Video Games

[Warframe] Apollodorus, where art thou?

I popped a Forma into Ash last night and immediately headed off to Apollodorus. Except when I got there, it was Infested, not Grineer, spilling out of every doorway. What is this foul excrement!?!???!

Survival versus the Grineer on that node was my absolute most favorite way to level up Unranked Frames. Versus the Infested? GTFO. Killing Grineer is relaxing, therapeutic in a way; the infested, not so much. Getting knocked down and dragged into Ancients or Toxin proc’d by those mosquito things is an annoyance I’d rather avoid.

A quick Google search suggests I’m not alone in lamenting the loss of this low level Grineer Survival mission. What’s worse, there’s no Grineer Survival node until you get all the way out to Ceres! I’m sure DE had their reasons, but this Tenno does not approve in the slightest.

Ah well, guess I need to find a new go-to spot for ranking up my low-level shit. I don’t have to like it though. -_-

Video Games

[Warframe] The Stalker is a Troll of epic proportion

When it comes to Platinum, I’m like Scrooge McDuck. I hoard it, buy it on sale and never spend it. If I could, I’d polish each coin with a diaper and stack them all in nice neat piles. The thing is, I love bows, and there’s one in particular that eludes me—Dread.

Yes, the Stalker’s signature weapon. Dread is the high-end weapon I covet most dearly. The blueprint for it only drops from the Stalker himself. And though I’ve played the game for over 300 hours, the son of bitch has never shown up to assassinate me. You can buy Dread from the market, but only as part of the What Stalker? bundle for a whopping 800 Platinum.

Well, I finally decided “hey, I’ve got all this Platinum not doing anything for me, I really want this thing, and it seems like I’m never going to get it through other means”, so I go for it. I splurge and buy the bundle.

In the days, not weeks—days—since I bought that bundle, the prick has invaded me four times. Thrice I was playing solo with a low-level Frame and he dumped whoop-ass all over me. The other time I was playing with a PUG and we killed him. What does he drop? The motherfucking Dread. Now I have two, and the blueprint is untradeable, so I can’t even help out a fellow Tenno in need. FML

On the bright side, the throwing knives (Despair) which also came in the bundle are amazing; the scythe (Hate), not so much.

Video Games

If you’re wondering what free to play means with Warframe

In the event that some folks are avoiding this game because they assume there’s a “catch”, I thought I’d explain how it works.

Warframe is available on PC, PS4 and XB1. (PC being the lead platform.) It is 100% free to play, forever, without any kind of cap. You can fully level your Warframes and other gear, unlock all locations, progress through all story quests, and participate in endgame activities at the highest level.

So what’s the catch? There are three.

1) Slots. To start with, you have 2 Warframe slots and 8 weapon slots, meaning that’s all you can hold in inventory at a given time. You can rotate anything you want through those slots and experience everything the game has to offer, but it’s gonna sting like hell every time you need to sell off a beloved possession to make room for something else. This is by far the biggest catch.

2) Time. It takes time to build things. For a new Warframe, you typically need to acquire 3 component blueprints, which usually drop from bosses, and construction materials. Then it takes 12 hours to craft the components followed by 3 days to craft the Warframe. Weapons are simpler— buy the blueprint, farm the materials, and build in 12 to 24 hours. This “grind” can be rushed along or skipped entirely by spending $.

3) Cosmetic items are very limited if you don’t want to spend money.

How to work around these three catches?

There are two main in-game currencies. Credits are farmed and used to buy blueprints, rank up mods, build new items, etc. Platinum is the premium currency and can only be purchased with real $. (Well, not exactly. More on this later.) Platinum is used to buy slots for more weapons and Warframes, rush construction projects, buy prebuilt gear, and purchase cosmetic upgrades.

You start with 150 platinum for free. Warframe slots cost 20 and two weapon slots cost 12. So as far as catch #1 goes, you’re handed a Band-Aid right off the bat. 150 platinum will buy you 4 Warframe slots and 10 weapon slots with some left over. That’s plenty to keep you busy for a long ass time. If you find you still need more slots, then you’ve played the fuck out of the game and maybe it’s time to support the developer.

On point #2, the grind is the game, and I hate the term grind because it usually comes with a negative connotation. You get credits, resources, and blueprints by just playing. You don’t play to get those things, you get those things as you play.

And point #3 is largely irrelevant. Cosmetic items are superfluous by their very nature. That said, there’s a reason many people refer to the endgame as Fashion Frame and I’d be full of shit if I denied spending hours fine-tuning color schemes.

Finally, if you’re piss poor and/or absolutely refuse to spend a dime on the game (even though you’d pay $60 for something you’d put less time into) there is a way to get platinum in-game. You can farm rare mods and Prime parts and sell them to other players. So ultimately, it is possible to have everything for free, but it would take an immense amount of time.

What I like about this model is that you only spend money on the things you value, as opposed to paying a flat rate for a game or DLC that may include stuff you don’t particularly care about. YMMV.

Video Games

Warframe Mastery Tracker

This is basically a giant checklist to help with inventory management as it relates to Mastery Rank progression. It’s up-to-date with the current PC build, so for those of us on console, there are a handful of items we don’t have access to yet.

