Should We Worry About Fallout 76? Not If the Portal Series is Anything to Go By.

The response since Fallout 76 has been announced has been… lukewarm to say the least. Lots of people are excited but lots have also lost a lot of interest due to some unorthodox choices in gameplay. From what I’ve gathered, however, many lie right in the middle, that “wait and see” space. And I don’t blame them, this is uncharted territory for Fallout: an online game. While many of my worries at the reveal (mainly involving other people being assholes) have been calmed a bit (for example nukes can only go off in certain areas and a warning is issued before one drops) the one thing I’ve been weary about is the lack of human NPCs. One only has to watch the E3 reveal to hear it mentioned: The only humans you’ll run into will be other players. Of course there will be robots (and Super Mutants and likely ghouls) but it is also mentioned that some quests and backstory will be given out in holotapes. But thinking back on past games and how big of a role the human NPCs played it’s still worrisome to me.

At least until about 5 minutes ago. Like most epiphanies it happened as I was sitting idly with my mind wandering: Portal 2 is an amazing game, an amazing game with only robot NPCs.

Think about it, Chell is a human, but also the playable character. Outside of her the only other humans that we even catch a whiff of are

  • Doug Rattmann, who we neither see nor hear, and whose existence is only brought to our attention by finding his hideaways strewn about the test chambers. Which frankly is very Fallout in fashion anyway, one of the main praises of the Bethesda titles is their environmental storytelling.
  • Cave Johnson & Caroline, both of which are seen but not heard (outside of a portrait), and from recordings at that. Not unlike what could be accomplished with holotapes.

That’s it, everyone else is a robot (Wheatley, GlaDos, the turrets, the cores, the announcer [maybe, but if not still fits in with Cave and Caroline above]).

Now take this with a grain of salt, obviously the difference in writing quality between Bethesda and Valve should be noted. For example This link from Gamesradar has both Portal 2 and Half-Life 2 on their list of the best videogame stories ever, but no Bethesda game makes the cut. Which I find fair, their stories aren’t awful, but definitely not the quality of some of the other games out there. But I still think it’s enough to calm my main fear, even if only slightly.

If you’re going in expecting a Fallout experience with Portal 2 levels of storytelling you’ll almost assuredly be disappointed, and that’s certainly not the point I’m trying to make. All I’m saying is there is precedence for a game to have a great story with no Human NPCs, and I stand by that. I’m still considering myself in wait and see mode, but with each passing day to digest everything I’m feeling slightly more optimistic.

The Bad from the Good

I have a list of favorite games. I think most of us that enjoy the hobby have one. It’s a great way to tell people what you like at a glance, and if they ask we can always support out answers with a large amount of praise. But that’s not what this is about. No, for this we’re going to be extremely negative. I’m going to take some of my favorite games and tell you all my least favorite parts about them. Now naturally this doesn’t make them bad, but as I feel there is no such thing as a perfect game I think it’s only fair to lay some gripes on the games that I usually will praise to anyone willing to listen.

 

Fallout 3

The final “choice”

I definitely know I’m not alone in this one, but the ending of Fallout 3 is just bad. In the vanilla version of the game you are tasked with entering a code in a highly irradiated chamber, saving everyone but sacrificing yourself while finishing your late father’s work. Which is peach and all…if the game hadn’t given you quite the diverse roster of companions a robot, a ghoul, and a super mutant. If you ask any of them to do it for you their responses amount to little more than “Fuck off, no”. It’s frustrating that your attempt to think outside of the box ever so slightly is shut down for no good reason.

Of course Broken Steel was later released. This DLC adds post-ending gameplay to Fallout 3 and actually fixes this by allowing you to send in any of the previously listed companions, all is well. Except for the narrator carving you to shreds during the ending slideshow. He calls you a coward and praises whoever you sent in as a true hero. That’s right, by using your brain and avoiding an unnecessarily early death for yourself and sending in a character immune to radiation (Fawkes the super mutant or RL-3 the robot) or even healed by it (Charon the ghoul) you aren’t smart, you’re a coward. Shame on you.

Bioshock

Becoming a Big Daddy

Bioshock is an amazing game, if there was a gun to my head and I had to make the best argument I could to which game I think is nearest to perfection I think I’d choose Bioshock. And while I think all of it was great, if I had to choose a part I liked least it’s probably becoming a Big Daddy. It still played mostly the same but the helmet cut out some of your field of vision and took a little getting used to. I know it’s a petty complaint, but between that and slower movement speed (if I recall correctly) being a Big Daddy took away just a little bit of the fun I was having.

