Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017: The Year of Playstation has begun

I have dubbed 2017 The Year of Playstation.  The majority of games that I will record and post to YouTube will be Playstation games.  I'll still throw in a few Xbox games from time to time (or on the weekends) but my main focus will be playing (and finishing) a bunch of Playstation games.

The first game I'm focusing on is Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits.  (click the link for the playlist on YouTube)  I'll be getting back to playing more Dark Cloud if I can ever get past this one dungeon level I'm stuck on.  I think I might have figured out how to do it so maybe some of those videos will be coming out soon too.

I'm working on making some upgrades to my gaming set up but until then I can't get my Playstation 3 hooked up.  I'm hoping to get that done this weekend so I can start recording PS3 games again.  I got Bioshock Infinite from my Secret Santa so that will be one game I play and record.  After Christmas I kind of splurged an quite a few PS3 games but I won't tell you what ones those are . . . you'll just have to watch my channel to find out. 

What do you want me to play?  If you have any suggestions, let me know.  If I don't have it, I'll try to find a copy.  I love shopping for video games.

The Working Girl's Game Review - Far Cry Classic

So the first game I'm going to try and give a thorough review for is Far Cry Classic,  Not exactly a modern game, but that's okay.  There might be people who played any of the other Far Cry games and might be interested in picking up the original and completing their collection.  Also, I can hone my skills at giving reviews.  This is new to me too.  I'll try to keep it spoiler free as much as possible, but a few things might have to be spoiled to explain a point I'm making.

System:
Xbox 360 Arcade

Developer:
Crytex

Story:
You play as Jack Carver who is running a boat tour business.  His only costumer this time is a lovely lady journalist named Valerie Constantine.  Except she's not who she says she is.  More on that later.  While cruising around some archipelago islands their boat is attacked and Jack and Val are thrown in to the water.  Jack wanders ashore and now has to find his charge Val.  The locals aren't friendly and Jack has no idea where Val might be.  Jack finds a radio and receives a broadcast from Harland Doyle that he might know where Val is.  While he doesn't know whether or not to trust Doyle he just wants to get Val and get off the island.

The Island holds a lot of secrets.  A very big one is that there is a secret organization that's been experimenting with genetic engineering (specifically weaponizing) and this organization and mercenaries don't want this secret to come out.  Especially the main guy Krieger.  After Jack rescues Val she confuses that she's CIA and there to find out what happened to an undercover agent . . . Harland Doyle.  Val releases the mutants (called Trigens) thinking that they will help distract the mercenaries to make things easier for Jack.  Unfortunately that just creates a new enemy for Jack to fight.  Val wants to find all the data and destroy the lab.  Oh, did we mention that Jack is an ex Army Special Forces operative?  Nope, well you don't learn that right off the bat either.  Now you know why your player is so proficient in guns right from the get go.

Story score: 3 penguins


Characters:
Jack seems okay.  He's got some snarky stuff to say in response to Doyle's instructions.  If the game mentioned he was ex-Armed Forces at the beginning of the game I missed it.  It wasn't until much later that you learn who he really is/was.  The whole first half of the game is all about rescuing Val so it makes it seem that she's incapably of doing it herself.  After you rescue her she's very capable of taking care of herself.  And if you play some of the later "escort" missions right you can get her to take out most of the enemies so you don't have to.  Doyle is not upfront about who he is either.  And there's another side to him as well.  But I won't spoil that.

Character score: 3 penguins
 

Game Mechanics:
The aiming and gun control was okay.  There was one thing that almost made me quit playing the game before I figured it out.  When you come across a new weapon you get the "Y" button prompt if you want to switch weapons.  That left me thinking I could only carry 3 weapons; primary, secondary and a pistol.  That is NOT true.  I was also left thinking that the only way I could heal was to find a med pack somewhere.  I couldn't figure out how to have one in my inventory.  I also found that I could cycle through 3 different types of grenades but I couldn't see them in my inventory.  In fact I couldn't find my inventory at all. 

