Hawken (PS4)

As a PS+ member, I like to look for value titles to justify paying the yearly subscription and Hawken didn’t disappoint. Set in some soet of post apocalyptic or future world where everyone can pilot a robot (or so I think, it wasn’t clear to me), you get combat peers and AI to earn points and credits to purchase and upgrade your mechs. Touted as an easy trophy game, with about 8 to 10 hours worth of effort, it is an entertaining mech shooting game playable online. (In less than 4hrs playtime you can be at a 70% completion rate.)

The short time span to get the trophies won’t rob you of replay value as the mindless exchange of gunfire and explosive weaponry is highly entertaining with really cool mechanics. The robots are really easy to maneuver.

You start with the CR-T, a trainer robot, and are tossed into the firefight without any training. (See PSN Trophies – Hawken for tips and information.) Once you survive the first couple of rounds, the AI lets you go back to the main screen to customize your robot and train it. You can unlock many mech types with the in game currency you win or by purchasing currency. PS+ members have access to a package that includes the Nief, a small and fast attack bot that is a crowd favorite due to its firepower and bargain status. Experienced players recommend that you work your way towards the Reaper and Marauder classes to be able to obtain all the achievements with the minimum time and cost. Time is money after all…

Enjoy!

Life is Strange (PS4)

Max Caulfield is just another student attending the prestigious Blackwell Academy in Arcadia Bay, Oregon when she finds out she possesses a gift that will let her rewind time. Partnered with her BFF from childhood, the blue haired and spunky Chloe, they set out to solve the disappearance of fellow classmate Rachel Amber. In doing so, their investigation leads them down a time travel spiral that wreaks havoc on the space-time continuum that threatens the safety of this quaint seaside town.

Square Enix hit it out of the ballpark with this game that is part Heavy Rain, part Remember Me and part Until Dawn. To get all the trophies in one pass, I used the guide on Playstation Trophies (FYI one trophy description is missing). The well earned Platinum trophy is not easy to get without it, and without searching and looking at every clue lying around the environment. Because I am an avid reader I only missed a few items and info but it wasn’t as vital to the story as the rest of the stuff I had gathered. Considering it was a free download/included with the PS+ subscription for June, it was worth the investment. A nice surprise in this shooter RPG MMO mess of a society we live in.

After a very draining but ironically energizing 8 hours of gameplay I had helped Max and Chloe thwart the effects of the time loop events they were caught solving. Chaos Theory comes up a lot so a refresher of quantum physics is part of the ride. It may not be many player’s cup of tea but the protagonists (both female) and the easy game play/controls are totally worth a gander. My husband would sneak peaks from the other room while I played and even did his own investigation since the intrigue of the crimes being solved and uncovered piqued his interest. Felt like we were binging on a Netflix Original True Crime drama.

A three episode stand alone prequel called Life is Strange: Before the Storm hits shelves August 31rst. It will feature Chloe and Rachel’s friendship and will skip the time travel abilities. It is already getting mixed feeling previews from the gamer community but if I have learned anything is that you have to play it before you can condemn it. Stay tuned.

Enjoy!

Doom (2016, PS4)

What if hell was real? Not an allegory or a place to purge your sins but an actual arena where you could fight your demons to the death? How much torture and pain could you endure as you battle the forces of evil? If these questions haunt you look no further than this game to find out all the answers.

From what my husband stated, his quest through the game was so hardcore that he wouldn’t recommend it to the faint of heart. The music, onslaught of enemies and play are very impressive, well worth its value. I couldn’t watch him play for long periods of time because the changes in point of view make me dizzy. Hehe

Give it a whirl if you have a chance.

Back to Leveling Up

A long time ago, before I decided to buy a new house, move and upgrade it/decorate it in modern geek industrial chic style, the goal was to reach level 14 as a PSN user. My darling MrEnginerd is a level 14, soon a 15, and its tempting to take advantage of his love affair with the Switch to catch up. Rise of The Tomb Raider isn’t piqueing my attention anymore but buying Titanfall 2 or another game just cause isn’t going to gel well with the overall “saving to rehabilitate the backyard” plan. Being indoors while the sun shines brightly in the PNW is frowned upon too so the games may have to wait until the fall. 😣😑

As impressive as it is to be a Level 14, my partner believes that the trophy hunt belittles the true worth of the ranking. I’d agree with him if my achievements were the Barbie game type but I’ve played RPGs, FPS and action/adventure sagas too. Knowing I have to prove myself to my biggest fan is a pain. Had I been a guy this trophy quest, even if it had Barbie type games, wouldn’t be an issue. Blazing the trail of video game equality is my mission, and it is very serious business.😎 Need to make the time to get cracking again. My controller must miss me. Hang on buddy, momma is coming for ya!

