9/02 - Started the night finding a good price at Best Buy on the recently re-released Lego City Undercover game for Xbox One, PS4 and Switch. I bought the game awhile back for the Wii U but, of course, never played it. (So much of my collection is "untouched".) My first instinct was to buy a copy for the PS4...which I did. Then I thought, "What if I don't like the game? Anyone remember Lego Worlds? Maybe I should play it first." So, I cancelled my order, booted up the Wii U, and popped in the game. Wow, talk about a game that got screwed! This is probably the BEST Lego game made and it got stuck on a system with the worst install base. Unlike the other Lego games that are based on some movie or comic franchise, this is its own story and in the context of Lego worlds, it's a pretty good one. The action is mission based, not level oriented, so it's got sort of a GTA vibe (if you were playing as the cops, that is). In a clever move, they've worked in a number of nods to famous movies (Dirty Harry and The Dark Knight so far) that would certainly fly way over the heads of any child playing this. I'd already put this ahead of The Lego Movie in entertainment value and enjoyment. Unfortunately, I have to say the gamepad integration doesn't do it any favors. You have to use it since it sort of doubles as a scanner, map and phone. I don't think I'm going to want to put 15+ hours into this with that to deal with. So....
(Update: After thinking about it, I decided to re-order the game from Best Buy. What I found is a) I really like the game, b) on the Wii U, you have to use the gamepad, and c) I'd like to stream/capture some of the gameplay and that's too much hassle on the Wii U.)
9/04 - Hellblade. The other day, I was trying to remember the 3 short games I wanted to get through, but could only come up with >Observer_ (which I finished) and Uncharted: Lost Legacy. When I finally remembered it was Hellblade, I felt more than a little apprehensive. The last time I tried this one, I was hopelessly stuck, wandering around the same area, over and over again, getting nothing accomplished. I knew it had to have something to do with these "portals" I kept seeing (really just a couple of trees with an animal skull hung between them) and tonight I figured it out. In a clever bit of programming, walking through these gates changes the playing field to allow access to previously unreachable sections. So, progress was made, but I have to say this game gives me a certain level of anxiety because it doesn't give anything away - no objective pointers, no highlighted objects, no mini-map, no help whatsoever. I always feel like I'm going to miss something or get lost again. I died once in combat because I had forgotten the controller mapping and didn't have time to look at it before the fight. The fighting in Hellblade is as intense (or even more so) as it is in For Honor, but nowhere near as technical. I'll try to stay with Senua, but it's going to be a challenge.
9/06 - Sort of an odd mix tonight. I've been hearing about a definitive version of ReCore being released (turns out it's actually a free upgrade if you already have the game and it's available now), so I thought I'd give it a try again. I say "again" only because I played the demo which allowed you to start the game and play for about 30 minutes. What I remember of it was pretty good and I picked it up last Black Friday for something like $15. The Xbox had my save from the "demo", but I figured I should restart since I didn't recall how the controls worked. It's a pleasant little game, nicely made and easy to handle. At some point I'll probably try to work my way through its 12+ hour length.
I also decided to slip into a bit of Destiny on the PS4. Destiny 2 came out today and by all accounts, it's doing very well. I'll be playing it with my brother later this year or next - no hurry. But, all the D2 hype made me nostalgic, I guess. There's something about the opening of Destiny - the music, the narration by Bill Nighy, the desolation of the Cosmodrome and the memory of first hearing Peter Dinklage's Ghost voice - that all worked to create a feeling that this was the start of something special. I only played to the point where you first arrive at the City, but it was all I needed to feel that rush again.
9/07 - Lego City Undercover. Started the PS4 version. Such a pleasant game to play. Yeah, I know, I'm avoiding Hellblade, but what can ya do? This version looks much cleaner than the Wii U one and the scanner options are all remapped to overlay the main screen without any loss of gameplay. The only "weird" thing is that Chase McCain's uniform is a darker color (ie, dark blue instead of light blue). Not sure why that changed.
9/09 - Lego City Undercover. Other than a really good Shawshank Redemption parody, not much to say. Just a fun game!
9/10 - Lego City Undercover. The Matrix parody actually had me laughing! This is easily the best Lego game made. But, I have to say it's much better not having to use the Wii U's game pad. It added nothing and only made the game less "comfortable" to play. In other news, I finally had time to setup both my Switch and the Xbox One S. Of note...I still have my pre-order for the Xbox One X at Amazon. Just not ready to cut the cord on that one yet.
9/11 - Lego City Undercover. More enjoyable Lego. It's nice to have a game like this that you know you can't really lose at. There are some games that I feel a real anxiety while playing that I'm going to either run up against something I can't beat or I'll miss a challenge that I can't do over. I don't have that "fear" while playing LCU, even though there have been a couple challenges that I had to do over.
