Devil May Cry V Demo Impressions

I was gutted when I couldn’t play Devil May Cry V when the demo released on the Xbox One.  Essentially the one system I don’t have but when the demo was announced for a future date on the PS4, my hopes had been delivered. I try not to watch gameplay trailers nowadays as I like to keep the game mostly a surprise. When a game gets announced that I like the sound of, I’ll have a look at the launch trailer and until launch I’ll watch some GIF’s and an odd video on occasion to get a better feel for a game. Most recently I did this with RE2 Remake. I barely saw anything of that and then a week before release I started paying attention. It feels so good when a thing you’ve just got an interest in, is right around the corner. And it isn’t because I’m not excited for the games, it’s just that I like to trick my brain into not being excited until closer to the time. That hasn’t been the case for DMCV. I’m really craving a great character action game and DMCV is hopefully exactly that. Bayonnetta 2 was the last fantastic one for me with Nier Automata scratching that itch but not wowing me as much as I hoped. And so I’ve been eagerly awaiting DMCV and watching most footage that has come out for it.

Devil May Cry 5 Demo_20190208122636
So happy when I saw this pop up after the demo.

So with my excitement high I jumped into the DMCV demo and here are some of my thoughts on it. I will clarify that even though I said I enjoyed these games, I would never say I’m good at them. I clear them and sometimes on higher difficulties but the style meters and rankings at the end of each mission, have never been my forte. I stopped counting how many stone Enzo trophies I got in Bayonetta. And it’s not that I don’t try to do well, but it’s the same thing for fighting games, I just don’t learn the systems. I don’t have the patience and creative flare for it. I love watching it and when it all comes together for me and I do something cool I get stupid hype for it but I’m not one of those technique masters. Hell, I barely get far in the Bloody Palace’s of previous Devil May Cry’s. The moves that suit me and combos that I can perform easily become my staples in each game. Do they kill the enemies? Yes but they also kill my rankings. The reason why I bring this up is that in my brief time in the DMCV demo (3 attempts with 2 being successful), I can see myself learning the systems. Specifically the Devil Breaker system.

Devil May Cry 5 Demo_20190208120036
An S is very good for me! It does go higher than this. Thought I should tell you before you start worshipping me.

So, my thoughts:

  • Devil Breaker is cool! You have 3 options in the demo: Gerbera, Overture and Punch Line. Up to 4 Devil Breakers can be equipped and each one can be used up if you opt to use its devastating functions.
  • You can’t switch between Devil Breakers without destroying the one you have equipped. I really like this functionality as it makes choosing the order of Devil Breakers important.
  • If you get hit in the process of charging your Devil Breaker or in mid use of its strong attack, it breaks. Fragile but powerful parts of Nero’s arsenal.
  • Gerbera is my favourite and my go to. It’s the mobility arm. Using it to damage enemies creates a short shockwave in front of you but my main use is its air manoeuvrability. Using it in the air while pushing the left stick in a direction will blast Nero a few feet that way. Holding the Devil Breaker button and releasing it in the air will launch bouncing lasers at your target. Holding it on the ground and releasing it, will launch a powerful, controllable beam that can hit multiple targets. A Devil Breaker that seems best suited for crowds of enemies with the option of destroying a bunch in exchange for destroying the arm.
  • Overture is more damaging than Gerbera and seems like a good Devil Breaker to have for standard enemy fodder. Tapping the Devil Breaker button (O) will blast a fracture of electricity from the palm at enemies. This needs to be up close but it does a good chunk of damage to enemies in range. Holding O and releasing it near an enemy will grab and launch the opponent away from Nero. The monster will then have a timed bomb attached to them. You can let the bomb go off when its countdown ends or you can shoot the enemy to prematurely set it off.  A great tool if you can aggro the enemy into its friends.
  • Punch Line is a big dumb flying fist. I love it! By tapping O Nero will launch the rocket propelled fist into his foe. The fist will then repeatedly loop around the victim, smacking it every chance it gets. It’s great for keeping an enemy distracted. By doing that, you eliminate them from the fight for a few seconds or leave them wide open to attack. By holding and releasing O, Nero will do a flaming uppercut to all in range. As you can guess, this does a lot of damage. I feel this Devil Breaker is best suited for stronger enemies or even bosses. The uppercut alone is a big deal as it seems the biggest and quickest damage dealer out of the 3. I may be wrong on that though. Gerbera’s laser is good damage but so easy to interrupt whereas Punch Line’s big finisher is big damage done very quick.
  • Nero’s gun, Blue Rose, can now preemptively load up several high damage bullets. Tapping square will fire bullets like normal but holding down square will load up 3 super charged bullets. When you release the square button, Nero will automatically fire one of those bullets. So the choice is yours, do you run around with 2 super bullets or do you do the charging in combat to get the full 3. It doesn’t take long to charge but I feel happy running around with 2 super shots ready to go.
  • It’s great that Nero still has the ability to pull his opponents close to him, it really does feel like a natural progression from his last game of now being able to pull enemies into his new powered up metal fist.
  • I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of ways to use the Devil Breakers in creative ways around certain enemies and bosses. I didn’t test it out much in the demo but in the boss fight, having Gerbera equipped seemed to be a huge dealing during one bit. Goliath starts inhaling and a massive suction whirlwind starts moving towards you. Using Gerbera I was able to constantly blast Nero through the air away from it. I’m not how you’d escape that otherwise. The other time I tried it I had another arm equipped and as I was getting sucked in, I was prompted to click L1 to launch my arm at him. Losing the arm in the process but evading any damage. I’m really excited to see the weird and unique ways each Devil Breaker can be used in certain situations. I feel there’s a lot of room for hidden techniques and cool moments.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about the running yet. It may be just because I’m so used to the mobility in Bayonetta but Nero does feel me weighty. It’s not a bad thing, I think that suits his style. But when running around out of combat, it didn’t feel as precise to turn as I was expecting. Saying that though, on my 3rd playthrough of the demo I felt comfortable playing but that might be because I knew more of the layout of the level. Only time will tell how I feel about this. I’ll have to see how I feel when the full game comes out.
  • The taunting is brilliant. I never really utilised the taunts in past games. Stupid me didn’t understand why you should taunt but now I understand for style points and to keep the style up during downtime in fights. It really helps that the taunts are incredibly likeable too and the enemies react to certain ones which can be pretty funny and empowering. Great detail that I fully appreciated.

