Review: Kingdom Hearts 3

Overall Score 1/5

Let’s just say I have more hope for the next one.

Warning: Spoilers, including secret ending spoilers.

Storytelling

The story was the worst part, which is disappointing because I fell in love with this game because of the story in the first game. It was all over the place while trying to tie all the loose ends all the previous games left us. For a game for kids, it’s way too complicated for a child to understand, and the writing is terrible.

Nothing was really happening in the beginning of the game. The story just drags while you’re left to explore just seven worlds, and to be honest, I don’t know why we needed to go to those worlds, I simply don’t remember. Something about Sora needing to find the power of waking. He, Donald, and Goofy are followed around by the evil people within Organization XIII, which, I still don’t know how they came back, I’m still confused on that.

Basically, the story was so forgettable, I can’t even remember most of it for this review. Nothing actually happens until after the Big Hero Six world, and then it’s the end. The ending is anti-climactic at best, and Xehanort is no more, so I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next game, even after watching the secret endings. All I know is that Xigbar’s got some plans, and that video game from the Toy Story world is actually its own real world.

Setting

The worlds were cool and different and fun, but this game was a lot smaller compared to the previous games. There weren’t as many worlds in this one.

You automatically start out in Hercules’s world, Olympus, which is in every Kingdom Hearts game, so no surprise there. You finally get to travel within the city of Thebes, which is interesting, as well as going onto Mount Olympus where all the gods live. It would have been cool to also include the Underworld, too, but then maybe the world would have been too big.

From there, you go to Twilight Town and meet Hayner, Pence, and Olete again. I was very disappointed that we couldn’t travel most of Twilight Town like in the previous games. This world is basically the sanctuary of the game where you can buy anything you need and make food for your adventure. I loved how they included Ratatouille as the chef, that was just perfect and he was so adorable, but those quick time cooking mini games were annoying. Also, there were actual NPC citizens instead of an empty desolate town this time, which was nice.

The Hundred Acre Wood has a couple new characters in it, and new mini games that help you get food. But that’s about it.

The Toy Story world was a lot of fun. I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to be a small toy in such a big world, and I got to feel that in this game. But we don’t get to see any humans because the toys are in a copy of their world or something? It would have been kind of cool to have to play dead whenever they were around, that would have been a fun little stealth element in the game.

The Kingdom of Corona was basically like watching Tangled all over again, but with Sora, Donald, and Goofy standing in the corner. You practically don’t even have to see the movie to know what’s going on. But this world was one of the most beautiful ones to explore.

Monstropolis felt like a waste of time. I barely remember that one at all. I just liked taking pictures of Boo cowering in the corner whenever we were fighting the unversed. It made sense that there were unversed in this world and not heartless since the monsters used to harvest the screams of children for their energy. The story takes place after the events of the first Monster’s Inc movie, and Sully fixed Boo’s door so she could visit. But Randal is trying to make it so they use screams again instead of the much more sustainable laughter.

The Caribbean looked the most realistic out of all the worlds and the game in general, but they still made Sora, Donald, and Goofy look like they fit right in. How? I don’t know, art magic. And it was fun to explore under water. Pirate ship battles were fun and simple, the controls were actually pretty intuitive for it. This world was a favorite of mine because of how well they created it, the artwork was great.

But Arendelle was terrible. You don’t even need to watch Frozen to know what’s going on. This world was the most tedious and the story made no sense. I wanted to go inside that ice castle, but you just don’t, and why does Hans turn into an ice wolf? And holy shit, if I have to listen to “Let it Go” one more fucking time, I swear to god!

Big Hero Six was also forgettable in terms of the first play through, but it’s a fun world to go back to if you want to explore San Fransokyo. I was disappointed with this one because Big Hero Six was one of my favorite movies.

After all those worlds, you go to the Keyblade Graveyard and the games ends. The Keyblade Graveyard hasn’t changed since Birth By Sleep.

There’s also the Realm of Darkness, but you can’t really travel there willingly. This is where they save Aqua from.

And Scala ad Caelum, Xehanort’s home town where the final battle takes place.

I hated navigating through the World Map, but flying through space wasn’t terrible. There was a lot more freedom than the previous games, being able to fly in all directions instead of being stuck on a track going straight.