If anyone has a suggestion for good, quick games to do between emptying moving boxes and/or decorating a nerdy home, I’m open to ideas. 

Cheers!

Cheater!! You turned the sound OFF…

Tetris isn’t the mind twisting, nail bitting, move your controller buttons and scream at the TV masterpiece Nintendo intended without the speeding music. As an extra element to the experience, the score of the game is designed to engage all of your senses and submerge you in the gameplay. Heart rates go up just by remembering how most games accelerate the rhythm and heighten the tone of a song during the last minute or seconds of the game. Super Mario Bros. used to drive me crazy when I ran out of time near the castle. The anxiety always forced me to miss an easy jump or obstacle.

To the people who play with the sound off or music down in order to concentrate: That’s Cheating! It is sooo much easier to forgo the soundtrack and enjoy the visuals because you will not be prompted by the music to feel a particular way or to be weary of the next moves. The suspense will be lost since the terrifying notes will not drive you insane. It is not fair to rob yourself and others from watching you quake in your boots, driven by the sounds of the story. Winning is empty if you don’t learn how to beat the programmers on their own terms. There is no hollower victory if you ask me.

So, the next time you need to beat a game and choose to use this shortcut, don’t sell yourself short and have the cojones to try it in its whole unnerving musical glory. You will feel pride knowing you had the guts and skills to beat the game fair and square. Wear headphones if you must not bother people. Do it for the developers, the musicians, the music directors and for the love of the challenge.

Game face on!

Yes bro, I am Still Playing Pokémon Go!

Okay so the game is not as exciting as it once was and on top of that the updates aren’t really giving me better pokémon options, so it hasn’t really been an improvement for the gameplay on my end. I am stuck at level 20 with a dwindling base of friends that hunt these creatures everyday. It is a bit lame to admit that I still have some love for the app even when it isn’t yielding a satisfactory experience.

Maybe it was the notion that it made me cool with the 6 to 12 year old crowd, a group that has a special place in my heart since my nephews and nieces are in that age range. There is nothing more annoying yet endearing than a kid asking you to borrow your phone to catch a few monsters on your behalf. For them, a level 20 Trainer is as close as they will get to meeting a god. LOL I adore the look on their faces when they go through my collection and beg me to trade them a few specimens. If only at the time that had been allowed! 😦

Let’s see if the game makes it to the holidays and regains momentum. Heard gen 2 was out there now and I still don’t have a charmander…

Concept (Board Game)

Have you ever wondered what Charades would look like if played like Pictionary? Are you bad at drawing but good at putting ideas in pictures together? Then Concept is the game for you. The goal of the game is to use the images on the board and the subcategory markers to hint what concept is listed on the playing cards without providing verbal queues. There’s an easy, moderate and hard level for the idea that you need to illustrate and the person or team with the most guesses wins. Each win results in a token that serves as both scoring piece and bragging rights. 😀

Depending on the number of people you have, the game can be played individually or in groups. One person goes up to the board and redies the clues while the teams shout out possible answers. The board images provide an excellent canvas to choose from and even the least pop cultured can make out many of the easy and moderate options. Some of the hard ones are extremely nerdy but worth your while. I’m sure you can create your own house rules to make it more interesting for you and to create your own guessing options. For the $35 to $45 price tag, it’s a game best enjoyed in a crowd which is why many bars and breweries carry them as entertainment pieces. Tell your peeps to chip in or check out eBay, Amazon and other discount retailers for a better deal.

Enjoy!

For more game play info check boardgamegeek.com.

Gotta Catch Em All!

Pokémon Go hasn’t had a great start service wise but it has been good enough that it has created a firestorm. Everyone I know if either enjoying or hating the game, and some have quickly changed their minds about how it is a waste of time because of all the good that has come from it. People walking around with their phones looking for Pokémon have been finding strays, animals in distress and even dead bodies! It has turned life into the ultimate reality show.

I have to admit I love the idea of using my free time to walk or drive around chasing these creatures. It is a very well designed scavenger hunt that has helped boom small business foot traffic. You can’t go to far without seeing signs attracting the Pokémon Go crowd. Apparently we are all welcomed! Gasp! It goes to show how quickly the mentality can be changed from doom and gloom to fun and games. Literally. The sad part is many are foregoing common sense to catch them all and are trespassing onto private property and walking into oncoming traffic. We need to be a bit smarter about how we approach the hunt because we are starting to give nerds and geeks a bad reputation.