I know a few people have complained about the final boss fight being unnecessary, only being there because “it’s a game so of course we need a final boss”. And while I don’t disagree I also don’t find it as big a deal.

Portal 2

Conversion Gel

This is another one that I feel is almost complaining for the sake of complaining, but I definitely feel like as far as gameplay mechanics in Portal 2 go, conversion gel is the odd man out. The main reason for that is the reaction to it. With almost anything else: lasers, turrets, momentum, excursion funnels, light bridges, speed gel, and bouncing gel you kind of plan in ahead what it does and how to use it to solve the puzzle. With conversion gel, however, my first step was always spraying it everywhere to get as much coverage as possible. From there most tests with it were pretty simple, just get as high as you can with it and you’re done. It just felt a lot less “puzzly” than the others.

Persona 4

Rainy Days

Now I understand rainy days. I know they’re relevant to the plot. I know it’d be odd to play a day-to-day life sim without any rainy days, but still, I can’t help but dread them. In Persona 4 on normal days after school (or during the summer) you’re able to do a lot, but the big two would be dungeon crawling or spending time with any number of Social Links, who are characters you get to know. However on rainy days only a very small amount of social links are available, leaving you to either level (which unless you’re on a harder difficulty, grinding isn’t really needed) or spend your time with only a handful of social links you can interact with (by memory it’s only the drama/music club and the fox, but it’s been a while so I could be wrong). For me most of my rainy days were spent eating bottomless beef bowls for stat-ups. Not bad, but not as fun as the social links.

Danganronpa 2

The Motives

I feel like each of the Danganronpa games are special in their own ways but also have their own major downfalls. Danganronpa 2 is my favorite for so many reasons, but the motives are certainly not one of them. Unlike the first game where the motives were small nudges and part of the tension was seeing which character would ultimately succumb to them, the motives in Danganronpa either seem way too pushy or way too targeted at a small group of people.

Chapter 2’s motive is really only relevant to 6 of the 14 students that were alive at the time (granted we’re lead to believe it’s 5 before some revelations regarding backstories). Chapter 3’s motive threw everything out of the window and the murderer was more or less random, serving only as foreshadowing. Chapter 4 had one of the worst motives in my opinion that forced the killer’s hand moreso than any before. So in 3 of the 5 murder cases I feel the motive was underwhelming.

I do understand the circumstances around the killings are different in 2 compared to 1 and V3 (without venturing into spoiler territory), but I still think that the motives could have been handled better.

Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver

Gym Leaders refusing to do their jobs

I love the Gen 2 Pokemon games. They have some of my favorite Pokemon, and returning to Kanto to earn 8 more badges and battle Red was great. What was less great was some of the Johto Gym Leaders: Whitney and Claire. How either of them got their job, I don’t know, because they’re downright bad at it. Neither will give you their badge for beating them. First the player would beat Whitney (and her Miltank, which would probably top many similar lists, but I never found it that hard after trading for Machop nearby) and after defeating her she starts crying and… that’s it. Any attempt to get your badge results in her crying and calling you mean. A professional Gym Leader refusing to accept defeat. It’s not until you accept your fate and try to leave that one of her trainers talks her down and you finally get your badge and TM.

And then there’s the final Gym Leader (in Johto): Claire. Instead of crying Claire just flat out refuses to give you your hard earned badge. That is until you run an errand for her. That’s simplifying it a little, she actually sends you around back to fetch an item (that you keep if memory serves) to prove that you’ve earned the badge. Y’know, the thing that whole battle was for.

Whether it’s Whitney sobbing or Clair refusing your victory, Johto’s biggest downfall is its incompetent Gym Leaders.

Final Fantasy XV

Combat

I loved Final Fantasy XV. I know it got some mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed the experience. I loved the roadtrip theme and the brotherhood between the characters. Where it fell completely flat was the combat.

This wasn’t my first Final Fantasy, previously playing VII, X, and XII (and having since played IX, with VI, X-2, and all the XIII’s in my backlog), but all those games had combat that was leaps and bounds better than XV’s in my opinion. While each different (VII and IX are pretty much classic turn based combat, X having a turn based with a swap out feature, and XII being more of a live action/turn based mix) I feel they all offered something that made combat enjoyable, even if only slightly. Meanwhile combat in XV was little more than “hold down the attack button”. Eventually you had your super move, or your teammate’s, and the elemental “spells” but that was pretty much it. Combat changed very little from the first enemy to the last.

 

Well that’s it for mine, how about yours. Are there any parts of your favorite games that just fall short to the rest of them?