It turns out that  you have to hold the left bumper to pull up your inventory wheel.  Once I did that it was amazing what I could do with my weapons.  And healing . . . oh, look at that I had a med kit in my inventory and never knew it.  I didn't want a pistol so now I could equip that and swap it out for a better gun.  I didn't figure this out until almost half way through the game.  I had to go online to find help because I was so frustrated with the game.  There is NOTHING in the tutorial part, the menus, or the booklet for this game that explains how to pull up the wheel and use items on it (like much needed health kits).  I can't tell you how many times I died when I could have healed myself.  Once I figured this out the rest of the game was much easier . . . with one exception.

The other game mechanic that almost made me quit the game was the enemy concentration and spawn points.  There were too many times where there was hardly any enemies at all and then the next level you'd be surrounded by a hoard of them all the time.  The enemy concentration points were very unbalanced and it always happened at the worse time.  You'd be hit by a punch of enemies right at a check point . . . which is the only way to save your game.  If you died, you always came back right in the middle of all the enemies and usually at very low health (this is why it would have been good to know I was carrying around a med kit). 

The worse level for this was the River level.  I can't tell you how many times I hit a save point, died, respawned only to die instantly again.  There were 4 times in that level alone that I had to jump back a save just so I could survive spawning in.  It also took me about 30-40 minutes to survive long enough to get to a second check point after repeatedly dying at the previous one.  It made editing the level a nightmare.  I don't mind a little variety in the concentration level of enemies in section of the game but this game took it to the extremes and I hated that.

Game Mechanics: 1 penguin


Art Design:

The night time missions are dark.  I mean VERY dark.  I actually had to set up brightness all the way up just to see what was going on on the screen.  Too many times I walked in to a tree but didn't know that because I couldn't see the tree.  Once I uped the brightness it was so much more playable.  I left it all the way bright even for the daytime missions and it didn't blow out the image out so I just left it there for the whole game.

The game did look dated with flat graphics but it's an older game so I figure it for that.  I'm sure it looked stunning when it originally came out.

Art Design score: 3 penguins

Overall Impression:
After playing this game I'm left a little bewildered as to how this game launched the whole Far Cry franchise as I know it today.  This game seems very different from what I've seen of Far Cry 3,4 and Primal.  But I wanted to start at the beginning and see where everything started. 

I finished this game and I'm proud of that especially with all the problems I had playing it.  It's not one that I would play again.  And it's not a game that I would recommend to a casual gamer.  Only those who are completionists like me and who like to play a whole series of a franchise would get any 'enjoyment' from playing this game. 

The achievements are another thing that is not evenly spaced throughout the game.  They come in fits and spurts, especially towards the end.  Some of them you wouldn't think to do if you didn't read up on what the achievements are.  I played on easy and there's an achievement for playing on the hardest difficulty.  I don't think I'll get that one, although now that I know how things work I might make an attempt.  It just find it too frustrating to really put my heart in to it.  Once is enough for me.

Overall Impression score: 2 penguins (out of 5)


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Game reviews / Final impressions

I've been thinking about game reviews a lot lately.  I like reading reviews of games to help me decide if I want to buy it or not.  Then I usually watch some YouTube videos of gameplay, but never the beginning of the game.  Sometimes what I read and what I see don't add up.  And it makes me wonder how much of the game the reviewer actually played. 

If a game takes about 60 hours to play did the reviewer actually play the whole game before they wrote their review?  Probably not.  They've got a lot of other things to do . . . and other games to play.  They probably played enough to get the gist of the game but that's not the whole picture.

But you can't always trust what you see on a YouTube video either as the whole picture.  Unless the player is commenting about everything they are experiencing (story, game mechanics, art design, impressions, etc.) they're not giving a whole picture either.  Yes, they might oh and ah at things, or yell and cuss at times, but there's more to that if you want to get the whole essence of a game.

