jp's GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay Follett's The Pillars of the Earth (PS4) - Wed, 12 Aug 2020 16:54:19 watched the show based on the novel(s?) this game is based on. But it's been a while and I couldn't remember many of the details - this has made the experience playing the game (so far) quite interesting and fun in unexpected ways. As I play the game, I remember things about the story, and this helps motivate me and drive my curiosity. It also gives me some context that, I think, makes the game less confusing and easier to get into and understand. I never read the book, so I wonder if the game's structure (into chapters and books) is the same as the book? The show wasn't structured this way, as far as I recall, so it's kind of strange to say that the videogame is closer to the source material in terms of structure and order of presentation than the tv show! I'm really enjoying the art style as well, having played most (all?) of the Telltale games since Walking Dead, it's been a nice reminder that these kinds of games don't all have to look or be stylized in the same way as Telltale did. I guess it's also perhaps a sign of how influential that initial art style was? This game isn't 3D made to look 2D though - so in a way it works better since there are fewer (from my experience so far) moments where the 3D "breaks" the 2D illusion as it where. I've finished the 1st book (all 7 chapters), and I'm ready to continue - but I've also been wondering if the game will let me deviate significantly from major book plot points/events? I suspect not, and it's mostly moot since I don't recall all the major plot points...but there was one moment that seemed interesting: you're playing a kid trying to help your dad (the Builder) and can set fire to an old cathedral - I chose not to, but the character tripped and the fire happened anyways. There's a trophy for that - which I thought was interesting (is it rewarding doing the opposite of what happened in the book?), and clearly the old place HAD to burn down. So, I liked that moment and it reminded me of the paper I wrote on the significance of inconsequential choices (the church will burn regardless, but I still cared about the choice I made). I wonder if that will be the general (or has been?) strategy for major plot points? Let the player choose - but force the outcome regardless.Wed, 12 Aug 2020 16:54:19 CDT Wars Battlefront II (PS4) - Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:52:03 started playing the campaign and I was genuinely interested! The game looks great, you're playing an imperial agent and I'm intrigued as to where this will all go. However, once the action starts - it just doesn't seem to work all that well for me. I ran into too many moments where I was seeking cover by the side of a wall, shooting at an enemy well-within my sights and having all the shots go into...the wall. The camera seems to be a problem here and it's really getting in the way of things. Also, towards the tail end of the next mission (on Endor, trying to escape via some TIE fighters) - I died a lot due to enemies popping up out of nowhere and overwhelming me. The checkpoints weren't that generous so I got frustrated pretty soon. I've seen plenty of glitchy behavior too - with enemies floating around and bobbing behind cover. I'm not playing on easy - so I guess I could always dial that down, but I'm not having that much fun either? I've debated just deleting it (itching to see what Destiny 2 is up to, and there's the CoD battle royale I'm curious to try, but have no HDD space on the PS4 to spare). I don't know. I've heard the campaign was short and good - but I'm not seeing it yet. Give it more time?Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:52:03 CDT Mania (PS4) - Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:54:24'm really enjoying this. Well, assuming I can get past the final boss of Act I in Studiopolis. It's a really annoying fight I've lost 4 times so far simply because I didn't know what to do. It also has a strange variable speed scrolling that has thrown me off, making it harder for me to avoid enemies. Perhaps I'm missing something? I would not have known this was a new Sonic game due to how well it emulated/resembles the original/older games. It's pretty uncanny. I've enjoyed the random stuff that's thrown in there. For example, one of the "boss fights" is actually a match of Puyo-Puyo! (or, as I remember from the genenesis - "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine" - which I loved playing on emulator back in the late 90s). So far, the game's a joy but hard to get into after the precision of Celeste. Sonic definitely controls quite differently and I have a hard time with his static jumps - both the timing and controlling the landing. Perhaps I'll get better soon?Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:54:24 CDT Hulk: Deathwing (PS4) - Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:50:47 started up the 2nd mission earlier today. It did not go well. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the game is not dying/losing - but rather the really, really long loading times. Embarrassingly long. So much that I'm not confident I'll want to get back to playing. I'm spoiled for choice, with a drawer full of games. I do think the slower paced FPS is an interesting design choice. There's not stealth just shooting - in narrow and confined spaces (so far). This makes it hard to plan and see what's going on and I'm not sure what "skillful play" is supposed to look like. It's super hard not to get hit, so is it mostly about managing the powers and teammates? I learned today that the apothecary can't heal infinitely - he eventually runs out. Which was a bad thing to learn when I learned it (and the main reason I lost that run). I guess I'm also not a fan of "here's your objective" type missions in which you complete said objective only to get another objective (that's far away). I understand them narratively, but why not just make it another level/mission? As a player it always feels like a let down - oh, that accomplishment I was happy about doesn't mean anything because you still haven't finished the mission. Oh, and the games that drag that out more than once? Those are the worst.Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:50:47 CDT (PS4) - Sun, 02 Aug 2020 20:27:10 done now! In all it looks like I spent 9 1/2 hours with the game, which is pretty nice. I'm ready to move on to the next thing. Yes, the end got really challenging at times and I'll admit that I turned off (on?) a bunch more things to make it easier. I wonder if there was any outcry/whining about the difficulty system? Now that I think about it, I could easily go and collect all the berries and hidden things and so on (e.g. to get all the trophies), but - what's the point really? From the trophy percentages - it looks like not a lot of people have bothered. I still wonder if there was any whining about "making things too easy" and that sort of misplaced complaining....Sun, 02 Aug 2020 20:27:10 CDT Delta (PS4) - Sun, 02 Aug 2020 15:41:22 the co-op and, as far as I could tell it's still essentially the same game. I know I haven't unlocked/played all the different levels and bosses, but I'm not all that interested or excited to do so. I've been really trying to get through the backlog of, on the shelf this one goes! It's got quite a few cool design things I learned about, but now I'd have to really chase scores and try to get good at it.Sun, 02 Aug 2020 15:41:22 CDT (PS4) - Sat, 01 Aug 2020 21:49:20, I'm done with 6 levels and it looks like I only have one left. The last one I did was quite annoying. There were fun and interesting parts, for sure - but I really felt like it overstayed its welcome. My son was watching as I played and said as much. He wasn't impressed. During lunch I was asked what was challenging about the game and I had to think about it, but here's my answer: Celeste's main source of challenge comes from two things: (a) Hand-eye coordination and reflexes (executing jumps, grabs, dashes, etc. at the right moment. and (b) Puzzle solving. For the latter most of the areas require that you figure out how to traverse them - and some are quite clever. Do a dash in this direction, grab that ledge and wait for X, and then...and so on. I enjoy the screens with these elements more than (a) above. Though, to be fair most of the screens challenge me on both.Sat, 01 Aug 2020 21:49:20 CDT Delta (PS4) - Sat, 01 Aug 2020 12:38:23 played enough to finish it a few times (there are lots of difficulty levels, so I was able to find one that worked for me) tried out different options and, to an extent I still don't really understand how the game works. There are moments when the screen is so full of enemy bullets and things that it's impossible to avoid getting hit. At least to me. As in, visually - I don't see gaps to move your ship through. I'm pretty sure this is an arcade game port mostly because the play field is 1/3 of my TV screen in a vertical orientation. The rest of the screen (left and right sides of the play field) have a lot of information - some of it might be for hard-score score-chasing players? (e.g. there's a scrolling record of your xp gains) The game's design is interesting - every time you have a near-miss with an enemy bullet you get a "buzz", and you want your buzz number to go up really high. This is good for your score and also, AFAIK, helps you level up which also helps you dish out more damage. So, you want to really dance close to danger (not play it safe) in order to deal more damage and level up so that the rest of the game is easier. And, the game is pretty hard - there is just so much stuff going on at the screen at any given moment that I really lose track. I should probably play the 2player mode just to see what that's like. Maybe easier? Oh, there's another feature I thought was super interesting that I don't think I've seen elsewhere - on the right side of the screen there's a closeup of your ship with a limited viewing area. I think it's to help you dodge bullets easier? At least that was my experience while playing and looking closely at it. I really wish this game had a "run at slower speed" option like Celeste!Sat, 01 Aug 2020 12:38:23 CDT (PS4) - Fri, 31 Jul 2020 12:58:14 bumped this up my to-play list at my son's insistence. So far I know the game is quite challenging for me. Like really challenging. I'll never finish it without assistance and I'll never get all the strawberries and other nonsense that's hidden around the game. Or, I could say that I don't want to spend the time necessary to practice enough to get there? So far, the game experience has been unremarkable - I'm not sure I'm not appreciating some subtleties/nuances in the gameplay and controls. It seems like a nicely polished indie platforming game. Sure. So, I made my way into the middle of the 2nd level when my son wandered in and asked if I'd been using the assist system (I had not). I was then struggling in a certain area - lots of death and repeats - so he suggested turning it on and lowering the speed of the game to 80%. Wow! I had no idea how much this would impact my experience. I was still dying a lot and being challenged - but, I was also able to overcome things and feel like I could do this. What's even weird is that, because I've left it on, I now don't even notice anything. If you told me that it had switched back to 100% (normal) speed without me noticing, I would be really surprised. So, the game got easier in a distinct way that was noticeable but not obviously noticeable. This is SO clever! I don't think it would work with all games - but I wonder about its use as an accessibility feature more widely, and what the challenges are to implement. On the one hand I think "oh, this must be super easy" but then I think "oh, wait a minute, this might be super hard because...". I wonder what the actual truth of the matter is? Anyways, I've since cleared the library and I'm past the 1st checkpoint of the next level. I'm not sure I'll want to finish the game, so I'll need to talk with my son a bit more about why he wanted me to play the game. Have I experienced what he wanted me to get out of the game yet?Fri, 31 Jul 2020 12:58:14 CDT and Obelix XXL2: Roman Rumble in Las Vegum (PS4) - Wed, 29 Jul 2020 15:02:02 plot thickens! So, it turns out that the game I'm playing as apparently a "high-definition" master of "Asterix & Obelix XXL: Mission: Las Vegum" which was originally released in 2006 for Playstation 2 (and others)! That explains a lot - the game is wonky in strange ways and I'm basically chalking that to "oh, it's a PS2-era game and that carries through". It also explains why some of the game references are weird - why is the Mario-like character a version of GameCube's Super Mario Sunshine? (well...) Apparently the re-master came out with a limited edition AND a colletor's edition! Wow! I wonder how well the original game did or what kind of fans the game has (in Europe mostly?) I made it to the WCW zone (there are only two more) and I decided to give up - the Mario character is simply too annoying and there's abit where I need to clear a bunch of them while doing some complicated platforming and I spend more time getting "squirted" off the platform than making mistakes myself. So, I'm calling it done!Wed, 29 Jul 2020 15:02:02 CDT