Tag Archives: Apex Legends

Exploring My Biases Against Certain Genres and Mechanics

Have you ever seen a trailer for a game and immediately knew it wasn’t for you? This happens to me consistently, and all it usually takes is a trailer or screenshot for me to see the mechanics at play to know a game isn’t for me. While I try to keep an open mind about every game, it’s a challenge for me to look at certain mechanics or genres and still feel compelled to play it despite what the critical reception is.

There’s been a lot of great games that have already come out this year, but I honestly haven’t played most of them because of this inherent bias I have against certain mechanics. It isn’t a qualitative judgement about the game or the mechanic in question, it’s just something I know won’t jive with me.

I guess you could just chalk it up to personal taste and knowing that every game isn’t made with me in mind, but sometimes I feel like I’m doing myself a great disservice from not giving these games a fair shake. That’s why I wanted to do a deeper dive into the elements and genres that immediately rebuff me, and try to get to the bottom of why that might be the case.

Starcraft 2 – Blizzard Entertainment


It’s weird to start this list off with something so broad and nebulous as “tactics,” but allow me to make my case. There are phenomenal tactics games out there that people have raved about for years that I’ll never play. Games like the X-Com series, Starcraft, and even the Divinity series all seem so interesting from a distance, but rebuff me the second I get a little too close. It’s hard to nail down exactly what it is about these games that’s kept me away, but honestly it’s less about an inner conflict with the mechanics themselves and more about me being incapable of properly strategizing a coherent plan of attack in these kinds of games.

Quite frankly, I’m miserable at these games to the point where they just feel overwhelming. Usually I end up walking away from these games feeling like an idiot because I’m just so bad at applying foresight to these combat encounters. There’s also the issue of learning the internal mechanics that make things work in these games. For instance, when I played Divinity: Original Sin II, not only was I having trouble figuring out a good plan of attack, but I was also trying to learn what spells and attacks were effective against the enemies and the environment. It felt like I was learning two games at the same time and failing at both.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Larian Studios

I’m not great at strategizing in general, which is why real-time strategy games like Starcraft and Warcraft never appealed to me. My only tactic is to build my army as fast as I can and click on enemy troops and buildings in the hopes something happens that I like. There’s also a lot of plate spinning in these games, where I’ll have to contend with a multi-pronged attack plan, while managing the defenses at my base, while making sure troop and supply production lines are working and so on and so forth. It’s a lot for me to focus on at once, and I inevitably fail miserably at each of them whenever I try to play one of these games.

There is one glaring potential exception to this however. At some point in the next few weeks, Baldur’s Gate III is supposed to enter early access. Now, I’m incredibly excited for the game for numerous reasons, but the main one at this point is because I know the inner working mechanics it’s going to be using. It’s running off of the Dungeons & Dragons 5e rule set, something I’ve become very familiar with over the years. It’s led to me looking at Baldur’s Gate III as less of a strategy or tactics game, and more of a way to play D&D by myself. There’s a lot of mental gymnastics going on in my head to make me feel at peace with Baldur’s Gate III, and I completely acknowledge that.

Magic: The Gathering Arena – Wizards of the Coast


Like most kids in the 90’s, I was a big fan of Pokemon and would consume everything it touched, from the show, the games, the toys, and of course the cards. The thing is, despite owning a ton of the cards and organizing them into a nice binder, I never actually did anything with them. I’ve never once actually played Pokemon as a card game before. I just wanted cool little pictures of them to collect.

That mentality has shifted as I’ve gotten older, but not in the direction of actually playing card collecting games (CCG) whatsoever. I’ve moved in the other direction, away from collecting cards and even further away from playing CCGs. There is something incredibly boring to me about building a deck of cards filled with spells, monsters and other stuff, and playing against other people with it. I’ve had people try to get me into Hearthstone and other games before, but I just don’t have the patience for any of them.

