Sunday, June 11, 2017

E3 2017 Bethesda Conference Thoughts

Some random thoughts on the Bethesda 2017 E3 Press Conference:
  • Not having any interest in VR, the opening items of Doom VFR and Fallout VR didn't do much for me.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. Kind of old news guys. We already knew it was coming. Was it worth getting video of 7 or 8 streamers for a combined total of maybe 15 seconds of screen time?
  • The Bethesdaland narration is already getting annoying at this point.
  • The Creation Club will allow modders (and Bethesda) to get paid for their work. Probably a good thing?
  • The Elder Scrolls: Legends...for people who want to play Hearthstone with Elder Scrolls lore and art.
  • Okay, they are making a Skyrim for the Switch. Interesting. And it has amiibo support for Link Breath of the Wild costumes! I just heard the price of Link amiibo's tripling.
  • A Dishonored 2 "expansion"...with my favorite character from the Dishonored DLC's - Daude, voiced by Michael Madsen. Guess I'll have to hurry up and play D2.
  • A new eSport game that I can completely ignore because I'm not young enough and fast enough to play, Quake Champions!
  • Who put a f*ckton of Resident Evil in my Evil Within?! I played the beginning chapter of The Evil Within 1 and it didn't look anything like this horror show. On the good side, I didn't see a single tripwire bomb, so I'm sold. Twitch scream-stream gold in the making.
  • After a live action video shot with an Instagram filter and '50's costumes, it's...Wolfenstein again! Not sure what "The New Colossus" refers to, but B.J. is back to liberate America from the Nazi's. He wants to make America great....NO NO NO, I'M NOT GOING THERE!
  • And they are all coming out this year?? Wow, that's a lot of games to pump out in 5 months (figuring they want them out before Christmas). If I had to make a bet, I'd say they delay Wolfenstein 2. A) The Evil Within 2 wants to hit a specific date because it's a Friday the 13th, B) Wolfenstein will have to contend with two other shooters - CoD:WWII and Battlefront II - around the same time.
  • Final thought: Who was working the sound? Either the audience was asleep or unimpressed because you couldn't hear hardly anything from them. 

E3 2017 Xbox Conference Thoughts

Just some random stuff:

  • The name "Xbox One X" is going to drive sales people nuts. Too close in sound to "Xbox One S".
  • It's pretty!
  • Well, it better work with all the Xbox One accessories. Duh!
  • Forza 7. Meh. Where did they get two hot looking driver chicks? And did you notice they couldn't stay off the curbs?
  •'s a Porsche. Hooray.
  • Lots of games to announce.
  • Want. Metro. Exodus!
  • Anyone who doesn't think Assassin's Creed Origins looks phenomenal is in The Nile. (hahaha...oh, nevermind) Did you see the giant snake?? Shades of Conan the Destroyer. Oh, and do you think Jean Guesdon will ever be able to live down the "Xbone" slip up?
  • PUBG on a console? No, not really. Sniping will be impossible.
  • Deep Rock Galactic looks like a multiplayer No Man's Sky.
  • Yeah, State of Decay 2! Not sure what they added from the first one, though.
  • The Darwin Project. Cute name, but not interested in another Overwatch.
  • Minecraft in 4K? Why???
  • Dragon Ball Z Fighters. Not my thing, but it looks like you are playing the cartoon.
  • The Black Desert MMO looks like Final Fantasy. I actually thought it was at first.
  • The Last Night looks a bit too pixelated for my taste, but I'd be willing to give it a try.
  • The Artful Escape has a cool look to it that reminds me of Yellow Submarine. Looking forward to it.
  • Put Code Vein on my Wishlist. 
  • Sea of Thieves looks like a lot of fun with friends.
  • Tacoma coming in less than 2 months!
  • Cuphead FINALLY! I'd be more interested if it weren't supposed to be so hard.
  • Super Lucky's Tale. Did we just timewarp back into the 90's? Should have called it Conker: The Early Years.
  • I predict that Crackdown 3 will under perform due to lackluster gameplay. Nothing I saw reminded me of the things you could do in the first one.
  • Ashen looks really creepy!
  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Guess I have to play the first one now.
  • Extended Shadow of War gameplay. A lot going one. I think the orcs sound too...Aussie?
  • The new Ori game had me cutting onions. I just wish I could have done better with the first one.
  • I audibly gasped when I saw the original Xbox logo! Yes! I know it won't be all of them, but I'll take what I can get.
  • Woah! $499. Well, it is A LOT of hardware. A PC with that kind of guts would be well over twice as much. Day 1 buy? Probably not, but I won't say I won't impulse buy it.
  • Geebus! Anthem gameplay looks like you're watching Avatar. I'm guessing it's not multiplayer, just multiple team members controlled by AI. Thought the characters talking about drops was sort of cheeky.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Chessasaur's May 2017 Gaming Log

