5 Reasons: Shin Megami Tensei Persona Video Games Are so Damn Good

One of the most pleasant surprises of the end of the PS2’s life cycle were Atlus’s Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3, Persona 3 FES, which was an add for Persona 3 (2007) and Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4 (2008), all released in North America long after the next generation of consoles had come out. The Battle System in these RPGs is party-based combat In standard level-grinding dungeons, but the other half of the gameplay makes Persona games unique. Each game is split almost evenly in half between dungeon combat. . . And working through one year in the daily life of high school students in Japan (including occasionally answering questions in school). The player directs the protagonist To determine how to spend free time, by spending time with friends, potential girlfriends (all playable relationships are heterosexual and only Persona 3 Portable the PSP version offers a female protagonist), or local residents, eating or...

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Why do you play Borderlands? Is it the Story or The Action?

Spoiler note: This post contains plot spoilers about Borderlands and Borderlands 2 and, by default, spoilers about the characters in the upcoming Pre-Sequel who also appear in Borderlands 2. Spoiling Borderlands 1 for you might actually be doing you a favor, though. That ending’s terrible. With Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel right around the corner, I recently explained why the first two games are so hard to put down. You might notice that that post doesn’t talk about story at all. You don’t play Borderlands for the story. But—and this is coming from a gamer deeply interested in video game storytelling—that’s okay. Some games are fun enough that they can do just fine with no narrative interest whatsoever. Borderlands is one of those series. That being said, the ending of the first Borderlands was one of the bigger narrative train wrecks in recent gaming memory.  But to their credit, Gearbox admitted it, learned from it, and made the story and characters of Borderlands 2...

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The 10 Best Mech Games of All Time - Target Locked

Before we begin, let’s get something out of the way. There’s literally no one on the planet who hasn’t dreamed of waking up one day, receiving a holographic phone call from a hot secretary who tells you “The world needs you. Now!” as you smirk out of bed, put on your suit, head over to the bay and strap yourself into a 40-foot machine built for absolute destruction. I mean, words and diplomacy can solve a lot of problems, without a doubt. But sometimes, you need to pilot a badass mech and just… Blow. Enemies. Away. Mech games are a lot of fun. When they’re done well, it’s almost too much fun. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best mech games of all time. Note that these aren’t in any particular order, they’re all awesome games. Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. Full Boost – PS3/Arcade Extreme Vs. Full...

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Thoughts! Can Video Game Sequels Outdo the Original Games?

In a previous post we touched upon the notion of video game sequels and which franchises, despite stumbling at times, have done an overall good job at improving on their previous titles. The big boys were covered, including “Final Fantasy” and “Call of Duty.” Titles like these are solid examples of why gamers come back to the same franchises over and over This is because the best sequels straddle that thin line between maintaining what gamers love about the original, but delivering a new experience. In this article, we’ll expand on that notion and break down some other titles and how they succeeded in being new while remaining the same. Assassin’s Creed II What other much-hyped game in recent memory failed to live up to its potential like Assassin’s Creed? It was one of those mostly forgettable games that featured neither a compelling story, exciting gameplay, or standout design. Overall, it...

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Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a PlayStation Vita

Buying a new gaming device is always exciting; until you get it home and find out that you don’t have everything you need to actually play it. So before you purchase that new PlayStation Vita, know your facts and avoid any unpleasant surprises.   The PS Vita is available as both a 3G/Wi-Fi model, and a Wi-Fi only model. The 3G/Wi-Fi model is currently priced at $299.99. 3G services are offered exclusively through AT&T with contract free, 30 day service plans. Currently, AT&T is offering a 250 MB plan for $14.99, 3 GB plan for $30.00, and a 5 GB plan for $50.00. Unfortunately, 3G downloads are restricted to 20 MB. So you’ll have to download most of your games via Wi-Fi. The cheaper Wi-Fi model is available for $249.99, and includes all the same features as the 3G model except for GPS. But even without built in GPS support, the Wi-Fi model still offers...

