The Return of Pu Onyu

It has been a long time since Pu Onyu last roamed. I’d say it’s been at least 15 years. Now he’s back, hopefully to save the world once again.

You see, whenever I play a video game that lets you put in a name of your choice, I always (as long as they allow enough letters) put in something goofy. The name Torr Nupp (from my Star Wars fan fiction series) was originally a name I had used on KOTOR. I recently played through a dark side campaign of KOTOR 2 as a female named Krushen Yernutz. As the people who stood in her way could testify, if they were still alive, she lived up to her name.

Pu Onyu was a name that I used on the game Jade Empire. It was made by Bioware (the company that also made the KOTOR, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect games) and was released on the original Xbox system. I honestly remember very little about the game other than the character name I made up. The story is kind of a blank to me right now. All I really remember is that it’s a martial arts RPG and that I enjoyed playing it.

So, I was a little excited when I was looking around on my Xbox One and saw that I could buy it from their store (Yes, I realize that it’s been up on Steam for a while, but I don’t really like playing games on the computer. Personally, I prefer consoles). Using part of a gift card I got for Christmas, I bought it, which was an ordeal unto itself.

First, it wouldn’t let me use the gift card from the One so I tried my PC. Again, using the card was not an option to buy it. It said it had to be a credit card. Then, I went to Microsoft’s website and it said that it should work from my 360 (although I don’t see why the console or computer I was using made a difference. It’s all connected to the same Xbox Live account). So, I tried it from my 360 and it kept throwing up an error message about communicating with their server. I gave up for the night and tried it again the next morning.

It finally worked.

After every time I download a new game, I’ll play it for a few minutes to make sure it works correctly. For Jade Empire, I played the first half hour of the game before turning it off. I learned 2 things during that 30 minutes. One: Nathan Fillion (probably most known for his role as Private Ryan) does one of the voices on the game. Two: it plays differently than I thought I remembered. Not that it being different is a bad thing. I’ll just need to get used to playing it again.

That will have to wait for now, however. I’m still going through my light side playthrough of KOTOR 2 and I want to finish that before I start getting back into Jade Empire. For now, it’s enough to know that Pu Onyu is out there again and he will soon go back to kicking bad guy asses.

It Shouldn’t, But It Does

I’ll admit that when I was younger, I was a very bad sore loser. I would get incredibly angry when I’d lose at something. It was especially bad when I’d lose at a video game against one of my brothers. This was especially vexing for me because they’re both better at video games than I am. Well, in general, anyway. I’m sure there’s a video game out there that I’m better at.

As I’ve grown older, that sore loser streak in me has lessened and, for the most part, is gone. I still have those moments, though, where it rears its ugly head. Take this morning, for example. Well, the morning I’m writing this. Not the morning it’s being published…

I was playing Madden.

I called a pass play. None of my receivers were open, so I had my quarterback start running the ball. He gets a yard or two past the line of scrimmage and a defender comes up to him. In an attempt to evade the tackle, I hit the button to spin away.

That’s not what happened.

Instead, despite being past the line of scrimmage, he threw it to the receiver assigned to that button where it was immediately intercepted. Plus, to top it all off, they threw a flag for me illegally throwing the pass. On every other Madden game I’ve ever played, it wouldn’t let you throw it once you got past the line of scrimmage. Now, it penalized me for doing it even when that’s not what I wanted to do in the first place.

I know that it shouldn’t have bothered me. After all, it’s just a video game. Plus, I was winning by a pretty good margin at the time. It ended up not making any difference in the game, but I still found myself yelling at the TV screen. Thankfully, I had already dropped Baby E off at school, so she didn’t hear me tell the Xbox what it could do to itself.

It only took me a moment to regain my composure, but I still felt crappy for losing my cool like that, especially over something so trivial. It shouldn’t have bothered me, but it did.

Older Games

Lately, I’ve been getting my hands on some older games and have been playing them. Most of them are games that I used to play at one point in time. Not all of them, but most. Maybe I’m nostalgic, or maybe I’m just old, but I’ve been enjoying these older games more than most of the newer games coming out.

The first thing I got was a NES Classic. My wife and I both grew up playing the NES. We, of course, play the Mario games, but there are a few others that I’ve played on it: ExciteBike, Tecmo Bowl, the original Final Fantasy. The first two I used to play all the time and are still not bad to play. I never played the original Final Fantasy until we bought this… I’m not a fan. Also, I remember Zelda being a lot better.

But, that’s not the only system I have older games on. If you look on my Xbox One, you’ll find KOTOR 1, KOTOR 2, and Star Wars Battlefront 2 (the original Xbox version, not the one that came out last year). All of them are from the first Xbox and all of them are games that I absolutely love.

The first KOTOR is still my favorite single player game of all time. I’ve probably beaten it a dozen times and I still love playing it. The second KOTOR isn’t as good as the first, but it’s still fun to play.

Battlefront is still a lot of fun to play. I forgot how much fun it actually was. Granted, it was more fun way back when, but that was because I was almost always playing either with, or against, my brother. But, it’s still a lot more fun to play than the new Battlefront games.

What about you? Are there any older video games that you still play?

Pay Attention to Your Companions

The title of this post is good advice in general. Whether those companions be friends, family, or coworkers, it’s generally a good idea to pay attention to them. It’s an even better idea if the companion in question is a significant other. Then, not only is it a good idea, it’s a necessity.