May 2017 - Game stuff, day by day

5/01 - Prey Demo. Well, I don't hate it as much as I did before, but I'm still not ready to re-pre-order. And "hate" is probably too strong a word. This time around, I took my time, read all the emails, and got a better handle on who I am and why I'm there. I've also gotten better at fighting the mimics, even if I get hit a bit more often than I've got health packs for. I made a bad choice to use my first neruomod for engineer repair skill when I should have put it into improving effectiveness of health items. Live and learn.

5/02 - When I went to Redbox today to rent Rings, I was given the option to get a free game rental. Figuring, "Hey, why not?", I looked at what they had, and after mentally deleting the games I already own or sports games I wouldn't play in a million years, I was left with Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands and For Honor. My first instinct was to go with Ghost Recon because it's a genre I know (ie, a shooter). I've watched a few streams of For Honor and thought it looked interesting, but I'd heard it was hard to get into and other than multiplayer, there wasn't much to it. However, I figured that I'd only have a little while to play and Ghost Recon would probably need more time to get past just the opening cut-scenes. So, I chose For Honor...and I'm so glad I did! I'd heard a podcast recently where they were talking to the lead creative designer and this game is something he'd wanted to make for a long time; basically his dream game where melee combat was handled in a realistic manner. (His words were, "I want to put a sword in your hand!") I'm always more interested in something that a person has put their heart and soul into. It's a very different sword combat game than something like Diablo or Dark Souls (for different reasons), but it was easy to pickup with very helpful tutorials and responsive controls. I think that it must have been reworked quite a bit since launch - it required a 9gb patch on install! The single player campaign is set in a world where war has been raging for a thousand years between knights, samurai, and I'm not going to try to defend its story merits. It's just a convenient excuse to get everyone fighting. Anyway, the game is gorgeous! You can get lost in the details of the fighters and the ruins you're battling around. Just awesome! I finished the first chapter and went over to look at multiplayer, figuring I'd just get myself swiftly executed before bed, and couldn't get a match! This game came out in February, less than 3 months ago, and the multiplayer community is that dead? Well, I'm going to get a copy to play the single player game more. A labor of love game like this should not be forgotten so soon.

5/04 - Star Wars Day! Had to do the obligatory Star Wars game, of course. In this case, Battlefront on the Xbox One. I bought the Ultimate edition (to get the season pass cheap) digitally (a rare thing for me) as this is the kind of game where you want to play a bit then move on to something meatier. Looking for the disc just takes more time than it's worth. I have to say I'm getting better at the "run around and shoot people" thing - I even got a number of kills in real multiplayer as a Stormtrooper by standing up on a catwalk and waiting for the Rebel scum to come through a doorway. Sneaky, but whatever works. I also tried out Beam (Microsoft's answer to Twitch) and I'm still trying to figure it out - you get an address for your stream, but I don't see the usual channel page stuff. It's fast though; there was almost no lag between my motions on the Kinect webcam and the corresponding actions on the webpage viewed on my PC! I'll have to look into it a bit more. (Do they do an automatic Twitter link?)

5/05 - Didn't do too much tonight, but I think I'm done with the Prey demo. It's a good game, but for some reason it isn't getting my interest (or my money). I'm not sure if it's a feeling of "been there, done that" space station shooter, the downright ugly models for the main characters, or the over the top "horror noise" when a mimic shows up, but I'm taking a pass on it for now. Maybe when it hits the $20 price point I'll give it a go.

