple villagers forever. A bigger “city” area with stores and the coffee shop, Katrina and some new characters – How about a tattoo parlor? (that was a joke, but now I want it to happen!). More interactions or mini-games with visiting friends – why can’t we have a snowball fight in winter? Or have a cookout on the Island? Or have a bug/fish catching competition against each other?

Something to make the 3DS relevant again. Metroid: Samus Returns was great, but I haven’t touched my 3DS since then. I’m not ready to let it go completely so I’m hoping for some decent support through 2018, even if it’s some new Smash character or some smaller multiplayer games. I still need some time to say goodbye to my little friend (and create a new all-Switch strategy for my MeetUp group).

What are you hoping to hear?