Fallout Shelter PS4 Trophies Leaked: What Should Trophy Hunters Expect?

As so often happens Exophase has leaked another trophy list, this time for Fallout Shelter

The Vault management game first appeared on mobile prior to the release of Fallout 4 and has since found its way onto Steam and Xbox One. In my quest to earn all Fallout achievements I have actually earned all the Fallout Shelter achievements on steam, so let me tell you Playstation players what to expect.

There is a platinum!

Well first off there is a platinum trophy, which is a nice reward for the end of the journey. Along with the platinum come 4 gold trophies. Not a bad haul for what should end up being a free game. Which leads into…

It should be free

Now this is just a guess on my part, but an educated guess. Fallout Shelter was free on all other consoles it was released for and I don’t see why that would change. Especially since the game does have its share of microtransactions…

Microtransactions are there, but not needed for the platinum.

Most of the trophies will come naturally with enough playing time. There are a few grinds but nothing too difficult, just time consuming. A free lunchbox is earned every 7 days you play, as well as them being loot during quests and rewards for certain challenges. And the best news is…

The most difficult achievement did not come over.

In both the Steam and Xbox versions there was an achievement for obtaining 20 legendary survivors. Not too bad at the surface, since there are achievements for 20 legendary weapons and 20 legendary outfits, but once you play you realize what an awful achievement that was. For starters weapons and outfits can be crafted in their respective rooms, but of course dwellers can’t be crafted. And any baby born “legendary” (with really high starting stats) wouldn’t count. Similarly legendary weapons and outfits are frequent loot on quests, while only two quests offer legendary dwellers as a reward. So the achievement was essentially getting 18-20 legendary dwellers via Lunchbox. Oh, by the way, I found the rate that they were earned in lunchboxes about 1 in every 25 whereas weapons or armor was closer to 1 in every 10. Good riddance.

Any tips?

Well when I first saw the 20 dwellers achievement, my first thought was to just make a bunch of vaults over and over to earn the easy early lunchboxes and rinse and repeat. However, in my experience, while never specified the achievements must be earned in one save file. So in order for the 20 legendary weapons trophy to pop, you can’t have 3 vaults with 10, 7, and 3 weapons respectively, but one vault must get to 20 legendary weapons.

A second tip would be that Endurance is the most useful of all SPECIAL stats, especially when sending dwellers out into the wastes. If you get a level 1 character with 2 or 3 END, send them out to the wastes with your best END armor and best weapon and you should get all the trophies for leveling a dweller from 1 to 50 fairly easily. When leveling up a character’s HP is increased, and the higher their END, the higher the increase, which is why I’d say that’s the easiest way to get these trophies.

Final Word

Don’t get confused, this is a very easy platinum. There’s no real skill involved, but it is also going to be a very time consuming one. Odds are it’ll take a good 40 hours of in game time, at least. Which will probably be at least a month in the real world. There’s only so many quests you can do at once. My best advice is to look over the trophy list to know what you’e looking for and just play with those in mind.

Kenny is a MILF

Kenny

Kenny from the Walking Dead game is a Mistake I’d Like to Fix. Well not all of him… Frankly in the first season I thought he was alright, not one of my favorite characters but he wasn’t bad either. But then…. I’m getting ahead of myself though, so let’s just do this the standard way.

The Mistake

To put it bluntly, I think Kenny’s inclusion in season 2 of the Walking Dead was a mistake. I don’t think it added much and really only tarnished him as a character. In season 1 Kenny started off as a run of the mill guy, one fairly lucky to still be alive and with his wife and son. Obviously luck may be a stretch considering the situation, but compared to what most others had, he was riding high. Of course it wouldn’t stay that way for Kenny. His son would turn after a walker bite, and his wife would kill herself shortly thereafter. But he continued on, granted he was mostly a husk, but he kept going. Some time passed and Ben confessed to Kenny that he was the reason that their motel was overrun by bandits and the walkers who eventually bit Duck were let in. Obviously Kenny takes this poorly and Ben becomes the new outlet for his anger at the death of his wife and son.

One of my favorite parts of the first season is the relationship between Ben and Kenny. Kenny had it all and lost it while Ben doesn’t have anything, not even the sense of closure that Kenny has. Their argument comes to a head at that point, as a matter of fact.

