Monthly Archives: May 2016

Hey Game Roomies, welcome to my newest segment! This is called “Designer Talk By Mustapha!” I will basically talk about an idea or design principle and explain why it’s applied well in certain cases. I’m going to start with two of my favorite things. The theme of “Autonomy” will be the focus of our first piece here. I will attempt to explain that design concept using my favorite game as an example. Xenoblade Chronicles. There may be some VERY minor spoilers ahead, but nothing about the late game.

What is the meaning of this word? To be autonomous by dictionary definition is “acting independently or having the freedom to do so.”

Now you may be asking, “How can that idea be associated with a linear story driven game experience?” If you weren’t asking that, I’m glad you’re already on board. Xenoblade doesn’t allow you to control what you experience, that much is true. But it does give you control over how you experience it with a mastery of an element that a long JRPG is almost dependent on. The idea of pacing is often overlooked, which can sometimes be a fatal flaw for a game. Xenoblade Chronicles understands pacing, and if you’re curious as to what that means, look no further than the 500+ sidequests that you have access to throughout the game. These sidequests are of different calibers and difficulties and come with rewards varying from new gear to new arts to just gold.

Xenoblade's Frontier Village.

Xenoblade’s Frontier Village.

That being said, there are many different types of quests too. Fetch quests, merc work, and so on. But they are scattered at incredibly varied points throughout the game. And only about one fourth of them are timed. This means that you can truly address the game at your own pace. You can do an entire half of the game before ever touching a sidequest. Or you could resolve all of the issues in one town before moving on to the dungeon after the fact. The best part is, a lot of the quests have chains of subsequent quests that can only be unlocked at certain points in the game. This means that you build the world as you go. It is completely your decision how much of the world has its problems resolved.

I first realized the impact of this when I finished the game and decided to go hunting Unique Monsters. A lot of sidequests popped up and I ended up visiting Colony 6. The place was still decimated from the early game. I had skipped all of the sidequests leading up to this point. That probably makes me the worst person in the history of mankind. But you get the picture. I skipped the sidequests and the world was decimated as a result of this. I had completed an EPIC main story that I loved in every way, but the world did suffer for it. Exploration took a hit as certain environments would have unresolved issues and really interesting unexplored NPCs.

What I’m trying to say here is that from a perspective of mechanics, autonomy means something completely different in a game like Xenoblade than it would in Mass Effect. You get to make choices that influence the world in those games, and the main story. That in essence, is its own separate thing, that still appeals to a broad audience, but the type of autonomy you would find in Xenoblade gives you choice in the way you play. Your approach to a massive canvas to leave your world’s mark, from a mechanical perspective is truly unique and interesting.

Xenoblade Chronicles X expands on this idea through its exploration of multiple optional party members, and COUNTLESS amounts of side content. Then there are the different classes for the avatar character, and the different Skell frames, which changes the way you do combat. But that game’s open world truly delivers an autonomous experience, with ample consequence. It encourages exploring, but warns you that you lack the experience to confront what you might encounter.

Sylvalum. The tundra continent of Xenoblade Chronicles X.

Sylvalum. The tundra continent of Xenoblade Chronicles X.

But I could go on forever about what qualifies as autonomy. What’s important for designer talk is discussing why it matters. Why do I as a gamer want control over my experience? Easy. Because any experience that can be manipulated to the will of the player has a potentially larger market. You can appeal to the gamer who likes to sit down for short bursts and have fun, and you can appeal to the gamer who sits down on his/her day off and plays for hours.

I get a good feeling when I sit down to play Xenoblade X because I still haven’t encountered everyone or done every sidequest. So sometimes I’ll sit down and do one quest, while other times I’ll sit down for a few hours and just play. My experience varies based on my mood, and I never have too big of an in-game commitment to offset that autonomy. But alas, this post is getting long. So I think I’ve made my point.

I’m just testing the waters with this, but let me know how you like it. This may be something that I switch over to video if I like it enough. But in the meantime, thank you all for reading. For more on games like Xenoblade and other autonomous experiences, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

“And so we resolved to forge new life, here on planet Mira.” -Lin Lee Koo (Xenoblade Chronicles X)


And forge new life this game has. Xenoblade Chronicles X for Wii U manages to live up to the quality of its predecessor while still breathing new life into the series. This game puts emphasis on discovering a new world, and working hard to make it your own.

Xenoblade X


While Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii was a heavily narrative focused game, Xenoblade Chronicles X for Wii U is focused more on exploring the expansive world around you. The storyline takes a backseat this time around to some incredible combat centric experiences on the vast rock of Mira.