Since I'm finishing a lot more games than before maybe I could write a review of the games that I've finished and you can compare the review I write with the gameplay videos I make.  These won't be professional level reviews, just my impressions on how things went.  I figure I could stick to some basic categories and talk about those things that may or may not influence you playing a game.

I'm thinking about the following categories:

story
characters
game mechanics
art design
overall impressions

What do you think about those categories?  Do you think there should be more things that I cover?  Less?  I haven't decided if I will give out a final score/rating for the games.  I don't know if it would be on a 5 or 10 point scale.  Or maybe 100.  Who knows.  Just throwing out ideas now.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

7 Days to Die . . . and die . . . and die again

I finally played some 7 Days to Die the other night.  But only because Dead by Daylight wouldn't start a game.  I really need to get back in to playing more PC games.

I've watched a ton of videos in this game so I know pretty much what to expect.  But that all went out of the window as soon as I heard my first zombie.  That's fucking scary.  There's a sense of panic of 'where are they' and 'what the hell do I kill them with' and a whole lot of flight or fight endorphins.  Once you survive that first fight you feel like you can do anything . . . until night comes.

I was able to find a decent home to hide up in until daylight.  It wasn't great, but at least it was something.  Unfortunately after making everything I could until I ran out of resources I still had several hours until dawn to wait.  It was scary sitting there was nothing to do to take my mind off of the zombies that I could hear outside even through I wasn't sensed.

I most of gotten a little cocky because on day #2 I ventured out a little further away from the house . . . and got myself killed.  I was foolish and thought I could handle anything.  I was wrong. I was able to retrieve my backpack after I spawned so all was not lost.

The next day and night were all about gathering resources and working on building things or repairing the house I was in.  I thought things were going very well.  Right up until day #4.  Then I died again.  I had so many things on my 'to do' list that I completely forgot about checking my health and hydration.  I died from my own stupidity.

Obviously I don't think I would do well by myself in a zombie apocalypse.  I need someone else to divvy up the responsibility so I don't have to do everything.  Also, it would be great to have someone watch my back while I'm out and about collecting stuff.  A battle buddy would always be welcome.

I'm not giving up on the game, but I have a feeling that it will be slow going for me.  And with a lot of deaths.  And I mean A LOT.  But I'm not worried.  This game makes it fun to die.  And I feel like I always learn something when I come back to life.  I wonder how many deaths until I'm a genius.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2016 and beyond YouTube plans

I figured I should probably share my plans for the month here so you know what to expect on my YouTube channel.  Hopefully you're reading this and will go over there and check out some of my videos.

My plan for December is mostly finish up a couple of games I'm playing or at least get further along in them.  First up is Far Cry Classic.  I started that in November but got stuck part way through and was having a really hard time in the game.  I ended up playing Call of Duty Classic more so that game got finished but I'm still working on Far Cry Classic.  Since I've figured out the swapping guns issue and brightness (or lack thereof) issue I'm sure I can finish up the game this month.

I've also go some videos for dlc missions for Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I've got those filmed already so I've just got to edit them and get them posted.  I'd also like to make more progress in Lego Harry Potter (yrs. 1-4) even thought I know I won't finish it this month.

I don't know if I can finish this game, but I'd like to get a few more videos from Halo: Combat Evolved up on my channel.  We'll have to see.  Maybe even some more Rayman Origins if I've feeling particular psychotic.

My plan is to finish or get more videos posted for as many Xbox (360 and One) as I can because I have a plan for 2017 which is just around the corner.  It will be here before you know it.  It doesn't help that I've been extremely sick the last couple of days and haven't had the chance to post anything.  I'm feeling better so maybe I can make up for lost time.

My plan for 2017 is to make it "The Year of the PlayStation".  Even though I will continue to play Xbox games, I think I want to focus on playing more PlayStation games.  They may be old.  They may be new.  They may be whatever.  I figure I have a PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Now membership (or whatever it's called) so I might as well use it.  I haven't logged in to my PlayStation account for months so this should be interesting.