While waiting to get moving on the train, if Lee talks to Ben we find out his biggest fear is turning and he’d rather end it all than go through that. This is important, at least to me, because if Ben is saved in chapter 4 then while crossing a gap in chapter 5, the railing he is jumping from falls and he is impaled with walkers closing in. This is the final chapter of Ben and Kenny’s story, and it brings it to a wonderful closing (in my opinion). Kenny runs to Ben, shoots him with the final bullet as the walkers are closing in. It is the last time we see either of them in the game. Their story is over, both of them have passed (we’re lead to believe); Kenny is now with his wife and child and Ben was spared the horror of turning. Also after failing to have saved Duck or Fivel, Kenny is finally able to do right by a young child. A great ending.

Or it would have been if he wasn’t brought back for season 2…

Season 2 of the Walking Dead sees us controlling Clementine after the end of the first season. She has been traveling with Christa and Omid, but after Omid is killed and an accident separates her and Christa she is on her own. She eventually runs into a group of survivors and joins up with them. After the cabin is overrun they make their way to a ski lodge, where a small group of survivors is, including Kenny. It just felt out of place, and I feel it diminished his sacrifice. Not only that but if you were to talk to Kenny about how he escaped he drops the line “For some reason I tried to save that fucking shitbird Ben”. That really upset me. As I mentioned one of my favorite parts of season 1 is Kenny and Ben’s stories and how it ended and that one comment made it all feel undone.

The Fix

I suppose the fix could be any number of things. I personally would have left both Kenny and Ben dead and have a new character fill the same role that Kenny filled. I really don’t think Kenny and Clem’s prior relationship added much to season 2 except for a few references here or there. If we’re intent on keeping Kenny in at least lose that line, it undoes so much of his growth in the first game and just felt like a slap in the face.

Playstation Rewards: Supplement Your Gaming Pt 1

I’ve been a member of Playstation Rewards for a while, any why not? I get rewards points for money I spend, but recently they’ve implemented a system that rewards you for trophies as well (US only, as far as I know). As an avid collector of trophies this was right up my alley. So I thought I’d leave a post here just in case not everyone on Playstation is aware of it.

 

Essentially you get 10 points per dollar spent in the store. Likewise, after unlocking the challenges for the trophies, you’ll earn 100 points for every 100 silver trophies earned, 250 points for every 25 gold trophies, and 1,000 points for every 10 platinum trophies. Unfortunately it looks as though you can only do these challenges 12 times (I’ve already finished the gold trophies). But still, at 1,000 points for a $10 rewards card doing all the challenges will net you $160 in rewards, plus whatever you spent in the store. Unfortunately, if you’ve already completed a game’s trophies it won’t go backwards, as in you only get credit for what you earn after unlocking the challenges.

With that in mind I wanted to see how little I could spend (in theory) in order to unlock all of the awards. The biggest things I’m looking for is 1) low price 2) easy trophies 3) quick to finish. Obviously the biggest climb would be 120 plats, but lets see whats doable. As a note, Pt refers to platinum, Au to gold, and Ag to silver and I will be assuming you have access to all 3 platforms (PS3, PS4, Vita) as well as accounts in several different regions (US, EU, JP, AS).

  • My Name Is Mayo (PS4/Vita) (2/120 Pt, 8/300 Au, 0/1000 Ag) ($0.99)

Mayo is a game that will earn you more money than you spent, if we break down each trophy to a dollar amount. It is also a crossbuy, meaning that buying it once for $0.99 on either console entitles you to the game on the other console for free. As a note, not all games that are on multiple consoles have different trophy lists, but Mayo does.

  • Slyde (PS4) (EU only) (3/120 Pt, 19/300 Au, 2/1000 Ag) ($2.31)

Unfortunately Slyde isn’t available in the US Playstation store yet. However it is easy to set up an EU account, and as long as your main account is the primary account on the system then you can play it on your main account. It is .99 GBP which is just over 1.3 USD.

  • 36 Fragments of Midnight (PS4/Vita) (US) (5/120 Pt, 41/300 Au, 2/1000 Ag) ($5.30)

Like Mayo, 36 Fragments of Midnight is crossbuy, meaning buying the PS4/Vita version will entitle you to the other free of charge. Which is good, because at $2.99 the trophies wouldn’t be worth it if you only got one, which is why I’m only counting the US version, but there is also a EU version if you care about trophies instead of only trying to create money, which is the point of this exercise.

  • Terminator Salvation (PS3) (6/120 Pt, 52/300 Au, 2/1000 Ag) ($5.30)

Alright, so looking around, I don’t think it’s possible to achieve what I’ve set out to do, which is actually earn money using trophy rewards. However there is a loophole using physical games. Gamestop has a full return policy within 7 days (at least last I checked). This means any game that has a physical copy, and can realistically be beaten within 7 days will be counted for free in this list. Granted that’s a bit shady, but it is perfectly within the rules to do so, so let’s say this is possible in theory, if it is possible.