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Geeks everywhere. 

At the time of this post I have caught 41 and seen 44 Pokémon. My eggs have hatched a few good characters, like Poliwag, and I have logged over 15 km. I have yet to purchase coins although I am seriously considering it to get anothe incubator. They get you with the microtransactions if you are not paying attention. My strategy is to continue to visit PokéStops to get freebies and to walk around those areas I am alreadt visiting to find the characters I am looking for. A few mass events are popping up which is to be expected in the land of Nintendo of America.  Check local event listings for details as they may have a few that are also user coordinated. Lots of people out there trying to catch them.

My husband sent me a link to help me with my endeavor. He refuses to play and I can respect why. There are so many games out there that we never have enough time to play them. At least this one has me leaving home and walking! For ideas on how to train and win Gym battles, check the link provided here.

I heard through the grapevine that the next generation of Pokémon will be unveiled in December. I guess that is a good bet because by then we will all be on break again,  especially the kiddos. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out. Hopefully we will still be playing by then even in the cold weather. Pokémon Go workout anyone?  🙂

My Beef With Pokémon Go

“Hello, my name is MrsEnginerd and I play Pokémon Go because I like it.”

It is hard to admit than in my mid 30s I enjoy playing Pokémon Go. Maybe it is the half Millennial in me or it could be the competitiveness of the Gen Xer half but there is something about this clever little app that makes me reconsider quitting. Not only has it taken over my 20 year old peeps and my sister’s newsfeed but it has actually forced them to talk to each other and to strangers. *Gasp*. It’s hilarious to read about their frustration and lack of Pokéballs. For the first time in a long time they can be happy and cheery without caring what you think of them. The nostalgia is stronger than the criticism, of which there is a LOT out there.

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Warning: Don’t kill or hurt yourself.

My main concern is that Nintendo was so engrossed in planning this whole thing that they did not realize that the world was willing to risk their safety for a simulated image on augmented reality backgrounds. Kids and young adults are willing to risk life and limbs to spot and catch a Pikachu. There have already been reports of deaths and fights occurring because of the game. People want to escape reality so badly and entertain their weary minds that the dive into traffic to secure a Pokémon. Think about it. The 28 year olds are all insanely attached to their mobile device screens because they are happier training fictitious magical beasts than working. There is an entire contingent of this generational group that is so stressed out that this game gave them a much needed respite and hobby. We are all walking aroung with our phones chasing a dream.

I have many beefs with this game, philosophical musings aside, and most center around the game play and reception of the app. If I don’t get the infamous screen saying the servers are down, I will get the equally horrendous “GPS signal not found”. Ugh! Leave it to Niantic, The Pokémon Company, to release a game with inadequate server capacity and support. Clearly someone dropped the proverbial Pokéball on this one. I walked 4 miles yesterday and couldn’t hatch a single egg because the software couldn’t track my steps due to a combination of these two errors. I won’t be able to catch much if this keeps happening.

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Life hates me.

Another thing I have a beef with is the haters. I get that you may think Pokémon is silly or for children but explain to me the animosity. I don’t think it is a waste of time since it has gotten me outside the house and talking to actual strangers. I haven’t socialized in the middle of a parking lot this much since high school. There is something to be said about the feeling of accomplishment and pride that follows catching a rare beast and adding it to the tally or of having enough candy to evolve your favorite character.

I have a Jiggly Puff that, believe it or not, gets me through the day. I am happy that I have to use my math skills to figure out where a Pokémon may be hidding, what it takes to catch it and train it. Parents should be aware that there are many benefits to this “running around with our heads down and our cellphones out”. Please remind your children to be safe and to not get into people’s yards chasing characters. Dogs and bad people could surprise them and hurt them.

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Miles of nothing!

As long as you don’t go into debt or sell your firstborn child for equipment and shop items, I think the Pokémon Go fad has a chance of improving the summer for those young at heart. It reminds me of the many movie remakes and toy revamps that haven’t made an impact or surpassed their original hype. Unlike those, and similar to the Ninja Turtles and Transformers, Pokémon has become a staple for children, USA pop culture and the world. Maybe I am being childish by playing the game but I’ll risk the ridicule because it makes me and my friends happy.

Gotta catch ’em all!

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