Prison Shenanigans

Let’s go ahead and say it: it pays to know how to break into a car. Does this raise questions for you? Does it make you think? It does for me. I wonder if those guys should get a reduced sentence for an act of heroism.

I would think that if I was that guy. I became a convicted criminal because of drug sales or robbery, but I still have it within me to save a little baby.

Sure, he was put up to it, but whether he was reluctant, or done with ulterior motives, he still did it. An act of charity has been performed, and the actor is a person. The sum of the person is one of making bad choices and good. Let’s hope Florida pays for good choices as well as bad.

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The Future of Shenanigans

Hello, your primo shenanigan is back. This week is going to be a short one, because I’m trying to make two posts instead of one. This first one is just me tearing back the facade, and sitting down on the stage so I can, “get real for a sec”.

This blog has been my creative outlet for some time now. If anyone is paying attention, I wrote on some funny stories from real life, in hopes to distract you from the mundane, and remind you that craziness is happening everywhere, and it’s not all a bad place to be, but then I was getting dry with them, because life transitioned for me. I then wanted to try my hand at video game reviewing, looking at certain parts, like post game content, that isn’t really touched on from YouTube gamers, or other bloggers. And then another transition cam when I wanted to try something new and post indie developers who were looking to make a name for themselves, and hoping I would make that blog that covered the game before it became a hit. And lemme just say, I covered Omno before Jacksepticeye played it on his channel, but no one noticed, but that’s okay that dude has earned his name, and his spot in the public by working hard.

I’m still trying to find my voice. The rest of you blog men and women out there probably are already there and have other problems to deal with like deadlines, sponsors, collaborations, ads, site maintenance, coding, etc. We all are working through our careers, at different levels, and this is where I’m at.

I want to be a writer as a career. Writing is my deepest joy. I don’t feel as effective a communicator than when I put my thoughts down into letters. Writing about my findings in the deepest depths of the imagination is one of my passions. In fact I think that’s why I focus on games, and funny life stories because I want to find examples of others diving in deep and coming up with the fascinating oddities of the mind.

So as you can imagine, there’s a dual-bladed sword in my fight to develop my name in writing. And I feel I’m not there yet. I feel like my voice, my message, and my direction are scattered, or that it’s so big I haven’t found the edges which I’m struggling to reach.

I also don’t get a lot of feedback. And I don’t ask for it, I hate being one of those people that begs. I find it as a desperate attempt for attention and validation, which I don’t need. I want to serve, to entertain, to reach, to inspire, to make profound statements, and be funny to others.

So bear with me as I keep going forward. It’s gonna get weird, but that’s what you can describe a cocoon as a worm turns into a butterfly. I’m in the cocoon stage, but it will pass.

If you’ve made it this far down the blog, wow. Thanks. Really I appreciate it. Leave a comment if you have any advice, or opinions to make me better. I would welcome it.

Final Fantasy 15 in Kingdom Hearts 4 (and more)

There’s a bit of theorizing as to where our heroes have ended up in the secret ending for Kingdom Hearts 3. Some think it’s the real world, while others think more final fantasy worlds or more square enix worlds. Well I think those last people are on the right track. Let’s take a look at the pictures.

So, right away we see a massive hint for Sora, the good ol’ building of 104, famous for being a clothing hotspot in the game, The World Ends With You. Back in the 3DS installment, Dream Drop Distance, we got to hang out with Neku, Shiki, Beat, Rhyme, and Joshua in Traverse Town. That town, settled between the light and the dark realm, house creatures whose worlds are lost. Therefore, we already have been introduced to the characters, so the move to a Shibuya world may be an excellent transition.

Which can open up a lot of possible new worlds. Bringing me to my next world, the world Riku is in. And yes, I believe it’s a different world than Shibuya. If you go back and look at the building, it’s a very close model to another place in the final fantasy franchise…

This is the Insomnia Citadel, home to our hero Noctis Lucis Caelum. A Final Fantasy 15 world may be in our next installment, perhaps even in the future of Kingdom Hearts games. But let’s go deeper into thinking, how were past final fantasy characters introduced? Normally, in original hub worlds. But for some like, Cloud, Auron, and Zack, they were integrated into a Disney world. So why not have it flipped around? Let’s see what happens when Jim Hawkins from Treasure Planets world is destroyed and he ends up in Insomnia, or Milo from Atlantis, or, heck, even Kuzco from Emporers New Groove manages to get lost, but then found in Shibuya.