Some of the current PlayStation games I'm already in the midst of will continue and hopefully finish sometime next year.  Those games are Psychonauts, Dark Cloud, and Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits.  I've already started recording a couple other PlayStation games and hopefully I'll be able to get those started and finished next year.  I don't want to tell you what those are as I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

There are a couple of Xbox games that I will be playing as well next year.  I told you I wouldn't stop playing those games.  A friend of mine suggested 3 different games and I've committed to playing them all.  Those will come up periodically throughout the year so keep on eye on what they are.  I've already started playing one of them and I guess if you're nosey you could check my achievements.  Unfortunately I don't think I've picked up any achievements in that game yet.  Almost though.

If you know of any PlayStation games (I, II, or III) that you'd like me to play, let me know in the comments.  I'm open to suggestions and if I don't have the game I just might have to go out and do some bargain hunting for a copy.  I love shopping for video games.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Must play games for Playstation (original) (that I own)

I've been thinking a lot about a couple of things.  Namely time and the shear number of video games I own.  I would love to completely play them all but realistically it's not possible.  So how do I decide which ones to play all the way through and which ones I play whenever with no expectation of finishing them.

I've been looking through my list of games and based on the influence a game has had on the industry and my experiences with it I've come up with a list of games that I own that I feel are a "must play" game.  Meaning, this is a game that I want to tell everyone "I played that and finished it".  I'm going through this one system at a time so some lists will be shorter or longer than others depending on how many games I own for that system.  Maybe some day I'll make a list of must play games for games that I don't own (but will probably own them some day - I can't stop buying).  But right now this this is based on games that I OWN.  Keep that in mind as you read this list.  I've made some comments on some of them just because I can.

Playstation (original)
Abe's Oddysee
The beginning of the Oddworld games and their wonder irreverent style of gameplay.  Farting and burping have never been as fun . . . or productive in video games.

Chrono Cross
Some people would say Chrono Trigger but I started playing this game first and I love the shear number of characters you can recruit and have in your party.  It adds some strategy to what seems like a typical RPG.  And the enemies can really mess with your strategy.

Crash Bandicoot
This mascot has been in quite a number of games.  It should be interesting to see the game that started it all.

Descent
A Doom clone but this time you're in a ship.  The game has true 6 axis movement which blew my mind when I played it for the first time.  I don't know why I struggle to play the original Doom games but don't really have any problems navigating this game.  It's the first game that made me think of games in a real three dimensional environment.

Final Fantasy Tactics
I have this game for my PSP and I actually like playing it more on that system than on the Playstation.  I'm not sure why.  But I first started playing it on this system and I love the amount of customization that you can do for your group as a whole and each individual character in your party.  This is a game that I love to sit and just do random battles and not advance the story because I love it so much.

Final Fantasy VII
Everyone says this is the best Final Fantasy game.  I disagree but you can read about that below.  It has had such an influence on gamers and is being remade so it's definitely one that every games should play.

Final Fantasy IX
This is my favorite Final Fantasy games.  Ever.  The only one that comes close is Final Fantasy X and that isn't close to over take IX.  I got so close to finishing this game before my stuff was robbed that I was heartbroken to have all that progress lost . . . until I realized that it meant I had to play it again and I was happy.  One of the few games I was willing to say that about.

Grandia
This is an epic RPG that showed Final Fantasy didn't have a corner on the market for RPG games.  And it spawned a couple of sequels in the franchise.

Legend of Dragoon
This is the first solo campaign that finished and got to the end credits.  It was simply beautiful.  And I cried.  And it deserves a sequel more so than any other game I can think of.  Somebody please make that happen.

Legend of Legaia
Discovering all the hidden special moves made this game really fun.  It's so satisfying to see that you unlocked something just by pushing random button combinations.  It helps give you a different take on combat too.

Metal Gear Solid
This is a game everyone should play.  You can't deny how much of an impact it has had on the industry.  But someone please explain to me the whole Metal Gear lore.  I'm lost and clueless about it.