I’m not referring to any of those people, though.

No, the companions I’m talking about are the characters that video games give you to help the main character complete their quest. Generally, these companions come in RPG style games, which are the ones I tend to gravitate towards. And, as anyone who has played these types of games before can tell you, those companions can be the difference between beating the game or giving up in frustration.

Recently, I found out that I did not pay nearly enough attention to my companions.

I’m playing through Dragon Age: Inquisition again. I’ve already beaten it, but I’m playing it on the Xbox One this time around instead of the 360. There is some DLC available for the One that I couldn’t get for the 360. So, at least there will be some new content for me during this playthrough.

I went to fight one of the game’s dragons. This is where I learned that I had spent too much time focused on the main character and not enough time on his companions.

About 15 seconds into the fight, every single one of my three companions was dead. Somehow, through luck (and using every potion in my inventory) I was able to defeat it by myself…. barely. Had it not been one of the weaker dragons in the game, I probably wouldn’t have been able to.

After the fight, I went to my inventory and looked at the weapons and armor they were equipped with. It wasn’t even close. The equipment for my main character was much, much better than theirs. It was as if I was wearing steel plate armor and they were wrapped in toilet paper.

Needless to say, I have made more of an effort to upgrade their gear. Since then, I have fought, and killed, a couple more dragons and my companions have fared a lot better.

Hopefully, you learn from my mistakes and pay attention to your companions. Otherwise, the next ass the dragon fries might be yours.

D.C. Universe Online

My wife and I finally got an Xbox One about two months ago. One of the first games I tried to play for it was one you could download for free called Marvel Heroes Omega. It is a MMORPG. They give you a list of characters to choose from, you pick one, and then you play the game as that character. I chose Blade.

The first hour or so was cool. It played a lot like the Ultimate Alliance games, except you only had a one character party, instead of four. Then, I read up on it a little bit. Now, maybe I just read it wrong, but the way it sounded to me was that the game was free to play, but if you wanted to level your character past level 10, you had to pay for it (if anyone out there plays it, please tell me if I got it wrong).

It wasn’t worth the hassle, nor the amount of space it took up on my hard drive, so I deleted it and moved on. Then, my nephew told me abiut DCUO. I was hesitant about it after the Marvel game was so disappointing, but he assured me that while you would have to pay if you wanted to get the best equipment in the game, there were no pay restrictions on leveling your character up. Plus, you are able to make up your own character on the D.C. game instead of using one of theirs.

I tried to create my character DICO. It didn’t go well. His power is…. unique, so I didn’t think I’d be able to get close to it (although, in retrospect, I probably should have looked to see if you could specialize in throwing Batarangs, which would be pretty close). Instead, I gave him hand blasters, kind of like Iron Man. I also tried to name him DICO, but, surprisingly, the name was already taken. After a couple more failed attempts, I was forced to settle for Detective DICO. 

I like it so far. 

The combat is smoother than I was expecting. The story, while not great, isn’t bad. I’ve been able to level up fairly quickly. So far, the only thing I don’t like about it is the PvP (player vs. player mode). There doesn’t seem to be a system in place to ensure that the two people fighting are at similar levels. The one time I tried it, I wailed on this guy with everything I had and barely made a dent while he could kill me in three hits. Fortunately, PvP is optional, so I don’t have to do it again if I don’t want to.

For now, I’m going to keep playing it.

What about you? Have you played either of them? What are your thoughts on them?

Dragon Age 2

The first Dragon Age, Dragon Age: Origins, was another of Bioware’s instant classics, along the lines of KOTOR. Origins was grand in scope, with the future of the world hanging in the balance. It’s a game that you can play multiple times and find something new each time you play it. When I heard that they were making a sequel, I knew that I had to get it as soon as it came out.

Dragon Age 2 has done some things to improve on the first game. The fighting is smoother. The talents are upgraded. The graphics are a lot better. Plus, they let you have the dog without having him use up one of your party slots. There are a few things about the second game that aren’t as good as the first one.

The scope, which they say is grand, you never see because you spend the entire game in one city. It just doesn’t feel like what you’re doing is all that important. The story is just not as good as the first game. Plus they brought back too many people from the first game. I can forgive bringing in Isabella because she was in the first game for all of two minutes. The others, however, are unnecessary. It’s like having R2-D2 and C-3PO in the Star Wars prequels. It’s stupid and takes away from a story that’s already lacking.

It’s still a fun game to play and I plan on playing it again.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2

The original Force Unleashed was an awesome game, so coming in, you expect the sequel to be just as good. It is. The gameplay is pretty similar. The graphics are a little bit better. The story is a little bit weaker, but it doesn’t bother me all that much. The only thing that really bothered me about this game was how short the game was. It took me all of maybe 7 hours of gameplay to beat it. The only saving grace is that because of how fun the game is, I’m going to play it again at a higher difficulty. The truly beautiful thing about this game, and it is a stroke of genius, is actually in the DLC level of Endor.

It’s a story in which you go down to Endor to stop the Rebels from blowing up the shield generator, as seen in Return of the Jedi. The great thing about that is that, as a follower of Vader, you’re fighting the Rebels, which means you’re fighting the Ewoks. When you fight the Ewoks, if you use a grapple attack, you punt the Ewoks 30 yards. The even greater thing is that it never gets old. I was taking damage from other opponents just to try to keep punting the little bastards. It was the most fun I’ve had in a single player game in a long time.