Monday, 13 January 2020

Gaming of 2019

After Androgyne’s game post, it kind of got me thinking about the games I’ve been playing this year.  Although nowhere near as numerous as his, I think I’ll try listing them down with some thoughts as well (in no particular order).

Just Cause 4(PS4)
I really like the Just Cause games  The premise is simple, blow stuff up get points for upgrades for new ways to blow things up, rinse and repeat.  I’ve played all of them except for 1.

JC2 on the PS3 was great fun! JC3 on PS4 enhanced the fun, I just wish the map was more like 2’s. JC4 has a map like 2, the gadgets of 3, but the gameplay of boredom.  The gadgets are great and there are so many ways to have fun in this game, BUT they forgot what JC is all about.  Destruction!  Sure you can destroy things, but it unnecessary to the gameplay, as it has no effect.  before you’d blow things up to liberate towns, bases etc.  Now you get random points to adjust the front line.  While I sort of like this idea (seeing the front line in game was kind of cool), because I wasn’t required to blow up enemy bases, I didn’t really do it.  I usually ended up with enough points just by fighting the regular bad guys on the roads. 

On top of that, while they supply you with a very maneuverable character and abilities to do so, each story mission usually required you to either stay in one limited area while a bar progressed, or defend something (tower, car, papier-mâché building) while a bar progressed.  It was frikking awful. 
While I enjoyed myself when not in missions just making my own mischief, it was great fun, but the story mission blow big chunks.  And finally it was shipped out half finished, with massive patches required. Despite having fantastic explosions , they neglected to have a photo mode included. Lazy and  Disappointing.

Such a simple premise, but somehow they managed to take out the important stuff and mess it up.
Nice explosions and weather effects.

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Look at that crappy facial hair below and yes, I am using a jet ski on land, complete with water spray.

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Shadow of War(PS4)

Oh baby, this is definitely the game I've been spending most of my time on.  You know how sometimes games have the hours you’ve spent on them in the save file?  Previously the longest I’d ever done (That I recall) was 80 hours on Skies of Arcadia.  Then, 120 (then a new game for 20 hours) on Shadow of Mordor.  Well, with Shadow of War I’m up to 130 and not finished the main campaign. Admittedly I am at the Shadow Wars section now which has proven to be a bit annoying, in that its Fort Defense focused.  So for example, I lost my first fort.  Reclaimed it, only to discover I had to re-defend it again…. WTF.  So I had a strong defense set up and went for it and got killed, so I lost it again.  Dammit.  I need to change my defense strategy somewhere.

Regardless for that though, the increased skill tree, increases orc types and factions has made this game very enjoyable to play.  The orc taunts, and them remembering you and stuff always impresses me.  I also haven’t touched on the DLC stories yet.  Good stuff with a  fun photo mode too.  Not perfect, but just a lot of fun.

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Soul Calibur VI(PS4)
I’ve always enjoyed Soul Calibur games. The one on Dreamcast was great fun and the one I spent most of my time with.  After that though, I kind of dropped off. I think I’ve payed them all and the the one I spent most time with after SC was SCIV, but it felt like I spent most of my time fighting nobody-generated characters over the characters of SC itself.  Then VI came along.  It had the main cast back, looked great and when I played the demo at Tokyo Game Show, felt a lot like a decent game.  So far though, I’ve just been messing around with the character creation.  Oh, it had Geralt from the Witcher in it too, which I like.


Shantae Half Genie Hero(PS4)
I am pretty certain I picked this up at the start of the year.  Enticed by the female enemies, old skool platforming style  and funky music I tore through it pretty quickly.  It was also my first experience with the Shantae series and it was fun, for a while.   A fair bit to explore and find and a heap of skills to get, although some of them were one use only (Bat sonar for example).  In some ways it felt really good to play and in others it was lacklustre and half arsed.  when I got to the final level, it ended up being a hole level flying through a spiked maze and the touching the spikes meant instant death.  That was bloody cheap and not fun.  I ended up trading it in because it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Now whenever I see Shantae, no matter how good it looks, I always wonder “Is the start the good bit and the end just a hastily put together pile of Shit?”

She is forever tainted and I doubt I’ll ever spend money to play her games ever again.

Capcom Beat Em up Collection(PS4)
A great collection of some of my favourite arcade games from when I was a kid, as well as a couple I had never played before.  Being able to play Knights of the Round, Captain Commando and a few others on the TV in the comfort of my own home is wonderful.  Plus I managed to get the extra edition one which had a very nice artbook and soundtrack Cd as well.  Good stuff.

Following few games are on the Switch, which happens to be annoyingly fiddly to get screenshots off.  What a pain Ninty, why you gotta be so complex all the time?

Super Mario Odyssey
This year heralded the gaining of a Ninty Switch in my household. Naturally I grabbed a couple of games and one of them was this one.  It’s very good.  I was impressed at Mario’s handling and the map design.  The story mode is however ridiculously short and now I find myself challenging myself to find the rest of the moons in the game. 

