Located: Spring Hill, FL (USA)
For a living I work at a local hospital while attempting to manage course work for my BS.
Non-gaming Hobby(ies): Reading. Mostly literary classics. I enjoy writing, as well. And I collect vinyls of '80s rock albums like Appetite for Destruction and Pyromania.
Gaming Historical facts: Played my fair share of PlayStation classics and even some 16-bit titles when I was very young. First console I owned was a PS2 when I was 8. I have owned each succeeding PlayStation and XBox console. Haven't owned one from Nintendo though (hopefully the NX will be my first). Fell in love with franchises like Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Jak & Daxter, Mass Effect, and Elder Scrolls (to name a few). Got into PC gaming a few years ago. My library is now pretty evenly-split between my PC and my PS4. Haven't seen a reason to get an XBox One yet. My personal greatest games of all time are Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 9, and Final Fantasy 6 (in that order).
I am a firm believer that a video game can enthrall you into a world, cause you to fall in love with a character, or take you on a journey of mystery and discovery far more effectively than a novel or film ever could. Also, games are not only used for escapism. You can actually learn a surprising amount about yourself from a game.
Champion of: MGS3 multiplayer. Only one that I really got into. For some reason my brain could understand the horrible control scheme. Still miss it, though.
Best posts made by Caleb_Aranda
RE: Ally Introductions
New "Mass Effect: Andromeda" Trailer
Happy N7 Day! For those that haven't seen it yet, here's a link to the Mass Effect: Andromeda N7 Day 2016 Trailer. My hype for this game is honestly starting to scare me. I was really hoping for a more particular release window (like a specific month, at least) but I'm just happy it's still scheduled for the Spring. Maybe they will hit that rumored March window after all.
This is one of my most anticipated games of next year. Love to hear what my fellow allies think of it so far.
A Review of Objectivity
A discussion of objectivity verses subjectivity within reviews and review scores appeared in this week's Easy Allies Podcast. This is a discussion that I have heard many times, especially in the past few years, and I figured it was about time for me to throw my thoughts out there.
We have all heard the statement, "Reviews should be objective," at least once. And, not to quote the Princess Bride, but, "You keep using that word, I don't think it means what you think it means." Objectivity refers to impartial actions or judgments which are void of personal feelings or opinions. Therefore, to say that you have an objective opinion is a contradictory statement, because objectivity is without opinion.
So, for an example, let's say I was attempting to write a game review that is 100% objective. There are some of the things that I could mention:
- The title of the game
- The developer and publisher of the game
- A brief synopsis of the set-up to the narrative (without major spoilers)
- Some areas you will see in the campaign
- The various game mechanics and how they work
- Any featured mechanics specific to that title and how they are utilized
- If the game features a multi-player component
- How the leveling system works
- Which maps are available at launch
- The different game modes that are currently available
- Which platforms the game is playable on
And here are some of the things I could not mention:
- If the narrative was well-written or not
- If the script was well-voice acted or not
- If the mechanics were too simplistic or complicated
- If the mechanics were easily understood or not explained very well
- If the featured mechanics are intuitive or a needless gimmick
- If the story is paced well or not
- If the campaign was too short or too long
- If the online component features enough modes
- If the weapons/skills/powers feature enough variety
- If the stages have enough variation
- If the game had intelligent or poor level design
- A score for the game
A review, whether it be for a game, film, music or any other product, is subjective by definition. It has to be. It is idiotic to ask someone to give you their opinion about something without actually stating their opinion. If you take issue with people giving their opinions in reviews, then I suggest that you stop looking at reviews.
RE: Last game you finished
Since both Final Fantasy XV and the Last Guardian got pushed back, I recently delved into my library to play some titles I hadn't touched in some time. I started playing Secret of Mana last week and just couldn't stop. It was my backdoor pilot into the JRPG genre--where my favorite franchise would eventually come from. It's one of those game that anyone who has played it is intimately fond of but, unfortunately, I feel like its existence has been lost to many.
It's a shame that games such as FFVI or EarthBound are constantly remarked on and manage to stay relevant, but Secret of Mana is swept under the rug. And not just by the audience of the industry today. The series still survives but mostly on handheld or mobile platforms. I would give anything to see this game get a proper remake; if for no other reason than to give it the exposure it has lost.
RE: Easy Allies Podcast - Official Discussion Thread
@crustef Absolutely. Don't get me wrong, I like Shrek, too. But comparing the two seems unfair. They utilize two vastly different forms of comedy. Shrek seems to be a parody of the Disney princesses and modern fantasy troupes while the Princess Bride parodies classical fairy tails and narrative story telling.
