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    Celeste (PS4)    by   jp       (Aug 2nd, 2020 at 20:27:10)

    All 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....

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    Psyvariar Delta (PS4)    by   jp       (Aug 2nd, 2020 at 15:41:22)

    Played 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 games...so, 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.

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    Celeste (PS4)    by   jp       (Aug 1st, 2020 at 21:49:20)

    Ok, 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.

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    Psyvariar Delta (PS4)    by   jp       (Aug 1st, 2020 at 12:38:23)

    I 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!

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    Celeste (PS4)    by   jp       (Jul 31st, 2020 at 12:58:14)

    I 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?

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    Random

    Golden Axe 3 (GEN)    by   leisuresuite

    Very entertaining, simple, classic game.
    most recent entry:   Monday 14 January, 2008
    Gameplay: Session #2
    OK so I take it back, there is a story story line...sort of...that is literally one line: "Now that you have been released from the curse, go and kill the evil prince and bring back the golden axe!". One short, direct, powerful line. While this story is no Star Wars, it's more then enough to get you going. For my second session I decided to play through the game alone. This seemed to make the game easier to play then with someone else in the beginning, but that notion was quickly tossed out the window once i realized it was the same amount of enemies, but one less fighter. Also, I forgot to mention that throughout the game, there are two different types of animals you can ride once you hit their masters off of their seats. One is a type of lizard/snail with a long distance tongue attack, and the other is a fire-breathing dragon. Both are very helpful once you get on them, but the problem is staying on. All it takes is one normal attack from any enemy and you're knocked off. The animals will only take so much abuse before they run off screen, never to be ridden again...until later in another level, that is.
    Something else that was only in the single player mode was something that I suppose was part of the story, thought they never go much in to detail about it: every couple of levels has an unofficial boss who is actually one of the four characters you choose in the beginning, possessed by some evil spirit. Once you beat them, a flaming skull rises from their bodies and the character thanks you for your work. I would think that this has something to do with the opening line of the game, but all I can do is assume. I still found the controls to be simple and enjoyable, but the game was noticeably less exciting without some one to talk to while playing it. I quickly became bored of the repetitiveness of the slash'n'hack 'em style gameplay.

    Design
    As I mentioned before, there were definitely some very interesting and innovative, for its time period, anyway, elements of this game. These include: The power to decide which path your character will take, multiple times; The ability to knock foes off of their animal vehicles and commandeer them; A special attack system which changes the strength and appearance of your special attack depending on how many "magic potions" you have; And An interactive world where you can break barrels and stones to find items inside. All of these elements together make for a very intriguing and fun game. Even when I was beginning to get bored and tired of the fighting, I would still get excited every time I saw a breakable barrel. And even though I lost more health trying to get on the stupid lizard/snail then it was worth, I still tried every time to get it.
    Another thing I found interesting was how the game used enemies. It was a sort of snowball effect which made it fun and challenging. As you went through the game, there would be the toughest enemy at the end of the level, as in most games. But what was special about Golden Axe 3 is that after you beat that enemy, you would see him pop up in the next level as a normal enemy. So as you progressed through the game, you would be battling the easy foes, and the medium foes, and the hardest foes all at once. I liked this because it made me feel as though my character was growing in strength and skill, though it did make it quite hard towards the end.
    If I could pick just one thing to complain about in this game, it would be the depth of perception mechanic in the game. It was just plain HORRIBLE. You couldn't tell if you were standing directly in front of your enemy or slightly behind until you attacked, which, if you weren't in front of your foe, as so often was the case, made you vulnerable to their attacks. This problem caused me many a life and quite a bit of frustration. I got the hang of it by the end of my second session, but I would have preferred it to have been easier to grasp right at the beginning. otherwise, this was a very fun and enjoyable game.



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