I’m sure they won’t go crazy with this idea, though. So I’m not expecting a horrible ratio of Disney to FF, but this series has a huge amount of potential if they keep the story straight. If they do, we can see Midgar, I mean the remake is close at hand.

In fact all the game are getting ports to the Switch, so with those game fresh on their minds, who knows what this new KH formula holds? It’s an exciting prospect to theorize!

So if you enjoyed this article, let me know, if you spot errors or don’t agree, or see something I can improve on, tell me about somewhere on the internet, I’m just about everywhere.

See ya.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Review (Spoilers)

It’s been a week, so let’s get the real reviews rolling.

What a way to start out one year closer to the end of the world. After a certain number of years that I don’t have to say because everyone knows, Kingdom Hearts 3 is real, in physical form, and released worldwide for all to see with bated breath. With 10,080 minutes passing, those sighs have nearly released for the majority of reviewers, game players, and those interested in the Square Enix/Disney phenomenon. It certainly has for this particular writer. Thus, it is now time to give my personal thoughts to the infamous third. It will be detailed, lengthy, and full of emotions and opinions on everything, and if you didn’t catch the title, I’ll give one more warning: spoilers are coming ahead. Which may be useful to you, who are just looking for a quick way to know about the game without playing it. That way you don’t have to wait for your favorite YouTube artist, or sibling, or significant other, and you can be in the nerdy loop for the next month on breaks as words like, “disney”, “final fantasy”, “keyblade”, and expletives are thrown together.

The Keyblade War

We’ll cut to the chase: We were taken through an anime experience as, one by one, we fought a couple hordes of heartless, and three- count them three- Organization members at a time. Most of them final bosses of the past, Xemnas, Ansem, Marluxia, to name a few. At first, seeing the fights in the distance to decide which increased the feeling of intimidation. But, once the actual battles begin, small hp bars, and near practical inaction made me feel oddly superior. It was a little underwhelming not fighting Organization members and a mass influx of Heartless or Nobodies at the same time, and even further less with all of them having close to no health. I think I was around level 40 too.

The cut-scenes during the conflict between good and evil were all worthwhile however. Friends were reunited for the first time in years, some who had thought they would never see them again, and one they forgot. I’m talking about Xion. Strangely enough, I was surprised to see Terra restored, but happy all the same. In fact I would say the story from the end of the Disney worlds to the final boss became what everyone wanted. If only the fights were a little longer. Perhaps it was only me, but Kingdom Hearts fights conditioned me to expect several phases per one fight. But with characters like Vanitas, Anti-Aqua, Terra-nort, and Saix, they had only one mode. Especially Saix! That dude moon raged the whole time, which was exciting, until it was over in a minute. My wife got the mistaken idea that I was actually good!

And now the final battles. Xemnas, Ansem, and young Xehanort was beautiful- but still short! I would have been happy had the health on those guys were just longer. I didn’t prepare any items, and I still prevailed.

That is until Xehanort…

GREAT HIGH CAEDUM!

This was the challenge and fight I was looking for! Different stages, attacks so impossibly difficult to ignore or avoid. Guarding became a mandatory skill. And soon the armor came off, and the x-blade came out. Once it did, each phase was a new challenge that introduced me to the game over screen over and over again. Items were mandatory, as well as strategy, and the culmination of everything I’ve learned. Finally, when the time came to end this convoluted trilogy, I did not feel disappointed as friendship overcame an iron-handed lonely old man. But the best part to me, was Xehanort was won back to friendship by his old comrade, Eraqus, and wasn’t slaughtered. I loved it, Tetsuya Nomura reminds this barbaric American that no matter how evil you are, you’re never too far away from friendship. The only things that deserves the bit end of a keyblade- stock heartless and Nobodies apparently.

