Monday Gaming Diary: Halo Woes

Since Halo 5: Guardians is releasing soonish, a friend and I have a plan to play all four of the first Halo games together to get prepared for it. Neither of us have really played much of the Halo: Master Chief Collection, and this seems like the perfect time to burn through these games and get prepared for the upcoming awesomeness that is sure to hit our Xbox Ones. I haven’t touched the MCC since my review, where I mostly just played Halo 2 so I could check out the improvements and test the multiplayer functions. The multiplayer experience was absolutely abysmal and was the exact reason why I gave the collection the low score that I did.

343 Industries has released numerous patches to fix these server issues, especially those with matchmaking. Since the game has been out for nearly a year, we assumed like the fools we are that the issues have been mostly fixed. We just want to play co-op, so what’s the big deal?

We’ve tried to play together a couple of times, and each time has had the same result: we can’t join each other’s games.

Halo Co-Op Connection Error

This was us for over an hour before we gave up.

The first time we tried, Xbox Live was down so we didn’t think much of it. We tried again over the weekend, and we were both met with problems. I could connect to the Internet via the Xbox One, but the multiplayer connectivity was down. It insisted we had some ports blocked on our modem, blah blah blah. The only way I could fix it was to directly plug in the ethernet cable from the Xbox One into the modem. Goddamn the Xbox One is picky when it comes to Internet. I couldn’t set up a wireless connection when I first bought the thing because it insisted the signal was too weak despite sitting in the same room as the modem and router. Now it has to be plugged into the modem to work for multiplayer. Picky, picky, picky.

Once we both got our multiplayer connectivity happy, we still could not join each other’s games. It didn’t matter who hosted; we received the same error message that we weren’t able to connect. We looked at forums, and we weren’t alone in these issues. 343’s server issues are still not fixed, as ridiculous as that sounds.

We’re going to try again this week before we both go out of town, but we’re both rather frustrated. Our plan was to play the first two games together and then meet up with Blake and Chris to play the last two with four players. If we can’t get two of us to connect, how in the world can we get four?

It’s ridiculous, 343, to still have these kinds of issues with your collection. I hope to God you’re planning more Beta tests for Halo 5: Guardians, because you obviously need extensive strain tests on your servers.

At least that night wasn’t a total wash. I finished reading my current Halo book instead of playing Halo.

 

Monday Gaming Diary: Mortal Kombat X Comics

Mortal Kombat X comicsLast Friday was my birthday, and a dear friend of mine gave me a gift certificate to Comixology with the recommendation for the Mortal Kombat X comics.

Wait.

Wait.

Stop.

There are Mortal Kombat X comics? Are they as awful as the Injustice: Gods Among Us comics? How is the art? How is the writing?

About this time my friend told me to shut up and read the first comic for myself. It’s a weekly comic series, which I think Injustice was as well, and it moves incredibly fast. Since there are so many characters in the game, the story arcs jump around a lot, but they’re able to get away with it and keep it cohesive because it is a weekly subscription.

Long story short, I ended up buying all 30 comics available in the store, and I didn’t play any games over the weekend because I stayed up super late every night reading the comics. I haven’t gotten through the entire series yet, but suffice to say, I’m hooked. In fact, it’s taking a lot of willpower to stay in my office today and work instead of reading the rest of the comics.

Once I do finish reading them, I want to replay the story mode of MKX. The comics really fill in the gaps that the story mode mentions of past events, and they help fill in missing pieces for people like me who haven’t been MK faithful in many, many years. The stories do get a little dark and deep, the art is absolutely gorgeous, and it pokes fun at the franchise in all the right places. I even texted Chris late on Saturday night to order him to look into the MKX comics.

And I recommend the same for every other MKX fan, even if you aren’t that into comics. Grrrr, it’s going to be really hard to finish working today when I know those comics are just a tablet away…ready to read…

Monday Gaming Diary: Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi Memories

287490-dbztI watched A LOT of EVO 2015 this weekend. I streamed the Ultra Street Fighter IV and Super Smash Bros. Melee pools most of my work day on Friday and then watched Mortal Kombat X pools Saturday as well as the MKX semifinals that night. Right after church on Sunday, I got prepped for the MKX finals, and I was blown away watching someone from the losers bracket come back and win it all in the grand finals. Watching these guys master juggling opponents is a beautiful sight to behold, and I saw more Brutalities than I know I’ll ever see in my own gameplay days.

Granted, these guys practice and train with their preferred characters about as many hours as I work during the day, so yes, they have worked hard to get where they are. Watching them, though, reminded me of how many hours I put in back in the day when I was hardcore into Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi, the original one on the PS2.

Even if there were professional gaming tournaments for DBZBT back then, I wasn’t good enough to get very far in any competition. However, I did put in the hours in that game to master two characters (Vegeta and Trunks) and learn all of their secret moves–a/k/a the ones that weren’t in the instruction manual–and no one would play that game against me. I would even offer to play as a character I normally didn’t fight with, but still no one would play against me. I don’t know if this game supported online play, but the PS2 wasn’t that great for online anything back then. Some games utilized it, but not many, and it wasn’t great enough to warrant even bothering running CATV to the PS2.

