Monday, 29 April 2013

Top 5 Reasons Why the AAA Market is Crashing

Back in the 1980s, when the video game industry was young, it suffered a pretty massive crash. Between 1984 and 1985 total revenues dropped by a whopping 97%, and people thought the fad had passed until the NES came around. Back then the industry had no infristructure and basically subsisted on Pac Man clones. Things are very different these days, but still people constantly claim that the market is headed for another crash. I don't personally believe this is possible any longer, now that we have things like indie developers, digital distribution and a generation of people who grew up playing video games. None the less, I do believe that the AAA market, big budget games, are headed in a bad direction. While I don't think you could call it a "crash", it seems to me that AAAs are in the process of "crashing". In no particular reason why, here are my top 5 reasons why:

1) DRM / Piracy

Piracy has become an incredibly common thing in recent years. It's quite easy to get an illegitimate copy of anything digital, and the chances of any real repercussions are incredibly slim. As a result, there is a large number of people playing games for free, depriving the developer of that sale. I don't think there is any question that this is a bad thing, good games can't get made if developers go broke. However at the same time, there really isn't any proof that piracy actually negatively effects a game's sales. It can be argued, for example, that a person who pirates a game may have never bought it to begin with. Nobody can say for certain what effect piracy has, but what we can say for certain is that game makers (understandably) don't like it. In fact many of them end up sinking ridiculous amounts of time and money into trying to prevent their game from being pirated. This is known as DRM.

DRM comes in many forms, but all of them are designed to bar illegitimate owners from playing a game. The problem is, it doesn't work. Not for video games. There are some very smart people out there who treat DRM like a challenge to be overcome, and working pirated games are usually distributed on the internet within hours. So if DRM doesn't restrict pirates, who is there left to restrict? Only legitimate users. The issue here is that while piracy probably isn't good for the industry, DRM definitely isn't. Game makers obsess over the potential loss of income that piracy may or may not cause, and as a result waste time and money fighting a battle they will always lose. The fact of the matter is that it's not uncommon for legitimate owners to suffer at the hands of DRM, while pirates have no such restrictions. The game experience is actually better for the people who obtain the game illegitimately.

2) Publishers

Now I want to start by saying that publishers get a pretty bad rap. They are often seen as "the enemy", the evil greedy businessmen pulling the strings from the shadows. In reality however, publishers are not all bad. In reality, many (perhaps even most) exceptional games would never have seen the light of day if not for publishers. However with that said, which games publishers do and do not choose to fund has a very real effect on the direction that the industry goes.When all is said and done, publishers invest their money in a game in order to see a return on that investment. AAA games are expensive, and publishers have to choose very carefully where to spend their money.

Creating high caliber games is a risk. The reason this is a problem is because it means publishers aren't as likely to invest in a game that can't guarantee success. Games that aren't a sequel or a Call of Duty clone could lose a publisher a lot of money, those risky investments aren't attractive. However on the flip side we see mobile games rising to prominence because they aren't so expensive. Big studios can sink a relatively small amount of time and money just spitballing. The problem with all of this is because the market is now being driven by things that don't necessarily appeal to "core" gamers. As the risks inherent to a AAA title increase, the kind of titles we see become less and less creative, and more and more samey. Gaming has become a mainstream hobby, but those that made the industry what it is today aren't who publishers are worried about any more. It's not wrong for publishers to want to make their money back, but the unfortunate fact is that ever increasing aversion to taking risks is leading to a market that is increasingly stagnant.

3) Pre-Orders

The issue with pre-orders is actually one that has only really cropped up in the last couple years. I've never really seen an issue with putting money up front for a game I know I want day 1. I still don't see an issue with the core of this concept, but the problem is that publishers (and retailers) are catching on in a big way. It seems to me that the entire way that a game is marketed is shifting. Perhaps I'm just being naive, but I feel like the focus used to be on selling copies by making a good game, whereas now it's more about hype. It seems like every game these days needs to have some fancy pre-order bonus, and a different reward for buying from Gamestop, Best Buy and Amazon. It's all about convincing the consumer how much they want the game before it's even released, and some games sell millions in pre-orders.