Characters

There is no way I am going down a list of all the characters in this game. I’m just going to mention how disappointed I am at the fact there there were no Final Fantasy Characters in this one. I will also mention that Kairi was a lot more bad-ass and daring in KH2, in fact, she looks younger in this game, which threw me off.

Plot

-Sigh- I actually had to use JIminy Cricket’s Journal to remember the story.

Xehanort has been revived by the new Organization XIII, and his plans are almost complete. He wants to stage a clash between seven guardians of light and thirteen seekers of darkness to form the X-blade and plunge the worlds into darkness again (Why, though? Who knows?). So, Sora and the gang have to find guardians of light and meet his challenge before he attacks seven innocent people instead.

Master Yen Sid tells Sora and the gang to find the three lost keyblade wielders for a start, Aqua, Ventus, and Terra. Sora also wants to free Roxas’s heart still sleeping inside of him, and for that he needs the “power of waking” (very creative). But since there was no vessel for Roxas’s body, they looked to the former Organization XIII members turned back into scientists to make one for them (well, a couple).

The beginning of the game is spent trying to obtain the power of waking, and that’s what drags on for multiple worlds.

Meanwhile, King Mickey and Riku are exploring the realm of darkness to try and find Aqua.

Also, Kairi and Axel were in some kind of dimension where time didn’t matter so they could train to use their new keyblades.

Did I lose you yet? This is just the set up.

Sora, Donald, and Goofy travel to the different worlds mentioned above trying to obtain the power of waking, protect the new princesses of light (Rapunzel, Elsa, Anna, and Kairi), and figure out what the new Organization XIII is after, all at once. Meanwhile, Maleficent and Pete are back and are looking for a “black box,” following Sora and his friends around but never actually doing anything. Sometimes the game cuts to Riku and the king in the realm of darkness and you get to play as Riku for a little bit, and even Aqua. I’m pissed we still never get to play as Kairi. I know she can fight, we saw her in KH2!

Anyway, Aqua gets consumed by the darkness but gets saved, because this is Kingdom Hearts and none of the main characters can have a tragic ending. After saving her, they were able to save Ventus because she knew where he was, Castle Oblivion. They fight Vanitas, who has also been following them around, and Ventus woke up sometime in the middle of it when Sora called out to him and released him from his body. That’s when they forced Vanitas to retreat.

The guardians of light meet back at Yen Sid’s tower, Axel and Kairi included, and they go to the Keyblade Graveyard for the final battle, which kind of also drags on. There are multiple battles, and you lose the first time, practically dying only to be revived by this creature I vaguely remember from the phone game named Chritithy. He guides you while you try to “piece back together Sora’s fragmented body.” I’m not sure why this had to happen.

Then you go back to the battle in the graveyard and keep fighting. There are a few fights, because you have to fight multiple Organization XIII members, Riku’s dark self, Vanitas, and all of Xehanort’s copies, one of them releasing Terra (finally). Oh, and Roxas and Xion both come back somehow, too.

After all of that, THEN you get to fight the real, old Xehanort. But when you defeat him, it’s anti-climactic, and he ascends into Kingdom Hearts I guess? Like, did he die or….?

And then comes all the endings. For some reason, Kairi needs to be saved again, so Sora goes to save her, and disappears for the rest of the ending while we see how everyone else ends up. Oh, and Namine also comes back with her own vessel, too. Why all these nobodies are people all of a sudden, I have no idea. I don’t know how Sora and Kairi can be whole without their nobodies, it just didn’t make sense to me.

Then we see that Sora somehow saves Kairi, but then disappears, and we see Kairi cry.

Xigbar found the black box Maleficent and Pete have been looking for in the Keyblade Graveyard, and he summons the people with the animal masks from the phone game. This is where the game lost me because I only played the phone game for so long, and that movie they gave us to watch was so boring, I didn’t pay attention to any of it.

And then the secret ending showed Sora was alive, but in an unfamiliar world, the game world from the Toy Story world the toys thought he actually came from.

…I have more hope for the next game. This whole story doesn’t make any sense. Maybe we’ll even find out what’s in that black box.

