Sony Announces Playstation Classic

Sony broke news of a Classic console coming out just a couple of days ago.

I’m usually the first one to jump on things like this. When the NES Classic was announced, I was hyped. Unfortunately it was plagued by under production, and sold out quickly. I didn’t finally get my hands on one until they did a second production run and I had to pay scalper prices, but mission accomplished nonetheless. When the SNES Classic was released there must have been a bigger production run because I was able to get my hands on one for a smidge above MSRP. It was actually my girlfriend who got one for me, and later she also gifted me a Sega Genesis retro console that’s pretty awesome too. So clearly, I’ve been trying to recollect my lost childhood in recent years. You would think that I would be ready to swoop up the Playstation Classic as well given this history, but I’m less enthused. Let me tell you why.

Sure, I think its a great idea for those who never played games on this classic console, and I’m sure there will be some titles on it that I wouldn’t mind playing again. Unfortunately at this point the titles they have revealed don’t do much for me. For an MSRP of $99.99 (these things keep creeping up, don’t they?), it’s kind of expensive compared to the others, and it’s only going to be packed with 20 games. Here’s what they’ve revealed so far:

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved Final Fantasy VII, it was the first FF game I played all the way through, it was the first one in 3D, and it broke a lot of ground. It’s the reason I sold off my Sega Genesis to buy a Playstation. But I don’t think I could play it again. I tried about a decade ago and already it felt dated and difficult to play. I never played JumpingFlash! and don’t care, I didn’t care for the Ridge Racer series, I always preferred Gran Turismo. I detest Tekken and 3D fighters (except for Soul Calibur) and Wild Arms was a JRPG my friends were super into but I just didn’t get it. The problem I’m seeing here is that they are packaging the most desirable titles with some lackluster ones, and unfortunately the company has put out so many versions of some of these games you probably already own some of them. We haven’t seen the full list yet, but I already have FF7 and Final Fantasy Tactics playable on my PS3. They’ve put most of the FF titles on Steam, so I own FF9 over there. I bought the Resident Evil Anthology when #6 released, so I have copies of the PSOne versions already. All of the Grand Theft Autos have made appearances elsewhere. We just got a Crash Bandicoot remake for PS4. The Street Fighter 30th Anniversary compilation from earlier this year has all of the PSOne titles on it. I really don’t think they’re going to put something on here that I can’t already play somewhere else, so that tells me this product isn’t for me.

The thing with having owned every Playstation Console is that they have all had some sort of backwards compatibility. The PS2 could play PS1 discs. The PS3 brought us the Playstation Store and allowed for downloads of PSOne and PS2 classic titles. The PS4 has continued this tradition, though doesn’t seem to care to make downloadable PS3 games, but I have held onto my PS3 so that doesn’t matter. Basically, if you aren’t too young to remember the PSOne, you’re probably not going to need a Playstation Classic. That’s my two cents. How do you feel about it?

Quick Thoughts: Games on the Cheap

Generally speaking, there are far too many games released in a given year to play them all. Sometimes you have to spend your limited expendable funds carefully, and that means skipping some titles in favor of others. What’s great about our current gaming climate, is that typically a year or so after a game releases (or stops releasing DLC) it typically has a “Game of the Year,” “Complete” or “Ulitmate” edition. This bundle will save you money, because a) you didn’t pay full price for the base game and b) you now get all DLCs included for either the same asking price or less. Give it a little more time, and you can usually catch these bundled titles on sale and save even more money. You won’t be on the cutting edge, playing the newest, hottest games on release, but in the case of most titles, you’re not missing anything by playing them late. In most cases I’d argue you’re smarter that the guy who pays $60 at launch for a title and then pays $10-20 per DLC on top of that. Nevertheless, I have found a few titles I’ve wanted to play in recent years but hadn’t gotten around to, bundled as I’ve mentioned and on sale to boot. It was very difficult to resist a copy of each of the games I’m going to discuss, and yes that means I purchased them once I saw the price was right. Let’s jump in, shall we?