But I digress. Anyway the Terminator game is easy, definitely doable in a night.

  • Hannah Montana The Movie (PS3) (7/120 Pt, 56/300 Au, 10/1000 Ag) ($5.30)

Yeah, not a proud platinum on many trophy hunter’s lists, but it all counts the same. And it is easy and was released physically.

  • Various Telltale Games (PS3/PS4/Vita) (14/120 Pt, 97/300 Au, 122/1000 Ag) ($5.30)

Telltale games are a staple on most big trophy hunters’ lists, and for good reason. They usually offer an easy platinum with lots of other trophies to fill out the game. Also most of the games are actually pretty good. Back in the “early” days Telltale games were packed all on disc. They’ve seemed to have ditched that in favor of “season pass discs” where having the disc entitles you to download the games from the store free of charge. Since I’m not sure how the season pass discs work as used copies, I’m only counting the games that come with everything installed on them already, which means 3 versions of the Walking Dead season 1, 3 versions of the Walking Dead season 2, 3 versions of the Wolf Among Us, and 1 version of Tales from the Borderlands. All of the games except for TFTBL had physical releases for PS3, PS4, and Vita and separate lists for each. TFTBL only had a PS3 and PS4 release and the lists were the same (there is a second list for PS4 digital, but I won’t be using it). Each game should only take a couple of days max, and those 10 games will net you 7 platinums, 41 golds, and 112 silvers.

  • Steins;Gate Games (PS4/Vita) (17/120 Pt, 109/300 Au, 162/1000 Ag) ($5.30)

This consists of thee games: Steins;Gate for Vita and Steins;Gate 0 for the Vita and PS4. Each has their own list. Steins;Gate also has a PS3 list, but it isn’t available physically (at least at Gamestop) so I won’t be using it. Steins;Gate is a series of visual novels, and they are actually very good. Playing through each one likely wouldn’t take a week, but there is a fast forward option for those who just want the trophies as well.

  • Murdered Soul Suspect (PS3/PS4) (19/120 Pt, 115/300 Au, 166/1000 Ag) ($5.30)

Murdered Souls Suspect was one of my quickest platinums, with a guide it shouldn’t take more than 8 hours. And with two trophy lists you’ll get twice as many trophies as you would otherwise.

  • Little Adventure on the Prarie (PS4/Vita) (21/120 Pt, 129/300 Au, 182/1000 Ag) ($7.29)

Finally another game that doesn’t exploit Gamestop’s return policy! This time it’s Little Adventure on the Prarie. The game is crossbuy and easy, which is about all it has going for it. It looks like a flash game, doesn’t control all that well, and doesn’t offer much outside of the trophies.

  • Energy Bundle (PS4/Vita) (27/120 Pt, 177/300 Au, 222/1000 Ag) ($14.28)

Another game from the Playstation Store, though it’s more accurate to say games. Energy Bundle includes Energy Cycle, Energy Invasion, and Energy Balance. Most games are fairly simple with a guide and since the games stack on PS4 and Vita that’s a big amount of trophies.

And that’s the end of part 1. We’re more than halfway to our golds rewards, hopefully we can nab it next week as we try to earn as much Playstation credit profit as we can using their rewards.

Knox’s Commandments Part 1

I was at work the other day and Virtue’s Last Reward popped into my head. It’s a game I haven’t played in a while, but is still a very good game. The main thing that I thought of were the files you get for clearing a room. They vary from small pieces of lore, to entomology, to real life examples and the background on many things in the game. One particular file always stood out to me: the one about Knox’s Commandments.

Knox’s Commandments come from the mind of mystery author Ronald Knox. It is a list of 10 rules that all examples of good detective fiction should follow. I remember thinking how interesting it is for that to be in a game about solving a mystery, even if it’s just a neat little tidbit. I also remember wanting to check how games stack up with each other in regards to it. And that’s exactly what I’ll do.

This is part one, there are more games I’d like to examine (all the Zero Escape games, Steins;Gate, Heavy Rain to name a few) but I only feel comfortable rating these first 4 games because they’re the ones most recent in my mind. I could be wrong about something here or there but ultimately I think this should be pretty accurate, if a little open to interpretation.

How It Works

Essentially I took each of the 10 commandments and checked how each game compared against it. For this first part the four games are Danganronpa 1, Danganronpa 2, Danganronpa V3, and Persona 4 Golden. All stories are centered around a murder mystery and would fit in well thematically with detective fiction. Each game will get a score of 0-10 for each commandment, for a maximum score of 100. It should go without saying but heavy spoilers ahead.