Hearthstone – Blizzard Entertainment

The CCG genre is incredibly popular and beloved by so many people, and I’m not trying to take anyone’s enjoyment of these games away from them. Focusing on games like this are extremely difficult for me because of just how slow and methodical they inherently are. You’re supposed to take your time and strategize, but as we’ve discovered earlier, I’m bad at that.

You might ask, “why not learn to play them so you can get better?” A good question to be sure, but I’ve only got so much time on this planet, that I’d rather not try to force a square block in a round hole for more of it than I already have to. CCGs are great fun for the people who can focus and really wrap their minds around them. Hell, my Discord channel is currently filled with Magic: The Gathering Arena optimal deck links and people constantly playing it. While I’d love to be able to engage my friends on this topic, I know it just won’t happen and I’ll end up just grousing about how much I dislike everything about CCGs to them.

Outlast 2 – Red Barrels


To be completely honest, I don’t know why people enjoy the horror genre in any aspect, whether it be games, movies, TV shows, or even going to haunted houses on Halloween. I don’t like any of it, and it’s because I don’t enjoy being scared. Nothing about the emotion of fear seems fun to me at all, and I don’t get how some people are so eager to get frightened.

I get that some people get a great adrenaline rush out of a scare, or can appreciate a nice haunted tone in a movie or game or whatever, but I’m not one of those people. To me, fear was something I wanted to avoid and steer clear of as best I could. I don’t enjoy feeling on edge, I don’t admire the artistic talent it took to evoke that spooky tone, I just don’t like any of it.

Resident Evil 3 Remake – Capcom

Call me a coward or whatever, but fear was just never something I actually wanted to experience. That’s why when people clamor about the latest Resident Evil game or talk about the masterpiece that P.T. was, I can’t even begin to have that conversation with them. They might be stellar games through and through, appealing to everything a horror fan wants, but to me they’re just an expensive way to feel uncomfortable and have nightmares.

Once again, you can enjoy and praise the horror genre all you want, but none of it is going to make me willingly pay money to be scared. We haven’t even talked about games that like to throw in a jump scare in it just to shake things up. Bioshock Infinite had one of those and I’m still angry at it for including it.

Final Fantasy VII Remake – Square Enix


If I’m being honest here, JRPGs combine two things I’m really not that crazy about into one package that I don’t have any reverence for. As far as anime goes, I think I’ve enjoyed maybe one or two of them in my life, and they’re pretty mainstream if I’m being honest. I know that people really enjoy anime, and I’m not here to take that away from you because I truly believe that certain anime media can be really cool, particularly in the badass fight scenes that I’ve seen posted online. Anime can be cool is what I’m saying.

But the other half of that equation, the turn-based RPG part of it? That’s the part that I can’t handle as much. In my life, I’ve played part of one Final Fantasy game, and watched a childhood friend blast through large sections of Final Fantasy VII when it came out. Both of those experiences were pretty agonizing for me. And I know it’s unfair to target the Final Fantasy series here, but they’re one of the few touchstones I have in this genre of games. I never had the urge to play anything in this genre, so I’m well aware that there might be something that I might find interesting somewhere out there.

Persona 5 – Atlus

Similar to my issues with tactics and strategy games, I’m just a poor planner when it comes to gaming… and probably everything else in my life. So making sure I’ve got the right party members, items and buffs never really appealed to me in video games. I used to point to the fact that taking turns in combat made no sense to me, but that’s a pretty juvenile argument that I no longer use especially considering my recent reverence for D&D.

The reasons I won’t play those games today has changed significantly since I was younger, but they basically boil down to the fact that a lot of JRPGs are way too long and dense for me. Those games usually have so much going on in them that I can’t keep up. It’s the same way I feel about intense classic RPGs like the old Fallout games or last year’s Disco Elysium. They’re highly regarded games that I just don’t have the patience for.

The Long Dark – Hinterland Studio


There’s the concept of “plate spinning,” or the idea that you need to manage and keep tabs on a lot of moving parts at once. I notice this mostly in survival games where you need to worry about your food, thirst, stamina, temperature and so on. Both this and time limits feel like two sides of the same coin that I want to just throw into a storm drain.