What I was particularly impressed about was map design.  You get to a map and can wander around.  they’ll be something interesting to check out (even if its the top of a hill), you get there and there is usually wither some puzzle or a hidden moon to find.  Very clever.

Little Nightmares
This one was lent to me by a friend when I got my Switch. She said it was too creepy for her to play, so now I have it.  Yes, it is creppy, I liek the art style and the atmosphere is pretty good.  It is however annoying to play.  Load times are stupidly long in this game.  It loads after each death.  For like a minute or so.  Now the other thing is a lot of the time it isn’t clear where you need to go and death can come very quickly, followed by a very long load time to try again.  My first experience with this happened very soon in the game, I fell down into a pit full of leech things, and had to make my way through them, get snagged sometimes very quickly for reasons.  It was incredibly annoying.  Another one was in the DLC playing as the kid…  Its very annoying. 

It feels to me that sometimes in this game you have to die to work out where to go, but the load times are such an off putting result of exploration it really dampens my enthusiasm for the game.  I’m currently determined to finish it now, but I won’t be recommending it, nor will I play it again.  In fact, if you are curious about the game, watch a play through.  It’ll give you the same amount of satisfaction, without the annoyance.

As a guy who is used to long loads (Commodore 64 kid here), I can’t stand these ones.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
A tough call this one.  It’s fun with family who aren’t gamers, but after cutting my teeth on Mario Kart Wii and being rewarded with new cups, tracks, characters and Karts, having them all (or mostly) unlocked at the start has kind of lessened my enthusiasm.  Also, after playing, loving and enjoying SEGA and Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed, Mario Kart just doesn’t feel as exciting.  I think, on a personal level, I’ll find most Kart games tough to compare to that for some reason. I’ve never been that big of a Nintendo character guy either, so that might be something as well.

It’s still fun though.

Back to other formats!

Monsterboy and the Cursed Kingdom (PS4)
I think I either got this very early 2019 or super late 2018…. Either way, I’m including it.  Great music, cute graphics and cool Wonderboy in Monsterworld inspired gameplay (of a metroidvania style) has me totally hooked.  There is the occasional WTF moment, I had lost of trouble on one section as the Pig right after starting where I got pasted if I tried to fight and lacked the ability to just run through it, so much so that I thought I must have missed a section, but I hadn’t…..  Aside from that section though it’s been relatively logical and cool.

If you like Metroidvania games get it.

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I love Mickey Mouse, Castle of Illusion & Quack Attack (Saturn)
The first of the few Saturn games I got this year.  My collection of Saturn games is extensive and now gotten to the point where the ones I want are in the “Holy-shit-no” price range.  Mickey here was not there and so I grabbed him.  I’ve always loved Castle of Illusion on both Megadrive AND Master system and to be able to play it again on the Saturn is great.   Quackshot I’ve never really spent much time with but am finding it interesting.  It’s all in Japanese, so when working out where to go next, I need to engage my brain a bit, so I haven't gotten far yet, but it can’t be that hard.  Plus the internet can help I guess.

As a collection compilation though it’s pretty bare bones, but hey.  It’s nice.

Chase H.Q Plus S.C.I (Saturn)
Chase H.Q was a game I had on the commodore 64.  Initially it was ported from the arcade and on the C64 it was a  totally shit house conversion.  Slow as anything, rubbish sound, it was a complete and total balls-up of a game that was disgusting to play.  But I liked the idea of paying Outrun and having a goal of smashing cars.  Since I was getting quite a few “sprite scalers” (outrun, galaxy force etc) for the Saturn, I saw this for a good price and though, Why the hell not. 

It’s another bare bones conversion, but pretty faithful.  SCI is the sequel to Chase HQ and you have a gun to shoot as well as the car to smash, but they are very similar.  And similarly hard.  I’ll be credit feeding my way through these ones if possible.

Himitsu Sentai Metamor 5(Saturn)
I can’t remember why I picked this one up.  I don’t really like these adventure game things and haven't spent a lot of time with it.  It looks kind of interesting, but I suspect it mainly has something to do with the fact that the boss of the main characters super form has his boner very noticeable…

Just check out the this video of the introduction (if you wanna skip, it’s about 1:10):

Thanks to Darkleon for providing that capture of the Playstation version.

A nice little selection of games on this one, but I find there is a slight delay to the sound which while very minor annoys me greatly on games i know so well.  Sonic for example and Comix Zone I find it a little off putting.  It's a very cute little thing and I did get the Tower as well so it's more of a thing collection than gaming, but it is nice to be able to just plug the thing into the TV and play Phantasy Star IV nice and easily (which I haven't played before).  Even despite the sound issues for me I quite like it.

There we go, a not so exciting yearly wrap up.  I'm looking forward to getting some more platformers and stuff on the Switch.  It's portableness makes me yearn for old skool games and I've already nabbed Ninja Warriors Once Again and Cuphead.  But they'll be in next year's wrap up!

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