Black Friday Aftermath – 2017

Well Black Friday (the month since it’s no longer a 1 day event) is over and it’s time to recount the hopefully many great purchases we all made and appraise how well I/we actually did in terms of my goals going into the joyous event.

I have to say that this was a pretty disappointing Black Friday. The deals were limited and not nearly as drastic as I’ve seen in past years. Certain games barely budged and other ones were/are being way overly valued relative to standard gaming pricing degradation. For example: I bought Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End in a Black Friday sale last year (2016) for $20. Having recently just beaten the game, I have to say that it was an excellent game and I have no regrets about the $20 I spent. But let us remember that Uncharted 4 came out in May 2016. So I paid $20 for a six month old highly acclaimed AAA game. That’s fine and fair. No one can objectively complain about that scenario. But why was Uncharted 4 being sold for $20 in Black Friday sales this year? We’re now talking about an 18 month old game that has since then had a “sequel” or spin-off if you prefer. The spinoff, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, was released August 2017 for $40. I was able to buy that, as a standalone physical, during Black Friday this year for $15. That means a newer game from the same series degraded in price by 63% in just three months, while a game that’s been around for literally six times as long has only managed to degrade by only 66%. That’s mathematically ridiculous. Regardless of the quality of Uncharted 4, and again it’s is of the highest level of quality as far as modern games are concerned, it still should have been in the $10 pile for Black Friday 2017. This was the kind of lackluster deals and overvalued games I saw this year. And as such I only made a fraction of the purchases I had wanted to.

Black Friday 2017 with Prices

Here’s what I managed to get and how much I had originally planned to spend based on my shopping list going into Black Friday this year.

  1. Nioh Complete Edition (PS4) – $40 (Originally planned for $50)
    1. I will also note that I actually could have gotten this for a few dollars less on PC but due to the reported issue with the port I settled on the PS4 version.
  2. Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition(PS4) – $40 (Originally hoped for $35 but planned for $40)
    1. Made as separate purchases for all content through PSN
  3. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4) – $15 (Originally planned for $15)
  4. Knack II (PS4) – $15 (Originally planned for $20)
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Explorer’s Edition (Switch) – $60 (Originally planned for $50)
    1. I am extremely unhappy that I had to pay above my intended value for this but I was worried about not being able to get a copy of this edition later because of Nintendo’s tendency to under produce in demand products.

I also managed to get a few games that weren’t on my list.

  1. Unravel (PS4) – $5
  2. The Surge (PS4) – $20.46 (46 cents higher than my intended price for this game when I decided I’d eventually buy it.)
  3. Yooka-Laylee – $14.21

As you can see, I only managed to grab eight games this year, down from the nine I got last year, and my net savings based on my personal spending goals was only $5, which when you take into account the overpriced sales tax I incur as a resident of California, my savings were basically negligible.

Bad Deal

I was also surprised by a lot of the deals I didn’t see this year. If you look at the items on my original list that I didn’t buy it comes down to a lack of deals. As I said in my original Black Friday 2017 post, there were some games that just weren’t going to hit my desired prices because they were just too new. I didn’t legitimately expect to be getting Injustice 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins, South Park: The Fractured But WholeMiddle-earth: Shadow of War for a good price this Black Friday and I didn’t. But I very much did expect to see the other games on my list at, near, or even below my intended prices this year. I was also very surprised by how disappointing both the Steam and GOG sales were this year. I literally didn’t buy a single PC game for Black Friday this year and that’s very abnormal for me.

I do not understand how Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is still $60 both digital and physical. The game was released in 2014. My only conclusion is that it was published by Activision and as we’ve recently seen with Destiny 2 and their plummeting stock prices, they don’t know shit about running a business in the current gaming industry. I will say pretty much the same thing about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, also published by Activision, but released in 2016. This year I finally decided to give up and remove both from my shopping lists altogether. They just aren’t going to happen.

Activision Sucks

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 got a little bit of a discount but I expected better in the wake of Dragon Ball FighterZ coming out soon. Once that game drops DBX2 will essentially be dead in the water so I expected them to try to garner as much sales as possible before the inevitable demise.

Cuphead, Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice all got discounts, but none of them as much as I predicted based on where those games currently stand in the market. So while I didn’t purchase any of them I do believe that I’ll be seeing the discounts I expect(ed) soon enough and will then end up picking them up.

Black Friday 2017 Sucked

Overall it wasn’t a great Black Friday and compared to last year and the year before, shows a trend of the quality of deals steadily declining from year to year. I hope to see this trend reverse in 2018, otherwise the frugal gaming community stands to suffer greatly in the coming years.

How did you do for Black Friday this year? Let me know what you got in the comments and how you felt about the holiday overall compared to last year.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

 

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Star Wars Battlefront II: The People’s Rebellion on Gaming Rebellion

Since I reviewed the Star Wars Battlefront II beta, much shit has gone down with that game. So I wrote an extensive piece on the events and causes leading up to the troubled release which has supposedly led to EA’s stock value plummeting 3 billion dollars. It’s a long, but quite interesting read, if I do say so myself. Here’s the introduction:

stock down

 

I have been tasked with trying to summarize and discuss the controversy surrounding EA DICE’s most recent game, Star Wars Battlefront II. This is no small feat considering the layers upon layers of incidents that have taken place surrounding this game and EA in general around the same time. I enter this endeavor knowing full well that it is impossible to accurately summarize and address the many parts of the shit sandwich that this game has become. But I will do my best. I think the best way to go about this is to try to piece together some semblance of a timeline and discuss specific points of that timeline and why they were/are significant. Then to conclude with some general thoughts and possible predictions as a result of this mess. Here goes nothing.

You can read the rest right here. Please check out my Author’s Archive for other articles by me on Gaming Rebellion.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Gaming Photography – Mortal Kombat X

Time for another Gaming Photography Post. Recently I completed Mortal Kombat X on PC.

I have to say that this was a good Mortal Kombat game but I regret buying it for PC. There was content not included in the bundled version of the game on PC that was on console so I lost out because I wasn’t willing to pay extra for fighters like Jason and the Xenomorph. The game ran ok on my GTX 1080 but there were definitely some issues due to the way they ported the game. I actually had to look up how to fix a number of them because this is actually a widespread problem on the PC version that many people struggled with. But all in all it’s a nice looking game with a solid story mode.

So now I’d like to present my top 10 photos from Mortal Kombat X. This is the first AAA game I’ve done a Gaming Photography post for on PC so definitely let me know what you think about the picture quality. As always, I make it a point of only taking natural in game shots. I don’t use photo modes or alter the brightness/color settings except in special situations. I took my photos for this game through Steam‘s screenshot system. I also post them on my Twitter and Instagram often.

I opted to avoid using mostly special attack pics but there are a couple in there.

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*If you’d like to see the full resolution image please right click and press “view image”.

Please let me know what you think of my shots. Any feedback is appreciated because I would like to improve my gaming photography skills.

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Happy Bloggiversary 2017

Today commemorates the fourth anniversary of this blog, which originally started on IGN way back in 2013. So it not only seemed appropriate but necessary to do a post about it. That’s four straight years of never missing a week of posting. No vacation breaks. No missed weeks. No illness breaks. Every week has gotten a post for the last four years.

It has been a good year since I moved from IGN to my own private WordPress. I’m very happy that I made this decision and would never consider returning to that crappy site for hosting. That’s not to imply that IGN is a crappy site in general, but just to comment on the fact that the blogging portion of the site is terrible from a completely technological standpoint. They may have improved since I left, due to technical issues, but I have no interest in going back to find out.

IGN Blog

I don’t want to drag this out with an overly long post about future plans and such like I usually do. This year I just want to say thank you for your continued support over the last four years. I’ve really expanded all the things I’ve been doing since I first started blogging about games back in 2013. I’ve written for multiple sites, published more than a hundred game reviews in various places, grown considerably on Twitter, accomplished a lot on my YouTube channel, and various other things including getting a fulltime job because of my blog, attending multiple live gaming events, and meeting many amazing people. And I finally built a gaming PC, just this year.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this project in some way, even if it’s just as a reader/viewer of my content.

thank you

I plan on continuing this blog and connected channels/accounts and improving my videos and streaming even more than I already have. If you follow me on YouTube then you know that the quality of my content has increased considerably since I built my PC. At the same time, I do have some serious writing projects currently in the works so as I had said in a previous post a few months back, the frequency of posting may drop off a bit. I said this would happen in the aforementioned post but I managed to keep up with weekly posts since then because I wanted to maintain my perfect record for four straight years so I pushed to this bloggiversary. But now I will honestly have to really put a lot more focus on my other writing projects.

I hope that you continue to follow and support my gaming related endeavors in the coming year. I hope to get more comments and engagement and I hope to continue to improve the caliber of content I create.

To end I thought it would nice to quickly show all the games I completed in the last year.