That's really where the problem lies here. Publishers want to cement the financial success of their game before it even has the possibility of being panned by reviewers. That's ok, marketing, building hype, and selling as many copies as possible are all their job. The problem is that the consumers are falling for it. We get so wrapped up in the hype, we have pre-order bonuses waved in our face, and we don't even know if the game will be any good. We live in an age where mediocre, or even bad games can be financially successful if they are marketed well. Apparently we can't even trust the truthfulness of trailers and demos. Why would we then continue to pre-order games instead of waiting at least a few hours after release? Maybe if consumers had a little more patience and were a little less obsessed with pre-order bonuses we wouldn't have to worry about another Aliens: Colonial Marines.

4) Bad DLC / Microtransactions

I want to be very clear upfront here: DLC and Microtransactions are not inherently bad things. The concept of spending $5 on a game I love is actually pretty appealing to me. If the developer did a good job, then they deserve a little extra from me. Having that secondary form of monetization can go a long way too, and it makes selling a $60 title a bit less of a crapshoot for the developer. The problem is that microtransactions have proven to work pretty well, and now everyone wants a piece of that pie. As a result it feels like every other game out there is either pay to win, or chopped up and sold as DLC. It's surprisingly rare to find a game that lets you spend $60 and be done with it, and even more rare that the base price is dropped as a result of them nickle-and-dimeing you.

The problem here is that the core of a game has to be able to stand on it's own, and has to be a complete package. If you chop off an important part of the story just to charge $5 for it, that's only going to make people mad. If you chop any piece off, really. DLC is supposed to be an addition to the game, not something that say, is already on the disc, but can't be accessed without a fee. Poorly implementing your paid content is one of the best ways to really wreck an otherwise decent game. I don't want to get a megabeamsword +6 when I pre-order the game, I don't want to pay for an in-game currency for a title I already spent $60 on, and I don't want to feel like my game is incomplete without the $20 season pass.

5) Graphics Over Gameplay

This is an argument that has persisted for a long time now, and yet it only gets more and more true each year. Graphics are always marching forward, it's virtually the only reason we even need another generation of consoles or better graphics cards. Yet if you were to ask anyone who has been gaming for at least 10-15 years, chances are they would say that the best games were released in the 1990s and 2000s. Granted a lot of that is likely nostalgia, a lot of those games were graphically impressive for their time, and there are certainly recent games that are also very good. However despite all of this, it seems like the AAA industry doesn't know how to make a game without blowing most of their budget on polygons. Plenty of people will tell you that gameplay is what makes a game good, and they aren't wrong, but the spending is where I feel the real issue lies.

The fact that AAA games are so expensive to make isn't doing anyone any favors. Good graphics can add to an already fun game, but they can't make an experience. If anything, style and aesthetics are more important than fidelity, and they are both less expensive. This all leads back to what I've already talked about in regards to publishers. Expensive games are risky, risks are bad when you want to make money. When you can sell 3.4 million copies of a game and still consider it a failure, then you have a real problem. It's hard to imagine a world where AAA games having lower expectations and more reasonable budgets wouldn't produce better games.When every title doesn't have to be a smash hit to succeed, you can afford to take bigger risks. That is the path back to an industry with imagination, niche appeal, and AAA titles that can actually make games that are as good as the indie developers who have a fraction of the budget.  It sure would be nice to see more titles that focused on fun instead of explosions.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A More Complete Look at Devil Survivor

So a few months back I wrote a post comparing Devil Survivor to Ni No Kuni. In said post I essentially sung the praises of Devil Survivor (and denounced Ni No Kuni), but the thing is, at the time I had only played about 8 hours of the game. Since then I have played about 20 hours more of the game, and being just about done, I wanted to to give a more complete impressions on the game. Needless to say, that is where this post comes in. I feel I should note that my opinion of each game (and which is superior) has not changed at all, but there is certainly a lot more to say about Devil Survivor now.

So before I go on, let's recap what I said in the aforementioned post. The long and short of it is that Devil Survivor has very deep gameplay. It has several mechanics all designed around the concept of building a cohesive team of demons with a large degree of customization. Said mechanics are also introduced at a pretty snappy pace, you get just enough time to figure out each mechanic, and it doesn't take forever to introduce them all. That customization isn't that easy to achieve though, as it typically requires demon fusion, and thus a lot of thought has to go into how best to achieve the desired results. The result is some pretty cool SRPG combat. 20 extra hours of play hasn't changed my opinion of this aspect of the game one bit. If anything, it gets even deeper as you go. Even without adding more mechanics, just the number of demons and abilities you get access to continually adds to the depth of the demon customization.