And I think that about does it. There are loads of details I could talk about but I just wanted to get my quick impressions out there. Overall it looks beautiful, it plays for the most part like I hoped and I really excited to keep playing the demo to see what hidden gameplay mechanics I missed. If you fancy trying the game, I highly recommend this demo. Thank you for reading and feel free to sound off your thoughts on the game in the comments.

Devil May Cry 5 Demo_20190208122621

Marriage In Gaming And The Lack Thereof

I am married! Officially off the market and happy to be so. Currently on last day of honeymoon and been craving to write and so I thought I’d talk about what’s been on my mind predominantly the past month, marriage. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with my day. I’m talking about marriage in gaming.

When I decided to write about this topic I started to think over my 1/4 of a century gaming knowledge and I quickly realised how little marriage is in games. Considering marriage has been around for seemingly ever and is a tradition across most of the world, it sure doesn’t come across that way in video games. I can understand this to an extent though. Game publishers want the player to feel a connection to their protagonist or to want to play as a fantastical protagonist. Marcus Fenix from the Gears Of War series doesn’t look like an average gamer but the boulder in armour appeals to that fantasy element. Who doesn’t love pretending to be a badass? Marriage would only hold that fantasy back. Then there is the classic, regular person finds out they are the chosen one or falls into a situation where they save the world. I would be lying to say that I haven’t daydreamed about that in work now and then. Commitments like marriage, a job and family would also lessen that fantasy. Not saying I wouldn’t like that to be an element in games, but from a publisher stand point I understand. The average age of gamers is rising but I don’t think I’m far wrong in saying that the majority of game revenue is from the teenager to early 20’s demographic. As I’ve been ageing my game buying has decreased, as have my friends spending habits too. In my early 20’s I bought games willy-nilly but there is a reason I had more money and free time back then. I was devoid of commitments and any commitments I had were minor compared to today.  So I understand publishers aiming for that larger revenue.

As I said though, the age of the average gamer is rising and so I believe it’s time we see this being reflected in games. Not in all games it’d be a good way to distinguish your game from the crowd. Games like Mass Effect where you get a template character and a choose your own backstory section would bode well to have a marriage life option included. A checkbox that allows you to include a married life package or even create your spouse and children in a character creator. It would allow players to a wider range of character depth and for those that have a family, it’s nice to be able to experience that in a fictitious setting too. It doesn’t even have to be anything major in that marriage package. Could just be a home on a distant planet that you can visit now and again and have supper with the family. Or emails that you receive now and then about young Jimmy being bullied at his new school. In today’s games where we have an overabundance of things to do on the map, a little subplot about married life shouldn’t be hard to implement. The ability to play Commander Shepard as a family war hero rather than the swinging bachelor war hero would be a welcome change to some games. Is it necessary in all games? Absolutely not, stories function better at times if the protagonist is single and ready to mingle but in games where that doesn’t matter, a choice would be a welcome one.

