Star Wars: Battlefront II in 2020

Star Wars: Battlefront II is a game that left a gross stain in the videogame industry. Electronic Arts is well-known for their greed; we know that all companies are in competition for our money and not our love, indeed, but EA seems as if they want to go against consumers.

Unfortunately for them, Star Wars: Battlefront II was the drop that spilled the glass.

However, June’s PS Plus line-up was interesting. Two first-person shooters, both from “let’s call ’em rival” companies. Battlefront II was one of them. Years have passed, and the game has changed a lot.

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I have PS Plus, so both games were free and I had nothing to lose, right? One of the few advantages with this service, or Gold on XBox, is the possibility to try titles that you wouldn’t even think to look at if the case was different. Personally, I am not a fan of first-person shooters; I do have a few games of the genre that I enjoy most, but in general terms I rarely play them.

Although it is dumb not to try something that had been given for free on PlayStation. I added both games to my gaming library, and I had nothing to do on my weekend so I asked myself “Why not?” It is a game that had earned a very bad reputation for its game-breaking loot boxes. EA got what it deserved, all the hate from its consumers; the same consumers that will end up buying all the loot boxes anyway. We were all expecting a great multiplayer and a good campaign (a good based on DICE standards, of course.) Everything got better when the company had to make amends for the decision to make the game feel as an insult to the gamer community and Star Wars fans.

The game turned out great. Star Wars: Battlefront II is a game that actually grabs you into the experience. The bad thing, though, is that many players gave up. Understandable, but it is a shame.

What about Battlefront II in 2020?

The game is great. I can tell you that. PS Plus gave you the opportunity to play Battlefront II for free. That is what I call a deal.

The first path to introduce yourself to the game’s mechanics is the campaign. It is a good fan service, and you’ll have the chance to play with classic characters from the franchise such as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and others. The story itself is not really that good; it is set between the original trilogy and the newest trilogy. You take control of Iden Versio, who is the commander of the Inferno Squad, a group of elite imperial soldiers. It is interesting to play in the imperial’s perspective; although the protagonist and other character change sides quickly, and there are so many time skips. It is not bad, but just keep in mind that the game is just fan service. You won’t find a deep dive into the Star Wars lore.

DICE is at its best with multiplayers, we just need to look at Battlefield 1 to know what’s up. Perhaps someone is wondering if the online game is dead today, and I can verify that it is not. The online is so active I did not have any trouble getting into the matchmaking. In fact, it took me seconds to find match among the different online modes.

Should you feel the need to play in a war between the the Rebels or Resistance against Imperials or the First Order, there is not a better place to do so. Battlefront II does a great job putting you in the shoes of any soldier, or any heroes, from the three main eras of the Star Wars franchise. There is one online mode where you control ships, and these are great; the controls are responsive. If you are old and missed Rogue Squadron, this is a good option to remember it, and play with real people!

You also have a mode where you play as any of the heroes from the three eras against the villains (or viceversa). Personally, I don’t find this mode very attractive; I am not sure if it was my own experience, but the Jedi and Sith (the characters that use lightsabers) have all the advantage. However, this is the best place for fan service; perhaps you want to kill Kylo Ren playing as Han Solo. That would be beautiful. Good luck!

The main multiplayer mode, and to me the best, is Galactic Assault. It is a large-scale war of 20 versus 20. These wars are objective-based, and many vehicles spawn around the area to use them as you see fit. This is exactly how one can imagine a war in Star Wars. You have the possibility to play with special soldiers, or even heroes or villains, as you make points by fulfilling objectives or killing enemies. These objectives are the typical in games like these; protect an area, or attack that area. Believe me, these can be very intense.

If you’ve played DICE games before, you know what you’re getting into. And you know you’re going to LOVE IT!


I apologize I used the screens of the trophies I’ve earned. I forgot to take better screenshots myself, but I deleted the game and it would have taken a long time to download the game again; 100+Gb.

