jp's GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay Legends of Chima: Laval's Journey (VITA) - Mon, 15 Jul 2024 16:00:49 started this YEARS ago. Never got too far, but started it up again a few days ago. Of course I don't remember anything related to the story, and it took me a little bit of time to figure out what I was supposed to be doing next - but, it's a Lego game with all the common patterns and gameplay that pretty much all the other games in the series have. So, once you've figured out what the special moves are, where to activate them and so on, it's pretty straightforward. I'm not familiar with the "chima" universe or whatever it is, but this game seems to skew a bit higher than the rest in terms of difficulty (not from combat, but the puzzles seem a bit more sophisticated)? I'm not saying it's hard - just that it's a little bit harder. There's some puzzles that have multiple steps - nothing too complicated, and it's also easier to get lost (less linear) in the sense of not knowing where to go next. I've played enough of it at this point that I might just finish it to see what the few character types' powers are? But then again, perhaps not. I haven't decided yet.Mon, 15 Jul 2024 16:00:49 CDT (PS5) - Sun, 23 Jun 2024 14:09:57 finished the game! The "down a corridor" linearity definitely let up once I got to the first "city" area...and while there are other sections that are tightly restricted, I would say that while the game is linear (it's a narratively-led adventure game where you collect clues and complete tasks for NPCs in order to progress), the experience of playing it does not feel quite as constrained as I had initially thought it was. It's weird to me how I had a strong idea that this was a "cyberpunk" game set in a city - but it's just robots instead of people, and the game doesn't feel like that at all to me now. Yes, there's neon and such - but the major cyberpunk (as genre) themes aren't there. It does tell its own story, and it's really quite sad. It's post-apocalyptic in the sense that humans are extinct (or other wise gone as far as we know), but there's also the idea that this is a world that has recovered (in the nature regrowing sense) from whatever it was the apocalypse was about - it's not clear to me why humans holed up in the underground cities in the first place (and they then all died in a plague, oh, and then they unleashed something intended to solve problems but it mutated and has since run amuck - thus trapping all the robots inside the city). And through all this - you - a cat - have not only survived but made it through. Overall, yes - I did enjoy it, and I appreciated the brevity. But also, in terms of it's game design, it's pretty "light" (by this I mean it doesn't stray far from expectations and it does everything right). So, no special highlights in my mind here - but the navigation and UI work as they should. I guess I could say that I thought I'd get lost a lot easier (there's lots of vertical navigation in addition to horizontal) but it helped that the game's spaces are small even if they are well "dressed" with objects and details.Sun, 23 Jun 2024 14:09:57 CDT Effect (PS4) - Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:49:38 think it's now super fair to say that I'm not very good at playing Tetris. Mostly because I make lots of mistakes pressing the "drop now" button instead of rotating a piece or something like that. I've also never been particularly drawn to playing Tetris, even if I've dabbled for years now...almost since it came out. But, I was curious to play Tetris Effect - in VR - because it was described as such a different experience. And it is. I'd describe it as the Rez version of Tetris. So, it's still Tetris, but it's Rez-like in how the music is a much more integrated part of the experience, in a good way. So, I enjoyed playing the campaign - with different areas with art, sound effects and so on...and the experience really is much more immersive - in a good way - than "vanilla tetris". For me at least!Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:49:38 CDT (PS5) - Thu, 13 Jun 2024 00:18:12'm surprised by how linear the game is in the beginning. I think I only just got to the part where it opens up a bit? It is fun to explore as the cat - but the beginning was just following along (and enjoying how pretty everything looks and wondering -ooh, what happened in this world?). I wonder if I'll ever reunite with all the cats I was handing out at the beginning of the game before I fell "into" the "city"?Thu, 13 Jun 2024 00:18:12 CDT VR (PS4) - Thu, 13 Jun 2024 00:16:27 is an odd game, but I did have fun! (despite stuff) First, the game includes the game and what they call "episode 2" - the first is called "Gungrave VR" and the second is "Gungrave VR U.N". I did not pay attention to the back of the box, and played the "U.N" one first (for no reason other than perhaps it was