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    For the King (PS4)    by   jp       (May 16th, 2022 at 19:11:39)

    Ooh, super intrigued by this - played for several hours and the game is incredibly inscrutable in those first few hours because there is SO MUCH GOING ON. For Roguelikes I keep coming back to the question of how long is the intended run/session intended. I struggle with the ones that are a bit too long - Slay the Spire is probably too long for me, BUT - the game is focused enough in terms of the rules/mechanics/systems that I feel like I can continue to learn.

    THis game seems way too big for me in that sense. I was making progress, making progress, and it just kept on going. So, I had no idea if/when I was making bad strategic choices - the feedback loop might be too long there so as to know what I want to do next.

    To make matters worse - if I recall - the text on things was super small and hard to read from the comfort of my couch. I see this happen so often that I really wonder what is going on at Sony that they're not catching these things when they do approvals?

    Perhaps I'm "playing it wrong" since the game says it supports 2-3 online networked playes? Is the intended experience one where each player controls a character? (you have a party of three) I may have played inefficiently because I wasn't sure if I should try to keep them all together - send the characters off separately (riskier if combat). ANyways, they really leaned into the campaign style boardgame here and I was intrigued and interested as I played - but suddenly the board opened up in a massive way and I realized the entire map was much larger than expected and that I was woefully underpowered for the next area and I just kind of sighed, shrugged and realized that I wasn't sure that I wanted to re-start what was already a multi-hour session....

    We'll see....

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    Hollow Knight (PS4)    by   jp       (May 16th, 2022 at 19:03:42)

    I've realized I don't have time to spend backtracking all over the place as I try to figure out where I'm supposed to go next - to then die, because new enemy, and having to backtrack all over the place again. Sigh.

    This game's simply not for me. I've got too many other games just sitting there waiting to be played. Another way to think about this is that I'm just not that excited or interested to play it - there's plenty of games in the sea, as it where, why not spend the time with the ones you're really enjoying?

    This makes me appreciate Celeste's efforts for difficulty accesibility all the more - I was able to keep on going and adjust as needed. But, this game simply isn't designed that way - and I don't think it's about the "genre" (platformer vs metroidvania platformer), but about the design choice of how frequently to place checkpoints, whether or not to allow quick-saving and so on. For me, it really drags down the experience - again, that's for me - so your mileage will vary.

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    Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (DS)    by   jp       (May 15th, 2022 at 21:46:08)

    So, the reviews mostly complained that it was a lightweight game (probably compared to the console ones) and sure, that might be true - I think the game is pretty short. BUT, for a DS title I was really impressed by how well it works and how much variety there is in the level design and how the progression of gameplay elements and challenge is rolled in slowly but deliberately.

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    Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (DS)    by   jp       (May 15th, 2022 at 21:44:11)

    Oh wow, this game is so much better and more interesting than I expected!

    It's a legit Prince of Persia sands of time followup in that there are time-altering mechanics (you get the rewind pretty early, then there's a slow-down time, and there's one more I don't recall) and you have limited uses based on how much sand is in the dagger you have. So, like the same idea as the original PoP:Sands of time game!

    Visually the game is pretty interesting as well - the art direction is stunning considering that the assets are all 3D and incredibly low-poly. Like, really, really pre-PS1 era style. But, so well made that they actually communicate things pretty effectively, and the action is super smooth, and animations flow well and...it just feels like a really nice game to play.

    There's lots of levels, lots of variety between them - some are more puzzley, others more action oriented, and the game slowly introduces new mechanics and things, and isn't afraid to switch things up. There's a riding on your horse level of all things! (there might be more wild ones, but I only played about half the game) There's also a small progression system with upgrades you can buy to get more life bar, more sand, do more damage and change your outfit. You buy them with gems you find in the game - there are also often secret chests to locate - and as far as I can tell the game is pretty generous with gems and stuff.

    What has impressed me the most about the game - in addition to its smooth gameplay, is how everything is done with the stylus and it works! You move, attack, duck, jump, etc. all with the stylus! Ubisoft really leaned into the (presumed) mandate of making the game an unique DS experience and they really did a great job with the controls here. I'm super impressed. I kind of want to look up reviews for the game just to see if this is a gem I missed? I'm guessing reviews will be kind of meh and perhaps complain that the game is too easy?


    Ok, I checked and they're really mediocre! (metacritic is ~57!). I also learned the game came out on PS3, Xbox360, Wii and I guess every other platform out there. So much for me thinking it was a DS game - it turns out it's a weird handheld port? (still, the interface work is fantastic)

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    Amazing Adventures: The Forgotten Ruins (DS)    by   jp       (May 15th, 2022 at 21:34:18)

    It definitely gives you a different perspective to play a bunch of same-genre games pretty close to each other in terms of time. For some reason I thought this one was a match-3 game, but it's actually a hidden object+puzzle game.

    Different titles seem to lean more into the hidden object aspects - with slightly larger scenes and a longer list of things to find, while others downplay the hidden object aspects with a greater balance, in terms of time spent, on different kinds of puzzles.

    PopCap is (was, at the time) one of the bigger players in this space and I assume this DS title is simply a port from a PC version which probably also existed as a web-portal game (remember those?). That being said, it really is a head above some of the other games I've played in terms of the quality of the scenes/art but also in the addition polish - there's characters and art for them and writing that isn't terrible, and, for players who really cared about these things (not saying I don't) this would have represented a real bonus.

    According to the back of the box the story is exclusive to the DS version! (implying the existence of other versions) Wow, that's interesting - and I wonder who they thought their audience on the DS was? I assumed younger kids possibly more girls than boys?

    Each scene, in addition to a single page list of items, has two secret objects (a glyph and a mask) and I appreciated the hint system - it's on a time so you don't spam, but it's also a little bit more vague than I expected. When you tap on the hint button you see what I interpreted as a "rough" circle of stars that glitter - the map also slides over to the location. I assumed that meant the hidden object was in that part of the screen - but this wasn't always the case. It was close, but not necessarily right there.

    Once you clear a hidden object scene you have to play/solve an additional puzzle/game - put together a jigsaw, spot the difference between two pictures, a memory game, a strange mah-jonhg type match the tiles, and a sliding puzzle game. Fortunately I never played the sliding puzzle one, I'm not a huge fan of those for me personal enjoyment.

    I didn't finish the entire game, but a few hours were enough for me to feel like I'd seen enough. The game does have some secret surprises if you get high scores and stuff like that - but I can't be bothered to be honest.

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    Random

    Mercenaries (XBX)    by   xenoabe

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Thursday 9 November, 2006
    The third mission that I completed was for the Mafia. The mission itself was simple. I just had to blow up some machine guns and steal a truck. However, the fact that this mission was from the mafia is what's important. It is not another country and your allegiance to the Mafia can really affect the gameplay. The Mafia offers a shop that provides a lot of really nice items that could aid in your missions. However, crossing the Mafia and losing their allegiance can cause this shop privelage to be revoked. From playing before I remembered that aiding one country can lose allegiance to another if they are enemies. The Mafia however is somewhat independant. However, getting on the Mafia's bad side can be a detrimental thing. This adds another level to the balance and cooperation found in Mercenaries.

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