Is…is that a new Street Fighter EX game?

So it looks like we’ll soon be welcoming to the fighting game ranks a new Street Fighter EX game.

…get hype?

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That’s exactly what I stammered upon seeing this the other day:

It HAS to be, right? Those characters, that music…ahhh…the memories.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to blather on about my history with Street Fighter or the middling relationship I have with Street Fighter EX 3 (the only SF EX game I’ve played), mainly because I’ve been there, done that. (Though, I will shamelessly plug our YouTube channel where you can check out the one Street Fighter EX 3 video that I made before our PS2 died.)

But there are a couple interesting things about this right and ready teaser, which was just shown at EVO 2017. The first is that the “Street Fighter” name is nowhere to be found. And neither is Capcom — the original Street Fighter EX series was collaboration between Capcom and Arika, a company that was formed in the 1990s by former Capcom…

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Playing Games Past Their Prime

In gaming, there remains something special about cracking open a fresh, new game on day one and playing it along with everyone else in the world. In the past, that “world” might have only consisted of a small group of friends; nowadays, when we play a new game, the literal “world” plays with us. This I contemplated recently on Virtual Bastion, particularly as much of my present gaming has been spent in the past. Is there something to be said of playing games past their prime?

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I’m about to type something that might prove…irksome.

Ahem.

I don’t get Shadow of the Colossus.

Oh, I heard that gasp! alright. But hear me out. I’ve only just started the game and have taken down a mere four colossi. It took me three of them to really understand the controls and tactics of the game, so I feel like I’m off to a slow start anyway. I see where the story’s going, but it’s far too early to know exactly where it’ll lead. And it’s is a really gorgeous game, so I’m not balking at its look or style. It’s just…well, it doesn’t feel terribly compelling at this point, because all I’ve done so far is find colossi and take them down. And while the battles with them have been amazingly intense, I feel like I must be missing something.

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All the games I didn’t buy, and one I did, from Steam’s Summer Sale

This year’s Steam summer sale has come and gone. (Now, tis but a memory…) This sale, and it’s wintertime sister, don’t quite hold as much magic for me as they once did, but they are still fun to peruse. This summer I expended my pennies on one game only, and I saved the rest for a rainy day. If you like frugality, then check out this article I wrote for Virtual Bastion about all the money I didn’t spend during Steam’s Summer 2017 sale!

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Last week, Steam’s hallowed Summer Sale began. Yes, that one of two times a year when folks can pick up a plethora of games, mostly old(er) but sometime new, for pennies. Though my wallet would like otherwise, I am not immune to Steam’s charms during these sales. In the past, I’ve used the Summer Sale to clean out my wishlist of most of the 99-cent to ten-dollar steals that pop up in order to have plenty to play over the fall and winter. (Until Steam’s Winter sale, when again my wallet cries out in agony, and I silence it ever so gently with a “shhh, it’ll be alright.”)

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Into the Chaos: Borderlands 2

You know when you start playing a game that you think you’re not going to enjoy, and it turns out that not only do you enjoy it, but it affects your entire outlook on games? That was my experience with Borderlands 2. Head on over to Virtual Bastion for the full article.

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Borderlands 2 and I shouldn’t have gotten along. It’s an first-person shooter, and a fairly aggressive one at that. It strongly suggests the addition of teammates. It’s tiredly open-world. It contains only limited role-playing elements. There are no difficulty options. Its story seemed to require prerequisite knowledge from the first game.

Well, what’s that they say about not judging a book by its cover?

Turns out that I had Borderlands 2 all wrong.

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Top 5: Favorite Open-World Games

So here’s a story. I just started replaying Skyrim. The end.

Well, I didn’t say it’d be a very exciting story.

I’ll have more to say on Skyrim later this week, but for now, it’s worth revisiting this post I recently wrote for Virtual Bastion on my some of my favorite open-world games. Sans, Skyrim. But I already told you that story.

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As much as I enjoyed my first trek through Mass Effect: Andromeda, the game left me a bit soured with regard to open-world games. Surely the feeling is only temporary, but as I search for something to take its place that’s not Borderlands 2 (so fun!), I find myself avoiding anything that resembles an open-world experience (even though Borderlands 2 does kinda, sorta fit that bill). The dilemma, though, lies in the fact that I’ve woven my way through some fantastic sandboxes in the past, so why not pick one to play again or for the first time? Why not choose an open-world game that gives players freedom, provides an excellent story and a beautiful (or beautifully dangerous) environment, along with substantial or unusual side quests that are worth pursuing? Once I started looking at my options, the floodgates opened. I eventually came up with many more than five…

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More screenshots from Mass Effect: Andromeda

Just because I’ve put Mass Effect: Andromeda on pause for the moment, it doesn’t mean that it’s left my purview entirely. Oh no, in fact, I finally had the chance to review my plethora of screenshots recently, which prompted me to put together a new Screenshot Theatre video for Virtual Bastion’s YouTube channel. Like the last one, this one short and sweet, and quiet. So if you have a spare three minutes, click, kick back, and enjoy the scenery.

77 Hours Later, and Mass Effect: Andromeda is in the Bag

ICYMI, I barreled through Mass Effect: Andromeda all the way to the very end. And by “barreled through,” I mean that if I had had two actual free week to complete the game, then maybe my description would be more accurate. Still, me getting through a single game in less than three months is nothing short of a miracle, so my words stand. To see those words, which involve lots of spoiler-free thoughts on the game itself, just click below to see them on Virtual Bastion.

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Actually, 77 and one-half to be precise, but who’s counting? Me, that’s who, because I really can’t believe that I spent anywhere near that time in the world of Mass Effect: Andromeda. But there it is, and now it’s time to talk about it. Where to even begin?! There’s so much to unpack here, but I’m going to keep things streamlined and spoiler-free (but no less opinionated) by exploring the game through five topics: story, missions, characters, gameplay, and graphics. I’m also going to aim to keep the previous Mass Effect games out of the picture. As bound in that universe as Mass Effect: Andromeda is, it’s a different animal from the original trilogy.

TL;DRMass Effect: Andromeda is a solid and enjoyable game with its own set of issues and quirks, none of which significantly detract from the overall experience.

Now, if you want to read, continue at…

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Resonance: Two Favorite Songs to Soothe a Troubled Mind

I think we can all agree that music is brilliant. It weaves through our lives overtly and discreetly . Through it, emotions are heightened as well as dampened. Much that same can actually be said of video games, eh? With that in mind, over on Virtual Bastion I recently covered two of my favorite game songs that help bring things down a notch during stressful times. Considering world events, I think I’ll just stick these songs on repeat today.

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Upon completing my post from last week in which I referenced the soundtrack to Red Dead Redemption, I immediately had to listen to it again. I remain amazed at just how cohesive and brilliant it is in all its “Old West” mimicry. And, as much as it made me want to roam the prairies of New Austin once again, it also had a great side effect: it served as some much needed stress relief.

Granted, not all the sounds of RDR are serene enough to keep sleeping bandits at bay, but one of the early songs off its soundtrack, “Born unto Trouble,” is enough to promote a few healthy, quiet breaths.

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