on the left side of the PS menu bar?...and it's really short (only three missions! not too hard, which is fine, and it looks pretty bad - even for a VR game. I was about to move on, when I though, huh..I wonder if the other game was the main game and this one was the "DLC"? (because it was so short!) So, I booted up the main game - and I was forced into doing the tutorial again - it's the exact same tutorial! - and the main menu is also exactly the same! But, when you go into the mission select area, things are different (new missions). AND, the missions in the main game look a lot better! By this I mean there are better character models and textures. It's almost like the DLC was the "prototype art version" with the main game the "final" art. I'm not saying the art was great (though I did like some of the enemy designs), it's just that the difference in quality of the art assets was really noticeable. Wierdly a lot of the geometry in the DLC was destructible, but there was no point/benefit/drawback to destroying stuff... As for the game - I can lump both together, mostly... It's wonky, the controls have a weird delayed response, aiming is pretty inexact and imprecise..but, the game is still fun enough (and yes, I was grateful for the brevity - the main game only had 5 areas) despite getting repetitive in terms of goals and enemies. BUT...and this is where it's a weird game, there are some pretty cool ideas I thought were interesting (and good design choices). a. The game has a lot of variety in perspective. Sometimes it's first-person, othertimes it's 3rd person, the DLC even has side-scrolling areas, sometimes you're "locked in place", other times your not. This variety kept things fresh AND also reduced the physical strain of playing in VR - mostly because at times I had to do certain movements with the head, and others had different head movements. b. I thought the sidescrolling levels would be dumb and not work - after all you could only fire left/right (but up/down on the left right if that makes sense). Aiming is with the head (where you look you aim) and if you the character was facing right - it was placed on the left side of the screen which meant you were kind oflooking to the right, so I had to remember to look left a lot because enemies would creep up behind the character (and when looking right you could not see what was on the left too well). So, there was lots of looking left/right (like a tennis match!)...and, this was enjoyable! Here, the looking really gave me more to see (rather than just looking to aim) c. Some levels I you have to really look up (almost behind as you look up) which I thought was interesting - there's gameplay on the edges of your motion capabilities - which is risky (camera loses sight of headset - this is PSVR!), but interesting as an experience - straining to look up and almost behind felt interesting! d. I kept on losing the final boss fight - mostly because one of its attacks was to slam you with a giant hand/arm. The game locks you into place - you can't move or dodge...and I didn't see a way to avoid the damage and kept on dying (after getting hit a few times). So, I looked online for a guide - perhaps there's some secret to the dodge and my timing was off? or there's something else I missed? Could not find a find. But, did watch a video - and the person playing in the video lost a few times but eventually barely made it. So, I tried again - maybe I was just too inefficient with my shooting and I needed to do more damage before getting hit? Well, that didn't work - so I went back to the "lets try new things". When the arms swing down they have reticules/targets on them (several) and I had tried shooting one to no effect. So, I decided to try shooting them all - and, IT WORKED! (it was hard to hit them all because there's no feedback of a hit AND the last target is on the hand which is above/behind you when you start shooting (from the shoulder up the arm, elbow, forearm, hand). I don't know if the order matters - it might be easier to start on the hand and strafe to the shoulder? - BUT, I felt really clever/smart to do something better than in the video! To be clear, the game is quite mediocre in terms of quality, polish, gameplay, etc. BUT - it was still fun enough that I enjoyed it (and here the brevity might be a benefit, since I didn't get tired/bored of it).Thu, 13 Jun 2024 00:16:27 CDT Effect: Andromeda (PS4) - Wed, 12 Jun 2024 18:45:17! I decided to commit to two things before moving on (which took ~10hrs). First, finish the story - which was more fun and interesting than I expected. The last few missions were similar to the first few - more dramatic, little cut-scenes in between, more action/adventurey... So, all around good. Second, I wanted to get all the planets to 100 viability. Partly this was because there was a trophy attached - but mostly because I enjoyed driving the rover around and I thought