Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Chessasaur's February 2017 Gaming Log

February 2017 Day by Day

2/01 - Hitting that Terror Machine button again! Have to say this is shaping up to be a very good horror game (and I was so down on it at first!).

2/02 - Did about another hour of RE7. Interestingly, I heard on one of my podcasts that they thought the first boss fight was the hardest. Well, I did struggle a bit, but streamer CallofCthulhu did it with basically just a knife!

2/03 - More RE7 during the afternoon (when it's not so scary). In the evening, I tried a few games on the iPad, but several of them (including the new Fire Emblem game) would not run. One of the drawbacks of pad gaming.

2/04 - Nothing tonight. Still sick.

2/05 - Even though I'm still fighting this cold, I got in a good chunk of RE7 during the afternoon. I got to what looked like the final boss fight, but when I played later in the evening, I found that the game took sort of jog to the left and now I'm playing as Mia.

2/06 - Well, 14 hours, 14 minutes and 9 deaths later...Resident Evil 7 is done! I have to say I REALLY enjoyed playing this one! I know I was very negative at first, but once I accepted it for what it was (a much needed and well crafted reboot of the franchise) I had a lot of fun. This game gives you the tools you need to feel like Ash from Army of Darkness, and less like someone who always has to run from monsters. First game finished in 2017, and maybe the best already!

2/07 - Needed a palette cleanser after so much horror, so I started up Yakuza 0. I wanted to avoid going back into RE7 right away - it's something I felt like doing, but I need to push out to more games I have. Yes, I could have gone through it again, undoubtedly faster and finding a few more secrets, or I could have even bought the DLC for it, but in the end, it's still the same game. A very good game, but one I need to move on from for now. Interestingly, I remember my first (and only, real) experience with the Yakuza games, as playing a few minutes of a demo on one of the old PS2 OPM discs. And that seemed to only involve walking in Tokyo and getting into fights every few steps! This one is feeling more like a GTA game with lots to do, but packed into a very small area. Typically, what I've heard about the way Japanese cities are structured. Reminds me of what William Gibson describes in Pattern Recognition.

2/08 - Yakuza 0. (I think I'll drop putting in "more" every time I write about a game I'm still playing.) The game hasn't really opened up yet; I have to do the mission I'm assigned and can only walk from place to place with the occasional fist fight. I'm hoping that I'll eventually be able to explore all the little businesses that light up the very narrow streets. I've heard a lot about this game being a huge and crazy sandbox, but I haven't seen that yet. I'll probably play until I get at least to that point and get bored doing weird Japanese stuff. With a HLTB score of at least 30 hours for the main story, I don't see that this is a game I'll ever finish. Just not my kind of game to sink that much time into.

2/09 - Started too late, so nothing.

2/10 - Yakuza 0. Finished Chapter 1. Had to fight a lot of Yakuza and a lieutenant to get past the opening story missions. Finally at a point where I can do stuff in the city. A little disappointed that you can't go into more of the buildings. Looks like just the occasional store, eatery and entertainment place (gaming/bowling/etc). Still no sign of the guy with the eye patch. Bowled, played Space Harrier, and won items out of a claw machine. Not bad for a nights work.

2/11 - Darkest Dungeon. Wanted something a little different tonight and I've never really tried playing this. It's hard and pretty confusing, but kind of fun. It seems like it would better on a PC (I got it cheap on the PS4/Vita). There were a number of controls that they had to map in strange ways. In addition, text that the characters were saying while Afflicted were hard to read - dark red on black. Probably not coming back for more on this one.

2/12 - Omega Quintet. A little PSN+ freebie from last June. Very Japanese game where you battle monsters as a member of a JPop girls band. No, no, I just can't. DragonQuest Heroes. I got this awhile back and in a rare move, bought it digitally (it was a very good price). One on many, fighting action game with characters and monsters from the DragonQuest games. Pretty, but I don't think I could play this for very long. Waves and waves of enemies with endless button mashing. Not what I'm looking for.

2/13 - Started the night by opening all my unopened Xbox One games and looking for DLC codes. As I've discovered, usually to my dismay, these codes can (and do) expire. A bit time consuming, but worthwhile. Then I started playing a little bit of Ryse: Son of Rome. I've been looking forward to this one for some time, being a fan of the Gladiator movie and gratuitous violence. Like a lot of games, they start you out in the middle of a huge battle, but trying to get used to the somewhat odd control scheme makes you feel like you are trying to use a controller while wearing boxing gloves. It does get easier to handle, I'm happy to say. Still very early in this one.

2/14 - No gaming tonight, but I did go through all my PS4 games that aren't part of special editions and got out any DLC codes. This went much faster than the Xbox One games since PS4 games don't have security seals on them which I insist on peeling off and sticking inside the case. There were a lot more codes than I thought there would be and some (only a few, fortunately) were already expired. It's going to take some time to get these all entered. It looks like Sony is trying to address DLC code expiration issues; as I got to newer games, the expiration dates were in 2099 making them basically good forever. I shudder to think what I will find when I do this for the PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Interestingly, I totally forgot that I had bought Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - got it late in the Black Friday Buy-a-thon and just added it to the stack. I saw it on sale the other day and thought I might want to get it. Glad I didn't.

2/15 - And tonight was the PS3 DLC Card Pull Event. I really need to play something tomorrow! But, there is something to be said for actually looking at all the discs in my collection - sort of a "not appreciating the trees for the forest" kind of thing. And so much potential, so many adventures to take and worlds to explore. Such is the life of a video game collector.

2/16 - Ryse. Getting more into it. The designers of the game should have stressed dodge rolling a lot more during the tutorials. It seemed they expected you to block every attack. Doesn't work so well when you get enemies on both sides of you. There was also a point where I didn't understand what I was supposed to do and almost got permanently stuck. I had to advance on a group of archers who kept cutting me down. What I missed was that I was supposed to rally my men around a banner than advance as a group. That rather vital piece of intel was not conveyed nearly as well as it should have been. Also, it looks like I'll be fighting "barbarians" during the whole of the game. I'm into chapter four and that's been the only foes I've fought.

2/17 - Nothing tonight, but I did play some Zombi during the afternoon. I still really like that one even if it does have that frustrating arena combat section. Plays very well on the PS4 without the Wii U gamepad.

2/18 & 2/19 - Zombi. I can't help myself. I still think that Zombi(U) is one of the best "What would it be like to be in the world of The Walking Dead?" games...without all the human drama, of course. It controls better without the gamepad, but I remember switching to things like flares to be easier in the WiiU version. When the game came out, they made a big deal about the fact that opening the inventory on the pad allowed you to look between that and the main screen, because the game didn't pause for that. But I never found that to be a problem - you just don't check your bag when zombies are trying to eat you. At this point, I think I want to get to the arena section and see if I have a better time with it. It's not taking me as long, so I should get there pretty quickly. It's a little thing, but I've always been moved by that little bit of somber music on the loading screens and the lone survivor cautiously walking across. I can't say I'm really attached to my "person" currently - Joseph someone - but I'll try to keep him alive as long as possible. The constant threat of perma-death in this game gives weight to every step you take.

