GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay 'n Chaos (PS4) - 21 Feb 2019 - by jp can't say I played this A LOT, but I got a strong sense that this wasn't the kind of game I'd enjoy - and it also seemed like a game without a lot of depth. As far as I can tell the entire game plays like the first "level" (area? zone?). It's a single screen beat-em-up with a variety of different enemies. Sometimes enemies drop single use items (mostly special weapons) you use to get a special attack. You can always hold one, and by summoning an owl "hold" an extra. Better weapons/things drop when your combo streak is higher and...that's it. I think it's 10 waves before a boss and presumably after that it's a new area with...more of the same. For me, this would be fine for an arcade game - short playtime, make it hard, that's ok. But on a console I just felt like there wasn't enough there to keep me interested. There aren't any real special attacks that matter, it's always the same area and the items can be fun - but it really sucks that they're single use...and there's no progression system as far as I can tell. So, why bother continuing? I guess there's going for the combo streak/score...but that's usually not my style or interest. Weirdly, there are hints of deeper things to look at - you can craft new items, you can buy items, you get coins...but it all seems for little payoff. Spending a lot of coins for a single use item that isn't that great (basically the same as the things monsters drop)...and the crafting? Never did it, but my guess is that its just for slightly better items? That, again, use once and they're gone.jpThu, 21 Feb 2019 19:48:12 UTC (Arcade) - 20 Feb 2019 - by kedwards played the game for several sessions using a unique spinning knob to revolve the firing mechanism around the wire frame top down tunnel which was the main interface. I actually found swift movement, spinning the dial actually worked well, and wondered if this was indeed a replication of the original arcade interface. On searching this appears to be the case. It felt very much a game of physical dexterity with a heavy unique knob and was refreshing to get a sense of game designed, almost in a physical way, like a pinball machine. Eventually I managed to progress through several levels.kedwardsWed, 20 Feb 2019 19:32:50 UTC (PS4) - 17 Feb 2019 - by jp is going to sound mean, but this game is now my go to example for games with crap art that are still fun/good to play. I mean the art is REALLY, REALLY, simple. It has a certain aesthetic, but not that much even. Animation is good, so that helps a ton. AND, there's a day/night cycle in which everything changes color. Significantly. I was a minute before I realized what was going on - I played a few dark areas at night and it was...too dark. It's a fun little game and I've enjoyed the combination of exploration and platforming. There's no real combat outside of boss fights (there are a lot of these!) and the difficulty spikes rather unevenly here. For my skills, most fights were punishingly difficult UNTIL I discovered a cheezy strategy (for all but one, but that's only 4 or 5 fights). The cheese consisted in finding a safe spot to hide (usually the edges of the level) and then just being patient with the different attacks - waiting for the moment to move in before rapidly retreating. It's a weird game, it feels European in its comedic sensibility (which I enjoyed) - there's a character you steals your TV, and when you find him later on he's running a store. You face him, but he's like "whatever, I don't care". If you shoot him, then he gets all apologetic and pays you some money for your TV. Ha! Mostly the game is exploring with some puzzle-solving along the way. It really mixes things up (so far) - with a sneak quietly mission/puzzle (I stole a train card from some old people, but I had to sneak into their room without knocking over the dishes) and a few finagly bits (getting trapped in a gum bubble that needed to get sucked into a vent was...uh, tricky). But overall, fun!jpSun, 17 Feb 2019 23:58:10 UTC Drift: Zen Edition (PS4) - 17 Feb 2019 - by jp I could get to the end just my racing around the overworld/map.jpSun, 17 Feb 2019 23:33:45 UTC Shadow Fall (PS4) - 17 Feb 2019 - by jp it over the course of a few days. It was fun, but surprisingly less polished than I'd expect from a game by Guerrilla. I think it might have been a (rushed?) launch title for PS4? That might explain it...or maybe it's FPS games that have raised the bar since (Destiny, CoD, etc.)