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.

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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?

Binding of Isaac Tarot Interview

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I’ve always viewed this deck more as a novelty – a collectible from one of my favorite video games ever, The Binding of Isaac. I’ve never used it before. This is a completely virgin deck! Until now. The cards depart from the traditional suit structure, instead calling on items from the game to represent suits. So I took some creative liberties to identify the parallels.

Keys = Wands
Bombs = Swords
Pennies = Pentacles
Hearts = Cups

Check out my other deck interviews.

Tell me about yourself
The High Priestess
I am the mediator between light and dark, the guardian of the unconscious and the link between reality and the inaccessible reaches of the mind. My understanding of the Universe runs deeper than The Basement.

What are your strengths?
Five of Pennies
Nothing distracts me from spiritual development. Coins may help you achieve success in the game, but in the end, it always comes down to heart. Let’s focus on keeping your heart full over your pockets.

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What are your limitations?
Ace of Pennies
Don’t talk to me about the material world. I’m not interested in wealth or career issues. I want to help you manifest your inner potential and achieve your spiritual goals.

What are you here to teach me?
Ten of Bombs
How to survive taking the hits. Life can be a bullet hell run. The people you love and trust might back-stab you. There will surely be loss after loss after loss. Keep restarting.

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How can we best collaborate?
Ace of Keys
Let’s just go for it. No instruction manuals. We’ll figure it out along the way, breaking through walls and unlocking mysteries.

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
Three of Keys
We’ll open doors to self-exploration and gain control of all around you. Your horizons will expand in all directions as we journey onward together.

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Amazingly, in this interview there were a lot of subtle nods to the game in the personality of the deck! I was expecting darkness based on the nature of the game, but the energy is pretty playful. The game connects the earthly with the dark and the light, so I feel like this deck has a good grasp on bridging those realms to open my perception and intuition.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!

Let Sleeping Tamagotchi Lie

Summer of ’97 squealed open like the garage door storefronts on the hundreds of kitschy shops on the Wildwood Boardwalk, ushering in the era of the Tamagotchi and its many knockoffs (my favorite was Dinkie Dino). They were our pre-smartphone digital addiction. I spent hours keeping mine alive and subsequently mourning its angelic avatar when it inevitably died. My middle school swiftly banned the keychain-toys. I haven’t thought about them much since then. Apparently, My Tamagotchi Forever launched in March, but I saw it featured on the app store on Tuesday and gave it a download. It was not to last forever.

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The tutorial was all the dose of nostalgia I needed. I got to care for the best character right off the bat. I learned how to force him to poop, feed him chocolate, and play the simple mini-games to keep him happy (and tire him out). Then he went outside to play soccer alone eternally and live out his days as an NPC. Around this time, I lost interest in the game.

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There are 4 mini-games were you can earn coins, but they don’t add up quickly enough to both feed your demanding tamagotchi and upgrade the amenities in his little world. As you upgrade amenities, you unlock “Memorable Moments” which are basically photo ops for your pets. They don’t even seem all that memorable or even enjoyable.

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Completing photo pages unlocks outfits. Of course you can purchase coins and gems to progress faster, but the reward isn’t worth it (unless you REALLY want to dress your tamagotchi like a weird magician).

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Food is expensive for the earn rate. Pets are picky on what they want to eat. You can feed them anything, but it looks like you get a bonus if you give them what they want. One demanded nothing but french fries and it cost 45 coins to fill him up. Another demanded nothing but broccoli and then turned into an unsettling Nyan Starmie with chronic constipation.

Another weird thing – once your tamagotchi evolves, its former iteration sticks around. Your previous pets populate the town, forever trapped in a memorable moment. Occasionally they gift you coins so they feel like their lives still have some purpose.

It’s not the tamagotchi experience I wanted it to be. The mobile update featuring too-bright colors and chunky buttons feels insultingly childish, as do the mini-games. If you’re looking for modern relic of your digital pet days, install Pix on your widget screen and transform your iPhone into the little plastic egg you secretly miss.

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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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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2018 Games Wishlist

 

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The Legend of Bum-bo – From the creators of The Binding of Isaac, the game I’ve put more hours into than probably any other game (and on 4 different platforms), comes this charming as fuck cardboard puzzle RPG. It has all the morbidity and grime as Isaac with a completely new play style and story. So far it will be out on PC and iOS… sometime this year.

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Fe – All I care about is getting to play an adorable creature, howling in the forest among stunningly gorgeous artwork. It reminds me a lot of Ori and the Blind Forest, which I absolutely adored. I’m so looking forward to exploring this whimsical world (in March… because it releases February 16th and #NoSpendFeb😪).

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Project Octopath Traveler – Download the demo if you haven’t. This game is going to be awesome. I really enjoyed Primrose’s storyline. Come on, a badass stripper who carves her own path, leaves destruction in her wake, and essentially tells her “master” to go fuck himself? YES, PLEASE! Olberic’s story was a lot more “traditional” RPG. Last of his kind. Soldier. Protecting a village. Wrestling with some past trauma. Still, I enjoyed his little piece of the demo as well. The HD-2D art style makes the landscapes visually rich and compelling while feeding my nostalgia for the 16-bit sprites of my early Final Fantasy days. I can’t wait to see who the other 6 characters are and how their paths cross.

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Owlboy – This released a while back, but I want it for my Switch. It looks like an interesting concept with cool art. I’m reminded of the Shantae games, which is one of my favorite series of all time. I’m curious about the flying mechanics, because I’m terrible at any game where I have to fly. Should be interesting!

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Kingdom Hearts III – Wow. It has been a while since I played a Kingdom Hearts game. I believe I dropped off somewhere in the early stages of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, so I’m not far behind. I distinctly remember driving up to NYC (I was living in South Jersey in 2012) for the launch event at Nintendo NY where I purchased the Collector’s Edition. At some point, I traded in the game for lack of play. (*adds KH3D:DDD to wishlist*) I just hope this one isn’t too convoluted with characters. Sometimes the Disney Prozac effect can be really, REALLY exhausting.

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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (kickstarter) – Still waiting for an official release date on this one. I backed it on Kickstarter back when I was trying to impress some guy. Luckily I’m also a fan of metroid-vania games. With another badass woman playing the protagonist, it’s going to be a must-play for me.

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Knights and Bikes – This is another Kickstarter I backed in 2016. The creators describe it like The Goonies, but with little girls kicking up hell on a small British island. It looks to be a fascinating adventure and reminds me of biking around my own small island town with my friends as a kid, getting into all sorts of trouble. All the characters and scenery are hand-painted in a lovely aesthetic – sharp color contrasts really bring them to life. The game mechanics and battle system are incredibly creative. Still waiting for a release date, but I’m hoping it comes this year. Not once has a game I backed released remotely near the original window. It’s almost always like 2 years later.