Sometimes these mechanics are intrusive and steal the focus away from anything else in the game. When that happens, a switch flips in my head that instructs me to stop any forward progression and just hoard everything I can find for the next few hours. Maybe that’s how you’re supposed to play the game, but it just feels like paranoia-fueled busy work to me.

Minecraft – Mojang

There are some exceptions to this rule however, and it only occurs when a game isn’t too intrusive about it. For instance, Minecraft has a hunger and stamina meter, but it’s such an afterthought that you really don’t need to do much aside from carry a few steaks on you at all times. The ‘survival’ portion of the survival mode in Minecraft mostly applies to you not dying in whatever monster-filled chasm you inevitably arrive at.

Even Red Dead Redemption II had some light survival mechanics that were easy to fulfill. If you find yourself in town, you might as well snag a hot meal and a bath and refill your dwindling meters. Both of those last for days as well, and you’re never really in danger of starving to death or passing out from exhaustion. It’s that kind of light touch approach that I can deal with when it comes to plate spinning, but games that are designed around your ability to multitask efficiently just stress me out.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds – PUBG Corporation


Remember back in 2017 when we could go places and do stuff but ultimately decided to stay inside and play PLAYER UNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds instead? I do. In fact, I played a whole lot of PUBG, to the point where it started to get tiring which ultimately led to me falling off of it about a year later. It was a marginally better time.

But now if you asked me to play a battle royale game with you, I’d probably find any excuse I could to avoid doing so. I don’t necessarily have anything against the genre itself, but I have played enough of one of the most popular ones out there to have had my fill with the genre entirely.

Ring of Elysium – Aurora Studio

This feeling was cemented when I tried to play Fortnite a few times, and bounced off of it almost immediately. From PUBG, to Fortnite, to Apex Legends, Ring of Elysium, Radical Heights and The Culling, I’ve played a lot of these games, and I think I’ve had my fill of the entire concept itself.

These games can still offer up a lot of entertainment and satisfaction, but they can also be sources of immense anxiety and stress. I’ll never forget the tension that would fill the air when you’d hear a gunshot ring out in the distance during a round of PUBG. Hell, everything in PUBG was incredibly tense when I think about it. The sound of a car, the sight of already opened doors, the literal ring of death that’s slowly closing in on you, it was all designed to be stress inducing.

Stress inducing as it was though, it was a lot of fun. But I just don’t think I need that in my life at this point. I like having stakes in games, I like tense moments, but battle royales seem to luxuriate and bask in these moments to the point of sensory overload for me.

A lot of what I’ve talked about here are just some personal examples of things that turn me off when looking into new games. They’re not value judgements or statements about the product itself or the people who actually enjoy them, they’re just my personal proclivities and nothing more.

Something also interesting to note is that just about everything I’ve listed here plays into my personal issues with anxiety and attention span. It’s weird how you can know all these various facts about yourself, but not be able to see how they’re all intertwined until you actually write them out and try to find a connective thread.

Ultimately I’d like to impress upon you that liking these things is totally valid and I want you to keep enjoying whatever it is you’re playing. If everyone felt the same way as I did, then these games wouldn’t be made anymore because people would stop buying them. The world is filled with different people with different tastes, and while some of these mechanics and genres aren’t for me, I celebrate the people who garner enjoyment from them in my place.

E3 2019: EA Play

Despite the fact that E3 technically doesn’t start for a few more days, we’re here to kick off the whole shebang with EA and their series of live streams.  The beginning of this year for EA was met with promise and praise thanks to surprise hit, Apex Legends.  Soon after though, their tent pole release Anthem, belly flopped onto the scene and continues to be a tumultuous game.

With that said though, this is some of the more interesting things that EA brought to the table this E3.