From the time you start up the game, Xenoblade Chronicles X reels you in with the intense struggle between warring alien forces that leads to the destruction of Earth. Telling you this story to get you invested is merely the first step in connecting you to this world. As the first bit of exposition is done being given to you, the game allows you to create your character. Character creation is certainly deep, and allows you to truly cater to your own personality. There are a lot of expressive design choices for the character you create, and many options for the voice of your character, even going as far as to cite the voice actors in the options menu. For those who want to relive the glory days, the voice actors for Shulk and Fiora from the first Xenoblade Chronicles are an option as well.

Xenoblade Chronicles X offers a wealth of knowledge and resources for all who are willing to explore. From the start of the game, the vast region of Primordia is open to you. By the time you complete the tutorial missions, you are able to explore the entirety of the first three continents in the game. From the rocky grasslands of Primordia, to the colorful jungle of Noctilum, to the beautiful desert storm of Oblivia, the scenic options are available for all. This is only complimented by the game’s stunning visuals. Everything runs at 720p native and is locked at 30fps, for the more technically concerned.

The combat in Xenoblade Chronicles X has been expanded upon in many ways. The new “combat command system” allows you to command other members of your party, and have some control over their behaviors. You can urge them to use a certain type of attack, or focus on a specific type of damage. This adds immeasurable depth to the game, as now, your party members are not simply operating on artificial intelligence. It offers a new sense of player control, and allows battles to flow much more smoothly.

But these are just surface elements. What makes Xenoblade Chronicles X so good is that you truly have access to an expansive world. The storyline of the game is good. The characters are charming, and you get to learn about all of them in different ways, but from a narrative perspective it doesn’t even come close to its predecessor. The vast expansive world is what makes this game. There are countless side quests, which give insight into the world’s geography as well as the interesting cast of characters. There are also tons of Tyrant enemies to hunt down, which are vastly superior to other enemies of the same species. You’ll struggle with them, but exploring various strategies to hunt them down really pushes you in ways you may not have expected.

Another unique thing about Xenoblade X that separates it from most JRPG’s is that it offers over a dozen optional party members. These are people that you can recruit and train to fight alongside you in side quests and story missions. A lot of them are very vibrant unique characters that you want to learn about. This game m
asters world building, but makes you work for it. You can’t get all of your answers unless you’re willing to fight and explore.

Few things in games feel as good as the first time you get to operate a Skell. This huge world that seemed to have control over you is now bowing at your feet as you pilot a massive mech at high speeds. Skells are instrumental to the later parts of the game, and yet, very difficult to keep track of. The “Skell Insurance” thing that the game uses is pretty bogus. It’s a system in place that allows enemies damages and destroy Skells, which feels quite unforgiving, given that you can encounter enemies up to fifty levels higher than you. Skell combat also feels slightly less interesting than ground combat. They added some features to mix it up, like the cockpit reset function, which makes cooldown on your moves disappear completely.

For fans of the original, you may be disappointed by a few things. I for one, was unhappy about the lack of “Talent Arts” from the original game. You’ll also be sad to know that the nopon Tatsu, lacks any of the charm that Riki had in the original game. He is quite frankly, a nuisance.


Lin Lee Koo piloting her own Skell.

Minor inconveniences include the scarcity of resources necessary for “Skell Development” for later parts of the game. The Gamepad manages all map functions, so if you’re like me and prefer the pro controller, sorry. The game is playable without the Gamepad but takes a major dip in quality.

That being said, this game is full. It is enjoyable and atmospheric. It has story, tight combat and wonderful overworld mechanics. This is certainly not a direct sequel. Xenoblade Chronicles X is its own entity, and it truly manages to succeed as that. Xenoblade Chronicles X is a vast RPG, and truly another masterpiece in a long line of Monolith Soft’s spectacular creations. If any Wii U owner is looking for a new adventure, or simply for a cool action packed title, Xenoblade Chronicles X is the game for you.

That being said, this was my post for the day! This is definitely a game that I think all Wii U owners should try. It bridges a lot of elements together that you wouldn’t expect to work. I hope some of you noticed that there’s a new page on the site for the podcast! Check it out if you haven’t already!

For more on games like Xenoblade Chronicles X and other deep RPG experiences, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

Hey everyone!

I’m Amber and welcome to my first  ever review on Mustapha’s Game Room! I’m also a gaming journalist looking to give you insight on some of the new great games out there. You’ll be seeing me around here more frequently, so I hope you enjoy all the content I bring you!

When I got my PS3 it came with a game called Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. I had gotten the console to play Bioshock Infinite, but I ended up having to wait to get the game. I was not a huge fan of any shooter games before I got the PS3, so I definitely wasn’t sure if I wanted to play Uncharted 3. When I started to play I had no idea what I was doing, and I actually put the game down and didn’t want to play it again. It wasn’t till a friend in my math class told me to keep playing it that I decided to continue. It was one of his favorite games and told me that I would love it.U4

I’m glad I listened to him because I ended up loving the game.

