State of the Game: Projects

Over the weekend I was able to get some gaming time in, and as regular readers will note, I jump around between titles pretty regularly. Sometimes I’ll try something out and it won’t stick, but I’ll jot down my thoughts and move on. Other times I have a bunch of games I’m interested in playing at the same time, so I’ll spend a little time here and a little time there. Recently, the games I’ve been focused on are Destiny 2, Fallout 4 (DLCs), ESO, and Burnout Paradise Remastered. There are a few other games I’ve been tinkering around with, but these are the four I’m focusing on talking about today. So let’s dive in.

Destiny 2:

I realize that I started playing this game a year after everyone else, and I realize that the only reason I’m now playing it is because it was offered for free. Still, I honestly can’t figure out why it was so universally panned when it came out. I know there were plenty of people who were still playing it regardless of the negativity, but when it comes down to it, in its current state it doesn’t feel any different than the original game. Truth be told, I didn’t delve too deeply into the first game. I had one max level character and finished up the main story plus DLC stories but I didn’t do every single quest, I didn’t play crucible and I didn’t raid. So probably I don’t know what I’m talking about.

With that said, it’s still a great game. There’s something about melding first person shooter gameplay with RPG elements. I absolutely love this style of game and I should have just picked this up way back when. I’m glad I didn’t have to pay money to play it, but I am looking forward to getting through the rest of the game and picking up the DLCs as I go along. Here’s hoping that they stretch this one out for years instead of making another numbered entry. It appears their gameplan going forward is to add at least two more DLC in the next year so perhaps there will be reason to keep playing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In my past couple of sessions my best friend and I have leveled up to 10, and have a light rating of a little over 100. I’ve managed to grab a few blue pieces of gear along the way, and we’ve completed the main story up until rescuing Cayde and being pointed in the direction of Io. At this point there was a level gate (we were 9 at the time) so we pushed on by doing some adventures and public quests. We had been pretty much ignoring much of the side content in favor of completing the storyline, but at this point it appears that perhaps we should do a bit of everything just to make sure we’re ready for the next bit of DLC once the original main story wraps up. It’s been a blast and I find myself wanting to play more often than he is available, so I may start leveling up a Warlock on the side. We’ll see how time permits.

ESO:

Due to trying to play too many games at once, my time with ESO has been sporadic. During my last session I decided to try out some PvP battlegrounds, and like my experience with Destiny 2, it sucked. I’m not nearly a high enough level or geared well enough to hang with the groups I was being matched up against. It looked like it has the potential to be a blast but I’m not there yet. So I ended up running around doing more quests and it’s been fun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I honestly don’t really know what I’m doing most of the time save for running around following quest markers and killing shit. I guess that’s par for the course. This seems to be the same in most MMOs, so here we go. I’m more invested in other storylines at this point in time and my memory isn’t what it used to be so I tend to just take in the sights and mosey around at my own snail’s pace. Not having a subscription to this point has made it more appealing because I’m not wasting time and can play as I see fit. Perhaps once I get nearer to the end of the original game’s content I’ll think about subscribing to see more of what’s been added in my absence.

Far Harbor:

Fallout 76 comes out in a month and a half. My goal was to finish off the Fallout 4 DLC before that happened, because I know once there’s a new Fallout game I’m not going to bother with the predecessor any longer. The last time I had played I killed off a rather large Mirelurk queen as part of a side quest, and I went back to Far Harbor to turn in all the quests I had completed during that session.

During my session over the weekend, I ended up with a journal full of more side quests from those citizens, as one of the quests that I completed had the city’s leader backing me, something not easily done with “mainlanders” such as myself. I completed a couple more, when a robot appeared outside of town looking for a detective (me). I followed her to a hotel that contains an underground vault, where a murder was committed and hence why I was sent for. Upon entering, we find that all of the people inside are no longer people, and are actually “robo-brains.” This means their human brain has been transplanted onto a robot’s body. Immortal as they are now, they’re still very much able to be killed, as is evident from the crime scene I’m asked to investigate. This questline bugged out on me several times, but in the end I found out that the killer was actually masquerading as one of the other residents having killed her himself. Basically she found out about something he didn’t want anyone else to know about so he killed her then took on her identity. I also found a dead overseer in a vault-tec suit, who’s journal entries were quite hilarious (you can read those above). I have no idea how much more it’s going to take to complete Far Harbor, and there’s still Nuka World after that, but hopefully before Fallout 76 hits shelves.

