The will likely be spoilers, but should I talk about something super new I'll warn ya. But consider this a pre-emptive warning! You're WARNED!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Yes, another NO MAN'S SKY post

No one can tell me this game isn't great after I discovered a GIANT SPACE CHICKEN. I watched him strut, run around, and kick up dust for a long time. He is my favorite everything. EVER. A++, worth the admission price, I love him so much, etc etc.

Friday, August 12, 2016

I Can't Stop Taking Screenshots in NO MAN'S SKY

Man, I love landing on new planets and moons in this game. What's it gonna be this time? A lush paradise planet? A barren, glacial wasteland? A toxic mess? Whatever it may be, you can be sure I'm gonna screenshot the shit out of it. Let me tell you, if you ever nerded out when looking at a vintage paperback from Tor or Ace or Fawcett or whatever, you'll probably screenshot the shit out of it, too, because No Man's Sky feels like stepping into one of those covers. Right? Hmm, that reminds me: I gotta name my next planet "Vallejo."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Few Days Exploring Under NO MAN'S SKY

No Man's Sky has finally arrived this week after years–YEARS–of hype, discussion, hype deflation, publicity, videos, and a near-constant chorus of gamers and non-gamers alike asking "What exactly do you do in this game?" You fly around in space, explore some of the 18 quintillion procedurally-generated planets, and...? It's been a bit of a mystery and it's caused much "buy or do not buy" waffling on the part of audiences, including this humble blogger. So, you're mostly just checking stuff out? Would that be enough to sustain interest? As exploration is one of my very favorite things to do in a game, I finally decided that yes, it would sustain my interest. I took the plunge, and now I can tell you what exactly you do and do not do in No Man's Sky. Maybe you're still waffling. Maybe you're anticipating. I don't know your business! I'm just here to help.

Oh by the way, "quintillion" is a real thing. It's a number with 18 zeroes. I believe it's derived from the Latin for "a fuck ton."

As the game begins, you wake up on a planet next to your crashed ship. To get off of this planet and continue your journey towards the center of the galaxy–ostensibly the goal of the game–you've got to fix your ship and its hyperdrive. And that's pretty much it. There are no "quests" per se beyond fixing your ship and traveling to another solar system. You are on your own to do whatever you want, and the game never really "ends", for once you reach the center of your galaxy you can simply zap to another one. Good luck, traveler.

my starting planet

Everyone's journey will be completely different, but the pieces of each journey are much the same. There will be survival involved, whether it's simply patching up the wear and tear on your exosuit or replacing the depleted shields that protect you from a planet's harsh environment. You'll be crafting–there's a lot of crafting, and you know how crafting can be in games. You want to craft item A, which is made by combining items B and C. So you have to craft those first, but you find that Item B is made by combining items D and E...and so on. It can be a pain to juggle all the materials necessary–including minerals mined and found–with your limited starting inventory space.

I lucked out with my starting planet. It was temperate and teeming with flora and fauna and resources. I spent my entire first session on that one planet! Given how much exploring you'll do, you be making discoveries, from endemic species to outposts and ruins. You can rename animals (and planets and star systems) if you want and upload them to the galactic database. A friend named one weird-looking thing "Tippy Toes Rude AF TBH", so if you should ever find the planet he was on, look out for that because it was mean. You may come across crashed ships that you're welcome to repair and take for your own. You may find monoliths or ruins that  impart a bit of history of an alien species, which will aid you in learning different galactic languages.

This is Stripy Pal

Those are most of the things you will be doing planetside. You can travel on foot or use your ship once it's fixed. How much joy this all gives you is up to...well, you. Perhaps by the second monolith you'll be bored out of your mind. Maybe you'll see another 8-legged cow-thing, except this one has fins and you'll find that's not enough variety for you because here's the thing: there are nearly countless permutations, but ultimately there are only so many building blocks for this universe. I've stopped on eight planets so far and they've all been wildly different. I've experienced a barren moon and an oceanic world dotted with tiny islands, a lush garden world, a pink radioactive nightmare world, and a place pulled straight from a Lisa Frank wet dream.

