I have a lot to say about Destiny 2! All of Some of it is just incoherent screeching comparing it to Destiny 1 and how good or bad I think it is. The screeching I can decipher is going into this blog post. Without diving into spoilers, this is what I liked about Destiny 2 so far.

The Clan System

Clans have more purpose than having a funny clan name and tag next to your name in Destiny 2! For those in a clan, you have the option of completing 4 weekly activities as a clan, as in half of your fireteam in that activity must be made up of clan-mates , to earn extra powerful engrams. Well, at least for the Crucible and Nightfall challenge. These engrams are guaranteed to give you loot up to your best possible Power/Light Level!  Can't speak personally about the engrams from completing the Raid or Trials challenge. The best part of these clan engrams is that every member of your clan can claim these rewards! I love it solely for its ability to encourage group play.

Clans can also fill the role of Sherpa or guide in the form of "Guided Games". It's an attempt to introduce sherpas or guides into activities like Nightfall or the Raid. Solo players or Seekers have to meet the power requirement for that activity and have a "Guided Games" ticket. These are consumable items that are delivered to your post master at the weekly reset. I haven't queued as a Seeker before so I speak firsthand about it. Clans can queue as Guides to help Seekers through an activity. Haven't done the Raid as a Guide but I queued for the Nightfall and it required two of the slots in your fireteam to be made of clan-mates. Clans have an "Oathkeeper Score" that lists rates how helpful they were in these activities. Pretty much hop on comms, be helpful and don't be a jerk. If you have to leave early from the activity, you can "Vote to Resign" to end the activity early without penalty. Otherwise you're meant to finish the activity as a group! Really neat stuff. Makes me wish for a proper "Looking For Group" gets properly implemented.

Overview Map and Traveling


First: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BACK OUT TO ORBIT TO TRAVEL TO ANOTHER LOCATION. Decide you need to travel back to the Farm after exploring the EDZ? You can go to "Destinations" and choose where you want to go. Another nice thing is you won't be kicked out of menu while traveling.

Second: YOUR MAP IS USEFUL NOW. Pictured above is my map on one of the later planets, Io. The green arrow is you and points to where you are facing in relation to this map. The blue diamonds are Public Events and will either have an orange outline that lets you know when the event should start or will pulse orange when one is in progress. In the overworld, there orange flags where you can manually start the countdown for events. Rallying this flag gives you full super and full ammo! The orange icon are "adventures" or side missions you can go on. You'll notice a green "IX" icon next to my player icon. XUR is now marked on the overview map as that "IX" icon! He's no longer hiding in a social space somewhere but instead hiding on one of the planets. The other blue icon is a planetary quest and the other green icon is a planetary NPC. The spade icon special chests you can find after buying a map from a certain NPC. There are white markings on your map for planetary (gold) chests and lost sectors that will grey out once you've explored and claimed that chest. The last icon to mention, the circle with an arrow inside, is my favorite icon of them all. Which  leads to me last point....

Third: YOU CAN FAST TRAVEL AROUND AN AREA.
Oh my cotton socks! I don't have to worry about missing public events because I'm on the other side of the map! Or after completing an adventure I want to start another one but the closest one is too far to travel on foot. You start off with one or two fast travel points but as you play through the story you'll unlock more points. Guys, it's just really great. I love not having to go back to orbit because it would take me longer to travel to the other side of the map than to go in and out of orbit.

Revamped Weapon System & Gear Progression


Weapons:In Destiny 2, the weapon system went through a change! Instead of primary,secondary and heavy, we have kinetic, energy and power weapons. Primary or Kinetic weapons are still classified as Pulse Rifles,Scout Rifles, Auto Rifles, Hand Cannons and Sidearms. Secondary or Energy weapons are the same weapons as kinetic weapons but with an element attached to them. All other weapon types such as Swords,Rocket Launchers, Sniper Rifles, Fusion Rifles and the new Grenade Launcher are in the Heavy or Power weapon category. With Energy weapons being elemental kinetic weapons, it makes break shields off enemies in PVE easier than in Destiny 1 where I  was in situations where I had to either use a shotgun or Sniper Rifle to break an enemies elemental shield. It feels less awkward. Speak of shields, when you break an enemy's shield using the same element, their shield shatters and damages nearby enemies! On the PVP side of things, you don't have to worry as much about snipers or shotgun runners causing havoc right out the gate, as those are now power weapons. No more flashbacks to Gears of War!

Gear/Power Level Progression:
I touched on this a bit when talking about Clans but you have so many options to increase your Power/Light Level(I'm going to refer to it as Power Level or PL from here on out). Once you've hit  20/ the level cap, completed the story and activity prerequisites, you'll gain access to weekly milestones to complete that reward Powerful Engrams. Better yet, join a clan and complete the weekly clan activities to gain even more Powerful Engrams per week! The most important thing to me is having the option to do whatever you want. I doubt I'll have time to raid once a month, let alone once a week and I don't find Trials fun. Activities aside, the game takes into account the best possible gear you can equip when determining gear that will raise your PL. No longer will you have to switch loadouts when decrypting engrams or finishing an activity. When you find a legendary or Exotic engram, the PL it will decrypt will be your highest possible PL at the time of collection. It's less of a chore and with the weekly milestones it helps keep players in the loop with something to work for every week.