The List

 

1.The Criminal Must Be Mentioned Early On

DR: 10, Junko Enoshima is seen just as early as any other student. Granted it’s not really Junko at that point, but my point stands.

DR2: 8, The mastermind is Izuru Kamakura, who is technically present at the opening, and is actually the main character, Hajime Hinata. I give it an 8 because the mastermind is technically right there, just before several life changes that lead to it.

DRV3: 7, To me it depends on the definition of mastermind. Tsumugi Shirogane was there all along, but to be fair she was just an employee of Team Danganronpa, the true masterminds. Then again Team Danganronpa was technically in the opening credits.

P4G: 7, This is a case similar to V3. The Killer, Tohru Adachi, was in the story very early on, but he is just a cog for the real “mastermind” Ameno-Sagiri, who was kinda dropped on us at the last minute. Which again was not even the true final boss, the honor of which belonged to Izanami. Honestly I’m making myself confused here, but I think a 7 is appropriate.

2.All Supernatural or Preternatural Agencies Are Ruled Out

DR: 8, First I think it’s important to distinguish Supernatural and Preternatural. The way I see it, Supernatural goes against everything that is believed, things like ghosts and whatnot. Whereas Preternatural are things that go against logic, things like 100 coin flips in a row landing heads. While not impossible, at least mathematically, it is pretty much so. Ergo, I’m giving Danganronpa an 8. Nothing is very supernatural, and I feel it’s actually pretty rooted save for the teenage girl destroying the world thing. Could happen, but pretty preternatural.

DR2: 4, At one point a student is shot with a bazooka and returns as a robot. Kinda out of nowhere too…

DRV3: 6, One of the students is the Ultimate Robot. A bit less extreme than Danganronpa 2, but still a bit of a stretch of the imagination.

P4G: 0, Persona 4 plays almost entirely on the supernatural, with the dungeon crawling segments taking place in a world inside the TV.

3.No More Than One Secret Passage or Room May Exist

DR: 9, There are a handful of inaccessible rooms (at least until the last chapter) but none of them are hidden, just locked. The only hidden area I can think of off the top of my head is the hatch in the Monokuma control room.

DR2: 10, The only thing I’d even partially consider is Hope’s Peak Academy. And that is also more locked and inaccessible than hidden.

DRV3: 7, The Mastermind’s hidden passage exists between the girl’s bathroom, and their lair (which is itself a hidden room, though it is discovered fairly quickly). Likewise Kokichi’s talent development room is hidden until the school starts to break down.

P4G: 10, I’d probably consider the TV world one big secret room, but other than that nothing stands out as applicable.

4.No Unknown Poisons May Be Used, Nor Any Appliance That Would Need A Long Scientific Explanation

DR: 9, The poison used in chapter 4 was mentioned beforehand and had very clear labeling. Monokuma doesn’t really require a long scientific explanation. Really the only thing even close to questionable would be the air purifier so I’ll give it a 9.

DR2: 7, The poison in chapter 5 has a very clear label, rendering it not unknown. However the crux of the 7 is those final reveals, mainly the Neo World Program and the Hope Resoration Plan, neither of which is super absurd, but still require some explanation.

DRV3: 8, The poison in chapter 4 was clearly labeled, and more importantly not even used, it was meant to be a red herring. However with the Ultimate Robot, Exisals, and their own version of the Neo World Program, I’d say that V3 needs some explanations too, though the appliances in question aren’t as convoluted as the ones in DR2.

P4G: 9, Only because the fog seems to have a poison-like effect on people. It’s not the killer of those who go to the other world, that’d be the shadows themselves, but it’s still the most mysterious “poison” in any of the four games.

5.No One With Extrasensory Perception or Similar Powers Can Appear

DR: 6, There’s Sayaka, who claims to be psychic when guessing what Makoto is thinking, but that has no bearing on the plot or cases whatsoever. Kyoko acts befitting of the Ultimate Detective, which means very acute perception.

DR2: 5, Mainly on the back of Nagito’s luck. It doesn’t come up much, but when it does it changes the story quite easily. It is very relevant.

DRV3: 6, Again we have an Ultimate Detective, and I’ll give him the same result as Kyoko got.

P4G: 5, I mean it’s not exactly extrasensory perception, but the main characters all receive a huge power that is pretty explainable and very useful in the case.