Likewise with the animals I've encountered. There's Stripy Pal up there. I had a massive, floating space crab follow me for a while after I fed it some iron. I was attacked by a herd of pissed off, bouncing space pineapples.

You can't tell size here, but this thing was the size of like five Buicks 

On the flipside of all of that, some people have started the game on Planet Clusterfuck, with limited resources and toxic environments, where they can't enjoy much because they're simply trying to survive. I can see how this might start your journey on a total downer and.

It's possible to make a beeline for the center of the galaxy with only brief stops for refueling, or you can explore every planet and moon you encounter along the way. It is total freedom, and for now I'm having a blast. I've never been able to resist a question mark that pops up on the radar, and I'm always curious about what may be lurking over the horizon. No Man's Sky is the ultimate "the journey is the destination" game; it ain't gonna be for everybody. It might be for some people for one or two sessions. For me, for now, it's pure space delight. Onward! Only 17,999,999,999,999,999,992 planets to go.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Stuff I've Been Playing Lately

Hi there. I know it's been pretty much forever since the last update, but trust: while I've been sadly ignoring this wonderful place, I have not been ignoring games. Not in the least! So I thought maybe a rundown of some of the stuff I've been playing lately might be in order. This wee list won't touch on everything I've done since we last spoke, but it basically represents the titles I've been putting the most time into (and the consoles on which I done did it).

1. Halo 5: Guardians and Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)

Dammit, Halo 5, why aren't you better? For all your gorgeous looks and smooth, smooth gameplay, you sure ended up as one big misfire. I get it: if the series is going to continue far into the future, it's going to have to move away from the established "Master Chief-as-main character" routine. I think we can all accept that–heck, there are already several games where we get to play as other characters. But Guardians goes about this in all the wrong ways. In it, we're Master Chief for but a tiny fraction of the missions; for the rest, we play as Spartan Locke, who is about as dull as a cardboard cutout. It's extremely difficult to care about Locke and his fireteam...but when we get back to Chief, it's equally unsatisfying because all of the character development and promise of Halo 4 is tossed out the window. Add to that an over-reliance the extended Halo universe (seriously, if you haven't read some books you'll be much less invested in the goings-on), several "missions" that solely consist of walking up to a character and pressing A, and well, the whole Cortana thing (trying not to give spoilers BECAUSE I CARE) and...the latest game in the franchise ends up being the leastest game in the franchise.

Still, playing it caused my Halo Fever to flare up and so I finally dug into the Master Chief Collection. Look, I just love Halo and I even say that as someone who never touches the legendary multiplayer. Playing through the entire saga from beginning to end does lend a bit of credence to that whole "games are so easy now" argument. I don't mean that in some judge-y way; ultimately I think accessibility is good for gaming as a whole. But there's no denying that Halo: Combat Evolved is a fuck ton more difficult than Halo 4, what with the latter's recharging health and ubiquitous waypoints.

2. Tom Clancy's The Division (PS4)

Y'all, I played the shit out of The Division for about six weeks and I dug it wicked hard. The setting–post-pandemic NYC–is stunning. The 3rd person gunplay is satisfying. The story is intriguing and the cast of characters is diverse enough to set my SJW heart all aflutter. Then I got to the endgame, such as it is. Then I got to that point–you know the one–where the grind becomes work instead of play and you wonder what the point of it all is. The problems and gameplay issues that you could once ignore become glaringly obvious and unavoidable, and your ardor cools and morphs into an almost active dislike. And though you no longer log in (none of the DLC sounds enticing enough to bring you back quite yet), you still find yourself rooting for the game. You hope that the devs will get their shit together and figure out how to balance the PvP, how to make its mobile game-style economy less terrible ("To unlock this one mission that gives you one kind of currency, you need to grind for this other currency. Then use a third currency to re-roll the mission rewards because everything is RNG on top of RNG. And don't forget about the other currencies! Have fun!"), how to make it feel at all rewarding once you're in the endgame. So for now, I read about it because I enjoyed it so much that I'd like to go back to it...but I fear it'll be a long, long while if ever.

3. Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One)

First of all, hey PS4ers, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be released for y'alls on October 11. FINALLY, RIGHT? It's shipping with all the DLC and extra goodies included in one tidy little package and if you are a fan of adventure games, I highly, highly oh-so-super highly recommend it. The story yer standard pulp adventure, and the cast of characters from Tomb Raider (2013) are missed. But many of the niggling issues from that game–namely "too much combat, not enough exploration" have been rectified. It's beautiful and dammit, it's fun. There are tombs to explore and cliffs to climb and ziplines-a-plenty. Surprisingly enough, one of the biggest highlights of the game for me has been the Endurance DLC, where you're dumped in the middle of the frigid Siberian wilderness with little more than the coat on your back. You're tasked with staying warm and fed, with scavenging enough materials to upgrade your equipment, and with finding as many relics as you can...and then calling in an extraction chopper and getting rescued. All the while there are bad guys and all manner of wildlife ready to eat you if you don't eat them first. I'm not one for these survival-type games as they usually feel more like a chore than anything else, but Endurance absolutely works for me. The hunger and warmth meters don't deplete too rapidly unless you find yourself unsheltered in the middle of a snowstorm, but the threat is always real and it's easy to end up in a bind. I've gone into many a dark cave in search of goodies only to linger to the point of near-starvation...then I rush to get out and hunt and I fall into a trap and die on the way. There's always that feeling of wanting to try again, to replay and survive longer because you know you can probably do better. And also you just unlocked a new outfit for Lara and you want to see how it looks in action.

4. Dex (PS4)

If "sidescrolling cyberpunk adventure with RPG elements along the lines of Shadow Complex" sounds at all appealing to you–and if it doesn't, WHY NOT WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU–then you owe it to yourself to give this indie game a try. You play as Dex, a young woman who becomes the target of the conglomeration of megacorporations known as The Complex. Before she can figure out what's happening, she's saved by a mysterious hacker who sets her on the road to fighting The Complex, getting all sorts of augmentations, and completing sidequests that can be approached in a plethora of ways. As you progress, you unlock equipment and abilities that allow you to reach areas that were previously inaccessible. Combat consists of melee combos and gunplay alike and while it's frequently challenging, it's never punishing. The art style, though simplistic, makes it feel like a modern spin on a 16-bit Blade Runner, and it's a treat to explore.

5. GTA V Online (PS4)

I go through phases where it's all I wanna play...and just FYI, that means long sessions where a friend and I repeatedly kill each other and go clothes shopping. I even made a little video showcasing our journey to becoming archenemies in the game (a journey that began about five minutes after logging in for the first time). He wins these encounters almost all the time, but I don't care. It makes me so happy. My character is the one with the blue hair, the one who obviously has a penchant for getting run over. Enjoy!

6. Life is Strange (PS4)

Oh my goodness, this game. It devastated me and left me a wreck and I'm not sure I'll ever recover. Yes, I'm talking about the cringeworthy dialogue that spouts from the mouths of teenage American girls but is written by adult French men! Ha ha, kidding. Well, not about the dialogue–it is cringeworthy but after the first episode (of five) you kind of get used to it and it's no longer much of an issue. It's the story that completely left me but a husk of a woman. Teenager Max discovers she has the ability to rewind time when she saves her childhood best friend Chloe from certain death. As the two girls get reacquainted, you do some light pointing and clicking and listening to indie rock and interacting and conversing and rewinding through life at Blackwall Academy. Before you realize it, though, Life is Strange gets fucking dark. Max has to make plenty of difficult choices as her powers begin to wane and a devastating storm appears outside of town. I finished it months ago and it still sticks with me. The first episode is now free on all platforms, so check it out if you dig story games along the lines of Telltale's Walking Dead series. I love Life is Strange and Max and Chloe forever, the end.