Aside from the gameplay, one big thing that I wanted to point out about Devil Survivor is it's story. While it's presentation is very simplistic and it starts off just like any other JRPG, Devil Survivor actually has a surprisingly striking narrative. Three teenagers randomly get the power to fight demons and save the world, but they are also trapped in an area of Japan with no power and no cellphone service, with thousands of other people (most of whom cannot fight said demons). As the days go by the people trapped in the "Yamanote Circle" become more desperate and dejected, the demons get more aggressive, and unbeknownst to most, some unknown disaster is looming on all of them. What's so impressive about all this though is just the way each person react to it all. Their responses feels very realistic, and seeing the way each person handles the situation creates some pretty powerful moments. There is something very profound about the way that, in the middle of this battle against demons, mankind is still their own biggest adversary. Amidst all this, the decisions that the player can choose also really makes one think about the moral stance they want to take on things. It's all a very interesting situation, and I didn't expect it in a game with such a by the book opening.

Unfortunately, things are not all rosy in Devil Survivor town however. The game suffers a lot in the area of difficulty. Of course there isn't anything wrong with a hard game, but the way in which Devil Survivor gets it's difficulty is somewhat problematic. Personally I really enjoy the battle system, I spend time fighting battles just because they are fun, and as a result am almost always sitting at about as high a level as you can be at any one point in time. Given that, I found fights which are just your team versus a bunch of demons to be pretty simple across the board. Problems arise in two different situations however. Firstly, there are several fights in which you have to protect NPCs. Second, boss fights. Granted, there is a difficulty option, but you can only choose your difficulty at the beginning of the game. I'm not about to start a new game because I'm stuck on a hard fight 25 hours in. It also doesn't help that there is no way to skip dialogue, so every time you fail a mission you are forced to sit through several minutes of dialogue before trying again (often including dialogue options, too). But let's get to the two aforementioned issues.

Now when i say there are fights in which you have to protect NPCs, I'm sure every game out there knows instantly where I'm coming from. Everyone has played at least one game in which you have to protect some flimsy, incompetent NPC, or suffer a game over. Devil Survivor is little different. Killing the enemies is no problem, but making them not kill the NPC is a different story. What's worse is that said NPCs invariably start a long way from your party. This means that the challenge in this mission basically becomes nothing but "hope the NPCs don't die before you can get to them". This results in some pretty frustrating losses, because when you fail it feels like you got unlucky and/or there was nothing you could do better. It doesn't help that the NPCs rarely go where you would like, but this does make some sense in the narrative at least. Your party summons demons, it makes sense that civilians would be confused and perhaps scared of you. It's also kind of neat narrative-wise that you spend so much time trying to save other people, but none of this makes their incompetence any more tolerable. The final nail in this particular coffin is just the frequency with which you encounter this kind of mission. At a guess I would say that somewhere in the vicinity of 20-25% of missions involve someone from their own stupidity.

Which leaves boss fights. Luckily there aren't anywhere near as many of these. It sounds kind of weird to say that boss fights are too hard, seeing as of all the fights in a game bosses should be hard. Where Devil Survivor goes wrong is just the fact that the bosses are so much harder than everything else you fight. One would expect that if you are completely and utterly wiping the floor with every other enemy you encounter, you should at least stand some chance against a boss. You would be wrong though. There isn't a single boss that didn't give me huge amounts of trouble, despite being ridiculously over leveled. The problem here is that, if you aren't capable of at least putting up a good fight against a boss that you have to beat to advance the story, then the game shouldn't allow you to get to that point. The fights leading up to that boss should be challenging enough to prepare you for it. If you are struggling against the rabble, you know something is wrong. If you breeze through the rabble, then the boss becomes an impassable wall which you smack head first into. It's called a difficulty curve for a reason. It's supposed to be a curve. Devil Survivor's bosses provide some of the biggest difficulty spikes I have ever experienced. On a slight side note though, I did like how in the case of one of the harder bosses, the game really drives home the fact that they use fire long before you ever face them. It gives you a ton of time to think ahead and prepare your team accordingly. I still got slaughtered when I fought him though.