Sure, I started liking the game because Nathan Drake was cute (not to mention that really nice butt of his), but as the game went on I noticed that I pretty much loved everything about it. The characters, the story, the gameplay, the visuals, etc. The whole game was amazing. As the game ended, I thought that no game could beat it. Of course, I was wrong. There is one game in particular that beat Uncharted 3 in all aspects: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.


The game has been delayed a couple of times, but once I got my hands on it and got to play it….it was well wort
h the wait. As much as I hated all the delays I’m glad that they took the extra time to make such a well polished game.

This felt a bit different than the other Uncharted games. Though, you still get to climb a lot, make things fall while you climb, get to shoot bad guys, and track down treasure while learning a bit of cool history. The game did all of that so well.

No more clunky climbing controls like in the previous games. Many different mechanics were added to the climbing aspects like having Drake pick up a piton, a pick like object used to climb rocks, and having him own a grappling hook. Swinging to different things is just so much fun and keeps the player on their toes. Nine times out of ten when Drake is sliding down a hill, and there is no where to jump to at the end of it, the player will have to guide Drake to use his grappling hook and swing to safety. The only thing that would make the grappling hook better is the player could melee attack with it Though, that is a feature in multiplayer.

I was also impressed with the story they decided to tell. It got me wanting to look up more and try to piece together the puzzle as the characters did. Even though Amy Hennig left Naughty Dog before Uncharted 4 was finished, the story is still has a strong plot, strong characters, and a strong focus on history. I didn’t even know anything about Henry Avery or Libertalia before playing this game. I feel like I’m learning things that my history class would never touch. Sure, not all of it is going to be 100% true, but there’s enough facts in there to get me interested enough to learn more.

The characters were another great part of the story. These were not new characters, they were characters thatU42 have grown up from the previous games. Naughty Dog didn’t try to reinvent the characters because of the new generation of gamers. They might seem different, but it is just because they grew up. Nathan Drake still loves Elena Fisher, but now they’re married, have a house, and have jobs they both enjoy doing. Sully is still Sully but he’s a bit more gray and more of the grandpa that cheers from the sidelines. Sam Drake might have just been introduced this game, but you can really tell that he isn’t the little kid that Nathan used to look up too. The character are just so right. These are the character that have been with us for almost a decade.

What’s different, however, is there is more of a The Last of Us feel within the whole game. There were a lot of interactions with other characters than before and a lot of jumping around in time when it came to telling the story. There was also a lot of moving things around so a character could advanced. Instead of moving things so Ellie could safely get across water, there were so many crates and boxes you have to move in order for Nathan Drake to climb up walls that were too high for him. This is the only problem I had with the game. It was okay the first couple of times I had to move a crate, but after a while it felt like Naughty Dog ran out of other ideas. It was annoying in The Last of Us and even more annoying in Uncharted 4.

I guess what all this rambling boils down to is that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a great game. The story is great, the characters are great, the gameplay is great…..everything about this game is just amazing and worth the money. The game looks so great and the visuals are stunning.  I’ve never traveled to the places Nathan and Sam go, but because of the research and art that went into this game, I feel like I’ve been there. Everything is so smooth and looks so perfect. This game definitely gives Playstation a boost over Xbox when talking about exclusives.

And if you’re like me and have played all the Uncharted games, the epilogue made me tear up. What a great way to end the series and truly shows that there is greatness from small beginnings. Just like Sir Francis Drake said.
Thanks for reading this review for one of the best games out there this year, and for more on games like Uncharted and other great action adventure games, make sure you come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever be in the position to review Super Smash Bros. Why? I can objectively look at all of my favorite games. I could talk your ear off for hours about what makes Paper Mario great. Or my favorite game of all time, Xenoblade Chronicles. I would consider my review of that game to be very objective. Those are two of my favorites, and I feel perfectly comfortable looking at them both as a consumer, and as an aspiring designer. Smash is easily the most complicated game series I’ve ever tried to address as a game journalist, even dating back to the old blog.

I have played every game in the Smash series extensively. I mean truly extensively, but I have to say, contrary to popular opinion, my favorite of them is Brawl. So that’s the game I want to talk about when I really try to critically break down, not why Brawl is objectively a good game, but what is the “wow” factor that makes it truly resonate with people.