So there you go! As I mentioned, this isn't everything I've played, but it's all the stuff that's made the biggest impact. How about you? What's new? What are you playing? Are you as excited for No Man's Sky as I am? Yes, I even put it under NOW PLAYING in the sidebar even though it doesn't come out until Tuesday. That's how excited I am, and I hope to be playing it like mad for a good, long while.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Let Us Now Praise Pixelated Men

Despite the overwhelming amount of accolades Grand Theft Auto V received upon its release, I wasn't much interested. While I played the hell out of GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas back in the day, GTA IV left me cold. I was tired of the formula, tired of the series' problematic treatment of female characters, tired of being forced to play as a dude. Whatever my gaming life lacked by skipping the newest title was supplanted nicely by the Saints Row series, which is goofier and funnier than the GTA series and...GASP...even allows me to play as a woman.

And then I caved.

What tipped me over the edge? Something I surely never saw coming: the creativity of the fanbase. The amount of freedom one has in the world of GTA V–not to mention the enormity and detail of that world–has given rise to short films, nature documentaries, and much more. Specifically it was this, a reimagining of the trailer for the 1977 film The Car, that led me to pick up a copy of the game a few days later.

I want to make shit like that! The possibilities seem nearly endless...and with the full suite of in-game movie making tools coming soon to PS4 and Xbox One, I'm excited to see what I can come up with.

As for the game proper, I'm currently having fun in GTA Online. I can play as a lady! It is open world and open-ended enough that it almost feels like a crime-flavored RPG. You start out as a penniless, homeless thug and progress from there, taking on tougher and tougher missions and accumulating wealth, strength, and all the material items you can. Or you don't have to do any of that. You can do whatever you want! And when my character isn't holding up convenience stores, stealing cars, running from the cops, acting as a drug mule, or getting killed incessantly by high-level griefers, she walks the streets indulging in her secret passion: photography. She wouldn't dare tell any of her criminal pals about her desire to be Los Santos's answer to Mary Ellen Mark or Walker Evans, but her camera is always at the ready.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Until Dawn (2015)

It can be a hard knock life out there for a console-tied horror lovin' gamer like me. Sure, there are classics like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, but there is room in my heart for more. However, in recent years horror games have generally morphed into action games with a horror skin; while scaring the player still figures into the equation, newer titles tend to be fast-paced and combat heavy instead of atmosphere-laden mood and exploration pieces. (One need only look at the evolution of the Resident Evil games to get the gist–it's hard to believe that Resident Evil and Resident Evil 5 are in the same series.) Don't get me wrong, there are still flashes of brilliance–P.T. terrorized me more than anything else in my life ever has, Alien: Isolation is a fantastic fright fest, and even the lo-fi aesthetics of games like Home and Lone Survivor can belie some gripping experiences. But by and large, I'm always thirsty for new horror games that don't solely revolve around shooting monsters.

You can imagine, then, that I was really fucking excited for Until Dawn, a survival/adventure horror game that emphasizes story, character interaction, exploration, and decision making.

The plot features a setup that's straight from the early '80s heyday of the slasher flick: Ten friends spend the weekend at a remote mountain lodge, but after a prank goes awry, two of the party members end up missing and presumed dead. A year later, the remaining eight friends return to the lodge for another weekend, but guess what? They're not alone. Yep, it seems there's a masked killer on the loose. Go figure!

When dawn finally comes, the number of survivors remaining is up to the player. You're frequently faced with choices, from seemingly insignificant ones (do you give a sincere or a snarky response to an innocuous question?) to ones that can immediately result in life or death for a character (the killer is chasing you, do you run or hide?). Anyone who's ever yelled at the screen during a horror movie will delight in taking control of characters normally deemed moronic...and they'll find out how damn difficult it is to make a split-second decisions when you're in a panic.