Invisibility

I did get pretty immersed in the game-play, but the voice acting and the awkward timing with the animations threw me off. I understand the previous games, but they could have done a much better job with the animation timing. It was just as slow and awkward, I thought I was playing the PS2 again.

Mood

The mood felt familiar, so they did a good job at keeping it consistent. But this game didn’t invoke much emotion from me compared to the others. I was mostly indifferent throughout the whole game. The only thing tugging at my heart was when Sora disappeared and we had no idea what happened to him after he saved Kairi.

But then the secret ending just told me he was alive so…it was short lived.

Movement

The story was stale and confusing and all over the place. Not much else I can say.

What I Liked

The game itself is fun, it’s pretty, the lighting is fantastic, and the design of the menus and everything were consistent. The music is always great, Yoko Shimomura never disappoints. And it’s fun taking pictures with the Gummi Phone. The controls were fluid (except when navigating the world map) and there were a few new worlds to explore.

That’s it. I hated everything else.

Conclusion

It’s a shame because this is my favorite franchise of all time, and they’re going to end it like this? After like, ten years of waiting, they’re gonna just dump us with this?!

I’m just going to blame Disney for why this game sucks. I already know they’re the reason the Frozen world was the worse one.

Just like with Final Fantasy XV, because this story is broken up into so many pieces, it’s hard to keep track of. I would consider myself a veteran fan, but even I didn’t play the phone game enough to understand everything by the end. I was kind of pissed, because I don’t feel like playing more of that phone game, nor do I want to watch that boring ass movie all over again.

I think this is just a bad habit Square Enix has, where they break the already complicated story up into a million, expensive pieces over the course of 10+ years and multiple consoles and handheld devices and mediums. I wish they would just keep it simple in the future.

How did you like Kingdom Hearts 3? Did you hate it as much as everyone else?

What it's Like to Work for Postmates

Lately, I’ve been seeing ads for Postmates all over the internet, I even see some of my favorite YouTubers advertising them, like Philip De Franco for example. So I thought I’d talk about my experience working for them, because, to be honest, I think Postmates is pretty sketchy.

DISCLAIMER: I am only speaking from past experiences and I am not speaking for all Postmate Fleet members. I sometimes speak of money, keep in mind that I live in Orlando, Florida, so the numbers might be different depending on where you live.

How It Started

I’ve worked for multiple delivery app services, including GrubHub, Instacart, and Amazon Flex, so I have a few things to compare Postmates to. I’ve worked for Postmates since December 31st, 2017, right after I graduated from grad school, and since then, I can still work for them even though I haven’t touched the Postmates Fleet app in months, nor have I updated any kind of paperwork to them (background checks, insurance, etc.). All I have to do is open the Fleet app and tell them that I’m available for work.

Getting a job with Postmates is really easy. All you do is sign up, and they send you a pre-payed Postmates card to use for orders in restaurants that don’t work with Postmates, as well as a bag to hold the food in. You activate the card and from there they do a background check that is really quick and bam! You got a job with them. No interview necessary.

Working for a delivery service like this in general is expensive. You need a good phone with good service, you need a car most of the time (at least with Postmates you can walk or use a bike, but good luck getting any orders unless you’re in the middle of a major city), and insurance for that car, not to mention that you get paid un-taxed money since you’re an independent contractor, so you end up owing the government next tax season unless you periodically pay them on your own.

That un-taxed paycheck is nothing compared to the phone bill, car insurance bill, gas needs, car repairs, tolls, parking meters (which you can’t get receipts for to write out on your taxes), possible parking tickets while waiting for an order at a restaurant, and whatever other bills you might need to pay for, so this isn’t a job to have full time. This is only good for making some extra cash on the side if you happen to already have all of the things required, and even then, it’s a stretch.

It’s Probably Not Worth It

Here is how both Postmates and GrubHub, and I’m assuming other food delivery apps work for the workers. We get an order, we drive there, we pick up the food. From then on, the mileage from the restaurant to the customer’s house is calculated, we get a few cents per mile, but most customers usually live within five minutes of the restaurant, maybe one mile or two, rarely do we make a significant amount of money from mileage. We don’t get compensated for driving TO the restaurant, so if someone cancels the order before you get there, you just wasted gas. But if everything goes through and you deliver the food, the customer doesn’t have to tip you until after you already leave, and sometimes, since you’re not in their face, they don’t tip, leaving you with a measly $4 for your trouble if they lived a minute away from the restaurant.

