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 76Β’ (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?

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Shantae Half Genie Hero – 100%

I rarely finish games I start. It’s my biggest blocker when I want to buy a new game – do I want to spend money on something I’m probably not going to finish? I don’t buy books I don’t intend to read cover to cover so why do I do it with games? Well NOT ANYMORE! I 100% completed Shantae Half Genie Hero!

This year, I’ve finished every game I’ve started. I started Shantae: Half-Genie Hero last year, but then got distracted by other games. Coming back to it after so much time felt weird so I just started a new save and went back to the beginning. The very first stage (before the main plot starts) plays a super fun, poppy theme song as you run through the town defeating tinkerbats.

While many might see Shantae’s character design as sexist with her impossible proportions and skimpy genie outfit, I think she’s one of the best female protagonists in gaming. Yes, she’s sexy… and a total badass who is loyal to her friends and works hard at her job as Guardian Genie of Scuttle Town. She’s sarcastic, witty and doesn’t take any shit from her enemies. Her femininity is part of her power – those hip-shaking genie dances transform her into creatures that allow her to solve puzzles and save the day!

Her strong cast of supporting characters add to the story too. So much so, that the developers created new game modes to feature them. The Friends til the End expansion allows players to play as Shantae’s friends -Sky, Bolo and Rotty Tops- to save Shantae’s corrupted mind. Pirate Queen’s Quest features Shantae’s nemesis – Risky Boots – on a mission to create the final boss of Shantae’s storyline.

Every stage is incredibly detailed and beautiful. While the story requires you to revisit all the worlds several times throughout the game, Shantae’s ever-growing list of transformation dances make you see each world in a new way, sometimes from an entirely different angle. So it feels new every time. In fact, where stage repetition gets tedious and frustrating in other games, I’ve grown to love each of the stages in HGH. There’s always something to discover, which probably motivated me to reach 100% completion.

The Mermaid Factory is one of the most creative and fucked up stories I’ve ever played and it LOVE it.

The Shantae series is one of my favorite stories for sure. The costume DLC packs bring 3 new game modes into play that seem perfectly designed for speedrunning. That’s my next goal! My hope is that we will see her in the new Smash Bros for Switch (and maybe an amiibo of that cute curvy figure too!).

What games have you completed this year?

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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Admittedly, I’m not the most loyal South Park fan. But we’re in a bit of a doldrums for Switch releases until July, so I picked up South Park: The Fractured But Whole with some birthday money. I had no expectations going in. I might have been a little afraid I wouldn’t like it because I didn’t know what I was getting into and I’ve been out of touch with the show for so long.

My character is the gassy new kid in South Park and eager to make friends. All the kids are playing superheroes and Cartman reluctantly invites me to create a character and join his group – Coon and Friends. We all have character sheets DnD style that you complete by talking to various adult characters about gender and sexuality and religion.

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I’ve totally fallen in love with it. All the kids have their own unique superhero personas with the most creative costumes and phrases. Mosquito is my favorite! The way he plays off the actions of others in battle always makes me laugh. When Cartman/Coon attacks, Mosquito will say something like “Coon makes ’em bleed so it’s time to feed!” All of his blood puns and digs are brilliant. I keep him in my party all the time, both for the jokes and his powerful life-draining attack.

Completing challenges for townspeople allows you to take a selfie with them and gain followers. Building your following helps you level up and unlock new objectives. Here I am with Morgan Freeman at his taco stand.

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My “superpower” comes from my time-bending farts. Collecting certain mission items allows me craft special Mexican dishes and unleash powerful farts that turn back time to negate an enemy’s turn or stop time so I can get around dangerous situations and get some free shots on a 6th grader. I can combine my farts with other kids’ super abilities to solve puzzles and reach new areas of the map. There’s also a hilarious toilet mini-game in every bathroom in South Park. Some toilets are harder to master than others.

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The battle component is super entertaining. Aside from the witty superhero banter, the battles can take on various forms with nontraditional objectives. In a battle with Towelie, the goal isn’t to defeat Towelie; it’s to burn four piles of weed scattered around the room to get him high. There are roving hordes of 6th graders around town that will give chase until you defeat them. Once you talk to the PC Principal, there’s a new battle mechanic that gives you a free punch when your enemy says a microaggression.

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Of course, being South Park, the content is rarely clean. There are naked breasts. Hilariously offensive themes, language and items to pick up (I laughed for a good 10 minutes when I acquired a jar of “boogers and cum” and the jingle played. I had to battle two Catholic priests to avoid molestation and beat up Raisins Girls. I’m not even that far into the game, I don’t think and I’d had to give a drunk man a lap dance… AS A FOURTH GRADER. In a rockin’ shark costume.

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There are definitely some uncomfortable moments that are a little harder to laugh at. And most shocking is that it’s now on Nintendo Switch. I wrote to Nintendo every month for a year asking for Binding of Isaac on 3DS and that’s MUCH tamer comparatively!

What I love most about this game is that it takes place in the imagination of a child. I’m reminded how I played games as a kid. My imagination made so many worlds and abilities real for me. There’s no greater period of creativity than childhood and South Park: The Fractured But Whole lets me return to that time, while simultaneously being shocked at the incredibly adult level of inappropriateness.

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?

Octo Expansion Anticipation

Nintendo’s recent announcement of the Octo Expansion has me hyperventilating at the thought of it. Lately I’ve been replaying Splatoon 2’s story mode as Agent 4 to collect all the scrolls and sardinium as well as unlock some of the Hero weapons. I’d forgotten the fun of single player mode and it’s only adding to my anticipation! Agent 8, the mystery octoling(?) with no memory, is aesthetically my new favorite. I’m elated to play through 80+(!!!) different missions to uncover her story and unlock playable Octolings in multiplayer. For $20 I feel like the amount of content I’m getting is huge. It will likely have good replay value as there are surely collectible thingies to find in each mission.