EA kicked off the show with arguably, the most anticipated EA game this year, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.  Boasting 15 “uncut” minutes of gameplay footage.  From the jump, I they showed off some wall running to meet up with Forrest Whitaker, presumably playing his Rouge One character.  Some cool touches were things like seeing the character use his lightsaber and a light source in a dark area along with using force powers to clear platforming paths for yourself.

A lot of the combat encounters early in the demo looked like they were crafted specifically for presentation purposes, cause a lot of the basic storm troopers just kinda stood there, waiting to get stabbed.

Eventually though, a tougher enemy showed up, and there was this brief one-on-one moment that looked like something out of Dark Souls, which seems like a great way to represent and experience the gravitas of a lightsaber duel.

There was a lot of wall climbing and running, and frequent use of a time slowing power that I wasn’t aware Jedi had, but it looked cool.

Another neat thing was seeing the storm troopers face off against local wildlife.  It doesn’t seem like something that will happen organically, but it was nice to know that these guys aren’t just solely waiting around for you to kill them.

There was a “high ground” joke made in the demo, so that was fun.

It seems to be implementing aspects from a lot of beloved Star Wars games, notably Force Unleashed and what little people saw of 1313.  One of the cooler bits I saw was a storm trooper fired a laser bullet, the player slowed time, pulled the trooper closer to him, and put him in front of the bullet he fired moments ago.

What I didn’t get from the footage was a sense of scale in the game.  The level they showed off seemed fairly linear, without much deviation from the critical path.  I genuinely hope that isn’t the case and there’s something similar to how God of War handled it’s world.

The combat looked very interesting to me as well, also bringing up comparisons to God of War.  Everything seemed deliberate and calculated, and the post reveal interview revealed that everything we saw was done on the fly.  The example they used was when the player pulled an enemy close to them and drove his lightsaber through them, that wasn’t a canned animation, but rather the result of button inputs.

One of the more interesting aspects here is that there isn’t much in the way of variation of the story.  Star Wars games typically lean into the light and dark dichotomy, but in Fallen Order, you’re playing a tailored story.  That isn’t a negative or positive thing, I just find it interesting that a Star Wars game is foregoing that weird expectation this time around.

The game looks extremely satisfying to play.  I hate to keep drumming up this comparison, but it looks like they took God of War 2018, and injected it with Star Wars.  The game is set to release on November 15th, and I for one, am eager to get my hands on it.


People really like Apex Legends.  In theory, I do too.  But it just never got its hooks in me.  So who better than I to talk about what they’ve announced for Apex Legends than myself?

They started by announcing a new event called, The Legendary Hunt which I guess is a ranked mode for those who want to be even more competitive in this battle royale game.

They also seem to be finally leaning into the cosmetic angles of a free to play game, by showing off what I assume are new skins.

Then they pivoted into their season 2 plans.  It launches July 2nd and is called Battlecharge.  Touting a new legend, a map event, a mode, a new battle pass and some balance tweaks.

For all the hype of a new weapon, it looks like an SMG that shoots lasers.  I think it’s from Titanfall 2, but I can’t be sure.  It seems to be very powerful and the interviewer seemed very excited for it, as is his job.

The battle pass is undergoing a lot of changes, making leveling easier and streamlining its usage. There’s also a competitive season ranked mode, in the vein of Overwatch ranked mode coming.

There’s some additional skins, but to honest, they all kind of looked lame.  With the exception of the gun with a rhino head on the front of it.

And then they revealed a new character named Wattson.  She’s apparently very smart and French, so that’s cool.  She looks to be a defensive oriented character, capable of putting up laser fences and turrets.  She looks like a tougher character to play because her powers are so interconnected to herself and her teammates.

Then they started saying some stuff that I couldn’t understand cause I don’t play Apex Legends.  It’s hard for me to be excited for or properly report on what this stuff is about, cause I’m just not a huge fan of Apex Legends.


