PUBG On Mobile Is Surprisingly Good!

When I heard PUBG was coming to mobile phones I couldn’t believe it.  How could they possibly pack the full PUBG experience on to a small device?  It turns out they did it by streamlining the experience without dumbing it down.  Things like automatically picking up guns and putting on the best attachments; getting rid of almost all the gates and windows; taking all the interiors out of houses so it is easier to move about, and adding in a few bots (okay a lot of bots) to limit the CPU resources.  All these changes make sense for the platform, and Tencent should be commended for somehow making mobile PUBG feel like PUBG.

Granted there are a lot of hoops to jump through at this juncture to get PUBG installed.  If you are on Android like me, you need to download the Chinese app store TapTap, give it all the permissions you can, and then find the real PUBG.  Not the one with navel combat and whatnot.  If you can’t read Simplified Chinese, it is the one with the 8.8 user rating.  Once that is installed, you need to create an account with one of Tencent’s social media platforms, QQ or WeChat.  QQ is easier since all you need is an email address, and you can go to and sign up in English.  Then you need to go to the Play store and install the official Chinese QQ app and sign in.  Once that is done, you can log in a play PUBG on mobile!  For Apple folks you will need to create a Chinese Apple account, so you will need to get a temp Chinese credit card number, so good luck with that.  Then still sign up for WeChat or QQ.

Was it worth all the hassle, not to mention giving all my info to China to play PUBG on my phone?  Probably not, but it is a lot of fun, and probably one of the best mobile games out there right now.  I just hope that they create an official international version of the game soon.  That way I will not have to keep looking up what the menu buttons are.  Oh well, at least the gameplay doesn’t need to be translated.  Find cool loot and then survive until the end.  As Sam Eagle would say, “It is the American Chinese way!”

Shmee Takes A Stroll With Oxenfree!

I didn’t know what I was getting myself in to when I fired up Oxenfree.  I knew it was an indie game that came out last year and that a lot of people really liked it, and it was known to have a lot of charm, but I was not prepared to be so completely enraptured with it.

Technically I am guessing you could call Oxenfree a 2.5D walking simulator since the gameplay is mostly walking around and solving lightweight puzzles, but really it is a conversation simulator because unlike most walking games in Oxenfree you are never alone.  There is always someone there to chat with, and the game’s three button, three dialog choice gameplay, is really fun.  Seeing how Alex’s (the main character) friends react to the things you have her say is constantly engaging.

Oxenfree’s story revolves around five friends who just wanted to have a fun weekend trip on one of the Pacific Northwest’s many costal Islands.  In this case the fictional Edwards Island.  Things obviously go sideways, but that is all that I am going to tell you.  However, if you liked Stranger Things, you will like Oxenfree.  Watching the story unfold was fascinating.  It was some of the best fiction I have watched/interacted with in a long time, and knowing that it all could have played out differently had I chosen to walk and talk to different people or said different things makes me want to play it again.

Right now if you are an Xbox Live Gold member you can download Oxenfree for free, and you need to download it.  Though it is worth the $20 it usually goes for on just about every other platform under the sun.  It is so fun and the story is so engrossing that I feel I should apologize for the couple of nights of lost sleep you are going to have while you finish the game.  Maybe even more if you choose to play it again to see things go down differently, but some things are worth loosing sleep over.

Injustice 2 Drowns Players In Content!

With the success of Injustice: Gods Among Us it was only a matter of time before Warner Brothers and NetherRealm Studios released a sequel, and they really went for it this time.  Just about all of your favorite characters are available in this twisted take on the DC Universe, and you will not run out of things to do any time soon.  My only complaints are:

  • I am really bad at fighting games
  • They really push the micro-transactions

If you unfamiliar with the DC Injustice Universe let me fill you in: The Joker killed Lois Lane and that sent Superman down the path to the Darkseid, so Batman and a group of reformed villians needed to take down Superman and his Regime that wanted to murder all bad guys.  Injustice 2 starts some time after Clark’s defeat, but now Brainiac has shown up and the world may need Superman again.

If you are thinking that is a pretty involved story for a fighting game, you would be right.  The single-player story is excellent in Injustice 2.  I would almost call it a must play for any DC Comics fans out there.  Even if the Injustice Universe is a dark mirror to the actual DC Universe (though Batman v Superman did hint at it).  The story and cut-scenes are just great!

As I said, I am terrible at fighting games, so I am probably not the best person to extol a fighting system, but Injustice 2’s feels intuitive to the point where it is easy to understand, but I am still trying to get the hang of the finer points, so my combo game is not on point.  What I am saying is, it feels good even if I have to play the game on easy.

Besides single-player, just about every mode you can imagine is available.  Including a new Multiverse mode that changes up the game’s mechanics, but the real addition is the loot.  There is tons of loot to customize the characters with.  If is fun to open Mother-boxes and see what is inside to slap on to my fighters.  Even if most players online force you to turn off all the equipment’s bonuses.  Not to mention you will need to level your heroes and villains to just put on a lot of the stuff you get.  Meaning you will have to play Injustice 2 a lot to get the most out of the ‘Gear’ system.

The biggest flaw this game has is all the focus on micro-transactions.  There are like five types of currency in this game, and you can pay for four of them.  I just paid $60 for this game, I don’t want to be nicked and dimed for other crap.  New characters is one thing, but paying to trade in ‘Gear’ is another.

I have been loving this game, and I am trying to get better at it, so that I can enjoy it more.  The terrible micro-transaction system is not enough to keep me from playing it.  If you like fighting games or DC Comics, Injustice 2 is well worth checking out.  Maybe you will see me online, and you can destroy me.

What Is Going On With Game Studios Today?!

The internet has been going crazy the last 24 hours with reports that BioWare Montreal in the middle of restructuring, and since they were the new “Mass Effect” studio, the second Mass Effect: Andromeda game is on hold, but is it really?  Now I can see restructuring, finding a new lead dev team and bringing in some better writers, but even after Mass Effect: Andromeda’s “failure” (it has already sold way over a million copies) it is still one of the most popular gaming franchises out there.  If I see people wearing game related clothing out and about, 50% of it is Nintendo, 30% is Minecraft, but most of the rest bears a large N7 and the BioWare logo, and coming in third to Nintendo and Minecraft is nothing to upset about.  If you are EA you don’t just toss that kind of brand awareness away.

I am guessing the next game is delayed a year or so.  Just enough time to clear out some games that BioWare is currently working on so they can shuffle teams around.  Is this bad news for the people that lost their jobs? Yes (though apparently most of them didn’t), but there will be a Mass Effect game out before we know it.  EA likes to make money, and a good Mass Effect game makes them tons of cash.  We will see how things go, but I am guessing we will hear about a new Mass Effect game around E3 2019.  A long time to be sure, but considering all the games in BioWare’s pipeline, it will just take a little longer to come around again.  Now to things that aren’t okay…

IO Interactive is being sold off by Square Enix.  In some regards this understandable since Hitman is not one of Square’s major franchises, but on the other hand Hitman sold very well and won several game of the year awards.  It isn’t clear yet if the sale will include IO’s IP (Hitman, Freedom Fighters and Kane and Lynch), or if they are just selling the physical assets.  Though like most things in life, I am guessing that is negotiable.  Unlike BioWare Montreal, IO should be hard at work on its next game and reveling in its success.  I hope they find a buyer soon, so they can continue making games and avoid being shutdown.  If IO doesn’t find a buyer and I don’t get my second season of Hitman, Square Enix will enter my World of Assassination!

Fire Emblem Heroes Is Pretty Great … The First Time Around

I haven’t owned a current Nintendo console for a while, so I have missed out on all the Fire Emblem games, but now that there is a mobile version I was able to get in on the fun, and I love it.  At least I used to love it.  It starts out really strong, and it has that Nintendo polish that you have come to expect.  The base gameplay is great, but the end game is terrible.

While the console version of Fire Emblem is a tactical turn based RPG, the mobile version is more like a miniatures game.  You get new units with new abilities, and then you swap them in and out depending on the abilities of your opponents.  Then you simply position them the best you can to best use those abilities.  It is simple to learn, but complex to master.

The problem is that Fire Emblem Heroes is also what is called a “gotcha game”.  To get new units you earn orbs, and then you cash in those orbs and pray you get something good.  Even if you do get the unit you want, it may be a lesser version of what you want.  You see all heroes have a star value attached to them, so you may get a cool hero, but he may only be the three star, and to up him a star level you need hundreds of thousands of “hero feathers”.  You can only use those feathers after he as gotten to level 20 in the game.  Not to mention if you add a star to your hero he starts again from scratch from level one with none of his learned skills.

At first this is okay because all your heroes are low level and the game is throwing orbs at you, but once you get to the upper levels of the game, the orb earn rate drops through the floor, and it will take forever to grind your hero back up to where he was.  Not to mention just earning all those dang feathers.  Worse yet the game uses the old mobile standby “stamina”.  Every level takes a bit of stamina to play, but once you get to the upper levels they take so much stamina that you can only try the level a couple of times before you have to quit and wait for your stamina to refill, or pay up for more.

The game is so fun that first time through you don’t care about all these free to play issues, but once you have gotten through the game once it really starts to make the game less fun.  There is no good end game unless you are willing to drop a bunch of cash, and that is a shame because if it had tweaked some of these game systems I could see Fire Emblem Heroes becoming a new obsession.  As it is now, it was just a really fun diversion for a couple of days.