Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Official Chessasaur 2015 Playlog #1

Two weeks of 2015 gone already???

I tried to make "plans" for 2015 like I had for 2014 (ie, a mapped out playlist), but since that didn't work well, I decided that I'd keep it simple this year. I'll choose games to play the way I did in most of 2014 - something will peak my interest in one, be it a podcast, article, or fond memory. I am going to do a couple of "planned" things, however.

The first is Throw Back Thursday (ie, #tbt). I don't know why or how this got started, but it's a Twitter thing. People usually post old pictures or scans of ticket stubs for nostalgia's sake. For me, it will translate into playing an old PS2, Xbox, or Gamecube game each Thursday.

The second doesn't have a name really, but I think it might be like Facing Gaming Regrets (#fgr?). There are some things in my gaming past that I'd like to revisit, and take on in light of having more experience and a better gaming setup. My first two Regrets are from Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.

DF2 was, for me, the first time I played an FPS that was more intricate than Doom. At the time I didn't have a lot of experience playing a keyboard oriented shooter, and there was no Fang Pad back then. I did okay in the game and was really enjoying it until the first Jedi "boss battle" where you had to use Force powers. I just got completely stuck and gave up. Time to go back and try it again, thanks to it being on Steam.

Oblivion represents a different issue. Up until I played it, I had never stopped playing an open world game unless I got stumped by a career ending mission (GTA: Vice City and San Andreas, I'm looking at you, guys). I've started Oblivion at least 3 times and each time I get sidetracked to the point where I have never even gotten to the first city! With so many open world games I still want to play, I think I need to go back and really concentrate on the main missions of Oblivion to give me some kind of mental discipline.

Even without "plans" in place, I've still been doing a bit of gaming:

Dead Space 2 Image Dead Space 2 - I started DS2 before 2015 began and, to be honest, I had mixed emotions about it. On one hand, it's a major improvement over DS1 in a technical way - better movement, better zero-g action, and less frustrating object manipulation. On the other hand, the story (that others seem to think is so good), does very little for me. The environments, while gorgeously detailed (watched them closer on my saved videos), lack the scale of the first game. I'll try to finish this one, if for no other reason than it gives me a lead in to DS3.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Image The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D - The imminent release of the 3DS Majora's Mask remake got me thinking I should finally give this one a try. I'm only a little ways into it and I have to admit I don't remember a whole lot, which is odd because I almost finished it on the N64. I played it back around 2000 and got frustrated with the final location where you had to do a series of "encore" battles. I'll have to see if I have more patience for it now.

 The Talos Principle Public Test - This was basically a demo of The Talos Principle and I can't say it made me want to run out and buy it (especially at its $40 price tag!). It took me about an hour to get everything I wanted to get out of it (ie, finding the three Tetris pieces and getting to the cathedral) and it just doesn't work for me. The puzzles are okay and the scenery is awesome (see pics below), but the philosophy/theology that you read and hear during the "game" seem out of place with such a simplistic game mechanic.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Twenty Fourteen - Closeout, Review, Best of the Best, and Future Plans

So, here I am writing about 2014 just at the beginning of 2015. And I promise myself I'll keep this short so I can actually get onto some New Year gaming and not dwell too long on the past.

First, the last...game I played in 2014:

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Image Uncharted: Golden Abyss - Since I had some time away from my main consoles, I decided to give this one a try. On the plus side, it is an amazingly good looking game for the Vita. It's also a good Nathan Drake story. On the un-plus side, however, it's a lot like the other Uncharted game I played and it's sort of annoying to play. It was designed to show off the Vita features since it was a launch title, but seriously, when I have to swipe the screen a dozen times to get Drake to draw his machete to cut a piece of hanging cloth, there's something wrong. Sadly, I won't be playing this one into 2015.

Okay, that does it for games I played in 2014. Now some quick notes from a year ago:
  • I considered that Batman Begins was the best game I played in 2013
  • My Steam library count was just over 600 (It's nearly 900 now!)
  • I wasn't in a hurry to get a PS4, but I got one before January was less than 2 weeks old!
  • I thought I'd get a Wii U when it got to $200, which is sort of what happened if you count a free game as $50 off

Here are the games I played during 2014 in more or less the order I played them in (I'm going to leave out demos and games in RED are ones I finished):

