Destiny 2 Year 3 First Impressions

As of this writing, I’ve been playing Destiny 2 Year 3 for 12 hours. There are very good things, and some not so good things. Grab your ship, we’re going for a ride.

The Moon

How are things now on the moon? Well, in short, it’s hell. The geography has gotten even worse with giant fissures where cracks in the ground were once seen. The Hive are even more prevalent then back in Destiny, and they’re more powerful now. Needless to say, they’ve been up to no good up here. I won’t say any more than that because of spoilers. But, it’s a fun challenge.

Eris is still up here, brooding (and so can you if you got that pre-order exotic emote). She’s created a Sanctuary up there, or about as good as you can get on the Hive-infested Moon. Here you can watch her brood, pick up bounties, and some other cool stuff that you’ll discover as you progress through the missions of Shadowkeep.

Brood with me, Guardian, and face fear.

Power Resets

So everyone, whether you’re a new player with New Light, or a veteran who had already reached power cap in Year 2, starts at the new lowest light of 750. This is both good and bad. Good because if you’re like me and haven’t done a bunch of adventures, you can now go do them and get decent rewards for it. Bad for new players because they don’t get the experience of leveling from zero, which to me is essential, but maybe not to others.

Season Pass

Okay, so there has been some controversy over Bungie including a season pass in to the game. Most battle royale style games have season passes which require you to play an absurd amount of games just to get anything good out of it. This one, however, seems to be rewarding both free players and those who purchase it the same at the start. You gain experience here just by doing your normal stuff- campaign, quests, strikes, PvP. It doesn’t take long to gain levels either. In my 12 hours logged (about 2 of those were idle and in menus and such) I’ve gained 8 tiers, almost to the 9th. If you hard push you can gain even faster too.

Free tier on top, Paid tier on the bottom (not my screenshot)

There are two tiers: free and paid. Free season pass is included for everyone and this is where the Season Artifact resides, and it seems pretty well balanced, at the start. There are some tiers where free players get nothing, but up until rank 35 (where you would get Eliana’s Vow) there aren’t many of these. After this, however there are more blank spots, especially as you get above rank 60. Plus, most of the free rewards in the higher tiers are the Nostalgic Engrams from Eververse, so is this really a reward for all the time spent playing?

The paid season pass (included if you bought the deluxe edition of Shadowkeep) is where most of the good rewards lie. Glimmer and XP boosts for you and your fireteam, awesome weapons, and ornaments, as well as more frequent Upgrade Modules are here. Also, if you get the season pass, at rank 1 you get a crate that has Eliana’s Vow and a set of seasonal armor for your class.

Each season can be purchased as a whole set, or individually. The current season is Season of the Undying, which features Vex events and the seasonal artifact- Eye of the Gate Lord- which can be upgraded to give you armor mods and other effects.

Weasels and Squirrels and bugs, oh my!

Squirrels are not good, in this sense, or in legacy Magic The Gathering. If you need context on the latter, Google it. Personal qualms aside, Weasel and Squirrel are error codes dealing with connection issues in Destiny 2. They took down their servers shortly after launch on October 1st because people could not log in. Shut down at 4 pm EST and back up at 9 pm EST, I’d say that’s a decent turnaround for login issues on the first day with new servers on a different service. Bugs are still being found and fixed, including where The Scarlet Keep strike on PC wasn’t performing matchmaking. I ended up beating that strike solo, in just under 40 minutes, and it was actually pretty fun!

Review ongoing

Overall, I’m having a blast with this new year and new expansion. I hope that sometime down the line that Bungie adds more free tier rewards and doesn’t just focus on the paid season pass. I’m wishing them luck that their bugs get fixed quickly, and I hope that those who are playing New Light are enjoying their time in the universe. Eyes up Guardian, we’re just getting started.

Vlast plays Destiny 2 on PC and streams on our Twitch channel! Give us a follow and see him live Friday mornings at 10 am EST.

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Review of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019) — I want this to be my awakening

It’s no secret that Nintendo has a knack for releasing updated ports of prominent games in their catalog, but it should also be noted that they haven’t released that many full-blown remakes.  For a long time, the big N seemed nearly completely hesitant when it came to completely redesigning classic games for new consoles.  However, as the 3DS’s life cycle winds down and the Switch continues to be highly successful, that hesitance is becoming a thing of the past.  And now that games from established franchises like Pokémon and Metroid have been given the remake treatment in the last two years, next in line is The Legend of Zelda.  But instead of the first Zelda remake being that of a heavy-hitter like A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time, Nintendo and Grezzo have chosen to unearth the 1993 Game Boy gem in Link’s Awakening.

I can swing my sword, sword

If you’ve played the original version, you’ll know the story by heart.  Link is caught in a storm while sailing on his ship, and he ends up stranded on Koholint Island.  The skilled swordsman then spends time lying unconscious on the grains of sand, until a girl named Marin comes to the rescue.  After getting acquainted with this new location, Link must awaken the Wind Fish so that he can begin his trip back to his home kingdom of Hyrule.

We all know the gameplay structure when it comes to Zelda games, and this remake is no different.  There’s a sword to swing, dungeons to explore, sidequests to complete, and upgrades to buy.  The dungeons you complete can now be played in a time attack mode if you want to earn some goodies  You even get to create your own dungeons as your journey goes on.  From the dungeons to the minigames, this remake doesn’t disappoint in the upgrades department.

Despite a noticeable amount of framerate drops, the visual style is both charming and beautiful.  The dot-eyed character models are kind really cute, in my opinion.  Also, the soundtrack does an above-average job recapturing that of the original Game Boy version.

Gone with the Wind Fish

This remake of Link’s Awakening does have a few dents in its shield, but it’s definitely a must-have for your Switch library, even if you never played the 1993 classic it’s on based on.  Will the success of this one influence Nintendo to pump out additional Zelda remakes on the Switch? Time will tell, but I don’t see why not.

Destiny 2 Prepares for Shadowkeep Launch

Destiny 2 is releasing their latest expansion Shadowkeep on Tuesday October 1st. There are a few things players should know before this.

Maintainence

The game will be down for maintainence today, Monday September 30th, for 24 hours. This is to prepare for the move over to Steam and for the launch of Shadowkeep.

From Battle.net to Steam

Remember that you will no longer be able to play via the Battle.net launcher, it will only be available on Steam. If you have not already moved your account over from Battle.net to Steam, you can link your account on Bungie’s website.

Bright Dust changes

Bright dust can no longer be acquired by breaking down Eververse items starting October 1st- they will now break down into legendary shards.

Also, break down any unused mods, they’re permanent with the new update, so you only need one of each.

New Light releases

New Light is the free-to-play version of Destiny 2, meaning that if you’ve been on the fence about playing, jump in! The base game, and all campaigns through Forsaken will be included. Worlds will be unlocked via experience, not campaign progress, with this update.

Pre-load to get a head start

You can pre-load the game on Steam now to get ready for launch tomorrow. It’s almost 80 GB, so free up some space on your drive if you need to.

That’s all, looking forward to seeing new Guardians and returning veterans!

How an Event Pulled Me Back Into Destiny 2, Again

So as of this writing, it’s update day! I figured that while I’ve got some time, I’ll write up something about Destiny 2.

I’ve been a Destiny player since the first game came out, and I’ve had a blast during this whole journey in that game and the sequel. However, I haven’t done much PvP at all because I’m not really a PvP player, so most of my experience in this game has been PvE. I’m usually an on-and-off player, but that changed with this event, the Solstice of Heroes.

With this event which runs until 8/27, a repeat of the event around the winter solstice, you get a suit of armor with specific objectives attached to it. First, Eva gives you a helmet. Then she sends you to a new area called the EAZ- European Aerial Zone.