2/20 - Zombi. Yup, can't get away from this old game. At least I can't blame it on, "well, I payed money for it, I'm going to play it". I got this from a PS+ freebie set. Not sure why Ubisoft decided to port it just for the PS4. I have run into a few "bugs" - a thing I could see,  but not pick up; a few times where it said there was an object, but it disappeared when I got closer. Nothing major, but a few little quirks.Got rid of Joseph and now have a girl (can't remember her name) whose former occupation was "gangster"! You'd think that would help her combat stats.

2/21 - Zombi. Well, I guess I should have checked her name before she fell to her fucking death! So, now I have Harvey, who sort of looks like me...a little...when I was younger. On the good side, if you die in the game without being "eaten", you don't come back. I guess they are playing by Dawn of the Dead (2004) zombie rules. I also decided to stream for the hour-ish time I played - not so much to get viewers (of which I had none), but to give me a chance to capture any highlights to keep for posterity. I have to admit, the ones I have saved are fun to look back on. I'll start a section at the end of each month's log with links and descriptions.

2/22 - Zombi. Nothing really special to mention, other than a) I didn't die, and b) zombies appear to like rock music. Oh, and the shotgun rocks...but we already knew that, right? Is there an FPS game where the shotgun isn't awesome?

2/23 - I'm officially done with Ryse and it's a shame. I just feel that I'm fighting the control scheme (where your block and attack buttons are both face buttons on the right side) and there's too many of the same kind of enemies. Not enough variety. It's a pity, because I had always looked forward to playing it, being a fan of the Gladiator movie. Oh, well. As for evening fare, I played a little bit of Dead Nation Apocalypse Edition. It's a pretty basic but enjoyable twin-stick shooter that doesn't lend itself well to streaming - the overhead view makes everything look tiny. It works for actually playing it, but I think most people would not be able to see the action unless they ran it in fullscreen mode. This is all just filler until the 28th and HZD is released!

2/24 - Zombi. But not for much longer. When I played on the Wii U, I don't remember having as much trouble figuring out where to go on the missions. I spent tonight running around, basically getting nowhere. At least I was able to put in the new router today and that seems to have helped Diane's lagging issues and my Twitch stream problems. Guess the old router's 2.4Ghrz band was just failing.

2/25 - Tired. Long day. No gaming.

2/26 - Got derailed by the Twitch bug (again). I wanted to play something from my PS1/PS2/Xbox/Gamecube collection and even figured out a way to randomly pick one. I used a Google page that generated a random number for a shelf (1-10), then column (1-3), then game (1-21). This, 7-1-14. ended up being Kuon for the PS2, which I guess I've played before because it had a little white sticker dot on the spine, my old system for marking games I've at least tried once. I don't have any memory of playing it, mind you! After that, I fired up the Elgato software...which needed an update, of course. Then I started up OBS Studio...update again. When I got that done, I had to mess around with the settings I had for the retro-gaming broadcast scene in OBS. For some reason, the webcam wouldn't show up right. In the end, I got it all working, but used up all my playtime. I do have to work tomorrow, ya know. And it's going to be a busy week for games - Horizon Zero Dawn and Zelda: Breath of the Wild...if I get the Wii U setup again.

2/27 - And tonight I played...nothing. But I was productive! I got the Wii U hooked up at my gaming station again and I didn't have to move any other systems around. So, I'm now ready for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Wii U...if it comes. Amazon shows a delivery date of 3/31(!) which doesn't make a lot of sense. It looks like I will get the Master edition from Best Buy, but I think that's going straight to eBay. If I can get as much as some people are getting for it, it will pay for that PS4 Pro I've had my eye on. All I'd be giving up is having that sword statue. The other stuff is no big deal - a coin, a map, a CD soundtrack album, and a Switch case that I don't need.

2/28 - First night of Horizon Zero Dawn. So far...not sure, really. It feel like there's a disconnect between the environment and the personality of the characters - they sound too modern to be in a basically primitive setting. I know this isn't "caveman" days - it's actually in the far, far future - but they sound like they walked in off the street of present day San Diego. And I could really do without the "because we're outcasts" thing they keep going on about. I know it will get explained eventually, but it drags down the mood of the game at the beginning. The game looks great, fantastic even, but I guess I expected it to be so I'm not that "blown away". Plus, why would the machines decide to create mech-animals in the first place, especially ones that graze like deer? Some sort of leftover human memory impression?

Ongoing Monthly Games: FFXIV (PC), Cookie Cats (iOS)

February 2017 Twitch Highlights...and Lowlights

That Zombi(U) loading screen - CLICK ME

How not to fight a zombie on a scaffold - CLICK ME

Miscellaneous Thoughtful Meanderings

PS4 Pro: Recently, it was revealed that the upcoming PS4 firmware 4.50 update will include Boost Mode for the PS4 Pro, making some PS4 games look and perform better even without a specific Pro patch. Between this and the realization I had the other day that I'm going to want to play Mass Effect Andromeda on the best hardware available, I'm going to have to get one in the near future. But, it starts to make me wonder if I should delay playing other PS4 titles? Would RE7 have been a better experience on the Pro? And how many games that I play now will I want to replay when I get the new system? Horizon Zero Dawn comes out at the end of the month and from what I'm hearing it is THE game to get a PS4 Pro for. One downside is, no one makes a 32" 4K TV, so IF I get one, it will just be on 1080p. And I wonder if my HDMI switches will work for 4K? I'd like to wait until there is a bundle deal, but can I hold out that long?

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Chessasaur's January 2017 Gaming Report

I'll be the first to admit that my blogging was thinner last year than I would have liked. While I know that few people read these random arrangements of letters (but I'm grateful to the ones that do), they give me something to look back on months/years later and go, "Gee, I forgot I did that!" It's called Getting Old. One of the things I used to do was make daily(ish) entries about whatever game I was playing that day, and while not riveting, I think it did keep me more connected to the actual process of writing.

It also made me think a bit more about the games I was playing and how many I was actually taking out of their cases (or even wrappers!). I have SO MANY GAMES that have been bought but never played. I know I own a quantity of games that would require several lifetimes to play all the way through.

But what if I just play a little of each? Is it better to experience a little of a lot of games or play all the way through a select few?

I look back on some games I've played recently, like Dishonored, and wonder if they were worth the time I put into them. At some point in most games, you get the idea of what the mechanics are and probably have a good idea of what the rest of the game is going to play like. I won't say that there aren't special moments that will be missed, but when time is scarce, maybe it needs to be rationed. Honestly, the jury is still out on that one.