Once the game gets rolling, it doesn't stop. The train is inexorable, and it chugs along...until dawn. There is no going back if you make a wrong choice or if you miss a clue whilst exploring, and you can only live (or not live, as the case may be) with your decisions. While some mistakes are obvious, the game will tell you what "butterfly effect" an earlier action has had. You know, like maybe that snarky response of yours hours earlier means that someone isn't exactly rushing to come to your aid now.

The characters, as you might expect, are also straight out of early '80s horror: there's the jock, the jokester, the mean girl, the probably final girl, the horny couple, etc. Before the action begins, you've got to wade through some dopey dialogue, and I admit I found myself saying "I don't care if any of these assholes makes it through the night." After all, most of the victims in a generic slasher flick are just there to be killed. If you can tolerate them before that, great...but chances are there are some you can't wait to see die just so they'll shut up.

But I'll be damned if everyone didn't grow on me during Until Dawn. I'm not saying the characters end up more than the archetypes they start out as, or that they ever have, you know, depth. But listen: when you are tasked with seeing a character through a particularly grueling sequence of events, you become very invested in their survival. I was shocked when I realized that the character I liked the least ended up being the one I was rooting for the most. Seriously, early on I was thinking that I'd try to get her killed intentionally I hated her so much. Her personality never really underwent a change, but damn, she endured so much that I wanted her to live. Ultimately, she didn't make it and it was sort of devastating, for the interactive nature of the game had us buddied up. I fucked up, and she died. As active participants, players bear a responsibility in Until Dawn that they don't in passive entertainment such as Friday the 13th. For a lifelong horror fan, it's a unique, terrific experience.

Gameplay is accessible even to those new to video games. Yeah sure, you need to have fast reactions much of the time, but it's generally little more than matching onscreen button prompts, moving a stick in one direction or another, or–in the most nerve-wracking sequences–not moving the controller at all because doing so will give away your location.

Until Dawn is frequently beautiful to look at, and also frequently very strange to look at. The odd mix of motion capture and animation often dips low into uncanny valley, leaving characters looking more like creepy robots than actual people. (It doesn't help when characters are made to resemble their real-life counterparts, such as actors Peter Stormare and Hayden Panettiere.) More often than not, however, your mouth will be agape at the visuals in, like, a good way. And also because of the gore. Oh yes, there's enough blood and gore here to do Tom Savini proud.

The story twists and turns, touching on plenty of beloved genre tropes and touchstones, and the horror pedigree of co-writer Larry Fessenden is readily apparent. (Do you love Larry Fessenden? I do. I don't love everything he does, but he's a cool cat and it seems like he loves horror as much as you or I.) If you like horror movies and video games, Until Dawn is absolutely a no-brainer.

My first playthrough saw only two of the eight characters survive. Can you believe that? I thought for sure I'd make only the right decisions and everyone would waltz out of that lodge alive and happy in the light of a new day. I mean, I have a horror blog. You don't get more expert than that!

Until Dawn is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

DESTINY: Fleece me once...

Pull up your pants, I'm about to say a lot!

I've never had as torrid an affair with a game as the one I've had with Destiny. Sure, I've loved plenty of games. Sometimes when I love a game so very much, the game alone isn't enough–I'll read crappy tie-in novels, soak up all the lore I can, make fan art, wear a t-shirt, whatever. I've bought some games that have stunk, but that's becoming increasingly rare thanks to the internet; with very few exceptions, I wait for reviews and/or price drops before committing. I've also played games that were perfectly enjoyable during the time I spent with them, but once they're over my brain somehow purges specific information like, you know, plot. All I'm left with is "That was a good game!" and that's enough.

And then there's Maude Destiny.

Last July, I voraciously consumed the Beta version of this first-person space shooter. I loved it so much that I felt no qualms about buying a deluxe edition of the game that included a pass for the first two expansions as well. I knew I'd play it, so why not save a little money up front?