I loved DBZBT so much that I purchased the sequel, and even though I loved the cel-shaded visuals ten times more than the 3D graphics of the original, I never put in half the hours into DBZBT2 as I did the first one. By the time the third game came out, I was over DBZ as an anime and had gotten into the world of RPGs. My fighting game days were pretty much over.

If I could put in that many hours into MKX again, meaning that I play nothing else but MKX and what I’m reviewing for work (which also means no more Platinum Trophy hunts or replaying RPGs or even starting Final Fantasy XIV), then perhaps I could have a brave enough face to show up at an open tournament. Although, I have a feeling that I’m past my prime with fighting game tournaments anyway, just with age and hand-eye coordination falling as sub-par compared to a 20-year-old.

Even if I was 20, though, I still wouldn’t focus that much on one game. I like playing so many different games, and I like my stupid Platinum Trophies. But I really like watching these guys, and I really like how they motivate me to play the game more to try out different combos, attempt Brutalities, and try to master a character as much as I personally can. It makes me wanna go DBZBT all over again.

Monday Gaming Diary: SDCC Style

I attended the madness known as San Diego Comic Con last week, and despite having a rough start on Thursday, I ended up having a great show.

I did haul my PS4 all the way to California for nothing, as I was too tired every night when I crawled back to the hotel room to even crack open my GAEMS case. I did, however, download and play a lot of LEGO Jurassic World for the Vita so I could use the strategy guide for that as well. The guide covers both versions of the game, and well, I felt the need to be able to review the strategy guide completely. That and I wanted to see if the handheld versions of the LEGO games were as awful as they have been lately. I am happy to say that they have reverted back to their original formula for the handheld LEGO games. There aren’t any game over states due to death, so none of the chases or crazy dodging puzzles are overly complicated and stressful anymore. TT has still kept the weird challenges as a way to earn gold bricks, red bricks, and minikits, but they aren’t the beating they have been in the past. The game reminds me a lot of LEGO Batman 2 for the handheld, which is a very, very good thing.

At the show itself, I got my hands on only a couple of games, as SDCC didn’t have much that I did not already see at E3. I did play more of Transformers Devastation after interviewing voice acting legend Gregg Berger, however. I can’t get enough of that game. This time, Activision had a timed demo on it, so no one had to kick me off the booth.

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But my big surprises were Street Fighter V and The Division. I went in to both expecting to be rather meh about them all, and I really enjoyed what I played. I haven’t touched a Street Fighter game in years, so I was expecting a rather steep learning curve with the fighting system, similar to the one in Mortal Kombat X. But at least with MKX, I had some frame of reference for the fighting techniques, whereas with SFV, I have nothing. I played on a friend’s NES or SNES back in the early 90s. That’s my only experience. However, Capcom has reworked their entire combat system, so newcomers to the series can step in and learn along with the pros. The fighting system is fun, and the game is absolutely gorgeous to boot. I can’t believe I’m seriously entertaining picking up yet another fighting game.

We all know I’m a newbie when it comes to MMORPGs. I have FFXIV, but have I found time to play? Oh hell no. I have a serious problem when it comes to this stuff. So I got my hands on The Division fully expecting me to suck at it and have an awful time. I wasn’t great at the game, but I wasn’t terrible either. I had a ton of fun, and I’m considering picking it up if I can find two others who will be willing to do the same. You play in teams of three, and I really don’t want to find new friends online. That has never appealed to me, despite the fact I have met a lot of my good friends online via Twitter. Don’t ask why I’m so weird.

Moral of story? Don’t hate anything until you play it first. I encourage educated hate, people. Be educated about what you dislike.

Monday Gaming Diary: San Diego Comic Con or Bust

My first trip to SDCC was three years ago, and I swore I would never go back. The con is fun, but there are too many people, too many lines, and I don’t have the desire or will to sit in a panel room for six hours to see the one panel I really want to.  When I went in 2012, I remember the line for the Futurama panel that was at noon the following day closing at 3 a.m. the night/morning before. 3 a.m.! People are nuts, yo.

I do have some decent appointments for games that I didn’t see at E3, so I’m very pleased about that and I have a few fangirl opportunities to interview voice actors that I have loved for many, many years. I just need to sit down and write out my interview questions so I don’t sound like a complete idiot. I’m going to sound like an idiot, that’s a guarantee.

I am going to make this a bit more of a vacation than E3, though. I’m not going to have wall-to-wall appointments, for starters. I will see some panels that I want to see. I will wait in line for games if I have to. I’ll bring books, comics, and my 3DS. I want plenty of vegging out time. If there’s a pool at the hotel, I’m going to take advantage of it. And I’m bringing my PS4 so I can get in lots of LEGO Jurassic World in so I can review that guide. It’s still a work trip, but I will have more fun this time than I did at E3, a/k/a more down time.

Chris is also going to be on vacation, so SGR may be a little barren this week. But I’ll post anything new and exciting if I hear more guide news at the show!