Ultimately, Devil Survivor is still a very fun game. It gives me all the things I want in a game, and I'm very glad to have played it. It has convinced me more than ever that I really need to just dive into the Shin Megami Tensei universe. It's definitely a game with some serious issues though. There aren't a lot of them, but I feel that crushing difficulty is definitely going to get in the way of a lot of peoples' enjoyment of this title in the long run. It's not a game that even pretends to be trying to appeal to anyone but the JRPG fanatics though. Some people are looking for that kind of difficulty. Honestly, I feel like this game is niche enough as it is, so maybe it's ok that it's so hard. It's not a game I ever see myself playing against though.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Evoland Review

About a week ago, I heard about this game by the name of Evoland, a really interesting little game spawned from a LudumDare creation. As a game that is both inspired by and a tribute to the like of The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy, I was instantly intrigued. It struck me as a very whimsical game that would be just up my alley, and so I picked it up as soon as it came out. I've now played the game to completion, and normally I wouldn't bother making a post about such a small game, but it was interesting enough that I think it's worth talking about.

So I already mentioned that Evoland is a sort of tribute to oldschool games, but in truth that's not entirely accurate. While the game is chockfull of references and clearly takes a lot of inspiration from old RPGs, it's more of a tribute to the evolution of games than any particular title or genre. True to it's name, Evoland's biggest claim to fame is the fact that it literally evolves as you progress. Think Upgrade Complete or DLC Quest, but finding your upgrades rather than buying them. When the game starts you are a simple 8-bit character with a Gameboy style black and green color palette. You can't even move left, but as you explore you uncover better colors, sound effects, higher resolutions, menus, and even 3D. As far as the gameplay itself, it begins as a typical top-down adventure style game a la Zelda, but you soon unlock turn based battles as well. One of the things I was most skeptical about going into this game was the fact that it features both this Zelda style adventure mode and the Final Fantasy style Turn Based mode.

Now I'm going to be kind of blunt. Evoland isn't a particularly good game. Gameplay wise, it's pretty mediocre and unsurprisingly suffers a lot from a lack of focus. As nifty as all the references are, it suffers a lot from trying to do too many things, and subsequently having most of them end up disappointing. What's more, I found that there was a very palpable dissonance between the game modes. It felt very strange to get through an adventure mode dungeon with only half a heart remaining, only to have full health upon getting into a random battle on the world map. What's more, the tools you can use in adventure mode have no bearing on turn based combat. Similarly, all the equipment and experience you gather for the turn based combat does nothing for adventure mode. It's especially noticeable because because the game is a mere 3-4 hours short, and so you never experience either mode for more than a couple areas. Stuff like your experience level just doesn't end up mattering at all.

Evoland's turn based combat is ultimately pretty bad. While pretty much every enemy is amusing, the battles are just boring and very shallow. There isn't a battle you can't win by having one character attack every turn and the other heal. It's not even a targeted heal, it just heals both characters. However on the flip side of things, the Zelda mode is actually pretty good. While it's combat isn't that great either, it's got some surprisingly clever puzzles. For example, early on you encounter an impassable block called a "Dimensional Tile". Later on when you return to the area in 3D mode, you realize it was just slightly raised, and 3D you can step right over it. This kind of thing becomes especially important when later areas actually contain crystals you can strike which will switch between 3D and 2D mode. This is unquestionably when the game is at it's best. Being able to experience a couple of areas in both 3D and 2D is pretty cool, and using that as a game mechanic is genius. Mechanically it's not that different than something like the crystal switches you might see in the Zelda series, but aesthetically it has a totally different feel to it.

Unfortunately though, Evoland is a game with nothing to offer but novelty. It's charm and uniqueness is such that the first couple hours are pretty easy to get through without even noticing the gameplay flaws. After the first hour and a half or so though, new things stop showing up and the game goes down hill pretty rapidly. Playing the game for gameplay's sake just isn't entertaining. The game becomes a bit of a chore to get through, and I found myself caring a lot less about completeness. Granted, "completeness" doesn't really seem to be rewarded particularly well. In the early game chests were exciting, as they usually meant some new feature being unlocked. By the end chests are just annoying. You go out of your way to get them, and are literally rewarded with a gold star. What function do they fill? As far as I can tell they are nothing more than a collectible to get because why not. Some chests contain playing cares, which can be used to play Double Twin, a clone of Final Fantasy VIII's fantastic Triple Triad mini game. Even that manages to be a poor imitation of the source material, though.

