Fire Emblem is love. Fire Emblem is life. But also love.

After the initial guffawing of Android phone users across the world that the iOS version of Fire Emblem Heroes was not defined in the game’s announcement, it seems like iOS owners are getting the game at the same time after all. In yesterday’s Fire Emblem-themed Direct presentation, Nintendo’s second smartphone game was announced with a specific date for the Android release, but not the iOS release.

A few hours later, after the dust settled on the announcement, Nintendo clarified that the iOS version of the game would be released on the same day as the Android version.

Not only that, but we were told that Nintendo is nearing completion on a new, proper Fire Emblem game, called Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, which is meant to be a recreation of FE Gaiden. It looks awesome. Perhaps a bit simplified in combat, but yeah, it looks freaking awesome. I want. I need a new cast of characters to pair up and ship—I mean—I need new tactical puzzles to solve.

My take on the 2016 Steam Awards.

Per a PCGamer writeup, Valve has announced this year’s Steam Awards shortlists and I think they’re pretty fair, considering games released this year and games with a rather long life being included in the nominations list.

So in this post, I’m just going to fire from the hip and fill out my ballot before voting begins on 22 December based on what’s been listed in the PCGamer article. There’s quite a few categories and the post is pretty long as a result, so I’m going to place the list after a jump. (In other news, the lowercase esports podcast rides again, sometime after sundown on the East Coast.)

Continue reading

Overloaded Modewatch

Overwatch is a pretty young game and all, and, sure, there’s probably plenty of game modes that some players will want to play depending on which FPS game they played before, but ranked 1v1 mirror duels and 3v3 TDM?

PVPLive continues on the clickb–I mean–catchy and odd headline spree with: Ranked 1v1 Mirror Matches and 3v3 Elimination a Possibility in Overwatch.

Why can’t we just have cool game modes rotating into the Brawl slot, instead? I mean, Pharah-based bball would be awesome.

Revisiting MGSV

I booted up my Xbox One for the first time in six months about a week ago to play Metal Gear Solid V and I was kind of shocked. There are some parts of the game that’s aged as well as an 80-point wine.

For all of the hype surrounding the game’s costly and lengthy development and considering how stale the game got shortly after launch, it’s funny how I ended up coming to this conclusion. After I finished the story and finished grinding the single-player world (when the online functionality was not exactly smooth sailing), I justified my moving on from playing the game by concluding the game was the wrong type of grind—the very same way in which Destiny turned into the wrong type of grind that turned me off from buying in after the House of Wolves expansion.

A year later, it’s clear that the real endgame for MGSV required more commitment and patience than the typical gamer might be able to command.

After picking the game back up over the weekend, I’m nearly back to where I was at skill-wise before I stopped playing when the game was still fresh. We’re not talking about Metal Gear Online, though, because addressing that mess is its own can of worms.

I’m having fun coming back to the game, though I wish there was an easy way to replay the whole story without it being tied to my online progress.

I really intend to fully complete the game while I still ahve some sort of interest in playing it. Right now, I’m concentrating on finishing the entire list of Side Ops. After that, I’ll replay all of the story missions to make sure I complete every additional mission task and find every hidden key item. Lastly, I’ll deal with the major replay missions I haven’t completed yet.

After dealing with all of those single player things, I’d like to seriously try the multiple FOB grind. Maybe contibute to unlocking that third and final chapter of the game. If the game can keep my attention for that long. I suppose it doesn’t really help that I am playing it on my Xbox One, but I suppose it could be worse. I could be playing it on my Xbox 360.

Until then, I suppose I need to figure out how to train DD to stop blocking my line of sight.

ATVI’s renewed Facebook push expands to game integration

Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat’s resident gaming reporter, scored some interviews with a couple of execs from Blizzard and Facebook in exchange for writing up how all of the new Facebook integrations will make Overwatch better. Or at least I’m pretty sure that’s how Blizzard execs agree to speak to the media at all.

His article leads with the under-the-radar announcement that a couple of Facebook APIs will be integrated into the Overwatch client. The first provides a find your friends-type service between Battle.net and Facebook. The second integration allows for games to be streamed via Facebook’s own live-streaming platform, Live.

The Facebook Login will go live later this month with Battle.net games such as World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Diablo III, StarCraft II, and Blizzard’s most recent blockbuster release, Overwatch, using their Facebook accounts. That could help Blizzard address the problem that comes with anonymous accounts, such as hate speech and bullying.

The last remark in the blurb above anonymous accounts is something Blizzard could address itself, but clearly isn’t bothered enough about to invest time to fix that problem with a first-party solution, unlike some other fucking triple-A game developer who is at least trying to add a compromise of sorts.

Later on in the article, this red flag describes a potential end-game for all of this Facebook integration:

Adding Facebook Login will also pave the way for new social functionality in Blizzard games while highlighting Facebook as a platform of choice for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content. As an example, Blizzard is in the process of incorporating Facebook’s Live API in order to add “Go Live” streaming functionality for its games.

With the flip of a few switches and a bit more money changing hands, a Facebook login might be the only way you could end up interacting with Blizzard support, a game’s forums, and other players in-game. While that might come off as a doomsday scenario to most, I don’t think it’s such an impossible leap, especially if Facebook continues to pay off ATVI for more exclusive in-roads to Blizzard’s other recent titles.