In an attempt to drum up some hype for their fledgling release from last year, EA marched out a half hour of Battlefield V news.  Once again, I’m not a huge fan of Battlefield these days, but here we go anyway.

They announced a new map that unsurprisingly looks beautiful and chaotic as hell and should be out sometime in July.  Shortly after, they showed a sizzle reel of some other, equally pretty and chaotic maps that are due out in July.

It’s always really interesting to me that in these demos, they never show off the true gameplay loop of Battlefield.  There’s always a lot of people mowing each other down in mid to close range combat, but in reality, the experience is more of you spawning in, and then immediately getting sniped.

This entire section of the presentation felt similar to the apology tour they did last year with Star Wars: Battlefront II.  Not that they were apologizing, but they hammered the point home that they were responding to community feedback in crafting the new maps and modes.

It’s nice to see that EA isn’t straight up abandoning Battlefield V despite it under performing for them, but rather, supporting the community they have.  It seems like a course correction in the public image issues EA has had for a while, where they appear to drop any unsuccessful game instead of supporting it.  It’s a smart move, and I hope it’s indicative of a more permanent change as opposed to a temporary solution.

Anyway, this wasn’t what I’d call a super exciting portion of the presentation.  It felt like they took a map pack announcement trailer, and spread it out over a half hour.


Man, I don’t know.  They’re doing some FIFA Street style mode which seems like it could be fun, but I really am not the target audience on this one.  I mean, I enjoyed the “street” series of games they once made, but it isn’t enough to make me buy a FIFA game.

Also, I should mention, for the first half of the time slot for this presentation, they just talked about the concept of street football (soccer) instead of actually showing any gameplay.  I get it, I do.  There’s a massive cultural relevance for this product and mode, but it really felt like they didn’t have much in the way of additional announcements for the upcoming FIFA.

At this point I started to zone out and stare into the background of the shots.  There were a lot of people with umbrella hats on, and I’m so thankful for that.  They must’ve been selling them nearby, and even if they were free, they were too expensive.  Also, a lot of people waving in the background and generally being a nuisance.


Anthem showed up for a cool 3 minutes.  Basically a short apology tour, saying things like “we’re responding to the community” and such.  It was just standard stuff about how they’re fixing things and working hard.


Welcome to football town folks, they have more umbrella hats here.  This year in football town, there’s a career mode for your created player, new playbooks, challenges for ultimate team stuff, and something called “X-Factor abilities” which seem to be superstar specific buffs that you can unlock in-game by completing player specific challenges.

I think I went to the restroom while this segment was going on.  I don’t know, it’s a shiny new Madden that I’m sure people will love.


Rounding out the 3 hour event was The Sims 4.  They started with an expansion pack called Island Living, which looks like exactly what you think it would be.  Lots of beaches, jet-skis, sandcastles, and coral reefs.  Cleaning up beach garbage and beach parties were also in the mix, as well as a mermaid.

You can have dolphin buddies, which seems pretty rad.  And I’m pretty sure they just implied that mermaids and dolphins fuck.  So thanks for that disturbing visual, EA.

Oh good, they decided to play a video from a YouTube content creator.  An influencer if you will.  But this person did announce that The Sims 4 was including gender neutral and LGBTQ pride items to the game, which is very cool.

And then they announced a magic themed pack that’s coming later in the year.  So, Harry Potter fans, get pumped.

EA Play is a weird thing.  It’s like EA is trying to do both the established E3 event thing, and the streaming to consumers thing.  It isn’t a bad way to do a conference or event, but when there was so little to announce, it just felt lifeless.

I will say that I thought every host they had on the show, teetered between enthusiastic, and supremely annoying, but hey, that’s their job.  Aside from that, the biggest news has to be at the very end when a man in an umbrella hat, holding a camera and an anime body pillow stood in the background and waved at the camera.  Great job everyone.

Blog: Uncooperation – 04/17/19

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a real pain trying to find a game to play with my friends.  It’s difficult for a multitude of reasons, chief among them being our tastes, but platform differences and scheduling conflicts make it even harder.  I’m not surprised though, as we’ve all gotten older, gaming has kind of faded to the background for a lot of people, as it probably should.

This isn’t me renouncing my love of games or anything, but as we get older, our priorities change.  We all have such limited time to actually play anything together, and that’s probably the sign of a healthier lifestyle on all our parts.  For me, it’s been tough to even write the blog some weeks because I’m just not playing new games as frequently as I used to.  Once again, not an indication of me cancelling the only feature on this site that regularly updates.

But more to the point, the few friends I still do have that I talk to online all have vastly different tastes in games.  We tried all sorts of things on both extremes of our preferences.  I tried Divinity: Original Sin II, a game in which my friends love, but one that bores me to tears.  We all tried Battlefield together, but that game did nothing but frustrate everyone involved.  Hell, I even bought The Division 2 thinking that it would be a good middle ground for us, but alas, it wasn’t.

But that’s alright.  The more I think about it, the more insular I’ve become in my gaming habits.  I can’t recall the last time I’ve hopped into a multiplayer match of any game by myself.  People talk about playing a couple of rounds of Apex or Overwatch or whatever, and I just don’t know how they bring themselves to do it.  It just seems exhausting to compete with others after a day of work.  What my friends and I seem to crave these days is more of a cooperative experience over a competitive one.

I don’t know, the more I type this, the more I think I’ve written this same exact blog before.  But it’s one of those things that remains constant in my life and stands to become a bigger part of it as time goes on.  Maybe Borderlands 3 will be that game, maybe that World War Z game will do it, or maybe we’ll spend the rest of our lives trying to find the perfect game for us.


Blog: Apex Predator – 02/27/19

Apex Legends came out a few weeks ago to immediate acclaim and success.  It was more or less a surprise release that seemed to refine the battle royale genre of games, and produce something that positively builds on formula we’ve seen up till now.  Despite the heaping helping of praise that’s been dumped upon Apex Legends, I don’t know that I’m entirely jazzed to play it.

For context, I’ve played an hour or two of Apex, so I’m basically the leading authority on the topic.  What I played definitely led credence to a lot of the claims I had heard too.  Being a Respawn game, it just feels phenomenal to play.  It shakes the jankiness of PUBG and doesn’t require me to build anything à la Fortnite.  Instead it most closely resembles the Blackout mode from 2018’s Call of Duty Black Ops IIII, which for context, is a very good thing, but they differ in two very key ways.

The first and most obvious difference is price point.  Apex is free to play, which for reference, is cheaper than the $60 Black Ops IIII is.  Free to play while not only making a game more accessible to play, also seems like the only real way a standalone battle royale game can really survive these days.  It’s a smart play, and works even better when you have the potential for good cosmetics for people to buy.  Which leads us into the second main difference from the genre.

Apex is charming.  Both in map and character design, Apex Legends has a lot going for it.  People appear to really be resonating with the characters in a way I haven’t seen since Overwatch happened.  So I guess that means there’s probably a lot of porn of Apex out there, huh?  But considering the characters are already pretty beloved, that opens potentially profitable avenue for skin and taunt sales.  Which I’m pretty sure they’re already doing, but my point still stands.  A game that combines the potential profitability of Fortnite with the characterization of Overwatch can be a dangerously profitable concoction.

I just wish that I knew what I was doing in Apex.  I haven’t spent enough time with it to know the layout of the map, or what guns do what, or when to use character abilities or even just general practices I should be aware of.  I want to play more of Apex, but the concept of having to adapt to a new one of these kinds of games just seems exhausting from the outside looking in.  Luckily, I’ve got some friends to help motivate me and carry me through those early hurdles, but I don’t know that I’ll ever feel the battle royale fever again like I did when PUBG was released.

All things considered, I welcome our new battle royale overlord with open arms.  I don’t ever see Apex Legends ever being released on phones, but who knows?  I thought the same thing about PUBG, yet here we are.