Which is ultimately what Evoland comes down to. It's an extremely unique game, it's overflowing with charm and fun references to games I love. Despite these things, it's a game that still struggles to be competent in it's own right. It deserves a lot of praise for doing such interesting things, I can't even begin to fathom how they did this (in Flash, no less). The experience of actually playing the game is just quite lacking, even down to frame rate issues, glaring bugs and lack of native controller support. I greatly enjoyed the references, and I think with more time the game could have been great even despite the splitting it's focus. As it stands though, I tend to think 2 hours of novelty and 2 hours of mediocrity is perhaps not worth the $10 price stamp. I'm glad it exists though.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Bioshock Infinite Thoughts

Let me start by saying, shooters are not my thing. There have been a handful of shooters in the past that I quite enjoyed, but every one of them has some secondary function which does it for me. In Borderlands it's the RPG elements. In Uncharted it's the characters, the pacing and the polish. On the short list of shooters I have enjoyed, Bioshock sits right at the top. I didn't like it at first, but I kept going because it's reputation. Before I knew it I was enthralled in this astounding world with an amazing atmosphere and narrative that just wouldn't let go. With that said, I was still a little wary of picking up Bioshock Infinite right away. I didn't follow it's development too closely, and it's still a shooter. The thing is, atmosphere and narrative just aren't things you can really get a sense of unless you are playing the game yourself. However, Steam managed to trick me into buying the game, and so regardless I am here today, having beat the game, to give my impressions.

Once again, Bioshock Infinite proved to be a title that took a while to really get going. I had heard all about this companion Elizabeth, who was supposed to be at the very core of this game. Yet, it took me a good 3 hours to even meet her. That's 1/4 of my total play time. Of course I spent those 3 hours doing other things, and in many ways it made me yearn for the Bioshock of old. lMost of the same concepts return, but are noticeably streamlined. You have access to several abilities (now called vigors), but there isn't much by way of environmental uses for them, and in combat they are mostly just used to stun an enemy or set a trap. 98% of the time it's much easier to just shoot the guy anyways, unless it's one of the "heavy hitters". It's not like normal enemies can do much to you anyways, thanks to the new regenerating shield system. 

Shooting in itself is dumbed down too, though. You no longer have access to all your guns, instead going for the groanworthy 2 gun system. You can still upgrade your weapons, but the upgrades seem less interesting and whimsical than the crazy pipes and tubes you tweak your arsenal with in previous games. Plus, what good is it to upgrade your Pistol if your enemies are all going to use shotguns and machine guns? You're kind of forced to also use those weapons. You can can customize your abilities a bit still, through the use of... clothing? Not only does the clothing seem to conspicuously lack a narrative explanation (not something you expect from Bioshock), but it's also kind of boring. With so few gameplay options remaining, the number of things clothing can augment is left pretty lacking. For some reason they seem to fixate a lot on skyline abilities, which I found aren't that plentiful, and even then aren't particularly useful. Ultimately it just seemed to  me like the gameplay was purposefully downplayed. My assumption is this is done to keep things simple for the dudebros, and allow players who are looking for a little bit more to focus on everything else in the game.

Thankfully, that is where this game delivers, in spades no less. Immediately upon arriving in Columbia, I was struck by just how different it was from Rapture. Despite knowing it was a city in the sky instead of being underwater, I somehow expected it to feel the same, but I was very wrong. Rapture felt like a very secluded, lonely place. It was just you and the mutant splicers sitting at the bottom of the ocean. Columbia feels vibrant, alive and open. The city is very much intact, full of color, interesting people, and actual character interactions. Even just the feeling of looking out and seeing the clouds adds a much lighter tone to the game. I especially liked how lively the game felt. Columbia is chock full of people, and they all have an interesting story behind them, even if you have to infer it based on what you can see. It's kind of unfortunate that by the end, the scene changes so much. As the action picks up the people get less frequent, more of them want you dead, and the locales are more run down. I suppose it's necessary to create that contrast, to make the later parts of the game feel more dire. Early on Columbia felt like such a unique and fun place though, I can't help but wish I could have had more of that.