Subclasses


In Destiny 1, you had a TON of options towards customizing your class. You were given the option option to customize your: grenade, jump ability, melee ability, super ability, stats, along with  subclass specific customizations.  In Destiny 2, you have far less customization options. You have your choice of one of two class abilities, a grenade, a jump ability and one of two specializations or "specs" for your subclass. On the bright side, your two subclass specs offer different ways to play your subclass with different melee abilities and interactions. The biggest buff of them all? You unlock your skills with skill points from leveling or completing certain adventures. It drastically reduces the amount of grinding you have to do to unlock your subclass' full potential. Up until level 20, certain skills in your skill path were blocked by a level requirement. Once you reach level cap, you're free to unlock skills so long as you have the skill points.

It would be wrong to forget about each class(Titan,Warlock,Hunter) gaining a class ability/action in Destiny 2. Hunters can roll and have it either reload your equipped gun or recharge your melee ability. Titans deploy a shield and it can either be a large barrier to block off enemy fire or a smaller barricade that automatically reloads your gun when you crouch under it. Warlocks have the ability to create a rift that will grant an overshield or damage buff while standing in it. Personally, having the ability to roll was one of my favorite exotic perks as a Hunter. I'm happy to see that idea expanded upon and given to each class without an exotic equipment attached to it.
Nowadays a very big part of the gaming industry is the "Console Wars", as they have been dubbed. Bossman wrote an awesome non-bias blog titled "Navigating the Console Wars" back in May that really summarizes the market of modern consoles. I think despite what consoles are selling the best, people will always have their favorite companies and consoles, whether it's due to exclusives, specific features or even nostalgia based loyalty. This loyalty sometimes runs really deep, and people acquire a hatred for their favorite console's competition. In other cases, players have their favorite consoles but are also willing to game on almost anything. For the most part the LAN Mob employees don't have REALLY strong loyalties, but we certainly have our favorites. Aaron is a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch, noting the system's incredible versatility. However, if the HTC Vive counts, Bossman would certainly have a loyalty towards virtual reality. Rob noted his favorite systems are all some of the older retro systems and it's a three way tie between the Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1 and Sega Genesis. Clearly Rob doesn't care what company made the system, he just wants to play good games! When I asked Enrique the same question he promptly told me "we're basically buying the same games with different buttons. Stop being sheep!" I respect that! Then there's me. I've gone through phases of life where I play various systems pretty aggressively, but I think Sony exclusives keep me pretty loyal to their chain of consoles. However, in the PS3/Xbox 360 era, I was all about my Xbox 360. That being said, I can answer the question "What is your favorite game console of all time?" without taking any time at all to think it over. It's the PlayStation 2, hands down.

   Sony's PlayStation 2 released in 2000 between March & November based on the region.


There's a lot of reasons why I love the PlayStation 2, and I'm not the only one. The PlayStation 2 is the best selling game system of all time, it included full backwards compatibility, the controller was simple and effective and the end all be all...the game library is top notch. The PlayStation 2 library is absolutely massive, sitting at about 2500 games. I'm not saying every single one of them is even a good game, but the number is impressive nonetheless. The PlayStation 2 era was basically when I started my deep delve into the RPG genre, outside of a handful of PS1 gems. Thanks to backwards compatibility I even got to experience some of the best PS1 games I missed a few years earlier. However, for this list I'll be focusing on my favorite PlayStation 2 games, and not necessarily exclusives, simply the games that I loved the most. So that would mean no PlayStation 1 games, obviously. Besides I'm not sure if I'm even capable of picking my top 15 PS1 games...So without further ado, here's my Top 15 PS2 games of all time! (in no particular order)


Kingdom Hearts 2

When the original Kingdom Hearts came out back in 2002, I honestly didn't really care about playing it. Not only did I not have a PlayStation 2 of my own at the time, but on paper the game sounds ridiculous. Square meets Disney! (?) I'm extremely glad to say that all changed when I got to try Kingdom Hearts for myself at Slooze's house, and despite the odd formula, the game managed to be an exceptional RPG. By the time Kingdom Hearts 2 dropped in 2005, I had my own PS2 and I was absolutely infatuated with the game. In my opinion, KH2 is an improvement to the original game's formula in every sense of the word, and added in some of my own personal favorite Disney worlds like Mulan, Lion King and even TRON! I think the Kingdom Hearts fandom can be a little intimidating, especially when you start discussing the plethora of prequels, side stories and deeper lore, but I promise you no matter how you slice it the game series is a shining example of the action RPG genre, and Kingdom Hearts 2 is my favorite title in said series. 


Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven

I've mentioned my love of the stealth genre in previous blog posts, and Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven is one of my favorite titles in the entire genre. Wrath of Heaven, like all other titles in the Tenchu series, is a (very good) game about ninjas. If that isn't enough to make you want to play it, then I don't really know what else I can say...I suppose I could mention the unique style, badass main characters, smooth gameplay, multiplayer modes, creative level design, smooth as silk framerate and solid AI. That's all great too.


Psychonauts

When I was a lot younger a paid much less attention to the development team behind games. Even if it was a game I absolutely LOVED I honestly didn't care to look too much into the team behind those games. Psychonauts changed that. The witty, charming, hilarious and deceptively complex examination of what makes somebody tick kind of blindsided my 13 year old self. Ironically enough I wanted to find out what the inside of the mind of the dude who was behind Psychonauts looked like, but first I needed a name! Oh look it's on the cover...12 years later and I'm still a huge fan of Tim Schafer, and Psychonauts in general. I'm seriously hoping we get the sequel in 2018, I can't wait to spend some more time with Raz. 


Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening

Oooo boy, DMC 3 is one of those timeless games for me. Dante's struggle with his brother Vergil is easily one of my favorite grudges in gaming history, and Vergil makes one hell of a foe. The DMC series in general has a very distinct style to it, but Dante's Awakening stands out even among its own series. It absolutely bleeds style. Back in 2005, Gamespot's Greg Kasavin noted how in each cut-scene of DMC 3 Dante usually goes out of his way to show off, even in perilous positions. He's a god dang badass, and it almost feels like Capcom is challenging you as a player to properly fill the shoes of their ridiculously over the top protagonist. Back in the day I even managed to beat the game on Dante Must Die mode, which is easily one of my proudest achievements in my own gaming history. 


Dark Cloud 2

When I decided to put this list together, Dark Cloud 2 was one of the first titles to hit the page. As far as JRPGs go, Dark Cloud 2 has some of the most unique content and systems I've ever seen, and I can still easily stress that same point in 2017. Dark Cloud 2 kept me interested and engaged from start to finish, and Max is one of my favorite JRPG protagonists of all time. I only hope someday in the future we see Level-5 revisit the series.


Blood Will Tell

This is probably the most unheard of game on this list, and easily one of the strangest. Based on a 1960's anime, Blood Will Tell has players taking control of a young samurai named Hyakkimaru on his quest to regain his 48 body parts. They were stolen by demons. Damn demons. Everytime you regain a body part (usually by defeating 1 of the 60+ bosses), abilities are unlocked. Sometimes these abilities are related to combat. but the most interesting of these actually deeply effect the way you interact with the game. When players regain Hyyakkimaru's left eye, for example, it is the first time they actually get to see the game in color. Outside of the Kojima-esque, out-of-the-box progression, the gameplay and narrative are great too. Definitely one of those games that deserved more attention then what it got, even though the camera was sometimes the hardest boss in the game...


Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain

The Syphon Filter series is pretty hit or miss in terms of reception, but I absolutely loved the first 3 games on the original PlayStation. I was hooked on the political wars and Mission Impossible esque story telling, and Gabe Logan, the series' main character, felt like nothing less then the bad ass hero the world needs. When I heard Syphon Filter was making its way to PS2, I was so disappointed I couldn't go on another adventure with Gabe Logan (I didnt have a PS2 at the time). A year or so later, I was finally able to get Omega Strain, I was pretty excited to try out the new direction SIE was taking with their series. For the first time, players wouldn't be playing Gabe or Lian, and they would be creating their own character employed in Gabe Logan's anti terrorist team - the IPCA. On top of that, the game took a huge turn into the RPG side of things, allowing a whole bunch of customization and creativity. Unfortunately, the narrative was pretty lacking in comparison to the rest of the series, and that earned Omega Strain the title of "my least favorite Syphon Filter game", but it still inched it's way into my top 15 PS2 games. That really says something, yeah?


The Red Star

I don't really have a ton to say about The Red Star. I picked it up somewhere for dirt cheap, saw that it had co-op, and made Slooze play with me because we enjoy the occasional hell shooter. The Red Star is apparently based on a graphic novel, and takes place in a futuristic Soviet Union. It's pretty stylish and scratches that itch for a fun local co-op game, especially if you like hell shooter/fighting/shooting/RPG games. It's a tough one to explain, but I'd recommend playing it with a buddy, Slooze and I love it.


Persona 3

I strongly believe the only people who don't love the Persona games just haven't played them. We've mentioned the latest title in the series, "Persona 5" on the blog a few times, in fact it's currently in the running for my personal GOTY. The Persona series is best described as part JRPG and part high school sim, but what makes the series so damn good is the flawless blending and synergy between both sections of the game. High schooler by day, attending class, forming relationships, working jobs, etc etc is matched with being a supernatural investigator by night, combating a multitude of shadows, demons and creatures that go bump in the night. As much as I LOVED Persona 4 + 5, Persona 3 still stands out as my favorite due to some character arcs that hit home, the stellar plot twists and JUNPEI IORI.


Shadow of the Colossus

I'm not sure what I could say about Shadow of the Colossus that hasn't already been said. The game is nothing short of a masterpiece and shining example of what video games can be. Bossman believes that, for the most part, people accept that video games are indeed a form of art nowadays. I genuinely believe Shadow of the Colossus helped the masses arrive to that conclusion.


The Mark of Kri

The Mark of Kri is another one of those games that seemed to fall under the radar, despite its excellence. Mark of Kri is similar to God of War in the sense that you get to aggressively beat down some fools in some fast paced action sequences. However, it also can pull back from the violence and offer some really peaceful and spiritual moments. It's a relatively simple game, but remains an adventure I still take every few years.


God of War 

What would any Top X PS2 games list be without God of War on it? God of War released as this huge AAA big budget action blockbuster game with an absurd amount of hype and it honestly lived up to every bit of it. I know most people prefer 2 over the original, but I was definitely more obsessed with God of War 1. That Hydra opening is easily one of my favorite openings of all time. This is hack & slash gameplay at it's finest, and killing gods really helps the game reach that next level of hype. 


