Nothing more than a broken man starring death in the face. All my mistakes have got a hold on me again. Here we go. Another day, another fork in the road. I never know who to trust. Will someone just tell me which way to go?

To them, you're just a freak, like me. They need you right now. But when they don't, they'll cast you out, like a leper. See, their morals, their code... it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you, when the chips are down, these... these civilized people? They'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster, I'm just ahead of the curve.

Round 94 of the Articles Of Excellence ends with Lukas reviewing the latest entry in the fairly long running and reasonably successful Ratchet & Clank series, Into The Nexus. He, unfortunately, finds that it doesn't quite live up to the quality of the PS2 games or the Future trilogy on the PS3 as there's some signs of franchise fatigue between only maybe a few genuinely creative and inspired weapons and mostly lazy storytelling. There's still quite a bit of hope as it's still fun and satisfying to kill hordes of aliens.

Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus Score: 7.5/10
Genre: Platformer/Third Person Shooter

Its aspiration towards being a longer downloadable game actually hurt it in the long run, really. It's a shame because it has all of what makes these games tick. It's full of high octane action and hardly ever lets up. There's just so much to blow up and it's so satisfying laying waste to so many robots and aliens that it never gets boring.

quote Lukas
Another year, another Ratchet And Clank game. At least this entry is more like the older games than like the last two games that tried to either be a co-op top down-y shooter or a MOBA-esque shooter. But it also goes to show why All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault/Q-Force had to be what they were; it's a gameplay style that's still really good, but it's just getting a bit old. It's mainly because this is the twelfth game in the series and the tenth to use this style. At first, it was all about improving itself with each successive game in the series, but they had practically reached their plateau with Deadlocked so they just sort of stagnated. This would be something of an issue if Tools Of Destruction and A Crack In Time didn't feature such good stories and Quest For Booty didn't have so much zazz in its story – don't get me wrong, the games were still fun, but like I said, they kind of stagnated in terms of style and overall quality. I think that's the issue I have with Into The Nexus – I've played this before and I just can't justify playing this over any other Ratchet And Clank game. The original quadrilogy showed steady improvement over the gameplay while having fun stories to tell, and the Future trilogy had a surprisingly compelling story with a memorable cast of characters. It's far from a bad game; in fact, it's a good game, but it's definitely one of the weaker Ratchet And Clank games.

For the most part, you have a lot of the series' trappings like a large variety of high tech weaponry, gadgets and lots of shit to blow up. There's the usual stuff like plasma blasters, mini bombs, disc launchers and rocket launchers, and there's also the series' mainstay – the RYNO, which fires tons of bullets and wrecks everything in its path. But there are some unique weapons like a weapon that turns enemies into snowmen, a shotgun that places enemies in slow motion, and a weapon that scares the enemies stiff. Yeah, you can sort of tell that they're running out of ideas, but twelve games would do that to you – Capcom ought to know since there are more Mega Man games than there are people in the world. But it hardly matters when it's still fun and satisfying as shit to blow up all sorts of aliens and robots with these weapons. It's just the effect these games have on you as they send lots of enemies your way throughout most of any given level. Sure, there's the occasional platforming segment and the "run/fly for your life" segment, but then you'll have more enemies to deal with right after that. Yeah, there's a scavenger hunt involved, but more than half of what you have to find are inside enemies and they'll usually be accompanied by smaller enemies that'll try to distract you. Then you take down the big enemies, reap the rewards and feel like you've earned those bolts and the eventual rewards.
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Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus Another year, another Ratchet And Clank game. At least this entry is more like the older games than like the last two games that tried to either be a co-op top down-y shooter or a MOBA-esque shooter.

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Okay...this is literally the best thing ever! My words can not describe how much I love this.

To everyone who want to add me or is interested in adding me for friend safari in X/Y, I typically add people on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and sometimes Tuesday, as my schedule permits it.

So if I don't add you right away, please don't be offended, I will get back to you eventually :).

