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    Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4)    by   jp       (Oct 18th, 2021 at 17:11:35)

    Finished this over the weekend. It was a great time, lots of fun bombastic action, amazing environments, and puzzles that were complicated enough to engage without being too challenging or time-consuming to solve. Oh, the overall playing time? It hit the sweetspot for me.

    While I haven't played all of the games in the series, I think this is a really interesting entry. Obviously the first thing is that it doesn't feature Nathan Drake - but rather two women (Chloe and Nadine). The 2nd thing is that, I think, that this game was released as a middle-ground game - not small enough to be DLC, but also not "large" enough to be a full-on sequel. So, a sort of spinoff that was (probably?) not priced as premium? I'll have to do some internet sleuthing to find out.

    As a game, it hits pretty much all of the series staples - exotic environments, amazing architecture and level design, combination of puzzle solving and combat, etc. But, this title does a bit more than that - most of the last level is a big fight on a moving train. It really reminded me of - Uncharted 2? Or 3? This one also had a scene on a moving train. It's also got semi-open areas where you drive a jeep. And so on. So, without remember all of the series' highlights it's sort of like this game is a bit of a remix. So, takes some of the cool bits from earlier games, remixes them and throws them together into a new title. It feels very familiar, and I'm not saying this in a bad sense - it was comfortable and familiar, yet fresh enough. Maybe it's unfair? But, that is the feeling I had. I think the only staple "missing" was a "flashback" chapter?

    Actually, what I realized was really missing - or at least didn't work for me and even fell flat when Sam Drake joins in was the humor. For me, the games have always been action-comedies. Lots of banter and jokes and humorous situations (mixed in with the drama and such). So, very much what Indiana Jones has been. This game didn't really have the humor. Of course, the source of most of that humor - Nathan Drake - wasn't there, so I'm guessing this was a deliberate choice to not have a "Nathan Drake-alike" character come in with quips and wit. But, it does mean that the experience feels not quite like an Uncharted game in that sense. Which is strange. Because of the entire game, if I were to make a list of all the things that make Uncharted what it is, gameplay, mechanics, etc. - humor would definitely have been on the list, but I'm not sure how much I would have said it mattered for the "feel" of the game's experience. I guess it's a lot?

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    Virtual Boy Wario Land (VB)    by   jp       (Oct 14th, 2021 at 19:18:32)

    So I had played a bit many years ago, but mostly to check that my cartridge was working. Never "seriously". Last night I sat down - or more fairly, leaned in - and played this for a good 30 minutes or so. Maybe it was a little bit longer.

    I made it as far as level 4 - the first boss - whom I was unable to defeat, though I did hit him once. I think three hits and I'd beat him.

    I'm playing partly to know the game better - but also due to a project I'm working on, so I want to document some stuff. This is like my field notes:

    The game has various elements that play off movement between foreground/background. These include:

    - Spike balls that swing forward/backwards
    - Hopping points where you jump into the background, play around ona little level that's far away, and then jump back
    - One of the minigames has you jump back and forth repeatedly - it's the one where you're trying to stock up on hearts (100 hearts = 1up)
    - The first boss has two different attacks (that I've seen). The 1st wave of attacks come from the background into the foreground (swings a ball and chain)
    - There's a fish in level 3 that swings into the foreground, where it can hurt you.
    - Also some sort of shark/fish that sits in a hole in the background facing the camera, it comes "out" and you need to avoid it.

    The game also has a lot of parallax - and many layers of fore/background stuff going on .

    - Some level elements like the blocks look rendered in two layers, so the seem to have a bit of volume/depth.

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    Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4)    by   jp       (Oct 12th, 2021 at 16:42:24)

    I played the first 2 chapters and, hmmm. Hmmm is mostly me thinking - wow, this is really interested to play back-to-back with The Last Guardian. On paper, the core gameplay for both games is (so far) the same - you're navigating an environment with a character controlled in the 3rd person. I'm expecting there to be "shooty parts" in this game, and obviously there's no large creature/partner in this game.

    But, the contrast between both games for the navigating a 3D environment is quite striking. I think they're both good - so this is not a case of one being better than the other, it just how the prioritize different game feel. Uncharted feels fast, snappy, responsive - this is necessary especially when you're trying to escape and people are shooting at you! The Last Guardian is slower, more deliberate and also more fragile. Both games are animated really well, so this isn't about the "quality" of the assets. To be fair I prefer Uncharted more - at least so far, I have not experienced camera issues or done actions I didn't mean to do. BUT, in Last Guardian it really feels like you're controlling a little kid who is strong and doing these scary things...

    It's also been a while since I've played an Uncharted game. This is bad because I think I'm supposed to remember who these characters are? Maybe not. Maybe recognition is just for the fans to enjoy? I guess I'm not sure, but it's not like I don't know what's going on in the game or anything like's just the nagging feeling that I might be missing out on stuff due to not remembering the characters. Like, are the women in the game friends of Nathan Drake? Competitors?

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    The Last Guardian (PS4)    by   jp       (Oct 7th, 2021 at 18:28:30)

    I appreciate that the game was not super long (having recently finished it) and, I guess I'm still processing a lot of things in the game. Mostly trying to make sense of how great some things are and how other things are much less so - all while trying to figure out (for myself) how important/unimportant these things are.

