Final Fantasy 7 First Impressions and Thoughts

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Logo

It’s been 15 years since this has been teased as possible. Now Final Fantasy VII Remake is here.

Final Fantasy VII was my first Final Fantasy game. This is a big reason why to this day it has a special place in my heart. I have found for most people this holds true.

Before anyone jumps up and down, no Final Fantasy VII isn’t the best one. Final Fantasy IX has that honour in my opinion. Final Fantasy X until now was my recommendation for people new to the series.

But enough gushing and praise for Square Enix – want to see me play the first little bit?

As I said repeatedly, if you aren’t sure – get the demo!

This is one episodic series I wouldn’t wait for them all to come out either. It could be years before the next part. Luckily, with 30+ hours of gameplay, you will have plenty to stick your teeth into. 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Taking a break from some site things, and changes you might want

Mad Scientist

I have all of the ideas, but not all of the time.

Hi everyone. I hope everyone is staying safe and looking forward to the upcoming break. For me, Final Fantasy VII and now Animal Crossing New Horizons is going to get a workout!

Final Fnatasy VII Deluxe
It teases me :p

But that is not all I am going to do. I am going to take the time to restructure some Talking Tech info, as well as a new presentation style. There is a lot of information to give, but picking what is vital and covering it quickly needs some work my end.

On top of this, new information is coming out quickly with the next generation of CPUs and GPUs. Intel 10th Gen this and Ryzen 4000 that is all I have seen in my YouTube feed lately! Condensing this into something that is both simple and accurate takes time, and I need to make that time.

You said you were taking a break? Is the site going on hiatus for a bit?

Yes and no. Last Week’s Gaming will stay on Mondays. First Impressions is an occasional item, so I will keep doing those. What will change a little is Reviews – these will be every Friday, no more substitutions with First Impressions.

I am a little torn on the Yeti Hunt and Messed Up Game Descriptions. I enjoy them, but not many people are answering them. What I do miss doing is New Game/Kickstarter pieces.

I have been all but neglecting Kickstarter lately, but I could talk about a new project or bit of game news every Wednesday instead.

Let me know what you would prefer – Puzzles or Game thoughts – in the comments!

What is getting stopped for a little while is Talking Tech. It needs the most work, but it will continue in ways I hope will make sense. Until it evolves eventually into video content.

Yeti Hunt Answers
I love doing these, and I will continue to marvel at Alpals Lego abilities. But do you want to find the Yetis?

So what will you do with the extra time?

What you will see quickly is writing a bunch of reviews I have been putting off, and planning new items like Talking Tech. I also need to put time into relearning and practicing video production. This means taking time from something, and some current regular posts are the only real thing that can give.

So, it might look like I am backing off from the site. While the announcement is relatively short notice, I don’t want to give the wrong impression by going quiet.

What I am actually trying to do is ramp up the work I am doing for the site. Working from home is giving me an excellent opportunity to do all of this, so I am grabbing it.

What’s the end goal? Do you want to become a YouTuber?

No. Not in the way a lot of people want to become YouTubers. 

I want to create more videos, but the goal is to hopefully make my content better for you. While I can write forever, the written word doesn’t always convey what I feel. Also, why should you invest that time if you don’t know who I am?

Today people tend to have videos/podcasts in the background rather than read. You get the benefit of the content while doing something else. You also establish a connection with that person that you can’t just by written word.

As an example, I quickly recorded the below.

A little rambling, unscripted, audio quality – my video production template needs work. But what was better for you – reading my intentions, or seeing me give my reasoning?

But I want puzzles to stay, and I don’t want you to make videos!

Then please, let me know! If I am preparing to put time and energy into something you don’t want, I am not past the point of no return for either of us.

I want JohnHQLD.com to be a community, not just my written word. Help me make something we can all take part in.

And no Alpal, I won’t stop talking about video games :p

Tomorrow is Final Fantasy VII day. I have been planning on recording my live first impressions video for ages, so that is still happening tomorrow. Saturday, I will give the answer for the last Messed Up Game Description, then Monday will be Last Week’s Gaming.