But oh man, that ending, epilogue, and secret video. What an emotional mess. Sora goes after Kairi, and apparently restores her at the cost of his life. But since no one dies, the bittersweet emotions simply clogged my throat until I saw him waking up in a modern city, looking up at a Ten Four building.

Shibuya?

And why was Riku there? And red eye Riku? Is this just another final game sequence that all secret endings are famous for teasing?

And that wasn’t even the hardest kicker. That trophy belongs to Luxu being Xigbar bringing the Old Masters back to present time- minus Ava- and showcasing the all-seeing eye Keyblade with the black box, Pete and Maleficent looked the entire game for. That was a magnificent move to keep the story of Kingdom Hearts going, transition into the next arc, and keep the series alive. But, this brings some questions, like, are the old masters going to meet these new masters? Will the girl Lea and Saix mentioned be revealed and integral to the next story? If Sora was found in Shibuya, is he part of the Reaper Game, and will we see more of a transition to more Square Enix worlds and less Disney worlds? Does that mean more Final Fantasy characters returning or appearing? Will Kairi receive more character? Will we play more than three keyblade wielders?

These questions we hopefully will receive and answer for in the coming years.

Disney Worlds

Corona, Arandelle, Toy Box, San Fransokyo, The Caribbean, Mount Olympus, and Monstropolis (without looking them up), became the exploration of choice for this installment. And they were good. Very good. Huge worlds, the size they should have always been, absolute gorgeous scenery and graphics, characters ripped from their movies, and stories that both compliment the world and create a new relationship between the dwellers and the outsiders. The cohesion between the overall plot, and the smaller narrative per world was the tightest the series has ever seen.

A lot of articles previewing the game all agreed Arandelle was a graphic bore and the level was uninteresting. But I have to ask them if they played it after the storytelling? And before I answer that, Did they not know what they were getting into? It’s the Frozen movie! And I didn’t hear them complaining at the time of it’s release. It’s also not as dreary-looking as Skyrim, that game was heavily uninspiring to walk through. But the post level content is where it’s at. The Flan task, and the sledding provide some wonderful gaming challenges. Sledding was a full mission of its own degree. Ten treasures were hidden within the course to find, and finding them all was essential in crafting the Ultima Weapon. Arandelle was just as filling and satisfying as any other. The Caribbean was a nice slice of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, with a touch of the classic KH formula.

All of the worlds were worthy of note, and besides Corona, Caribbean, and Mount Olympus, and Arandelle hving movie related plots, the others were delightfully original. San Fransokyo in example brought the original Baymax back to the world.

But my personal favorite was the Toy Box. And get ready to grab your raincoats, the tear storm is about to rage. Woody and Buzz were personal toys from my childhood. At the first mention of the world I was underwhelmed, however. I was too focused on the worlds all being too Pixar to care. And my worst fears came to life, all the worlds were Pixar movies, essentially. But then I actually entered the level, and Woody and Buzz were alive to me again. At two in the morning, exhaustion and childlike wonder filled my eyes with joy. The level was an absolute joy. Buzz succumbing to darkness, but Woody laying down the light against Young Xehanort, reminding him of the sad loveless childhood brought the Square/Disney collaboration to its highest peak. I hadn’t been fully sucked into a world since the Cerberus fight of the first Kingdom Hearts. It reminded me of why this series works, and why I love it above all other games.

Gameplay

The way you fight and explore in the game of Kingdom Hearts is another reason why I play it, and call it my favorite game. Action RPG is at its finest in KH3, and here’s why. You are unreasonably magical, over the top, and awesome. I watch anime for the fight scenes and the imagination of creators made from color and lines. Kingdom Hearts captures the feeling of anime fights in game form, without overly complicated button combinations. It’s so simple a child can play, but that’s why I like it. The child can play on Easy, and I can play on Proud and be challenged. Flowmotion, Attractions, Magic, Links, combat, and a full cast of arty members have never been tighter. I like that Flowmotion commands were broken up over the game, and introduced as additional abilities, so you’re not overtaken by so many abilities at the start.

