Fantastic Resources and Where to Find Them: Delf’s Search for a Strategy Game

Back on Christmas Day (which was almost a month ago already, where does the time go?), I spent a couple of hours in the evening being somewhat… manic. I don’t recall precisely what initiated this, but for whatever reason I had pictured a specific kind of game in my head, and I was now tearing apart my collection or the internet in a frenzy to find and play it. It cascaded into me playing a handful of games since that point, trying to find something that would absolutely meet the requirements I was searching for.

From this, I ended up discarding or putting aside most of these games when they failed to achieve success, or else playing the ones I did stick with for incomplete or else different reasons. Most of these games I’ll speak about at length in the future (probably their own articles), but by now I feel like I should address the kind of game I was looking for.

In short, I was looking for quite possibly the nerdiest thing I could: a game of resource management, production chains, and logistics. And while I’m sure a few people could see that and immediately list off a few examples — just as I could, did, and started with in my search — I was looking for something more expansive. I don’t just want the end result of the chains, but the acquisition of the resources used, and the utilisation of these to allow me to expand or further my goals.

See, the first title I gravitated towards during my thought process and subsequent search was Black Desert Online. Besides the flashy and graphically striking action combat that the game sells as its main feature, it has a variety of “life skills” to complement this. You can set up farms, buy and sell trade resources in various markets that you can either manually carry or transport via wagons and boats (which you can build, and even breed better horses for), acquire property in towns that can be converted into production centres, and hire workers to work these centres or even gather the resources themselves from some areas if you didn’t feel like doing it yourself.

This was the part of the game that kept me playing for a lot longer than I expected previously. I would frequently go from place to place in order to figure out what resources were available, do smaller quests in order to open them up or else just farm contribution points that let me expand my sphere of influence, or just run trade routes back and forth in the background while doing other things. And it was this model that the manic searching for more games like this was based around.

So why didn’t I just play Black Desert Online when this mood struck me? Well… a few reasons.

Continue reading “Fantastic Resources and Where to Find Them: Delf’s Search for a Strategy Game”

Advertisements

Some Games I Liked From 2018’s Second Half

For the games I liked from the first half, here’s a link to the post. Assuming you don’t want to scroll down a screen’s length, anyway. Don’t say I don’t look out for you~

Just as I am somehow delivering another (hopefully) great post within a week of the last one, so too did it seem that the second half of 2018 was dropping an intriguing title in our laps at much the same pace. This breakneck schedule seemed to continue pretty much until the first week of December, whereupon it took a quite breather for the holiday season and then is slated to get right back to it in just a few days.

Looking at you, Tales of Vesperia. Can’t even give me time to fully digest the FF14 patch updating as I write, can you?

So let’s get right back to it then. First, a couple of footnotes of sorts that I could have included from the first half, then right back to the second half of 2018, culminating in a quick talk about my favourite game of the year at the end. I’ll have plenty more to say about Yakuza Kiwami 2 than what’s here, but keeping to the 2-3 paragraphs trend for this article seems to suit me well.

Continue reading “Some Games I Liked From 2018’s Second Half”

Some Games I Liked From 2018’s First Half

My personal favourite game of the year for 2018 was Yakuza Kiwami 2.

Amazing how short this can be when I skip all the preamble, huh?

Regardless, welcome one and all to the other side of 2018. Love it or hate it, it was an interesting year for video games. There was a slew of stellar indie titles, some absolutely incredible high budget games from big triple A studios that were purely single player or console exclusives… and there was a continuing, unrelenting downwards spiral into a late-stage capitalist hellscape which saw more backlash and discussion from gamers than I’ve ever witnessed before despite all that.

Single player games got better, multiplayer games didn’t (for the most part), fan-favourite company goodwill was squandered, burned, and ultimately lost, and we’re all starting to feel quite bitter and jaded of the whole hobby.

With all of that in mind, I’d still like to draw attention to some of the games that I quite enjoyed throughout 2018, which I’ve picked from a list of game releases I found on Wikipedia. The list proved too long and unwieldy to fit in one article, so I’ve split it based on the first half of the year with the latter to come around Soon™.

I don’t plan to draw it out or make a spectacle of it like the hideously late Delfies, though I will draw special attention to and write at length about my favourite game that I mentioned up there afterwards. Instead, I’m going with the abridged format: no more than 2 or 3 paragraphs on each game, and the only criteria was that they released from January to June and I played and enjoyed them. Let’s begin.

Continue reading “Some Games I Liked From 2018’s First Half”

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: A Focused Look at the Systems and Flaws of the Combat

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 came out in December, and I played about ten hours of the game in that month before putting it down for other titles. I did enjoy those few hours, but there were a lot of issues with it that kept it from gripping me at the time.

Eventually, I did come back to it about six months later, and did power through it to completion. That took an additional 100 hours of playtime, give or take, with a lot more content that I could still go and do; that should give you an idea of the size and scope of the game. It did improve considerably as it went, but there were times even dozens of hours in when I found myself saying “I’m not sure if I love this game or hate it.”

But still, results speak for themselves. I got through the game and overall quite enjoyed my time. The conclusion was satisfying, and some of the plot developments and twists were quite enjoyable. There were nice and unexpected tie-ins to the first game that made it worthy of being called Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in ways that X was not. And then I ended up binging the sizeable expansion that released shortly after I finished it, enjoying that also.

