I write to you today under great duress… I have been tagged by Red Metal! My mission, henceforth, is to answer the 10 questions assigned to me and then designate 10 questions for other bloggers to answer. I will also be answering my own questions, as should anyone I tag hereafter. If you get CHOSEN and wish to answer these questions, tag your post with #Let’s Blog Award and nominate as many other bloggers as you would like to join in.
Let’s start by answering Red Metal’s questions:
1: Do you prefer RPGs where your characters end the game at a high level (70+) or a lower one (20-30 or so)? Assume that these outcomes are not simply the result of grinding levels for hours.
I personally prefer the lower level caps in RPG’s. I find that, after a certain point, you don’t really need to level up anymore. A stark difference can be found between Fallout 1 and Fallout 4 – I believe Fallout 1 level caps you at level 20-25, but the truth is I’ve never had to go that high. By the time I’m level 14 I feel powerful enough to complete the game on its terms, and the grind to get higher is simply nothing more than that; A grind. There is nothing beyond that number I can think of aiming for that outweighs the power I already feel at that stage in the game. Most of the time I can’t even be bothered to go for the Sniper perk – arguably one of the most useful and powerful perks in the game and it’s sequel – because I don’t need it. It unlocks at level 18, but since I don’t feel the need for it I mostly avoid it. I think the highest level I have ever achieved in the game was on one of my earlier runs where I got to level 17 by farming Deathclaw spawn points and Supermutant encounters.
Meanwhile, Fallout 4 (to my knowledge) has no level cap. You can routinely go level 70+ very quickly. But because the game knows how ludicrously powerful you would be at that stage, everything around you levels to be at a similar stage as you. Resultingly, your level 70 Soul Survivor feels no more powerful than a level 14 Vault Dweller. In fact you can end up feeling weaker; Once you get to a point where you can take no more perks to increase your damage and you have fully upgraded your weapons, there isn’t a way to obtain more damage through reliable or conventional means. As a result, enemies will just get more and more health every time you level up while you end up unable to counter it with more and more damage output. Although, if I’m being honest, you’ll have to play the game for much longer than I could stand for a single playthrough in order to get to that stage.
2: Do you prefer RPGs with turn-based or real-time combat?
I like both types of gameplay, but I much prefer first-person RPG’s to be real-time and my isometric games to be turn-based. I have recently been playing Tyranny, an isometric RPG by Obsidian, and have just sort of been going through the motions with it’s real-time combat. I don’t like the characters often acting on their own accord to the extent that they waste their abilities. And I don’t like having to babysit them all by enabling the option that only lets them act when I order them too because it’s too much micromanagement. It might as well be turn-based by that point. I appreciate the slower, methodical pacing of turn-based RPG’s.
3: Do you prefer RPGs that introduce your entire lineup upfront with no changes beyond the prologue or ones that feature rotating lineups? Assume in either case that you have no control over your party lineup at any point.
Honestly can’t really answer this – I don’t think I can recall playing an RPG where the whole party is given to you at the start of the game. I know those games exist, but for one reason or another have never really got around to them. But I will say that in isometric games I like to stick to the first 2-4 companions I meet. In the aforementioned Tyranny I always keep Verse and Barik around as reliable damage dealers and tanks. In Fallout 2 I can’t recall ever using anyone other than Cassidy and Marcus in my party – except for my first playthrough where I had Myron along so that Marcus could bully him. The closest thing I’ve played to an RPG that gives you a pretty full roster to start the game with is Marvel Ultimate Alliance since you only unlock 4-5 heroes throughout the game with the rest being automatically available to you… Even so my normal team includes both Blade and Ghost Rider, who are two of those later appearances.
By contrast, in action or first person RPG’s I’m a lot more go-with-the-flow. I was constantly swapping which companions travelled with me in The Outer Worlds. But most of the time I don’t bother with Companions. Skyrim? Too boring. New Vegas? No downside at all to travelling with them but I still don’t. I just like the lonesome exploration in those games without constant narration of my actions, I think.
If I have no control over my party line up though… I guess games that give you the entire lineup at the start would be better since I’d have more chance of luckily getting someone powerful right off the bat.
4: Do you prefer games that have advanced enemy formations, but no boss fights or comparatively simple standard enemies with boss fights in between?
Boss fights. Definitely boss fights. Games like DOOM dropping them on you for the big name monsters, or Undertale just deciding that now is the time the game is going to WOW you out of nowhere is great. Great boss-fights – even mechanically dull ones with a lot of convincing narrative weight like Morrowind’s battle against Dagoth Ur – can be reason for me to play a game or level again.
5: Do you prefer games where you create your own character or ones where you play as a character created by the authors?
It completely depends on the game. I know no one would sympathise with my custom character Joel if The Last of Us had given me that level of control – Blimey he’d look like a nightmare and have a weird backstory given that one of my favourite roleplays is as ludicrously lucky dumb characters relying on companions to get them through the game. That would kind of make the plot of that game fall apart.