To give some background, I am by no stretch a competitive Smash player. I would consider my skill level at the game to be above average, but by no means professional level. So I don’t look at these games from the angle of their competitive viability, as I don’t believe they’re supposed to be taken that seriously. Perhaps the combination of the super cartoony aesthetic and the overall tone give me that impression, but I see Smash as a fun way to settle those schoolyard debates between Mario and Link, or Peach and Zelda…nobody ever debates for Luigi. 🙁

Nintendo's greats all in one spot!

Nintendo’s greats all in one spot!

I don’t think there’s ever been a game that paid better tribute to Nintendo than Brawl. It manages to hit nostalgia points in ways no other in the series could do. Be it the new characters, such as Pit from the obscure classic Kid Icarus or Meta Knight from the Kirby series, the expansive cast includes characters that were seemingly forgotten in previous titles. Yes, Smash for Wii U and 3DS have even more classic characters, such as Duck Hunt, Little Mac, and even Pac-man, but it still doesn’t compare. Brawl introduced Assist Trophies, which allowed us to drag into the fray, those interesting characters that just didn’t make the cut for the main game. Characters like Waluigi and Isaac from Golden Sun.

Brawl introduced Final Smashes, which truly brought the best of each character to the foreground. Seeing Bowser turn into the mighty Giga Bowser from Melee for the first time, and learning that you could control him, was an incredible experience. Seeing Link’s Triforce Slash or Ike’s Great Aether showed us the light in which our favorite heroes could shine. It was a beautiful tribute to the majesty of these legends. Final Smashes in Smash 4 are better, don’t get me wrong. But the leap from Brawl to Smash 4 doesn’t compare from the leap Melee took to achieve the awe that Brawl could induce.

Along with these things, Brawl had a huge selection of interesting trophies, but it also had this huge book of stickers! Stickers from games as popular as Metroid Prime to games as obscure as Fire Emblem Sacred Stones. The sheer amount of content in this game surpassed everyone’s expectations.

Regardless of how you feel about its quality, the biggest and most impactful addition to Brawl was the Subspace Emissary. While I realize it wasn’t received as well as I enjoyed it, I gave it a real good think and understood why people didn’t like it. That being said, it was the first time in series history that we got some context (albeit not much) to the scenarios that made up the premise of Smash in the first place. We got to see our childhood heroes fighting alongside and against each other in a riveting adventure. Like this was a big deal, guys!

The cast of Brawl standing over the ocean.

The cast of Brawl standing over the ocean.

Alright. Now that I’ve gushed about Brawl, I think this post is starting to get a little long so I want to get to the point. The actual mechanics of Smash are fun. They’re awesome, and someday when I review the game officially, you’ll understand why I think they’re awesome. But most importantly, Smash is a tribute to decades of culture, and that is why people are always so excited. With stages, characters, music, and many more elements that honor the heroes and villains we hold near and dear, Smash will forever prove its mettle as one of the best options out there for gamers of all ages.

Thank you all for reading! Two posts in one day. Crazy, right? Gotta love Super Smash Bros! I can still think back to all the hours me and my brothers poured into Brawl. I could talk about it all day. As much fun as objective reviews can be, nothing really measures up to anecdotal recollections. I mean, that’s kind of what makes this whole thing fun. Exploring the way games impact us as people is probably the main reason I started doing this. Anyhoo, I’m getting rambly. Thank you all, it’s been a great day on the Game Room. For more on games like Super Smash Bros, and other kick butt titles for all ages, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

This is the written review for DMC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition. For the video review, click here.

Capcom and Ninja Theory collaborate to reboot the classic action franchise Devil May Cry. DMC Devil May Cry Definitive Edition brings this exciting action reboot to current gen consoles to create a comfortable, mechanically sound experience for fans of the hack’n’slash genre. While this game’s story and characters leave much to be desired, its controls and style make it one of the best Capcom games of the generation.

DMC Devil May Cry

From the time you start playing DmC it wastes no time establishing tone. Dante is surrounded by strippers, and is engaging in debauchery to showcase his edgy untamed nature. Then his carelessness is displayed as he bares all in front of a visitor at his front door. Things take a turn as, without any explanation Dante is dragged into Limbo, a parallel dimension where demons exist, and they don’t hesitate to launch an attack on him. Turns out, it’s the work of Demon King Mundus, who wants Dante’s Nephilim head on a platter.

You spend the entirety of the first mission getting comfortable with the controls as you fight hordes of rather basic demons. The controls are very easy to learn, and you’re adequately limited. The best way I can describe this game’s combat is by saying that it’s like a juggling routine. You start off with three balls to juggle with and you’re doing a good job. With each new move you learn, and each new style of demon introduced, you’re getting another ball, and while it’s more complex, your routine looks and feels amazing once you master it. By the time you’re able to swap between all of your available weapons and abilities to string together epic combos, you’re left with some of the best game feel in the industry to date.