Now, as much as I like the game, plenty of those flaws do stick with me. There’s a lot of questionable game design in there that I wanted to deep dive into, going over what works and what doesn’t. That was originally the purpose of this article; alas, like many of my writing projects of late, it didn’t pan out as intended. It’s been about two months since the first draft of this article was written, which probably comes as a surprise to absolutely no-one. That said, I want to put something out there, so I’m repurposing what I wrote into a more focused article.

I could talk about the Xenoblade series as a whole quite a bit on many levels, and perhaps I shall do so at some point. For now, this article is taking a good look at the fairly interesting combat system that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 offers, and why it ends up being so flawed and clunky despite the promise.

Continue reading “Xenoblade Chronicles 2: A Focused Look at the Systems and Flaws of the Combat”

The Delfies 2017 Abridged

It’s about the time of the year when one would start considering contenders for their game of the year selections. Many strong titles have released already, there’s a few right around the corner, and the big release season is about to kick off and continue pretty much until the end of November. A good chunk of the games that might be considered are already out and being thoroughly digested already.

…And then there’s me, still not writing up his picks for 2017. Go figure.

I said a couple of months back that I was going to do an abridged version of the remaining Delfies, and I genuinely did attempt to do so. Only issue is that, in true Delf fashion, it took me no time at all to continue rambling until the abridged versions… weren’t so abridged. When there was always something more to say, I wanted to make sure I was saying as much of it as possible, and as I got closer to #1 it only got more unwieldy.

Now, it’s August. I should have had this up in January. At this point, it’s nothing but a mental thorn in my side that’s serving as a writing block that keeps me from wanting to put to paper any other topics on video games and utilising this blog as intended. I’m going to fix that here and now, and get the Delfies out of the way so it no longer weighs me down.

So: a single paragraph! That’s what each of the remaining seven games is getting, no more and no less. You know where to find me if you want to hear more in-depth thoughts on each of the games, and no doubt I’ll have plenty to say about them in future discussions. For now though… let’s just get this over with at long last, shall we?

Continue reading “The Delfies 2017 Abridged”

A big giant letter F

Figures… the day I end the hiatus and aspire to push on with my video game related writing and journalism is the day that the video game journalism world loses a hugely influential and important figure.

I have no personal story here. I’ve never met or chatted with Total Biscuit, though it was always kind of a dream of mine to be able to join that “inner circle” of sorts and show up on the Co-optional podcast or play on a stream with them… something like that. I’m not one of those that will be mourning the loss of a dear friend and family member. All the same, I’ll still be mourning.

This guy is immensely important to the work that so many people do in the video game writing and content scenes. He’s one of the key figures that people can look to on as having proved the viability of being a “content creator”. Whether that’s on podcasts, streams, YouTube videos, shoutcasting… he’s had a hand in all of it, and so many who now partake in this do so because of the ground work he laid down.

He had standards that he was rarely if ever willing to compromise in, both in his own work and in the video games that he looked over and reported on. At the same time, he was fair in covering the strengths and weaknesses of what he played, being honest about his feelings and experiences on them. More than that, he often covered indie games or lesser known titles that may have never gotten any kind of coverage or attention had he not.

It’s honestly crazy to look back and see how much has been influenced by his work. Hell, I first encountered him and Jesse Cox alike when they were covering the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm beta stuff. That would have been in 2010. Even by that point he was decently well known and established through WoW Radio stuff.

Throughout all of these years, the biggest lesson and message that Total Biscuit pushed to aspiring content creators was a simple one: be consistent. Set a schedule and keep up with it. Put your content out without fail, as much as you can, and stick with it. It’s a simple lesson, but an extremely important one… and one that the last update shows is one I sometimes struggle to take to heart, personally.

And it’s not just the writing and content creation part that TB is influential with, too. It’s been no secret that he’s been fighting a losing battle with cancer for years now, yet he never made it seem like a losing battle. The first diagnosis was terminal, but he chose to keep on fighting anyway like a goddamn rockstar. From the very outset he was determined to beat the odds, and his longevity means he very much did.

There’s been interviews and discussions that have talked about his battle with cancer that have honestly, legitimately saved lives through the information offered. All throughout, he’s been adamant on the notion of “It is the enemy, so I must fight it.” And so he did. He kept on with his content wherever possible, as unflinchingly as possible, and even in the final months when it was clear that he was in pain and suffering… still he pushed on. That’s probably why the news that he was finally retiring earlier this month, and this morning’s announcement that his fight was finally over really hit home.

You never knew me, John, but I — and many others — knew you. And we’ll carry on your work and legacy as best as we can. May you rest in peace.

Big-Boss-Salute-720x408

Is there anybody… out there?

Yes, I’m still alive. Sadly the blog has not been, but I’m hoping to correct this in the coming days. Details below the cut, but to keep it brief…

tl;dr: Remaining Delfies entries to be released at once in abridged form ASAP, scheduled articles going away, various labelled articles becoming less important. Attempting at least a post once a week on no particular schedule or theme, as if this was a blog or something strange like that.

Continue reading “Is there anybody… out there?”