RE: The Odd Child
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. That game could have easily been a hot pile of garbage. I honestly expected it to be. It wasn't until years later that I was encouraged to play it. Yes, the mechanics were solid and the little slashing gimmick was pretty cool, but I'm very much a narrative-driven player. I care about deep and well-rounded characters, fully fleshed-out worlds, and extensive thought-provoking lore. I believed that this game could not possibly compare to the likes of MGS1 or MGS3.
In short, it didn't. But it's approach to its story and set pieces was brilliant. It tackled everything with this misguided sense of seriousness and confidence while being drenched under mountains of camp like a bad '80s action flick. It's one of those "it's so ridiculous, it's amazing" kind of experiences.
Honestly, I believe PlatinumGames saved this title. If it was under the helm of anyone else, it would've been a failure. Luckily, Konami picked the right team for the job and breathed this little imperfect gem to life.
But that still doesn't mean I'm going anywhere near Metal Gear Survive. That ship has long past sailed.
RE: Selective Creation: Build Your PC! (Huh?)
System Shock 2
Age of Mythology
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
League of Legends
Command & Conquer Red Alert 2
Ultima V Warriors of Destiny
Heroes of Might & Magic III
Half Life 2
Thief: The Dark Project
I Wanna Be the Guy: The Movie: The Game
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Banner Saga
Day of the Tentacle (Maniac Mansion 2)
Gotta end it with a classic. Shout out to EZA's first retrospective.
RE: Indie Game Discoveries & Recommendations
@SabotageTheTruth Pony Island was one of the most surreal and mind-blowing games I've played in a while. Don't look up anything. Just jump in. I honestly can't say anything else. It's one of those games that describing it would ruin the experience. Just take a chance and give it a try. It is absolutely not the game you think it's going to be. You won't regret it.
RE: Final Fantasy XV Omen
@El-Shmiablo The CGI was the same. The cinematography was not. It was an utter mess. The shots were constructed in such a way that there was simply too much going on in a single shot, making it almost impossible to follow what's happening in the scene. I assume that this was more tightly constructed because it was only a few minutes of a trailer rather than a feature-length film.
RE: Should I get Final Fantasy 15?
I agree with a lot of the points Ben made in his review. I tried to go into this with realistic expectations. I wasn't looking for a masterpiece to rival FFVI or FFIX, I just wanted a return to form. At one point in time, Final Fantasy was the undisputed king of JRPG franchises. All I was looking for was a title worthy of the name the series had built for itself. While I'm sure some would disagree, I think FFXV accomplished that. It hit all of the notes that it needed to, it was intriguing and engaging, the world was amazing, the combat was fantastic, the voice talent wasn't breathtaking but pretty solid overall, and they took some major risks along the way (particularly with the magic system). This could be a major turning point for the future of this franchise. If you are new to Final Fantasy, this might be the best time to jump in.
RE: [Official] What are you playing?
@Inustar I know exactly what you mean. There a point when things become too realistic. I mean, it looks pretty. I'll give it that. But now I'm forced to only play it after I've had my dinner. Otherwise it just feels like I'm watching food porn.
RE: Rank your 2017 games so far!
1. Horizon: Zero Dawn I absolutely love everything about this game. It's story isn't entirely unique but takes things in a direction that we don't normally see. The world is beautiful, the environments are varied and fleshed-out, the societies and cultures of the people are believably crafted, the combat is fun and engaging, the character and machine designs are truly a work of art, and all this from a studio known for making by-the-books first-person shooters. I was captivated from beginning to end and even platinum'd it (something I had not done in a long time). I can't wait to see where this franchise goes from here.
2. Nier: Automata It's weird, it's strange, it's a bit on-the-nose, and it's better for it. Combat from Platinum and written by Yoko Taro, it's a nerd's wet dream. I played the original Nier but never finished it. This fulfills every needed element that the former was missing and packaged in an open world that, while not as breath-taking as Horizon, is intriguing and sets the exact tone which the story is trying to tell. I picked this one up on a whim, and don't regret it in the slightest.
3. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Speaking of tone, my God! With the combined elements of the original's mansion exploration, strict inventory management, and sense of discovery along with the latter games' intense combat and character design, RE7 offers us a combination of best elements with a first-person view to add tension to every encounter. The pacing and third act definitely hold this game from greatness, but everything else from the house's design to the voice work of the hostile Baker family make this a game I will be thinking about all throughout this year. It's a deliberate step in the right direction that this franchise desperately needed.