In most fantasy RPGs it's given that your heroes are fearless. Sure, they might temporarily be stricken by a fear spell, but generally all of party members will happily follow you into the dark, dangerous dungeons that have claimed many adventurers before you. Not quite the case in "Darkest Dungeon", an unconventional dungeon crawler that has already raised over a quarter of a million dollars on Kickstarter. In DD, your flawed band of heroes can be subject to numerous fears and afflictions. It's up to you to not only keep them alive but maintain a grip on their sanity. DarkestDungeon PC

So, it’s the business end of the business end of the season. Some teams will rise to glory, some will just chug along and others will sink like a stone. York seems to prefer the ‘sink like a stone’ option. To kick off April, I go five games without a win and sink all the way to 12th place, with more than one team just a few points behind and threatening to knock me down further. At this point, there’s clearly no possibility of a playoff spot, so at least I feel I can play around with formations a bit.

The 4-1-2-1-2 worked fantastically well in the beginning of the season (I had the second-best offense as of February), but for the last two months I’ve been scoring about 1 goal per game (down from almost 3) and losing lots of 0-1 and 1-2 games. Although I know that I’ll come out of my slump eventually, right now I’m really feeling the lack of options down the middle (which is my favorite way to attack). I first try switching to a 4-3-1-2, but that doesn’t seem much better, so I try my old favorite from PES: the Christmas tree. I get a draw and it feels decent, but it doesn’t really suit the squad I have. So, finally, for the last two games, I go back to the formation I used all through my first career mode: 3-5-2. My main complaint about the system is that it feels overly defensive to me, and in this York career I wanted to focus on offense, but I figure if I’m only going to score 1 goal per game, I might as well choose a formation that can get me a clean sheet as often as not. I only get to play two games with the 3-5-2, but things do feel a bit better: I get a 1-0 win against Cheltenham, and then a 1-0 win against Morecambe.

Or at least it would have been 1-0 win against Morecambe if not of a spectacular display of stupidity from my keeper. In the 90th minute, I’m defending a through ball just left of goal. It’s not a particularly dangerous through ball and it seems certain that my defender, who’s already closed the opposing striker down, is going to nick the ball easily. That’s when my keeper decides to charge out and take out both the striker and the defender. So, I get to have the joyful experience of watching a 90th-minute penalty take away my win. :#

The Youth Project

Scouting in February and March was a bust: I didn’t get a single prospect either month. But April was a real treat—I got a player with mid-70s POT and a keeper with high 80s POT and a good starting OVR. I’ll give a fuller overview in Chapter One of my next season.

Plans for the Next Season

First, Jarvis (ST , 57 OVR) is going up onto the chopping block. I like having four decent strikers on staff, but Jarvis is whining about not getting enough first-11 football (despite the fact that I start him about 40% of the time even though he's 4th out of 4 regular strikers in terms of OVR…). Also, he’s 27 years old and didn’t improve in terms of OVR last season, while the three other strikers all went up quite a bit.

Another big decision is that I'm going to go with 3-5-2 next season. Not necessarily because I think I’ll do better than with a 4-1-2-1-2, but because it allows me to reap a cash windfall from selling off my RBs and LBs. I do like my RB Oyebanjo. He’s played splendidly and has gained two points in OVR. But the harsh reality is that I need funds to expand my scouting programme and to make sure I have enough CBs that I can always have reasonably fresh defenders on the pitch. So, he and the other fullbacks must go...

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So, it’s the business end of the season. It begins with a draw, but then improves with a 2-1 win over Fleetwood Town. After that, it’s pretty mediocre: 3W 1D 3L. The only really good news is that the other contenders for the final playoff spot have also played relatively poorly. So, as April begins, I sit in 8th place, still just 2 points off a playoff berth. On the whole, though, I’m worried by my poor play. Basically, I’ve lost my fluidity on offense. I keep second-guessing myself, hesitating jsut when I need to act fast and misjudging shots when I do get them off. Often, I only get a few shots on goal (I used to regularly get 10-15), and even when I do manage to get the shot-count up near the 15 mark, I often find that I’ve either scored only 1 or failed to score at all. :(

I know the solution is to relax and wait it out, but, of course, it’s impossible to relax in such a situation, and so on it goes…

January Games

Things start badly with a 1-0 loss to Scunthorpe. And although a 3-2 win over mid-table rivals Rochdale is nice, it’s followed by a shameful 1-0 loss to 3rd-from-bottom Wycombe. Fortunately, though, January finishes with two wins, pushing me back up to 9th place, 4 points off a playoff spot.