Most games where marriage is a component, the marriage aspect is usually a story point. FFX and FFXV both have key plots that revolve around a marriage. The original Gears Of War trilogy has Dom’s personal mission of trying to find his wife Maria. Uncharted 4 has Nathan Drake struggling to adapt to a stable married life instead of his daring and dangerous past. While I enjoyed each of these, they are generally end goals or things to push the story in the right direction. Dom’s search is the exception there but it’s never the main story thread. There can be hours before Dom pipes up about his wife and even though I enjoyed that plot, it is a sub plot. What I want is a more natural married life situation. I want it to be there and to have meaning to the whole story or a majority of it. It doesn’t have to be the main focus but it should be there and not just something that dips in and out to add stakes or to propel a story beat. Even though those things are fine to do in games as well, I just would like to see it more fleshed out. When I was thinking about games that I’ve played that featured well done couples, I really struggled to remember any. There is one that I instantly remembered and one that I remembered really appreciating when I played it and that was Lost Odyssey.

lost odyssey

Lost Odyssey was a JRPG that came out on the Xbox 360 in 2008. It centres on Kaim, a member of the Immortals, a race of….well immortal beings. For some reason the Immortals lose their memories and what follows is a quest to recover Kaim’s memories and to save the land from disaster. Not a wholly original plot but what makes it for me is the introduction of the rest of the party. Specifically Sarah, Cooke and Mack. Sarah is also an Immortal who has lost her memory but it is revealed that Kaim and Sarah are husband and wife. Not only that but Mack and Cooke are Kaim and Sarah’s grandchildren. For the majority of the game, these 4 are together, traversing this world and trying to prevent disaster from happening. How often can you think of a game where husband and wife are a team in combat situations? How often are the children or grandchildren of these people involved? Not only are they an integral part of the combat and its mechanics but also the story. The kids and Sarah aren’t just chucked in for a bit of drama or aren’t the driving force at the start of the story. They all go on an adventure together as a family and I’ve hardly seen that in games. There are quite a few games where it’s brothers off on a mission together so why not couples? There is room to do a lot of creative things with marriage in gaming and not for it to be a basic mechanic in Fable 2 or some subplot to overcome. And while I don’t want those mechanics to disappear, I think it’s time we start seeing more representations of married, family or couples life in gaming.

Who knows, maybe I’m just high on married life. It’s only been a week since the day. Ask me how I feel about this in a year’s time. Maybe by then I’d vote to keep reality and fantasy as far from each other as possible. But until then, let me know your opinion and if you can think of any well done couple/marriage elements in gaming, feel free to share them as I’m quite interested in seeing more examples. Take it easy.

A Farewell To Super Best Friends Play

This is a strange one for me. To be honest I wasn’t planning on posting anything lately what with work, Christmas and wedding planning but I this is on my mind a lot since the announcement and so I need a place to share these thoughts. Youtube channels or dramas I don’t focus on. Usually on my blog I talk about games I’m playing or I do reviews. I don’t tend to do news related posts but this one is important to me as in a way it helped define who I am and this blog.

The Super Best Friends, aka The Zaibatsu, aka Matt, Pat, Woolie and the previous member Liam have closed the door on their channel. Each member still has Twitch streams and their own Youtube channels but they’re no longer releasing videos on their channel as of today/yesterday. And that is a great tragedy. Their channel was the defining gaming channel for me. I usually watched 1 upload of theirs a day and have done so for 7 1/2 to 8 years. That’s essentially a quarter of my life I’ve been following these scrublords. I watch a lot of LP’s and I’ve visited many channels over the years but I’ve never found a channel that gels with me as well as the Super Best Friends Play.

Funny, informative and genuine is how I’d best describe their channel. A lot of channels, I find, fake a lot of their reactions or try too hard. They scream and believe comedy lies in over reactions on camera. The Zaibatsu, when they get hype over a game, it’s for real. If they hate a game they’re playing, you can feel that from them. Sure it means if they’re doing a LP of the game and half way through they start to despise it that you have the latter half of the LP still to go. But they then replace their hype or enjoyment with random tangents and generally just goofball-ishness. And when they love a game, you can feel it oozing out of the screen. These are people who love to play games and their channel is 2nd to that. When you load a video of theirs or a video ends they don’t start spouting ‘Hey guys, we’re back! Show your love for this channel by SMASHING that like button, hitting that little bell and follow us on Twitter at…..’, they barely acknowledge the viewer is there. It honestly feels like they pick a game they want to play and just ask each other round to watch and chill. It’s a relaxed style that I wish I could find more of.

