#282: The Squad, Part 2

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This post is a continuation from my previous post about Monster Hunter and forming a squad online.

Initially, as a fan of the Monster Hunter series, I presumed that the game was primarily solo, with some online multiplayer if you wanted to. But realistically, the entire game’s campaign can be completed online, and that’s what I ended up doing with one of my friends over the past few nights. We’ve been hammering through the campaign at lightning speed, mostly because I have some overpowered weapons and gear right now. It makes for interesting times, and the completions are at record speeds for us. That being said, when I spoke with some of the other members of the squad, they said they’ve been playing long enough that they have kills on some of the late-game monsters in under five minutes. That’s insane for me to even think about, but congrats to them. The person I was speaking with said that if I perfected my builds and practiced, I could do it, too, which left me feeling a bit hopeful about everything. That even a noob like me can one day reach those incredible heights in a game. If you can dream it, you can do it, and all that sappy stuff.

What’s also interesting about having a squad is the feeling of belonging that’s associated with it. It’s so easy to hop right in that I don’t have to worry about feeling left out. Because it’s still currently summer vacation for me, I have the ability to stay up late at night with some extra coffee to play some Monster Hunter with my online friends. Sometimes way late into the night, even though I probably shouldn’t be messing with my sleep schedule so much right before school season begins again. The time is almost coming.

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#281: The Squad, Part 1

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Playing Monster Hunter: World has been brought to a completely new level: I can now play with multiple friends at a time. Previously, I had played with one of my friends who recently bought a PS4 specifically to play with me, and that’s been a blast so far, but now the experience has been upgraded. I can’t say I’ve had an experience like this on an online game since my days of playing World of Warcraft in a guild. A sense of camaraderie between teammates while fighting for a unified objective, while also playing online with friends who you care for and who care for you.

When I used to raid in WoW, I don’t know how close I ever got to my teammates. I know I eventually told them my age and all that, and I know that at some point I went on voice chat with them and broke through that whole barrier. Back in the day, we used Ventrillo which was a computer application you had to pay for. Discord nowadays is so much more convenient, considering you can do whatever you want from there and for free. You can set up a server for just your friends, and you don’t need to pay for it, most importantly!

Forming a squad on Monster Hunter, though, has been a wonderful experience. I love meeting and befriending new people online, and I love perpetually closing the social gap that I have with other people. There’s satisfaction in slowly overcoming obstacles that have persisted through time, from a young age to an adult age. Having a squad means no one is out of place, everyone’s here for a reason, and everyone in the squad is welcome whenever. All you have to do is just log in to Monster Hunter: World and see if anyone else is playing, too. It makes the game so much more multiplayer based than I ever thought it would be.

#264: The Soundtrack

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Today, I’ll be discussing the Persona 5 soundtrack in detail. Reason being, I’m currently listening to it and I don’t have many other ideas for what to write about!

Let’s jump in. I’m currently listening to “Blooming Villain,” the boss battle theme that plays during the first 7 or so fights. It’s a hard rock track with booming guitar riffs and a killer solo that plays during the so-called chorus. When I’m at the gym, sometimes I’ll put it on and just walk (or steadily run, depending on the feeling) to its crazy sounds. Everyone gets pumped up to different stuff, so I may as well, too. I remember when it first came on, while I was playing the game and fighting against Kamoshida’s shadow in his castle. It was a killer moment and it definitely made me want to do whatever it takes to destroy him. When music gives you that kind of a feeling, you know it’s worth something.

There’s also “The Arena,” which is technically a Persona 4 song but it’s implemented into Persona 5 via DLC. I’ve started listening to it a little bit at the gym also. It’s another track with killer guitar riffs that penetrate the eardrums, if your volume is high enough.

Speaking of which, there’s also “Life Will Change (Instrumental)”, the song that plays when you’ve secured a route to the treasure and need to then steal it. I don’t know if it’s as good as the version with lyrics, but if I’m at the gym, I’ll usually be listening to the instrumental version instead of the lyrical one. Again, it’s got killer guitar riffs (I keep using that phrase, but it applies well!) and you can sort of hear the voice in the background if you know the words (or have listening to the lyrical version enough times already).

#248: The Persona

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It’s about time I talked about persona. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to dedicate a full blog post to it, but here goes anyway.

Persona 5 is a brilliant, interactive, narrative-driven video game on the PS3 and PS4. Thankfully, after purchasing the PS4 over the summer, I’ve been playing a lot of this game, over 95 hours so far. I’m currently on the sixth palace, or dungeon, in the game, and it’s completely enthralled me. I’ve talked with many, many friends about this game too, and it’s something else just to be able to have these long, detailed, complex conversations with people about a game’s unique story. I love unique, well-crafted narratives, and this is definitely one of them. The story, the characters, the themes, the framing, the setting. It all comes together into one beautifully-crafted package. I give props to Atlus for creating such a complicated title with interwoven character arcs and everything.

I could talk at a mile a minute about this game, but I’d like to focus on a specific aspect of the game that I like: the persona system. It’s sort of like Pokemon, in which there are elements (fire, wind, ice, nuclear?, etc.) and certain party members specialize in certain elements. You pick up party members in the traditional JRPG way of having them slowly join up and come to terms with how cool your party is. In this case, the Phantom Thieves are an internationally-known, secret organization of crime fighters, and each character awakens to their persona at a critical moment in the story, thus granting them that kind of power in the Metaverse. It’s a lot to take in all at once, but it’s seriously fantastic. I don’t know what my summer would have been like without this game with me.

#235: The Playstation

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Today, it’s time to talk video games again. I’ll be talking more in depth about the specific games I’ve bought for my playstation in a future blog post, but for right now, I’m gonna discuss the playstation itself, my history with Sony products, and everything in between.

I used to own both a PS2 and a PS3, though I didn’t play either console very much. I remember playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the PS2 when I was young, and I definitely put tons and tons of hours into Kingdom Hearts (both the first and second ones) when they first came out in the early 2000’s. Jimmy and I had a race to see who would beat the second one first, and I won even though I was on a higher difficult level than he was. That’s one thing I pretty much always lord over him to this day, and will continue to for a long, long time. That’s just how our friendship works.

On the PS3, I remember playing a few hours of God of War 3, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Little Big Planet, and a couple other games that I can’t totally remember. That about sums up my whole experience with the PS3, in a nutshell; I can’t totally remember much of it, and I regret asking my parents to buy one for me. In reality, it was because Kingdom Hearts 3 was on the horizon, or so I thought, and I knew Sony would ever release it on a Playstation console. Unfortunately, they skipped a cycle and released years and years later on the PS4. I also haven’t played any of KH3 since buying it, although I do plan on getting into that at some point in the future. Just not while I’m still rushing through Persona! That’s my top priority!