Thankfully though, random strangers strewn about the streets of Columbia aren't the only humans you have to interact with. In fact, your player character even has an actual personality now, too. At first I thought it was kind of odd, considering the game never shifts from first person perspective. It felt odd having this voice that was not my own emanating from my character. It didn't help that in the start, Booker DeWitt is basically just a bitter, cynical, emotionally scarred killing machine. He isn't especially interesting, but the way the game leaves out so much information makes you want to learn more, about your character, about this place, and about this girl you are supposed to be finding. Then you find her, and the entire game flips on it's head. Elizabeth is Bioshock Infinite. Booker becomes attached to her, the two characters have good chemistry, and the interaction between the two characters excuses any monotony the first few hours may have held. It's just so hard not to be enthralled by Elizabeth. She is beautifully realized, and easily the most human character I have ever seen in a video game. Her animations are lifelike, her voice is very well done, she is well written, and she's just really easy to like. She undergoes a surprising amount of growth, too. People are calling her a Disney Princess, and I think it's a pretty suiting moniker. 

As for the game's actual plot itself, it's a really striking, memorable ordeal. As things start out, everything seems pretty mundane, and I actually thought it was kind of "meh". Columbia is an amazing place, but Zachary Comstock and his ideals are nowhere near as interesting as Andrew Ryan. What I will say though, is that Bioshock Infinite definitely made me think. It's big schtick is the fact that Columbia is an idealistic 1920s city of aristocrats, and as such is full of racists. There is a moment soon after finding Elizabeth that I found very poignant, wherein she innocently asks Booker why the blacks have to use a different bathroom, and he simply replies "that's just how it is". The game doesn't pull any punches in putting these injustices on display. It's shocking, but for the sake of clarity I wouldn't say the game is in itself racist, so much as portraying it's inhabitants as racist. The theme is pretty prevalent throughout the game, and at times actually felt kind of uncomfortable. I don't feel qualified to speak to the themes themselves, but if nothing else I think it's good that the game did such a good job of provoking thought and discussion on the issue.

Racist themes aside, Bioshock Infinite has a very strange plot. As I said, it starts off very mundane, though it ramps up pretty quickly once you find Elizabeth. For a time it actually feels things are going too fast. It seems like things are happening right and left, and yet you aren't actually learning anything new, stuff is just happening. I also felt like Booker's relationship with Elizabeth was kind of all over the place early on. She seems to rapidly go back in forth between trusting him implicitly and not at all. Everything kind of comes to a point after a dramatic scene on an airship. The action slows right down, you find yourself on what is essentially a drawn out fetch quest that overstays it's welcome. Then out of the blue the story takes a complete turn, the action is all uphill from there, but nothing makes any sense any more. Ever. Things get very strange very fast, and they don't go back. The adrenaline starts pumping, serious business time is a go, and it's a very intense sprint to the end, in more ways than one. There are some exceptionally emotional scenes that take place here. 

Then comes the ending. On one hand, it's extremely bold, very abstract, and about as weird as everything leading up to it. Part of me wants to say it's amazing and excuses every slow moment, gameplay imperfections and plot oddities leading up to it. Part of me wants to say it's terrible and just way too strange to really be that enjoyable. Ultimately I think after a few days of thinking about it, I'm leaning more towards the first though. If nothing else, it's an ending that promotes a lot of thought and discussion. That on it's own is a major victory. Either way, it's a huge brain twister, and it deserves a ton of respect for tying the narrative of the game together so well, especially when parts of it seemed so spotty prior. I used the word memorable earlier  and the ending is most definitely that. I would argue it's even more memorable than the famous Bioshock twist, even if it is way more abstract and confusing.

All in all, Bioshock Infinite is unquestionably an outstanding game. Granted it's gameplay is no great shakes, but in truth that's not what I play Bioshock for. I wanted atmosphere and I got it. It's not Rapture, but Columbia is an extremely interesting place in it's own right. If you are looking for a good mindless shooter, Infinite may not be for you. If you are looking for a thought provoking game with some intense social commentary and deeply emotional moments, then you owe it to yourself to play this game. In truth, I think Bioshock Infinite deserves a spot right next to it's older brother on the list of games every gamer should play. Elizabeth is the standard by which all characters will now be held to. This is her tale in more ways than one. I will truly miss spending time with her, which is strange to say about a digital character, but damn it man, the feels!