One Game, Another Time

Videogames have evolved. Decades ago, gaming was so different than nowadays; they were meant to give you some entertainment. As a novelty, though, they had caused addiction, even when you look at their simplicity—just a plumber that runs from left to right, with the goal (or excuse) of rescuing a princess.

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Photo by Anurag Sharma on Pexels.com

These games are meant to play, yes, but as time goes forward, technology does too, and with that, everything about videogames.

It’s 2020, and people, especially old (boomers?), see all games as things for kids. We all know it’s too far from the truth now, with jewels rated for adults like Grand Theft Auto, Mass Effect, The Last of Us, The Witcher, Persona, among a list that is so huge for me to remember.

Not only that, the budget used for the AAA games is greater than Hollywood movies. Check Grand Theft Auto V as an example, ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ has made more money than any movie ever, and there are many others. The thing is that the production put on videogames nowadays is big. It is now a multidisciplinary art!

Art?

Yes, I called it an art, and we should agree on that; there’s no question about it. Think about it: most of them have music, design (both industrial and artistic), stories (and some better than any movie has nonetheless), and programming. Engineering and arts working together to bring one of the best things that have happened to the entertainment industry! Also, we must not forget that these games were made by companies that have everything, including accounting and human resources.

Isn’t beautiful to see them all working together? A true multidisciplinary field.

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Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

Role-playing

When we were kids, us Millennial at least, we had to use our imagination to get into a story. Not to mention, I grew up in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico; all the games were released in English. Imagine a kid like me in the late 90’s or early 2000’s trying to play a JRPG like Earthbound (Mother 2)—the only choice I had is to create make up my own stories based on the things I saw on the screen. It was fun, I’m not going to lie. The genre is called Japanese Role-Playing Game, so I was doing my role-play, except for the Japanese part. I loved the art style, and it invited me to be creative with my own childhood. I still enjoy Earthbound on my New 3DS, but I never let nostalgia cloud my judgement; after the Super Famicom and the first PlayStation era, many other titles came to my knowledge, and they got a place in my heart immediately. Also, by the PlayStation 2 era I was able to understand this language better, so it helped me understand what was happening while I played.

One of my favorite things for me is to listen every week to the 3 Gordos Bastardos (3 Chubby Bastards), a Mexican Youtube channel that speaks about videogames. A few weeks ago they talked about CRPGs (Computer Role-Playing Games). Of course, look for them only if you speak Spanish. Personally, I had never experienced a CRPG before until a sale on the PSN Store of the first Divinity Original Sin. Although I haven’t played the game as much as I want, I can see why the genre is loved; sadly it isn’t popular. These games will remind you of tabletop games like the well-known Dungeons & Dragons.

Life, however

It’s going to make you think about priorities, or put you in situations that’ll make you change your hobbies; less time to enjoy what you love, or give you enough pressure to think about everything but joy. Life is not fair, unfortunately. Whatever happens in your personal existence might affect your appreciation for everything. Perhaps the things that had made you happy just a week ago has changed now, and today it makes you feel completely the opposite; think  of a song you liked and dedicated to a girl you love, you broke up and now it’s hard to listen to it.

Same thing could happen with your videogames. The reason depends on the person and experiences, of course; just looking at your responsibilities, priorities, and time makes hard for you just the mere action of looking at your old console.

I think that if you take a break from that favorite thing of yours can help you to go back to it. Who knows?

Vambrace: Cold Soul

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I played Vambrace: Cold Soul on PS4. The influence it took from Darkest Dungeon is clear. However, I have no more references than that; I haven’t played Darkest Dungeon so take my opinion as someone that only knows this game.

The game is also available on Nintendo Switch, XBox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.

A dark place

The game takes place in a frozen city that has been suffering a curse inside its walls. Life is just getting harder and harder, and people have lost hope.

I must say that the atmosphere in this game is really good. I was expecting a few mentions of the world but not something very substantial. To me it was just a place covered in ice, but as you progress and talk to the the folks, is when you realize something is very wrong, and that you actually need to help them;the NEED help, even though some have already given up, and others are have lost their minds already.

