Thursday, October 31, 2013

DLC Quest - Live Freemium or Die: completed!

I started this a while ago, but unwisely didn't complete it at the time.  While waiting for The Typing of the Dead Overkill to download, I had to rediscover the whole map, talk to everyone again, and spend ages wandering around trying to find out my current objective.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Game memories: F

Feel the Magic XX-XY (DS)
Project Rub in the UK, but I got this with my imported US DS ahead of the European launch.  In many ways it was an ideal game to launch the DS with, showing many varied ideas on how the touchscreen could be used.  It didn't hang together that well, but I remember the black, white and orange colour scheme vividly.

F1 '97 (PS)
Murray Walker shouting "He's on the green stuff" over and over again; tracks being messes of pixels a little way down the road.  A great game.

F1 2010 (Xbox 360)
Far too many options and menus to wade through.  Completing a single race in the career mode took ages, since you had to go through practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself.  Ideal for people who love F1, but for me it was just a bit painful.

F1 2011 (3DS)
As with F1 2010 above, but with a third of the framerate.

F355 Challenge Passione Rossa (Dreamcast)
At the time this felt like a massive technical achievement and tales of the arcade machine using three monitors underlined the game's credentials.  I played it for about fifteen minutes before being totally overwhelmed by the options and realistic gameplay - in other words, I kept spinning off the track, couldn't work out how to switch to a behind-car view, and had better things to play instead.

Field Commander (PSP)
Like Advance Wars but with little charm, little challenge, and a rubbish online mode.

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (Gamecube)
I've never completed a proper Final Fantasy game; I've never even passed the first hour of one.  This, however, was played loads at virtually every games night we held.  Kieron had a bucket on his head, I was a Selkie.  John was accomplished at ranged combat, we all could heal each other but often didn't.

Fire Emblem (GBA)
I never completed this.  I remember it getting very stressful due to the fact that if a character died in a mission, they remained dead.  I restarted missions again and again to protect my favourite characters, and as a result it grew stale and too difficult.

Floigan Brothers: Episode One (Dreamcast)
It's a shame there was no episode two - this was an amusing game which was unlike anything else, as with a lot of Sega's Dreamcast output.  It was far too short and there was a bit too much collection required as far as I recall.  I got this in Singapore and worked out pretty quickly that it was a pirate version, but bought the proper version on my return from HMV for a fiver.

Ford Racing 3 (Xbox)
I was convinced to buy this by people on RLLMUK praising the second game, the fact it was online (when there were few other online games around), and it was £10 brand new.  I think I played it online three times and offline twice, before being tempted away by other games that were just more fun to play.

F-Zero (SNES, Wii, Wii U)
F-Zero GX (Gamecube)
F-Zero X (N64)
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (GBA, 3DS)
GX is the best.  The Mode 7 games are a bit pants now, but at the time they seemed great, particularly on the GBA where the handling was much more refined.  Replaying them now, they are just too floaty and the career mode is a bit lightweight with daft difficulty spikes.

Future Tactics: the Uprising (Gamecube)
I bought this in the US and as a result, the hassle needed to load the game meant that I played it little.  A shame, as when I did I remember it being a clever game melding a strategy turn-based game with something that felt more action-based.  I'm now able to play US games on my modded Wii; I may try this again when I find it.

Fighting Vipers (Saturn, Xbox 360)
I continue to be hopeless at fighting games that are more complicated that Street Fighter II, but Fighting Vipers has a pleasing lack of combo, super and extra EX WTF meters.  The fighting feels solid and the idea of being able to knock off armour works well.  I get the feeling that if I played this a bit more I could get quite good at it.  That's unlikely to happen.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spec Ops: The Line: completed!

The title seems overly jovial, but in some ways it's fitting.  I'm glad I've finished the game, relieved in some ways, because the last few hours were the most harrowing experiences that videogaming has ever given me.  If you've not played the game, do yourself a favour and do so now.  Play it to completion, no matter what choices you make throughout.  Do not read the rest of this post until you've done so.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Red Dead Redemption: stupid horse

I finished Spec Ops, but it's a game worthy of a much longer completion post than I currently have time for.

I've heard increasingly good things about Red Dead Redemption, with praise becoming more concentrated the further we get from the release date.  Indeed, RDR was one of seven games to which Edge recently awarded a retrospective ten - of which, RDR was the only one which I hadn't played.  Wanting something that was open-world, outside the standard space or city location, this seemed the obvious game to play next.