I absolutely wanted to play Horizon: Zero Dawn when it released. The first time I saw it at E3 I knew it was a title that would be up my alley. I’m at a stage in my life though, that some games that I believe will be enjoyable aren’t always. I’ve also been trying to cut down on spending on games due to the fact that so many either collect dust or disappoint me. But for $10, I knew I needed to grab a copy, particularly because the Complete Edition came with bonus goodies and the game’s lone expansion The Frozen Wilds. I have not been disappointed by this title, and the inexpensive nature of the purchase doesn’t affect this — it’s a damn fine game. You play as Aloy, a young girl outcast by a tribe in a post-apocalyptic world where robot creatures roam the landscape and tribes of humans fight among themselves.

There’s a lot to digest in the early portions of the game. It’s clear that “the Old Ones” died off for some reason or another, and somehow, robots have formed into various beasts (perhaps a form of evolution or created by the dead ancients). You’ve been taken in by Rost, an outcast from the Nora tribe. He has sheltered you, but as a little girl you don’t really understand why the tribe won’t talk to you. On one fateful day, you end up falling into a cave that is a ruin from the old days, and find a “focus” which looks eerily similar to a bluetooth ear piece, but is definitely more useful. It provides information on the environment and things within it, becoming an excellent tool. Wanting to rejoin the tribe, Rost agrees to train you for “the proving” which is a ritual that allows tribesmen to become “braves,” and for outcasts to rejoin the tribe. The meat of the game is a third person shooter style, with some stealth elements, RPG progression, and a beautiful world to explore. It’s open world to a degree, though you’re held back for a time as you grow up, complete the proving, and become a “seeker.” Having that title allows you to leave the sacred lands of your people, and find answers. At certain points you are given “choices matter” styles of conversation prompts, and are allowed to choose your path. I assume these actions have consequences, but not many have shown up yet. I’m still in the early portions of the game though, so perhaps some of these will come back around. Overall the game looks great and plays great. It’s a title on the level of games like those made by Naughty Dog, where the graphics are top notch and the game play and story matches its beauty. I’m in love with it, and definitely look forward to what comes next.

I bought the original Titanfall for PC. In the past year I’ve decided to boycott Origin though, as I prefer my PC games to be linked up through Steam. As such I wasn’t going to buy the sequel on PC (and have already purchased a copy of Dragon Age: Inquisiton for PS4 so I can avoid having to use the additional platform). That might sound stupid to some, but I don’t mind playing EA games on the console, whereas I’m annoyed with the company on PC. So here we are. Titanfall 2 looked amazing when I first saw it — it’s more of the same, but that’s definitely not a bad thing. However, I just didn’t pick it up on release and hadn’t though about it for quite some time. Seeing the Ultimate Edition on sale for $8 though, and I was sold. This being a multiplayer game, there was worry about whether or not people would still be playing it, but unlike its predecessor, this one has a single player campaign, so I knew at least I’d get to experience that. So far, it’s been okay. Very similar to Call of Duty campaigns I’ve played in the past, just with the benefit of being a better game than CoD.

Being a Titanfall game, you get the requisite boots on the ground action along with the mechs that you pilot. There’s still wall running and double jumping, fast and furious gunplay and of course, MECHS! It’s a blast to run around, jumping and sliding and calling down your titan to fuck shit up. I have yet to play the multiplayer but I did check out the menus and saw a pretty healthy population despite being fairly late when I was playing. I think because it sets itself apart from other shooters on the market it has managed to keep a following. I’m glad that not everyone is off playing Battle Royale games and still appreciates a good ol’ fashioned FPS. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts about this one soon.

The last game isn’t a bundle deal, but is a remastered version of a game I first played on PS3. Burnout Paradise was a fantastic title that came out of nowhere for me. I believe it was my sister’s (now-ex) husband who showed me the game, and I only played it at his house and didn’t get too much out of it. I just remember thinking that it reminded me of Need For Speed Underground, which was one of my favorite NFS titles of all time. The remaster here takes the original game (and appears that the DLCs are present, so perhaps this is a bundle after all) and polishes it up a bit. The intro movie is still clearly PS3 graphics, but once you get into the game it looks a bit better than its OG version, and definitely runs at a higher frame rate.