Since Destiny released in September, my feelings have vacillated back and forth between love and hate so often that I'm not even sure what a feeling is anymore. I am a hollow shell of a person now, and so very tired.

Destiny is often mislabeled as an MMO. It's not an MMO at all–it's an online shooter with very limited story-based content and some PvP options. The key phrase here is "limited story-based content": developer Bungie and publisher Activision want you to keep playing, but after you complete the main story your only choice is to replay content again and again and again–in gamer parlance, to "grind"–in the hopes of acquiring better gear.

In order to keep you playing, there are roadblocks on your path to that better gear. Some daily and weekly activities drop loot, but they are not repeatable until the game world "refreshes" on Tuesdays. Some activities drop loot every time you play them, but only some players in your group will be rewarded. You might get something! And it might be great! Or it might be crap. Play the content again for another chance! It's a slot machine that doesn't take your quarters, it takes your time.

You can also buy gear from vendors with a currency called "marks". These are accrued in both the daily/weekly activities and PvP. But there are roadblocks here as well: you want that gun that costs 150 marks? Well, save up because you can only earn a maximum of 100 marks per week. Want that gun and a helmet that costs 75 marks? Well, you can't buy them both at once because you can only hold 200 marks at a time. It's a nefarious way to keep you coming back for more, even though that "more" is the same limited content you've been playing for months.

Sounds like a kick in the teeth, doesn't it? People who don't play Destiny don't understand why anyone would keep doing it. Heck, some people who do play Destiny don't understand why anyone would do it. The short answer is, the game is fucking fun. Even if you're re-doing a mission for the thousandth time, the gameplay is still solid. Anyone who's played a Halo game knows that Bungie can craft a shooter. (I fully admit: faith in Bungie is what had me fully onboard even after some doubts during the Beta. I count Halo: Reach amongst my very favorite games, and so I was excited to see what they could do with an entirely new universe.) Destiny simply plays really, really well...and my goodness is it pretty to look at. If you're a space nerd like me, it's a dream come true to run around Venus, Mars, all of it.

The limitations on content–whether it's weekly limits or the random number generator (RNG) of loot drops–keep people coming back like addicts constantly searching for that next high. Maybe you'll snap out of it, maybe you won't. Personally, I hit a wall about a month in. I realized that the limited content meant one thing: I was grinding for better I could be better at grinding. What was I going to use that exotic pulse rifle on, except the same story missions or PvP maps yet again? I found myself irritated with the lack of content. I found myself irritated that what story there was simply wasn't very good–and to actually get it all and understand it all, you had to collect "grimoire cards" that are unlocked at random locations and times, or hidden around the game maps. To read them, you have to visit Bungie's website. Yup, the story and lore and context is mostly told bit by bit through digital trading cards you might find that can only be accessed outside the game.

My feelings were definitely on the "hate" end of the spectrum at this point, but I was already signed up for the expansions so I knew there was more on the way. I had hopes it would get better.

The first expansion, The Dark Below, hit and I was eager to jump back in.

I finished all the story missions–which re-used areas I'd already played through–in 15 minutes.

I didn't bother with any of the new PvP maps, or the new strikes (specialized missions requiring a fireteam). I shut the game off and didn't touch it again until the second expansion (House of Wolves) dropped.

With good reason, I wasn't expecting much. But my heart still had hope in it because, as I said, the game is fun. I like playing it, and I want it to be good. I know it can be! The potential is there! WHY WON'T THE GAME JUST BE BETTER?

Well, House of Wolves is much much better. The story, though still short (and still based largely in areas already used), is the best in the game so far. It is coherent! It is lively!

There is also a new arena/horde mode, some new PvP options, new strikes...House of Wolves feels worth the $20 it cost, whereas The Dark Below felt like a total and complete rip-off at the same price.

In fact, House of Wolves put me right back in those September feelings: I was addicted again! I was grinding again, yes, but I was having fun!