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5 Reasons Buying a PlayStation 4 in 2022 Makes Sense!

With the PlayStation 5 released in 2020, does it make sense to buy a PlayStation 4 in 2022? The simple answer is yes. You must be shaking your head in disbelief, but here are some incredibly good reasons why the PS4 still makes sense in 2022 and beyond Everyone's heard of scalpers ruining the computer market over the past year. Prices for processors and graphics cards have skyrocketed because of shortages in supply. This has extended to the PlayStation 5 as well. Sony has not been able to meet demand for the console at all over the past year. The PS5 was a hot ticket item during the holiday season last year, with stores often selling out within minutes of putting up stock. The situation has not improved at all this year. Big retailers like Walmart and Best Buy sell out online within minutes. As for in-person, you would have to...

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Is it worth it to get a Nintendo DS in 2022? & Why did they discontinue DS?

Many people can find many classic DS games for sale on eBay. The DS Library is still in high demand. The following are some of the most common Nintendo DS games available for sale. More Common Titles you see Mario Kart, Zelda Spirit Tracks, Mario & Donkey Kong, Pokemon Platinum, Chrono Trigger are a few titles with availability online. The Pokémon series is one of the most Popular With 19 titles released for the Nintendo DS. You can get many of these titles for sale used with free shipping. Are games still for sale on a DS? Unfortunately, Nintendo will stop selling 3DS e-Shops by 2022. After completing this process, it's impossible to buy a 3DS game on eBay. You only have a chance to legally acquire a copy of a game from an authorized dealer. Which is better, Nintendo DS or DS Lite? Nintendo DS Lite has a smaller, slimmer body...

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Level-based game mechanic Vs Gameplay Strategies in Video Games

 A handful of hours into Final Fantasy XII your party emerges from the linear opening of the game and is able to explore and level up in the game’s first open world environment: the Dalmasca Estersand. Your characters are still pretty weak at this point So one of the more surprising things you see in the Estersand is a full-size T-Rex stomping around doing its thing. If you leave it alone, it leaves you alone. If you bother it, this happens. This is your heads up that the enemies in Final Fantasy IX’s open world don’t wait for you to get good to be crazy strong. Instead, the strong ones either leave you alone (like the T-Rex) or destroy you, which is your hint that you can’t go that way until you get stronger. It’s a brilliant game mechanic That makes open-world RPG combat more realistic and more fun at the same...

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Is Gaming A Waste of Time, Or a Great Way to Spend Our Time?

Final Fantasy IX Over the past couple of months, I sunk more hours than I want to admit into a playthrough of Elden Ring. Which probably came out to an average of 2-3 hours a day. I’m a married man with graduate degrees and a lot of things to do, but for the last couple of months, most of my free time went into exploring the vast open world of the lands between.  Whenever I finish a game binge of this sort, I feel a little like when I’ve eaten too much junk food (or drank too much). Why? I ask myself. Why did I do this? That’s a lot of time! Think of all the other things I could have been doing! At root, these questions come down to two basic worries: First, how much is too much? And second, are video games in general just a waste of time? We’ll...

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Bioshock Infinite vs The Last of Us - Which Game is Better?

Were easily my personal most anticipated games of the seventh generation of gaming, so why not revisit them in order to make them fight to the death for my long-term affections? In the tradition of the Old School, Game Vault blog’s earlier comparison of Bioshock Infinite to the original Bioshock.  My comparison is based not on replay value or how the games have aged, but on how influentially they’ve stuck with me a year after my initial play through of each.  The Last of Us Vs BioShock Infinite: Who Will Win? In which I focus on how the games have stuck with me several months after my initial walkthroughs. It is not about replaying them now—only a year later, I’m not sure if that would be particularly interesting. Nor is this about which game has more replay value. This post anzlyzes will compare visuals, sound, and gameplay, acting/character design, plot/narrative, and my...

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Metroid and The Last of Us - Has a strong Bond!

Spoiler warning: This post contains spoilers for The Last of Us (little ones), the Left Behind DLC for The Last of Us (big ones), and, well, 1987’s Metroid. If you’ve read any of my other posts on The Last of Us, you know I’m a huge fan of the game. But after playing the Left Behind DLC a few years back, Naughty Dog gave me a whole new reason to love the game. To explain why, though, I need to go back over a quarter of a century…to Metroid. Metroid is an awesome game & So is the Last of us It was in August of ’87, and it is now. The fighting is fun, the level design is good, it offers open exploration and multiple endings (which apparently helped spur the advent of speed running as a thing, since players wanted to see the different endings, which depended not on in-game actions but on completion time)…and all of...

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A Special Story from Season One Telltale’s The Walking Dead

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers about Season One of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Telltale Games’s The Walking Dead: Season One was a revelation. The developing relationship between the player-character Lee, a man badly in need of redemption, and his young charge Clementine amidst the zombie apocalypse provides a rock-solid emotional dramatic core to the narrative. Even the smallest choices about how Lee speaks and acts seem important, knowing that Clem is watching—and learning—from what you choose to do. The vast majority of player agency is dedicated to these forking paths of dialogue and action. Shorn of most traditional gameplay, Season One is as close to the ideal Of interactive cinema as gaming has come. The experience of guiding Lee (and Clementine) through their awful world is consistently appealing…if not always fun. The Choices: Even from the beginning Season One makes your choices painful and meaningful. A look at the statistics on major choices in...

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Video Game Achievements & Trophies - How Far will you go for Them

One of the biggest innovations of the 7th generation of video game consoles was the persistent metagame of achievement and trophy hunting. Though there were a few limited precursors (Activision in 1982!), Gamer scores originated with Xbox 360 achievements in 2005, but Valve and Sony quickly realized what a smart idea it was and added achievement and trophy systems to Steam and the PS3 in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Nintendo failed to get in on the act, and still hasn’t with the Wii U. I love achievements/trophies, and I hate them. They add variety to my gaming and also an occasional stubborn, obsessive focus on point scoring that can make gaming less fun. Here’s what achievements and trophies have done to my experience as a gamer. Why I love achievements and trophies (which from here on out I’ll just call trophies or achievements rather than both for the sake of brevity). When...

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Mobile Ports of Video Games: Carry Your Past in Your Pocket

The release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for iOS and Android last month got me thinking about the increasing number of Mobile Ports of Video Games being ported to mobile platforms. Not all mobile ports of PC and consoles games are good, but with so many here already and more coming all the time, there’s an astounding amount of quality gaming experiences ready to download to your phone or tablet. Games Being Ported to Mobile Devices Mobile games are often developed using the Unity engine, which allows developers to create high quality games on any platform. However, porting these games to mobile devices is not always straightforward. Developers need to consider how much time and effort they want to put into adapting the game to fit the smaller screen size and controls. Some games are easier to port than others, of course. You have games that require barely any changes, of...

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BioShock Rapture Vs BioShock Infinite, Which Game Will Win?

Just finished a re-play of BioShock Infinite the other day. There are so many reviews and gamers calling BioShock Infinite one of the best PS3 games ever made. I’ve been so excited to actually have time to re-play this masterpiece “It's hard-to-make time with kids” Lol... I have played the first two games in the series so; I have truly enjoyed the underwater world of rapture. Uncertainty came over me, when I heard about the game being played in the clouds It didn’t sound much like a BioShock game. The story of the game is pretty in depth, with the whole Elizabeth character and all the missions to have to complete in order to finally reach Comstock. My question I had to answer; would this game be as creepy (scary) as the previous two games. It’s going to be hard to beat the gameplay, and the story, not to mention the element of...

