Monster Hunter Etiquette

Monster Hunter has finally come to Nintendo Switch! Before you head out in pursuit of glory, consider the following:

Don’t attack the monster while a team member has mounted it. The mounted player can bring the beast down and allow the full team to RAGE on that bitch. So wait for the monster to fall to maximize your impact.

Eat before you hunt! Eating a hearty meal boosts your stats and adds some useful abilities for the hunt ahead. Sit down to a meal with your team before you rally for a quest.

Watch your health/sharpness and retreat to heal/sharpen as needed. Your whole team only gets three KOs before you fail the quest. Sometimes fatigue can sneak up on you so run to another area for a quick potion or sharpening session. You’ll be back in the battle in no time!

Don’t spam the chat. It’s distracting. Communicate with purpose (or use discord).

Take care of your palico buddies. Don’t forget to upgrade their armor and weapons too. Send them for training and the occasional catnap.

What are your best Monster Hunter tips?

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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 – 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

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.

Vault boy at E3 2018

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?

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?

My Summer: Dead. Jurassic World: Alive!

Did you guys know about my borderline unhealthy obsession with Jurassic Park and dinosaurs? I just realized JW releases the same weekend I was supposed to visit home and guess which thing I’m choosing?

On Wednesday, I finally got a release notification for Jurassic World: Alive! and I’m just now coming up for air.

Basically, JWA takes what made Pokemon Go great and makes it so much better. You wander around the real world and encounter dinosaurs along the way. When you see one you want, tap it to initiate a mini game where you shoot DNA collecting darts from a drone. The range options are pretty great. The dino doesn’t have to be within your circle, but the battery life on your drone lasts longer the closer you are. On my way to work, I changed my route to catch a velociraptor on 9th Street. You can see how much battery you’ll have before you launch the drone. Once the drone is up, aim the crosshairs at the moving dot on the creature to collect DNA samples, which allow you to create and evolve your dinosaurs. So unlike pokemon, I don’t have a bunch of the same creatures junking up my inventory.

Collect enough DNA samples from a species, you head into the lab to create your dinosaur. Some are rarer than others and require more DNA to create. Level up enough and you can create HYBRID DINOSAURS.

You’ll want to keep an adequate dart supply for drone hunting, you spin supply drops. Sometimes you get cash or coins as well that you can use to evolve your dinos or speed up incubators earned from battle.

Yep. When you’re not hunting for DNA, you can pit your flock against randomly matched players. Obviously every creature has it’s own attack and defense style – smaller ones like dilophosaurus and velociraptor are super fast with high attack strikes, but low HP and defense. Some of the big carnivores will counterattack. Herbivores have higher defense and some have stunning attacks. You can have a mix of 8 dinosaurs in your lineup, but once in battle they’re randomized to a set of 4 you can use. I think this randomization goes a long way for keeping matches as balanced as possible

The battle objective is to defeat three of the opponents dinosaurs. When you do, a JP medallion at the top keeps score. The first to three wins! Toppling your opponents earns you coins and incubators that take from 15 mins to 8 hours (the highest one I’ve seen so far) to mature. Opening incubators nets you cash, darts, and rare dino DNA to help strengthen your line up. You can use cash to speed up the time.

The AR feature is one of the best I’ve experienced. I find it endlessly amusing to bring my brood to life in MY world. Here’s a dilophosaurus and a nundasuchus in my office, a majungasaurus asking some folks for money in Tompkins Square Park, and an allosarus picking up my MealPal at 5 Napkin Burger. The graphics and details are pretty insane.

It’s a hell of a battery drainer, but I’m enjoying it so far. Now I have an excuse to get outside and wander new neighborhoods with Muldoon. Because I can’t go hunting dinosaurs without Muldoon to protect me!