New Area- European Aerial Zone

The EAZ is a floating island above the EDZ. According to the lore, it is made out of the memories of the triumphs that Guardians have faced. Essentially, it’s a ruined area of the EDZ that is floating in the air, so be careful not to jump off the edge.

Each time you come, you and two other Guardians face a new type of enemy- Fallen, Hive, or Cabal. I haven’t seen Vex here, maybe it’s because not many Guardians in the lore have survived the Vex? Anyways, a new enemy type comes up each time.

Bosses Galore

When you arrive, you have 5 minutes to defeat minibosses all over the map. As you do, orbs will drop according to what element you kill them with. If you match the element of the day with your subclass and pick up 30 orbs, you’ll get empowerment. Each element gives a different state of empowerment- arc gives absurd speed, solar gives a destructive nova, void lets you turn invisible when you crouch, along with other effects.

After defeating the minibosses, the final boss, or sometimes bosses, show up. Some of them are tougher than others, like fighting all three Cabal bosses by yourself while the other two just go AFK… That was an experience, but I did it.

Anyways, during the boss fight, some Taken will show up. Called the Prismatic Taken, once you defeat them, you’ll receive a Prismatic Orb, which instantly gives you empowerment when picked up.

Hunt for Your Loot

After defeating the final boss, a single chest shows up. Open it, and each player receives a Solstice Package, full of goodies like items and currency. But you can’t open it just yet. You need 15 Solar Key Fragments to open it. Depending on how many minibosses you defeated, you’ll have that many chests to find all over the map that contain these fragments, or more packages. Some are easier to find than others, but you have 2 minutes to find them. Good luck, and have fun!

Meanwhile, Back at the Tower

After completing your first round of EAZ, head back to Eva. She asks you to meditate at the statue, which gives the rest of the armor pieces, the Drained armor. Each of these also have objectives, ranging from Crucible and Gambit matches to Strikes in the playlist, to collecting elemental orbs. This took me a couple hours to do, most of it being the strikes playlist and Gambit. I learned that Gambit is actually pretty fun, but that I still don’t really care for Crucible.

While completing these objectives, you can pick up bounties from Eva to earn more Solar Key Fragments, as well as earning them via Strikes, Crucible, Gambit, and Public Events. So honestly, it’s not hard to earn the fragments.

After completing the first set of armor objectives, meditate at the statue again, and you’ll get a Renewed set of armor, and a new set of objectives, this time longer. I’m still working through these, but they’re not too bad, especially if you’re doing it with a friend.

Once more, after this set, return to the tower and meditate. You’ll recieve the final set, the Majestic set. If you complete these final objectives, the armor is Masterworked. I don’t think I’ll be able to do this, but there is good news. Once you hit Majestic level, you get this armor in the new expansion Shadowmoon, and there is a set bonus for it as well.

Overall, this event is really fun, for me. It got me into Gambit, and I’m having fun just running around working towards a new set of armor that I can get in the new expansion.

I’ll be playing this live on the SSG Twitch channel on Friday 8/16 at 10 am EST, so come on by and hang out! You can also find me playing on my personal channel from time to time.

The Outer Worlds announced for the Nintendo Switch

Have you heard of this upcoming first-person RPG called The Outer Worlds, created by former Fallout writers? It was announced today that with a little help from independent studio Virtuous, this title will be getting a Nintendo Switch port sometime after its Oct. 25 launch. If you’ve played the Switch versions of L.A. Noire and Dark Souls, you have reason to be confident that Virtuous will do satisfactory job with said port. If you don’t own the latest console from the big N, you still have the options of playing The Outer Worlds on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.

Microsoft E3 2019

What will Microsoft be bringing for E3? Halo Infinite? A new console? Some new exclusives? Being one of the only major game studios to make E3 this year they have a lot  of pressure to bring it. So will they?

The presentation opens with a game trailer. Looks to be Obsidian’s Outer Worlds and the long awaited release date. October 25, 2019. Lots of dialogue and fun outer space shenanigans.

Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Sesua’s Sacrifice), recently purchased by Microsoft, revealing Bleeding Edge. I am getting a sort of Sunset Overdrive/punk feel for the game. Technical Alpha for the game starts June 27.

Next up, looks like a new Ori and the Blind Forest game. Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Feb 11 2020.

From the creators of Minecraft (the less controversial creators anyway) Minecraft Dungeons which will be coming in Spring 2020 along with 4 player local and online coop.

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, taking the stage. Phil has always been a man who talks about gamers and since he took over Xbox a few years ago, he has shifted the direction of the company to make Xbox more welcome to gamers of any kind. 60 games will be shown during the presentation, along with some detail on the the Cloud and Project Scarlett, Xbox’s new console.

EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer follows. Uncharted meets lightsabers. I am so down.

Trailer for a horror game. Remnants of Alan Wake? Definitely getting an Alan Wake vibe with this one, the flashlight, the monsters. But no. It’s the Blair Witch. Coming August 30.

Cyberpunk 2077 with a pretty groovy cinematic trailer showing us a scene that is gory and ends with a nice surprise. Keanu Reeves is in this game. And Keanu Reeves is on the stage to give us the release date for the game. April 16, 2020.

Spiritfarer A cutesy building and adventure game. One that will be available via Game Pass on Day One.

Battletoads! Comes with a very cartoony style that I dig and of course 3 player couch coop. No word on release date yet.

The Legend of Wright. I am not sure what this game is, it could be absolutely brilliant or absolutely awful. My interest is piqued and it certainly looks like the most original game I have seen in some time.

Sarah Bond, head of Xbox Partnerships. All ID games show up on Game Pass on Day One. Arkham Knight, Metro Exodus, Hollow Knight, and The Borderlands: Handsome Collection come to the Game Pass today. She also touched on a few of the games that will be available for the PC Game Pass. Over 100 games at launch, including Imperator Rome, Football Manager 2019, and the Master Chief Collection, starting with Halo Reach. The beta for Game Pass starts today.

Next she brought up Game Pass Ultimate. Console Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Xbox Live for 14.99 a month. And if you sign up today. it is ONE DOLLAR. And that will upgrade your membership for however much time you have left on your Live service. (Side note: Several new games were released on Game Pass today: Thimbleweed Park, Guacamelee 2, Shenmue 1 & 2, Bridge Constructor Portal, and much more.)

World premier trailer. Powered by Satellite data and Azure AI Microsoft Flight Simulator is back. This title was huge on PC and now it is getting a modern revamp and will be available on PC and console.

Not a surprising announcement but Age of Empires II Definitive, fully remastered in 4k with new quest lines. Fall.  PC

Wacky trailer up next. As Colorado and Colorado Springs are mentioned almost 130,000 times, I can only assume the state had a hand in the game. It’s a trailer for Wasteland 3. A series… I have yet to play.

Matt Booty, head of Xbox Games Studio. Talking about the studios Microsoft purchased. He introduces Tim Schafer the head of Double Fine Productions (Brutal Legend, Broken Age, PsychoNauts) Tim Schaefer introduces us to PsychoNauts 2.

World Premier: Star Wars. Lego The Skywalker Saga All nine films one game. It does not look like they are retreadeding the old games and that this is all new, but I could be mistaken.

Dragonball Project Z RPG.

World Premier. 12 Minutes. This game looks fantastically interesting. A man is caught in a time loop. Interesting premise. Hopefully find out more soon.

Way to the Woods. You play a deer with a younger deer and wander through subways and stuff. It looks cute.

Gears of War 5 trailer with the best eyebrow lift I have seen in gaming. The game arrives on September 10th, but you can play four days early by preordering or being a member of Game Pass. There is a stress test on July 17th for multiplayer. And if you preorder or play during the first week you will get a Terminator: Dark Fate character pack.

New Elite Controller Series 2. More elite-er and probably more expensive than I could afford, but it does look very bad ass.