Sometimes, the restaurant isn’t even there anymore, which is just great, because I wasted gas and time and don’t get anything from it.

My favorite customers are the ones that would tip me in cash, because the tips you get digitally also need to be taxed, which to me, is bullshit, considering we already get paid less than minimum wage and probably won’t get tips half the time.

And customers can order from a restaurant only so far from their houses, so essentially, most if not all customers live within 5-7 minutes of the restaurant in my experience. The most I’ve ever seen was 15 minutes, those are rare though.

I remember having to do someone’s entire Walgreens shopping for like, 30-45 minutes, it ended up being over $100 worth of stuff, and the customer lived five or so minutes away, and he didn’t tip (I knew he wasn’t going to with that kind of bill), and all I got was $4.88 for that. I could have declined that order and made so much more money doing other orders in that time. So just like everyone else in the service industry, you get paid less than minimum wage and are at the mercy of people who may or may not tip you for your trouble.

It Can Be Dangerous

Do you know how many accidents I avoided? How many I almost didn’t notice? How many I almost caused if I didn’t catch my mistake in time? Constantly driving is dangerous, and if you were in my position (unemployed otherwise and lucky to have a boyfriend make the rest of the money for the bills), you have no choice.

I didn’t know this, but my car insurance company wouldn’t have covered me if I got into an accident while working because I didn’t include that in my plan (I was only covered for driving TO work, not driving FOR work), which would have made my insurance bill an extra $20. Luckily, I never got into an accident by the time I quit these delivery services. I was lucky. Especially since I’m driving in Florida, the worst place to be if you want to drive. No one knows how to drive around here. The main reason I quit these delivery jobs is because of the infamous I-4. You always see at least one accident, and at least two during rush hour.

If you are working for one of these delivery services, PLEASE go to your car insurance agent and make sure you are covered.

Trust is Not There

It is very easy to steal someone’s food if you work for Postmates. Once you reach the customer’s house, you could say you delivered it when you didn’t, or you could bullshit the app until you convince it that the “customer isn’t there” and so you can get free food that someone else paid for. This happened to a friend of mine while I was still actively working for Postmates, and he said he couldn’t even talk to anyone about it, losing his money. And once the order is considered “delivered,” you can’t contact the driver anymore.

And he was right. I went to the Postmates website. There is no phone number to call, not for customer service, nor for the Fleet members. All support is automated. They provide an email, and then the response you get is automated. You never get to speak to a real human person, whether you’re a customer, or a worker. I’ve never spoken to anyone within Postmates who might have been my superior or something, nothing, no one, I wasn’t even sure if they existed.

I had to contact Postmates because of a bug in the system one time. Multiple people got the same order for something, so when I got to the place to pick up the order, they said someone else already picked it up, and then were confused when I showed them the exact same order going to the same person. I couldn’t call Postmates because there is no phone number. I had to cancel the order, which gave me a warning saying I would be fired if I kept doing it. So I went to the website to see if I could email them about the situation, and got an automated response that didn’t even relate to what I was talking about.

This is very different from the three other delivery services I’ve worked for. GrubHub, Instacart, and Amazon Flex, while they also have their problems, at least have a human person you can speak to over the phone if you happened to be fucked over by a worker, or if you are a worker and need guidance.

Speaking of getting fired, if you’re rating is below 4.7 stars on average, you’re automatically fired, so you’re at the mercy of the customers to essentially decide if you get to keep the job, even though some of them might not know that and rate you three stars for being average. Or maybe they just don’t like your face, so they give you one star. It doesn’t matter how many successful deliveries you do, and there is no investigation, you just get terminated if you’re rating is too low. And it’s not like you can call someone from Postmates to defend yourself.

Then, there are the times where the food gets destroyed on the way to the customer’s house. It’s happened sometimes when I ordered food, and when I delivered. Sometimes the food just gets messed up on your way to the customer because of a bump in the road or something. I delivered someone’s Chinese food and their soup spilled all over inside the bag. I felt so bad and didn’t even notice it because it was in the lunch bag the whole time, I didn’t know it tipped over until it was too late, and then when that happens, it’s not like me or the customer has a human person to call for help, or a refund, or even a discount. I obviously didn’t get tipped for that one.