    I think that what I've appreciated most about the design of the game - even when it didn't work for me - is the general freedom and openness of the experience. There's no waypoints, map, and barely any guidance into where it is your supposed to go or do. There is a "hint" system of sorts that gives some advice. I think it triggers after a certain amount of time has passed without "progress", but there might be additional triggers.

    So, the game FEELS quite liberating in the sense that I really enjoyed the sense of wonder and exploration of seeing and traversing these incredible environments that left me in awe and full of questions. Who built all this? Where are they now? Why did they build all this? Etc.

    In that sense, the game is a delightful experience because so many things are opaque (as in, not super highlighted or signalled to the player). I was often wondering - can I climb up that area, can I reach this place or that, and so on. Having recently finished Ghost of Tsushima - where this is a lot of environmental traversal, it was clear how much more subtle and toned down things are in Last Guardian. This felt much more natural to experience, though it often got quite frustrating as well - when you get to a point where you don't know what to do next.

    So, the game tries to balance these two things - let players figure stuff out, enjoy the unknown - but at the risk of (and it happened often enough that I think it's fair to comment on it) getting frustrated, bored or otherwise disengaged.

    I guess now that I'm reflecting and writing this out, that might be the general theme of the game - here's this thing that is really interesting and compelling, but it will fall completely flat on its face more times than you'd like, but not enough that you'll quit altogether.

    I'm also impressed by the restraint in the game design - it really is entirely about moving through the environment (with or without Trico) - there's no inventory, stuff to pick up (mostly), progression systems, combat systems, etc. It's super barebones - yes there is "combat" of sorts - but very limited in both options and availability. For example, early in the game you get a shield you learn to use to get Trico to blast stuff. However, you quickly lose that shield. Later in the game you get it back, and you use it to blast stuff - but the blasting is much "worse" (slower to fire). Also, it wasn't until the very end of the game that I realized that you could "pull" the heads of the moving statues when they're on the ground. However, it's a risky move, that takes time to pull off, and wasn't that much better than running around waiting for Trico to take care of the enemies.

    So, the game has its moments - but when it shines - oh wow! My favorite moments are probably those when hanging on to Trico for dear life as he/she/it leaps to a new place...and desperately trying to see if that's where I want to go (or think I should go). It was 100% vertigo. Audio work, the motion and movement of the camera, and above all Trico's animation - I could tell when he/she/it was about to leap!

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    B-17 Fortress in the Sky (DS)    by   jp       (Sep 27th, 2021 at 11:50:09)

    Oh. Well here's another surprising little title!

    I've played 5 (6?) missions and I don't think I need to play anymore. So far, at least, the game's entire experience has been revealed in all its options and gameplay. It's fun, and small, and interesting nonetheless.

    The game is essentially a series of WWII bombing missions where you fly to the target, bomb the target, and then fly back. You don't have to navigate there, rather you play the roles of all the plane's gunners and, at the right moment, the bomber. The B-17 plane carried a lot of bombs and guns, with gunner positions all over the place (front, front/top, tail, belly, left and right) and when you're attacked by fighters you need to quickly move between the different stations to shoot at the planes. You move around by tapping on the plane location you want to go to and then pan around and fire. It's fast and pretty fun. Then, you get to the bomb run, here you need to pan left/right to align with bombing targets as seen from above while also panning down (then up) to lower the plane's altitude as you get closer to whatever it is you're bombing (shipyards, train depot, factories). You tap to release bombs and hope they hit. Oh, I forgot there's also an "avoid flak" part of the game - here you just pan the plane left/right to avoid flak explosions.

    So, each mission has three distinct gameplay modes (shoot down fighters - FPS view, avoid flak - top down, bomb run - top down). Pretty simple but gets a bit old after a while. There are 25 missions, so maybe things get different? But, I can't really imagine how unless they start to introduce new elements (you're shot down, escape in parachute). I mean, the missions where all pretty similar? (not to downplay, just saying there wasn't that much variety if you're not going to emphasize characters, story, and keep the elements mostly realistic).

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    Goldeneye 007 (N64)    by   CurtisGordon

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Thursday 21 February, 2008
    goldeneye 2 007

    In golden eye you don't really have any type of communication with the other players except to shoot/stab them and kill them. besides the npc armies that you mow down in single player and your ocational ally you meet on your adventure you don't have another interactions with anything.
    the cut scenes and characters do a fairly good job at emotionally connecting the player with the game. from the evil soviets to their generals. The enimies all have faces giving more of an emotional connection to everyone your kill. the cut scenes are mirrors of scenes from the golden eye movie.

    This game would have been a hit no matter how good or bad the game was designed because of the association with the movie series. its fourtante for us that the game is great. The controls for the time were really good taking use of the joystick on the nintendo controller. the game also has really good npcs for the time makeing the campigan intresting.
    The game not related at all to my game gives me some ideas to incorerate into the game. such as a intresting story line that makes the gameplay inviting. I am also going to use idea of having power ups randomly spawn in set intervils.
    the game does get repetitive tho, because you will notice that the game levels are somewhate simular and point and shoot the entire time. this makes the game not very deep and player does not have to devote much time to lean from the experiance of golden eye 007. but who cares casue the game rocks

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