Based on feedback, we will see what happens next week – more Yeti Hunts, or New Game/Kickstarter thoughts. Talking Tech I will get back up as soon as I can.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Resident Evil 3 First Impressions and Thoughts

Resident Evil 3 Raccoon City Demo Capture 2

Everyone’s First Impressions on Resident Evil 3? STAAAARRRRS!

Resident Evil 3 is finally here, and I have captured my first impressions! Don’t worry if you don’t get all the STARS references that will be flying around – it’s an injoke from the game, that you will get quickly if you play 😀

There is only one game I have been waiting for with more anticipation, and it is teasing me on my shelf.

Final Fnatasy VII Deluxe
It teases me :p

I am waiting for April 10th to look at this one. Not just because of the request for no spoilers from Square Enix, but day one patches and the like aren’t available. So, my plan is to do my first impressions as per normal – even though the start should be the demo that was recently released.

But enough of that teaser, on to todays game – RESIDENT EVIL 3! Resident Evil 2 blew me away last year, and the only reason I haven’t Platinumed it is because I haven’t had the time to dedicate powering through the later skill and time based challenges.

As much as I have been trying to stay away from reviews, headlines have flashed before me. Apparently the game is a ‘mixed’ experience. So what do I think after a half hour of gameplay?

Only one way to find out!

Is Resident Evil 3 a game you have been looking forward to? I can tell you from the demo, it plays equally well on PC, PS4 Pro and Xbox One S so you should have a great time playing it if you do!

Not sure if Resident Evil 3 is for you? Play the Racoon City demo – it is very representative of what Resident Evil 3 is like.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Doom Eternal First Impressions – I made a video!

Doom Eternal First Impressions

Doom Eternal has the tag line ‘Rip and Tear’. I play ‘Sticky Bomb and Pray’!

So I have had some start/stop video experiments that I have shared in the past. Today, there is another 🙂 Rather than try to write up how I feel about Doom Eternal, I thought I would do a video of my Early Impressions!

My plan was to play 15-20 minutes of a game for the first time, and give my live first impressions and reactions. What do you know – even with prep, that didn’t work out quite as well as I hoped! Doom Eternal’s soundtrack in particular turned out to be a challenge. Life finds a way indeed! 🙂

You can watch the video below, expand it up to full screen and all the usual stuff. You can also go over to my YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/johnhqldplaysgames if you have trouble casting or want to leave a like/dislike and a comment. Feedback is appreciated!

So today, let me introduce you to my first ‘First Impressions’ game video, where I sit back and enjoy Doom Eternal 😀

Slightly Extended Impressions

Once I had played through the above, I was actually a little sad that I stopped recording. Not that I wanted to make a longer video, but because I found out I was only a little distance from another really cool secret!

I discovered another secret only a few minutes after finishing up my Thoughts in the video. And this secret had me grinning like crazy!

Doom Eternal has cheat codes that you can find in the secret areas!

Doom Eternal Cheat Codes Found
This is such a great idea. And I had my original Doom collection on such disks!

I haven’t tried messing around with them yet, but I think these are a great idea. Plenty of times I would fire up the original DOS Doom games, throw on invincibility and all guns, and just blast away for a bit on fun for a little while.

Doom Eternal is going to let me do the same thing, and use these overpowered features to let you explore the map more as well!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

3 years later, Let’s Play Pandemic Legacy Season 1

The Legacy Crew

Longtime followers will remember this one

It has been 54 weeks since I relaunched johnhqld.com.  It’s been a great time, and as other things in my work and personal life are settling nicely, I am looking forward to bringing back a lot of my original ideas.

Today was actually going to be a review on Pandemic Legacy Season 1, but unfortunately, this week has gotten away from me.  And no, it wasn’t playing Kingdom Hearts 3 – I didn’t have that much fun!  Instead, I’m going to take you on a great experience on the first form of the site, at johnhqldplays.com.

Way, way back in 2015, I first started johnhqldplays.com.  There was a whole thing with someone nabbing johnhqld.com, it was a whole thing, but I started creating my site.