At E3 earlier this month, Bungie announced The Taken King, a bigger, better expansion due in September at a bigger, better price of $40. Finally, we'd see some new areas! Our characters would get a new subclass of skills! There's more, more, more...and I was in. House of Wolves felt like Bungie was really moving in the right direction, and though $40 is not nothin', it doesn't seem egregious for the amount of content on the way.

Then they announced all of the Destiny packages available at different prices.

Now, let me say up front: I generally don't have a problem with DLC. As An Old, I realize that the price of games has not gone up since the days of the Atari 2600. Accounting for inflation, prices have actually dropped despite the fact that game budgets have gone up and up. If DLC gives me more of a game I'm enjoying and the price is right, sign me up.

Also, as any gamer knows, prices drop over time. A year after release, a $60 game might be available for $40 or even $20. Eventually, games that have a lot of DLC might get a "Game of the Year" edition, which includes all of the DLC at a bargain.

None of this makes what Bungie is doing with The Taken King sting any less. Look out, here come some numbers!

For $85, I got Destiny and the two expansions. As the expansions are $20 each, I saved a whopping five dollars by buying the package.

Now to get The Taken King, I am to spend an additional $40. So we're at $125 for a Day One veteran. Yikes! But not so yikes. I don't buy a lot of games new or at full price, and for the number of hours I've gotten/hope to get this isn't such a bad deal. However.

Bungie will be selling a new edition of Destiny that includes the game, the first two expansions, and The Taken King for $60. Again, see above: I get price drops. But by the time The Taken King arrives, House of Wolves will only have been out for about four months. So all of the Year One content–what I paid $85 for–is only worth $20? What a fucking deal for newcomers!

But Bungie wasn't done there! They're releasing a Collector's Edition with some real-life goodies and some in-game goodies for $80. The digital version–where you don't get the real-life goodies–costs the same. So if a Day One veteran player wanted those goodies, they'd have to fork out money for content they already own in addition to The Taken King, which would bring their total so far to (at least) $165.

As you might imagine, people were upset.

Last night, Bungie responded. They heard the complaints, and wanted players to know that the complaints were valid...that to get the goodies, you shouldn't have to re-purchase the vanilla game and the two expansions. In response, veteran players can buy the digital goodies (which totals nine cosmetic items) for $20.

$20 for nine cosmetic items. That is the price of–no, that's more than I paid for each expansion.

So for $60, a new player will get Destiny, The Dark Below, House of Wolves, and The Taken King.

For $60, I will get The Taken King and nine cosmetic items, six of which are class-based so they can't be used by all your characters.

As you might imagine, people are still upset. But wait, there's more!

Bungie also announced a promotional partnership with Red Bull. In July, some specially marked cans of Red Bull will have codes to unlock some story content in The Taken King when it launches in September.

Content that will unlock for everyone in January.

That means when you drop $40 on The Taken King, you will be paying for content you can't access until January...unless you drop some more money on Red Bull to access it early. But wait, there's more!

Even the stores where these Red Bulls will be sold are under timed exclusives: they'll be at 7-11 in July, and other stores in August.

I have been very forgiving with Destiny. Never a strict apologist, because I know how flawed the game is. I understand why people gave up on it in September, or any time since then. But because I like playing the game and I remember Bungie's past efforts, I was willing to overlook many of the problems. I was willing to hang on in the hopes that the game would get better. I was willing to open my wallet to support the gameworld and the developer.

But this? This is a developer and publisher blatantly taking financial advantage of players. It reeks of the worst that video games has to offer: the cash grab. It's disgusting, and I just can't support it or make any excuses any longer. It sucks, because I fucking love Destiny. I can always play what I've already got (it's all digital, so I can't sell any of it), but it won't feel the same. But for new content, I'm tapping out. Fleece me once, shame on me. Try to fleece me again, go fuck yourself.

I'll always remember our time on Venus. And that other time on Venus. And those other million times on Venus because holy shit, Destiny could also be called Groundhog Day because I just played the same shit over and over. Why am I sad again?

But it's so pretty...

See? It's a torrid affair!