Top 5 Worst: Games of 2016 with Mod Aria!

Mod Aria’s back! 2016 was a dark year for a lot of people, but it was definitely a dark year for everyone in regards to video games. 2016 saw the release of so many disappointing titles and sequels that it was hard to get excited about playing anything. Despite the few gems that did hit the shelves, like Overwatch, Doom and Dark Souls 3, the majority of the titles that game out of 2016 were mediocre at best. But which games can objectively be called the worst of 2016? Come along with me and find out!

#5: Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst 

The first game on our list is the highly anticipated sequel to the beloved Mirror’s Edge game. This game quickly earned a cult following and is truly an underrated title from the previous generation. However, it’s sequel just does not do the first game justice. Many critics and fans praise and pan many different elements of the game, but what it really comes down to is that the gameplay just wasn’t fun. It was too repetitive and the combat was not as smooth as it should have been.

Combine that with a mediocre story and you get, well, a mediocre game. It’s quite disappointing considering this game stars one of the few solo female leads in gaming history. Perhaps EA can revive the franchise with a better installment. But with EA running into snags left and right, it’s hard to say what could be a success for them. Either way, if EA can’t revive Mirror’s Edge, maybe someone else will…someday.

#4: Star Fox Zero 

Waiting for a new Star Fox game was making hardcore fans like myself go absolutely crazy in anticipation for a new title. When Star Fox Zero was announced as a 2016 game for Wii U, I was so ready to play the game. Sadly, I don’t know why anticipated it to be a fun experience when I knew the game was going to be on the Wii U. And that’s mostly the reason why Star Fox Zero shows up on this list. Despite it being a soft-core reboot of Star Fox 64, the game is not only difficult to play, but not fun either.

The controls force you to aim through the Wii U game pad, but actually aiming with accuracy while playing with the game pad is basically impossible. So you have this wonderful Star Fox experience that so many want to play with a platform that makes the basic controls a huge chore. It was a huge letdown for me last year; frankly, it still is. I’d like Nintendo to consider porting Star Fox Zero to the Nintendo Switch in order to make it better, but I don’t even know if that’s possible. I’m now just hoping for a new Star Fox installment at all. Please don’t give up on it, Nintendo!

#3: Street Fighter V 

While Street Fighter V received accolades for being the best fighting game to come out this year, those accolades are not deserved. Street Fighter V is the saddest excuse for a game I have ever seen, and I do not know how people can defend this game. There isn’t really any single player support, as is mandatory in fighting games. No Arcade mode, no timed or challenge modes, and you can only play against online players or against a second player. You cannot fight the AI. Most of these had to get patched in after launch. Let’s not even add in the tons of online server issues. How can an online game be playable if the online mode is crap? This isn’t a game!

The most disrespectful thing, I think, is that far too many of the game’s characters were locked behind a DLC pay wall. While you could play as certain returning characters like Ryu and Chun-Li, others like Guile and Akuma were DLC only. Including the other characters, there were only sixteen playable characters at launch. That’s just not acceptable in the 2016. Combine this with the pitiful excuse for a story mode, and you’ve got a fantastic dumpster fire. Hope you learned your lesson for Street Fighter VI, Capcom.

#2: Mighty No. 9 

You want to talk about jaded fans? Let’s talk Mega Man fans. Though Capcom has decided to all but disown the Mega Man franchise, fans and creator Keiji Inafune are really trying to revive any concept of Mega Man that they can. Hence the Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9. Fans through developer Comcept over three million dollars to make their dreams come true, yet it was not to be. What was supposed to be a new reboot of the Mega Man concept turned into just a disappointing knock off. Mighty No. 9 failed at many things: the story wasn’t engaging, the gameplay was either repetitive or unplayable, and the graphics were just pathetic.