Anyway, to the games I've played in January 2017:

1/1 to 1/14 - As I started this in the middle of the month, I'll have to summarize the first couple of weeks.

I finished Titanfall 2's campaign which I began back in December. While I'll never be comfortable with wall-running, I liked the combat in this very much. It was an imaginative adventure that would have gone a long way to making the game popular when the first one came out. Fighting through a giant, underground city building factory was very surreal! Only downside on the game was it was hard to a) figure out which weapons were better than others, and b) most of the Titan weapons weren't as good as the one you get initially.

I kind of jumped in with both feet when The Last Guardian was finally released. I got the special, deluxe edition and now I sort of regret it. I've have TRIED to enjoy playing this game, but it's just more frustration than I can handle. The camera control is awful and trying to figure out what to do at times is an exercise in counter-intuitive thinking. I know I could finish this game (with some help from YouTube videos), but it's not worth my time to grind through the crappy controls and capricious nature of Trico, the giant-bird-dog-thing.

1/15 - Demon Stone, Darkwatch - wanted a little PS2 retro action. Realized that I need something to upscale component to HDMI. Looks like crap on my gaming LG TV.

1/16 - FF XV - Finally got around to starting this. Spent most of the night on the tutorial which featured the carbuncle that I got from playing the demo. Interesting combat system.

1/17 - FF XV - Actually started exploring the world in this game (or at least the little section at the beginning). Missions are thrown at you very quickly, which is good, I guess, and combat is more than a little chaotic with you and 3 other people attacking all at once. This one may last until the next region is opened up, but I have a feeling it isn't really my kind of game. There's a little too much "guy" banter going on to concentrate on the game.

1/18 - FF XV - Started the night watching my favorite streamer, MANvsGAME, while he continued to torture himself with Let It Die. MAN is determined to beat it, like he does (nearly) all games he starts. The MAN has been an inspiration to me. I finally broke away and started up FF XV just so I could say I played something. I ended up learning how to fish in the game as I had to catch a fish for a starving kitty. (No way was I stopping until I fed that poor virtual cat!) What is it about JRPG's and fishing?? It's as common in these adventure games as shotguns are in FPS's! You'd think there'd be enough fishing in just the games about fishing. Also tested using the Elgato to upscale component output (from the PS2) to HDMI...and it worked! (Of note, Ico is still basically broken via component output. It does work on the Elgato, but the video is messy. Best to play it on the PS3.) I'm planning on putting it back into my setup, so I could look into going back into streaming, and retro-gaming specifically. I think that if I was to regularly stream again, it would have to be something that most streamers aren't doing. Another thing on my "to do" list is to play XCom Unknown (or Within) using American president names for the soldiers.

1/19 - More FF XV. Shit got real with the destruction of Noctis's home, Insomnia (they picked that for a city name?). Looked like several scenes from the CGI movie were spliced in, but I'll probably have to watch Kingsglaive eventually. Oh, and didn't get eaten by a giant bird creature.

1/20 - More FF XV. Trying to stick to the main story quests. Battles still feel very messy.

1/21 - Started Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc on Vita. Just a little of the opening. Also gave the Resident Evil 7 Teaser some more time. I've played the basic part (to the point where you use the back door key), but I knew there was more to it than that. I got to another area by opening a door that I didn't think would open, then ran into a creature that killed me. Unfortunately, the "game" doesn't have a save or checkpoint system, so that means you have to go all the way back to the beginning. I think I've had enough of it until the full RE7 comes out on Tuesday.

1/22 - Was going to play more of the RE7 Teaser...but we had a late night power outage!

1/23 - I got RE7 today (a day early?) and was going to play (and possibly stream) it tonight, but when I turned on my PS4, I ran into a bit of fallout from the power outage last night. Turns out there were updates for FF XV and Dishonored 2, both over 2gb, that didn't download earlier because the PS4 had been taken out of standby mode! I guess I could have paused/canceled them, but I usually like to have that sort of stuff just run its course. Instead, I played some of the Ico remaster on the PS3, which looks like the only place I'll be able to really run it. It's possibly the only PS2 game that doesn't play on an HD TV via component cables. Weird. When I run it through the Elgato, it works, but the video has a lot of artifacts in it. Not fun to look at. Anyway, it looks "great" on the PS3...which is to say the impact of a game like this is sadly diminished these days. When Ico was new, the environments were stunning in their size and scale. Nowadays, big gaming worlds are fairly common and while the game has been "remastered", it still isn't anywhere near the graphical quality of even a PS3 or Xbox 360 game. Even though it's not a fair comparison, it's hard not to go there. I also see where some of the design decisions for The Last Guardian started - this game is not easy to control. The hardest thing to get used to is the "rubber banding" of the camera control. Not sure why they thought that was a good idea. Anyway, I got to what I'm assuming is the first save point - a glowing sofa that Ico sits on. Neat way of doing that without taking the player out of the experience. I finished up the night with some more RE7 Teaser on the Xbox One. While I was at lunch today, I watched a streamer playing through it and found out there is a special coin you can find in the demo which carries over to the full game. I also saw some other strategies to keep from getting killed by the creature in the basement and a number of other "secrets" I didn't even know were there! Just before I turned in, I checked Twitch and saw that RE7 was the #1 streamed game with over 140,000 people watching streams. Impressive!

1/24 - I was going to start playing RE7 tonight, but decided to give the Teaser "one more try" so I'd have the extra coin for the full game. Well, thanks to the demo not telling me what the controls were, I was never able to get the 4th riddle to trigger. I knew I was supposed to do a 180 at the mirror, but had to finally Google that puzzle to find out it was down on the left stick and circle button! By that point I was in a run that made me go back into the basement and the creature got me. That was 12:35am so I figured I'd better go to bed.

1/25 - Finally got that dirty coin! (No, that's what it's really called.) I didn't make it out unscathed, so I got the Infected Ending, but that's okay. Started playing the real RE7 after that and there was a surprising amount that was the same as the "demo". Not so much in the things that I had to do, but in the environment that I was in (ie, the old house). Instead of a hapless cameraman, I'm looking for my wife, Mia, who went missing 3 years previously and just recently sent me a message to come get her at this abandoned Louisiana mansion. Decided to stream the whole thing. I might have had one person drop by for a second. Oh, well.

1/26 - Got deeply into RE7 and...who mixed P.T. and Monty Python in my Resident Evil?! Even having played the demo, this is NOT what I was expecting! Some kind of next generation Uncanny Valley antics. Note to developers: Don't make a photo-realistic game where limbs can be cut off then stapled back on! This game reeks of an established franchise that wanted to make just another streamer-shocker survival horror game. They should have just called it something else - the only thing that makes it RE is the item and puzzle mechanics. I honestly don't know if I should play more or trade it to Gamestop.