? Either way, it was fun to get back to Killzone...and a universe that is truly messed up at this point. I don't remember this from the last game I played but Helghan was completely destroyed. Apparently, the solution to peace was to split Vekta in half with Helghast living on one half and Vektans on the other. It was obviously never going to work - especially since the "transition" (as depicted in the game) was a complete mess with Helghans basically killing Vektans as they moved out/tried to run away. The whole story doesn't really make a lot of sense - and I think it might be because they didn't want to try something really new (e.g. oh no! we must joing forces to fight some aliens that appeared) and rather tried to make the best of the current situation? (ok, what else can we do in which they're all still fighting each other?) You play as an orphan (guess whose dad died when the Helghast moved in?) who fights for Vekta and is a sort of super-covert-op-sneaky-infiltrator agent. So, you wander around killing people. Not a lot of sneakiness to be honest. You have a cool drone that you can send out to shoot and stun enemies which I enjoyed using but I also found myself dying a lot until I just learned to stay back more often and to never, ever, rush in. Along the way you meet a Helghan super-infiltrator-etc., but she's got an actual stealth cammo suit (think, Predator). I think the game would have been a lot more fun playing as her, to be honest. I guess, in all, it was "fine". There were a few moments that got really frustrating for me - the last fight before the "bad guy". And there were also a few moments of ludonarrative dissonance. There is an evil scientist who is working on a virus to kill all Helghans, then it's all Vektans, and I lost track. I was supposed to protect her, but I really just wanted to shoot her. I could, but she wouldn't die. I think the coolest moment was the ending. You get shot dead by your boss (who also saved your life as a kid). Then credits roll. After a few names roll past...everything glitches out! And there's one more (secret? bonus?) mission! This time you're the girl, in your super stealth suit! You're in Vekta and need to sneak around to switch off some cameras and stuff, pick up a sniper rifle and then get revenge!jpSun, 17 Feb 2019 23:32:34 UTC Dragon, Cancer (PC) - 17 Feb 2019 - by jp this all the way to the end in one sitting. I have thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the game. But I must first admit that the game was more interesting (as a game) than I imagined. I think the "walking simulator" label - especially when used pejoratively - is grossly unfair for this game. This is an easy game. I don't think anyone will have trouble getting to the end. However, there is a wide variety of interactions and interactive elements throughout. There's some platforming, and some racing, and yes, mostly a lot of (slow) walking. I made the mistake of playing after lunch on a day I was a bit tired. So, my experience alternated between feeling really sleepy and feeling really sad. I can't say this has happened to me with any other game, so I guess there's always a first. It's a tricky game to talk about because it seems like saying anything bad about it is taken as insulting either the memory of the lost child or insulting his parents' work towards memorializing his life and their struggle over the disease that cost him his life. It gets more complicated because of what I recall happened after the game was released - the dev was incensed that people were playing the game and then asking for a Steam refund because they could finish it in less time than the maximum time played set by Steam. I don't know how that all worked out in the end, but I recalle the furore was...awkward, and strange. I also think it's weird to recruit(?) your other children to participate in the game - I don't know the creator personally or his family, but it's the sort of thing that just seems odd to me. For all I know his kids demanded participation rather than were invited to participate? I guess the next step for me will be to watch the documentary - which was made while the game was being created, which is another thing that feels a bit off to me. Game dev takes time, and having everything set up such that you can go public (release a doc and a game) all while your child is sick seems...again, odd. I wish I knew more and I'll probably learn more from the documentary...but it all seems a bit selfish? It's one thing or a stranger to walk into someone's life with a desire to record and memorialize - hey, can we make a movie about the process your going through seems fine. Parents can choose to participate or not. But deciding to do it oneself is different. Maybe it was a way to raise funds for medical bills? I'm not sure. Maybe it was a way to make life livable during those really rough times? I'm not sure. If so, was it necessary to run a kickstarter and all the rest? As for the game itself - one of the things I was most surprised by was the dad