Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why I Don't Play First Person Shooter Games

I keep getting asked why I don't play first person shooter games and usually when I'm asked this question it's with raised eyebrows or a level of suspicion as if I have something against the FPS genre. I don't. I don't think third person view is better than first person or vice versa. I know many people that love FPS games and if that's your jam, more power to you. There are a ton of great ones from what my friends and family who play them tell me.

There's nothing nefarious going on with why I don't play or review FPS games. The answer is simple. I can not play them and I don't mean my skills are lacking and I suck. I mean that I can't physically play them without feeling like I'm going to be violently sick. In many of the FPS games the camera bobs crazily or rotates quickly and then I end up feeling like I've ridden the world's craziest roller coaster and I am about to die and I'll be laying on the floor praying to every deity in the universe that the vertigo will pass, the room will stop spinning, and my urge to vomit will go away quickly.

My face when I try to play FPS games. It's not pretty. 

I recall how bad the camera was for Borderlands when I tried to play it on the Xbox 360 and I couldn't even make it past five minutes. There was no way to turn off the bobbing which really sucked. A friend informed me that on the PC you could turn that off. To this day, I still don't understand why they didn't have the ability to turn it off on the 360. I've tried playing FPS games on the PC and I end up with the same result; trying not to puke all over my shoes. 

I've tried all the suggestions my friends offered. I've tried having enough light, sitting at a proper distance, and the "stare at the horizon" so I have a focal point trick. None of it works for me. Maybe it works for others, but with me the vertigo returns and in some cases I'm even sweating ridiculous amounts. I tried to play Thief on the PS3 too, because I really wanted to play. Boy, was that a mistake. Five minutes in and not only did I have a headache, my stomach was doing flip flops, and I had that familiar sensation of the entire room spinning. It sucked and I was disheartened that I would not be able to play the game. 

I can't play from this view, which bums me out. 

Would I love to be able to play FPS games? Yes. Yes, I would. I would love to be able to play awesome games like Bioshock and Dishonored, but I can't. I'm just one of those gamers that can't handle them because they mess me up and make me physically ill, so I have to sit out on many of the cool FPS games out there because honestly, the idea of hurling does not thrill me. Besides, there are plenty of other great games for me to play and enjoy that are in third person view. That's okay with me. Sure, it sucks that I can't play in first person view, but I can play in third person view with no problems and as long as I can still play video games I'm happy. In the long run, that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Girls Are Great At Video Games Too!

So I read this article about Geguri which you can read here:

Honestly, it made me angry as a gamer and as a woman. I'm really glad that Geguri was cleared of the cheating accusations and I say good for her for being an awesome gamer. I'm just sorry that she even had to PROVE that she wasn't cheating and that some of the so called "professional" gamers behaved in the shittiest way possible and that includes threatening to show up at her house with a knife in hand. Why the hell would you even say something like that? What part of a person's brain thinks that it's okay to say those things about someone over a damned video game?

I'm also wondering if Geguri had been a male gamer would they have thrown the cheating accusations around or would they have accepted that this was a gamer that just happened to play the game a bit better than they did? We may never know, but it took Blizzard saying there was no proof of cheating and her live streaming her game play to prove that she wasn't cheating at all. She just happened to be a kid who has some gaming skills and kicks ass at it.

 I think that's awesome. I think it's great that there are more girls and women playing video games, because it means more gamers and more amazing games. I was that kid who loves to play video games and I'm that adult that loves to play video games. The fact that I'm a woman shouldn't matter and the fact that Geguri is a 17 year old girl shouldn't matter. All that should matter is that we're a couple of gamers who love to play video games. Unfortunately, that's not the case many times. There are too many times where we have to prove that we're not cheating, that we have the "proper" knowledge about video games (or comic books or whatever nerdy thing we love), and to just prove that we BELONG in the gamers section to the males who are foolish enough to think that we have no right to be there and have the audacity to be astonished when we prove time and time again that we absolutely do.

Yes, it sucks and it's not right that a 17 year old girl had to be stressed out by this simply because she was better at the game than a couple of "professionals" who couldn't seem to grasp the concept of the fact that no matter how good you believe you are, there is always going to be someone that may be slightly or even vastly better than you. It's ridiculous and it shouldn't have happened, but it did. At least they had sense enough to apologize for their accusations and the things they said. That's a little something.

Gaming isn't just a boys club anymore. There are more of us girls and women than you think who love to play video games. Some of us even enter competitions and are great at them. That does NOT mean that we're cheating. Just accept that there are gamers out there who are great at video games and that many of them may happen to be female. To the young women I say this: Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't. Don't give them the power to tear you down and make you feel bad for loving video games, comic books, math, science, or whatever you're nerdy about.  If you love it, enjoy it and have fun with it. Treat each other with respect and kindness. To the young men: Girls and women have every right to be in the gamers/comicbooks/nerdy anything circle. Remember, gaming is meant to be fun for EVERYONE and we should play together and enjoy it the way it's meant to be enjoyed, together. To the people who think it's okay to tear others down, threaten them, and just act like a jerk in general: I feel sorry for you. To suck the joy out of something that someone loves just to make yourselves feel better is pathetic and sad. Try to remember that a lot of the gamers are just kids and kids don't need more cruelty. They need kindness and understanding, not feeling overwhelmed and stressed because they got accused of cheating simply because they happened to be the best at something.

