Author: thegamestationblog

School Safety And How It May Be Improved

Not too far away from my school, there was an active shooter situation. I believe that this, alongside other school shootings that have happened since the beginning of 2018, warrants a blog here talking about it. Now, one of the biggest things that impact a school shooting is school security. So, in case anyone is reading this that can impact schools, I’ll delve into that. The other biggest factor is the attitude of students within the school, which I’ll also talk about here.

A school’s security is its only line of defense against a shooter, and thus must be strong. Firstly, a bad idea is to have doors leading to the outside have glass in them. Now, there are always windows, and perhaps glass doors make the front more attractive. But who’s to say the guy won’t just smash a window anyways? Doors have to be secure, as they’re the most obvious and easiest point of entry. From your doors in, you should likely then have a difficult way to get to the school’s population. I’d recommend another set of doors before you get into the building proper, and don’t make the inner doors have glass in them, either.

Of course, there is no shooter scenario if there is no shooter, that much is obvious. One of the biggest things a school can do to help prevent the creation of a potential shooter is to lessen bullying. This prevents the possible mental stress a student may go through, and therefore lessen the chance of these types of thoughts happening in that student’s mind. The next important thing is to have everyone see what others are posting and don’t move past it like it’s empty. Reporting someone who is acting suspiciously is a very big part of prevention. Other than that, it’s mostly up to mental health services to assist students in getting help if they have thoughts like this, and up to the potential student to seek assistance.

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Dark Souls Remastered And Its Trouble

Dark Souls Remastered seems to be in a bit of a strange spot for veterans of the Dark Souls franchise. While the game at first seemed like it could fix the dramatic issues of Dark Souls 1, the title’s network test has shown issues with the port. It has fixed certain glitches which had been accepted by the community as techniques to use in combat while preserving parts of the fighting system meant to be in place that the community loathed.

In particular, this issue is exemplified by of “dead angling,” a technique which two-handed weapon users could help bypass the defenses of a player using a shield if they swung to the side of their target. This was a glitch in From Software’s view, apparently, as they removed it in the remaster network test. This was to the anger of certain fans of Dark Souls 1, as a build such as “Giant Dad” was make weaker by this while it’s weakness, backstabbing, was kept in what most players see as an unfair system. The game seems to cater to newer players from Dark Souls 3 as well, as the co-op system has been expanded upon so that a single game can handle 6 concurrent players.

Overall, the Dark Souls remaster seems to be in a problem spot. Veterans of the franchise, from what I’ve seen, are not hyped for the game, so From Software will have to rely on the players it got when it released Dark Souls 3. This is made an issue, as Dark Souls 3 let the franchise into the mainstream. The game, however, has been barely updated visually. While motion blur, a feature hated by most, has been added, textures have barely been touched. Let’s just hope these new players aren’t graphics-sticklers.

But, that’s my opinion based on what I’ve seen around Dark Souls Remastered. What do you guys think? Is my evaluation correct? Have I missed some crucial part of the rerelease? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Huge Walmart Canada Games Leak

Just two days ago, a large number of unexpected games appeared on the Walmart Canada store page, leaking a significant amount of possible E3 surprises. So, if you want to be surprised by everything you might see at E3, don’t continue reading. This is your only warning. So, let’s get into what Walmart Canada leaked accidentally.

So, already announced titles such as The Division 2, The Last of us 2, and others. However, the leak also ended up showing off other games that we haven’t gotten an announcement for. For example, Rage 2 was a part of the leaked games, a sequel to the… well, I actually don’t know much about Rage. If you liked it, good for you. However, much more anticipated titles have been leaked as well.

In the leak, games such as Gears of War 5, Just Cause 4, and Borderlands 3 made an appearance with placeholder graphics. I anticipate Gears of War 5 and Borderlands 3 to do well, as Gears of War 5 was highly acclaimed when it released. Borderlands 3, while it’ll likely be similar to 1, 2 and the good parts of the Pre-Sequel, I am somewhat excited for. I probably won’t go out of my way to get it, but if it’s good I just might do something on it.

Of course, with all leaks, these titles aren’t promised. I do not claim that these titles, except for those already announced, are in existence, though some are likely to exist and I hope they do exist. But, I guess that’s where you guys come in. Do you think this leak is reliable? Leave it in the comments below.

The Battle Royale Craze

It seems the hot new genre of 2018 is the Battle Royale. Battle Royales have been around for a while before this year, of course, but they started to take off around late 2017 and this year. The genre has a storied history, with loose connections to ancient mods such as DayZ. The connection comes from H1Z1, an old game that had lots of promise before its developers failed to deliver. However, they did create H1Z1: King of the Kill, which helped ignite the genre after The Culling failed.

Now, most modern genres begin as a clone of a certain title. Games similar to CoD such as Battlefield and Medal of Honor used to be CoD clones, but the Battle Royale genre bears no such title. This is likely due to the ever-shifting nature of Battle Royales, which has only just now begun to stabilize. For example, the first Battle Royale game to become popular and stay popular was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but the genre isn’t called Battlegrounds-clones or something similar. This is likely due to the early instability of the genre when it was first created.

However, I still haven’t gotten around to why the genre has become a craze. The Battle Royale genre came into existence as a new wave of gamers entered the market, allowing for an explosion in player base, and more importantly for companies, revenue. PUBG’s publisher has become vicious in the defense of their brand against competitors both on mobile and on desktops, such as PUBG-clones on mobile (as in actual clones) and the other, now more popular title Fortnite: Battle Royale. This leads me to believe that the Battle Royale is now a new trend, which will only attract more and more people. Thus, I declare a Battle Royale craze… if I had any authority to, but I don’t because I’m just one person. Leave a comment below if you agree.