The Gummi ship experience toned down from KH2, but enhanced over KH1, and it’s perfectly balanced. The open space challenge and exploration are what the game should have been since the beginning. Secret bosses, constellations, leveling up, finding ship fragments, grabbing both gummi and synthesis items in space are surprising and welcome. Also avoiding fights couldn’t have been more pleasing. I didn’t bother with the gummi section of the game until I went for the ultimate keyblade and the upgrades, and I didn’t have to do anything except use skill to get passed those necessary fights.

Speaking of gummi; the gummiphone… was pretty cool. It was like being introduced to the Sheikah Slate. Except the selfie mode was more fun. Just being honest. Also having the reports, and journal on it made sense. Using the camera to find lucky emblems was fun, really fun. I’m all about collectibles and hidden objects and their inclusion I welcomed with open arms.

I mentioned the ultimate weapon a couple of times, and I had a good time fulfilling the requirements, unlike KH1.5. In general, the synthesis section of the series has always been bogged with excess. 2.5 was enjoyable but there were too many items, and the level up system felt ridiculous in the later difficulty. But in 3, it was shortened and sweetened to a manageable level.

And the mini-games (except those terrible Pooh games) keep me coming back to play them. They weren’t chores. But at the same time they weren’t substitutes for the missing Colosseum. I missed it very much…

Final Thoughts

We finally have a Sora with character. KH2 was a bit brutal, and DDD gave me the impression he was shouting and one sided the whole time. But the moping, and the nagging, the bull-headed, brazen actions, and the relationship between Donald and Goofy hit higher points this time around.

I give Kingdom Hearts 3 a 9/10. Kairi needed much more character, the final level needed more length in the fights, and maybe should have had one or two additional Disney levels.

P.S. I played the game on Proud Mode.

Some Indie Games Look Ugly (really just incomplete)

There I said it.

What is it that I’m playing?

Is it supposed to be cool? I assume that when I see the cover art. It looks like a really cool game, but then when I play it, I’m lied to.

The graphics look bad.

And there’s no excuse. Indie, triple A, no one has an excuse. It’s way into the 2000’s and we’ve had Shovel Knight, Binding of Isaac, Cuphead, Hollow Knight, all come through and bless us with gameplay both challenging and pleasing to the eye.

What’s with the idea of making half decent looking games? We shouldn’t have to sacrifice looks for challenge, the technology and resource for art is out there.

So here’s the games I’m calling out: Hyper Light Drifter, Super Meat Boy, Dead Cells, Celeste, and-these will hurt me personally- Undertale and Hat in Time.

So there, I hurt my own feelings, okay?

But to explain the parenthesis in my title, I don’t think they’re bad games. I just probably won’t play them (anymore than I have to) because my hard earned money is precious, and I want my experience to be fun. And when I say fun, I want to enjoy what I’m looking at.

And just so we don’t misunderstand each other, I don’t think bear looking games mean the best. If you made an actual likeness of Johnny Depp but he handled like a robot at a bad theme park ride, I’m not gonna be impressed.

Don’t sacrifice challenge for looks, and vice versa. Do a good job with both. The market these days for entertainment is a battle royale. I’m trying to make a decent fantasy novel, but the standards are high thanks to years and years of great books and awful books forming the industry.

The same is for video games, and for self publishers- I mean indie companies, the product has to speak for itself and it has to stand out. The wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented but we don’t need another Mario clone.

So, with that said, maybe before they put out a game, they should make it look like the art that promotes it, or make art that doesn’t deceive.

Alright, there’s my thoughts. Now, laying before you on a table, with your saw in hand you may do your worst.

Top 5 Levels of Crash Team Racing… That I Can’t Wait to See.

Rev up the remastered engines!

We wanted it, and it’s happening! Who knew all we had to do to was scream loud enough, and our favorite games would come back?

*ahem*

TALESOFTHEABYSSTALESOFTHEABYSSTALESOFTHEABYSSTALESOFTHEABYSSTALESOFTHEABYSS

 

So as we wait for our chance at power sliding across the beach, and hurling rockets at N. Gin, I thought it would be fun to try and make one of those top 5 lists. Here are the top five levels I can’t wait¬† to see remastered.