Burnout Paradise:

I don’t have too much to say about Burnout Paradise, I’ve played a few more times since my initial post, and it’s been a blast. It’s truly a fun game and something I can do that takes very little brain power, so on nights when I don’t feel like diving into something with more depth, it’s relaxing to cruise around this beautiful little world. The trophies come in droves though, as evidenced by this round of screenshots:

If you were ever a fan of arcade style racers, definitely give this one a try. That’s all I have for this time. Happy gaming everyone!

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.

State of the Game: #BlaugustReborn Recap

August is quickly drawing to a close, but due to Blaugust Reborn, I’ve had to write more posts and that means playing more games to have things to write about! I’ve touched on a bunch of smaller titles that I’ve been playing in spurts, and in nearly all of those that I’ve talked about this month I’ve made some progress worthy of a round up post! Today, we’ll be revisiting games that I’ve been playing through August along with some other titles I’ve talked about but haven’t written that “this game is complete!” post for yet. With that said, we’ll be touching on Battle Chasers: Night War, Fallout 4: Far Harbor, Questland, Chasm, and one other game I haven’t talked about yet, Pacman Championship Edition 2. Let’s get started, shall we?

Battle Chasers: Night War

One problem with trying to play a bunch of new games so that you have something to write about on your blog is that you don’t really make much progress in any of them. I’ve subscribed to this play style for a number of years now, as I haven’t committed to a single game (like an MMO) for years and the last one I did play super regularly was a MOBA (League of Legends). For the past year or so I’ve been focused on clearing my backlog, but have also sprinkled in some new games that I’ve completed as well. Battle Chasers is a game that I picked up quite a while ago, but have been plugging away at here and there in my spare time. The last time I talked about it, I had recently finished up a couple of the early dungeons. Since then, I’ve picked up the final two members of our group (one that was on the airship with us at the beginning and another guy who is the descendant of someone who has defeated this world’s evil in the past.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As JRPGs go, this one is reminiscent of the greats from the 1990’s. I haven’t played a more modern JRPG that plays like those of old but has the nuance and polish of today’s games. Most of the time they feel lifeless and uninspired, whereas Battle Chasers has a charm about it that really speaks to the source material. There isn’t too much in the way of character building which is a bit of a disappointment, but it’s got a decent storyline (it’s still the hero’s journey at its core) and the artwork is fantastic. I’ve explored a large portion of the map at this point and would suspect that I’m either at or just past the halfway point of the game. I’m hoping to be able to complete it before the end of the year at least.

Fallout 4: Far Harbor

The other RPG I’ve been playing here and there is Fallout 4. With Fallout 76 coming in a couple of months, I wanted to clear the DLCs for the game. I completed Automatron back in June and have been playing Far Harbor as of late. Wanting to complete this and the Nuka World DLCs before the new game is out. I’ve explored a large chunk of the island at this point and I’ve been enjoying it. I do have one complaint though, and that is that the island feels sort of lifeless. It’s not that there aren’t mobs to kill and people to talk to and a good number of locations to explore, but it feels like there’s more open space and less stuff to loot in buildings. I’ve poked my head into most buildings I’ve come across and have found that a good majority of them have been barren. This probably comes down to production costs and it is a large chunk of land to populate but for paid DLC it feels a little sparce. The story is good though, and it’s interesting to see how other parts of the world have progressed as you were pushing through the main story.

My recent adventures on the island have been doing side quests for the residents of Far Harbor. One lady has been obsessed with revenge for wrongs done to her, which lead me around killing bandits and wild beasts. Another quest ends with a battle with a Mirelurk Queen, which was a really difficult fight back on the mainland, but not overly difficult here (probably due to my level). I’m nearly level 40 at this point and progress has been swift. I’m looking forward to seeing how this storyline ends and of course finishing up the final DLC as well.

Questland:

The mobile game that I talked about a week or so ago, I’ve still been playing it daily. It’s the closest thing to an MMO or ARPG on my phone that I’ve played. It’s not because it has those types of gameplay, but more that it has the same sense of incremental progression. You’re mostly looking at a series of menus but you get the same effect of upgrading your gear a little at a time, applying orbs and upgrading them and micromanaging your inventory. Crafting has become more involved, I’ve joined a guild and have opened up the PvP arena which is an interesting concept.

As you progress through the game and these new modes open up you have a flood of things to do each day. There are daily tasks, donations to make, crafting to do, events to participate in and PvP battles to get to. PvP is interesting because your opponent’s character is controlled by the AI rather than the player. You can be attacked without being in-game. You’re given a selection of players to attack and should aim for someone with a power level similar to yours. I’ve had enough success to promote to the silver tier, but most of the players anywhere near me on the leaderboard have more power than me so I’m kind of stuck without leveling up. The weekly events are interesting as well, as they allow you to use particular items with multipliers on them on a separate page that essentially multiplies your power level. Then you fight through a special campaign and fight special bosses that are huge. It’s satisfying to see those multipliers in action! I’ve also pushed through a large portion of the main campaign, along with a large chunk of the difficulty 2 levels. It’s a fun game and I think I’m going to stick with it!

Chasm:

I wrote about Chasm earlier this month as well, and I’ve made forward progress with it. At that point I had just found a special item that allowed me to traverse areas I had not been to (Spiked Gloves) and had just finished up the mines and wound up in the catacombs. At this point I’ve found two other areas of the game, the Gardens and the Keep, though in the Keep I wasn’t able to make much progress as it seems there’s probably an item needed to get further. Ditto the Gardens, it appears there are some underwater areas but I can’t swim down into them yet. I did grab another special item (Shin Guards) that allows me to slide, so I cleared out a few old hidden areas with that and am working further into the Gardens.

The boss of the Catacombs was rather difficult but I managed to down him and also rescued the blacksmith and found his hammer. Each character rescued populates the town but each also has a side quest to find particular items that end up helping you out in the process. One vendor sells potions and you can bring her back recipes to make others. Giving the blacksmith his hammer opened up the ability to craft items with some of the materials found in the dungeon. I’m sure there’s more to find but so far each addition has proven its worth. Being partially procedurally generated means that the puzzles are always unique (which means looking them up doesn’t really help) and your experience may vary from mine but that also gives replay ability. As Metroidvanias go this one is up there towards the top of my list.

Pacman Championship Edition 2

I looked through my archives and couldn’t find any posts about the first game, but I remember during the 2014 or 15 NBI where me and Doone were competing for hi-scores in the first game. I just happened upon the sequel here and it changes things up a bit. The first Championship edition was vastly different than normal Pacman because instead of just collecting all the dots and power pellets in a level you have predetermined lines to follow and ghost mechanics are different. This game has taken that altered formula and changed it further. It’s hard to describe with words, but if you enjoy Pacman and variants, you’ll probably like this one too.

There is a ton of customization available to get the look just how you like it. Besides a tutorial that will get you up to speed with what’s changed, there are also score attack and adventure modes. Adventure mode doesn’t open until you’ve cleared a few score attacks, and that’s really all there is to it, besides trying to get S ranks on all the levels. I did just that with the first game, so I’m sure I’ll eventually do the same with this one. That’s really all there is to say, it’s a fun little diversion.

And that’s all for this week’s round up. Happy Gaming everyone!