To use it, just click the link below and go to File > Make a copy… or File > Download as to save an editable version for yourself. If you have any recommendations, questions, or problems, let me know in the comments.

Warframe Mastery Progress

 

Video Games

God damn Warframe is fun

I used to play Warframe. A lot.

But after 300+ hours of gameplay, my enthusiasm finally waned. I stopped playing sometime prior to the Specters of the Rail update, which turned the Void/Key system on its ear. There have more updates since, but I haven’t been following the game’s evolution.

A few days ago, my good friend @the3rdwalker told me about the Free Prime with Prime promotion. Say what!!?!?

Yeah, I jumped all over that shit. And there I stood, Frost Prime, in my trusty orbiter, just as I left her, Clem noggle and all. A Kubrow egg ready to hatch. The dulcit tones of Ordis’ voice chirping away. Grineer ramblings on the scanner. Ahh, home again. Then I pulled up the Star Chart. =/

It all went downhill from there.

I don’t mean downhill as in bad, but downhill as in progressively more bewildering. I got these relics I’m supposed to do something with, junctions to unlock, bizarre drops I’ve never heard of, other drops I don’t know how to interact with. Sheesh. It was hard enough figuring out this game the first time.

That said, I was soon grinning from ear to ear: bullet jumping, slide spinning, and unloading the mighty Telos Boltor on hapless Grineer.

 

Video Games

Darksiders 2 game review

And Platinum Trophy no. 17, huzzah!

I played the Deathinitive Edition on PS4 and thought it was decent, but nothing special. Darksiders 2 is an open world, third person, hack and slash, adventure rpg—or something along those lines. You play as Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, on a mission to redeem his brother War.

It sounds wonderfully fun, but the execution (teehee), while broad in scope, is exceedingly shallow. The story was sufficient to provide purpose for Death’s actions, but failed to move me in any way. It was also cliched, poorly told, and occasionally confusing. You meet a handful of marginally interesting NPCs along the way, but without an engaging story or meaningful character development, it all falls flat.

Now, I  don’t expect every game to spin a tale on the same level as The Last of Us, not by any means. But the longer it takes to play through a game, the more the game needs to do to make you care. Tetris is great, but I’m not going to play 50 hours of it over the course of 3 weeks.

Story aside, Darksiders 2 suffers from not knowing what it wants to be. I think it aspires to be something like an open world God of War, but being open world isn’t a good thing if there’s no worthwhile reason to explore. It just means time wasted while traversing to the next point of interest. It lacks Witcher 3’s narrative depth, Dark Souls’ sense of wonder/dread, and God of Wars’ focus. The end result is that it’s not very good at being open world, or at being an RPG, or at being a hack and slash adventure game.

Well, at least the fighting is fun right? Eh, it’s just okay. The combo system pales in comparison to God of War, Bayonetta, or Star Wars: The Force Unleashed—to name a few. I used the same handful of moves throughout the game, regardless of the enemy or situation. When things got particularly hairy, I’d summon some ghouls to help out and that’s about it. But, you get a lot of cool gear right? Um, not so much. I got an axe with Life Steal early on and it remained my best weapon option well into NG+.

I don’t mean to sound soooooo down on the game. I mean, I was entertained enough to finish it and then go on to get the Platinum Trophy. It’s just, I can’t point to anything about it as being exceptional*. I can’t even say it ran well, as it crashed numerous times. Ultimately, I think Darksiders 2 is reasonably fun, but starts to feel like a slog about two thirds in and your time is probably better spent playing something else.

 

*Correction, the voice acting is generally very good and Michael Wincott, who voices Death, has a phenomenal voice.

Video Games

Aaru’s Awakening game review

There’s not much to say really. Aaru’s Awakening is a side scrolling platformer that I got as a free PS+ at some point. The only reason I played it is that it had the distinction of being first alphabetically in my games library.

I enjoyed the visual style and challenging gameplay, but that’s about it. There’s not much story to speak of and it’s told by a narrator who sounds like a child giving it their best effort, but who is in no way cut out to be a voice actor. The music and sound effects are unremarkable, though at least not annoying.

As the golden bird-bear beast Aaru, you make your way through four levels, then fight a boss—rinse and repeat. The levels simply require you to navigate increasingly treacherous environments. You’ll encounter a few enemies along the way, but killing things is by no means a focal point of the game. Boss battles are quite involved and require puzzle solving skills in addition to coordination.

If I had to describe Aaru’s Awakening in one word, it would be: hard. If I had two words, it would be: brutally hard. Three: brutally fucking hard. And finally six words: brutally fucking hard side scrolling platformer. It is quite possibly the most difficult game I’ve ever managed to finish. When I started it, I was like, “hunh, this is entertaining in an old-school sort of way and seems pretty short; I’ll play through it.” Yeah, well little did I know. I finished it purely because I didn’t want this to be the first time I quit a game because it was too difficult.

The difficulty of it is in timing and coordination, but not in a good Dark Souls kind of way; more of an arbitrary—you’ve got to be kidding me with this shit—kind of way. If you enjoy platformers and love a good challenge, then by all means, have a go at Aaru’s Awakening. For everyone else, you’re not missing much if you pass on this title.