Which Octopath to Travel – Cyrus

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, let’s investigate the investigator:

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Cyrus’ story got surprisingly DARK. The obliviously handsome and charming scholar is ousted from his post over a rumor he’s having an affair with the princess. He’s fine with that though because he gets to go on a quest to find a missing ancient tome – From the Far Reaches of Hell. Which appears to be taking him TO the far reaches of Hell…

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Nothing gets past Cyrus’ powers of keen observation. His Scrutinize ability allows him to glean information from townspeople for discounts at the Inn or more weapons in the armory. He offers up his brilliant insights in every new situation.

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Cyrus’ sharp mind also proves useful in battle. At the start of every fight, he employs “Study Foe” to reveal some of the enemy’s weaknesses. It takes some of the trial and error out of heavier encounters.

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Choose Cyrus if you:
love a mystery
practice the dark arts
play Phoenix Wright
pity pretty people who don’t know how good-looking they are

Would you pick Cyrus?

 

 

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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?

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!

Which Octopath to Travel – H’aanit

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, your hunt for your perfect Octopath companion ends with:

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If this were Game of Thrones H’aanit would be a Wildling. This battleworn babe sports a tough exterior, but she’s got a sentimental side. She’s an apprentice who becomes worried when her master doesn’t return from a hunt, but his familiar does. H’aanit’s journey involves tracking her master and hopefully finding him alive.

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She’s one of the strongest characters and definitely has the most variety in her fighting style. While she mains both a bow and axe, she can also use magic and employ a bunch of amazing hunter skills. She can capture foes like Pokemon and use them in battle later. She can also summon her faithful snow leopard Linde without using SP. Linde employs one of two attacks – Sweep deals sword damage to all enemies and Pounce randomly strikes one foe with polearm damage.

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Her dialogue is painful though. It hurts to hear and it hurts to read on the screen. I can’t imagine maining her, but she has been present in my party since I started. She’s certainly a beast and her provoke skill helps gain access to houses blocked by NPCs… if you can defeat them.

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Journey with H’aanit if:
you’re one with nature.
Pokemon Go is docked on your iPhone.
Chaucer’s original texts in middle English are your jam.
You’re a cat person.

 

Which Octopath to Travel – Primrose

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, let’s explore the the character I chose to start my path:

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I fell in love with Primrose in the first game demo. She reminds me a little of Shantae: Half Genie Hero. You know I love a sexy, strong female lead. Primrose is a sassy stripper with a heart of coal. She’s on a mission to avenge her late father, who was murdered by three men bearing the mark of the crow.

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Despite her noble blood, she’s chosen to keep her identity a secret until she can hunt down the killers. So she dances for the criminal and the corrupt in the seedy desert city of Sunshade until the day her first lead walks into her bar.

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Surprisingly, Primrose is one of the strongest characters. She fights with a combination of daggers and dances. Her dances cast powerful Darkness spells on enemies OR empower her party with new strength. She doesn’t get rattled in battle. She’s always ready to start shit AND end it.

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You’ll love Primrose if:
Badass bitches are your thing
You have your own signature victory dance
Winning in important, but you appreciate a challenge
You’re into sexy pixels

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.