State of the Game: Shorts

Due to having had surgery yesterday, I’m in recovery. As such I’ve taken a couple of days off of work and have been trying to do as little as possible. Mobile Games like Clash Royale and Questland which I recently wrote about are fun and keep me occupied for a time, but after a while I want something more meaty to sink my teeth into. I’m limited to short stints of sitting in my computer chair, so I’ve been trying to prop myself up in bed and game on the Playstation. I’ve been neglectful of the Playstation Plus titles I’ve downloaded over the past couple of months, having titles like Beyond Two Souls and Heavy Rain still collecting dust, but I’ve managed to try out a handful of games that have been waiting for attention. I’ve also picked up a copy of episode 1 of the final season of TellTale’s The Walking Dead which I look forward to digging into (more on that later this week). Let’s get some first impressions over with, shall we?

So, earlier today I started off with Absolver, a game I knew literally nothing about. Billed as “online melee action,” that really doesn’t give us much to go on. It turns out to be a bit of a martial arts meets Dead Souls sort of game, where you’ll have some difficult to master combat tricks paired with character development and a semi-open world to explore. You start by picking a “fighting school” and after a short cutscene you are basically thrown right into things without much direction. This is fine, things start to make sense as you go along. I wouldn’t say the game is as difficult as Dark Souls, but it has the same sort of vibe, because you have more deliberate combat mechanics, and more importantly people can drop in and out of the world (though you can limit this to invite only) and PvP can breakout at any moment. I was jumped by someone who had some gear when I was fresh out of the early safe zone but then me and another newbie took him down together.

It’s a pretty game, and runs well enough. I didn’t have any hitching even when random people were jumping on and off of the server. You’re given the goal of defeating a bunch of different people before you’ll be able to become and “Absolver” but I don’t really know what that even means at this point. I think it will take some time to dig deeper and see what it’s all really about but because it was free I don’t have a problem getting to it when I can.

Next I tried out Dead by Daylight. This is one of those asymmetrical pvp games that pits a team of players against a lone enemy player (hence the asymmetrical bit). We’ve seen this done before in games like Evolve (which didn’t last) and Friday the 13th. Having never played anything like it, this was my chance to see what this type of game is all about. There is a short tutorial that will allow you to get the hang of playing as either a survivor or the killer. As a survivor your goal is to avoid the killer, turn on some generators and then exit the level. A typical round sees you and your four teammates turning on the five generators, getting attacked, hiding, being offered up to some creepy spider god (the killer throws you on a meat hook) and rescuing each other. As the killer, you’ll be hunting the survivors and have the advantage on not needing to hide, and being able to down a survivor in two hits. You’ll then throw them on the meat hooks and hope they don’t get saved. All the while you’ll want to break down the generators so they can’t escape.

The lone round I played saw me being the first one downed and hooked and I ended up dying as my teammates didn’t bother trying to rescue me. Boo hoo. Overall it seems like a game that I’d rather enjoy with a full group of friends, but otherwise it gets pretty boring rather quickly. A shame, as it’s a cool premise. Some DLCs added to the game allow you to play as killers from several different Horror movies and that’s a cool idea but the game just feels to fall a little flat for me personally.

Last up, I tried out Mafia III, which was one of this months freebies. I was first introduced to the Mafia series when at some point my sister was raving about the game prior to this one. I played it a bit at her house and wrote it off as a Grand Theft Auto clone. From what she tells me, it’s much better story-wise than GTA ever was, and from the little taste of this game I’ve come to the same conclusion. I have GTAV on my PS4 but never beat it. I always get distracted by blowing shit up or dicking around in the online version. Mafia feels like the same kind of game — it’s 3rd person, it’s about crime, and there are some on foot shooty parts and some driving parts. It could be written off as a clone or just another entry into the open-world genre, but it seems rather well done.

Right from the get go the devs display a message about the racism and bigotry throughout the tale, but they give their reasons and I tend to think they are the right reasons to go ahead an include such things. You play Lincoln Clay, a half-Dominican half-White guy who’s just come back from Vietnam (this is set in the late 60’s) and looks to be getting involved in the mafioso life. There’s a cool montage at the beginning with news bits and a chamber of commerce message along with some testimonials from those close to Lincoln, and then we flash to Mardi Gras. On this day, you and a pal Georgi are taking part in a heist on the federal reserve, bringing in counterfeit cash that is to be burned, but then you manage to grab some real money but shit gets real. Then there are some flash back bits from when you first get home and you play through a couple of days of seeing how your family has gotten entangled in some mob stuff and you’re gonna have to help them out. I assume this leads to the heist so you can pay off some mobster your dad owes money to. As I said, there are the same sorts of bits as the GTA games, but I’m already more invested in this one that I was the last couple of GTA games.