1/27 - While having some work done in the kitchen, played some of Outlander for the first time (it was an Xbox Games with Gold freebie). A colorful, responsive platformer that takes itself a bit too seriously.

1/28 - Nothing tonight. Watched CallofCthulhu's stream of RE7. Wanted to see his reaction to some of the stuff I've already seen. I guess he likes it so far, but was a little bewildered by things like limbs just being hacked off and put back on. Love how frustrated he got trying to run in the game.

1/29 - Played quite a bit of RE7. I'm getting into the game more and I have to say I appreciate the way it's respecting my time. The other day, when I "died" during a chase sequence, the game took me back to one of several "checkpoints", so I didn't have to do the whole thing over again. Then today, there was a boss battle that had me stumped and I noticed that during the post-death loading screens, it actually gave me useful advice on how to defeat him. The latest area has me fighting lots of bugs, which is creepy and, in my experience, fairly original for a horror game. Bugs aren't usually treated as actual enemies you can fight (like in melee combat), but they are doing that here.

1/30 - More RE7. Still making progress, which is all I need from a game of fairly short length. I'll admit I'm liking it now. Interestingly, I remember my initial reaction to RE4 being, "How can these people take multiple headshots and not be dead?!?", but later came to accept it as just being part of the Resident Evil way of doing horror. That's pretty much what's happening here and I'm okay with it. Considering how bad everyone says RE5 and 6 were, the series needed this keep from being put in permanent hibernation.

1/31 - The month ended on a quiet note. I wanted to do something a little different than RE7 for a night, so I tried 3 PSN freebies...all of which sucked. Kitten Squad is a twin stick shooter that looks like something for little kids. But, A) it's pretty hard, and B) since it's made by PETA, it's chock full of little factoids about how badly animals are treated. I talked to one of the quest givers, and before I left him, I got told that sheep in Australia have skin removed from their backs without any anesthetic to make shearing easier! Anyone who downloads this for their kids better be prepared for some upset children. Then I tried a game that I saw at TwitchCon, World War Toons (Beta). It's an online multiplayer shooter with cartoony characters. Started game, got killed, deleted game. Last one was a Korean MMO called Onigirl...which wanted me to create an account in order to play. Instead, I looked at some streams of it and decided it wasn't worth my time. Now if there was just a way to remove these turkeys from my PSN library listsing!

Monthly ongoing games: FFXIV (PC), Cookie Cats (iOS)

Plans for the rest of 2017 : Two things I want to do this year. 1) Read one videogame artbook each month, and 2) Play the various "Toys to Life" games I have - Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and Lego Dimensions, in that order.

And here are my game purchases for January 2017:

01/03 - Resident Evil 7 (PS4\Best Buy\$48) Preordered for 01/24. Showed up 1/23!
01/05 - Danganronpa V3 (PS4\Amazon\$48) Preordered for TBD
01/07 - Anima: Gate of Memories SE (PS4\Amazon\$40) for 03/21
01/08 - Assassin's Creed Syndicate (Xbox One\Best Buy\$8) Have for PS4, but too cheap.
01/09 - Beholder (PC\Bundle Stars\$4)
01/09 - Enrolled in 3 months of Humble Bundle Monthly ($35) and got XCom 2 for Steam.
01/10 - The Sims 3 (360\Amazon\$19). Feel like it will go BC.
01/10 - Dragon Age Origins Ultimate (360\Amazon\$25). It did go BC.
01/17 - Little Nightmares (PS4\Amazon\$28) Preordered for 05/02. Art style pulled me in.
01/20 - Monopoly Plus (PS4\PSN\$3) PSN Flash sale.
01/20 - Persona 3 Portable (Vita\PSN\$5) PSN Flash sale. Good platform for SMT games.
01/22 - Red's Kingdom (iPad\AppStore\$2) A cute animal Zelda clone...which won't run?!
01/24 - Bayonetta (PS3\Gamestop\$15) Becoming hard to find a good copy.
01/25 - NES Classic (Best Buy\$60) Does this count? Will probably go to Sarah.
01/28 - Watch Dogs 2 (PS4\Best Buy\$20) Glad I waited. Used a $5 GC to get this low.
01/30 - Skylanders Portal (360\eBay\$7) Not really a game, but adding anyway.
01/30 - RiME (PS4\Amazon\$25) Preordered for 5/31. Comes with a free map. :)
01/31 - Yakuza 0 (PS4\Best Buy\$50) Heard good things and think it might be hard to find.
01/31 - Wii U (Nintendo\$220) Refurb backup. With Switch on the way, these will be rare.

Friday, January 06, 2017

What I Bought in 2016

I dove into my online old order listings and pile of Gamestop receipts to come up with most of the games I bought in 2016:

2/22 Atari Anthology (PS2) EB
2/23 Farcry Primal (PS4) BB
3/2 Dark Souls III (PS4)
3/2 Valkyria Chronicles Remastered (PS4)
3/2 Quantum Break (Xbox One)
3/7 Pikmin 3 (WiiU)
3/7 Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii)
3/12 Guitar Hero Live (PS4) BB
3/22 The Crew Wild Run Edition (PS4) BB
3/22 God of War III Remastered (PS4) BB
3/24 Darksiders II Remastered (PS4) BB
3/23 Dark Souls (360)
4/3 One Piece Unlimited World Red (PS3)
4/7 Onechanbara Z2 Chaos (PS4)
4/7 Ratchet & Clank (PS4)
4/7 Gravity Rush Remastered (PS4)
4/7 Resident Evil 6 (PS4)
4/7 Uncharted 4 (PS4)
4/10 Enter the Matrix (PS2) EB
4/11 Final Fantasy IV (DS)
4/11 Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (DS)
4/11 Metro Redux (Xbox One)
4/12 Skylanders SuperChargers (PS4)
4/15 Danganronpa Another Episode (Vita) BB
4/16 Life is Strange: Limited Edition (PS4) BB
4/22 Deception IV (PS4)
4/27 Tales of Zestiria (PS4) BB
5/13 Doom (Xbox One) BB
5/18 Fable Anniversary (360) EB
5/20 Republique (PS4)
5/22 Senran Kagura 2 (3DS)
5/24 Ninja Blade (360) EB
5/24 Suikoden III (PS2) EB
6/6 Steins;Gate (Vita)
6/7 Mirror's Edge (360)
6/7 Lightning Returns: FFXII (PS3)
6/7 Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS4)
6/8 Heroes Over Europe (360) GS
6/8 Assassin's Creed 2 (360) GS
6/8 Battlefield 3 (PS3) GS
6/9 Tearaway: Unfolded (PS4) BB
6/9 MIB Alien Crisis (PS3) GS
6/9 Chronicles of Riddick (360) GS
6/15 Jurassic The Hunted (PS3) GS
6/15 Jerico (PS3) GS
6/15 Batman Arkham City GOTY (360) GS
6/21 Dead Island Definitive Collection (PS4) BB
7/2 Calling (Wii)
8/7 Blue Dragon (360) EB
8/9 No Man's Sky (PS4)
8/10 Donkey Kong Country Returns (3DS) BB
8/29 Resident Evil 5 (PS4) BB
8/30 Resident Evil 4 (PS4)
9/13 Dead Rising (PS4)
9/25 Mega Man Legacy Collection (3DS)
9/26 Call of Duty 3 (360)
9/30 Carmageddon: Max Damage (PS4)
10/3 Dead Rising 2 (Xbox One)
10/6 Duke Nukem 3D 20th Anniversary (PS4) GS
10/6 Duke Nukem 3D 20th Anniversary (Xbox One) GS
10/10 Silent Hill: Downpour (PS3)
10/11 Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)
10/11 Quantum Break (PC)
10/13 Silent Hill: Downpour (360) EB
10/18 Quantum Theory (PS3) GS
10/18 Dungeon Siege III (PS3) GS
10/18 FEAR (PS3) GS
10/18 FEAR 2 (PS3) GS
10/18 FEAR 3 (PS3) GS
10/18 El Shaddai Ascension (PS3) GS
10/18 The Darkness (PS3) GS
10/18 Bodycount (PS3) GS
10/18 Battlefield Bad Company (PS3) GS
10/18 Battlefield Bad Company 2 (PS3) GS
10/18 Ar Tonelico Qoga Knell (PS3) GS
10/20 The Darkness 2 (PS3) GS
10/20 Two Worlds II (PS3) GS
10/25 Yomawari: Night Alone Limited Edition (Vita) BB
10/26 Infinite Undiscovery (360) GS
10/26 The Godfather (360) GS
11/2 Assassin's Creed Rouge (360) EB
11/9 Destroy All Humans (360)
11/10 Dishonored 2 (PS4)
11/25 Rayman Legends (360)
11/29 FFXV (PS4)
11/29 Medal of Honor Airborne (360) EB
11/30 Goldeneye Reloaded (360) GS
11/30 Divinity II (360) GS
12/4 Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (360)
12/4 Metal Gear Solid V (Xbox One)
12/6 The Last Guardian (PS4)
12/8 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist (360)
12/14 Hitman: Absolution (360)
12/15 Catherine (360) EB
12/17 Homefront: The Revolution (PS4) BB
12/17 Attack on Titan (PS4) NE
12/18 Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky
12/25 Dead Rising 4 (Xbox One) BB
12/26 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4) BB

(BB - Best Buy, EB - eBay, GS - Gamestop, NE - Newegg, nothing - Amazon)

Note: This doesn't include the massive Black Friday Sale Games Haul I chronicled in my End of 2016 post. To see that list and a picture, click HERE.

The good thing about this is seeing all the games that I completely forgot I bought earlier in the year. There were a lot more than I thought there would be. It also shows some interesting trends.

  • I didn't have any games listed from Fry's.
  • I didn't have any current PS4 or Xbox One games that I bought used.
  • I bought more from Amazon than Best Buy even though I have Gamer Club Unlocked.

For 2017, I think I'll keep a list as I buy them. I did that several years back and it was a long list, but back then I was still buying PS2 and OG Xbox games. Last year I only got 360 games because of Backwards Compatibility. I'm still getting the odd PS3 game, but I found a large group at a Gamestop on 10./18 - someone had just cashed in their collection and everything was in pristine condition.

2016, Exit Stage Left

Like I did in 2016, I want to get some thoughts down about last year before this one is in double digits. Looking back, I see that I created, but didn't publish, nearly as many posts as I did put out onto the "blogosphere". It was a tough year in a number of ways, and honestly, there are things that I wrote about (and didn't) that I don't want to bring up again.

But fortunately for you, dear reader, there are somethings that bear repeating:

I started off the year "whining" about buying too many games and not playing, let alone finishing, them. So, I made the "bold" (read, "idiotic") conviction that I would not buy anymore games in 2016!

And that lasted about two weeks. If that.

Well, maybe I at least got out of buying them right when they were released at almost full price. Most of the time. There were exceptions.

One thing I did do that was sort of along these lines was, as the end of the year approached, I collected a list of new and recently released games, and watched the Black Friday sales to pick them up at the best prices. (Many thanks to Cheap Ass Gamer and Wario64 twitter channels for me being able to do this.) In the end I bought an embarrassingly large pile of games, a picture of which I will share with you at the end of this blog.

Other items of note:

  • I'm not sure how it happened, but my biggest accomplishment gaming-wise this year never got a published blog post - I actually finished an open-world game, Fallout 4! They've always been so easy for me to get lost in. I looked back and it seems I almost completed it (I had put in the screenshots I wanted to add), but I guess I never got all the words in there I wanted. Maybe this was partly due to a desire to write a more fictionalized account and less of a very amateurish review. When I played Fallout 3, I created blog posts for the main character because she had gotten into my thoughts so deeply. Sadly, that immersion level never clicked with F4, but it was a great game anyway. I still have at least one DLC pack that I want to play before I delete it from my PC.

  • My Twitch streaming "career" kind of fell apart in 2016. After getting all my consoles stream-ready and even attending TwitchCon, I had an overwhelming feeling that I was just wasting my time; time that could be better spent just playing. So, I abandoned (but not deleted) my Twitch channel, disconnected the Elgato, and just played games, occasionally saving gameplay videos when I remembered to. I'm not sure if this will change any in 2017, but I do feel the desire to stream every so often. If the next TwitchCon is also in San Diego, I'm going to feel very compelled to try it again.

  • Last year I started using Limbo as a quick "go to" video game fix. I can play it on Xbox, PlayStation, Vita, and iPad so it's always within easy reach. I like to think of it as my Mario Bros game - I can play it anytime and enjoy myself.

  • Of all the consoles I've owned, I regret getting the PSP the most, followed by the WiiU. While the PSP is stored away in a drawer somewhere, the WiiU is still out and plugged in. It's the only system I don't have a backup for - if it dies, everything else ends up on eBay. Considering how much I love Nintendo games, that's really a shame. I only got it because there were some games I thought I'd only be able to play there. And while that's true for the Nintendo branded titles, more of the few third party games are showing up on other systems. This last year I got Zombi (the non-WiiU version of ZombiU) for free on my PlayStation Plus subscription. That had been the main game I wanted the WiiU for. Just before 2016 ended, I heard that Lego City Undercover is coming to PS4 later in 2017. Well, there's still the new Zelda game coming, right? It'd better be.

  • Oh, and I'm already so sick of hearing about anything VR.