The definitive edition compliments this quality with its incredible specs, running fluidly at 1080p and 60fps, allowing Dante’s delicious attack animations to flow like water. Combine that with different amounts of tension and screen shake, as well as different weights and sound effects associated with each weapon, and you have the most realistic feeling action experience available in this genre.

That being said, the story does fall short quite a bit, with characters feeling very edgy for the sake of being edgy. Thankfully, the definitive edition removed some of the cringe inducing lines by Mundus’ mistress, as well as Vergil’s fedora. But that doesn’t change Dante’s slurred, angry, almost unprovoked attitude that plagues the game’s dialogue. You will find some reward in completing the game as characters do go through interesting development curves.

Dante and Kat.

Dante and Kat.

The actual game flow of DmC is interesting. The game is divided into missions, which allows for short bursts of gameplay. Yet with so many different enemies, and styles of combat you can pursue, you never quite get a monotonous atmosphere from the game. This is a good balance, as you get to post-mortem your approach to any given mission based on your grades and percentages awarded at the end of each mission.

The game demands you to learn, as boss battles do build off of the basic enemies patterns in some ways. There are few boss battles, unfortunately, but they are impactful and effective.

Outside of the main game, there are side modes. These include special missions where you are forced to fight under specific conditions. For example, enemies will only die in the air. Or Dante will die in one hit. On top of this, there’s the post game DLC Vergil’s Downfall. Quite fun, and similar in tone to the original series. I’d recommend ignoring it until you’re done with the main story, but thankfully it comes bundled with the definitive edition.

DmC Devil May Cry is a special experience on current gen consoles. I’m normally not crazy about “complete” editions of games, but this one truly does offer enough content for the value it’s sold at. Anyone looking for a rad action experience should give this game a go!


Thank you all for reading and/or watching! This is the first of a new wave of Game Room Reviews. I’m setting quite a bit in motion, and you can expect the blog to keep growing as I keep working hard. For more on games like Devil May Cry, and other dynamic action experiences, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

Though few have heard of it, “Game and Watch Gallery 4” was one of the greatest experiences available for the Gameboy Advance back in the early 2000s. Now, the game is being brought back for the Wii U Virtual Console, and every kind of player has a reason to try this old gem. The arcade-like expGallery 4erience remastered classic “Game and Watch” titles games like never before, bringing the games to life while incorporating the heroes of the Mushroom Kingdom.

The Super Mario crew arrives in classic titles such as “Fire” or “Chef” in recreations of the handheld games created by Gunpei Yokoi. Being the fourth installment of this gallery series, players can expect that the formula has been explored in numerous ways, and perfected. In a simpler time before smartphones were popular, this game could have easily substituted most app games.

While the “Game and Watch” might be technically weak by the standards of modern games, the understanding of basic design principles shines through, showing that good graphics and orchestral soundtracks simply aren’t enough to make a good game. Risk and reward are at play in these easy to learn, difficult to master gaming gems. Iconic characters from the Super Mario franchise make the game feel familiar from the time it’s powered on.

Placing these characters in different scenarios, such as saving Toads from a burning building, or cooking food for a baby Yoshi, brings the world to life, and makes the games feel slightly connected. The soundtrack is beautiful, amplifying the already peaceful atmosphere that the vibrant colors in
the art style create.

With over twenty Modern and Classic style games to play, “Game and Watch Gallery 4” is a great game for killing time and having simple fun in a classic way. This game is available on the Wii U eshop.

I apologize for the short review, I have something kind of big in the works for tomorrow. I still think Gallery 4 was a blast, and I remember it from my childhood. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting something brand new in the Game Room, starting a new segment on our journey! In the meantime, thank you all for reading and come back soon for more from the Game Room!!!

If you have yet to play through Life Is Strange, turn back now! This post is riddled with spoilers. Read something spoiler free, like this Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest Review!


If you’re a gamer, and have yet to watch a single “Game Theory” video, you are missing out big time! I’ve been a fan for years, and recently they did a video on Life Is Strange where they analyzed the impact that one’s personality can have on their decision making process, as well as the correlation between consumed media and personality type. I am a fan of studying the way psychology influences us as gamers, and I don’t think there’s been a game to date that could serve as a better study.

LS1Don’t get me wrong, morality games are nothing new between the likes of Fable and one of my personal favorites, InFAMOUS. But unlike
those aforementioned titles, there are no central mechanics influenced by morality in
Life Is Strange, as the morality element is the main mechanic. Making choices, and watching them unfold before you, is the sole purpose of the game.