The gameplay is easy to understand. You are alone, and as any dungeon crawler, you’re going to need to explore dangerous places, so you better go and recruit party members. There’s a specific place on the map and as you get near you get the indication.

Recruitment

When you recruit your party members, you’re going to find different type of adventurers with different abilities, ready to help you in your journey. Be prepared because if they die, THEY STAY DEAD.

Battle mode

During your exploration, there are many dangers that you will find: the first and obvious are the enemies. These will come at random encounters while walking–you’ll fight them in a battle mode, your party fave to face against an enemy party. And depending on your companions, the fights can be easy or very hard, so take with you whomever you think will be more helpful. A healer is strongly recommended, but they are not always available, so make a good balance between their abilities and yours in order to get buffs for the team and debuffs for enemies.

Even when you have a good balanced team you should remember that the enemies have different attacks that might kill you immediately, or at least leave you with a stat that will affect combat or exploration. A lot of precautions are never enough here. The difficulty varies, and doesn’t help that you have a Fear (green) meter that will increase as you walk into another room or rest. There’s yellow bar that indicates your vigor, and once this reaches zero (this drains way faster when the fear meter is full), you’ll die instantly, unless you’ve been taking some breaks camping doing bonfires in the rooms that allow it; but every time you rest at a bonfire, your fear meter increases. You have to be well-prepared for that situation, explore and go straight to your goal. Do not be afraid to give up if you see there’s no way you could make it to the end of your mission. You’d have to start the dungeon from the very beginning, but at least you learned from the previous experience.

Whenever you return to a dungeon, though, it will be completely different. It randomizes. And the problem with it, is that all the traps that you had avoided, reset in different locations. In other words: you have to walk through the same but different rooms if you decide to go back and continue later.

The traps aren’t a real problem if you have a party member with good Awareness points (three or four points) in front. Dwarves are highly recommended to avoid traps, they have a good probability to get rid of them and keep walking without getting a negative status.

If you fall into a trap, you’ll get a negative status, from a broken bone, to a blurry vision (which reduces that probability to avoid traps), bleed, and some others that’ll make your journey through that dungeon more difficult. And believe me, you don’t want to make the game harder than it could be if you’re not careful.

While you walk in a dungeon, sooner or later you’ll end up triggering an event. From finding anything suspicious, from gas pipes or weird ghosts. You can pass some of these events, but others are unavoidable. Once this happens, you’ll get to choose one of your companions to do it. I believe it doesn’t matter which part member does it, the result is randomized, so I believe this was unnecessary in the first place. I guess the developers tried to add luck to increase the difficulty a little bit more, because hard isn’t enough nowadays.

Seriously, I looked and couldn’t find if the result depended on something else than luck.

If you fail, you’re going to get a negative stat, lose health or vigor, or increase your fear meter. If you succeed, you get an item, a little more health or vigor, or a buff.

Side activities

There are side quests in the game. Some of them are interesting and some of them are not. Some of them expands the story a little more, and some others are simple. These are entertaining, I’m not going to lie; and most of these are completed while you explore the dungeons, so you can get the side quest item, “give up” the dungeon and return to the city to deliver the item. You won’t get punished for abandoning the dungeon before finishing it. You have to repeat, as I mentioned, the same but different dungeon with the enemies, traps and random events reset.

For each side quest you complete, you won’t get experience or very important items. These aren’t meaningful, to be honest. And I bet this is the main reason this has been called Darkest Dungeon: Waifu Version. And as you can see in the photos, the characters are very good-looking, especially the female characters. So, after completing a side-quest, you get a different outfit for Lyric.

Dressing room, only shows what you’ve already unlocked

I am not going to lie, they are cool. Some of them look great, some of them look sexy, and some of them are less interesting (in my opinion). This is a good addition that, if you look at other games, they’d cost $5 dollars each. So let’s appreciate our rewards.

Final impressions

If you’ve played Darkest Dungeon before, you might not find something new here, or maybe interesting.

But, if you haven’t played Darkest Dungeon (like me), then this is an interesting dungeon crawler that makes you dive into its atmosphere if you pay attention to everything that’s happening. Your protagonist, Lyric, is charismatic, and your party members have a few dialogs, too, to help you believe they are actually living being and not just soulless bodies that you control during your journey.