it wouldn't take too long (I was wrong about the second part). Overall, I really enjoyed it and could have easily enjoyed spending more time on/with the game. I decided not to continue mostly because I have a drawer full of other PS4 games (too many) I also want to play and this is the time of the year during which I can make the most progress whittling down that backlog... Looking back, this game is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination - there's plenty of weird wonky stuff, bugs here and there, inconsistencies in the story and characters, etc. BUT, despite all these little things, the core was fun enough for me to engage with and play. So, I really do feel like it's a good game and I'm glad I played it. Design-wise I think that what surprised me the most (in a good way) is how much variety and variation there is within an easily understandable goal framework. So, for each planet I knew I had to "activate" 3 towers and then visit a vault. The first planet I did this on was pretty demanding on this - the vault was a whole mission with lots of steps and so-on. It took time! So, I was kind of dreading what would happen with the other planets. Oh no, that's four more vaults at X time each...this will take forever! But, it didn't. Some vaults were pretty short/easy. Some of the tower activations were similarly short/simple. And I really appreciated this! Each planet had it's own flavor/style/innovation/difference within the broader structure. The last planet I did (Kadara?) was the one where things were more political - I had to talk to NPCs, do stuff for them and so on. Other planets were more "complete tasks at certain locations". So, lots of variation and variability within the overall goal structure and - my sense - one that generally favored the player. So, mostly, I felt like "oh, nice - that took less time or effort than I assumed" rather than the opposite. Fun things from the ending: a. You can continue playing and doing tasks and so on - but the game forces you into a little "celebration task" that is mostly you talking to your crew about "winning" and them leaving the door open to finishing tasks that are still pending. I thought it was a nice way to combine long cut-scenes with the ending AND the fact that you'll probably do more stuff. Many games sort of ignore the fact that you "beat the game" and you keep on playing as if nothing happened. b. My in-game inbox filled up with messages from NPCs thanking me for "winning". Nice touch! I read some but not all of the messages and it definitely contributed to making the "win" feel more impactful. To be fair, I was mostly ignoring story stuff and kind of zipping around completing tasks - so, not playing the game with a role-player story-first attitude. Despite this, the game's story did start to grow on me! And, I think it's pretty cool how it's really set outside the Mass Effect continuity (happens both during ME2 and 3 and long after 3) with a sense of loss. The game takes place 600 years after ME3 (aprox) because that's how long it takes to get to Andromeda. And, while you can get some communications from when ME3 was happening (oh, the reapers are attacking!) you don't really know what happened. As far as you know - the Milky Way galaxy is "over" (reapers won, life set back). Supposedly you could have a ME: Milky Way? (where people from Andromeda head back to the Milky Way to recolonize it? (assuming ME3 ended poorly, of course).Wed, 12 Jun 2024 18:45:17 CDT Wars: Squadrons (PS4) - Mon, 10 Jun 2024 23:43:29 tried to play online with no luck. (as in, I got bored of waiting to match up - but I only waited a few minutes). So, I did the tutorial for the online modes, and it was ok - the main mode is a sort of "push objectives" to get to the last objective (destroy the star destroyer if you're rebel) - and things can swing back and forth (5v5 but they also add AI pilots on both sides) since there's a sort of tug-of-war system (morale I think it's called) in which you win points for destroying things (fewer points for AI than other players) and lose points when you get destroyed. I think the enemy gets the points - rather than your side loses points? Anyways. I played a few rounds of this - started to level up - and then realized...ugh..this wasn't THAT fun, and I can't unlock the "real" mode (ranked play online) until I hit level 5. And I was barely at 3... So I bailed on the entire game. This was mostly because I'm looking at my drawer full of games and realizing - I think I got what I wanted from this game and I don't care to learn to fly the other ships and stuff...and I'm also a little bit tired of Star Wars in general?Mon, 10 Jun 2024 23:43:29 CDT Wars: Squadrons (PS4) - Sat, 08 Jun 2024 12:38:27 the prologue for this, in PSVR of course,'s fun! (and I plan to continue playing). The prologue is the tutorial (very streamlined and easy to follow, and clever in lots of subtle