Lately, when trying to order from Postmates, it’s just gotten way too expensive. There’s a “small cart fee” now, so if you order something less than $15, you get charged an extra $2 or something like that. And then the delivery fee is just ridiculous sometimes, it’s the price of a whole other meal at worst, it’s just not worth it anymore.

And where do you think that delivery fee goes? Not to us drivers, that’s for sure. No, we just get $4, plus mileage from the restaurant to the customer, plus the tip you probably won’t get. And then you have to pay taxes on that still. I’ve had to drive 15-20-30 minutes to places to pick up food, only to drop it off five minutes away and get maybe $5 and no tip.

What Restaurants Have Told Me

Sometimes, restaurants would complain to me about Postmates. One time at a restaurant called Huey Magoo’s, they turned me away because they didn’t want to work with Postmates. I don’t know why, but that was weird. They were the only restaurant to do that in my experience.

A Chinese restaurant manager told me that the reason the food hadn’t even been started to be made yet is because they are used to the food never being picked up, wasting food and money. So they waited for me to get there to start making the food.

Other restaurants would be confused whenever Postmates provided something on their menu that the restaurant didn’t serve anymore, so some of Postmate’s menu items AND their prices are inaccurate, or outdated.

A Few Positives

This isn’t to say that there aren’t a few good things to come from Postmates. Assuming most of the drivers are decent, it’s convenient, it gives people a way to make some extra cash, and if you worked every day, you can essentially get paid every day. Postmates pays you about 5-7 days after you work for even one day, so if you work every day, you get money from the week before every day. That came in handy when I needed cash fast and always got at least $20 a day. And sometimes, the customer truly isn’t at the destination and you actually get a free meal out of it.

It’s also very freeing because you don’t have to schedule anything, you can just spontaneously work for a couple hours and see what you get. That’s what I liked the most about working for them, the freedom to be online and offline at any time for as little or as long as you want.

Conclusion

Job security is questionable, safety is not guaranteed (both for the customer, and the driver), and you really don’t make a lot of money unless you work on the busy days, and on those days, the market can get over saturated with other drivers.

All of these things combined with me being alone with my thoughts in the car for 8+ hours at least five days a week has done a number on my mental health. At least with GrubHub, as long as you choose your hours ahead of time and then work said hours, you’re guaranteed a salary. In case you don’t get enough orders, the company just makes up the difference.

Note: For transparency’s sake, I didn’t always do Postmates for that amount of hours, I combined it with GrubHub and then eventually Instacart and Amazon Flex, all together to work a full time schedule to make ends meet.

But I can’t say I feel comfortable suggesting Postmates to people, both for work or to order food. If you’re a customer, it’s too expensive. If you’re a driver, you don’t make a lot. You’re losing a lot of money either way, at least the way I see it.

What makes me think Postmates is sketchy is the lack of a human to talk to. Again, there is no customer service number, and when you email them, you get automated responses. And then after everything else I just talked about with how expensive it is to order, and then how little the drivers get, it just makes me suspicious. I’m probably not going to use them much anymore. Just doesn’t seem worth it.

What’s your experience with Postmates? Have you worked with them? If so, how did it work out for you?

Review: Soul Calibur VI

Overall Score: 3/5

Meh…

It’s not bad, I just wish there was more.

This review is going to be a bit different. Since this is a remake of the original Soul Calibur, there’s no use in reviewing the story since it’s the same thing, the same characters, and the same setting.

Let me start off by saying that this game is way better than the fifth one. There was a museum mode this time, and you can play each character’s story, so it took me more than one night to finish it. The mini-game is also pretty fun, although it just reminds me of the one from Soul Calibur II. When you play it you unlock more outfits and weapons, as well as museum artifacts (Soul Calibur III still had the best mini game, though).

But, there weren’t many characters, the story is told like the fifth game, only with color this time, and the character creation mode is exactly the same as the fifth game, it even has the same bugs. I kind of miss the way Soul Calibur IV told it’s story, through a combination of text and cut-scenes. This game and the last didn’t have many cut-scenes.

Despite the character creation being the same, it’s still a lot of fun to create characters. There’s 100 slots to save them in, and you can get really creative with it. So far I’ve made Bojack Horseman and Beast Boy. You can check it out on my Instagram. I plan on making Princess Jasmine and the kids from South Park, next. Maybe Blade? Who knows.

Game Play

The game play is the same as the rest of the games, so if you’re an old fan like me, it’s easy to pick up. The controls are fluid, but I can’t speak on how intuitive they are. I’ve been playing this game since I was maybe five years old, so I had a lot of time to learn the controls.

I’m actually able to stand a chance against people online this time. Before, I was never able to win. I don’t know if it’s because I got better, or if certain characters got nerfed.

Even if the controls aren’t intuitive, there are at least tutorials for the player to learn from.

Art

The thing about this game and the last is that it’s much brighter than the fourth. This is just me, but I like darker lighting and darker themed things in general, so I won’t say it’s a negative since it’s just my preference.

But besides that, the game looks good. The graphics are fine, the original artwork in the museum is beautiful, and the UI design is pretty solid. Can’t really complain much about the art, or the music for that matter; the music has been pretty consistent throughout all the games.

Story

One thing I will mention about the story, this time around, instead of seeing how everyone were to get either Soul Calibur or Soul Edge when you play them, only a couple of characters actually get the swords, and the rest fail to find them. So this game actually had a completely cannon story, unlike what we’re used to. They have a visual timeline to show the events and everything.

I was okay with this, mainly because I was never really sure what was truly cannon, but I didn’t think that mattered. It’s just nice to know, now.

Conclusion

There isn’t much else to say. Honestly, the character creation is what makes the game, for me. It’s so innovative that you can make literally anything. I’ve seen creations from the likes of Dio, to Donkey Kong, and even Pacman and Magikarp. It’s insane what you can do with this system.

I heard somewhere that this will be the last Soul Calibur if this one didn’t make enough sales. According to a quick Google search, the game actually got a lot of good reviews, and sales are alright. Adding Geralt from The Witcher as a guest character definitely helped them.

So, hopefully this won’t be the last Soul Calibur. It can get better. Hopefully they remake Soul Calibur III as well, so we can get an updated version of the mini-game in it without corrupting our save data.

Did you like Soul Calibur VI? What’s the most creative character creation you’ve seen? Let me know in the comments.

Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Overall Score: 5/5

Every time a new Zelda game comes out, it’s usually my new favorite, and this one is no exception. For once, I wasn’t focused on the story as much as I was focused on exploring the vast world that is apparently bigger than Skyrim according to some people.

Setting

Hyrule is always beautiful, but I think Nintendo really outdid themselves with this one. I found myself easily getting lost within the world, and everything made sense in terms of design. Most paths led you toward the main goal but you are free to roam anywhere. There wasn’t that much music when straying off the beaten path, but the sound effects of the wind blowing through the grass, and the soft breathing and neighs of your horse still make it feel like you are in Hyrule itself.

I found the time setting interesting. The start of the events of the story actually takes place 100 years before the start of the game, and in that time, nothing’s really changed besides civilization reverting backward from their technological advancements. I figured they would have at least changed a few things geographically (taller trees, slightly smaller or larger lakes, etc), at least a little bit, so it’s still recognizable, but enough to show that time has past. If it weren’t for the people who were young at the time being older or dead, or the ruins overtaken by vegetation, I almost wouldn’t have believed that 100 years have past. Despite this, I didn’t let it get in the way of the rest of the game. I figured the reason they didn’t do that is because of time, or budget, or they didn’t think about it, or maybe it was done on purpose so it’s easier to find the locations within the photos taken 100 years ago. But that’s just me nitpicking.

The artwork is simple and cell-shaded, but it was put together in such a way that it looked more beautiful than most games I’ve ever seen. The team really put a lot of work and thought into their world design.

Characters

When it comes to Zelda games, the characters stay the same, so I’m not going to list them each individually and write about them. Link is still the silent hero saving Zelda. Zelda is still the princess that wants to save her people, but needs Link’s help. And Ganondorf is still the bad guy trying to rule/destroy the world and holding Zelda hostage somehow.