5/06 - Edith Finch. Want to get back to this one and finish it up. Frankly, I'm hoping it makes some sense before the end. If it doesn't, I won't be upset - it's been an interesting ride.

5/07 - Edith Finch. More wandering around. I don't think this game is ever supposed to get scary, not that it has to for me. I do wish that games wouldn't give you the feeling like they are wrapping up...then go back into exploration mode again.

5/08 - Edith Finch. And done. Like a lot of the odd games I play, this one will take some time to process. It's hard to call something like this a "game" since, from what I can tell, you can't win or lose. The experience is just interactively triggering the next mini-story. While you are in each mini-tale, you need to provide some input (focus a camera lens, fly a kite, propel yourself in a swing, etc) but success is only measured by the continuation of the narrative, which deals with a particularly unlucky family and their assorted methods of demise. A "thing" like this can be appreciated for the variety of unconventional mechanics it contains, but by the end I felt the whole "thing" to be less than the sum of it's parts. One part in particular I found pleasantly reminiscent of Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow. The YouTube link is below.

5/09 - Started Little Nightmares tonight and I can't help but think I'd feel very differently about it if it had come out before Inside. LN is trying to do everything Inside did (spooky puzzle platforming) with an added measure of 3D to the environments. Unfortunately, I don't think it works as well. There's an elegant simplicity to Inside's puzzles - if you fail at them, you're just not doing it right. If you fail a puzzle in Little Nightmares, it's likely because you didn't angle your avatar correctly and went off an edge the wrong way or you haven't looked around the room enough. Like Inside, I have no idea who my character is or why I'm where I am, but, like I've mentioned, Inside did it first so this feels like an unnecessary sequel.

5/10 - Little Nightmares. Six's journey continues. Mind you, the only reason I know his/her name is from what I've read outside the game. There's still no "story" to speak of yet. Probably never will be. Is that a "thing" now in indie games? Apparently this is a very short game (HLTB put it at 3 hours) so I should be done fairly soon, even with my propensity for dying a lot.

5/11 - Little Nightmares. Creepy chef time! Made for a good PS4 capture highlight (see below).

5/15 - Little Nightmares. After a little holiday break, got back to it. I'm done with the chef's (I think) and probably(?) near the end. Still keeping with my desire to not finish a night stuck on a puzzle. Keeps me up a bit late, but it's worth it to know I won't come back to a previous night's failure.

5/16 - Little Nightmares. As I suspected, I was able to finish up LN tonight. It's very much like Limbo and Inside - a dark themed, puzzle platformer with no recognizable story elements - and Little Nightmares is both better and worse than the other two. LN allows movement in more than two dimensions, which makes for more variety of environments and more challenging puzzles. However, sometimes the puzzles are more challenging because you have to work in 3D. Aiming projectiles, jumping off platforms, and walking narrow beams is a lot harder! Graphically, I'd say Limbo still has the best atmosphere, Inside has the edge in animation, and Little Nightmares wins for enemy character design and environmental lighting. Plus, the whole game takes place aboard a giant ship so all the rooms constantly roll slowly back and forth. (Good thing I don't get seasick!) But for endings, Little Nightmares beats them all! I was a little afraid (as I get with games like this) that I'd hit a point where it was too difficult for me to win, but the end battle was a perfect set piece that was just hard enough that it took some time to solve without being frustrating. And, while it was still very cryptic, the final moments were incredibly rewarding!

5/18 - Little Nightmares. Wanted to try something that I've heard other gamers do - restart a game as soon as they finish it. I also wanted to see if I could open more "extras" - in this case, concept art images. What I found is that a) I could get through some areas much faster than before, b) areas where I failed (repeatedly) were more frustrating, c) unlocking concept art seems to be tied to just catching and hugging the little hat guys (not easy), and d) in Little Nightmares, the extras you unlock are considered part of your save...which sucks because I deleted my save to start over! That's enough of that then.

5/21 - Haven't played much this weekend because Nagano threw his back out again...or the doggie equivalent of that, but I did manage to dip my toe back into Zelda, This was partially motivated from helping my brother, who has been struggling with getting into the game himself on a new Switch. Plus,  it's easy to forget details from early in the game when you haven't played for awhile. Also, I got back into Steins;Gate...but I don't know if it constitutes a game. Pretty much just a visual novel. Bad part, I lost my saves so I had to start over. HLTB says 23 hours? I doubt I'll stay with it that long.

