Many people became hardcore gamers in 2020 due to
BOSH COVID-19. With many parts of the world on lockdown, playing games was a great way to be entertained, pass the time, and retain a bit of sanity. Thankfully, there were tons of great games to play. For me, the best game of 2020 was Final Fantasy Remake.
Before I get into why FFVII Remake was my choice for best game of 2020, let’s discuss an honorable mention. I’m super late to the party, but I’ve been enjoying a little bit of Hades recently and aim to play more of it in 2021. This action-RPG is made by one of my favorite independent studios, the outstanding Supergiant Games, and is the ultimate realization of the company’s style. It’s a delightful game with thoughtful storytelling that’s perfect for long sessions and equally excellent for when you want to slay a bunch of baddies for a few minutes. Well done Supergiant!
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At the end of November, Niantic brought the Lake Trio back to Pokemon Go. Originally, the Lake Guardians appeared as level five raid bosses, separated by region. The Americas had Azelf, Africa and Europe had Mesprit, and Asia-Pacific had Uxie. It was the same this time around, but there was one huge difference: remote raid passes.
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Final Fantasy VII Remake is arguably the most anticipated RPG reboot in videogame history. The original was responsible for popularizing Japanese RPGs in Western markets. For many gamers, it was the first Japanese RPG they played and holds a very special place in their hearts.
As for me, I enjoyed the original FFVII, but not nearly as much as some of my gamer friends. At that point in my game life, I already loved Japanese RPGs, including a few Final Fantasy games. I liked it, but played better Final Fantasy games before and after it.
However, I came to love the world of FFVII through the outstanding PSP game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and the great anime Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. They really fleshed out the world of FFVII, making sense of some things and expanding on others.
Like millions of gamers, I was thrilled for Final Fantasy VII Remake when the trailer dropped in 2015. Now that I’ve beaten the game and replayed several chapters, here are some random thoughts, using the trusty RPadTV binary system. [Time to equip your spoiler materia!]
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Final Fantasy VII Remake has been an incredible success for Square Enix. The game has been acclaimed by critics and gamers alike. The company announced that it shipped 3.5-million units in the first three days of release. With worldwide acclaim and commercial success, it’s the perfect time for Square Enix to go all The Last Jedi on fans by screwing with their expectations.
Similar to how The Last Jedi is a modern take on Star Wars (1977), Final Fantasy VII Remake is a modern take on a beloved old game (1997). Even though “Remake” is in the title, it’s more of a reboot than anything else. That reminds me, if you haven’t finished the game yet, there will be light spoilers below. Please activate your spoiler-ward materia before you continue reading.
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Player-vs.-player (PVP) battles have given Pokemon Go a new dimension. They’ve also added another layer of confusion. Recently, I had conversations with two hardcore Pokemon Go trainers and was surprised to learn that they only use Pokemon with perfect individual values (IVs) in PVP battles. While that makes sense in no-limit Master League, there are several cases where perfect Pokemon are suboptimal in Great League and Ultra League.
The issue is combat power (CP) — a nebulous stat created by Niantic (and a number that too many players focus on). Great League has a CP cap of 1,500, while Ultra League has a CP cap of 2,500. Due to how CP is calculated, there are many Pokemon that would be more effective with a 0 attack IV than a 15 attack IV.
To help you understand this issue, let’s take a look at the formula used to calculate CP.
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With Rayquaza raids coming back to Pokemon Go, some local trainers have been wondering what counters to use. Thankfully, the recent Swinub Community Day gave trainers access to the best Rayquaza counter — Mamoswine with powder snow and avalanche. Having the right Pokemon is essential, but how much should it be powered up? Enter breakpoints.
What Are Pokemon Go Breakpoints?
A breakpoint is the level required for a Pokemon to do additional damage. Damage calculation in Pokemon Go is rounded and doesn’t scale linearly. For example, a 15-attack Mamoswine at level 26 does the same damage against Rayquaza as a 15-attack level 28 Mamoswine. Powering up a 15-attack Mamoswine to level 29 allows it to inflict more damage than its level 26 or level 28 counterparts.
Trainers can optimize a team by seeing the amount of damage their Pokemon will do against a specific boss using handy tools like Dominkzen.com. This allows trainers to efficiently use stardust and candy. To help you understand breakpoints a little bit better, let’s stick with the Mamoswine vs. Rayquaza matchup.
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If you’ve been playing Pokemon Go for a long time then you’ve surely encountered stupid Pokemon Go trainers. Most of the time they’re harmless — village idiots that can easily be ignored. However, when they complain loudly, stupid Pokemon Go trainers can be a genuine nuissance.
Recently, I had to suffer the presence of a stupid Pokemon Go trainer. As part of the Celebi quest, two of the tasks required trainers to evolve an Eevee into an Espeon and an Umbreon. This requires walking Eevee for 10 kilometers and evolving it during the day (Espeon) or night (Umbreon). The important thing is that you have to evolve Eevee while it’s still your buddy. This particular trainer didn’t do that.
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There’s a person in my local Pokemon Go community that complains — loudly and annoyingly — whenever people split into teams for raids. She doesn’t understand why people take the time to set up private raids based on teams. The reasons have been explained to her multiple times by multiple people. Hopefully, you don’t have to suffer similar idiocy in your Pokemon Go community…but just in case you do, here’s some explanation ammo.
It’s All About Bonus Balls
After a successful raid, bonus premiere balls are awarded (partially discussed here). There are three ways to acquire bonus balls. The team that controls the gym gets extra balls. Players that inflict the most damage on a raid boss gets extra balls. And the team that does the most damage gets extra balls. The bonus balls can be anywhere from one to three, depending on the percentage of damage dealt to the raid boss.
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Pokemon Go recommends some truly questionable teams for battles and raids. The suggestions are especially problematic for the latter. The game seems to favor survivability over damage output, which…isn’t the best. Recently, I’ve done a few four-person raids against Latios and have seen fellow trainers achieve suboptimal results thanks to Pokemon Go’s team recommendations.
One trainer I bumped into was perfectly happy with his recommended team, which was full of steel pokemon. He was content to battle Latios with a team full of Aggrons and Steelix. Those pokemon are great for enduring a battle and saving some healing items, but they’re poor at damaging Latios. In fact, I wouldn’t even put them in the top 20 pokemon to use against Latios.
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Pokemon Go is a game full of numbers and stats. Many players overlook important numbers and place too much of an emphasis on certain stats. Two of the most common mistakes I’ve seen from dedicated players (that aren’t quite hardcore trainers) are ignoring energy person second (EPS) and overvaluing combat points (CP). The former is often ignored in favor of damage per second (DPS), while the latter can obscure the value of certain pokemon in some trainers’ eyes.
The Value of EPS
Ignoring EPS is a mistake many Pokemon Go trainers make when choosing a quick move for their pokemon. Some trainers look at the DPS number and assume that the move with the higher DPS is superior, simply because it does more damage. For many pokemon, the point of the fast move isn’t to inflict damage, but to generate energy.
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