The disappointment that was Mighty No. 9 (as well as other Kickstarter failures like Yooka-Laylee) prove something to us older gamers. It’s that, despite our nostalgia for these games, there is a reason that they disappeared in the first place. Nostalgia is a powerful and dangerous thing. And if we as fans cannot recognize that change, all these remakes and remasters will definitely fail. I could write a whole article on what nostalgia is doing to the game industry, but I’ll save that for another time. Instead of Mighty No. 9, maybe Capcom should just sell the Mega Man IP to someone like Nintendo so we can get an actual new Mega Man game.

#1: No Man’s Sky 

The game that wins the not-so-coveted title of 2016 Biggest Gaming Flop is certainly the over-hyped train wreck that is No Man’s Sky. This game was set up to be one of the biggest achievements in video game history, and definitely could have been. But the promises made by developer and publisher Hello Games just wasn’t delivered when No Man’s Sky launched last year. The game promised a huge variety of planets with a vast universe to explore, only to offer a product with the most monotonous gameplay any living human has ever seen.

The only success No Man’s Sky has is that the game itself is graphically beautiful, and the planets generated in the game are indeed numerous. However, the look and feel of these planets are incredibly similar due to the algorithm in No Man’s Sky. As for the gameplay, it’s basically a more boring version of Minecraft. There’s no one to interact with, nothing to experience. It’s just walking around collecting things, then flying in space. It’s a massive universe of emptiness. If the game had some kind of story or goals in mind, maybe it could have been interesting. But there’s no crying over spilled milk now.

I know that many say No Man’s Sky has the potential to be fun with new patches and DLC, but because of the horrid launch that the game had, I don’t think that will save the game from the hell it landed in. Because of the blatantly false marketing the game received, I honestly don’t trust Hello Games to deliver anymore. I don’t think No Man’s Sky needs to be forgotten though. We need to remember it so that no game companies can make these awful mistakes ever again.

That’s all for this Top 5 Worst list. Did I miss any games that you thought were terrible? Or perhaps you liked these games and want to tell me why? I’d love to talk about it with you! Thank you so much for supporting us here at NWG; until we meet again!

Character Spotlight: Marina from Splatoon 2 with Mod Loser!

Hey, Nasties! It’s Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me, and today I’d like to talk about the new Squid-Kid Icon from Splatoon 2, Marina. While yes, the pop stars in Splatoon 2 don’t do too much involving the story, its more about what Marina represents and why I believe she was a very good addition to the game. It comes all the way down to representation, and with the team harping on that a lot, this made me ecstatic.

Marina being a person of color as well as considered to be a gorgeous, amazing pop idol in the world of Splatoon is empowering to women of color. For a long time in American and European culture, the standards of beauty were exclusive to anything but white people. This is why when a black Barbie doll was released, there was a massive response because that meant little girls of color could feel beautiful as well.

How does this relate to Marina? Truth be told, its a similar effect. Marina is the fan favorite of the new Squid Sisters, has the most fan art drawn of her, and garnered attention from the entire community when she was shown off. This is significant because this also means that the community of gamers are also accepting of a POC character, as well as regarding them as gorgeous or desirable. At the same time, Marina is also frequently shown to frequently enjoy participating in the games of Splatoon, as she announces new maps and modes.

Marina may be aesthetically beautiful, but also confirming her desire and love of the activities in Splatoon make her more than a pretty face. It gives her a sense of personality, and encourages women of color to get involved in the game.

Thanks for reading even if this statement was a bit short, Nasties! This has been Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me, signing off!

Knight Reviews: Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

Hey there, everyone! Mod Knight here to talk about an amazing game with you! This time, I’m talking about Dream Daddy! If you’re unfamiliar with it, Dream Daddy is an LGBT dad dating sim in which you play the part of a dad dating other dads! It’s already an amazing concept and the game follows through flawlessly on it’s premise; not only that, but it’s full of incredible characters, deep, emotional stories, and lots and lots of dad jokes.

So! What’s the Number 1 thing that makes, or breaks a dating sim? Well, it’s the characters, no doubt. The cast of Dream Daddy is not only diverse, but super lovable, too. One thing I really enjoy about the premise of a dad dating sim is that that means that there are kids involved, too! Not only are the dads excellent, but the kids range from adorable to hilarious. Speaking of kids, we mustn’t forget the most important character in the game. Her name is Amanda, she is your daughter and you. WILL. LOVE. HER.