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I’m a sucker (get it? Octojokes) so I took the bait (did it again!) and pre-ordered the expansion immediately to get the Octo-themed clothing. Presents!

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It could have been better themed – a crate or vault like those in single player mode or wrapped nicely – but I’ll take it! I think it’s nice of Nintendo to give us a taste of the new gear coming our way. 100 new items?!? My military/motorcycle style could see some new options! Tattoo sleeves with Ink Resistance abilities? Wishful thinking, but Nintendo could be listening!

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They clearly designed a new stages for me, after all! The stages. coming over from Splatoon 1 are great, but obviously Wahoo World is going to be an instant favorite of mine. I’m going to explore every square tentacle.

X Rank I’m still working my way up to S+, but now my goal has changed to hit X rank. I don’t need to be in the power rankings each month, but I do want to hit max rank and play competitively. I’m good enough, but am I competitive enough?

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The revelation that Octo Expansion takes place in the subway to the right of the lobby in Inkopolis Square has me wondering about other areas of possible expansion.

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The subway entrance in the middle is happening. Now I’m noticing that grated doorway on the left and the obvious closed storefront on the right. Will these open to sell some of the expanded gear? What about that door behind the boxes with the signage above?

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And could there be something beyond this barricade? Could we eventually enter that building on the left and find out where that ramp goes?

What do you think of the new expansion? Do you think any of these other places could open up? What else would you want to see come to Splatoon 2?

Splatoon 2 Updates: March Splatfest Recap

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Splatfest Results: Team Chicken πŸ₯‡ vs Team Egg 🚫

Another Splatfest, another loss for my team. In the nine Splatfests that have occurred since the game came out in July, I have won exactly ONE event. However, this month’s was one of the most fun/least frustrating I’ve played.

I chose Team Egg because 1) science, and 2) I love the aesthetic of a fried egg. My Splatfest team choices are always based on personal preference – not what my favorite host chooses, not what most of my friends pick, not ink color or anything beyond what I love. And the things I love are losers. πŸ˜‚

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Things looked good at the start. The vast majority of my friends list had also chosen Team Egg and almost every one of my matches looked like the two omelets here. Somehow, playing solo with randoms makes for a more successful match than playing with a team. My friends are not very good at this, apparently.

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Typically, my battle gear includes my official Splatest T, Special Forces Beret with a mix of abilities to round me out a little and scrubbed moto boots. Farming chunks is always a priority. Weapon-wise I’ve come to rely on the N-Zap 89 in turf wars because the special and sub suit my particular style of strategic play. I know it’s sort of frowned upon to try new weapons during Splatfest, but I was really enjoying the feel of the new Dark Tetra Dualies in the days leading up to the event. I fared really well with them in the end. I spent about 1/3 of the event wielding the Neo Sploosh-o-matic, which was a beast for coverage, but didn’t allow me the power or speed I’m used to.

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Team Chicken MVPs. I played several rounds against these teams and I giggled at their names every time. The creativity on both sides of this Fest ensured I kept playing matches and running around Inkopolis Square to see the fresh artwork. IMG_7404.JPG
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Team Egg MVPs I wasn’t part of this team nor did I have the luck to encounter any of them. Someone shared this in my Splatoon 2 group and I loved it so, so much.
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I think for next Splatfest, I’ll put together a strong team. Between my friends list (some of them are better than me) and my clan, there should be a win in my future!

Which team did you pick?

Bayonetta 2

It took me about 8 hours to finish Bayonetta 2 on Saturday. I wanted it to take longer. Plot-wise, It actually should have been shorter. Bayonetta herself seemed much softer in this game. Still a badass, but more emotionally tied to other characters than she even was to child Cereza in the first game. Her softening is likely due to the return of her memories. Now she has a close relationship with Jeanne (and extra fab wardrobe).

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In this adventure, the balance between Inferno and Paradiso has shifted. The demons employed by the witches turn against them and Jeanne gets dragged to Hell. Bayonetta has a limited window to save Jeanne’s soul before it’s devoured forever. So we’re battling angels AND demons this time around.

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These were two of the most fun demon battles. My favorite was the Alurana battle. She was a giant mantis with Jeanne’s soul dissolving in her abdomen. Once defeated, Jeanne’s soul is rescued, but her revival scene was anticlimactic. We ALMOST lost her! I spent most of the game on a quest to save her. I wanted more out of this huge scene before racing off to restore the balance of chaos.

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Bayonetta’s fashion is on point. I love her sleek, sophisticated new look. Her character really does seem to have evolved nicely as her relationships have developed, but I was confused by the return of Luka and Enzo. I get the Enzo is her informant/comic relief, but the Guido stereotype jokes are stale and Bayonetta doesn’t really need him to gather intel. He could be replaced by one line of dialogue. As for Luka, I don’t understand his role at all. In this game, he’s dressed like a cowboy and his relationship with Bayonetta has not evolved in the slightest. He appears when the childlike figure of Loki needs to be carted around, much like child Cereza in the first game. Beyond that, he serves no purpose. I would very much like it if he did not appear in the 3rd game.

IMG_7061I love the barrier breaking heart-shot too.

Bayonetta 3 will probably see the return of Loki/Aesir, likely some new irritating child figure and Balder for sure with another massive Balder battle like Bayonetta 1. I’m excited to see how Bayonetta further evolves in the next game and what new characters we might meet. I’m 100% sure they’ll be:

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