So my initial impressions having me leaning towards playing through Mafia as I rather like it, but Absolver looks like it might vie for some time. Dead by Daylight is a solid “meh.”

State of the Game: Recent Updates

Hello everyone, and welcome back to our once in a while round up post. A few different things came up that I wanted to talk about and didn’t feel like they’d flesh out a whole post so here’s a mash up post instead. The first game I want to talk about today is Clash Royale.

It’s still been my go-to mobile game, though I’ve found a few other games that I’ll play here and there from time to time. Clash is still going strong, and my clan is still plugging away at the leaderboard. I finished my 2nd season in the challenger league, this time with my highest trophy count yet at 4139. Last season I made it into challenger but dropped out before the reset and my highest trophies then was somewhere around 4010 or so.

A big update dropped within the last week or so, revamping things for clans. There used to be a clan chest once a week where everyone in the clan had to grind matches so that you’d earn crowns towards a grand total. There were 10 levels of chests, and we’d get the level 10 chest most of the time, providing more cards for the clan. That feature has since been removed, and Clan War has been introduced. Instead of mindlessly grinding for crowns, you now have 3 matches to play on “collection day” and depending on your results of those rounds, you’ll earn cards for the clan. The following day is “war day” and you’ll build a deck out of the cards earned and fight one round. Wins are tallied up against four other clans and whoever comes out on top gets better rewards. Clan wars end after the two days and can be then started immediately again. Apparently the season is monthly, and you’ll earn trophies to work your way up the leaderboards again. As of now we’ve worked up to Bronze 1, but we’re not far off from breaking into the Silver tier. I like this version better because there’s less of a grind but also because it encourages skilled play rather than just throwing yourself against the leaderboard and your crowns counting for a cumulative chest. The game is constantly improving and I still love it.

My best friend and I have been plugging away at Dying Light in our spare time, or more appropriately when we can meet up. It’s a great game and we’ve progressed through about half of the storyline, not counting the little side quests and errands we’ve participated in. At this point we finally got some proper guns, rather than the stupid bats and pipes we’d been using, and it seems that we might be able to hang onto them for the foreseeable future.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s hoping that this is the case, because the game is much more difficult without them. We did end up getting them taken away again when we had to fight in the pit, but after completing that mission the gear was given back to us. It seems that despite being sent in by a government organization, they are just using you and now it’s coming to a point that you’ve got to be the hero and save all these innocents. Too bad everyone you come into contact with seems to be dying left and right. We’ll see how the story unfolds and I’ll report back once we’ve finished this one up.

I’ve played some more Pillars of Eternity only minimally, as I mentioned in a recent post I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately and haven’t been focused enough to finish up any one game. Spreading my time around has been fun, but that means little to no progress on most games. So I’ve cleared a couple more pieces of the map, but haven’t progressed the story any further, still looking for some spirit or old lady or something from a vision, clearly I haven’t been paying close enough attention. I enjoy the game, but I guess I should hurry up and beat it since the sequel is out now.

Lastly, one of the Playstation Plus games this month was Rayman Legends. I’m not a huge fan of cartoony platformers, but games like this don’t maintain a following for so many years unless they’re pretty decent.

So far it’s been entertaining… it’s sort of along the lines of Crash Bandicoot and other games in the genre. I’ll say I’m pretty impressed by the graphics and smoothness of the animations. Nothing feels wonky, the game controls great. It’s not the most ambitious game, nor is it something I was dying to play but a good little time waster. Beyond Two Souls was the other freebie for the month but I haven’t gotten around to trying that one yet, so I’ll report back on that once I do.

That’s all for now. Just wanted to jot down some notes. Until next time, happy gaming!