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Games List 2017 Bloggiversary Big

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Gaming Photography – Detention

Time for another Gaming Photography Post. Recently I beat a Taiwanese indie game called Detention.

This is an amazing point and click horror story based on historical events. It ties directly to Taiwanese cultural beliefs about ghosts and karma. While it is a 2D point and click, the small studio did a great job of creating a scary atmosphere and a compelling story. I was very impressed with the game overall. Currently it’s actually on sale for Halloween on both Steam and PSN and I highly recommend it. It will only take you 5 – 6 hours tops, which is why you’ll want to grab it at sale price. I played the Steam version.

So now I’d like to present my top 10 photos from Detention. As always, I make it a point of only taking natural in game shots. I don’t use photo modes or alter the brightness/color settings except in special situations. I took my photos for this game through Steam‘s screenshot system. I also post them on my Twitter and Instagram often.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*If you’d like to see the full resolution image please right click and press “view image”.

Please let me know what you think of my shots. Any feedback is appreciated because I would like to improve my gaming photography skills.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Visceral Lames (Damn It EA)

I didn’t want to write this post. Honestly I was just going to let this event pass by without mentioning it on my blog. But as I’ve read more articles, talked to more people on Reddit, Twitter, and other forums, and thought about it more I decided I couldn’t just let this go without saying something.

I’m sure most of you are already aware, but in case you didn’t know Visceral Games was closed down by Electronic Arts last week. Visceral Games was the development studio responsible for a very eclectic collection of games including Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000, Dante’s Inferno, Battlefield Hardline, and the Dead Space franchise. By no means was Visceral Games my favorite developer. I was not interested in most of their games. I did however love Dante’s Inferno and wish they had made a sequel. Even though I wasn’t a fan, they were a studio that I really respected. They were committed to making plot based liner storylines with a focus on interesting core gameplay that ties directly to the game’s narrative. This is the approach that I would like to see all developers take. Obviously not the ones who don’t make real games. I don’t expect EA Sports to deliver the next GOTY experience or anything. But for studios that are making games with plots and campaigns, whether single player, co-op, or shared world, I want to see narrative be the focus of development. I still remember reading an article discussing Visceral Games’ design principles for the first Dead Space. I was so impressed by their mission statement in approaching that game. I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to play it before seeing a single trailer, because it’s not my genre, but I absolutely respected and applauded the studio for the way they viewed and handled that project. EA disagrees with my sentiments about game development.

Dante's Inferno

Visceral Games was in the midst of making a plot focused, linear Star Wars action, adventure game. In other words, they were making exactly the type of game that true Star Wars game fans want to see made. Not some shitty never ending MMO. Not a time sink, loot box, pew pew extravaganza. They were making a proper narrative based Star Wars game tied directly to the lore of the current Star Wars film universe. EA decided that such a game was no longer worth making. In fact they basically implied that single player, plot based games in general are no longer worth making.

“Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe,” EA’s Patrick Söderlund said in a blog post. “In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.”

-Pulled from an article on Kotaku

EA Kills SP

So in honest terms what Patrick Söderlund is saying is basically Visceral Games was making a video game that people wanted to play and then EA decided that because it wasn’t a Games as Service model that they could lace with loot boxes, open world multiplayer, and additional DLC with no real bearing on the plot, they decided to cancel it. This is a big problem. This is basically a declaration that from now on any game that doesn’t play like Star Wars Battlefront II, with its egregious loot box system and paltry 5 – 7 hour campaign, will no longer be made/published by EA. Furthermore, any studios that are trying to make standalone linear plot based games under EA will be shut down.

I don’t need to go into the ethics of this issue. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before about how single player campaigns literally built EA and the rest of the industry and that publishers choosing to blatantly discount the opinions of the consumers that funded the industry in order to trick kids into spending thousands of dollars on loot boxes is wrong. I don’t need to tell you not everyone wants to play crappy console MMOs with no real end game. Or that not everyone in the United States, much less the world, has a good enough internet connection to enjoy shared world games. You’ve heard all that before. I don’t even want to take the time to give one of my grandiose speeches about voting with your wallet and all that because clearly, just like with the United States Presidential Election, your vote doesn’t matter. If one person is going to spend $15,000 on Mass Effect 3 cards, why would EA ever consider the opinions of anyone other than MP addicted whales? $15,000 is 250 $60 vanilla game sales, not including tax. That $15,000 in loot boxes is tax free from the consumer side, meaning EA swallowed the whole amount. If any publisher only has to market to one 250th of the gaming population to turn a higher profit then of course they are not going to make the games the masses want to play anymore. Your lousy $60 and angry tweet is worth shit compared to that one guy who keeps shoveling in money like a gambling addict. I won’t be surprised if one day in the near future we see someone like Steve Wynn enter the gaming industry. It’s gotta be easier and more profitable than running a casino at this point. So there’s just no reason for me to give a rally cry for boycotting.

