The journey of a nerd who loves the Lord

Review: Jade Empire

When some do retro-reviews, they attempt to view through the lends of that time.  Given that I played games as they came out in every decade since the 80’s, I certainly have the qualifications to give that perspective.  Ultimately, however, when I rate older games, the bottom line for me is “Did I have fun?  Do I want to play this game until the end?  Do I want to play it again?” Read the rest of this entry »


It’s All About Love

Salutations. This article piggybacks a bit off of my previous two about doctrine.  You can check them out here and here.  In those articles, I made an argument that as Christians, we live in a culture focused around ‘petty theologies’ instead of holy living.  I illustrate the critical, core theologies we must have, and how the Bible steers us not to have perfect theology, but implores us to walk a holy life filled with love.  Today, I focus on that topic.

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I continue my line of thinking from earlier by discussing the notion that ‘superior doctrine’ somehow equates to increased holiness.  Now, to be fair, I do not believe I have heard too many pastors teach this idea outright.  However, there is no argument that the majority (if not VAST majority) of Christian church teachings centers around nuanced theology.  This provides an emphasis on doctrine over, say, holy living.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the average weight of American pastors.  Remember, gluttony is a sin.

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For our “Month of” RPGs, I plan to write a short review of my experience.  Keep in mind, I may not actually finish a game … but I will put serious time (at least 30-40 hours if I do not beat it) through that month.  And I may go back on a future month, pick up where I left off, and write another review with my deeper and further experience.

For those curious, I score games on a 5 point scale ranging from “Trash It” on up to “Complete It.”  Details are below, but first I want to give credit to The Completionist, an entertaining YouTuber who chronicles his journey completing games in their entirety.  While my rating system has some variances and different definitions, I clearly derive my inspiration from his system.  I really love the idea that instead of sticking a number that can mean any number of adjectives, our ratings tell you what we actually want to do with the games.  With that said, here’s the scale!

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Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Review

MRPG for the N3DS Entertainment System

mh4u.pngSalutations!  For #MRPGMarch this year, I ran with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for the New Nintendo 3DS system.  With everyone (myself included) finishing up with Monster Hunter World, I searched for my next, big challenge.  And BOY, did I find it.

MH4U starts you off with a basic character creator, and the same 14 weapon choice you will find in MHW.  The weapons feel pretty balanced and while some lack the fluidity I got used to, others feel nearly exactly the same.  I really enjoyed how many of the environments encourage you to use multiple levels, walls, jumps from ledges and more to tackle your foes.  The combat system completely does the job well here.  On my New 3DS, I always had a smooth 30 FPS, and the controls always felt spot on.

The star of any Monster Hunter are the monsters, and MH4U features them in spades.  While you can find a few weak entries here, most feel original, and some will utterly surprise.  One ice creature, in particular, always shocks players with a particular attack the first time they see it.  I really enjoyed listening to my friend’s reactions there.  As you would expect, these creatures fight viciously, holding nothing back, and putting you on your toes.


With parts from creatures and other materials you find around the world you create new weapons, armors, potions, consumables and more.  While these systems lack some of the quality of life improvements found in the PS4 game, requiring help from Google more times than not, that only slightly diminished the joy of creating a new shiny gunlance from a recently downed Tigrex.

Of course, there are SOME irritations.  The tutorials are anemic, contributing to more googling.  Thankfully, there are not only great web pages more than up to the task, but awesome YouTube videos on everything from boss strategies to weapon combos.  Environments you hunt in are broken down into smaller, arena size rooms.  Whenever you hit an exit, even on accident, it can rip you out of the action, taking away some of the thrill of the fight.  Conversely, it DOES make a strategic retreat tactic when the aforementioned Tigrex closes in for the final swipe.  Finally, controls feel a bit unorthodox, and take a bit of time to get used to.  However, friends who played MHW informed me that they got on board with this older scheme within an hour or so.

MH4U takes most of what you love about MHW, and cranks it up to 12.  With more monsters, more quests, deeper combining system, and more, there’s a lot to like here.  Obviously, graphics cannot compare, and monster lack the epic interactions you find in the more modern iteration.  With that said, So much of what makes MHW fun came right from this game.  Having all of that in the palm of your hand just blows the mind.  I cannot recommend this game enough.  I have yet to finish the game, even with 80 hours in.  With that said, my current score is COMPLETE IT!!!



April is #ARPGApril – American RPGs!  And for that I choose….


I know… how does Jade Empire qualify for ARPGApril?  Easy!  It’s made by Bioware, a Canadian (North American) company!  Game ON!


Recently, I have spent time thinking on the argument some have used to get me to join a traditional church.  The argument goes that if I do not meet in an established church, that I do not come under the protective authority of leadership.  As such, the chances I will wonder astray or fall into heresy increase significantly.

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Are You Ready To Die?


The only time I hear the question, “Are you prepared to die?,” is in the context of playing a very difficult video game.  In our culture, we tend to avoid this particular topic whenever possible.  Sure, our older relatives pass on, and in one way or another most of us face death.  Yet, I cannot even recall a single time where my parents, teachers or mentors asked me this questions.  I never gave it serious thought until I had a pastor ask me during a sermon.  We should ask ourselves this questions, sooner rather than later, as the Bible also warns us to make ready.

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