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Old School Gaming - What Games to Play & Where to play Them

Retro Video Games have come a long way since its inception. Although general knowledge suggests that the likes of Spacewar or Pong as the earliest form of video games, they are merely an evolved version of electronic games or computer games. Let's take a brief over-view of gaming history, and then showcase of the best retro video games that made gaming what it is today.   The Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device Long before the iconic Pong became a thing, two physicists named Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann filed the first patent to the Cathode-Ray Amusement Device in 1947. Although the device never made it to the mainstream market because of production cost, it eventually got the title of being the “first patent for an electronic game.” The Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement device paves the way to the creation of the first AI (Artificial Intelligence) for an electronic game through Noughts...

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Gaming Perspectives - The Right Way & The Wrong Way to do it!

“Gritty Action Movies.” “Suspenseful Morality Sci-Fi Movies from the 1930s.” “Whistleblower Steamy Psychological Animation Based on a Book Set in Biblical Times About Trucks, Trains, & Planes.” Genres can be weird, right?  Game genres can be as simple as “driving “(DriveClub) or “FPS” (Battlefield) or as elaborately specific as “first-person stealth action-adventure role-playing games” (Uncharted 4: A Thief's End). Genres can be really helpful: when I find a game I like, say Dishonored 2, identifying aspects that appeal to me, like stealth, helps me find other games I’ll probably enjoy (like the Metal Gear Solid series or the latest Thief reboot). But genres can stifle creativity if developers or publishers choose to make an easily marketable game rather than taking genre-blurring risks—or when thinking using conventional genres leads developers to not even see some of the other possibilities out there. Games that Skillfully Switch Up Genres and Viewing Perspectives Offer a Great...

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Why Hasn’t There Been a Great Movie Based on a Video Game?

When I saw the roller-coaster-like movie Gravity, I was surprised to realize that I occasionally felt like I was watching a video game on a giant screen. The film fluidly changed perspectives back and forth from third to first person, often framing the action as a game would, and the focus on challenging environments presenting life-and-death decisions almost constantly was also very game-like. The sheer effectiveness of Gravity and its resonance with game conventions brought up a question I find myself asking at least once a year: why hasn’t there been a great movie based on a video game? Mainstream movies based on video games have been around for twenty years now Since Super Mario Bros. in 1993 (though the first game-adapted movie was a 1986 Japanese Mario Bros. anime). There have been over thirty released internationally since then, including high-profile films like Mortal Kombat, Wing Commander, Tomb Raider, Pokémon, Resident Evil,...

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Perfection! Telling A Compelling Story with in Game Music

In 2010 I was a music minor in a composer’s group at my college that met once a week to discuss various issues in music and composing. One day I proposed to the group that at an upcoming meeting I’d make a presentation on video game music as a serious emerging venue for the musical art form. A couple gamers in the group got it, but there were a lot of blank stares from people whose impression of video game music had solidified, unfavorably, in the 8-bit era. I put together a short presentation, focused mainly on music from Final Fantasy VII and VIII, but I never got to make it – the group had many other things going on, and because it was the thing that the group saw as most expendable, the video game music presentation kept being the thing that was pushed back, right up until I graduated...

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How Grand Theft Auto's Gameplay Has Changed Gaming forever! GTA

One title. Three words. 16 sequels. Over 350 million units sold. “Grand Theft Auto” has risen from relative obscurity to earn a spot on the Mt. Olympus of great game franchises. 2022 marked the 25th anniversary of the year “Grand Theft Auto” was released. Believe it or not, back in 1997 there was no fanfare, no stampede to Circuit City or a Virgin Megastore or whatever now-defunct retailer sold the title. It was just a “cult” hit—but one that would go on to revolutionize video games. So here’s looking at the humble beginnings of this cultural landmark Through to its current success, and why it’s just as crucial to gaming now as it was then. Really, it’s no surprise that “Grand Theft Auto” was a slow burn. It was originally only released for MS-DOS before being ported to Windows and, eventually, the Sony PlayStation. The graphics were crude, and the sandbox level...

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