Dying Light 2. Spring 2020

World Premier. Lego Speed Champions expansion for Forza Horizon 4. I just got “Everything is Awesome” out of my head… annnnnnd now it’s back.

Pop Funko and Gear have joined up for a mobile game. No, I’m serious.

State of Decay 2 Heartland. New expansion to the game available today to owners of the game or Game Pass subscribers. Appears to have some branching story paths.

World Premier. Japan’s biggest MMO coming to Xbox with cross play. Phantasy Star Online 2.

Crossfire X, a PC legend, according to Microsoft will be coming to Xbox in 2020.

World Premier. Tales of Arise trailer and 2020 release date.

Followed by a Borderlands 3 trailer.

World Premier. Miyazaki and Martin. Two names that have me curious as hell about this game. Elden Ring.

And finally, Phil Spencer is onstage to talk about the next console. It will be 4 times more powerful than the Xbox One X, with a focus on smaller loading times and will come with a Solid State Drive. It launches in Holiday of 2020 and it launches with Halo Infinite.

So that was Microsoft E3 2019, what did you all think? Anything you are jonesing for? For this writer I am looking forward to Outer Worlds, 12 Minutes, Elden Ring and Cyberpunk 2077. It is a good time to be a gamer.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Gameplay Revealed

Yes, you read that title correctly. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order details and gameplay have been revealed at EA Play 2019, and you can view it here. It is alpha build, and gives a small glimpse of what is to come in the full game. Despite this, it still looks really well done. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Background Details

Starting after Order 66, this story is canon. The main character’s name is Cal, and he has a new adorable droid with him named BT-1 (a callback to BT-7274 from Titanfall 2). There is no choice between light and dark side in this game because Cal is a canon character; they want him to be able to fulfill other roles outside of the game’s story.

The gameplay we saw features a mission that takes place on Kashyyyk. Cal is going to free Wookies from Imperial captivity in a refinery. The Empire is mining the planet for resources, but we were not told what specific resources or why.

Gameplay Details

I cannot reiterate this enough- this is alpha build, so things are going to change. However, we got a good glimpse of what we can expect to see in the game.

Environment

The environment looks great, and you can use it to get around via Force abilities to clear obstacles or (because it’s Respawn) wallrunning. The wildlife of Kashyyyk is active as well, and it can fight you or the enemy. You can stand by and watch the wildlife take on Stormtroopers, or you can join in and take down both sides. BT-1 can use slicing and hacking to open new paths for you as well, including using a giant saw blade to break down a wall. You can also use BT-1 to scan the environment, giving background knowledge and lore similar to Destiny (yay for lore!).

Enemies

There is no shortage of enemy variation in the game. Just in this mission alone, we saw Flame Troopers, Stormtroopers, Scout Troopers, and a new variation for this game that uses an electrostaff like the Magnaguard droids. The troopers can taunt you in battle, which is something I didn’t expect.

Magnatrooper? Can we call it that? No, too close to Magmatrooper.

As I said earlier, the wildlife can also be your enemy, with flame beetles and giant spider creatures being two that they displayed today. The AT-ST is coming back as well, so vehicle combat may be in the game?

Combat

Respawn uses what they call “thoughtful combat” for the game. It is a free-form style of combat, and allows the player to do whatever they can imagine to defeat the enemy at hand. Think tactically and use enemies to your advantage because they can damage each other with their attacks. Cal can lock on to enemies, allowing for focused attacks, and cool Force tricks.

As far as Force abilities go, we saw Push, Pull, and a new one called Slow. Slow allows Cal to slow time on an enemy, then allows him to move at full speed, making for some interesting combat dynamics (insert Jojo reference here). Double jump is also a Force ability called Flip. Force abilities (from what I could tell) are unlocked using Skill Points you gain through missions and gaining experience via combat, but I could be wrong because it wasn’t explained.

So that is all we know about the game, but it looks like it’s going to be good. Time will tell though. The game is set to release on November 15, 2019, and more details will be shown at Xbox E3 tomorrow June 9th.