Oh, and throw that whole boys are better than girls at video games idea out the window because as is the case with Geguri that's not always true. She kicked ass and she didn't cheat. She was just that skilled. Girls are great at video games too! Learn how to deal with it maturely, accept it, and move on.

Female gamers are here to stay!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Backlog Gaming: Tales Of Xillia, A Great Tale

As I was going through my backlog of games, I decided Tales of Xillia would be the next game I played. I liked the fact that you can start the game choosing which main character you want to play as, the young doctor Jude or the Lord of Spirits Milla. It gives you two different perspectives and fills in some of the story as well. I chose Jude for the first play through.

The story begins with the introduction to whichever of the main characters you chose; in my case Jude and you get to start the main story as well as some side quests known as sub events. It isn't long before Jude and Milla's paths cross and then the real adventure that is Tales of Xillia begins. Altogether you have six characters in your core party and as the story progresses you get to see how all their different personalities meld together beautifully to make for some interesting and well thought out character development.

Jude and Alvin having a chat. 

The battle system is better here than it was in Tales of Zestiria. It feels more streamlined with a user friendly menu where you can easily upgrade your party's skills. You can also use what are known as Linked Artes where you can link with anyone in  your party and you have skills that complement each other and when used together can perform a massive damage attack on your enemies. It makes level grinding a lot of fun and there are a ton of combinations you can use with each party member. 

Linked Artes in action. 

Upgrading your weapons and gear is interesting too. In order to unlock new items from the various shops you can either donate money or materials you find during your adventures which will unlock and add new things to the shop. The more you donate the better gear and items you can get and you will also get discounts on items in the shop as well. 

Don't let the lack of a world map scare you. There's a lot to see and explore in Tales of Xillia and you can easily pull up the local map to see where you need to go. Once you unlock the fast travel option moving around is convenient and easy. The anime cut scenes are beautiful and add a lot of depth to the story and the various characters; including the villains. You get to see the reasoning behind decisions they make and how they got there. There are the funny little skits that the Tales games are known for also adding bits of humor and character interaction to the game. 

It's not a Tales game without the skits. 

The voice acting for the most part is well done. The reason I say that is because everyone seems to sound really great with the exception of Milla. I mean when you have fantastic talent with people like Matthew Mercer (he voiced Alvin) and Travis Willingham (he voiced Gaius) doing the voices for a Tales game and they outshine one of the main characters, that's an issue. Everyone else did really well but the voice for Milla sounded quite flat and didn't have a lot of emotion to it. It's not a big deal because I liked the character of Milla a lot and as the story developed I liked seeing how she and Jude grew as people and came to understand each other's hopes and dreams. However, it does stand out that her voice was not the best one. 

While Tales of Xillia is fun to play and the story is interesting, there were things that really bugged me here and there. The two really big ones for me are with Ivar and Alvin. I get that it was to push the story along, but I could not understand the reasoning behind giving these two constant chances every time they screwed up. The thing is, I liked Alvin so it really sucked to find out that he was a jerk. Ivar on the other hand was so annoying I kept hoping anyone would punt him off a cliff. 

Alvin is a mercenary, so I get the part about it being taking care of himself first. Yes, he's cutthroat about some things and he has a cynical view of the world, but you can't help but like him because he is charming. However, the fact that he betrays his friends FIVE times and they keep forgiving him is freaking ridiculous. I mean, he shoots one of them in the back. I'm sorry, but there's no way in hell I would forgive the jerk that shot my friend in the back or welcome him back to our adventure with open arms. It makes no sense at all and Alvin's reasoning for why he did those crappy things to his friends is flat out stupid. I still find him an interesting character, but he's a big jerk. 

Ivar is Milla's handmaid and honestly, he's the worst handmaid ever. He is overly aggressive for no reason and is constantly trying to fight Jude out of sheer jealousy. He doesn't do a single thing that Milla tells him to do and they're important things such as protecting Milla's village and the village elders. One of the big things story wise that happens with the villains is completely Ivar's fault. Once again he didn't listen to Milla and did whatever the heck he wanted and essentially destroyed and killed a lot of people with his idiocy. After all of this, Milla continues to let him be her handmaid and everyone else seems okay with it. It doesn't make sense at all and anyone within their right minds would have yelled at Ivar or at least dismissed him as handmaid and hired one that wasn't an arrogant moron. Even with everything Alvin did, I still found I liked him. With Ivar, I kept hoping a dragon would eat him. 

Ivar, the most annoying person in Tales of Xillia.

Those issues aside, Tales of Xillia is a great game and one worth playing. It's beautifully done with interesting characters, a great story, and with being able to choose which protagonist you want to play as it offers a ton of game play and a lot of fun. It's definitely worth having in your gaming collection especially if you are a Tales fan. Now, I'm off to play the sequel Tales of Xillia 2. 

One of the beautiful scenes in Tales of Xillia.

*Tales of Xillia is playable on these platforms: Playstation 3