NieR: Automata – Fluid Combat

This analysis contains no spoilers


I just finished my first and second playthroughs of NieR: Automata and it has quickly become one of my all time favorite games. Probably the one of the biggest reasons for that is the combat system.

At its core, NieR’s combat system is a simple duel-wield light and heavy attack system. Which is great, I believe most systems in games should have a simple, easy to understand core, but there are a few things that add a great amount of depth to it.

The first thing is the assortment of weapons you can equip. You have light swords, heavy swords (one of which is an axe), spears, and even your fists. This lets you switch up the combat to your playstyle. You can have two light weapons for a fast paced, hack n’ slash playstyle, two heavy weapons for more of a slow, brute force style, or have one light and one heavy to have a more balanced experience.

Another thing is the aerial combat. NieR lets you double jump and fight in the air. You can easily take on hovering enemies this way and send grounded enemies up into the air. Learning how to mix ground and aerial combat can let you temporarily isolate a single enemy with little worry of getting hit yourself.

Now, these two things are great but they aren’t exactly unique. By far NieR’s most innovated addition to its combat is the use of two weapon sets. At the press of a button you can switch up what weapons you’re using based on two weapon sets you put together. You can switch weapons in combat and sometimes even mid combo. This adds a huge layer of creativity and depth to how you approach combat. If you’re hacking and slashing your way through enemies and decide you  need to hit harder, simply hit up on the d-pad (or whatever else you set it to) and switch to your heavy weapons. Sometimes you have to wait for your combo or animation to finish before the game actually switches the weapons, but it never stops you from attacking so the action is constantly moving and flowing.

A few more things I want to add: combos, dodging, and your pod. As I’ve been mentioning, NieR let’s you combo attacks together so you can constantly attack enemies and get bigger and better hits if you understand the flow of combat (or if you prefer to button mash, that works too). Dodging in this game is fluid and doesn’t break the flow of combat. You can dodge an enemy attack and immediately begin attack again. It also has a sick animation. Finally, the pod. Your pod follows you around and can shoot things. Sounds kinda boring, right? Well, you can attack while shooting because the pod is a separate entity. So if you have to back off or chase down and enemy, you can keep shooting to get some extra chip damage in there. You can also constantly shoot an enemy  while beating them to death to speed up the process.

All in all, NieR has one of the most fluid combat systems in any game I’ve played (Platinum games always does a great job with combat). It lets you choose how you want to play and doesn’t restrict you in any way. There’s so many other things I didn’t go in depth about here because I have yet to fully understand it. If you haven’t already, check the game out if you’re a fan of action RPGs, hack n’ slash games, or just great stories and characters.


Book Progress – Main Ideas (+ Quick Schedule Update)

I’m going to start this book update off with a quick note about my schedule. I was unhappy with the way The Island turned out as it felt rushed and I was unable to come up with anything satisfactory yesterday. Due to this, I will be removing short stories on Thursdays and instead leave those days to working on my book; as I believe coming up with two short stories a week and working on a novel was the cause of my inability to produce a quality story.

With that out of the way, let’s get started with the book update. As this is the first update, I’m simply going to talk about the content of the book. The story takes place in sunny San Diego. It focuses on Garrett Payne, a high school student, who turns to a life of crime along with friends he makes along the way.

However, they are not just some petty thieves. They are “Gentlemen Thieves” (or “Phantom Thieves” as they’re known in Eastern countries), so they’re essentially Robin Hood. But rather than stealing the riches of the rich, they steal valuable objects from them in order to force them to confess to their crimes if they don’t want their prized possessions destroyed and lost forever. Of course while this doesn’t make much sense, as if they go to prison they won’t be able to see these objects, their twisted views of the world make them believe these objects of self worth are far more valuable then their free lives.

If  you’re wondering, yes I was inspired by Persona 5. I assure you however, beyond the high schoolers stealing objects in order to get criminals to confess, the story is very different. Their are no fantasy settings, talking animals, or anything else of that matter. The characters have different personalities and goals.

Anyway, at this point I’m not entirely sure how long it will take me to finish the book. I’m still working on the overall story and pacing. I have a good chunk of chapter 1 finished although I’m not sure how I want to have chapters spaced out quite yet.

That’s all for today. See you all next week!

Overwatch’s Updates

Overwatch_fancy_logo_recreated.pngOverwatch’s first anniversary is just around the corner, so I think now is a good time to look back at what new content Blizzard has provided the community with.

Blizzard has has given us: Three new characters (Ana, Sombra, Orisa), Two new maps (Eichenwalde, Oasis), Two new game modes (Elimination, Capture the Flag), Custom games browser, and FIVE seasonal events.

This is where I think the problems in Overwatch’s updates lie. Most of the new content we’ve gotten has been temporary. We’ve gotten a handful of permanent things, that have been mostly well received (although the new game modes have had mixed reception at best) but a good chunk of the new content has been seasonal. This might make it seem like we’ve gotten a ton of content at first glance, but in reality major content updates are slow at best.

It’s obvious that Blizzard wants Overwatch to stick around for a while. But if they continue down this path many people will only play to check out new characters and stop again shortly after. If Blizzard knew the community wanted PvE, why make another PvE seasonal event when they could’ve focused on adding a permanent PvE mode. I understand there has been interest in original seasonal content (i.e. not tied to a specific holiday or real world event) but after four other seasonal events in a short amount of time, I don’t think anyone really wanted to see seasonal content right this instant.

I like Overwatch, I really do. I’ve put hundreds of hours into it since the open beta and I want it to continue for a long time. I hope that Blizzard considers the potential of releasing multiple characters at once (we could really use another healer, just saying) or perhaps multiple maps, or a character and a map at the same time. I don’t want to see Overwatch slowly whittle away due to the lack of PERMANENT major content updates.