The Death of COD Singleplayer

The Death of COD Singleplayer

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will not be including a campaign mode. This comes from a series that was founded on singleplayer experiences, but I can’t say that a move like this has been unexpected. Each year since the addition of multiplayer, the campaign modes got worse and worse, and now Treyarch and Activision have decided not to include one this year. However, I’m scared of what it could mean. They say they’ve done it to better the multiplayer experience, but that’s rather vague considering some other tactics they’ve done before.

Based off of the industry’s previous actions, they love to jump on the latest-and-greatest money-making strategy. Last year, the triple-A games industry pushed for loot boxes, which have luckily been put under a heavy taboo to the point where announcing you won’t have loot boxes in your games has become a selling point after seeing Overwatch’s success using the business model. The year or so before that saw the implementation of microtransactions in triple-A titles after they saw the success of other triple-A titles with them.

This makes me think of what this year’s trend seems to be: Battle Royale games. Now, keep in mind that what I’m about to state is entirely speculation. I think that a new Battle Royale mode could be what Activision has decided to replace the singleplayer mode with. I say Activision specifically since Treyarch has been improving some aspects of the campaign mode of the Call of Duty games that they have made. We’ve already seen huge success with titles such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite: Battle Royale, and big companies, as previously outlined, follow the money. I just hope they actually decide to improve the multiplayer rather than “improve” it with another option that will soon most likely flood the market anyways.

But, what do you guys think of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4? Do you think that the removal of singleplayer could result in the addition of a Battle Royale mode, or do you have trust in Activision and Treyarch? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

Vintage Gaming — Age of Empires 2

Age of Empires 2 is an interesting game to me. It’s an old strategy game that seems to have a small but still expanding community, and the series’ age seems like it would put it out as a candidate for any modern developments. However, Microsoft has recently picked up the RTS series once more with Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, Age of Empires 2: HD and Age of Empires 4. The games seemed interesting enough, and I’m a fan of RTS’s, so I picked Age of Empires 2: HD up and began playing it last week.

The game is an isometric-viewed RTS, with pixel-style graphics typical of that of the late 90’s and early 2000’s used in RTS games. This game was by-far one of the most popular, with other companies making titles such as Age of Mythology and even a Star Wars spin-off called Galactic Battlegrounds. This was the RTS king. Its influence lasted through the 2000’s, with its style of unit creation and base building being maintained as the norm. However, the MOBA-RTS hybrid has recently usurped the genre, to many RTS fans’ sorrow.

From what I’ve played of Age of Empires 2 HD, it well deserves its reputation as a really good RTS game. Graphics have never been an issue for me, but if they are for you, I’d say ignore them if everything else sounds enjoyable or just skip it. The game balances its civilizations around starting bonuses, exclusive technologies, and variations on the basic technology tree. Some civilizations don’t get certain upgrades while others do. The game plays heavily around each battle fought, with players wanting to drain the others of resources or simply overwhelm them in order to win the game. Players have to “age up” in order to explore more buildings, units, and upgrades from their tech tree. This aging system begins in the Dark Age and goes up to the Imperial Age.  I, personally, favor an expansionistic strategy with a focus on early harassment and denial of worker time and resource nodes, but there are other strategies such as Fast Castle (where you rush to Castle Age as soon as possible in order to produce Castle Age units to combat Feudal Age ones.)

Overall, it’s quite a good strategy game, but to cover it properly I’d want to do it in another form of media. Also, this might become a series where I cover older titles I have in my Steam library.

But, that’s my opinion on Age of Empires 2 HD and the series. What do you think of this game series? Does it have as much influence as I say it does? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

The Skyrim VR Problem

The Skyrim VR Problem

Skyrim VR is the 5th version of Skyrim to be released, not including ports to next-generation consoles, and is the third game released by Bethesda in VR. The issue that most people see with Skyrim VR is its price, as this nearly 7-year-old game is still 60 dollars. However, I think this pricing is fair, as games like Skyrim and Fallout 4 are triple-A titles that have to be reworked in order to be playable in VR. To be fair, the cost of developing for VR is likely costly, as you have to ensure that the movement systems in-game do not make you nauseous, as motion sickness is a real issue for people using VR. Therefore, I think the standard price tag is fair.

However, there’s more to it than just making the game be in VR that makes it worthwhile, so I suppose I should delve into my first impressions of it. The game gives quite an impressive sense of scale, to the point where things I previously thought were small, such as the Standing Stones, were larger than me. I felt tiny in comparison to Bleak Falls Barrow, as the massive ruins stood above my head. The graphics of Skyrim VR are good enough to keep me immersed and assuming more realistic fighting positions if I was in a dangerous area.

The combat in the game, at least with sword and board and dual-wielding, feels nice enough. When dual wielding, you can be an absolute monster if you swing quickly enough, as attacking with both weapons simultaneously can now be done without a power attack. This means you can deal massive amounts of damage in a short amount of time. Sword and board require good placement of your shield, but in exchange for this increase in difficulty in relation to base-game Skyrim, you can now swing your weapon while your shield is up. Overall, I’d say my experience with combat has been good, and the menus have been alright (though I’d prefer more interaction with the environment itself rather than inventory menus.)

But that’s just my opinion on Skyrim VR. What do you think of what’s been done? Do you think they’re charging too much for the title?