5. Roo’s Tubes

Crash-Team-Racing-2019-1055576

A picture is worth a thousand words! But a three lap course through water and TNT crates is worth twenty years of nostalgia. This level has those amazing moments where you’re completely underneath water with only glass between you and the depths. Instead of some high-money scientists’ home, it’s the track to the first boss racer, Ripper Roo, who will be launching TNT crates out if he is ahead.¬†Remember to hop to shake them off, in case you forgot.

Also don’t forget the shortcut through the bones near the end of the finish line. The terrain will slow the car down but if there’s an accelerating item in the inventory, then those last few seconds may be what defines the race.

4. Tiny Arena

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Despite the name, just like the Tiger, it is anything but. This track gives a feel that an audience is watching, and the competition to save the earth actually has attracted attention, and we’re not just doing this in some blind journey that goes unappreciated, or overlooked. At the very least, it’s exciting and fun to watch, so some spectators are getting some enjoyment out of the suffering anthropomorphic critters getting hit with bowling bombs.

I love the inclusion of the dirt bike style jumps, the mud pits, and most importantly the atmosphere. And according to the new released screenshots of the trailer, the outer aesthetics include giant Tiny statues, a blimp, and what looks like a dome encompassing the whole track. Sure these things might have been in the last game, but PS1 graphics always left much to be desired.

3. Cortex Castle

Cortex_Castle_4

There’s no question, one of the coolest callbacks to the first game, with homages like the spiders you jumped on in between dark pits, scaling the side of castle walls, and moving in and around tight turns with stained glassed windows was Cortex Castle. The drawbridge leap, and the giant stairs leading down to the finish line were always making this particular track a treat. You had to be careful, in this later-in-the-game track it was hard to see what was coming next.

And if that wasn’t enough, one of the subtle yet hardest shortcuts to pull off is in this level. If you have an accelerator, or maxed out power sliding to the max at the right time, you just may skip a long spiraling turn around the building and skip straight onward. But the ledge for the shortcut is far and steep.

2. Hot Air Skyway

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Who doesn’t want to wait to see Hot Air Skyway!?

Sharp turns, huge jumps, intimate track size, and Pinstripe Portoroo lobbing bowling bombs!

I don’t even really know what kind of style the track is supposed to be! Like, is it some weird hot air balloon texture?

When Spyro was released and I made it to the Beast Maker Homeworld, the amoun of detail in the background that no could touch blew me away. Just the inclusion of trees, bog effects, marsh motif, instead of fog was amazing! Truly inspiring and made the world feel more real.

Now how about that amount of care for Hot Air Skyway? How about multiple blimps in the sky, or a blimp warfare going on? Maybe even some biplanes from the Crash trilogy, along with fireworks, confetti, and those rings from the last plane mission in Crash 3?

No, I don’t know why they would be there, but it would make the track look amazing! Giving us the impression that we might be able to go there, is what games were about. And bringing that magic back can make young imaginations dream again.

…Sorry, got off the rails there.

1. Oxide Station

Everything. Everything about this level I simply must have. In fact, if at all, maybe save this level and don’t show anyone until they make it themselves. This is the best final level in any racing game I’ve ever played. To me it’s better than any rainbow Mario could cross. For one thing it’s not nearly as frustrating. For another reason, it’s in space!

Oxide brings this huuuuuge map full of winding turns, gargantuan leaps over the track itself, one false rocket will have you in last place, zero-gravity jumping in one section, and my personal favorite, the biggest sizeable jump in the entire game that plummets down below the ENTIRE COURSE! And if that wasn’t enough, when we race the big alien himself, he’ll throw every manner of weapon at us, while trying to master this track. It’s gonna be a great undertaking, but the most fun when we cross that finish line in first place!

So that’s my list. All of the other courses will be fun, and cool, maybe even change my mind, but I’m still excited to see what else they bring. After all I saw that slight teaser they threw in of Crash riding multiple carts through almost every cart game ever made. What else will this game bring? Will it bring all the courses from Nitro Kart and Tag Team Racing? Will we finally get to play as Nitros Oxide? Will there be a remastering of the other big boss (name escapes me)?