The January Transfer Window

I know what my first priority has to be: I immediately sign an out-of-work Indian LB, Kumar, who’s only 57 OVR, but doesn’t tax the budget too much at 1.25k per week. After that, I sell off two mid-fielders I’m not too interested in (Clay and Platt), as well as two low-50s-OVR youth players who haven’t shown any improvement over the first season. With the funds generated from these four sales, I begin my January youth scouting mission to Argentina (hoping to pick up a few youngsters in the few months just before the May bump). Also, I purchase two more young players through the transfer market: a CAM and a CM both identified in the news as ‘one for the future.’

That leaves my youth project as follows:

Paulino (BRA), age 16, LM/RM in the first team with an OVR of 55 and a POT of perhaps mid 70s.
Dano (BRA), age 16, in the academy, CM, OVR high 40s, POT mid-to-high 70s.
Meirelles (BRA), age 15, in the academy, Mid-fielder or Defender, OVR low 50s, POT 86-92
Guera (BRA), age 15, in the academy, Mid-fielder or Attacker, OVR OVR high 40s, POT high 60s ( :( )
Pardo (CHL), age 18, CAM in the first team, OVR 51, identified in news as ‘one for the future’
Melvin (SCO), age 18, CM in the first team, OVR 52, identified in news as ‘one for the future’

In addition to these kids, the squad is boosted by the fact that CB Smith is back from injury. He’s lost a point of OVR, dragging him down to 55, but he’s gained the ‘Leader of Men’ trait! Or maybe he had it already and I just hadn’t noticed… In either case, someone just got promoted to captain. :)

On the negative side, I still have a player in the squad who I consider to be basically useless: RB Atkinson, at 52 OVR and having shown no improvement despite being 19. But with my defense so depleted, I really have no choice other than to offer him a new contract (he’s only got 4 months left) and hope that I can sell him next year for something close to the whopping 20k that he’s worth.

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The slump continues. Over the next four games, I lose one and draw three, making it seven in a row without a win. Oh, and Davies, my last remaining LB, goes back to his club as his loan spell ends. My total defensive complement now consists of two RBs, two CBs and zero LBs. With no other options available, I start playing backup CDM Montrose at LB (admittedly, he does better than either of my crappy loan LBs ever did…).
The last game before the transfer window is a slight improvement—a 1-0 win over last-place Newport, but even so, I finish December in 11th place, with plenty of teams only a few points behind me, ready to send me plunging down the league table if the poor play continues.

The second dozen games start badly, as I lose Taft at LB (who returns to his team after a short loan), forcing me to bring in the much inferior Davies (51 OVR and also on short-term loan). And it goes downhill from there. A 2-0 loss to Hartlepool is followed by a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Stevenage, knocking me out of the JPT. Still, the next seven games go well: 4W 2D 1L. But then begin the bad times…

First, a 3-1 loss to Mansfield, in which I lose a CB to a broken ankle, leaving me with a grand total of 5 defenders in the team, only two of which are CBs. Then, I get hammered out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 loss to Wallsall. And the icing on the cake? My highest scorer, Coulson, sprains his ankle in the match and is out for 4 weeks. The second dozen games finish with 2-2 draw. Despite the slump, though, I’m still in 9th place, with only goal difference separating me from a playoff spot, so there's still plenty of hope.

In the first three games, York loses 1-0, then loses 4-1 to get knocked out of the Capital one cup, and then returns to League action to take a 5-0 beating from Cheltenham. At this point, it looks like my meeting my board expectation of ‘avoid a bottom finish’ is not going to be easy. However, things look better after my next two games, both draws, including one against league favourites Portsmouth. And indeed, it's the start of a turnaround.

Over the next six games, York manage 5W 0D 1L, before travelling to face league leaders Scunthorpe. By half time in the Scunthorpe game, I’m down 3-0, but after a goal in the 81st minute and another in the 87th, I begin to think, ‘Maybe, just maybe…’ And sure enough, in the 3rd minute of extra time, I score a header off a corner. It ends 3-3. Fantastic game!

So, after a dozen games, York has been trounced in the Capital One Cup, and has taken more than one embarrassing beating, but—against all expectation—sits in 8th place, just shy of a playoff berth.