I guess I lean more towards blank slate, create your own characters given as 90% of games tend to give you some amount of backstory anyway – Everyone in The Elder Scrolls has a criminal history and everyone in Fallout cares about something so much that they’re willing to spend the entire first act of the game looking for it before the real baddies show up.
6: What is your opinion of sequel hooks?
Urgh, they’re awful! Finishing Halo 2 to hear Master Chief say “Finish the fight” and then get thrust, not into action, but into the credits, is one of the most disappointing things I’ve experienced in gaming. Then there’s Halo 5 Guardians wherein the Guardians do absolutely sod all until the final cutscene, which is nothing more than a hook for the next game. In fact, Halo is pretty bad for all of this; Halo Wars 2 has a big climactic battle but neither the UNSC, Banished or Flood have resolved the conflict of that game by the end of it. All sides are still fighting seemingly indefinitely, and the post-credits cutscene is a hook for Halo Infinite. Bloody awful stuff.
With films it can be a bit more complicated. For example, the ending to Saw was supposed to be an ambiguous finale that leaves you with questions, but it’s success spawned so many sequels that the originally great ending has, more or less, been reduced to nothing more than a cheap hook. In franchise films like the MCU, I do however believe sequel hooks can work provided there is certainty the sequel will arrive, as was the case with Infinity War. But then you have failed franchises like one that started with The Mummy (the one with Tom Cruise) that went nowhere and was intended to spawn a whole other cinematic universe. So, while you can get away with it in films more than games, I do think you have to be careful not to undercut it going forward and certainty a sequel will actually arrive.
7: Many film directors seem to be under the impression that seeing their work in theaters is the definitive viewing experience. Would you agree?
I certainly think seeing a movie in theatres is a much better experience than watching them at home, but one must also remember that home-viewing is going to be the only way the films are viewed after their cinematic debue. So I think if you make your film solely to be viewed in cinema, you’re inherently putting your film at a disadvantage for when it eventually leaves. People who couldn’t or wouldn’t have seen it in the cinema will have an objectively worse experience with it than those who did. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with intentionally making one or two moments in the film that shine for theatres, but making your entire product to be consumed that way just seems detrimental to me.
8: What do you think of post-game content?
It’s fine, but certainly works better in some games than others. I find a lot of the tension of the game grinds to a halt for me after I complete the many quests or main story of a game, so don’t find myself indulging in post-game content all too much. I did in Morrowind because the Tribunal DLC is a natural progression of the main story, and so it felt right to do so. Then there was the Bloodmoon DLC which was so difficult that it can’t be considered anything but postgame content, because you won’t be breezing through that until you’ve got some of the more powerful and hard to obtain stuff from the rest of the game.
9: When you see a film in theaters, what time of day do you prefer to go?
Early as possible. It’s a pet peeve of mine sharing the armrest, so the less crowds the better.
10: What is a word you really like, but can never seem to spell properly?
Restaurant. Yes, I know that sounds rather silly but my go-to is to spell it “rest-aunt”. And it doesn’t matter how many times I look at the word or attend to spell-check, the spelling just never seems to stick with me.
Right, now let’s get my questions sorted. Anyone tagged and who wants to partake should answer all these below:
1: Is there a game and/or movie you particularly love from a genre you typically dislike?
The game, for me, is SMITE. I typically cannot stand those sorts of “try-hard” multiplayer games with art styles that remind me of League of Legends, alas I do enjoy a good game of SMITE from time to time. I don’t play it often at all, but when I do I always have a blast. The same could be said of The Elder Scrolls Online. The grind and tediousness of MMO’s normally shuts me out completely, but every now and again I’ll get sucked into it in a way no other MMO is able of doing to me.
In terms of movies, I kinda dislike pretty much 99.9% of all musicals I see. They’re simply not my thing. However, the Wizard of Oz is a huge exception for me. I have a big soft spot for that movie and the memories I have of watching it with my family. I actually rewatched it not so long ago and was surprised by how much I was still entertained by it.
2: Reversely, is there a game and/or movie you particularly dislike from a genre you otherwise enjoy?
Got to admit it; I kinda don’t like GTA V even a little bit despite my love for open-world games. I don’t think it’s aged that well aside from it’s graphics; the open world feels empty outside of the city and Mount Chiliad, and almost all the missions are so scripted that even the slight hint of deviation by the player can cause you to reset. It’s bonkers. A game designed with a large open-world sandbox, that simultaneously is abusively controlling during the story sections just seems counterproductive to me.
As for movies, well there’s a lot more to work with. I like superhero movies, but would be rich if I got £1 for every one that bored me. Justice League (both versions), Avengers Age of Ultron, Ant Man and the Wasp, X-Men Apocalypse… There’s just so many bad eggs in a genre that also has so many gems.
3: Do you have a movie, game or TV show that is a guilty pleasure? If so, what is it?
I can’t say I yet have a guilty pleasure TV show, but I certainly do have a game and move: The game is Cookie Clicker. Yes. Cookie Clicker. I am concerningly addicted to an idle game, and I know how ludicrous it is to be so. As for the film, that would be Godzilla vs Megalon; a down-right awful movie that is as hilarious as it is entertaining to me. Love every second of it.