Plot

Minor spoiler warning.

The plot is relatively simple since the game is open world. 100 years ago, Link, Zelda, and the Guardians defeated Ganon, sealing him within Hyrule Castle. But that left Zelda trapped within, the Guardians have perished, and Link was put into a deep sleep state until he woke up for the start of the game, 100 years later. He is greeted by the spirit of the King who died 100 years ago, and he provides the tutorial. He explains that even though Calamity Ganon is trapped within the castle, he is growing stronger.

His mission is simple. Defeat Calamity Ganon and save Zelda before he destroys the world. When he leaves the tutorial area, he is encouraged to seek out the Guardians and the Divine Beasts for help. But it’s ultimately up to the player how they want to defeat Calamity Ganon. If they want, they could skip all of that and go straight to the castle. It wouldn’t be easy, though.

Link can also get some more backstory on his past by finding the location of ancient photos taken by Zelda left on his Sheika device. And the more he travels throughout the world, the more backstory he gets of the world, himself, and his friends.

Invisibility

There were times where I almost forgot I was playing a game because I got so caught up in the world, so invisibility in this game is pretty good.

But it is still a Zelda game, and sometimes being aware of that can break the immersion.

Mood

Whether it be traveling on an unbeaten path with no music on, or in a creepy, dangerous area with a boss battle waiting for me, the mood was always on point. Like I said before about the setting, the team outdid themselves with their world design.

The music is familiar to the other Zelda games but it still had it’s own unique sound. The lighting was absolutely perfect. I had no problems seeing within the game, nothing seemed too bright either, and the colors always fit the scenario.

Movement

The only thing about this game is that the plot doesn’t often move along since it’s an open world game. But that’s just the thing with open world games. Since it’s easy to get lost in everything else, the player might forget what’s going on in the main story. There isn’t a lot happening anyway. The only thing that needs to be done is to defeat Ganon, possibly with the help of the Divine Beasts, but that’s about it when it comes to the plot, so there isn’t much to forget about.

To me, I didn’t really care that the plot was stagnant throughout the game only because it is an open world game, and that’s just a consequence of that.

Game Play

The game play is solid. The controls are fluid, everything had a reason to be there, and it was versatile and intuitive. I loved that the items in Link’s inventory could be used for multiple things to interact with the world.

For example, one way you could defeat an entire camp of bogoblins is by lighting the grass around them on fire rather than fighting them one by one. You can also take advantage of the weather. If there’s lightning, you could leave a metal object somewhere for the lightning to be attracted to it so it could strike enemies. If it’s raining, using lightning arrows are extra effective. And you could set different kinds of traps around, as long as you’re creative with your tools.

The cooking aspect was lots of fun, too. I liked to see what came out of mixing different things. And it was pretty cool how you could also just roast something if a pot isn’t available.

Nintendo thought of everything.

So, I didn’t know horses could die, so when my horse fell off a cliff and never came back, I was devastated. I had named her after my dog and everything. The people at the ranch didn’t say anything about it, nor did I get a notification stating that my horse died. She was just…gone. So when I found the Horse Fairy by accident one day, I was so happy, you have no idea! I was able to get my horse back since the fairy knew I didn’t kill her on purpose. Just wanted to mention that.

Conclusion

I love this game, and many others do, too. In the future, it might be looked back upon as a masterpiece; yet another classic from Nintendo.

The main reason I love this game so much is how relaxing it is to play it. There is significant challenge within the game when it comes to fighting monsters and solving puzzles. I died a lot, but it was still so much fun, and whenever I didn’t want to deal with dying, I didn’t have to. I could wander off and see what else the world had to offer.

Personally, this game has helped my mental state tremendously. When I’m feeling down or anxious, the best thing for me to do is to escape and take a break from reality, and what I like to do is escape to other worlds. I could read a book or watch a movie, but the most immersive form of escapism for me is playing video games since you have to interact with it.

And let me tell you, this game is relaxing as hell. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, play this game.

Life Update: Graduation, Net Neutrality, and Soul Caliber VI

Dear Friends,

A lot has happened since my last post so this is just a quick life update and my thoughts on a couple of things.