Metal Gear Solid 3

Ahhh MGS, Hideo Kojima's weird, abstract, weird, deep and weird stealth adventure series. Kojima purposely released the series in an abstract order, opting to fill in some of the plot with later games in the series. Before Metal Gear Solid 3, players certainly knew there was a whole history of events that took place before the original MGS, and when 3 dropped we finally got to experience them. MGS3 is chronologically first in Kojima's tale, and gives some serious insight into a few events that helped shape the world state in the games we loved leading up to it. The game may be first in the narrative, but it is a testament to Kojima's ability to learn and adapt, fixing a plethora of gameplay issues from the earlier games. This not only helps deliver the best narrative in the entire series (in my opinion), it also makes the game so much easier to play, which certainly got some non-MGS fans to try the game out, considering it became a golden standard for stealth mechanics. Outside of the narrative, I think the boss fights help make MGS3 my absolute favorite game in the series, and one of my favorite games of all time. That final boss....oh man.   


Radiata Stories

A lot of RPGs can be seriously heavy. Whether it be some critically deep gameplay, such as the Divinity series, or some complicated narrative like in the Witcher series, usually this genre leaves a lot to be digested. This is totally fine, in fact the reason I love the genre so much is because of this level of complexity. However, if you're looking for something a little bit lighter, Radiata Stories is the game for you. The off the wall humor mixed with some genuinely interesting and well-crafted characters makes for hilarious interactions. Even though the game can have some dark moments, it's quick to get you laughing again. Combat is similar to some games from the Star Ocean series, which helps make the game more hack & slash and less perplexing, which only helps with the game's accessibility. Radiata Stories is charming, witty, colorful and most importantly - fun. 


Beyond Good and Evil

This year's E3 was pretty exciting, and certainly something caught everybody's attention. For me, the reveal trailer of Beyond Good and Evil 2 was the pinnacle of the event. After E3 and my blog post of impressions, I had a lot of regulars asking me about the original game, saying they never played it or even saw it played before. All I can tell you is - play it. We have a copy of the PS2 release right here in the shop, and honestly you could probably complete the entire game in a single day pass. Just do it. I couldn't do the game justice without spoiling a billion things. The narrative is top notch.


Welp, there you have it! This list was brutal to put together. It pained me to leave off games like SMT Nocturne, Ape Escape 3, Jak 3, Sly Cooper and God Hand (oh god the list goes on and no) but hey, there can only be 15. Keep an eye out for Rob's Top PS1 games, which we'll be posting relatively soon! Someday I may attempt a PS1 list, but it would be almost all RPGs and picking a top 15 would probably be more challenging than this was. Thanks for reading everyone!

PS - After putting this blog post together I've come to realize...I think Box Art is generally getting worse as time goes on? Any thoughts?

When the last Nintendo Direct went live, Square-Enix released a demo for their upcoming RPG Project Octopath Traveler on the Nintendo e-shop. As far as it goes now, the game won't be out until mid-late 2018. Which feels so far away...

The team behind Bravely Default is at the helm of Project Octopath Traveler. However, it's a "Working Title" but I feel they should just keep it. The name actually makes sense once you start the game.


Starting the demo had me feel like it was influenced by Saga Frontier. Choosing between the two available characters out of the eight (Hence the 'Octopath'). The characters are Primrose, a dancer who seeks revenge for the murder of her father, and Olberic, a once proud knight who failed his duty.


Both stories are very well done so far. They both start the same with a certain dream that haunts them. A cool thing about it is each character has their own unique NPC interactions. Primose can allure them into traveling with her while Olberic can challenge them to a duel. The combat has the Bravely Default boost system, where your characters can reserve their energy and let it out in a big attack.


Everything about the demo has been a step in the right direction. The traditional JRPG gameplay, the style, the writing/voice acting, and of course the music. Everything is top notch. If you have a Switch it would be a crime to not give the demo a try. It's looking to be a great experience. Hopefully release day comes quick! 



Short and sweet blog, I'll be gushing about the Nintendo Direct that took place 9/13/17 and the games that caught my eye. The Direct had a mix of Nintendo Switch and 3DS games that I'm looking forward to.  The only game I couldn't find more info for was a MOBA called Arena of Valor heading to the Switch this winter. I hate MOBAs but I'm curious how they'll pull it off on the Switch. I might be saying this just because Splatoon has been the only game I've been excited to play on my Switch but I'm looking forward to each of these titles.

Kirby Battle Royale

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

I'm a sucker for Kirby games! The trailer makes it look like one of Kirby's minigames turned into a full game of its own like Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Team Kirby Clash Deluxe. I'm also getting a Mario Party vibe but with Kirby. There's not much to take away from a video that's 45 seconds long. Kirby Battle Royale is looking at a January 19, 2018 release. I hope there will be more info on this game in the months to come!

Mario Party:The Top 100

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Speaking of Mario Party, a collection of 100 minigames from Marty Party 1-10 is headed to the 3DS. I fondly remember playing Mario Party 1&3 (couldn't find Mario Party 2 as a youngin!) and I look forward to seeing how many minigames came from that era. On the other hand, I remember wearing out my N64 controllers from all the button mashing and stick rotating I had to do. This comes out November 10th, 2017 and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't gonna get this. But not having a broken 3DS seems really awesome.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Platform: Nintendo Switch

BACKSLASH! I don't have much to say about Xenoblade Chronicles 2. My first Wii died before Xenoblade Chronicles 1 made it stateside, I never bothered to pick it up on the Wii-U eShop and I didn't have a New 3DS when it was re-released. Tough luck. Everyone I know whose played the first game of Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii-U LOVED IT. Talk's cheap the but the trailer sold me. The world looks gorgeous and the combat interests me. I'll have to wait until December 1st,2017 before I can start yelling BACKSLASH around the shop.