5/22 - This happens from time to time - I see a game on sale, realize I have it on a different platform, and decide I should give it a shot to see if I want to buy it again.This time it was D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, which I have on Steam, but is currently on sale for Xbox One for less than $4. The game was originally designed to operate with the Kinect 2.0 and, from what I've heard, is one of the few that really worked. For that reason alone, I'll probably drop the few bucks to get it because it was fairly hard to navigate with the controller and it's another one of those bat-shit crazy Japanese games you can't help but just love.

5/23 - Zelda. Always nice to be able to just drop back into Zelda for a little while. Did another shrine and tried to make it to a cliff overlooking a tower (so I can glide to it instead of climbing all the way up), but things didn't go quite according to plan. Back to Kakariko village for some cooking and fairy catching.

5/24 - Another case of SIGS, Sale Induced Gaming Selection. In this case, it was Darksiders: Warmastered Edition. The Xbox One version turned up on Amazon for about $12, but I already have it on Steam (it was a free upgrade because I had the original). Time to see if I should buy it again. I'd played Darksiders a little a long time ago when I got it for the 360 and didn't really understand it, if that makes any sense. I hadn't played many button-mashing, attackers from all sides sort of games and I put it aside pretty quickly. Nowadays, I've played more games like that so I figured I should give the remaster a try. It looks amazing compared to the almost cartoony original, but the action is still pretty much mash-mash-mash the attack button. I played until I got to a boss that I wasn't sure how I was supposed to beat and decided it was time for sleep.

5/25 - Darksiders and Zelda. I had to go back to Darksiders for a little bit - at least enough time to kill that "blue dragon" that I stopped on. I don't like ending something on a down note; I'd like to think I can play better than that. And (with a little strategy help from a walkthrough) I got him. Not sure if I'll play more, but it does have some good points. Played Zelda before bed and finally got to the Faron tower...via a roundabout climb and lucky parasail to just near the top. Nobody down below even knew I was there! But...I really need to strike out north from Kakariko and get to that other researcher. It's the next mission on the main story quest. (Update: No, it's just a side quest.)

5/27 - Zelda. Two more shrines done and moving closer to my next quest point. Also, I found that thorn bushes burn nicely.

5/28 - Zelda. A shrine and a tower. Not bad for a night's work.

5/30 - As I'm waiting for RiME to get here, I figured I'd give Tales From the Borderlands a try...and that will probably be as much as I play of it. I remember playing the demo for a short bit and deciding that I'd rather try the whole game, but now that I have, I feel like I'd just be pushing through it for the sake of finishing it. I know a lot of people really liked it, but it just didn't "click" with me. Maybe I'd like it more if it wasn't a comedy? (There were very few laughs in The Walking Dead Season 1, one of my all time favorite games.) It didn't help that the (basically) QTE sections were made more difficult by trying to first find the cursor on the screen, then position it in the right zone to press a button. I could try it on the PC with a mouse, but I don't know if the story is what I want to spend time on. Probably not.

5/31 - Well, RiME still hasn't shown up. I'm beginning to get the feeling that non-AAA games don't get regular physical releases anymore. At least not on the day they are supposed to be released. Maybe that's just the day they start shipping from the warehouses. Anyway, I thought I'd give the Xbox One version of D4 a play with Kinect - they way it was "meant" to be played. I basically played the same section I did from earlier in the month; that is to say, the first chapter. It took a little bit to get the Kinect setup correctly. I have it under the TV/monitor, but also had to put it on a little box to raise it up a bit. After I moved back from the desk some, it picked me up pretty well, but I had some issues with the sensor "seeing" my hand. It would detect it, but when I tried to hover over an icon, the hand graphic would jump around making targeting a pain. And no, I don't think it was me shaking! Grabbing things was another matter - I didn't realize how stiff my hands have gotten until I had to "grab" items on the screen by making a fist. Sucks to be almost 56! Once I got into the game, it was definitely a better experience with the motion controls, even when they didn't register 100% of the time. The one downside was the fairly frequent "motion hints" that told you what you were supposed to do at a given time. It takes you out of the narrative when everything basically stops until you do the motion that the game requires. Well, it's better than the controller version where I was constantly triggering the "turn" command - that really got on my nerves. I also wasn't ready for the voice "participation" parts (you have to actually speak the line you want your character to say from a list of responses), but it was kinda cool and worked every time. It would actually be a cool thing to put into the Telltale games...and might have been added to Xbox One versions if Kinect hadn't been marched out into the middle of the Microsoft campus and shot through the back of the head. Twice.