You start the game with a crappy car and have a semi-open-world to explore. Like the Need For Speed games, you can roll up to points on the map that will start up a race, or can battle with random NPCs on the road. There are also stunts and collectibles along with challenges where you can pit your high scores against those on your friends list. It’s the same experience as before, but due to my limited time with the game in the past, I can now delve further into it. I managed to upgrade my license and open up a few new cars in my first session, and I look forward to getting down with more racing — it really is a blast.

As I said, I’ll likely have more thoughts on these games as I progress. At this point I would say they are all worth your time, even if you don’t get them for as cheap as I did. Each scratches a different itch, and I’m pleased with the expenditure.

State of the Game: Plus Freebies For September

Besides offering us the base Destiny 2 game for free this month, Sony was gracious enough to present some other free titles via their Playstation Plus program. I’ve already written about my experience with Destiny 2 but I took some time over the weekend to check out the other games and wanted to share some thoughts. Honestly, it sounded like a fantastic month on paper but in practice I have already played each title long enough to get first impressions aside and have deleted them all off of my hard drive. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the games are bad, I actually see potential with them all and I’ll get into that when I discuss each individually, it’s just that they are games that fall into a “not for me” category. With that said, the title’s I’ll be covering today are God of War III Remastered, Foul Play, and Another World 20th Anniversary Edition. Let’s get to it, shall we?

God of War III Remastered:

This is the first time I’ve personally played a God of War game. When the first couple entries in the series released my PS2 had taken a dump and I never bothered to replace it. I was a primarily PC player for a few years before I picked up a PS3, which is where God of War III first appeared. The latest iteration of the series came out earlier this year, and in between there the Remastered for PS4 version of God of War III. Somehow or another I’ve still not played a one. Leave it to Playstation Plus to allow me the luxury of being able to figure out I wasn’t missing much and not having to pay for something to figure that out.

This isn’t to say that this isn’t a good looking game, despite being a 2015 remaster of a 2010 game. It’s not as sharp as games released in the last couple of years (see the excellent Shadow of the Colossus for how a modern remake looks), but it runs without a hitch and looks pretty damn good. It shows its age in some ways, but I’m not decrying it for this. I shouldn’t expect 2018 graphics out of an 8 year old game, remaster or not. What I can say is that despite its excellent visuals (the opening scene climbing up the back of titans who are climbing Mt. Olympus was pretty epic), its game play is fairly repetitive and something I think I may have outgrown. This is strange because I loved the last Devil May Cry title and listed the new one that’s coming soon on my anticipated list from E32018, and God of War has a similar combat: Button mashing works, but there is some nuance that can be found if you’re willing to put in the time. I think perhaps the setting appeals to me more with Devil May Cry, but whatever the case I’m sort of over mindless beat-em-ups.

Foul Play:

I guess that’s why I wasn’t overly impressed with Foul Play either. It’s a side-scrolling brawler done in a 2D style reminiscent of Streets of Rage or Golden Axe. It attempts to set itself apart by using a combo mechanic that doubles as your life. You’re an actor in a play, and the game unfolds as if you are on a single stage and playwrights are moving scenes around for you. You can see the crowd at all times, and what you do with your combos influence their mood which is represented with a gauge at the top of the screen. Do well and get rewarded with cheers but do poorly and you’ll fail a stage.

It’s a neat idea but I’m just not into these types of games so much anymore. I’ve tried to pick up indie titles like this in the past to relive fond memories of childhood but as games have evolved so have I, and I’m into things that are a little more sophisticated these days. Oh you fancy, huh?