Image result for dream daddy AMANDAI mean, you’re her dad; it’s your job. But also, she’s an amazing girl who will pull on your heart and never let go. The story and writing for her do an amazing job of pulling you close to her extremely quickly, and really make you feel involved and concerned for her! Of course, being a dad isn’t easy, and the game does a great job of replicating the struggle.

Of course, we cant just spend the whole time talking about Amanda (though I could write a whole article on her). Because the game is dripping with amazing characters, especially in the dad department! From the sweet and nerdy Hugo, the brawny and boisterous Brian, and the cool, gritty Robert, every dad is an amazing character with their own story, interests and personalities.

One thing that I especially loved about the game is that, with many dating sims, it’s easy to get a handle on the characters quickly and understand their entire personality at a glance. Dream Daddy’s love interests, however, continually reveal layers of themselves that you’d never have guessed just from looking at them! And each layer only serves to make you love them even more because you get to know them not only as a romantic interest, but as a friend!

One other thing I enjoyed was the level of diversity the game included! Despite being a men focused dating sim, it still is chock full of interesting female characters, not to mention POC, bi, and trans representation! The game does an amazing job of showing the diverse spectrum of people in the world, even though it’s a simple game set around suburban America.

Also, you get to build a dad-sona and that’s awesome.

Overall, Dream Daddy absolutely blew me away! I’ve yet to cover everything I have to say about the game, however I think I’ll go more in depth on certain topics in future articles, as this is a game I’d like to cover thoroughly!

Thanks for reading everyone!

Feminism In Gaming: Final Fantasy 12 with Mod Aria!

Mod Aria’s back! Since the HD Remaster of Final Fantasy 12 has recently hit the shelves, I thought I’d take the chance to have a brief feminist discussion about the game. I’ve played many a Final Fantasy in my two and a half decades, and to say that Final Fantasy 12 is a treasured memory of mine would be…an exaggeration. The game just cannot compare to any of the others in the franchise for a myriad of reasons. But does it hold it’s own under scrutiny of my feminist lens? Come along with me and see!

The first to know is that a point of frustration in Final Fantasy 12 is the situation involving who is considered to be the “real main character” of the game. I usually see fans argue between four characters, but the typical argument is against Vaan (who Square Enix identifies as the main character) and Ashe (who the story really focuses on). The point Square Enix argues is that the story is told from an outsider looking in; a good example of that in another piece of fiction would be Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby.

The difference between Nick and Vaan, however, is that Nick has the opportunity in the narrative to actually talk about his own feelings about the situation. Vaan hardly ever comments on what’s going on, shows no kind of growth from the events of Final Fantasy 12 and is only really tied to the story by the flimsiest of fringes. All in all, it feels more like he was tacked on at the last minute. His character is not whole in comparison to some of the others. And a main character that does not feel whole in the sense of creation does not make for good story telling.

So why then, is Ashe not the main character? She is the one leading the party; it’s her that makes a difference in the world. We see her struggle with her own personal demons while confronting the antagonists of the game itself. She’s dynamic and interesting. She has all the markings for a great protagonist. Yet the representative for Final Fantasy 12 is Vaan. What happened here?

Let’s take a step back for a second and talk about another Final Fantasy in a similar situation: Final Fantasy 6. When you ask a fan of Final Fantasy 6 who the main character is, usually the answer is immediately Terra. But, Terra is only the the titular lead of the game. That’s right. Square Enix has stated that, technically, there is no real main character of Final Fantasy 6. Terra is simply the poster girl for the game. This situation is quite an odd one considering how beloved Final Fantasy 6 and Terra are. And it’s even more interesting to compare the situations in Final Fantasy 12 with Final Fantasy 6.

If the stories focus around these fantastic women, why are they not considered the leads? Why give these weak responses when the status of central protagonist is called into question? Two even more pivotal questions arise: Is this considered bad writing? Did gender come into play when making these calls?