The Island

tropical-island-beach-1“Hello?” a soft voice called out to me.

I opened my eyes. Unless the roof of my house was gone I wasn’t home. The sky back home was never this blue anyway. I sat up, the sand shifting beneath me as I did. There was a woman slightly to  my left.

“Oh good, you’re awake now.” she said with a smile, her eyes twinkling.

“Yeah I guess so.” I exhaled. “Where are we?”

Her smile faded a bit and she shifted around uncomfortably. “I um… I’m not sure.” She smiled apologetically.

I got up on my feet and looked around. The ocean expanded off into the distance to my right and to my left, beyond the woman, there was a vast forest.

“Do you know how we got here?” I turned to her.

“I was hoping you could tell me.” she sighed.

“Well I guess there’s nothing left to do but look around.” I started off towards the forest.

“Wait!” she cried out as she grabbed my arm.

I turned around. For a brief moment I could’ve sworn the previous twinkle in her eyes had turned into nothing more than pure rage. She looked up at me, her eyes now full of fear. I told her everything would be okay and continued into the forest, the woman followed me closely.

The forest was nothing unusual. The sound of birds and insects echoed around us. We eventually entered a clearing. In the center of the clearing there was a tree stump, with a man sitting on it. I quickly walked over to him and put my hand on his shoulder. He didn’t move. I shook him a bit. He fell over, lifeless.

I stepped back in shock and turned to look at the woman. She was nowhere to be found.

“Hello?!” I cried out. There was a rustling in the trees. I heard a woman’s scream.

I ran towards it. Maybe I shouldn’t have. I wasn’t thinking straight, I just kept running towards the source of the scream. I tripped. As I wiped the mud off my face I turned to examine what made me lose my footing. It was the woman. Her body was torn in two.

I heard a low growling getting closer. Some sort of beast. Getting closer. I was not alone on this island.

But it was about to be.


VA-11 HALL-A: Building A World

This analysis contains mild spoilers for the very beginning of the game06981d9d74452060d2e7ef8e0071c88f1a87ba9b45e92c40a4fd6e1219c476cc

I’ve recently been playing through VA-11 HALL-A, or “Valhalla” as the bar of the same name in the game is referred to (I think that made sense). As I was playing I couldn’t help but be enamored by the way the world was built around you.

So, for those of you that don’t know,  VA-11 HALL-A is a visual novel game. You’re put behind the eyes of Jill and you’re essentially thrown into this futuristic city. That’s pretty much all the context you’re given. There is a brief (skippable) intro that informs a bit about the city and time period, but beyond that you’re entirely on your own. There aren’t any introductions to Jill or her friends, you’re given a single brief moment in Jill’s life.

That’s where the beauty of this world building stems from. You’re simply given a single story in the greater aspect of a person’s life. From the very beginning characters are referencing events that took place over the weekend as if you there. Because you were. Well, not YOU you but Jill, our leading lady, was. And for right now, you are Jill.

Of course, the game doesn’t want to leave you confused so throughout the day and the rest of the week you’re given more context about the weekend’s events through dialogue. Not some cheesy. on the nose “hey I know you have no clue what’s happening” dialogue, but rather organic conversations that don’t pull you out of the game like some cheap tutorial. This method of giving you context through natural conversations is used throughout the game about various different topics and current events. They use Jill’s curiosity and unfamiliarity of certain topics to their advantage in order to give you, the player, a better understanding of the world around you.

This is something I wish more games could consider. This obviously isn’t some revolutionary technique that’s been done here, and it certainly won’t work for every game out there, but not enough games consider just telling a story. Too many games rely on giving you massive plots about the world ending or some such nonsense. This requires them to give tons of exposition because it’s not something we would be familiar with (beyond the thousands of movies. games, and novels that have their worlds ending).

VA-11 HALL-A’s world is built around you. It’s not just a world for the character’s to exist in; it’s a world that’s built for you.

New Schedule

I’ve set up a schedule for myself that I will try to follow starting in the next week or so.

I’ve set up a page so that you can view in but I’ll go over it in a bit more detail here.

Mondays: Game Analysis. I’ll pick a game and do a short analysis on its design or story. These won’t get too technical or in-depth but will just be a somewhat casual discussion about the topic

Tuesday: Short Story. A way for me to practice writing or new writing styles. I’ll come up with an idea or find one online.

Wednesdays: Game Discussion. This will just be a straight up discussion about a game. I’ll typically focus on a specific topic (such as updates, gameplay, etc.) but it may end up occasionally being pseudo-reviews

Thursdays: Same as Tuesdays.

Fridays: Book progression. I’m writing a book! Whether or not the book will be published or if it’s just a little pet project remains to be seen but I’m hoping by giving updates about it I will remain motivated.

Saturdays and Sundays have no scheduled posts although I imagine I will write the occasional off-topic post on these days.

Lawnmower Guy

I’m sitting at my desk when I notice it’s about time for my dog to go out. So naturally, I call my dog and open the back door to take him out.

Now, it should be noted that walking out my back door puts you right onto the balcony which has a nice view of the hill I live on. As I’m exiting my home, dog in tow, I glance down at the road. What do I see? A man. Riding on his lawnmower. Up the hill.

Strange right? Well I decide that it’s none of my business and I should leave him be. Oh yeah, see? Just getting his mail. Now I’m sure he’ll just make his way back down the hill right?


This man pulls into the house directly next to the mailboxes. It’s very obvious at this point that it’s his house as he’s putting the trashcans away inside the garage.

Which means that this man went on some crazy joyride around the neighborhood on his rideable lawnmower.

Maybe we can all learn something from this. What can we learn? No clue. Just don’t change Lawnmower Guy, just don’t change.