To be clear, this isn’t a review, as that will come later, but this is more of a critical analysis, as well as a response to the Game Theory video, which centers around the final decision. Final spoiler warning, as we’re getting into the heart of this discussion.

The final decision of the game forces you to choose between your best friend and your entire town. Which is a big choice, and as I’m sure you can imagine, quite a heavy burden. It is handled rather effectively, and I want to explore why that choice was so difficult. But in order to do so, we have to look back at a lot of the major decisions in the game, and what makes them effective.

Chloe brings you, the player, and Max, the character you control, through quite a bit throughou
t the game. It is a very emotionally draining journey that tests your judgment as well as your concern for other people. The thing that
Life Is Strange does that makes it so hard to make that final choice, is create a truly multidimensional character that is difficult to relate to on some levels, but easy to sympathize with on others. The first interaction you see Chloe have is with Nathan Prescott, where she shows that she’s tough, and has a lot of gumption. She also shows a lack of caring for other people by the way she talks to Nathan, but when he pulls the gun out her demeanor takes a slight shift. Her genuine fear shows vulnerability and youth in a character that has thus far seemed confident and unbreakable.

The game then does a great job of making characters like David, Chloe’s stepdad, seem awful before you even see the two interact. Combine that with the Rachel Amber posters all around the school, and you realize that Chloe has it hard. Then you learn that her dad is dead and her best friend moved without warning, and it feels kind of harsh. Chloe’s entire circle has collapsed around her, and the only consistent figures in her life are Joyce, the hard working mother, and David, the very nervous and obsessive stepdad.

Then you get to watch Chloe make a series of stupid decisions, hanging out on train tracks, shooting David’s gun, and hunting down killers of her own volition (examples all mentioned in the Game Theory video). Also, arguably my least favorite thing that Chloe does in the whole game, is get jealous and angry when Max tries to talk to Kate Marsh (who is experiencing suicidal thoughts). Chloe is not a perfect character. But she does love Max. That shows, in the things she says, in a lot of the belongings that she kept in her house.

The end of the game even recaps a lot of your best experiences with Chloe before you’re given the final decision. You as the player choose how much you learn. You explore, and experience things by choice. You are Max. So the choice you’re making isn’t some binary video game decision. It’s a real choice based on experiences that you have had.

MatPat brought up that those with the “Mediator” personality are intuitors, more likely to save the town because they look towards the future. But I would argue that sensors are also somewhat likely to save Arcadia BaLS2y, simply due to how the storyline was structured. Those who value the past, and look to it to make decisions would understand that by the time the final situation comes along, Chloe Price has had her full character arc. She has grown and changed, and in the end, she not only accepts her fate but welcomes it.

Destroying Arcadia Bay isn’t even truly an option. To do so would be to deny Chloe the right to face her destiny. Perhaps this doesn’t hold up statistically based on the research that the theorists did, but it’s something to consider. Chloe is a character who struggles her entire life, and can’t make decisions on her own. Until her final decision, which is to accept the reality that she has to finally sacrifice for those she loves. That effective delivery is what made this game so great. Maybe the story didn’t wow me in every facet, but fact is, this game really did tell a riveting and meaningful story.

But with that, this post is getting to be kind of long! Thank you all for reading our first ever critical analysis. I do love breaking down game narrative and seeing it for its deeper value. Writing this has been a blast, and if you read it without playing the game, you kind of ruined it for yourself. But I would still play it anyway. It’s a fun and moving experience, so check it out when you get a chance! For more on the best games around like Life Is Strange and many more, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

That’s right! My big announcement for the day was that starting Wednesday, May 18th, at 6:30pm, I will be broadcasting live along with my buddies from the Massive Hawk team. We will be discussing video game news, as well as climate in our industry! For your fix on creative and entertaining discussion around all of your favorite things, this is your place to get it!

Wednesday’s show will be themed around summer time killers! You students out there probably have a lot of free time, given that it’s summer and all. We’re going to take things back and show you some of the best summer games you might have missed. Games that are heavy on content, and will certainly require quite an investment! Links to view and so on will be provided as the week goes on, so stay tuned, as I will likely be adding a new page to the blog just for this podcast. Thanks again for reading and for more on the podcasts and other upcoming additions/segments keep checking the GAME ROOM!!!

Fire Emblem Fates offers three different paths. This review will be covering the Conquest path, which allows players to align with the Nohrian army.


Nintendo 3DS: 39.99 USD

Fire Emblem Fates was one of the most anticipated titles of the year, following Awakening’s major critical acclaim. But can this game carry the Fire Emblem torch? Or does it fall short of achieving its goal?