Will we see Penta Penguin again???

We can only wait and see.

Up and Coming Games: Onirism

Gimme back ma’ Teddy!

Do you remember Hat in Time? It was cool, remember? Well, the little girl grew up! And some shadow enemy stole her teddy bear. Apparently she also lost her hat, so she’s no longer called Hat Girl. Today we’re taking a look at Onirism, made by Crimson Tales.

oni 3

The game demo starts off quick, which is great. I could get a good feel for the controls right away, and the tips for controls didn’t break me from playing. Although I played with a controller, the inputs were for the keyboard, but I figured it out easily. The interactive environment was fun to play with, finding vases and crates to smash for currency. The music delighted me, it was refreshing as I took my walk through the woods.

I soon found a sign with three directions: Village, Temple, and Volcano. I was thinking, cool, quite a bit to do for this demo, it should be a quick but filling experience.

Sadly, I was thinking it would stop at the village, but to be honest I’m still trying to figure out where it ends.

After I went on my way, I found my first gun.oni 2

And then I found the main fighting mechanic of the game. And it is deeply fleshed out already in the demo.

For the demo I found a smorgasbord of guns to utilize against the various frog/lizard/amphibian enemies, hogs, and some freakin’ annoying wind-up toy animal that comes out of nowhere, EVERYTIME!

So I saved someone in front of the locked Village and they told me the key is in the temple. The girl was in no mood to get it, except the villager convinced her that the person who took her teddy went through the village and into the volcano (he wasn’t wrong).

So I went in through the temple, finding some new guns like the elven lance, and the great big boomstick which were hidden behind challenges and upgrades.

And so I went into the temple…

And I got lost in the temple.

And I learned a lot about the game during that time.

1.) The enemies will follow you if you try and run past them.
2.) They’re really good shots when you try running.
3.) When they gang up on you, you’re as good as dead.
4.) Checkpoints are fairly placed. So… progress can be lost. I ended up retrieving the Elven Lance like three times before finding the way to go, AND finding a new checkpoint.
5.) The Elven Lance is cool, but there are other guns, and it’s not effective enough.
6.) The Rocket Launcher though!

The game also has bonus rounds that you can find hidden throughout the world. Be prepared for a challenge though. This game doesn’t hold your hand.

I will say that I am pleased with the Crash Bandicoot style level in the volcano, although I think the jumping mechanic needs to be fixed, because I died a lot…

Actually I died from slipping off the ledge quite a few times everywhere, especially in the Volcano, which by the way is a little more straightforward than the temple.

Going back to the temple, the very bottom held the first boss battle.

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It was’t as simple as shooting it, you had to wait for the weakpoint to be revealed. However, her attacks were tough. I died again and again from the poisonous gas.

You know what though? I found an easier time smashing her with my umbrella!

And that black widow fell, baby!

After climbing back out in a rush, the exit led me to the key!

I went into the Village, found nearly every gun available, had no money, and proceeded to the Volcano.

The Volcano is hard.

I’m stuck in a large room with three waves of enemies, and I run out of ammo at the last wave every time. There’s a default pink rechargeable gun that is available at all times, but the damage is minuscule. I got reeeeeal close to finishing when some lava beast killed me from off camera.

The Kickstarter Side

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There’s a lot the developers want to do with the game. Tons of costumes, more guns, enemies, levels, ports, and merchandise. There’s a candy kingdom with a Prince Blueberry, if reached, will be another playthrough option character. You can even play as the teddy thief herself if they raise it enough, but it can only happen if they raise the money.

The game itself has a beautiful amount of polish already included. Aside from control issues, and some lag problems, there’s a lot here.

There’s a lot of Alice in Wonderland, Skylar and Plux, elements, which is great since EA took that away from me… But if you’re a fan of that gameplay, then you’re going to love this.

You can play the demo now and see what I mean about the Volcano being difficult, now!

 

Kickstarter site:

Game Download page:
https://gamejolt.com/games/Onirism/310178