ways), and you play first as a TIE fighter pilot and then as an X-Wing pilot. I think it'll flip back and forth between them over the duration of the campaign? Interesting things so far: a. Before you even get in to the game you're shown a huge menu of different accessibility options you can set, toggle, configure, etc. I thought that was pretty neat, though I didn't really understand what the different menu options were supposed to do...but that's maybe just because accessibility options aren't a thing I've usually worried about (other than making the size of text larger on the screen so I can actually read things when I need to, oh, I also like to turn on subtitles because I often find that the sound mix isn't good for me - music too loud compared to voice). b. In addition to flying and shooting, you can (should) toggle between three power output settings for the ships you fly: more engines, balanced, more lasers. This reminded me of when I played X-Wing WAAAAY back in the day with a friend. We'd take turns flying while one of us handled output - e.g. shifting power to shields on the front. It was a fun experience then (the game was not 2-player, we just played that way for fun), and it's an interesting and nice addition now. I also liked how the X-wind has an R2 unit you can use to repair the ship, but the ability is on a cool down! c. When you're damaged, you get all kinds of cool diegetic effects, the cockpits have smoke, cracked windows, etc. Since you can look around inside the cockpit, it's definitely a more immersive (and fun) experience.Sat, 08 Jun 2024 12:38:27 CDT Effect: Andromeda (PS4) - Wed, 05 Jun 2024 15:16:58 40 hrs in and a little over 50% completion I'm starting to get itchy to finish the game... I've had some pretty surprising (to me?) game misunderstandings so far that I though I'd document: a. Every now and then you run into a Remnant (ancient alien) situation that requires you solve a simple sudoku-style puzzle (with symbols not numbers). So, I'm doing these puzzles and - like sudoku - there's a grid and I notice that some of the grids have subdivisions and I wonder about that. I continue making progress and I get to some puzzles I fail! Now, I'm sure I had submitted a valid solution! And then, there are other puzzles for which I can't find a logical (unique) path to a solution (rather, you get to a moment where you can try A or B instead of "it has to be A"). I think this is weird, and poorly designed. And then..I read the text on the puzzle - and it says you need to make sure the symbols don't repeat within the subdivisions (in addition to rows and columns). Doh! I'd been breezing through a bunch of these on pure luck? b. When I got to the icy planet (Voeld?) I thought huh, this is weird that there isn't a chance to use to rover... The first time you get there it's all on foot and you're raiding a base. So, it wasn't until I went back later that I realized there's a larger planet/area to explore. When you appear - the rover isn't there (as usual) and I didn't see any of the "rover spawn" places on the map, I just started running down the cliffside. It's cold - so your suit starts to lose power but now and then you run into an area with a heater that restores it! I think, oh! This is interesting, on this planet you have to be very careful and deliberate about moving between spots - so, I'm picking points of interest I think I can get to with no real plan and hoping I don't die. And, I make my way across a large part of the map this way! But, it's slow going, and starts to get boring - rather than "ooh, survival can I make it challenge?". Ugh. So, I fast travel back to the start - thankfully that worked - and I'm kind of wondering what to do next, so I head over to what was the enemy base...and THERE I unlock a bunch of stuff including the chance to use the rover, oops! (I headed back to the base also because I saw "rover tracks" in the snow - and went, wait a minute, how come I can't use the rover, this makes no sense!).Wed, 05 Jun 2024 15:16:58 CDT (PC) - Mon, 27 May 2024 12:30:04 playing once or twice every other day or so. At this point I'm enjoying trying to win with the different "basic" decks (basic as in they have a single color background). I just recently beat the game with the yellow deck and now I'm trying to win with the black one. Yellow was interesting because your deck had to face cards - and for some reason this mean in practice that I found it was really easy to play/get a "full house". What I'm still kind of surprised about is that I'm still playing on the basic difficulty - after you win a game you unlock (for each deck separately) a new difficulty...and there's like 6 levels or something that sounds completely impossible! There's a huge library of jokers and I think it's neat that when you win the game with a joker, it gets a little poker chip in the corner as an indicator. Neat stuff!Mon, 27 May 2024 12:30:04 CDT