Graduation

First thing's first, I graduated last weekend! "Full Sail Masters Alumni" has a nice ring. I could get used to this. I'm glad it's finally over because the journey was not easy, but I'm going to miss Full Sail. It's a great school if you know exactly what you want to do with your life, and their graduation ceremonies are pretty lit.

Full Sail does a great job at teaching students the way the real world is, which is something a lot of college students don't get, especially these days. I learned how to be a leader, which I thought I'd never been able to do because of how shy I am and have always been. But you learn a lot when you step out of your comfort zone.

I'll miss the academic setting, and school in general; I've gotten so used to it by now. It felt like I would be in school forever, but now that it's over, I keep wondering where the time went.

What I won't miss is never having time for myself. I haven't been able to sit down and actually enjoy a video game for months. Now that I've graduated, job searching takes time and requires a lot of sitting around during background checks, so I'm enjoying this time while I have it.

Also, senioritis, I won't be missing that.

My plans moving forward involve a lot of pet projects with day jobs. There aren't a lot of gaming jobs in Orlando, but that's not going to stop me from working on stuff with friends or even freelance. For the next year, I am going to save money until I get a real gaming job and move to wherever that job is located. I know it may not sound reliable but I'm hopeful for the future.

Net Neutrality

Aaaaaaaaand I graduated just in time to lose Net Neutrality.

Great.....

I have no idea how this is going to affect my website or the gaming industry. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says we have nothing to worry about, and the more he says that the more I worry. I predict that my website probably won't have a chance at getting traffic unless I paid something.

As for the game industry, I just don't know. Maybe the big corporations like Square Enix, Sony, and Microsoft won't be affected much, but I'm worried about the small, independent companies. And not just well-known ones like Big Fish or Double Fine, but also the companies run from some guy's garage or companies run entirely remotely by people in different parts of the world. 

I'm sure it's not just the game industry, but we really count on the internet for innovation. While I was in school, we used an online cloud with multiple ways of communication that required wi-fi. Tools like Google Drive, DropBox, Slack, Discord, and more are used to communicate and store assets for game development.

So what if we no longer have access to those tools without having to pay a fee? What if I want to work with someone on the other side of the country but we can't have access to the same websites equally? That would dramatically slow down production if it could even get started in the first place. Most indie developers don't have much money to spare and work for free when making these games. So on top of all of their bills, including the internet bill, they will also have to pay more money for certain websites?

I guess we'll just have to see from here once they come up with the new regulations.

Soul Caliber Six Announced

I never thought I'd see the day. 

I grew up playing this series and it's my favorite fighting game, hands down. But after Soul Caliber 5, I thought the series was over.

Soul Caliber 5 was bad, and it was bad because it was incomplete. The story was only about Sophitia's children when usually Soul Caliber has a story arc for every character. I didn't mind all of the new characters, but there wasn't even a museum mode where you could read about their history or view artwork from the production team (my favorite feature from SC). You had to go to the Soul Caliber website to read up on them.

The character creation was better than the last ones, and the lip syncing finally matched, but that's about it for the good stuff.

Soul Caliber 4 looked like it had better graphics in my opinion, and Soul Caliber 3 still has the best minigame out of all of them. If only they would remake it in the online store so we can download it or something. I'd pay money for that.

I'm only being critical because I love this series so much and want it to do better. From what little research I did on Soul Caliber 6, it's going to have both old and new characters, stories for everyone, character creation--oh, and it's a reboot of the first Soul Caliber!

I'm not complaining so far. I like what I'm hearing and I'm excited to see more before its release. I don't usually keep up with every single trailer for a game or movie before it's released because I usually want to go in blind, but this is different. This is my childhood we're talking about!

 

What are your thoughts on Net Neutrality? Where do you think we're going from here in terms of the internet?

Are you excited or skeptical about Soul Caliber 6? Write back and let me know in the comments.

--Tanya

Review: Final Fantasy XV Based on Five Design Principles

In this post, I wrote an extensive review of Final Final XV based on five design principles. Storytelling, Wayfinding, Picture Superiority Effect, Immersion, and Archetypes. I examined the game to see if they passed or failed in a principal with a score out of five points. Design principals are essentially rules of thumb designers of anything to keep in mind when making a design in any context. Read more to learn more.

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