The Games of 2016:

Tom Clancy's The Division (PS4) - Every time I watch Contagion, I think of this game. Fun shooter with too spongey enemies.

Alan Wake's American Nightmare (Xbox One BC) - I was surprised how much I enjoyed playing this. I had to let time pass between it and the original Alan Wake. Completed.

Farcry Primal (PS4) - A Day One buy, but I got out of playing it too soon. Getting back to it will take awhile since there are a lot of mechanics that are specific to the game.

Quantum Break (Xbox One) - I played all the way through...the first chapter. Embarrassed to admit that I haven't even watched the first "episode" yet.

Doom (Xbox One) - Yeah, Day One buy (duh!), but I don't have any regrets. I didn't get as far as I probably should have, but the single player campaign felt very repetitious.

Inside (Xbox One) - Day One buy...and finished! Okay, it's a short game, but I stayed with it. Played this on Twitch and it was one of the only highlights of 2016 streaming because I got help from viewers. I understood this game less than Limbo...and it was easier.

Firewatch (PS4) - Another of those walking simulators I seem to get myself into. I played the whole thing, but since you can't die and there aren't any real puzzles, it's pretty much a cinch if you just keep playing.

Abzu (PS4) - Underwater Journey...without the sand, scarves, other players...or emotion. Pretty fish though and I completed it.

Submerged (PS4)  - A very overlooked little gem of a game that I bought because I liked the idea of exploring a half-sunken city. An emotional journey in a vast cityscape. One of my favorite games this year. Happily completed.

Bound (PS4) - A lesson not to pre-order indie games and that "pretty" doesn't make for a "good" game.

Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One) - I've heard so much about how good this game is...and nothing about the game breaking bugs. Within the first couple of hours, I ran into two missions where the completion requirements (clear enemies; catch up with an NPC) didn't trigger.

No Man's Sky (PS4) - I think more people made a game out of hating this game than playing it. I'll admit it can get repetitive, but the same thing can be said for solitaire, chess, or backgammon. No regrets having purchased the Day One Collector's Edition.

Layers of Fear (PS4) - I had expected more scare and threat of death than this game delivered. It also felt a little padded out - when the ending came (which was good!), it seemed like it had taken too long to get to. Completed.

SOMA (PS4) - I think this is the best horror game I've played since the original Alone in the Dark. You can die in this game (and I did a lot!) which gave the game the necessary gravitas that some of the other ones I played this year lacked. Frighteningly completed.

Halo (Xbox One) - I didn't really expect to finish this one this year...or maybe at all! But since nearly every other gamer I've heard from has, I thought it was time I buckled down and got it done. I have to admit to a) not realizing the nature of the Halo rings and b) the ending was a little...uh, weak?

Actual Sunlight (Vita) - I think this took 2 or 3 hours to finish and it wasn't much harder than a walking simulator. It was a depressing game because of the subject matter, but I'm glad I got a chance to play another game on my Vita. It deserves more love.

Dishonored plus DLC (PS4) - Since I had to order the collector's edition of Dishonored 2 (Corvo mask FTW!), I thought I should play the original game before it got here. While I didn't finish it in time and only played the tutorial of D2, I got all the way through Dishonored and the excellent (I'd even say superior) DLC missions. I did it with all the subtlety of John Wick at a gangster infested night club, but I made it through.

Titanfall 2 (Xbox One) - I made a bad call buying Titanfall when it came out since I really suck at multiplayer games. I think I played it for about an hour. On the good side, it got me into Origin and I've gotten some free games there that I probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Since T2 came with a much praised single-player campaign, I decided to add it to my Black Friday haul. It's one of only two of those BF games I've played and completed. They weren't kidding - the campaign was excellent!

Battlefield 1 (Xbox One) - The other Black Friday game I've played. The WWI setting had me as soon as I'd heard about it, and I got through nearly all the single-player "stories". While I didn't finish the last one, the Gallipoli story was the best of the bunch. I don't know if they quite captured the real horror of The Great War (ala Hardcore History's podcasts), but I admire the developers for taking the chance on a somewhat forgotten conflict.

Lifeless Planet (PC) - I almost bought this on a PlayStation Flash sale, but remembered I had it on Steam. I decided to give it a go and ended up finishing the game. I didn't realize it was a Kickstarter until the end and have since added the developer to my contact lists so I'll find out about more adventures from them in the future. A simply constructed adventure with huge open environments, lots of good platforming, and a cool sci-fi story.

Virginia (PS4) - I don't know if I can call this a game. I never had to do/solve/manipulate anything in the game world - just interact (ie, button press) when I got to certain points in the narrative. It was like watching a movie (a good one!) that pauses at times to let you look around and then prompts you to continue. An interesting method of telling a story.

Let it Die (PS4) - I started this in 2016, but it's bleeding over into 2017 as a quick fix of over the top violence and action, doled out with daily rewards for logging in. A "pay to win" model, I know I'll never finish it (in fact, it doesn't really have an ending now), but it's like an entertaining toy that you take off the shelf (or out of the box), mess around with, then put back...only to find yourself doing the say thing the next day...and the next...

Okay, and as promised, my Massive Black Friday Game Haul (which actually started on the Monday before that Friday):

For anyone who can't make out the titles (from left to right, top to bottom):

Kirby Planet Robobot (3DS)
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (3DS) (the easier version)
Xbox One Gears controller (always wanted this one)
Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens Deluxe Edition (PS4) (and I haven't seen the movie, btw)
Batman Return to Arkham (Xbox One)
Tom Clancy's R6 Siege (Xbox One) ( was very cheap)
ReCore (Xbox One)
GTA V (Xbox One) (Cheap and why not? Ultimate sandbox!)
Titanfall 2 (Xbox One) (Played)
Battlefield 1 (Xbox One) (Mostly played)
Dead Rising (Xbox One) (Very cheap and I always associate DR with Xbox)
Mirror's Edge Catalyst (Xbox One) (it was cheap?)
Skyrim Special Edition (Xbox One) (Maybe I'll play it on this console, finally!)
Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) (A silly purchase, but it came with the mug and coaster)
Song of the Deep (PS4) (it came with the submarine Pop! figure)
Flashback Classics vol 1 (PS4)
Flashback Classics vol 2 (PS4)
Mafia 3 (PS4) (What I heard about the story has me very interested)
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (PS4) (well,...whatever)
Plants vs Zombies GW2 (PS4) (buying frenzy?)
Batman Return to Arkham (PS4) (uh, yeah, have it on Xbox One too...)
Dragonquest Builders (PS4) (no comment)
Lego Harry Potter Collection (PS4) (Why? Because!)
Bioshock Collection (PS4) (Have to play. Have to play.)
Mortal Kombat XL (PS4) (it was cheaper to buy this than the DLC for my copy of MKX)
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (PS4) (Finish on a high note...I hope)

And that's it for 2016. Let's see how many of these I play by next year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Horrors of Halo-ctober and other stuff

To setup a "theme" for my streaming in October, I picked the genre of Horror Games - something that virtually every other streamer has been doing. Well, at least I stuck to it through two games this time.