Fire Emblem is a game series where players must traverse through several missions with varying objectives, from seizing castles to slaying powerful bosses, in a strategy experience that truly makes every move count. While for years a permanent death mechanic has made the games very high stakes, Awakening started the trend of offering a casual mode, that would allow dead units to respawn in the following chapter. Casual and Classic Fire Emblem are two entirely different experiences. That being said, both have a lot to offer. If you’re more about experiencing the story and having a relaxing yet still somewhat challenging experience, I’d recommend playing casual mode. If you’re a longtime series veteran who wants to run the risk of forever losing a unit due to an enemy critical hit, by all means do that as well.

As a series veteran, I do a playthrough of both casual and classic, as they again make for very different experiences.

Fates: Conquest is a special game, mechanically speaking. Arguably the most unique of the three paths, it incorporates the best of Fire Emblem games past. Unlike Birthright and Revelations, Conquest offers survival missions, where players must maintain a stronghold for aseries of turns while fending off Hoshido forces. Conquest also has very specific circumstances under which combat may take place. In other words, no grinding in this game. Awakening allowed for quite a bit of grinding, which made the game much different, and much more in line with a traditional RPG, so in this sense, Conquest is staying true to its roots, offering the mechanical uniqueness that has made the series so well loved.

Leo, a Nohr sibling, wielding his tome, Brynhildr.

Leo, a Nohr sibling, wielding his tome, Brynhildr.

In saying this however, there are some key flaws that I feel prevented not just Conquest, but all three paths of Fates, from reaching their full potential. For one, I’m a man of narrative for certain, and the story in Fates fell very short for me. Since the game was announced, Birthright, Conquest, and Revelations were advertised as separate paths and game experiences. While mechanically, they do serve as that, the story feels very broken. It feels as though Conquest in particular answers a lot of Birthright’s questions, but still leaves you with an incomplete story. There’s not much else that can be said without spoilers, but at some point I want to do a critical analysis of Fates’ stories, after I review all three paths.

Level design in this game is nothing short of fantastic. From docks and boats, to fancy concert halls, there is no shortage of beautiful level design in Conquest. This is complimented by the immersive and fantastic soundtrack, and the incredible transitions between map navigation and combat. While the story didn’t quite do it justice, Conquest mechanically stepped things up to the next level. The skills, classes, weapons, and units are deeper than they’ve ever been, making for the best Fire Emblem gameplay to date. Conquest lacks skirmishes, so unfortunately if you choose this path, you won’t be afforded the opportunity to explore the beautifully well crafted world outside of the main story.

Azura, the dancer as she appears in Conquest.

Azura, the dancer as she appears in Conquest.

My Castle is an incredible feature, allowing limitless customization over the barracks that your units will relax in during their downtime. It also allows you to select from the expansive game soundtrack so that even while roaming aimlessly, getting minor bonuses and rare items, you can enjoy the game’s unique atmosphere.

Amiibo functionality is very interesting in this game. It is compatible with the Marth, Lucina, Ike, and Robin amiibo. I only own the Marth amiibo, but the characters are fantastically redone in a truly consistent likeness, and they’re all but a bit overpowered. Especially with them all coming with their sacred weapons. They’re still a fun addition to the team, and would make any true Fire Emblem fan feel nostalgic.

A big element of these games that appeal to a large crowd is the support system. Support is when characters gain enough affinity to have a special conversation. There are four ranks of support, C, B, A, S. These conversations do plenty, from giving more insight into character backgrounds (which is pretty awesome) to giving stat bonuses to characters with high supports when they’re near each other. This is good because it adds a special element of world building and a deeper layer of strategy. However, it’s bad because they shoehorned in the “breeding” aspect of Awakening that allowed kid characters to exist. It was absolutely pointless, and in a game that takes its storytelling so seriously, it was a shame to see something added into the narrative just to appease fans of Awakening.

As a whole, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is a fun game with a lot to offer. While it may not measure up to Awakening in a lot of ways, in a lot of others it stands tall and proud on its own. I wouldn’t recommend only playing one path, as the game is incomplete without playing all three, but if you were to pick one, Conquest would be the place to start.

Thank you all for reading! Fire Emblem is a series near and dear to me, as I’ve been a fan for many years. I liked Fates, but I still wish some things had been handled better. The posting day has come to an end, unfortunately. Only just kidding it hasn’t. Because guess what? I will be making a very special announcement later on this evening! But in the meantime! For more on Fire Emblem and other titles, your one-stop for gaming news, reviews, and exclusive content, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) came and went, but my, what a wonderful time it was. This will serve as an exclusive look into how I spent my PAX weekend.

Going in, I had two primary goals. Network as a content creator, and have fun as a consumer. It’s often hard to find a balance between the two, but without the pressure of being an exhibitor I was able to achieve that.