A change of plans

The unexpected success of my team means that I may not need to go with my earlier plan of promoting a bunch of youth players long before their May boost. I figure that if York keeps playing the way it has been, I can ask for additional funds in January and use that to bankroll my youth scouting without needing to sell off many of my current squad members, as I was previously planning. So, Paulino’s already been promoted, but aside from him, I’m going to try to keep all the other kids in the academy until May.

My Youth Prospects

By October, after the end of my first scouting foray, my youth prospects look as so:

Paulino (BRA), age 16, LM/RM in the first team, with an OVR of 53 and a POT of perhaps mid 70s.
Dano (BRA), age 16, in the academy, Mid-fielder or Attacker, OVR high 40s, POT mid 70s-ish.
Meirelles (BRA), age 15, in the academy, Mid-fielder or Defender, OVR mid 50s, POT high 80s or so.
Guera (BRA), age 15, in the academy, Mid-fielder or Attacker, OVR OVR high 40s, POT mid-70s-ish.

That may look rubbish from a BPL perspective, but for a team from League 2 (where 70 OVR is awesome), it’s a good start. I’ll start up a second three-month scouting trip at the end of January (in order to try to get players just before the May bump) to further boost my future first team.

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I’ve finally become good enough to play on world class difficulty, and now that I can, I’ve decided to start a new manager career attempting to bring a League Two team up to European glory on world class (I previously did it on pro). One thing though: I’m going to do it with kids. You see, I love the youth development aspect of the game. I don’t know why, I just do. So my goal is to take York City from zero to hero by building a team of young stars, mainly through the youth academy.

Why York?

I like teams from major or historic cities. There are some London teams in League 2 that I could have gone for, but I chose York because mainly because of the season expectations (avoid a bottom finish). I knew that with my youth-based strategy, the first season was going to be rough, and I didn’t want to be sacked before the strategy could bear fruit.

Chapter One: The Summer Transfer Window

My squad was very small to begin with, so there wasn’t that much scope for selling off players, which I needed to do in order to fund my youth strategy. The solution? It may sound crazy, but I used my available transfer budget to hire a youth scout and send him to Brazil right away. My reasoning was that if I could get a few kids on £500 contracts and promote them immediately to the first team, I could sell off more players in the first season, and that would mean more cash for building my youth academy. Sure, the youth prospects I promoted in the early season would miss out on the May boost, but I’m in League 2, so low starting OVRs shouldn’t be too much of a handicap. Anything from high 40s up is viable.

So, in my July scout, I get one player, Paulino, a 16-year-old Brazilian RM/LM with a POT that looks like mid 70s or so. I promote him to the first team immediately, and he comes in at 52 OVR. Bad, but better than a lot of my players. It’ll do.

I also snap up 18-year old Bolivian CDM, Azogue, from the free agents pool. He checks in at 63 OVR, giving me the two key positions for the 4-1-2-1-2 I'd like to play: a strong CDM and a strong CAM (who I already had).

That leaves me with the following starting lineup:

...............ST Bowman (58 OVR)...ST Coulson (58 OVR)....................

................................CAM Puri (62 OVR)...........................................

LM Cresswell (61 OVR)……………………………...RM Chambers (60 OVR)

...............................CDM Azogue (63 OVR)...................................

LB Taft (58 OVR)..............................................RB Oyebanjo (60 OVR)

..........CB Allan (52 OVR).......................CB McGurk (58 OVR)………….

............................GK Ingham (58 OVR).................................................

Allan, at 52 OVR, looks like the wrong choice when I also have Smith, a CB at 56 OVR, but Allan is fast and makes a good ball-playing defender (this is later proven by his high match ratings).

The Pre-season

My cut-price York squad performed maybe a little better than expected. The lowlight was a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Celtic. Still, the highlight came when York City actually won a game 1-0. Sure, it was against a lower-end Saudi team, but it still gave me some hope that they might fulfill their season objective and avoid a bottom finish.

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Currently looking for someone that can RNG Some Shiny Oblivia Deoxys'. (Odd Temple/Oblivia and The Birth Island Deoxys is possible to get in Shiny Form)

PM Me of you can do so! ^^

I have 12 Requests in Total. ^^;

3 days left on Kickstarter for this turn-based futuristic dungeon crawler. I hope they can get a few more stretch goals so more of the classes can be implemented. For some twisted reason, I want to recruit the homicidal robot. StarCrawlers PC
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