9/13 - Played my first Switch game, a demo for a just announced game called (tentatively) Project Octopath Traveler. It's essentially an old school 16-bit JRPG done on a modern console - which means most of it looks like Chrono Trigger except the enemies, which look more detailed. It should make the Retro fans very happy, but I prefer a more modern gaming experience. One thing I realized is that the Switch Pro Controller REALLY needs those PlayBudz! My hand starting hurting after only about 15 minutes of use.
9/14 - Well, the plan was to play either a new Steam game I bought, Asemblance, or more Lego City Undercover. However, after the power went out at 11:12 pm, I switched to a little Steins;Gate on the Vita to help me get some sleep. Power outages always weird me out.
9/15 & 9/16 - Lego City Undercover. Went to a Lego store today. One of the four sales persons I talked to agreed that LCU was a really good game and that a Lego Skyrim-esque one would be "interesting". In game, still amazed at the size of the world they created for a Lego game. Seamless travel around the map.
9/17 - Lego City Undercover. Playing catch-up now since my brother just finished his copy on the Switch. Well, it's not like that's an unusual occurrence. Couple of good movie/TV in-jokes tonight. They'll make good screenshots/vid clips for the blog.
9/18 - Lego City Undercover. Hit my first open-world loading screen - really more of just a fade in/fade out kind of thing. Still very impressed with the overall scale of the game. I will have to play something more "serious" after this one to make up for this softball gameplay.
9/19 - Lego City Undercover. Got to ride a mechanical T-Rex. Was more fun than anything in Lego Jurassic Park...which is sort of sad.
9/20 - Played a little game tonight called Catch Up With My Brother In Destiny. He and I have been playing a mission or so in the early evenings and he's gone from "claiming" to be hopeless at console based FPS games, to routinely beating me in kills and experience points. While the thought ever so briefly crossed my mind that he was sandbagging, I came to realize that our styles of play vary somewhat. While I'm more of a hang back, find cover, pick the enemies off one by one kind of shooter, he tends to wade into the enemy forces, doing melee and Super Charge kills. This allows him to finish more bounties than me (due to the ones that require multiple kills in a short period) but, surprisingly, he doesn't get killed as you might think.
9/23 - Did the first night of my replay through Lifeless Planet. David Board, the game's designer, is trying to get another game together, Lifeless Moon, and is running a Kickstarter for it. I figure the least I can do is try to get some attention for the game by streaming, but I don't have many followers so I don't know how much it will help. I really enjoyed LP and played all the way through it - something I don't usually do. It reminded me of Journey but with a more somber, reflective feeling. The environments are very large and the platforming seems to grow organically out of the landscape. I won't say I don't get "stuck" once in awhile, even having played it before, but the jumps aren't unfair and if I miss, it puts me back at a good point.
9/24 - Lifeless Planet. I think I'm getting through it faster than I originally did, but I still get hung up on some of the less clear parts. I was streaming it, but I didn't send out any tweets - this game isn't a super exciting one to watch. Oddly, I had one person watching me for about half an hour. It figures - I tweet out to multiple retweeters the previous day and...nothing. Just the way it goes, I guess.
9/25 - Lifeless Planet. Well, it was a good run, but I think I have to put LP aside for awhile. The problem was the Dead Forest, but VG Cats, one of my favorite online comics, sums up how it feels:
9/26 - I decided I needed an impulsive game purchase to get me away from Lifeless Planet, and for that I chose Hob. I knew nothing about it other than it looked like a cute 3D platformer and it was made by the folks who did the Torchlight games (which I've dabbled in and liked). What I've played so far is pretty, mildly intriguing, and technically competent, but I didn't really get invested in the characters or the setting like I'd hoped. (Better music wouldn't have hurt.) At the moment, it's a slightly bland puzzle-platformer with attractive graphics and a fair degree of mechanized elements. I'm hoping it grows on me.
9/29 - Lego City Undercover. The game may basically lead you around by the nose, but I'm just having problems getting back into Hob. I needed some time with a game with little challenge and no chance of failure. That can be a comforting feeling. Plus, I got to fly a helicopter in the game - another interesting mechanic I didn't expect them to include.
9/30 - Lego City Undercover. Really wanted to finish this tonight, but just couldn't stay awake long enough. It was good to see that when I thought they were done with movie parodies, they threw in a great Ahnold bit - the construction foreman talks like him and mentions nearly every movie he's ever been in. One more push should finish the storyline. It's been a lot of fun and I have to admit that I might play around in the world even after finishing. After getting all the abilities/characters, it may be fun to wander around Lego City, knowing that you can do anything. And you never know what you might run into.