  • Call of Duty 2: The Big Red One (PS2)
  • The PS2 Capcom Collections
  • The Wolf Among Us (PC) - 2014 Playlist
  • Kingdoms of Amular: The Reckoning (360)
  • DmC (PS3)
  • Killzone: Shadowfall (PS4)
  • Resogun (PS4)
  • La Mulana (PC)
  • The Stanley Parable (PC) - 2014 Playlist
  • Transformers: The Game (360)
  • Splatterhouse (360)
  • Afro Samurai (360)
  • Mario & Luigi Dream Team (3DS) - 2014 Playlist
  • FTL (PC)
  • Spelunky (PC)
  • Ghostbusters: The Game (360)
  • Thief (PS4)
  • inFAMOUS (PS3) - 2014 Playlist
  • Battlefield 4 (PS4)
  • The Walking Dead: Season 2 (PC)
  • Broken Age (PC)
  • Mercenary Kings (PC)
  • Titanfall (PC)
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) - 2014 Playlist
  • Final Fantasy 7 (PS1)
  • Final Fantasy 14 (PS4)
  • Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition (PS4)
  • Monument Valley (iPad)
  • Finding Teddy (PC)
  • Hearthstone (iPad)
  • Diablo III (360/PS4) - 2014 Playlist
  • 3D Ultra Mini-Golf Adventures (PC)
  • 688(I) Hunter Killer (PC)
  • 9th Company: Roots of Terror (PC)
  • Afterfall: Insanity (PC)
  • Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)
  • Vanquish (360)
  • Device 6 (iPad) - 2014 Playlist
  • Lego: The Hobbit (3DS)
  • Stick It To The Man (PC)
  • Tearaway (Vita) - 2014 Playlist
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4)
  • The Walking Dead: Season 1 (Vita)
  • Limbo (Vita)
  • Thomas Was Alone (Vita/PC)
  • Lone Survivor (Vita)
  • Air Conflicts: Secret Missions (PC)
  • Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers (PC)
  • Alan Wake (PC)
  • Unit 13 (Vita)
  • Persona 4 Golden (Vita)
  • Valiant Hearts (PC)
  • Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC)
  • 140 (PC)
  • The Adventures of Shuggy (PC)
  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3)
  • P.T. (PS4)
  • Luftrausers (PC)
  • Sid Meier's Ace Patrol (PC)
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect (360)
  • Alice Madness Returns (PC)
  • Watch_Dogs (PS4)
  • Paranormal (PC)
  • Defiance (PC)
  • Aliens vs Predator (PC)
  • Destiny (PS4)
  • Murasaki Baby (Vita)
  • Clock Tower 3 (PS2)
  • Cold Winter (PS2)
  • Road Not Taken (PS4)
  • Pix the Cat (PS4)
  • How to Survive (PC)
  • Alien Isolation (PS4)
  • The Evil Within (PS4)
  • Lords of the Fallen (PS4)
  • The Binding of Issac (PS4/Vita)
  • Fantasy Life (3DS)
  • 4 Elements (PC)
  • Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage (PC)
  • 7 Days to Die (PC)
  • Paranautical Activity (PC)
  • Transistor (PC)
  • 8BitBoy (PC)
  • Dead Space 2 (PC)
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita)

Breakdown by platform:

  • PC: 36
  • PS4: 17
  • PS Vita: 9
  • Xbox 360: 7
  • Nintendo 3DS: 5
  • PS2: 4
  • PS3: 3
  • iPad: 3
  • PS1: 1

(The high number of PC games is due to trying out a number of cheap Steam games.)

Lessons learned from 2014:
  • The blog looks better than it did when I started the year - images of games and embedded videos are a definite improvement.
  • The daily notes method that I started with was too tedious. I'm glad I gave it up.
  • My 2014 Playlist of Games was more or less useless. I played less than half the games I chose and none of the major titles.
  • I should get back to playing Kingdoms of Amular. I miss Raven!
  • For better or worse, I started streaming this year. On the good side, it's cool to broadcast even if I know nobody may be watching. The point is that someone could be. Sort of like the lottery - you can't win if you don't play. There's also the chance to catch and preserve some fun event that happens in the game I'm playing that I can highlight later. On the bad side, it adds another time-sink to my already limited schedule. It can also influence my decision to play one console or another. I can easily stream from the PC or PS4, but I don't have the 360 or PS3 connected to a capture device - I'd have to move consoles and/or cables around - so I'll be less likely to play games on those systems. Honestly, the whole streaming thing is still "under consideration" at this point.

But enough of that....Now, it's Award Time!

My Favorite Games of 2014 were:
  • Alan Wake - It was a game that just pulled me in and wouldn't let go, even when the story went into over-weird mode.
  • Valiant Hearts - A short game about four people and a dog caught up in The Great War, released in the centennial year of the real conflict.
  • Stick It To The Man - Rarely does a game impart such a feeling of happiness! This game just kept me smiling the whole time.
  • Kingdoms of Amular - A complete surprise of an action RPG that gave birth to it's own personality - Raven!
  • Murasaki Baby - A Tim Burton-esque journey through a twisted world holding the hand of little girl searching for her mother. It was short, but I fell in love with the little tyke. :)
  • Alice Madness Returns - A mesmerizing journey through incredible worlds...with unfortunately, a so-so game system.

And, my Most Disappointing Games of 2014:
  • The Walking Dead: Season 2 - While playing as Clementine sounded like a good idea, in practice it killed it for me.
  • Titanfall - It could have been so much more than just a multi-player shooter.
  • Destiny - See comment for Titanfall...and add in that they screwed up the Moon's gravity!
  • The Wolf Among Us - I just didn't care about the story or the characters.
  • Alan Wake's American Nightmare - How was this even related to the first game??

So, overall not a bad showing for the year. I completed 9 games and three of those were what I would consider "major titles" (Ghostbusters, Alan Wake, and Uncharted). Onward to 2015!