talking about his wife's faith (and his as well). This was a positive surprise - when it comes to religion and faith, this isn't something that games tackle or even feature all that much. Faith/religion seems to be present only in games that are openly religion-based (e.g. tools for proselytizing or educating) or openly fantastical (e.g. clerics in D&D or gods of war and other things). But faith as the regular part of a character? I can't think of many examples. I think, if anything, this is perhaps one of the game's biggest contributions? I need to think some more about...jpSun, 17 Feb 2019 23:16:16 UTC Prime (Wii) - 17 Feb 2019 - by dkirschner Prime is a metroidvania...wait no, it's just a Metroid game. I sunk 4 hours and 42 minutes into it and completed 15%, but it feels like I've played much longer than that. In fact, I'm sure I have. Maybe 4 play sessions averaging 90-120 minutes each. So I'm not sure how it calculates time. Perhaps it doesn't count time in menus or looking at the map, in which case I believe the timer because I looked at the map SO MUCH. Why did I look at the map so much? Because for however novel I found Metroid Prime to be (FPS platformer with Wiimote and nunchuck controls!), the backtracking is horrific. Was this normal in 2002? I can't remember. There is no quick travel. If you want to go somewhere, you have to walk there. And since this is a Metroid game, you're unlocking new abilities (weapons, suits, secondary items, etc.) that can get you past previously inaccessible areas, which means you're constantly going back through places you've been. Making this more irritating, enemies respawn when you leave a room, even if you just go a couple rooms away. This was fine early on when the enemies were simple and avoidable, but when giant rhino ice bugs charge and shoot snowballs, or missile turrets with uncanny aim pummel you, it's demoralizing. I've already killed these missile turrets 10 times. Why are they back again? Combat isn't particularly fun. Using the Wiimote to aim was a bit floaty. Again, it felt novel for a while, but when most of the combat isn't combat you want to be engaged in (i.e., you've cleared this room 10 times before and just want to get back to a save point because it's time for bed), the small issues are magnified. What I do love about Metroid Prime is the exploration. You're dropped on this planet, Tallon IV, and you just...go. The areas are all a bit different (e.g., ice place, fire place) and full of environmental puzzles you have to solve to get to new areas. Sometimes that involves just finding a new weapon to open a new door type, or using a new ability you got in a neat way, like using the ball boost to roll up half-pipes. Other times you have to scan symbols or other objects to reveal a clue. Scanning was really fun. I mean, objectively, this was probably the least exciting part of the game. You put on a different visor, look around for a red square, scan it, read the text. But I usually love lore entries and monster-pedias and things in RPGs; this scratched that itch. The game's story wasn't especially riveting, and it was given out in small pieces, but the vague sci-fi narrative coupled with the environment did a lot to pull me into the world. I decided to quit when I'd made it to a new area in the Phendrana Drifts (courtesy of a helpful hint system that seems to alert you to where you can go next if you are idling) with a big bug boss. I died, but hadn't saved it since forever before. Save points are few and far between, and if you come across a boss having not saved it, you might have in the meantime explored many new areas, found new secrets, and so on...even up to like an hour's play time (oh yeah, there goes another couple hours off the official play timer). There need to be more save points. I have the Metroid Prime Trilogy and just tried out 2 and 3. They seem very much the same as 1 with minor UI modifications and more prologue in 3, so I think I will retire all these and get on with the other Wii and Wii U games I bought... dkirschnerSun, 17 Feb 2019 18:02:05 UTC's Island Express (PS4) - 06 Feb 2019 - by jp! (again) This time I got the "true"(?) ending. Once you collect all the saprolings or whatever they're called, you awaken an egg (not a bad guy in the end) and you get a new ending. Basically it's a new version of the credits roll. At this point I figured, what the heck, might as well get the platinum trophy because I was so close anyways. So I did. No regrets, it was fun and enjoyable. And relaxing.jpWed, 06 Feb 2019 12:45:58 UTC of Guns (PS4) - 06 Feb 2019 - by jp remember some students talking about this when it came out so I thought I'd give it a whirl. It's not really my kind of game - but there are a few things I thought were interesting: a. It really