The game has replay value. Not the kind of replay value where you want to start immediately after the credits; believe me, you’re going to need a good break before you even think on coming back because the game is punishing at times. But you have costumes to unlock, different decisions to make to see a different conclusion. Of course, the game is not for everyone, but if you enjoy a good dungeon crawler with a hard difficulty and a dark and sad world, then I recommend you give it a try.

N7 Day

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TWELVE YEARS ALREADY!

Sometimes, you don’t need a proper introduction; sometimes, there’s something that is close to a legend, something that marked a whole generation of videogame players that went looking for a good story, specially a space opera. Indeed, I know someone expects a Star Wars game to be great, but we are fortunate to have received a game that surpasses it and even created a whole new rich universe for us to explore. Mass Effect, those who had the opportunity to play it are not going to let me lie here; the epic journey of the Commander Shepard, our protagonist, is full of emotions. Happiness, sadness, excitement to know what’s beyond Earth, and a lot more were created magnificently in this game.

Mass Effect 1

I remember playing the first Mass Effect. At first, I wanted to let it go because its controls were kinda clunky. The character movement was weird and the only reason I knew I was damaging the enemies was because their health bar was decreasing. Did it matter? Of course not! Once you’re in the story, nothing else matters. You have the option to create your own commander Shepard, male or female; you usually start with the default character (the guy on the Mass Effect cover), and you immediately start your mission: Recover a beacon in the human colony of Eden Prime. Your first enemies are the geth, the aggressive AI that is invading that place. At first, you’re going to believe this is your average story of the soldiers that need to face against these AI forces and look for their source. You’re right the first few minutes of the game. Then, everything gets complicated when you discover, almost at the very beginning, a traitor in the alliance: Saren, a Turian with the rank of a Specter, an elite soldier that reports directly AND ONLY to the Citadel Council. Just imagine the trouble that Shepard need to walk into to give the Council proof that one of the best soldiers of the alliance is now working for someone–or something–else.

Saren is controlling the Geth somehow, and the work of our character is to fight them as he/she tries to uncover the antagonist’s crimes. Though it’s worth mentioning that this happens early in the story, and you get the Specter rank afterwards; the main quest after that is to catch him, dead or alive, and make the traitor answer for his crimes. This is where everything starts to get complicated. Obviously he won’t just stand there waiting for you to fight. You investigate other planets and different solar systems across the galaxy, and if you’d thought catching Saren was the only issue among the stars, let me tell you how wrong  you are. Yes, the plot starts with this antagonist doing the thing he does; but there’s no clear purpose until the very “last” encounter against him.

The journey through the game won’t be easy, though, you must do some “bureaucracy” (quests) before getting the Specter rank, and after that, you’ll meet a lot of characters, good and bad, that are there to accompany you or try to stop you. Along the way, you’re going to discover a lot of planets, alien races, and history. Your codex has a lot of information, and everything you do, the dialogues you have, the data pads you read, and any new lore discovery will be added to it. The game is lore-rich. And so interesting that even pausing the game to read its codex is an entertaining break from the conflict.

ME1 Again

Let’s remember that this is just the first game of an EPIC space opera trilogy. A space opera that, in my opinion, surpasses any other that’s been in other games or movies. The conclusion of the first game makes clear that everything that happened was just the beginning of something way bigger than a war. It’d be the beginning of the commander Shepard’s journey along with hisor hercrew to see what’s really out there, waiting in the shadows of a vast galaxy.

See you all next year to talk a little bit more about Mass Effect, and its second entry in the series

Have you played Mass Effect? Did you love it as I did? Let me know!


There’s no way for me to describe how I felt the first time I played the game. The only thing I remember is that my passion for videogames returned thanks to Mass Effect. Adulthood can be tough and sometimes you just lose the feelings for your childhood or teenage hobbies. But Mass Effect, with its epic story and characters, made me feel as a child following a journey through space.

Thank you for reading me.

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