S04E38: Fall Gaming Slump?

We’re in a bit of a new gaming funk, but we still managed to play some games. Mike played more with his SNES Classic, and the Modern Warfare beta with Ben. Along with the beta, Ben played Final Fantasy XIV and Red Dead Online with Jake, who also played some Final Fantasy XIV and MLB The Show.

Sony has announced their next State of Play, we have an upcoming open beta for Nioh 2, the announcement of a new Terminator game, Rockstar releasing their own game launcher on PC, the first three Dragon Quest titles coming to Switch, and another big setback for Anthem.

Bonus Round is our favorite announcement from Tokyo Game Show!

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S04E37: Wrestling with the Nintendo Direct

Through rain, heat, or other weather not specified, the games go on! Mike has ended his time with Wreckfest sooner than expected, but bounced back with Fire Pro Wrestling World, along with a bunch of classic wrestling games; Ben never stopped playing Final Fantasy XIV for even a moment and has Control on the horizon; and Jake is right with him on Final Fantasy XIV, while also grinding away at MLB The Show 19.

Nintendo leads news this week with a recap of their latest Direct, Sony reveals their lineup for Tokyo Game Show, the final chapter of Celeste has been released, a very confusing schedule for the Modern Warfare beta, Star Ocean: First Departure R gets a release date, and Sony redesigns the box art of most of their first-party titles.

Bonus Round this week is a recap of Week 1 in the NFL!

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S04E36: Whereabouts of Yakuza and La Mulana

The new NFL season is upon us, but games come first! Mike has continued to tinker with his SNES Classic, but also found time for starting both Wreckfest and Risk of Rain 2, Ben is deep into Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood expansion, and Jake played all the way through Control.

In news, we have the announcement of the next Yakuza title, a surprise release of Risk of Rain 2 on consoles, La Mulana 1 & 2 coming to PS4 next year, Castle Crashers Remastered coming to Nintendo Switch and PS4 this year, the next chapter of the Dark Pictures Anthology releasing in 2020, and an upcoming announcement of a new game in the Resident Evil franchise.

Our Bonus Round this week is previews and predictions of the NFL season!

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Review: “Remnant: From the Ashes”

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Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Price: $39.99

Written by Ash Anderson

After the release of Dark Souls III in 2016, developers buckled down to perhaps conjure up a title that would fill the vacuum in a now-Souls-less marketplace. Thus began the era in which we live currently: that of the Souls-like. They’re not hard to recognize. Generally taking place in a world without much backstory, a Herculean task is thrust upon the player – a task for which, in most cases, they are ill-prepared. And so they begin their trek, slowly but surely acquiring new equipment (or abilities) that is upgraded by a precious currency.

Gunfire Games (Darksiders III) has attempted to not only fill the gap, but also introduce a brand new way to play with Remnant: From the Ashes, a third-person shooter with many familiar systems from the Souls series, including three-player co-op. There’s a lot to admire in a world that’s been overtaken by a malevolent force known only as The Root – quasibiological creatures driven by a mysterious hivemind. You begin your journey in Ward 13, the last known bastion on Earth. Inside you’ll find merchants, an armorsmith, a weapon vendor, and refugees that have some interesting dialogue if you’re willing to talk to them.

Unique to Remnant is its talent system. You begin with only a couple of them unlocked – maximum Health and maximum Stamina. However, over the course of the game, depending on your penchant for exploration, you may unlock an entire cavalcade of character enhancement ranging from a boost to your Experience gain, debuff duration, weapon modification boosts, and more. Unfortunately, due to the procedurally-generated world, not all talents will be unlocked by all players.

Players are able to “reroll” their entire campaign in order to farm drops, bosses, and loot. But this isn’t always a boon: minibosses can spawn with random modifiers that can drastically increase (or decrease) their difficulty, leading to frustrating deaths simply due to a random number generator. What’s more is that more than a handful of mandatory bosses didn’t seem to be balanced for solo play. Even leveling a great deal further than was necessary for a certain area boss, I wasn’t able to claim victory without turning my game Public simply because a boss required us to defeat it in a very specific way – one that I really don’t think would be possible running solo.

The upgrade system is rather sparse, too. Weapon and armor upgrades take a very linear path, requiring one variant of Iron (Forged Iron, Galvanized Iron, etc.), with very few outliers. Boss weapons require a different currency, but that’s about as much variation as is available in the game as of this writing. It’s disappointing, really, as the world seems to have a tremendous amount of lore underneath its shell. It’s beautiful, grotesque, and often mesmerizing. There’s the making of a great game here, but it’s often bogged down by trying to do too many things at once.

Grade: B-

S04E35: Collections, Collections, Collections

Written reviews are coming to the Not Without Merit Podcast! Check out our website starting this Friday!

Game releases are back and so are we! Mike picked up Slay the Spire, but also started up Final Fantasy VI, Ben tried out the Modern Warfare alpha test while continuing with Final Fantasy XIV, and Jake bought Control, and played more of MLB The Show, Judgment, No Man’s Sky, and more!

We lead off with our PS+ games for September in news, collections for the Mega Man X titles and a Aladdin/Lion King combo pack, the revival of Telltale games, and a Fortnite/Borderlands crossover event!

Bonus Round this week is a chat about recent NFL news along with a look ahead at this season, as well as the future of the NFL.

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S04E34: Gamescom Recap

News is back finally, but first we game! Mike finished his playthrough of EarthBound, while continuing his endless journey through Warframe, Jake was very busy with Detroit: Become Human, MLB The Show 19, Judgment, and Final Fantasy 14, and Ben never stopped playing Final Fantasy 14 with some Madden 19 sprinkled in there too.

Gamescom came with a ton of announcements, including the release dates for Yakuza 3, 4, and 5, PUBG crossplay on consoles, Sony buying Insomniac Games, FFVIII Remastered’s release date, Ori and the Blind Forest coming to Switch, new colors for the DualShock 4, Stranger Things coming to Dead By Daylight, and a bunch more!

Bonus Round this week is our favorite moment from Gamescom!

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S04E33: The Boys Of Summer

We’re back with some new(ish) games! Mike started Mutant Year Zero, while continuing with EarthBound and Super Mario Maker 2; Jake started Detroit: Become Human and is still playing Final Fantasy 14 and MLB The Show; Ben is still going with FF14, but also (with Mike) had the absolute pleasure of playing the Black Desert Online beta.

News is the lightest yet, with the continued development hell of Dead Island 2, a delay of the XIII remake, and the reveal of the next Need for Speed title.

Bonus Round this week is a chat about S1 of The Boys (Lots of spoilers, obviously).

Follow us on Twitter at @NWMPod, visit our website at nwmpod.com, and leave us a review on iTunes or Google Play Music, we greatly appreciate it!