recreates (on purpose?) the FPS aesthetic of the 90s (early oughts too, I guess). It LOOKs old - the models, textures, and all that. BUT, the level design also feels old (not bad, necessarily) - the levels have this unreal architecture, spaces feel big and they are clearly designed to play in rather than to be playable realistic spaces. There are ramps that only make sense to allow you to go up, there are spaces that are non-navigable by "regular people", and more. It felt kind of quaint and fun - in the "oh, I remember when things were like this" sort of way. I guess it made me appreciate how much level design has changed separately from how much better/realistic things can look nowadays. b. I was confused a lot by the levels and their order and such. I thought they were supposed to be procedurally generated, but then I played the same level a few times in a row. But then, as a pity thing?, I started over in a level that was all loot and from then on the sequence was different/new? I'm not entirely sure, but from then on things went pretty well. I think I cleared two bosses and then got tired and hope I'd die on the next level. I did, almost as soon as I spawned and that was it. c. It took me a while to get used to the aim/fire. Again, I have more appreciation for the work Bungie does in Destiny - because it's more evident to me now when things aren't quite right or as polished as they could be.jpWed, 06 Feb 2019 12:43:59 UTC's Island Express (PS4) - 01 Feb 2019 - by jp's been a while since I've really enjoyed playing a game free from the temptation to look up strategy for it, find out secrets and/or solutions and such. I just enjoyed exploring this game, its world and its secrets. It was surprisingly relaxing. I think the game is best described as a pinball metroidvania (you move around an evironment that you need to unlock my completing pinball "challenges" that are embedded/a part of the game world, there are also powers you can obtain that grant access to more parts of the gameworld) and it has an interesting difficulty curve. I didn't find the game hard - at least as far as beating the final boss is concerned. However, the game has all sorts of other quests and things to discover, which is where the difficulty ramps up a bit. Curiously, the pinball side of things didn't get harder - but navigating the world did get harder, and the secret areas and things were much harder to find. However, things always (almost) seemed possible - I could pick out areas on the map that looked like they might have secrets and you also pick up items that tell you where some things are hidden (just not how to get them necessarily). So, despite some moments of significant frustration (trying to get specific things) - I've greatly enjoyed completing additional quests and "mopping up" as it were. Oh, there was one thing I really want to get down so I don't forget it: In the pinball areas, when you "lose" the ball, it is represented by the ball falling through some thorns, you then lose some fruit, and you're back in business. However, at a few moments during the game - after losing a ball - it would play a cutscene of a dark area, there was a counter, and there were some spirit-like things escaping from an area. I was REALLY, REALLY, curious (and expectant) about what it all meant. Was this some sort of timer that would at some moment "blow up" in my face? I beat the final boss and nothing I was a bit disappointed. Until I discovered a secret are that was the area shown in the cut-scene! It triggered a new little quest which I did. In the end the result was less exciting or interesting that my expectation/anticipation, but it was a really interesting moment in the game for me - that built up a lot of anticipation because it was connected to my losing a ball. Oh, another thing I thought was cool: You collect little saplings/seeedlings over the course of the game. If you get 10 you can then activate a "wizard staff", and there's a bunch of these all over the map. Each time you activate a staff, you get a cut-scene that shows a giant monster-like creature in an egg of sorts and then a rock lights up around it. The creature is in a dark area and there are ominous figures around it with blades and stuff. It all seemed dark and "bad" - I wondered if I should actually be activating these staves or not (and I going to "wake" a terrible evil upon this world?) I figured I had to go ahead anyways and, story-wise it's all explained later...but the cool part is that this cut-scene moment was actually an area in the game that you can visit (you have to, in order to finish the game in fact) - it was nice to be able to visit the place you were curious about from the cut-scene and it was a nice surprise when I got there too.jpFri, 01 Feb 2019 12:19:24 UTC