Another point I want to bring up is how much they care for their fanbase. I honestly recommend going to the subreddit: Here. The subscribers have gone through the 5 steps of grief and are now in the acceptance phase. Now they’re posting terrible photoshop’s, sharing memories and intertwining channel lore with present feelings. It’s a sight to see. I’ve never really been a part of a discontinuation of something I’ve loved before. Sure shows have ended that I wish hadn’t but nothing on this scale. I would go on that subreddit nearly every day. I would watch at least one of their episodes every day and I would listen to their podcasts almost every week. To be with that for nearly 8 years and for it to suddenly be up in the air and the future of what of something you love to be unknown, it’s not easy. I’m going on like this is a breakup or a divorce, I’m aware of that. Even as I type this up I’m aware of how ridiculous it sounds but there is a void now where something comforting once was. It’s not fully gone but the remnant’s aren’t as filling. The fanbase loves the Super Best Friends and for good reason. Here’s an example of what makes the SBF’s Super.

Years ago, when Liam was a part of the team, they would have mailbag episodes. If you’re unsure of what that is, they would open letters and parcels from fans. One particular parcel contained a purple Gameboy Colour. Woolie had previously told the story of how his purple Gameboy Colour was stolen from him in school. Obviously by that point the Gameboy Colour was a decade or 2 old but you could tell how touched Woolie was about that. After only a few episodes, they had to shutdown the mailbag segments and close the mailbox they had set up to receive mail as they were receiving too much and things of too high value. I believe they received 2 copies of the limited edition Gurren Lagaan boxset, an anime which they all loved. These box sets cost A LOT as far as I know. They clearly loved the box sets but you could tell they felt wrong accepting them. I don’t think they realised the overwhelming support they had.  Shortly after they cancelled the mailbag episodes and explained their reasons. That to me is a sign of great people. Some people would LOVE to get a bunch of stuff for free continuously. And the fans wanted them to have the gifts too. But, they chose to stop it, because they wanted the fans to keep their money.  It really made me respect them when they did that. I loved watching them receive stuff because they would receive lots of strange items that were inside jokes with the fanbase, like a big rubber fist that they got sent. But, their decision to put an end to it really punched home that these were great people who were doing the channel because they love playing games and sharing that experience with their viewers.

You may be wondering what this blog post hopes to achieve and the answer is nothing really. I’m sad they’ve disbanded but I’m glad they’ve done it. Rather than letting it drag on and for their channel to become a husk of what it was they chose to be upfront and not to meander about it. I do think it is the best decision, based on what they’re revealed. Why am I making a blog post about them though? Gaming wise, they’re important to me and I’m essentially using this as a diary entry. A lot of franchises or games I like, I acquired a taste for through osmosis with these guys. I owe them a lot and I can’t give them much except my appreciation and so I guess this is what this is. Just a post of me giving a brief overview of the SBF’s, why I’ll miss them and a place for me to capture these current thoughts.

As I’ve mentioned, they have solo projects that I’ll be able to watch and Woolie and Pat are starting a new podcast so I’ll eagerly wait and see what that is like. But for now, I invite you to check out their stuff. You may have watched them in the past and didn’t know about their shutdown or you may have never heard of them. Their channel is going to have no future uploads but they have hundreds, upon hundreds of video content on their channel. If you want a gaming channel with no frills, no shills and just friends having a laugh playing games, you can’t go wrong with them. Their channel is Here, if you don’t know where to start then maybe try one of the compilations. A fan favourite LP was of the game Omikron, a bad game by the channels ‘nemesis’ David Cage: Omikron.

I wish all the best to Matt, Pat, Woolie and Liam and I look forward to their own projects. Now that they have total control over what they do, I’m sure their own stuff will be full of laughs and hype. I’ll miss the banter but as long as they enjoy what they’re doing, I’ll keep watching. Thank you for reading my whinge. I know this probably looks weird to other people but I want a post of this memory. It’ll be nice to look back on in a few years. Now, I’m going to end with a bunch of random uploads from other users of the subreddit. During the first couple of hours I was sad at the news but I did get a good laugh out of some of these posts. The community is still going strong and they have signs of slowing down. For a more brief reason for why I loved their content, check out My November Free Time blog post. Ironic that last month I recommended them and this month they’re shutting down. Talk about timing. Nevertheless, thanks for reading and feel free to share your views on them or thoughts in the comments.

The reason why I play Yakuza games is because of these scrubs.

Creator of Deadly Premonition. He was a fan of the guys and attributes a lot of the success of his games to their channel. 

As you can see, The Simpsons is a huge part of the SBFP channel and I don’t recall a playthrough without a quote or reference.