Fire Emblem Warriors

Platform: Nintendo Switch & 3DS

Sequel to ARMS, L E G S! I've been wavering on Fire Emblem Warriors after reading bits and pieces on the game but I'll buy it anyway. I wasn't a fan of the Legend of Zelda series but after playing Hyrule Warriors, I began to appreciate the series. I'm looking forward to what that same team can do with a series I actually like!! The Nintendo Direct revealed Lyn, from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade as the latest addition to the cast! Nothing much for me to do but wait until October 20th for the game's release. It's nice that it's coming out for both 3DS and Switch but I'm opting to get it on Switch to fill out my library.

Project Octopath Traveler

Platform: Nintendo Switch

I can't get over how pretty this game looks. I'm a sucker for good sprite work and this "HD-2D" style of combining pixel art & CG has me falling head over heels for it. This game is being worked on by the same team as the Bravely Default series. While I haven't played the series personally, I've heard nothing but good things from people who have played Bravely Default. Too bad Project Octopath Traveler won't come out until 2018, I've been in the mood for an RPG...

 Kirby Star Allies

Platform: Nintendo Switch

BUFF DEDEDE! ANOTHER KIRBY GAME! From the footage shown, the game reminds me of Return to Dreamland on Wii U & Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards on N64. I have fond memories playing through Return to Dreamland cooperatively with a friend which makes me excited for this game. I'm intrigued how you can charm up to 3 enemies and combine powers with them! The video showed some examples like Ice+Sword and the Wind+Bomb combo to use as a parachute. I'm excited for all the puzzles you'll have to solve by combining various powers together. Kirby Star Allies is looking at a Spring 2018 release and I can't wait!

Super Mario Odyssey

Platform: Nintendo Switch

 My peers were really excited for Super Mario Odyssey while I somehow ended up ignoring it. I love both 2D and 3D Mario and the whole possessing people with your hat thing looks really neat. The worlds they've shown looked gorgeous and I heavily appreciate how they outline what each amiibo does up front instead of finding out on game day. If this game didn't come out a week after Fire Emblem Warriors (October 27, 2017) I'd totally buy it.
We play quite a lot of fighting games here at LAN Mob, on all different levels. Between employees and customers we manage to cover both ends of the competitive/casual spectrum and everything in between. I think it almost goes without saying that fighting games have a very specific and unique energy about them, whether you're spectating friendlies, watching a major tournament, playing with friends or grinding a ranked ladder. I look forward to the moment when LAN Mob gets to pull back the curtain on what we've been brewing for the FGC, but in the meantime weekends like this sustain me! This last weekend had some genuinely amazing moments that I wont soon forget relating to the FGC, and where better to share them then right here on the LAN Mob Blog?! First up is a little indie fighter you may or may not have heard of, unless you've been around me, then you definitely have.

Rivals of Aether

Rivals of Aether is by no means a new game, in fact this Friday Rivals will be celebrating its 2 year Birthday from when it hit early access (along with Slooze's 25th!). However, last month Rivals released a new character, "Ori and Sein", the main characters from Microsoft and Moon Studios' award winning indie title, "Ori and the Blind Forest". The new character pulled me back to the charming "indie answer to Smash Brothers", and boy am I glad it did. Once upon a time, before I was graced with Injustice 2, Rivals of Aether was my go-to fighting game, and I clocked over 100 hours while the game was still in early access. Dan Fornace, the lead designer, and his indie team, have master-crafted what I genuinely believe to be one of the most balanced fighting games of all time. Add in the beautiful pixel art style, top tier soundtrack and deep gameplay and not only do you have an excellent video game, you have the makings of a seriously competitive fighting game. At this last lock-in, Spydude43 and myself plugged in and played Rivals for most of the night, after our excellent League of Legends 1v1 event. Whenever anybody visited the desk for a snack or even just for some conversation, they immediately were entranced by the fast paced combat and unique style that bleeds from Rivals. At one point we had a small group of people watching our matches, and some of them were some serious nail biters. I offered each and every spectator a chance to play, but a lot of them simply wanted to spectate, or took a rain check on us showing them the ropes. Rivals of Aether certainly isn't a AAA EVO title, but it always manages to be a complete blast every single time I find some people to play with. It's just so funny to me that a $15 dollar indie title can create that same energy that those AAA studios can, and it'd almost be impossible in any other genre space. It was a lock-in I soon won't forget, and it really fueled my love for the indie title, and now I just can't get enough. In fact, just a few nights ago I played some guy on Steam for over 2 hours straight at like 3am. Sleep is for the weak!

This is Rivals official launch trailer for when the game left early access in March. 


Dragon Ball FighterZ

Up next in my fighting game fueled weekend was the Dragon Ball FighterZ closed beta. Unfortunately the beta was only available from 1-4pm & 9pm - Midnight on Saturday (9/16) and 4pm-7pm on Sunday (9/17), but maybe it was for the best to prevent me from forgetting to eat and what not. I played as many games as I could in these time frames, and I really gotta say, Dragon Ball FighterZ surpassed my already high expectations. I've played the majority of the Dragon Ball Z fighting games that have been released over the years, and while they manage to scratch that itch for playing out your favorite DBZ moments/making new ones, they all lack in one major way - competition. I don't think its necessary that every fighting game be a competitive one, but up until now each DBZ game suffers from some pretty major balance problems that immediately makes competitive play not even an option. DBZ FighterZ brings some serious depth despite being a licensed anime brawler, and after this weekend I can honestly say the future is bright. I cant think of a better developer then Arc System Works, the developers of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, to tackle the challenge of developing a game like Dragon Ball FighterZ and I seriously look forward to next year. I think DBZF may even net a spot at EVO if the cards are played right, not to mention what a powerhouse fandom like DragonBall Z could do for anime fighters and the FGC in general. I think people would love to see some seriously skilled players in the driver seats of their favorite DBZ characters on a huge stage, don't you?


Injustice Pro Series Finals

Injustice 2 launched with a pretty in depth eSports circuit, thanks to a tremendous amount of support from various community members, NetherRealm Studios and even Sony. I've been following each portion of the circuit extremely closely, and this past Sunday (9/17) was the final 16 bracket of the biggest event of the 4 leading to eLeague. These 16 players fought over the last few months for circuit points awarded for placing at all sorts of events, including majors like EVO and CEO, and it all culminated on Sunday in some seriously awesome matches. In the top 16 bracket we got to see 20 different character choices, shake ups in the "standard" tier list, trash talk, and a lot of 3-0s. The production value of the whole event was pretty outstanding, and the top 4 of the bracket got to compete live on ESPN2! Bossman and myself ended up watching the top 4 with our parents on television, and while Bossman explained eSports, sponsorships and Injustice mechanics to his folks, I couldn't help but scream every time PG Hayatei (my favorite player) did cool stuff. Ultimately it was an awesome event, and even if you aren't extremely interested in Injustice I would recommend watching the ESPN cast of the top 4. This is the future! They secured the 2 best casters (IMO), Ketchup and Mustard for the cast, and even got PG Kitana Prime and Darth Arma to give some coverage from the tournament floor. Even my elderly dad found some enjoyment in the obvious hype, especially when I cheered for PG Hayatei's Robin, the best representative for that character in the world. Ultimately, Semiij put up a great fight but Echo Fox's SonicFox wiped the floor with Noble's Catwoman player, and took Grand Finals 3-0, which was a true testament to this kid's talent and dedication. Following the ESPN broadcast was a gameplay reveal trailer for the next DLC character, MK's Raiden and his premiere skin; Black Lightning. It was a marvelous day of sleep deprived Injustice 2 spectating!

I would certainly recommend watching the entire Top 16, especially for the incredible character diversity, but the top 4 in itself was an awesome display of top talent. I still can't give enough credit to PG Hayatei for making top 8 with Robin, a character many people wrote off and has proven to be incredibly difficult to master. Not to mention Echo Fox's SonicFox's absolutely disgusting Captain Cold play.


Raiden will most likely release on October 9th for Ultimate Edition and FP2 owners.



Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite

Last but not least is the rather...dramatic release of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. The game hit store shelves yesterday, but Capcom shipped out some early copies for select players a while ago. I've watched quite a lot of gameplay via streams and YouTube and honestly the gameplay looks pretty damn solid and quite a lot of fun. However, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't turned off by Capcom's ridiculous approach to DLC and terrible art design, but I'm still willing to play the game and appreciate it for what it is. I think no matter how you slice it MvCI will be a fun enough game to play, and I look forward to this Saturday's tournament, but I'm a bit tired of being stung by Capcom year after year. I'll touch on the game in the future again after I actually play the game myself some more, I'm definitely interested in the Infinity Stone mechanic! The internet is calling 2017 "The Year of the Fighters", and how ironic would it be for a titan like MvC to be the weakest link in one of the most important years for the FGC?

Thanks for reading everybody! Whether or not you're into fighting games, I think they can seriously make for some of the most amazing moments in gaming, even if you're just spectating. I seriously look forward to what we have in store in the future, but in the meantime I can't recommend diving into a game strongly enough. Especially in "The Year of the Fighters", there's certainly a game out there for everybody and LAN Mob is a pretty marvelous hub to get started. I'm pretty confident in saying between Enrique and myself we can help you get started in any major fighter! Stay tuned for more news!

Hitting a 20 year milestone is something to be proud of. The fact that Sony console owners have picked up enough titles for there to be numerous well-received sequels is something very few developers could have under their belt. Clap Hanz has released yet another game in their Everybody's Golf series. Known in the U.S. as Hot Shots Golf, Everybody's Golf is the title known outside of the U.S. It's quite popular as well and is a Sony exclusive. I am not much of a golf fan, but Everybody's Golf has me hooked.


Regardless if it's offline or online, this game pulls it off completely. Everything about it is fun. There are hundreds of characters roaming around the open world that vary in rank. If you are able to outperform them, they join your gallery. There are also RPG elements in the game as well, which I found to be really interesting. You gain XP on your gear by nailing swings, landing on the green, chip-ins, etc. More XP will make it so you'll hit harder with less sway. 


The gameplay is simple but effective, using the 3-tap system makes it accessible to any kind of player. Courses are given different tweaks to shake things up and present a challenge. There might be a tournament with "Tornado Holes" that will suck in nearby golf balls. Another could have you being set furthering your tee off spot to challenge your drives. Strong winds will challenge your ability to estimate your angles, and a tilt of the green could mess up your putt. It's all very well done and never feels too unforgiving. 


There are other fun things to do around Golf Island as well, like fishing and just driving around on your golf cart. The fishing is fun though it is a mash fest. The online is a blast too. The community is great and the vibe of the game just enhances the experience. There is a game mode called "Turf War." There are two teams and you have to play/replay through a number of holes and claim them within the time limit. Whoever ends with the most wins! I enjoyed it. I didn't play too many games though.


Overall I heavily enjoy the atmosphere of Everybody's Golf. It's a game that I can play a few courses and unwind after a long day. Even when I'm not doing too hot it's still and enjoyable ride regardless. I really would suggest everyone give this game a chance. If you enjoy golf it's a must buy. If not, it's still worth it. It's only $39.99 which is a steal nowadays. Or you could just Redbox it? I really cannot stress how much fun the game really is. Clap Hanz has done another wonderful job and I'm looking forward to the future of Everybody's Golf!


North America's Second Splatfest was Flight vs Invisibility, taking place September 1-2. For those unfamiliar with Splatfests, you pick a side and receive a temporary shirt for the side you picked and play Turf War on 4 maps for the duration of Splatfest. Three of the maps are from the normal rotation while one map, Shifty Station, is only available during Splatfest! Splatfest limits you to either Solo Queue or Team Queue(where premade groups of 4 match against each other). The winning side is determined by three categories: popularity, solo queue wins and team queue wins. Splatfests are the only way to get Super Sea Snails, which are used to reroll abilities or add additional ability slots instead of using your coins. You earn more snails the more you participate! There are 4 ranks to reach in every splatfest: Fanboy/Fangirl, Field, Defender, Champion and King/Queen! 


Results

SPLATFEST RESULTS IN, LI'L JUDD EXHAUSTED. First Splatfest loss of Splatoon 2!! In the previous Splatfest, I was rolling teams while representing Team Mayo. This time around, I was the one being rolled!! I was also sick during Splatfest and only managed to reach the Champion title. I'll still receive a hefty amount of Super Sea Snails to upgrade my clothes.

Toughest Match

 The enemy team had a really good last push towards the end of the match.This one stung a bit. Overall, I had a hard time in this Splatfest. Something wasn't clicking with the maps in rotation for me.

Favorite Art


  My Hero Academia reference!


Persona 5 reference!

Team bias was unintentional! There were some cute Kirby and Kid Icarus references but I didn't think to snap them at the time. I WISH I WAS GOOD AT DRAWING

Parting Notes

Two of the featured maps are ones I would consider not by best maps to play on: Musselforge Fitness and Inkblot Art Academy. Last Splatfest, Mayo vs Ketchup, Pearl's side ended up winning and she performed a little freestyle during the announcements. I managed to snap a picture of Pearl's second victory freestyle! I wish I had it in video form. Overall, I'm 1-1 in Splatfests as Invisible Mayonnaise. ..until next Splatfest!
In my last gaming queue blog I highlighted everything I planned on playing to round out my summer, with games like Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Absolver and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. I'm happy to say I've played some of each of these games, but more shamed to say I haven't given them the time I planned to. My style of gaming has changed a TON over the years, in some ways for the better. When I was younger I would purchase a game and absolutely decimate it, my Xbox Gamerscore is a testament to those...times. Nowadays, I play games in a style I can only describe as "liquid", playing whatever games I feel like whenever I feel like playing them. Typically, I also dump a ton of my game time into evergreen titles like League of Legends/fighting games, but ironically enough my home internet has been total butts lately. This has caused me to take a bit of a break from League and Injustice 2, which are easily my two biggest time sinks the past 4 months or so. That being said, this is what I'm currently sinking my game time into!

Kingdom Hearts 1

Kingdom Hearts is one of those game series that is near and dear to me, for quite a few reasons. On paper this series makes absolute no sense and comes off as a bit of a money grab, but within minutes of playing you know it's actually something very special. The action JRPG developed by Square and Disney not only has top notch gameplay for the genre, it also has a surprisingly extensive plot, and manages to stand out, gimmicks or not. So why am I replaying (for the 100th time) the golden RPG from 15 years ago when I have so many other games to catch up on? Great question! I have no idea! All I know is I'm enjoying it all over again, even though Donald gets off on healing me right after I heal myself. 


YS VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

YS is a relatively unknown JRPG series, known as the "flagship franchise" of the developers Nihon Falcom. YS is a bit of a guilty subject for me as I've only played a handful of the series, even though I know I'd love the games that I didn't get to play, BUT I AM ONLY ONE MAN. YS has been around since 1987, and each title follows the adventures of Adol, a young adventurer who frequently finds himself in the center of some pretty dramatic stuff. Gameplay changes quite frequently in the YS series, and honestly YS VIII looks like the best entry that Nihon Falcom has put out thus far, at least in my opinion. As I'm typing this I haven't dug into the game just yet, but I'm seriously looking forward to it. Huge shout out to Enrique for grabbing me this for my birthday, he certainly knows what kind of games will ruin my life via crippling addiction.

Also
That's right! YS VIII HAS FISHING.



XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

At long last, as of yesterday I can finally dig into XCOM 2's massive expansion - War of the Chosen. WOTC actually released 2 weeks ago on PC, but I play XCOM 2 on PS4 (partly because my PC is basically a potato) so I have been sitting patiently and watching all of my favorite streamers experience all the new classes, enemies, armor, weapons, etc, etc. There's so much new content in WOTC it's almost like an entirely brand new game, and it seems Firaxis has seriously improved an already near perfect game. I'm giddy just thinking about all the Advent forces I'm going to blow up, as soon as the near 40 GB expansion finishes downloading. I'm hoping I can keep Bossman alive for longer then one mission this time!


Destiny 2

I'm honestly still trying to wrap my head around this one. It would be unfair of me to say that I hated the original Destiny, I actually had a decent amount of fun with the game considering I played in vanilla, mostly due to the fact I played the entire campaign with a close a friend. Unfortunately, vanilla Destiny is infamous for being the worst form of the original game and despite not being able to compare it to the expansions, I can certainly say it had a ton of issues. That being said, on top of the fact that I don't really play a lot of shooters, Destiny 2 was barely even on my personal radar. Enter Dictator, LAN Mob guest blogger extraordinaire, who was kind enough to gift me an Xbox One copy for my birthday. Before I even finished Destiny 2's (excellent) introduction I was completely hooked. I have a lot to learn and I've been bombarding my friends with texts like "What is an engram?", "Is that Lance Reddick?" and "How do I shoot lightning out of my hands?" Out of all the games on this list, Destiny 2 is currently my prime addiction, and I almost can't believe how much I'm genuinely enjoying it. The Leviathan Raid dropped today, and currently our clan is nowhere near the power level required to even attempt it, but we have our sights set to complete it eventually! In fact, we plan on streaming our (hopefully not pathetic) attempts on our Twitch channel! If you're also playing a lot of Destiny 2, or are simply interested in it check out our community page on Facebook, or join the LAN Mob Guardians clan!


Black Manta Simulator 2017

Even though I'm extremely disappointed and annoyed with NetherRealm Studios for the way they are handling Legendary Gear, I'm not petty enough to stop playing Injustice 2. Yesterday Black Manta released for all Early Access players (ultimate edition and fighter pack owners) and he's an absolute blast to play. I found my groove with Aquaman's archenemy pretty quickly, taking advantage of his plethora of mid range tools and anti zoning abilities. I can't say where Black Manta lies on the tier list, but he's certainly my favorite DLC character so far, which is saying something because I'm a pretty big fan of Red Hood. With Raiden dropping next month, and Hellboy releasing in November there's still plenty of characters to look forward to, I just sincerely hope NRS makes the Legendary Multiverse a bit more reasonable. I devote at least 15 hours a week to Injustice 2 (and that's playing less than before!) and I honestly don't see myself working through the absurd requisites to earn a piece of legendary gear for at least a couple of months. RIP Batman triple jump.
My god it's already September! It feels like a few months ago Resident Evil 7 came out. So as most people that talk to me know, I don't do as much gaming as I'd like to. Usually it ends up with me playing something like Overwatch or Rocket League and nothing else. Other than that there are games I have queued up that I have the goal of finishing by the end of October. 

Yakuza 0

I still haven't beaten this amazing game yet. I bought it day one and it released January 19th! I don't know how I haven't beaten this game yet. Though the crazy amount of Minigames and side stories can be heavy with the sidetracking, I should've beaten this by now. The story is fantastic with a great way of transitioning from Kiryu and Majima. I played through a few chapters at the Lock-In this past Saturday and I feel like I'm only a few chapters away from beating it!

Nier: Automata

Another game I bought day one but unfortunately went right to my shelf to gather some dust. I've heard from everyone that played it that it's amazing and I'm not surprised. Yoko Taro is an incredible Writer/Director and I'm really happy to hear that he's made another great title. From playing the demo and seeing the blend of different game styles and their approach really intrigued me. After Yakuza 0 I'll finally begin playing this and NOTHING ELSE.

Destiny 2

I never understood the appeal to Destiny. I would watch my older brother play it and just be bored out of my mind. I would always ask "You think this is fun?" to which he'd usually reply with something full of expletives but after it'd be "Well how about you give it a shot and then you can cast your judgment on it." I'd laugh and think NEVER. Then I got Destiny 2 and oh my. I hate myself because I actually like this game. Now when I'm playing it my brother always gives me crap about it. Anyway, I've been cruising through this with my Warlock and I'm almost done with the story. Then I'll finish it with the Titan and Hunter and sink my time into The Crucible and Raids. Overall I'm enjoying my experience with Destiny quite a bit. It's nice when a game surprises you like this, it's been awhile. 

Cuphead
 
I have been waiting for Cuphead for what feels like YEARS. The impressive animation, gameplay, everything about it makes me excited to finally play this game. The only issue I have is there is no physical edition of the game. Once there is though I have no problem buying this game again. Just from watching the footage the amount of work these guys put into this game deserves to be heavily praised.  With addition of Co-op gameplay, the 29th can't get here quicker!!

It's a light queue for now, but it keeps it nice and simple for me. Cuphead is going to be the last gaming purchase I make for the rest of 2017 so I should be able to finish these games by the end of the month. Except for maybe Cuphead since it comes out pretty late in the month.
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