I’m going to give my own personal opinion to answer these questions, but I’m going to do my best to support my answers. Let’s start with the second question first: did gender come into play when making these calls in Final Fantasies 6 and 12. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” from me. These games were created in the span of decades where gaming marketing was heavily targeted towards male gamers and young boys. Naturally, playing as a character that shares your gender helps you relate better to that character. Hence why there are so many classic games with controllable male characters.

And I hear you already; “Final Fantasy is turn based! You control all the characters!”. Yes, but that doesn’t really dismiss my point. Final Fantasy 6 claims there is no main character, so it’s an easy claim to make when you can control all the characters despite the default sprite falling to Terra. Final Fantasy 12 is in an even more interesting situation, as the game isn’t fully turn based. Not only that, but the camera fixes on the lead character in the party. Vaan is also the default map character. Final Fantasy 6 is taking the focus off of Terra, and Final Fantasy 12 is putting the focus on Vaan.

So, my point still stands. I think that Terra being denounced as the main character of Final Fantasy 6 and Vaan being appointed as main character of Final Fantasy 12 was a marketing attempt to get the game bought by male gamers.

The first question is also easily answered by me: “Is this bad writing?”. Frankly, yes. Saying Vaan is an “outside looking in” main character when he is so horribly created comes across as just pretext. Square Enix had to create a crappy DS sequel of Final Fantasy 12 in order to force that reality down their fans’ throats. Vaan isn’t experiencing the narrative, he’s watching it. And any attempt to tie Vaan into the story was terribly done. So, when push comes to shove, I think Final Fantasy 12 was not well written.

Final Fantasy 6’s writing hasn’t really come into play here, I just think Square Enix’s marketing team is a bit sexist.

So what can you take away from this article? Mainly, that game companies need to let female characters be the main characters of a game if they’re really the main character. Inventing some dumb reason why they aren’t when it’s clear that they are is no longer acceptable in 2017. Game companies need to stop forcing every story to star a male character in order to sell a game. It’s sexist and unacceptable.

The market is not the same as it was in the 80s, 90s and even the 2000s. More women are playing games, and therefore more women deserve the see their gender well represented in a story. The gaming climate needs to adjust, or we will see the fall of beloved game franchises like Final Fantasy. Only time will tell.

Thanks for reading this article and please continue to support NWG. Until we meet again!

Character Spotlight: Cole from Dragon Age: Inquisition with Mod Knight!

Dragon Age: Inquisition is an excellent game full of varied and interesting characters, with deep and involved stories that draw you into the world of the game and it’s characters. However, none are quite as curious (or quite as mysterious) as Cole, the spirit of mercy.

When we first meet Cole in Inquisition, he appears before us within a twisted mindscape filled with demons and nightmares. At first, we’re left to assume that he is another one of the horrible visions that’s being used in an attempt to break the inquisitor’s spirit. However, after talking to him we discover that Cole is…different. He seems to be entirely concerned with helping people and granting them mercy.

After they return to Skyhold, Cole can be found doing cryptic things which, at first, seem like pranks or mischief. However, if you wait and talk to him, you’ll discover that these are all things done to help people throughout the castle.

Cole’s story is one of struggling to find an identity and place in the world. His struggles begin as he attempts to relate to humans, while he is a spirit and used to an entirely different form of communication. Therefore Cole might seem awkward or strange; however, he is just as intelligent and bright as the rest of the cast.

Another of Cole’s struggles is that of learning a method of coping with pain, pain being a feeling that spirits are not usually aware of. Cole himself is a spirit masquerading as a human whom he was unable to save and who he lives on as. The inquisitor is given the choice to help him come to terms with either his spirit nature, or the budding humanity within him. Interestingly, neither choice is correct or incorrect, as there are positives and negatives to both.

Ultimately, Cole is a fascinating character, one who finds a way to do what he deems kindest, even if it may not be what others would expect! His disposition and ways of communication may throw people off at first, but deep down, is a compassionate soul who believes in doing the kind thing.

–Mod Knight