About this time, the web series TableTop with Wil Wheaton was making serious headway into mainstream popularity.  As a gamer, I was overjoyed.  People wanted to know what those cardboard boxes I was always trying to get people to look at actually were.

As much as I enjoyed the series though, there was one thing that bugged me a bit.  The shows were well presented and well edited, but they didn’t really reflect what playing some of those games were like.  Settlers of Catan (or just Catan now) for example does not tend to go anywhere nearly as smoothly as TableTop presented – especially new players.

New players tend to have to look up what the trading values are.  Questions are asked about timing for the robber.  The biggest thing that happens though is sitting and trying to work out what to try and accomplish, and most of all why to accomplish it.

As Seen On TableTop
The web series TableTop drove many people to board game stores

Now don’t get me wrong – they weren’t misrepresenting games or anything like that.  Yes, there were a few famous rule goofs and a bit of controversy involving a producer.  But on the whole, the enjoyment of gaming came out, and that was their goal.

But a few people that wanted to play the games they saw on TableTop were a little disappointed when they actually played the game.

Lords of Waterdeep was probably the best example I have of this.  Now Lords of Waterdeep is a game I still enjoy to this day (it is my most ‘customised’ game), but it isn’t really a game for everybody.

Lords of Waterdeep is sold as having a Dungeons and Dragons theme, but it’s more abstract.  It’s a worker placement game with limited choices, but weighing up those choices can take new players a long time.  This is generally referred to in gaming as Analysis Paralysis.

Now on Tabletop, the players all joked and talked and then just had their turn – such is the magic of editing.

Lords Of Waterdeep Tablet
This is the Digital Tablet version, but it shows some of the choices on HALF the board

So I decided when I did a Let’s Play video (this was just before I really had no personal time at all, it was a good idea at the time), it would be ‘warts and all’.

And one of the hottest games at the time was Pandemic Legacy Season 1.  Released near the end of 2015, Pandemic Legacy was a game that was setting the board game world on fire.

And while I had taught a lot of people Pandemic, and still maintain the vanilla Pandemic is one of the greatest introductory or gateway games around, explaining to people if they should play a ‘Legacy’ game was really hard.

People that were enthusiastic and keen to try games were already balking at spending $70-$100 (Australian) for a game.  Explaining that Pandemic Legacy was a game you played maybe 18-20 times and that was it was really confusing to some.

And so a few months after the release, I felt it was safe to do my Let’s Play of Pandemic Legacy.

The first thing that hit me is that I had much shorter hair back then :p

Pandemic Legacy Season 1
This is what most players knew of Pandemic Legacy before it was released - it was an exciting time

But I didn’t want to play it on screen.  I do not like being photographed generally, but that wasn’t why.  I had already completed the entire campaign, and so if I was playing I was worried about steering the game for a better score.  The whole point in my mind was that I wanted to show real players and their honest reactions.

So some friends of mine decided to help me out.  The awesome Joel and Kristen, Pandemic veterans, are always fun to be around.  Nat and Elle rounded out the team by being new to Pandemic.

The Legacy Crew
The Legacy Crew - Left to Right Joel, Kristen, Elle and Nat

I just want to give a special shout out of appreciation to Elle – she was all in on playing and recording.  And she had her very first game of Pandemic just before shooting the first video!  Elle is always great to have around on a games night, and while I thank everyone for being involved and loved spending the time with them all, Elle probably had the least idea on what was involved!

So this week, I finally got around to putting together the last of the Pandemic Legacy videos.  So almost 3 years later, for your viewing pleasure, the complete Pandemic Legacy Season 1 campaign is available!

With the rumours of Pandemic Legacy Season 3 being announced and possibly released this year, I feel that maybe the spoiler warnings may have lost some of their potency :p

But if you have enjoyed Pandemic Legacy, or you aren’t in a position to play yourself, I hope you enjoy playing along with the guys and enjoy the ride with us.

Video content is something I am going to be concentrating on this year, so I hope you enjoy these videos and keep an eye out for new content coming later this year!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD