Hades Is A Hellishly Good Time

Hi, my name is Derek and I’m addicted to Hades. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

Wait, that’s not right. Loving Hades isn’t a problem, not at all. In fact, you should all be playing it because it’s the best game that Supergiant Games has made to this point. If you’ve been following me a while here, you know what a comment like that from me means.

hades zagreus

I may have spoiled my impressions of Hades already, but lets dive a bit deeper into the game, shall we? There’s a ton of just wonderful things to unpack.

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What. A. Mess.

Even though we’re less than two months until the next generation of consoles launch and both Sony and Microsoft have basically revealed plenty of new details and information, things are just not as great as they should be.

Over the past two weeks, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S have gone up for pre-order. Unfortunately, between the chaos of trying to pre-order this new tech online and the clearly smaller than anticipated inventory, many fans have been left out in the cold. Orders being canceled or delayed, pre-orders going live earlier than expected, and scalpers posting consoles online for outrageous prices have really dampened the experience for many.

Yes, the world is in a situation that’s a little different than normal, but you’d think that both Sony and Microsoft would do everything they could to make this moment truly exciting for buyers. Instead, it has turned into a nightmare.

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The Next Gen Table is Finally Set

Whew! For those of you keeping up with next gen console news, it’s been an interesting summer considering that E3 was taken away. Both Microsoft and Sony have had to scramble to change their plans and announce things over the course of months rather than at a major event in front of everyone.

While we can all agree that there has been hits and misses on both sides, one thing that seemed to be an endless struggle was getting pricing and release date news out of either side. It’s like Microsoft and Sony were playing a game of chicken, daring the other to go first so they could gain an advantage and adjust accordingly. Following the sudden reveal of the Xbox Series S pricing, Microsoft finally gave in and gave fans whta they wanted. A week later, Sony followed suit.

Now, all of the information is out in the open and people can finally plan their course of action. So, let’s talk about what we know.

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History Behind The Game: Ghost of Tsushima

It’s been a very long time, but after playing through (and absolutely loving) Ghost of Tsushima, I knew it was time to bring back this feature.

For those who don’t know, History Behind The Game is something I used to do on this here blog to dissect historical features, people, and things in video games. Naturally, Assassin’s Creed was featured quite often considering how much the games lean into actual history to influence the game world. Ryse: Son of Rome and The Last of Us also made guest appearances here as well.

Ghost of Tsushima sunny field

Now we have Ghost of Tsushima, a fictional tale with many historical elements woven in about Samurai Jin Sakai as he pushes back against the Mongol Invasion of the northern Japanese island, Tsushima.

So, what’s real and what has been adapted to better fit the game? Let me be your guide as we fill in the gaps and take a look at some interesting details and facts regarding this time period.

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Marvel’s Avengers Beta Impressions – A Fine Game

I’ve really been struggling with this one. I’ve played the beta on PS4 for the past two weekends and my thoughts on this game are all over the map. Trying to sort them out has been tougher than expected. My original plan was to post this earlier in the week and I’m glad I didn’t because this post got pretty negative. I’ve had some time to reflect and kind of come at this a new way.

I’ll be honest, I had mixed expectations going on. On paper, Marvel’s Avengers sounds awesome. Basically taking the gameplay loop of Destiny, adding loot, and giving players access to customizable heroes. Yeah, that all sounds great.

Unfortunately, I just never felt that same vibe once I actually got my hands on the game. Even though it’s a bit disappointing that the game didn’t reach what I had hoped it would be, it isn’t bad by any means. The game certainly has potential but as of right now, it’s just fine.

Okay, let’s start from the beginning.

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Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad Game Reveal Reactions

I was going to talk about Marvel’s Avengers today, but lets save that difficult post for another day. Instead, let’s chat about the DC FanDome event this past weekend and its two big game reveals!

Fans have been waiting years to hear what’s next for the Arkhamverse and to learn what Rocksteady has been up to since its last release, Batman: Arkham Knight. The company has largely been silent, which has fueled the countless rumors, speculation, and supposed leaks. Three years later, fans finally have their answers not only from Rocksteady, but what direction WB Montreal is taking the Batman gaming franchise as well.

Let’s discuss!

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Surprise! It’s Free DLC for Ghost of Tsushima!

Earlier this week, Sucker Punch surprised basically everyone by not only announcing new (and free!) DLC for Ghost of Tsushima, but confirming a multiplayer mode as well.

Ghost of Tsushima: Legends adds a brand new four player co-op mode to the traditionally single player game. Taking place completely outside of Jin’s story, up to four players can band together and become one of four warriors who are from the various folklores told by the inhabitants of Tsushima Island.

Want more? Have a look:

As you can see, this mode fully embraces the Japanese mythology, something the base game completely avoided. You have four classes to pick from and according to the reveal post, players will be able to customize these warriors. But each one represents a certain core class like the archer, samurai, stealthy ghost, and deadly ronin.

Not only that, the mode appears to be a big on the content heavy side, which is fantastic. The post discussed story based missions, wave-based survival missions, and even longer Raid style missions.

Honestly, I’m thrilled that Sucker Punch is tapping into all that Japanese folklore and supernatural elements. I absolutely understand their desire to keep the base game grounded and I think it works fantastically, but Japan has some really cool spiritual and mythology elements as well.

I’m extremely happy to see them push hard into this realm for Ghost of Tsushima: Legends. I think with how chunky this side of the game appears, it’s safe to say Ghost will be launching on the PS5 as well. Don’t be surprised to see a ported version, especially since this big and free mode is launching so close to the PS5.

I figured we’d get new content for Ghost of Tsushima but an announcement this early and something this substantial was a major surprise.

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The Ladies of Assassin’s Creed

It’s been well documented that Ubisoft has had major issues with how certain employees treated others (especially women) as well as HR not doing all they could for those impacted. As a fan of Ubisoft’s games, this is hard to bear. My heart goes out to the many people who have already come forward to share their story. Stay strong. Hopefully, this leads to significant change in the industry.

Assassin's Creed Logo

Over the past week, another story has come to light that impacts many of the recent Assassin’s Creed games from certain (now former) leaders at that company. I was shocked to learn that in many of the recent titles, the company reduced and minimized the roles of certain female characters.

What’s crazy about this is that a bunch of characters mentioned were ones that I always believed should have had a bigger role in their games. Badass women who, at the time playing each game, I really believed would be featured in some way, either later in the game or perhaps a DLC expansion. According to reports, that may have once been planned for the characters below but was nixed in favor of male leads or a different story direction entirely.

Let’s dive into this subject a bit.

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The Stunning World of Ghost of Tsushima

I had a feeling Ghost of Tsushima would be my kind of game. Sure, it’s a Sucker Punch game and I’m a sucker (pun intended) for their stuff. For me there’s a lot to love including the delicately crafted open world, chasing hidden shrines, and just getting lost and coming upon something you had no idea was there.

From a gameplay perspective, challenging enemies to a duel as a samurai or approaching situations in a stealthy way is just a ton of fun.

ghost of tsushima autumn

However, the real standout are the visuals, something that has been well documented. Today, I wanted to share what I’ve been doing with the incredibly powerful Photo Mode tool. All of these shots were taken on my base PS4 and fear not, there are no spoilers for the game.

The tool itself is incredibly powerful and there’s just so much you can do. I’ve started to learn more and more techniques as I’ve played (which is likely why I haven’t gotten super far into the game yet) but I’m continually in awe at what the community has done so far. Definitely inspiring and makes me want to continue to learn and see what I can do. My next adventure is creating some interesting short videos with the tool.

For now, here’s what I’ve managed to capture so far. Enjoy!

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Totally Not E3 2020 Predictions: Microsoft

Finally, the day has come for Xbox Series X fans. Okay, sure, we got that gameplay event back in May which ultimately ended up in like 90% “in-engine” trailers and didn’t actually have gameplay, but this is the event many were waiting for.

xbox games showcase

The latest Not E3 2020 event from Microsoft is going to be showcasing all sorts of first party content. With how well Sony was received last month with its own PS5 event, the pressure has seemingly shifted back over to Microsoft in order to deliver. They’ve scooped up a ton of studios so now it’s time to get a peek behind the curtain to see what they’ve been working on.

Here are my Totally Not E3 2020 Predictions for Microsoft. Enjoy!

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The Watch Dogs Legion Conundrum

I’ll admit, I keep going back and forth on this title. Last year, I wrote two articles, basically night and day going from being concerned to then not being concerned.

watch dogs legion london drone

After the first Ubisoft Forward event, when we got another really good look at the game, I’m starting to have these concerns again. This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit since we saw the new gameplay this month. How is Watch Dogs Legion going to draw me in and keep me hooked when you can literally be anyone?

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November 2020 Is Going To Be A Monster

Well, in the past few days, we’ve learned quite a bit as to how crazy November 2020 is going to be for video games. In all honesty, this sudden pileup of games reminds me how things used to be. Last generation, it felt like in October and November, companies were releasing AAA titles every week.

While that schedule has thankfully slowed down in recent years, things have begun to once again heat up very quickly likely due to the current global pandemic as well as the arrival of a new generation of consoles.

So, here’s the timeline we’re basically looking at. I hope your wallet is prepared:

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Totally Not E3 2020 Predictions: Ubisoft

The summer of events and announcements rolls on! Without E3 this year, companies have had to get a bit creative and I for one am enjoying having all these reveals spread out over the course of the summer rather than jam packed inside 5-6 days. Today we’re setting down some predictions for Ubisoft’s not E3 event taking place this coming Sunday, July 12.

ubisoft forward

Similar to EA, I feel like we already know a lot of what Ubisoft is going to show off. However, there’s still enough ambiguity there where I do believe we’re going to get a surprise or two. I mean, we know they’re well known for their “One More Thing” style announcements.

So without further adieu, here are my totally not-E3 2020 predictions for Ubisoft. Enjoy.

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Dynamic World Building Has Finally Come to Destiny 2

I’ve touched on this a little bit in the past but it seems with the most recent 7/7 update during Season of Arrivals, Destiny 2 has finally created a world that feels alive.

In the past we’ve seen little things here and there attempting to make the world feel lived in, from Ikora building a giant Vex portal week after week, to the threat of the Almighty aiming to strike the Tower. While all that was nice to see, it never made me feel that Bungie achieved the ultimate goal of world based storytelling.

destiny 2 pyramids io

All that changed this past Tuesday. Let’s break it down:

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A Totally Not E3 Recap: Sony and EA

I’ve mentioned this before but I think I’m coming around on not having a dedicated E3. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bombastic energy from the 5 days and the rush of announcements is always fun. As I’ve said, it’s like Christmas for gamers.

Still, there’s so much that happens that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with new stuff and potentially miss something. Without E3 this year, it has allowed companies to spread their content throughout the summer. So instead of a five day rush, wee get pockets of excitement at a constant clip. It’s been kind of nice having new events to look forward to rather than have a news drought from the end of June through August.

As you may or may not have known, both Sony and EA had their “E3ish” events recently and naturally, we have to discuss. Here are my thoughts on both.

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