Another World:

Lastly we have a port of the PS3 remake of Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition. Originally released in 1991, Another World was a success on computer systems and consoles of the time, with a unique art style and game play that feels much like old school computer games like King’s Quest, where death was a very real thing and mistakes were costly. It took me a while to even figure out how to get past the little worms at the beginning of the game let alone the big beast that chases you through the first few minutes. In 2011, the 20th Anninversary Edition remastered the graphics to a minute degree, making it look a little crisper, and running at higher resolutions. This port is the same thing so if you played it on your PS3 you needn’t bother with the PS4 version.

I took a bunch of screenshots of my time with the game but I managed to somehow only copy one image and had already deleted the rest off of my console believing that the rest were on my flash drive. I stole some Internet comparison images for use here, just so you can get an idea. It’s a uniquely styled game and were I not knee deep in other projects I might devote some time to it, but I realize I probably won’t ever play it an removed it from my hard drive accordingly.

Not to be overly negative but it was a poor month when it comes to these offerings, but I am completely happy with Destiny 2 outside of being a little confused as to what I’m supposed to buy to be able to play once I finish the original campaign. I see a package on the Playstation Store to get the first two expansions, but it won’t show the pricing for Forsaken individually because the other expansions are required to buy it (this shouldn’t be secret information). I also see the Forsaken Legendary Edition for $60 that is the equivalent to when I purchased The Taken King last year that had all prior content in it. There’s a deluxe edition too that has a season pass for Forsaken that reportedly will bring three more DLC packages down the line. Whatever the case I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

That’s it for this time. Happy Gaming everyone.

Getting Started in Destiny 2

I was late to the party with the original Destiny, and I guess you can say the same is true with its sequel. When the first one released I was slightly interested but didn’t get around to purchasing it until after The Taken King came out. I didn’t play much then either, only checked it out for a little while but had a sour experience with a so-called friend and that turned me off from the game for a while. I ended up going back to it and running through all of the main story and side quests through The Taken King, and even purchased the next expansion but didn’t put much time into it after that. I had the intentions of picking up Destiny 2 at release just so I could hit the ground running and play the game while it was still the new hotness. But then when Destiny 2 released, it was pretty universally panned by critics and people whose opinions I trust, so I didn’t bother. Well, at this point the game has just released it’s first major expansion, Forsaken, and Sony decided to give it out for free as part of the Playstation Plus program.

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I downloaded the game right when I found out it was available early. I convinced my best friend that he should download it as well, and we have been able to get in a couple of sessions together.

Session 1:

I’m not really remembering all of the issues people had with the game upon its release, as that was a year ago and my memory isn’t what it used to be. Still, having played it myself now I don’t really see much of a difference between this game and the first. There was a little snippet at the beginning when I logged in where my Destiny save game was imported into this game and I got to see the things I accomplished in the first iteration. The two characters that I had played were still there too, one being the Warlock I started with and the Hunter I ended up running through the game to max level. The storyline is a little convoluted but essentially a big alien threat has attacked The Traveler and essentially robs all guardians of their light.

Despite the fact that my friend and I were in voice chat together, we had to play through these first bits of the story alone. We have the big attack and you’re pretty fucked up, you come too and wander about for a bit, then we’re treated to some cut scenes of the storyline and then eventually you wind up in a place called “The Farm” which is shown on the map as a separate place from Earth, but still looks very much like Earth when you are there. Whatever the case, it’s the new Tower, and you get your social interaction here along with some vendors, your bank, mailboxes and the Crucible guy.

The main story pushed us to head to where a bit of The Traveler had broken off and landed near by. We’re warned that it’s a place of death, but after killing off some bad guys, we get our light back and can move on to bigger and better things.

Graphically it’s still a beautiful title. I really thought Destiny was up there with games like Uncharted that can really push this system to its limits. It’s surprising that a game can look this good on a stock PS4, considering most games are a bit more washed out. I assume on a PS4 Pro or on PC it looks even better, but it was free here, so this is where I’m going to play it.

By the end of our first session I was level 3, as we took a couple hours to get to the point where we could even play together, and by that time it was getting late so we called it a day. We got together to play again last night, and ended up pushing further into the story.

Session 2:

More fighting on Earth as my Hunter and my friend’s Titan leveled up and went on Adventures, participated in public quests and followed the story to it’s end here. Clearly there will be more to do on Earth at a later time, but for now they’ve sent us to Titan to help out with some network building.

We also see Cayde being held captive by our antagonist, and because I’m not blind or deaf I have already heard the spoilers about his demise and the plot of Forsaken having to do with getting revenge for him. But since I don’t know the particulars, I’ll play my way through and see for myself. If this ends up sticking like I think it will (we’ve been having a blast so far) I will likely pick up Forsaken once we’ve completed the main story.

When I was playing the original Destiny, I never did end up playing any of the game’s PvP mode, Crucible. I decided that I wanted to try it out. That was probably a bad idea. I assumed that as you entered into matchmaking, you would be paired up with and against other players of similar level/power. That doesn’t seem to be the case, as one guy was level 20 and the other 50 (?) I think. Either way they were much better equipped and felt way to hard to kill. We did get kills nonetheless, but lost the match and decided that we should level up a bit before bothering with that again. It does feel pretty good as shooters go but I didn’t like the level disparity.

By the end of our second session I was level 7 and had looted my first exotic from a quest. Nothing too special but I’ve found my groove. I don’t really like the new subclass that you’re stuck with at the beginning, and look forward to opening up others. I’ve found that while playing in a duo, I can experiment with my weapon loadout more though, and have settled on a Scout Rifle as my primary and a pistol for the side arm. I do like me some auto/pulse rifles and sub machine guns too, but for now these have worked as my friend’s titan is typically using a shotgun so he heads in first and I take out the long range targets. Overall it’s been a blast and I look forward to progressing through it!

Thoughts on Defiance 2050

I wrote about the original Defiance back in 2014, which was about a year after it released. A game put out both for PC and Consoles that ties into a TV series seemed weird at the time, and honestly the TV show was probably the better of the two. I enjoyed the first couple of seasons of the SyFy Original series, but then it started to get lame and was cancelled. So it goes. The game continued on however, despite the fact that I literally knew no one that was playing it. I got it on sale on my PS3 and played it for a few hours. I compared it to Borderlands, but only wrote a few paragraphs in some of my State of the Game posts and didn’t post a single screen shot, so my comparisons here are strictly from memory. Back in July, the new, revamped version of the game, Defiance 2050 was released by Trion. Why it was decided to essentially rename the original game I’m not sure, because this still feels like the same exact game. Changing some marketing materials around does not a new game make. I’m not sure exactly what was promised, but the game has been pretty universally panned as just a reskin of the original with nothing new to add. I wanted to see for myself, and this time around the game is free to play instead of buy to play, and I saw it pop up on the Playstation store a while back and downloaded it.

I fired it up the other day and finally got around to checking it out. Yeah, the story line starts off the same. You get a cameo from two of the main characters from the TV series. Nothing has changed. I guess you could say the graphics look a little sharper, as the PS4’s processing power is definitely better than the PS3’s, but I’m sure on PC it probably looks identical. It runs alright but there are quite a few buggy areas and hitching in the animations. Your character looks really wonky when running and I don’t know why that is. Overall it literally is a reskin of the same game. The map appears to be the same and doesn’t have new areas that I would have expected of a game that is this old. Remaster or not, this is the same damn game from 5 years ago and it doesn’t look like much in the way of new content was added. I’ve probably put in about the same amount of time into 2050 as I did the original, and I honestly don’t see anything different. I also don’t see anything here to hold my attention.

The real reason I decided to download it is because my old roommate and I used to co-op our way through the Borderlands games, and this being somewhat similar to that I thought this might be a game we could play together with no entry fee. I did want to test the waters myself first though, and having done so I’m not even going to suggest downloading it to him. What a waste of time that was!

Final verdict: Don’t bother.