Layers of Fear Image Layers of Fear (PS4) - I think you could probably rename this game Gone Home With Jump Scares. You spend your time in the game walking around an ever room-shifting mansion in search of six (grisly) items you need to complete your Dorian Grey style "masterpiece". It was a sufficiently creepy experience, but nearly all the scary bits were related to something in the environment - a creepy picture, a visually warped room or hallway, odd noises. Because my character couldn't "die" (as best as I could tell) and I wasn't being chased by anyone, there wasn't any real feeling of danger and, hence, little real fear. Overall, the ending was very Vault of Horror-ish which I enjoyed but I wished I had gotten to it sooner.

SOMA Image SOMA (PS4) - If you were to make an exact copy of yourself - your memories, your experiences, your personality - and put it in a "host" shell, would there be two of you, or you and just a copy? How much of you could be duplicated and what would you want done with the previous you? Could you survive knowing that there was a second (or third or fourth) version of yourself? Or would you want to end your own life so that you (or your copy) were unique in the universe? These questions, along with a considerable amount of Dead Space style horror in a post-apocalyptic, undersea world is what makes up SOMA. I'll admit that this wasn't an easy game to get into. Frictional Games, makers of Amnesia and Penumbra, like you to interact with the game world in as tactile a manner as possible - you can pick up almost everything, swing out cabinets doors, and pull open drawers. It gets a little tedious until you begin to realize that you don't have to touch/open/inspect everything. Also, like a number of the current generation survival horror games, this one has you running or dodging danger rather than fighting it off.

I decided to take a break from streaming at this point. I might pick it up again sometime, but for now I don't feel like it's worth my limited gaming time to hassle with trying to do an interesting stream.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Image Halo (Xbox One) - Okay, I know this isn't a "horror" game, but I guess I needed a break from the scary walking simulators and just wanted to shoot things! You can only run away from monsters so long before you want to stop and take a stand. Good Lord, I've been trying to finish this game for YEARS! I started with a pretty decent attempt on the original Xbox up until (I think) just before the Library level. Then when I got the Xbox One, it came with the Master Chief Collection and I started it again there, only to stop not long after rescuing the captain (not as far as before even). And so it waited and I always felt like it was a game I should play all the way through at least once. I mean, there are people who have played it multiple times (not that I can figure out why). While this game did provide a good story, I have to wonder if it ever got criticized for shamelessly reusing levels. Well, it was early days and the game did set a standard for console FPS's.

Actual Sunlight Image Actual Sunlight (Vita) - It's hard to really call this a "game" since there wasn't anything to do except go through an hour and a half of a lonely loser's decent into inevitable suicide, all done in Yoda Stories style graphics. While I appreciate what this game was trying to do (give people an insight into what can drive someone to kill themselves and they ways in which they think and feel), as a "game" it felt like I should be able to do SOMETHING to alter the outcome.

Dishonored: Definitive Edition Image Dishonored (PS4) - In my typical tradition of "playing the original because the sequel was just released", I decided to dive into Dishonored 1. This game allows you to complete missions in a number of different ways depending on your character build and how you approach the objective. I started by trying to be as stealthy as possible and only attacked guards (the most frequent opponent you run into) when necessary. However, this ended up taking WAY TOO LONG! If you are trying to be careful and not start fights, where you are attacked as soon as someone sees you, it's a nearly continuous sequence of sneak/alarm/reload. After that, I figured I'd just go totally John Wick on everyone's asses! I killed anyone and everyone I could - regardless of whether or not I needed to! I racked up body counts to the point that I had to shoot my trusty boatman, the one that had earlier saved my life(!), because he hated me so much that he was going to alert the guards to my presence during the last mission. Yes, I got the High Chaos ending, but frankly I didn't care. Dunwall should be renamed Dung-wall - that place isn't fit for the rats and weepers that crawl it's corpse strewn streets. Good game though.

Titanfall 2 Image Titanfall 2 (Xbox One) - As of this writing, I've only played about an hour or so of this, since I needed it as a trade-in to get a cheap copy of CoD:IW. But, I'm sort of glad that I did trade it in - while this game has a much needed campaign that Titanfall 1 lacked, I'm not sure it's enough, for me, to stay with. I got burned pretty badly by the first game since I don't play multi-player games (because I suck at them) but I got it since it was "the game" to get at the time. Ah, Hype-Train. I basically played the tutorial (I think) of this one, if you can call the first mission a "training" mission. You certainly have to wait until you are done with it to get into your Titan. The shooting is well done, but I it doesn't give you a very good idea of the relative power of the weapons you find and I never did figure out how to switch between weapons I was carrying. Anyway, I think this will probably end up being a Gamestop rental in the future so I can finish the short campaign. I doubt I'd have any reason to go back to it after that.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Later That Year...

I can't say I was overly surprised to see that my last posted blog entry here was from April. Honestly, I was happy to see it was from this year!

I actually finished a game this weekend (it was a quick one that I'll talk about here shortly), and it got me thinking about other games I've finished recently. I realized that I had trouble remembering them which I found a little disturbing. None were really big games, but I'm always proud of the ones I've completed (mostly because it's a rare occurrence for me) and have almost always made some sort of note here. This post will try to catch up on games I've played and/or finished. I'll start with the ones I finished first.

 Inside (Xbox One) - I got this Day One because it was the next game from the makers of Limbo, one of my all-time favorite games...even if the ending does suck. Briefly, Inside is a graphically enhanced Limbo-esque game with more intricate but overall easier puzzles. Critics have been heaping praise on this one that I don't think is entirely deserved. It's a good game, to be sure, but it's no "10". A good solid "8" or "8.5". Like Limbo (and in a way, more so) this game tells you NOTHING about the world you are in or why you are running from people. The ending, which I won't spoil, just multiplies the confusion by a factor of 1000.

 Firewatch (PC) - This was the first game of three that I played recently (and finished) that lacked one specific game mechanic - my character couldn't die. That's something you have to learn as you play a new game and it leaves you hanging until you figure it out one way or the other. I guess you'd call this game a hiking simulator/semi-interactive story experience. You play a new park ranger and have extended conversations with another ranger while trying to unravel something that may or may not be a mystery. It was an interesting thing to play (and the voice acting was great) but I think the best part was that the designers didn't push the length too long. One of the advantages of indie games is that developers aren't bound to produce something that fits the standard 10-20 hours of gameplay that most gamers feel they are owed by spending money.