Rayman
Another mascot that has spawned several games.  One of those games I'm playing and capturing now and it's killing me.  Literally.  Still fun.  Another one where it's nice to see where everything started.  And I remember when it came out and everyone was upset that he didn't have any legs or arms, but had hands and feet.  Weird.

Spyro the Dragon
Another franchise game.  Fun.  Simple.  I just wish the camera controls were better.

Threads of Fate
I think this is the first game that I played that switched between 2 main characters.  I found it innovated.  Probably wasn't the first game to do this, but it was the first for me that I remember.

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
Not the first Tomb Raider game but it's the first one I played.  The controls have gotten much better since this one.  It was nice to have a female protagonist instead them always being the damsel in distress, even if her boobs are unrealistically too large (this was before the age that plastic surgery and boob enhancements went wild).  That girl must have so many back problems.

The only one on the list that I've actually finished is Legend of Dragoon.  The rest are on my wish list to capture and post to me YouTube channel . . . some day.  I might even replay Legend of Dragoon.  It's that good of a game even if it doesn't hold up graphically very well these days.

What are the original Playstation games that you would say are "must play"?  Maybe our lists have a couple duplicates.  Tell me in the comments and why I should play them.  Maybe if you're convincing enough I might go out and try to find a copy and play it.  Influence me.  I dare you.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Goal setting . . . and achieving

I like setting goals or challenges for myself.  It gives me something to work for.  It seems I'm objective driven in my life.  I don't always meet those goals or succeed at those challenges but it's something to try for.

This summer I secretly set a goal for myself.  I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want the pressure of trying to meet it while everyone was watching.  I had about 37,000 in gamer score (can't remember the exact number I had at the time).  I wanted to break the 40,000 mark before the end of the year.  That meant I had to get almost 3,000 in achievements to do so (I think it might have been around 2,700 or so).  That's like finishing/perfecting 2 full games and then some.  Since I don't have all the time in the world to play games (I wish I did) I wasn't sure how long it would take me.  My goal was to do it before BM Vagabond cross the 100,000 threshold for gamer score . . . or by the end of the year in a worse case scenario.

I think I made this official the day Lego Star Wars came out.  I figured that was an easy 1,000 points to get.  I just needed to find another 1,700 or so to meet my goal.  I didn't know what games I would play to help me with that but I knew I would like to see my gamer score going up more regularly than in fits and spurts.

I also knew that I didn't stand a chance of getting my gamer score above 40,000 before BM Vagabond got his above 100,000.  After all, he plays video games for a living.  But I was hoping that he would spend a lot of time playing games he already had the achievements in so he's score wouldn't go up.  I also made sure to watch his twitch channel to keep an eye on his gamer score (sortamaliciousgaming).  Then the fateful night came.  He was going to stream and try to hit the 100,000 mark dead on . . . and before I hit my goal of 40,000.

Vaga was about the same distance away from his goal as I was from mine.  I checked weekly and we kept flip flopping each other as to who was getting closer.  On the night that he met his goal I had been almost 100 pts ahead of him and within 70 or so points of meeting my goal.  Unfortunately I have a full time job that doesn't allow me to play video games all day long.  There was no way I was going to be able to come home from work and get those 70 or so points in the hour that I had before his stream started.  So I didn't even try and just watched him try and play to get that score exactly.  It was fun.

I think I met my goal 2 or 3 nights later.  It wasn't anti-climatic for me because I was so excited to be out of the 30,000 and to finally see a different number in the front of my gamer score.  I think this happened about late August or early September.  That means I picked up almost 3,000 points in about 3 months.  Not bad. 

As of right this minute my gamer score is 41,027.  You can see I've picked up a few more points since then.  It's nice to see it moving upwards after it seemed like it was stagnate for so long.  It's still only 8% of the total gamer score I COULD have if I perfected all of the games I own.  If you don't believe me check this out from my log sheet:




I still have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying the ride and playing a lot more games that I have in the past.  I wonder where my gamer score will be at the end of the year.  45,000?  50,000?  Stay tuned and find out.