The show floor in its glory!

The show floor in its glory! A true celebration of Game Culture!

The good thing about these sort of conventions/expos is that you always get a feel for the sort of climate and direction that this industry faces. For instance, this year at PAX East two very prominent themes were virtual reality and multiplayer.

For VR, it’s obvious that with consumer versions of the Oculus and HTC Vive now being available, developers are getting all over the new medium. Even my school, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) had an HTC Vive demo available to play. The Playstation booth had appointment only sessions with Playstation VR. Unfortunately, with limited time and quite a bit of ground to cover, I had to miss out on that experience.

From left to right, Jeremy, Myself, D.Va, James, Tracer.

From left to right, Jeremy, Myself, D.Va, James, Tracer.

If there were ever one company that you could say honestly knows how to take PAX by its horns and ride it for miles, it’s Blizzard. Every year they do something spectacular and attention drawing, and this year was no different. On many fronts, Blizzard exhibited some super interesting projects in the works, as well as keeping the emphasis strong on their pre-existing titles such as Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. One panel I went to was actually focused in its entirety on the upcoming Warcraft film. We got a special inside look at the upcoming film, and got to have a Q&A with the director where we were able to figure out his direction, as well as his sense of very deep obligation to keeping the franchise’s sanctity while still following his instinct as a film creator. At the end we got a never before seen trailer which really showcased these beautiful sets and incredible action sequences. I had never seen anything quite like it, and after attending that panel, I am fully convinced that Warcraft may be the first truly amazing video game movie. It’s a large cross to bare for certain, but if that goal could be achieved, it would pave the way for generations of fantastic film storytelling for games.

Elder Scrolls Legends made its debut at this stunning booth.

Elder Scrolls Legends made its debut at this stunning booth.

Perhaps the biggest thing Blizzard had going for them this year was the Overwatch booth. For those who weren’t crazy about long lines, with a lot of ground to cover, there was immediate satisfaction in seeing the incredible Blizzard sanctioned cosplay of many of Overwatch’s unique characters. But that’s not all. They managed to cram two huge decked out cars into the show floor as well. Their booth was simply incredible. Some friends and I actually got to chat with the cosplayer for Tracer for a little bit towards the show’s closing time. After that discussion it was clear to me, that Blizzard above all else, knows their audience, and has a marketing team most companies could only dream of.

Blizzard aside, Bethesda actually had quite a bit going on too. Showing off Doom, which has been a title of excitement for many dating back to last E3, though hype died down quite a bit after the multiplayer beta. Perhaps the more exciting game was Elder Scrolls: Legends, which had just been unveiled a mere day or two prior. This Elder Scrolls spinoff title seems to be heavily inspired by Hearthstone. Despite this, the game seems to be foregoing the deceptively simple marketing approach and wishes to create a complex digital card game experience using the Elder Scrolls IP.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t stop by the Nintendo booth. There were many interesting titles there, from Metroid Prime: Federation Force, to Kirby: Planet Robobot, and the new Star Fox. Star Fox Zero was the main title of the show, given that it launched that very weekend. Perhaps my most interesting Nintendo game from the show was actually Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem has reached its final form in this musically themed RPG. It was without a doubt one of the most unique games at PAX this year.

Rocking my Luigi hat between Kit and Krysta from Nintendo Minute!

Rocking my Luigi hat between Kit and Krysta from Nintendo Minute!

My experience at the Nintendo Booth was much more exciting than I expected however! While waiting in line to play Tokyo Mirage Sessions, I was asked to be on Nintendo Minute. Which for me, was a really big deal! I got to answer trivia questions about Nintendo IP’s such as Kirby, Star Fox, and Metroid. Some of the questions were genuinely tricky even for an aficionado like myself. I also won a cool Mario lanyard. I don’t know how they guessed I was a Nintendo fan. To see me on Nintendo Minute, click here.

Now onto the indies! I saw three titles in particular that I’m interested in highlighting.

Moon Hunters, which I plan to write a full article on, is an RPG personality test. That’s right. I just said that. The game brings you through trying combat scenarios and guages your personality based on the way you resolve conflicts. Hands down the most interesting game I played.

Bacon Man, which I already highlighted in a previous article. If you’d like to read more on Bacon Man click here.

Another game I got to see was Due Process. I actually got to talk with the lead animator about this game, and it was incredible. While I’m not much for tactical shooters myself (I lack the coordination) I found the games concept to be very unique. So much goes into planning each phase of combat, making it arguably one of the more intellectually demanding shooters I’ve seen.

That about concludes the exciting stuff I got to see and do at PAX! For more exclusive coverage of events like PAX, keep reading, and stay tuned for more from the GAME ROOM!!!