 Abzu (PS4) - First a Limbo sequel, then a Journey sequel...well, sort of. (One of the Journey developers left That Game Company and made Abzu.) As much as this would like to be as moving as Journey, I'm afraid it missed the mark. Most of this game is a swimming-with-fish simulator which while "nice" - tagging along with an giant sea turtle is pretty cool - just isn't the same as the other-worldly feel Journey had. It also didn't help that the game only gave you a vague idea of what you were supposed to do. (Journey was magnificent in it's simplistic and immediate method of conveying to the player what they were there for - the first thing you see is the star on top of that mountain. Go.) As the game progressed, there was an element of purpose that seemed to imply that I was saving whatever environment I was swimming in, but overall it felt a little hollow.

 Submerged (PS4) - I don't know when this one came out as I never heard or read much about it. I got it on a sale and was intrigued by the idea of moving around a half-sunken city. You play a girl who is trying to save her brother (although at first, you aren't sure - it could be her son?) She has to motorboat around to buildings and retrieve supply drop boxes by moving around the crumbling exteriors - climbing drainpipes, shuffling and jumping along ledges, or dangling from broken ledges. The designers could have made the game much harder if there was a limited amount of time you could hang from a ledge or if you could actually fall, but they decided to focus more on the story than the challenge. I'm glad they did since it gives you more time to appreciate the scale of the city which is very impressive, especially landmarks the giant construction crane in the middle of the map. The story unfolds in little primitive drawings that, I have to admit, I didn't at first understand. When I did "get it", I was really sucked into the world and this girl's struggle. I can't say that the ending was as satisfying as the journey there, but this is a game that I'm glad I finished and even wanted to explore the map more after I had completed it.

 Bound (PS4) - Sometimes visually impressive just isn't enough. Yes, this game looks stunning with all of it's fluid, voxel environments and motion captured dance moves, but I just didn't get hooked enough to do more than a half an hour's worth.

 Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One) - I'd heard lots of good things about this one and for the most part I can see why. It's a frantic, over the top, colorful, wild, funny, shooter unlike another game. You can customize your character in any number of ways, and even the respawn animations are unique and entertaining. much as I was enjoying playing it, and as much as I wanted to dig deeper into it even though it was really testing my degraded "old man" reflexes, I couldn't handle the broken missions. Twice in the short time I was playing, the mission objectives wouldn't trigger - once it was the game not recognizing that I cleared an area, and the other was the game not recognizing that I'd caught up with the NPC I was chasing. It was a shame, but I don't need that kind of headache when trying to play a game.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Second Chances - Alan Wake's American Nightmare

Alan Wake's American Nightmare Image Well, chalk up another "Completed" for me for 2016. True, it wasn't a big game, but going back to play more of, let alone finish, Alan Wake's American Nightmare was something I never thought I'd do.

I got the copy I played by pre-ordering Quantum Break (Remedy's new game) and then playing it on a Xbox One in Xbox 360 compatibility mode. Not that any of that matters! I still had the game on Steam and could have played it again anytime I wanted to.

I still remember feeling revolted by playing AWAM right after finishing Alan Wake. I loved the first game's style and setting so much that I consider it to be one of my all time favorite gaming experiences...even if I didn't really understand the ending. (Or "endings" if you count the DLC stuff.)

Everything felt like it changed in American Nightmare - the graphic style, the weapons, the character model, the addition of the cheesy Rod Serling-esque narration. But for some reason, when I went back to it, none of that mattered. It felt oddly like I was just playing Alan Wake again, especially the light-and-gun shooting mechanic. I was just better armed now and you know, that's not a bad thing.

It was a short game (HLTB puts it around 2 hours, but I took probably twice that), but I'm really glad I finished it. It gave Alan a happy ending for a change and after all the "darkness" he's been through, he deserved it.

Now, time to dig into Quantum Break some more...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015's Mountain of Shame

2015 was, to me anyway, one of the greatest years in videogames. All three of the home console makers, already well established after being out for over a year, were pumping out one great game after another. Being a fairly well funded consumer, I shamelessly bought them all (or close to it).

I played quite a few of them, as can be seen by my previous post that covered that glorious year, but many - too many! - are still sitting on a shelf, still wrapped in a coat of shrink wrapping.

The list you see below is (to the best of my records) all of the games I bought last year...AND HAVEN'T PLAYED!

Assassin's Creed Syndicate
Battlefield Hardline
Borderlands: The Handsome Jack Collection
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
Disney Infinity 3.0
Dragon Quest Heroes
Lego Dimensions
Little Big Planet 3
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Mortal Kombat X
Onechanbara Z2 Chaos
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Saint's Row IV: Re-elected
Shadow of Mordor GOTY Edition
Sniper Elite III
The Legend of Kay Anniversary Edition
Toy Soldiers: Toy Chest
Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection
Until Dawn

Xbox One
Batman Arkham Knight
Dead Rising 3
F1 2015
Forza 6
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Rock Band 4
Ryse: Son of Rome
State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition
Sunset Overdrive

Wii U
Bayonetta 2
Huyrule Warriors
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Mario Maker
Mario Party 10
Super Smash Bros.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Yoshi's Woolly World

Akibara's Trip
Assassin's Creed Rogue
Batman: Arkham Origins
Deception IV: Blood Ties
Falling Skies
Lost Planet 3
Risen 2
Risen 3
Star Trek
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles
Tokyo Ghost Hunters

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Motorstorm: Arctic Edge

3/4's Home
Abyss Odyssey
Assassin's Creed Liberations
Blue Estate
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered
Final Fantasy VIII
Five Nights at Freddy's 2, 3, and 4
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father
Grow Home
Her Story
I am Bread
Pathologic Classic HD
Shadowrun: Dragonfall
Tales form the Borderlands
The Purring Quest
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

and a Playstation TV unit with a 16gb memory card.

Mind you, a lot of these were purchased used or during various sales, usually with my Best Buy Gamer Club Unlocked discount (I can't pass up a bargain), but we are still talking about a significant investment in discs, plastic cases, and 1's and 0's. The size of this list does owe itself, in part anyway, to the addition of two new consoles this year. (Come on, if I'm going to buy a console, I need games to play on it, right?)

Now it's nearly the end of January and not only have I not bought anything other than a couple toys-to-life figures, but I'm still playing a game from last year, Fallout 4.

So, here it is: I'm not buying any new games in 2016.

"Why?", I hear you cry, while Best Buy and Amazon lower their prospective sales numbers for 2016.

If something does catch my eye (and so far there isn't much I've heard is coming out that I'm interested in), I'll add it to a list and maybe have an end of the year shopping stock up for 2017. Plus, I'll still be getting games for free via PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, so it's not like I won't have any additions to my collection.

I'll be revisiting this list next January to see how many of 2015's games got played. Should make for an interesting comparison.