4. Nioh In it's own right, Nioh is a well-crated romp with an interesting premise. However, when compared to the source of its inspiration, the kinks in its armor start to show. The segmented bits break the flow of the experience and the connective tissue of the world over the knee with a definitive crack and is held back with a needlessly complex combat system. The levels are not varied enough in design to the point where they all appear too similar to each other. Ending with a let-down of a final boss, it clearly dethrones DS2 as the black sheep of the family. However, when examined apart from its constituents, it's a great experience that I was ultimately glad to take part in. Unlike ...
5. Mass Effect: Andromeda I may be one of the most engrossed fans of this franchise you will find on this forum. As a result, because these games have had such an impact on me in terms of how I play games and view games as an art form, I was probably more critical of this game than I would have been if I wasn't. It isn't utter garbage, like you may have heard, but the term disappointment definitely comes to mind. The severe lack of polish, horrible facial animations, numerous needless management systems, near game-breaking glitches (I actually had a save file corrupted), and mostly awful character dialogue is disheartening to a fanbase which regarded the series as one of (if not the) best science fiction space operas in the game industry. It's not the Phantom Menace of Mass Effect, there's a lot in it that works -- so more like the Revenge of the Sith, it guess. The combat was really fun, the worlds were beautiful and very different from each other, and the change in the dialogue system (in theory anyway) and the use of multiple profiles was a smart way to keep what would have felt like a similar concept very new. When everything worked, you could see the game hidden beneath that could have been, which makes the end result all the more painful. But for everything that worked, there was something that didn't. In the end, the game was a mediocre attempt trying to hold itself up to a well-crafted and vastly superior franchise.
In-progress. Persona 5 I'm only a little over 10 hours in so I can't form a solid opinion about it just yet. But I am really enjoying it so far. I might update this later when I've had more time with it. After over a year of Ben hyping the hell out of this, I had to pick it up. This is my first Persona (and Shin Megami Tensei, I suppose) so expect a fresh and admittedly naive take from me.
RE: Is Open World games killing Single Player games?
@ChaosBahamut Countless executives of big name publishers have claimed the death of single player games for years now. "They don't sell very well." "You can't make enough money off of a single player game to turn a profit." Of course, this is a lie. If that were the case then companies like Naughty Dog, Red Barrels, and Insomniac would have closed doors ages ago. And the hype from the indie market takes it very clear that linear single player games have a large audience and a significant demand in the market.
I think the real reason for this is the shift in the way publishers want to make money in the industry. The whole "games as a service" mindset where every single IP has to have some kind of additional pay out. That's why we see micro-transactions, pointless season passes, randomly generating loot boxes, and online multiplayer modes in games that don't need them. The largest companies pushing this are obviously WB, Ubisoft, EA, Activision, 2k, and Konami. But now we are seeing other publishers throw their own hats in the ring. And an easy way to shove these types of elements into a game is to make it open world.
I know that there is a portion of the gaming audience that doesn't have a problem with the fee-to-play model but I hate that publishers paint it like this crap appeals to the majority of the consumer base, because it clearly doesn't. But just like when publishers claimed that horror games were dead in the industry, it took indie developers to prove otherwise. So, in the worst case, linear games might vanish entirely from the AAA market until the indie scene causes publishers to turn their heads more.
RE: What Games Do You Think Should Be Remade?
I'd love to see an Eternal Darkness remake. I loved the concept of screwing with the player in order to generate feelings of paranoia. With all the advancements in technology since then, particularly with consoles, I'd love to see what new things they could do.
And, for the sake of Huber, I'll throw Onimusha in this list as well.
RE: Last game you finished
Just finished Cuphead on PC. I don't think I have ever been so frustrated and pleased with a game in my entire life. I think the charm of the presentation of it kept me pushing through to the end. I swear, I didn't even have this much trouble with the Souls series. I mean, platformers were my jam when I was younger. I honestly thought it wasn't going to be as hard as it was for me. It looked beautiful, it sounded amazing, and it was really fun to play. But after an hour with it my thumbs were sore and I was sweating excessively. I don't ever think I can look at 1930s animation the same way again. I'm glad I didn't give up but I'm also glad that it's finally over. I think I need to take a break for a while and go back to something less strenuous. Owlboy has been on my to-do list for quite some time, maybe I'll give that a go next.