EA Slot Machine

 

What I think is more important to talk about is what this means for us as single player campaign gamers. I don’t mean that in the philosophical sense about how we’re essentially being pushed out of the industry that we bought and paid for with our hard earned money and that of our parents. I mean in a more literal sense let’s talk about what it means that EA isn’t making single player campaigns anymore today. Electronic Arts is a huge empire of a publisher. They currently own 33 operating development studios around the world. They’ve shut down 28 studios. They’ve almost got a negative studio success rate and it hasn’t affected their bottom line at all. But that’s not even the important part of the discussion. The problem here is all the single player IPs that EA owns the rights to that are now either dead in the water or destined to be bastardized into some shitty multiplayer, microtransaction experience with at best a shitty campaign of no substance. Let’s look at the list of just single player, plot focused games/franchises that I believe are important. I’m sure I’ll leave things out that you think should be included.

  1. Dragon Age
  2. Mass Effect
  3. Knight of the Old Republic and Star Wars in general
  4. Mirror’s Edge
  5. Medal of Honor
  6. James Bond
  7. Crysis
  8. Dead Space
  9. Dante’s Inferno
  10. Wing Commander
KOTOR 3
I used to have hope but now it’s finally gone.

That’s 10 franchises known for single player, plot based experiences. It does not include the many other games/franchises that have a multiplayer component that many people still purchase for the single player experience such as Battlefield, Need for Speed, and I’m going to include Rock Band, but I’m happy to remove it if that offends people. This doesn’t even include the various games they publish for third party developers such as Titanfall, Alice, Bullet Storm, Brutal Legend, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and several others. Some of the greatest single player franchises ever made now belong to EA. That’s a sickening thought in the wake of this news. Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and KOTOR are three of the best Western RPG franchises money has ever been able to buy. Those are gone now. At worst they don’t exist anymore. At best they’re no longer the great story driven gameplay experiences they once were. Either way it’s a terrible prospect for long standing gamers like me. Add that to the fact that me choosing not to buy their shitty future games in protest won’t do anything and that’s a terrible reality to have to look forward to. If anything the best thing we can do is actually buy their games and not purchase any of the microtransactions to make a statement about the way we want to play and pay for games. But that still means giving EA money they don’t deserve and it still doesn’t deal with the greedy whale problem. At this point it’s not just a losing battle, it’s a lost battle. The cause is already defeated. I for one am very depressed by that and don’t actually know what to do moving forward as a traditional gamer of more than 20 years. All we can really do is hope other developers/publishers keep some form of integrity. Japanese studios seem to be better about this overall but even Nintendo has started pulling some real bullshit.

I thought it was appropriate to end this post with a list of single player, plot based games I plan on buying in the next six months.

the witcher 3
You can’t beat the best and we all know single player is the absolute best in gaming.
  1. The Witcher 3
  2. Nioh
  3. Horizon Zero Dawn
  4. The Surge
  5. Cuphead
  6. Assassin’s Creed Origins
  7. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
  8. God of War
  9. Knack II
  10. Yooka Laylee
  11. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  12. Mario Odyssey
  13. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  14. Shadow of War?

Are you as unhappy about this as I am? What single player games are you most worried about?

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Star Wars Battlefront II Beta Review on Gaming Rebellion

Last week EA DICE closed the Star Wars Battlefront II beta. I gave it a try and thought it was appropriate and useful to write a review of my experience. I published this piece on Gaming Rebellion, but here’s an excerpt for a preview:

Paper Mario Color Splash Screenshot 2017-10-11 23-07-24

From the announcement, EA DICE has gone out of its way to promise us that Battlefront II is an objectively better game than I. For starters, it has a single player campaign, and this campaign takes place in an era of Star Wars that current fans of the film franchise actually care about right now. Also, you get to play as the Empire. Something very different from traditional Star Wars games. The multiplayer portion crosses various eras of Star Wars lore, making it fun and relevant to fans of any age group. These are strong selling points, yet not strong enough to convince me to throw away more money on this franchise.

You can read the rest right here. Please check out my Author’s Archive for other articles by me on Gaming Rebellion.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.