It started off incredibly slowly.  A train ride, with random people talking about mundane details.  Given control of my character, I veered all over the place, walking slowly and bumping into walls.  I'm not sure if this is due to the PS3 controller - which is pretty awful - or the game, but after controlling Assassin's Creed II I feel pretty disconnected from John Marsden.  I'm fighting against the controls, rather than interacting effectively with them.  After two hours of play, it's settled down a bit, but when I get on my horse I still have real difficulty turning around to ride off.

The first two hours have been incredibly impressive, though.  The environment is immense; I've rarely felt quite so awed by the size of a game's world, particularly since there are no artificial barriers pushing me down corridors or restricting access to the next area.  I've not felt the need to ride to further towns yet, but I've ridden a fair bit around the countryside and come across odd shacks and dwellings.  I found an old lady who was waiting for her groom so she could get married - I later found out that he'd died several years before.  I was accosted by a man asking for help to save his friend who was being hanged.  I didn't manage to shoot the rope in time but I did kill the bandits who hanged him.

The combat mechanism feels much more refined than I remember from GTA IV or other Rockstar games.  Locking on with a single shoulder button feels quite natural, but there's flexibility for more accurate aiming when needed.  I've particularly enjoyed a couple of shootouts I've had while riding my horse at speed.  It's one area where the controls do work, but maybe too well - I was once riding through town and accidentally pointed my gun at a bystander, who then started shooting at me.  Of course, shooting him back wasn't the done thing and I found myself being arrested for murder.  Not fun.

So, so far, a good variety in missions, great world, interesting characters, occasionally frustrating controls.  I just need to learn the route between Armadillo and the McFarlane Ranch so I don't keep on running into the cliffs and getting stuck.  This is where the Wii U's gamepad maps would be invaluable.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Monday, October 07, 2013

Spec Ops: The Line: uncomfortable viewing

Not just viewing in fact; participating. The violence in the game is a bit overpowering at times, particularly in scenes after you've told your character to make a certain decision.  Yes, I wanted to kill the sentry, but I didn't really think it was necessary to pummel his face over and over again with the end of my rifle.  The main character, Walker, is a bit of a psychopath in cutscenes, which contrasts with his behaviour through the rest of the game where I'm quite cautious and willing to let my colleagues take the shots.  That's always the danger in story-led and character-led games - when you give the player the choice of how to play, you are losing the control over the character's behaviour.

Nevertheless, I'm enjoying this immensely.  I've played it for well over the "six hours" that many have said is the time it takes to complete, and have reached midway through Chapter 12.  I died twice trying to reach a helicopter and then called it a night - but there's no danger that I'm not going back to it.


Saturday, October 05, 2013

Spec Ops: The Line: discretionary killing

This wasn't next; Animal Crossing New Leaf was next, of course, but that's just ever present.

I've heard good things about this, in terms of the storyline, need to make decisions, the way in which the story is told, and the length. I've played through the first five chapters so far, and am enjoying it a lot - the action is varied enough without requiring constant relearning, and the setting is quite spectacular - the ruins of Dubai after a sandstorm, with several hundred metres of sand piled against buildings.

I'm finding it quite tough in places - I've died three times so far - but checkpoints are well placed. I just wish my teammates were a little less gung-ho - I keep on having to heal them in the middle of a battle.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies Demo: style and substance

I said I might not buy this.  That may have been a bit of a rash thing to say, given that it came after playing through the Miles Edgeworth game which was a significant departure from the series - and given that I've just played through the demo of the next proper Ace Attorney game which looks absolutely magnificent.

Looking at past posts, I seem to have a love-hate relationship with the series.  I was pretty nonplussed to start with, but have completed all the games and found that Apollo Justice was a great character.  He seems to be back in the new game as well, though the main playable character is Phoenix.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Assassin's Creed II: even more completed

I lacked the patience to collect all the flags in the first game, but the toned-down nature of the feathers collection meant it was far more manageable.  I armed myself with maps and ran around the cities, with little incident other than numerous guards on the rooftops trying to shoot me before they died.


The reward for collecting all the feathers? A short cut scene in which Uncle Mario shows himself to be a heartless monster, and the granting of a new cape and a new weapon.  The cape makes me hated everywhere I wear it, and the weapon is a hammer which leads to ludicrously over-the-top death animations.



All achievements collected as well; I'll never get full completion for the first game due to the fact I didn't talk to Lucy enough, but the achievements were well designed in this game.

So, what next?