4: Sometimes we’re all too cool for something; What is a piece of media that the masses have loved but you never understood the hype for?
For me, I never got the hype around The Greatest Showman. I know I may bit a bit bias – having said I wasn’t a fan of musicals – but I don’t really see what makes this film so special when placed alongside other musicals. It has a pretty good cast, I guess? But then so a lot of musicals and, y’know, other movies without songs in them. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
5: We all have misunderstandings; What is a piece of media that you love but the masses didn’t?
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017) is actually a pretty good game. It launched with some incredibly sketchy and predatory things going on in terms of how desperate it was to get in your wallet, but I always liked it. Even from launch I enjoyed it, having also plays Battlefront 2015 quite extensively too. It might sound odd to say a game loved and played by a loyal community wasn’t loved by the masses, but there are still those who never forgave this game, and those who outright won’t play because it isn’t the same game as the original 2005 one. But I think, for what it offers, the 2017 game is just as good in its own right.
6: What (if you know) is the game you’ve spent the most time playing?
According to Steam, my most played game is Crusader Kings 2, which sits at 374.4 hours of playtime. However, my Xbox informs me that I have spent at least 25 days (around 600 hours) in Halo 5 since 2015 – a game I rag on a lot, but can’t deny has a fun multiplayer. But although I don’t have the numbers to back it up, I think I have to argue that Rome Total War might be my most played game. I played almost religiously for years from 2010-2015 and even afterwards returned for nostalgia-trips. Around the time I did the review of it here, I also sank a lot of time into a campaign I thought would just be a quick recap of the game or me. I’ve owned it on disc three times and now have it on Steam. I tried the mobile version too but couldn’t get into it. So yeah, probably Rome Total War.
7: What film never fails to entertain you, no matter how many times you watch it?
Definitely Gladiator (2000). No matter how many times I rewatch it, I am always entertained by it. I love the performances, the story, the action, the gorgeous sets and everything. Despite having seen it more times than I can count, I have never skipped ahead of the slow bits because the film just engages me so much.
8: What TV shows are you watching at the moment?
This definitely isn’t here just because I want some suggestions…
Anyways, at the moment I am watching The Crown because I love myself some slow-burning dramas. I also like how the historical elements of the show are blended so well with the artistic license the makers need to fill in some of the blanks. I am also (under duress) watching Grey’s Anatomy. I’m not a fan of it, but my partner loves it and thus it is on every dinner time.
9: Have you ever achieved 100% completion of a game?
It’s a hell of a thing to do and feels like a notch on the belt. But it’s often so time consuming that I just can’t be bothered most of the time. That said, I have done it once and only once: On my old Xbox 360 I achieved 100% completion of Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare. It actually wasn’t that hard because most of the difficult challenges that involved fighting powerful enemies could be cheesed by sitting on a horse of the apocalypse – unique and invulnerable mounts that never get knocked off their feet for some reason. The hardest thing about it was definitely the treasure hunting. Because I was young at the time I only found a handful of the treasure locations myself before resorting to a guide for the rest. I recall having a standoff with a cougar over a herb I had to collect for of the game’s challenges; it was the last herb I needed and I was prepared for a cougar to be in that area… Alas it didn’t take a second or third attempt for me to eventually pick it up. I should note that this occurred before I figured out I could just cheese the cougar on my horse. I have fond memories of getting 100%, but blimey I won’t be doing it again for a while.
10: What is the most quotable piece of media you have ever seen?
A lot of franchises like the Star Wars prequels or the Left 4 Dead games have lived on in many people’s memories in part because of their dialogue alone, be it because it was cringe-inducingly bad, or genuinely entertaining. For me, the most quotable thing I’ve ever seen is Spiderman (2002). Pretty much every character in that movie has a line that comes to mind when I think of them:
Spiderman: “Who am I? You sure you want to know?” Or, “That’s a cute outfit, did your husband give it to you?” And this one’s gold; “It’s you who’s out, Gobby… Out of your mind!“
Green Goblin: “Out, am I!?” Or, “Let die the woman you love, or suffer the little children?“, Or “No one says no to me!” But my personal favourite is, “Misery, misery, misery that’s what you’ve chosen. I offered you friendship, and you spat in my face.“
Aunt May saying “Everybody else knows!” and giving Peter the realisation Mary Jane is in trouble sticks with me. Or when she screams “Deliver us from evil!” When she is attacked by the Goblin.
Hell, for some benign reason one of the top quotes that comes to me is just Mary Jane saying “I’d like a cheeseburger.” There’s nothing funny about it or particularly stand-out, but I think the tongue-in-cheek script and fun attitude of the whole movie makes otherwise mundane dialogue memorable to me… Also, maybe the fact I’ve seen this film more times than I can count has something to do with it.
Right, that’s all from me. Now I’m going to tag people who may want to partake in this if they have the time. Just answer the last 10 questions if you’re up for it. The tagged are: