jp's GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay (PS3) - Fri, 15 Nov 2019 10:39:21've had an amazing first impression. I've had a hard time with being stealthy, but no matter. I'm just terribly curious and excited about the world. Intrigued. Interested. Etc. I feel like the game has done an incredible job with the world building and it reminds me a LOT of Bioshock (and Bioshock infinite). I don't know what it is exactly? The vibe? The camera angles/perspective? The way your hands appear in the screen? I'm not sure... The only thing I'm a little worried about - just because I felt it really detracted from my experience with the Bioshock games - is that I hope there isn't a ton scavenging and looting to do. I've only encountered a little so far, which is nice. I'm just worried that as I move into more residential spaces I'll have to engage with opening all the drawers in a desk, opening this and that all to find coins to then buy upgrades, etc. That gets old and annoying really fast so I hope it's used sparingly... We'll have to wait and see though!Fri, 15 Nov 2019 10:39:21 CST 4: U.S. Navy Seals (PS3) - Wed, 13 Nov 2019 19:11:26 played this over the weekend (the campaign, all but the last three missions) and it was a more interesting experience than I had anticipated. I bought the game a looong time ago when the PS Move controllers were the hot thing and I was curious about how an FPS would play. I recall trying it, thinking it was terrible, and then setting it aside. It definitely was not terrible with a DualShock in hand. It took me a while to get used to the tactical nature of the game - in this case reflected in the fact that for most of the game you have two pairs of soldiers following you around and that you can direct to go to places, engage with enemy, and such. At times this felt a bit cumbersome, but overall it was interesting to play the game and having to think about where I'd like the other soldiers to go that could help and so on. It made me think that the game was tuned harder such that you have to rely on your team, which definitely makes for an interesting experience that was new to me. I enjoyed that side of it for sure. The story is weird/interesting and I thought it would go places that maybe it didn't. So, the name of the game includes "Navy Seals" but I'm not sure I understood what the connection if any was. One of my two-soldier teams was asian (with the main character South Korean if the patch on her uniform is to be believed). The other two were American... but the whole setup was that you're some sort of UN force? Or there are other UN soldiers that you coordinate with? I don't know it has a gung-ho US military vibe from the title, but in playing it felt more like "We're International Military Good Guys".. I'll probably have to look stuff up on wikipedia to see what the official story/premise is... Anyways, the main character - the one you control - seems have some past (dark) in the area and at one point we destroy a dam that floods a significant part of an area and, at least according to the warnings/disbelief of my fellow teammates, results in the death of a lot of civilians, villages wiped out, and that sort of thing. All of this to stop the baddies... Once you destroy the dam you get a cut-scene showing the aftermath - but it's only enemy baddies (all dead/drowned). I thought this game was going to go all SpecOps:The Line, especially with the other characters objecting to what the main character wanted to do, and his reaction (very negative and a bit aggressive) to their objections to the plan. Wow, this will be really cool, and unexpected I thought. And then nothing else happened. Oh, what a missed opportunity! It turns out the baddies are just being manipulated by a militarized corporation and your commander, assumed dead, is actually running that show. So, I guess there might be more to it? I didn't play all the way through the campaign, so maybe I'm wrong, but I was looking forward to having another example of an anti-war FPS game, but was not to be.Wed, 13 Nov 2019 19:11:26 CST Is Strange: Before The Storm (PS4) - Mon, 11 Nov 2019 19:14:28 played this over a few sessions (3, I think?) not too long after having played Life is Strange. It's definitely an interesting prequel - Max, the protagonist of the first game is nowhere to be found, with everything centering on Chloe Price (Max's best friend) and Rachel Amber (the girl who went missing in the first game). If you played the first game, you obviously know what lies in the future for both characters - but it's interesting to see how you can shape things in a way that can be interesting to you. So, I really enjoyed that part of the game. The original game (LiS) had a special time-rewinding mechanic that Max could use to change things around and so on. It was pretty central (thematically, narratively, and mechanically) to the game so I was curious if it would appear here (it would make no sense narratively...unless the team sort of bent over backwards to explain why it might work). Fortunately, they didn't include that mechanic but clearly there was a need to have SOMETHING special. I think it's mostly a differentiator from the Telltale Games? At this point, both were not interested in the puzzle aspects common and Telltale has QTEs. LiS doesn't really (hedging my thoughts here just in case there are a few and I'm forgetting). So, LiS: Before the Storm has a "argue" mechanic reminiscent of the old swordplay/wordplay from Monkey Island. A character says something and then you have to find the right/best response such that you make progress towards a central icon - at which point you've "won" the argument. Winning here is more like "you've manipulated the social situation to get what you/Chloe wants" (e.g. got someone to let you in to the club, pissed someone off, etc.). Those moments - there aren't too many of them - were perhaps the most enjoyable part of the experience for me. Keep in mind that I'm a middle-aged man playing a game about two high-school girls and their issues/angst/etc.... so, I'm not the target demographic at least in terms of relating to some of the issues the characters go through... I also enjoyed the "trophy mechanic" - in LiS Max had to find special moments/things to photograph (to unlock that trophy) and it was fun to try to guess/identify where those moments/places were. Some were obviously harder than others. In this game, Chloe likes to write/graffiti/tag things - so basically the same idea - you have a clue in each episode that helps you try to find/figure out/setup a moment for her to tag something (and thus unlocking the corresponding trophy). I appreciated the consistency with the first game and the minor twist on the theme. It makes sense with the story (Chloe the rebellious kid with art skills vs Max the amateur photography lover). I've been thinking of the overall tone of the series - and I'm not sure it meets the formal checklist for "tragedy", but I definitely think of that when I reflect on my experience with the game. Also, I've been thinking of how many other games do this (or have this sort of an experience)...and there aren't many, which I think is kind of interesting in and of itself. It makes me wonder what next? Oh, as a final note - the bonus episode is also fun (and nice and short) and perhaps even sadder even if it's not sad per se. It's just sad in the context of everything you know will come for both characters - you play Max at Chloe's house before Life is Strange: Before the Storm takes it's a pre-prequel of sorts. (it's their last day together as pre-teens before Max leaves for Oregon, she returns from Oregon for Life is Strange and Chloe is angry that she never wrote/they lost touch with each other).Mon, 11 Nov 2019 19:14:28 CST (PS4) - Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:46:52 know you're in trouble when you're surprised by the level of challenge in an easy low-level starter song. It took me 2 songs to get the hand of it, such that I could pass harder songs...but I also realized in two songs that I was not the target player for this game. It's a pretty bare-bones rhythm game that has a bunch of features and options for advanced players. I don't know if it has more than the games the advanced players follow, but definitely more than I knew what to do with. Features you would care about if you noticed there were delays with your tv? I don't know. I played a bunch of songs I enjoyed, realized that pretty much all the other songs were j-pop (that I don't particularly care for) and decided that I'd seen enough to know what the game was about and to leave it at that. I did think the interface was unusual. The default setting was left, up, triangle and circle for each lane respectively. It reminded me of playing DDR on the playstation, but I think that worked better in terms of letting you figure out how to handle two arrows at once. Here my hands just got into knots. Also, it didn't help that the symbols flying at you aren't representative of what you press on the controller. It took me too long to wrap my head around what lane required which button press... But, oh well!Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:46:52 CST Valkyrie (PS4) - Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:31:23 first time I played this game was at GDC and I was blown away. Finally, a game that allowed me to "experience" the "experience" of being a space fighter pilot (as in, an X-Wing pilot). I was really looking forward to playing the game when it came out and...I was so disappointed. I got off on a wrong foot when I had trouble navigating the UI and understanding the basics of the game - I felt that I was thrown into the deep side of a pool with no idea of what to do, what to select, where to go. It seemed like all the missions involved playing with/against other people online, I had no idea why I would/should pick one ship over another and so on. I guess I was hoping/expecting a campaign style game with a fun narrative and interesting and exciting missions. What I ended up playing was "ok". It didn't really activate my imagination with the thrill and awe I experience that first time I played the game. Maybe I played a pre-release demo that was different and heavily curated? Maybe I was never able to find the "campaign missions"? I'm not sure to be honest, I think I was mostly confused. I played enough to try out some missions, but I always felt unsure of how to play the game well. How to tell that I was getting better? Or, how to tell that I was doing things poorly. So, on the shelf.Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:31:23 CST VR (PS4) - Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:26:39 usually enjoy racing games. But, not really the sim ones. I'm too careless and usually don't have any interest in learning how to drive in games that are more...demanding of player's patience and skill. I'm generally the "press the accelerator and never let it go" kind of player. So, I REALLY struggled with this game. Spinning out all the time, crashing into things, and more. This on the early (easy?) races and levels. I eventually did get the hand of it some more and was able to make a little bit of progress. But, I always felt that I wasn't going to get THAT good at the game. I was still struggling too much. And the VR? It was definitely interesting to experiment with the different camera views and such, trying to find one that felt comfortable but also allowed me to play the game "right" (as in, not always come in last). For now though, it goes back on the shelf. Glad I played it, but I'm not really willing to put in the time and effort to get good enough to REALLY enjoy it.Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:26:39 CST Original Sin (PS4) - Fri, 01 Nov 2019 18:58:59 played some more, a fair amount more...and enjoyed the challenge/difficulty of combat. We found we really had to be careful and thoughtful of how we approached different situations (realizing that waltzing around carelessly was usually a terrible idea). I can't say at this point which quests/stories we completed or learned - they all tend to muddle in my mind at this point since we haven't played in a while. Overall, I definitely have a positive feeling in my mind, lamenting only the fact that my co-op partner lost a bit of interest and wanted to move on. Things I thought were interesting that I don't think I've commented on before: a. I played co-op and it was interesting to see how we could distribute the characters between us. If I wanted to control character X we just had to swap them around. I don't think I know of a game with such flexibility, though to be fair I don't think I know of a co-op RPG game where you control a party...rather than one character per player. I think it's a pretty interesting innovation (assuming it's new) - because it can really change how you relate to and feel about the characters. And it gives you room to play co-op with other people, since you can pass "easier to play" characters back and forth and such. b. The co-op system for making decisions/resolving situations was REALLY cool. I enjoyed the fact that we didn't have to agree with each other and that we then had to resolve it (rock paper scissors) in a way that loosely reflected our characters too! (bonuses when you win etc.) c. I really felt overwhelmed by all the different quest lines that exist - and it was hard to tell which ones were "out of reach" for our current power level. I guess this could be more realistic, but given that the game's map isn't THAT huge it did feel a bit claustrophobic for a while - since there were lots of enticing locations it would take us a while to be able to visit. d. I'm not sure the crafting system is all that interesting - and, it seems hard to disengage with it completely because, if anything, you end up wandering around with a metric ton of "raw materials" you're not entirely sure are useful for anything - but they might be, so you never get rid of them. e. Combat was really enjoyable, and I appreciate the mix of turn-based precision with not quite as precise range (as in, no real grid). It made everything feel more organic and also anxious - since it wasn't always super clear if an enemy was in range (or vice versa) in a positive way.Fri, 01 Nov 2019 18:58:59 CST Little King's Story (VITA) - Fri, 01 Nov 2019 12:19:34 this on the plane as well as during a trip I was on. I might be getting old, but I had a hard time reading some of the text on the Vita screen and...well, it wasn't that interesting to play. I clocked maybe 5 hrs or so, enough I think to get a feeling of the general progression in the game but I rankled a bit at the "action" aspects of the game - basically getting a crew of villagers to follow you around and then launch them at a boss to fight him. I had a hard time aiming them correctly, and in my experience they spent more time dying and being useless than actually helping. I ended up having to take out all of the bosses myself which was a chore and I don't think this is the point of the game. I guess I was hoping for more "management" and less wandering around digging holes and fighting turnips.Fri, 01 Nov 2019 12:19:34 CST (PS4) - Mon, 07 Oct 2019 15:30:01 played (and completed) this over the weekend. I recall it getting a lot of pre-release love and attention followed by (perhaps?) a mild sense of disappointment for not having lived up to the hype. That being said, I really enjoyed it. The premise - you only have a minute to do things before you die and have to start over with some progression - is not entirely new to me (see Half-Minute Hero on the PSP) but while Half-Minute Hero was designed as an RPG while Minit is designed as an adventure game. I realized that there's a huge benefit to the 60 second limit. The time limit really help me scope my play of the game - it chunked all of the game's goals into things you could accomplish in 60 seconds or less. It really cuts back on the wandering around not knowing what to do/where to go. I felt like I had to explore "smart" - always with a sense of what goal/thing I needed to accomplish such that I could make progress over the game. It also meant that whenever I went of on a "random" exploration and found something I felt that I had made some progress or contributed towards making progress in the game. The game is short, I felt that the combat/swordplay was wonky and not responsive in a way I appreciated, but all of that was ok because the game was short and had a sense of humor. I doubt that I would have played it for longer than I did and, in some sense, the mystery of all the unanswered questions I have about different characters and situations makes the game all the more interesting.Mon, 07 Oct 2019 15:30:01 CST Tennis 4: World Tour Edition (VITA) - Fri, 04 Oct 2019 18:12:25 started out thinking I'd play a bit and then move on. Then I decided that I'd finish the world tour. Then I thought I'd play a bit more...then, I'd try out some of the mini-games. And on it went. At this point the game is old - but I really enjoyed how it mixed in real-life (former?) tennis stars with "invited players" (other online players) and mixed things up a bit. Yes, it's weird to trounce superstars but it's a fun game I found myself enjoying more the more I played. I guess it had been a while since I'd played a tennis game or even a Virtua Tennis title. As a matter of national pride I was especially excited to see that one of the international tennis stars was Fernando Gonzalez! He retired in 2012 (just after the game launched) and I think he's Chile's 2nd best ever tennis player. I was super chuffed to see him in the game which is hard to explain to people from countries used to having a lot of sports super stars. :-) The world tour mode was interesting - it was structured like a boardgame. Each turn you get a ticket (for a hand of 3, thought you can buy extras) and then you travel around trying to land in different things that will raise your ranking so that you qualify for different tournaments along the way. Due to a UI issue I would often miss a bunch of tournaments - and didn't end up doing all that well in the grand overall scheme of things. This is weird because everything I did play, I there was a bit of dissonance there. However, I thought it was interesting that the tour included things beyond just matches. You could participate in mini-games, but also spend money/earn money by donating to charity, doing press ops, and things of that nature. It's pretty clear that becoming a tennis superstar (according to the game) has a lot to do with all the stuff you do outside of playing the actual game. The game does not have the ATP license and, you can't even tell. For me at least, the game is just as interesting without all the branding. It shows, I guess, how dependent we've become on the idea that different brands really matter? Because they add/contribute...uh..some sense of authenticity? I'm not sure really. I guess there are different brands that can "do" different things, but I'm not sure this game would have been any better had the ranking system been labelled ATP or not.Fri, 04 Oct 2019 18:12:25 CST