As for my take on all this…

2300 UTC. 1900 Eastern. 1600 Pacific.

Overwatch unlocks for play later today. I’m pretty excited to jump back into the grind of unlocking and completing a new game again, and if the beta was any indication, I won’t rage out on it so much–especially considering matches usually take less than ten minutes to complete.

That’s one of the major sticking points that I have with trying to compete in the CS:GO matchmaking mode as presented in the client. I can’t handle the range of other people who play matchmaking–from players who don’t effectively communicate to those that would rather spam the dankest of memes and not even bother to try. It becomes a crap shoot as to whether or not I am going to be matched up with competent teammates and other players who seriously just want to try to play their best–or at least give an honest go at the game.

It’s not like I have thousands of hours in the game or anything, but when you end up playing at least forty or fifty minutes per map and being locked into playing with shit teammates who leave early, who decide not to listen, and/or who intentionally lose the game makes for a certain extra dramatic element that Valve isn’t addressing or making an effort to fix.

Sure, the Prime Matchmaking scheme they announced might help remove the more suspect accounts from matchmaking contention, but it won’t completely remove them unless they allow for Prime players to only be matched with other Prime players. I seriously doubt the likelihood of Valve attempting to fight off the epidemic of smurf accounts that are commonly used to circumvent the matchmaking system in the interest of not closing off additional vectors for revenue.

Meanwhile, I seem to be the only person in my group of friends that haven’t intentionally left a match in the Overwatch beta due to pure rage. I don’t see how I can get upset with a game that I will end up playing for an hour straight and not be limited to one match.

I might have been salty on more than one occasion with how our team’s composition might not have been effective against another team’s, but there always seems to be a rock, paper, scissors approach to composition strategy that’s fluid enough thanks to being able to swap between heroes during the respawn timer. However, I generally feel more confident in being able to suggest a character swap in Overwatch than I am to suggest a plan of attack in CS:GO.

Forget tactical strategy as a parallel, consider buytime in CS:GO. Entire classes of weapons are considered too unreliable to be used at a competitive level–leaving you with four rifles, four pistols and sometimes a shotgun. Maybe SMGs if you’re looking to out-play your opponents or play like a complete moron who can’t hit shots to save his life (as I end up being on a regular basis).

For some reason I don’t feel as critical about my teammate’s decisions in Overwatch when I was playing the beta. Perhaps that’s only a temporary thing, but I think that on the whole, I might find that I enjoy how Blizzard has casualized the team arena shooter while making it feel fun to play in a way that only Blizzard could.

I’m looking forward to this evening. For sure.

In my opinion, Infinite Warfare could be the first worthwhile COD game since Black Ops 2.

That trailer is great. Let’s go over the reasons why.

No clear jump jet mobility in the showcase. Are we going back to normal?

Titanfall was ahead of its time, but I think it’s fair to say that it lost to Call of Duty because it entered into the shooter popularity contest. However, mobility in shooters are usually one of those predictable things that complicate tactical situations that maps are meant to balance. In a situation where one might have watched two corners at once, now you have to consider three or four times as many angles above ground-level. Ignoring the hook mechanic briefly shown off after “takeoff” and focusing completely on ground based combat, the trailer didn’t showcase advanced mobility, even though plenty of fighters could be seen running around with full suits of body armor. Anything to reduce the insanity of the last two entries would be a welcome deviation.

Space. We in it.

Do I really have to elaborate? Fighter-to-fighter combat? Capital ships? Other planets? How does this universe’s faster-than-light travel work? This is a question generator of the good variety. There’s so much that can be added in by writers who have wider creative scopes than in previous iterations of the game, though Advanced Warfare was a pretty neat entry into the series’ campaigns, I think they could tell something a bit more down-to-Earth, so to speak. Hey, what if they just completely Homeworld this shit? What if this is actually the product of a Infinity Ward dev exploring a what-if for making Halo? Or Homeworld? Or a unique idea?

No Zombies? But what will keep the twelve year olds with questionable parents occupied and out of the multiplayer modes?

Nope, IW’s confirmed that there’s going to be zombies. Less squeakers in the multiplayer, thank goodness.

Will I be compelled enough to buy anything but the standard SKU?

I wonder. Infinity Ward did a livestream today wherein game producers talked about new lethals and new tacticals for players to experiment with in the multiplayer modes and I sort of froze on that thought. New things that aren’t guns? I mean, I’m sure that the multiplayer mode will be a return to form with the create-a-class points system and none of this class business. And a draft for a shooter? Come on now, why not just go back to what made COD popular in the first place–console scrubs using controllers with auto-aim to shoot quote-less-deserving-endquote players in the face followed by a boast about the victor’s present bank account balance.

Actually–what if the PC version of the game is good enough (and supported enough) to spark enough of the community–all its own–to get the console gamers to come along and ditch controllers? This game could be that last straw that forces console/controller players on side, truly relegating consoles to the casuals of the gaming scene.

Regardless, if they screw up this chance and fumble all of this hype they’re creating for themselves, I won’t be surprised, but I will be disappointed. I want to like Call of Duty again. I think this game can right many wrongs perpetrated against the community–especially the preference of console systems over PC players.

As for the question at hand: you bet. Modern Warfare Remastered just ratcheted the average sale price for this title up anywhere from ten to twenty dollars. That’s something $ATVI is going to be keeping a close eye on, especially if it finds its approach successful here and feels confident enough to try this approach again with another franchise.