6.No Accident Should Help The Detective, Nor Should He Have An Inexplainable Intuition Which Later Proves Correct

DR: 4, The biggest example would be Alter Ego saving Makoto from execution. Definitely helps him, but technically isn’t an accident, I still choose to count it.

DR2: 10, I can’t seem to recall anything that fits.

DRV3: 9, As I’m replaying chapter 5 now, it’s glaring how much Shuichi is almost certain Kaito isn’t the victim almost immediately. His reasoning isn’t awful, but it’s still quite the intuition, which later proves to be correct.

P4G: 10, The biggest help the protag gets is the power of persona, which wasn’t an accident so much as it was a calculated move by Izanami.

7.The Detective Must Not Commit The Crime

DR: 10, Makoto is one of only a few students that did nothing wrong, in my opinion. So yeah, this one is an easy 10. He is framed by the mastermind for chapter 5’s murder, but we know he’s not the culprit and that he’s being played.

DR2: 6, As previously mentioned, the Detective himself doesn’t technically commit the crime, though a version of him does. Danganronpa 2 is kinda weird to explain in such short bursts.

DRV3: 3, The game starts with a separate protagonist, but it turns out she actually committed the first murder. Her successor never murders again, and it’s not like she was the mastermind, so only a 3.

P4G: 9, MC doesn’t commit the crime. The 9 is because in the Golden edition there is an option ending to become the criminal’s accomplice.

8.The Detective Must Declare Any Clues He Discovers

DR: 5, The major rift about halfway through the game between Makoto and Kyoko comes when Makoto refuses to share the clue he found (Sakura and Monokuma fighting, wherein Monokuma outs her as the traitor). Otherwise he’s pretty good about it though.

DR2: 10, Can’t remember Hajime hiding anything.

DRV3: 9, That’s kinda Shuichi’s whole arc: needing to reveal the truth no matter what. I’ll knock him down to a 9 though since he was so tentative to reveal the clues that pointed to Kaede in chapter 1.

P4G: 8, Again with the new ending you have the option of not revealing what you’ve found that would implicate Adachi.

9.The “Watson” (More or less sidekick, though the Commandments refer to them as “The stupid friend”) Must Conceal Nothing From the Reader

DR: 6, Kyoko concealing her talent, even after she learns it, as well as concealing the fact that the headmaster was her father come to mind.

DR2: 4, Nagito finds out all the students are former Remnants of Despair and keeps it from everyone.

DRV3: 7, Maki kept her true talent hidden. Likewise Rantaro kept his Survior Perk information hidden as well.

P4G: 10, The investigation team really doesn’t keep anything from the player.

10.Twins and Doubles Must Not Appear Unannounced

DR: 0, The main twist involves a twin so yeah, not even close.

DR2: 3, Likewise the twist involves doubles, kinda. Like I said, confusing.

DRV3: 10, No doubles.

P4G: 10, No doubles.

 

Conclusion

The final tally is as follows

Danganronpa: 67

Danganronpa 2: 67

Danganronpa V3: 72

Persona 4 Golden: 78

 

According to Knox’s Commandments, Persona 4 Golden is the best written mystery of the group. Will it continue to be after part 2 or will another game take the title?

Supporting Cast: A Mafia Story Pt 1: NHL

Aside from video games, I’m also known to enjoy sports from time to time. In sports, a lot of times when a player will go into free agency (or be traded) you’ll have people saying that player is overvalued and their production only came from playing with a certain player, or on a certain team, or under a certain coach. So I wanted to put that to the test…

 

The Story

I was sitting at my desk, just dumbfounded… I still couldn’t believe my luck. How was I, the guy with absolutely no references or experience was able to land the GM job of a National Hockey League team. And not any team, the Anaheim Ducks, the most alphabetically first team in the league! As I commanded new training regiments for all my players (boosting them all to 99 overall) I got a buzz on my intercom.

“Mr Heals” cried out my secretary. “Some intimidating men to see you”.

I didn’t recall sending for any intimidating men, but perhaps though the mere mention of intimidation I requested they be sent in.

As the door opened, five men in pinstriped suits walked in. Each more intimidating than the last. Except for the fourth guy, he was probably only the third most intimidating.

After the door closed, the eldest stepped up to my desk.

“A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Heals.”

“Who are you?” I questioned.

The men just laughed, until the apparent leader spoke up. “The reason you got this job. I mean you have no qualifications, how do you think you got it?”

I was stumped. To be honest mafia interference made much more sense than anything else I could come up with.

“So what brings you in today, sir?” I asked.

“Please, Don is fine” He shot back. I don’t know if it was his actual name or just title, but I just nodded. He continued “since we’ve done you a favor, I figure you can do me one”. I gulped. Drug running? Would I have to murder someone? Would it be my secretary? That’d suck, I’m just getting to know her.

As my mind raced Don spoke up. “I’d like my son to be on your team”. Well, that’s… reasonable. If course I’d think that to just about anything when the alternative would involve coke balloons in my butt.

“You see” Don continued, even though I never asked him to “My boy isn’t cut out for our work. Hell, if I’m being honest he isn’t cut out for anything, but we figure we send you the salary, and you keep him busy and out of our hair.”

How could I decline? They’ve already done a lot for me, though I didn’t ask it and it was clearly for this favor, but still. “Mr. Don, you’ve got yourself a deal!”

 

The Experiment

 

For this experiment, Don’s son, Jimmy “Smith” (yes, his birth certificate has quotation marks) will be joining my otherwise stacked Anaheim Ducks team. We want to see if we can transform Jimmy into a Hall of Fame player, despite no natural skill whatsoever. Now Hall of Fame is subjective, but I think as long as there is a debate it’s good enough. In order to succeed we will do whatever it takes to stack the deck in our favor. The steps done to do so are:

  • Injuries have been turned off.
  • All other players are 99 overall and offensively minded.
  • “Smith” will play on all lines and all situations. Reality be damned, this kid will suit up for almost 60 minutes a night.

Now to see what we’re working with. Jimmy “Smith” is 36 overall (the lowest you can be in NHL, surprisingly won’t let you set stats to 0 or even 1), he is a 19 year old sniper with the lowest potential he can have (low AHL extra forward).

And with that we’ve started

The Results

2018: The Ducks set the record for best season ever, earning 140 points (69-11-2). In 82 games “Smith” scored 4 goals and added 1 assist for 5 points. Not a great start. He chipped in 2 assists in 19 playoff games, but did end up with his name on the cup for his efforts. At the end of the year he took home the Masterston Trophy.*

2019: The Ducks continue to smash records, this time earning 143 points (71-10-1). “Smith” manages to increase his productivity and finish with 13 points on 7 goals and 6 assists. In 20 playoff games he added 2 goals, yet brought home his second cup and Masterston.

2020: Before 2020 “Smith” managed to increase his overall to 51, which made him no longer the worst in the game. And the improvement showed. The Ducks again beat their previous record going 77-4-1 earning 155 points. In 82 games “Smith” scored 48 goals and added 12 assists for 60 points, demolishing his previous bests. The Ducks won the cup again in 18 games with “Smith” chipping in 5 goals and 1 assist. No doubt due to his massive playing time “Smith” not only took home the Masterston in 2020, but also the Lindsay Award and the Hart Trophy.

2021: Proved to be a tough act to follow on all fronts. The Ducks only finished with 150 points (74-6-2) and “Smith” (who regressed to 43 overall) put up only 23 goals and 4 assists for 27 points. The Ducks won the cup on the strength of “Smith”‘s strongest postseason yet with 13 goals in 22 playoff games. Again he earned the Masterston.

And then surprisingly he called it quits. In the middle of a 10 year contract worth $10 million a year. His career ended quite unspectacularly stats wise, with 82 goals 23 assists and 105 points in 328 career games. However he did quite well hardware wise, being on a part of 4  President’s Trophy winning teams, 4 Cup winning teams, winning the Masterston 4 times, as well as the Hart and Lindsay once each. He was only 23, so my thought is I made his potential too low, it’s the only explanation I can think of: he had playing time, money, long term contract, and he wasn’t injured. I guess he just had to follow his true dream, but that’s for next time…

Glossary

Now I know not everyone is a hockey fan, so I thought I’d give some definitions here. I’m gonna assume that Cup, goals, and asssits are fairly straightforward and well known so I’m not gonna go over them.

  • Masterston Trophy: A yearly trophy. Awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. Past winners have received it for coming back from debilitating injuries such as MS or from returning to the game after tending to dying loved ones. I imagine “Smith” got it for all of his ice time, especially since the game probably doesn’t delve into such heavy occurrences in its simulation. Either that or he got it for persevering in playing hockey day in and day out with no natural skill.
  • Lindsay Award: Is basically the MVP trophy voted on members of the NHL Player’s Association.
  • Hart Trophy: The MVP voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association.
  • President’s Trophy: Awarded to the team with the most points at the end of the season. Each team plays 82 games and earns 2 points for a win, 1 point for a loss in overtime or the shootout, and 0 points for a loss in regulation time.