Media Highlights...and Lowlights (Changed to "Media" this month because I wasn't Twitch streaming. Maybe in June.)

This month's screenshots are HERE.

The Creepshow from What Remains of Edith Finch (Props to the devs for getting the Halloween theme!)

A little escape in Little Nightmares

Miscellaneous Musings

Finish ups - As May starts and I read over April's log, I realized I need to go back and finish What Remains of Edith Finch. Want to do that before getting into Little Nightmares. (Update: Finished both this month!)

Finishing Moves - Now that I've sort of made a habit (or at least an attempt) at finishing games I've started, am I letting it adversely affect my desire to play something like Zelda that I know is very good, but will take a lot more time to finish than I can provide?

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Chessasaur's April 2017 Gaming Log

April 2017 - Game stuff, day by day

4/01 - For something completely different, I decided to jump into Here They Lie. It's a PSVR compatible title (no, I don't own or want a PSVR) that can be played on just the PS4. I saw it on sale earlier this year and decided it looked pretty twisted. I wasn't even close to realizing how twisted! This will definitely end up being the weirdest shit I'll see in a video game this year...maybe ever! It makes as much sense as three David Lynch movies randomly spliced together, but I have to admit I'm making progress in the game to whatever end it will be. I captured some screenshots and video clips, so I can share some of the over the top psychosis. Games like this always make me wonder how the people who made them can sleep at night without going insane. I'm just playing this for a few hours - they had to live with it for months!

4/03 - Zelda. This was the first night where I really felt frustrated. I'm supposed to go to locations in Hyrule were Princess Zelda took "pictures" with her "camera" (hey, it's a video game, they can do whatever they want). But either I'm missing some sort of clue as to where I'm supposed to go, or it's just plain hard. I've only found two stables and I've spent most of the time running around on foot, trying not to get attacked. It's hard enough to figure out how to line up landmarks, but if you have to avoid monsters too (and there are more at night, of course), it gets pretty tedious. And I don't even know if I'm anywhere near where I'm supposed to be (ie, too close, too far away, has the land changed in 100 years, etc.)! Plus I need to make food, which takes time. I'd do some of the side quests, but the last one I did just got me a 50 rupe gem. I don't want to resort to just looking things up. If I can't figure out something this early in the game, I'll probably move on. No shortage of things to play.

4/05 - Started the night with a PC demo of The Silver Case, an early SUDA51 game that was remastered for Steam (and is coming out on PS4 in a few weeks)...that I apparently played back in August of last year for 26 minutes? I have no memory of doing that, but I wanted to try it since I had the PS4 version on preorder. After playing the demo for about 15 minutes, I wondered, a) why I forgot I played this, and b) why I would have wanted it for the PS4? I quickly canceled my preorder because there's no way I would want to play anymore of it. I'm sure it's a good game - I'm a fan of SUDA51's games - but I've got so many other ones to play that I don't have the patience for a PS1 era game at this point. If I did, I'd try to finish Silent Hill first. (Point: Why the hell hasn't SH been remastered? Oh, yeah, Konami. I forgot.) After that, I played some Zelda and started to explore the areas I've opened. I'm looking for interesting landmarks and sidequests (which show up as little !'s in red circles by NPC's). I've also started to make notes about things I've seen and quest clues. I have a feeling making rupes in this game is going to be important - I did two things that required me to fork over 100 rupes each time! And there was another 60 I spent at an inn. Need to find items I can gather and sell at high prices. That's why I need to make more notes!

4/06 - Here They Lie. Got back into this one since I figured it would be over soon...and it was. Another game finished in 2017, but I have to admit, it was short. Also, the back half of the game didn't live up to the same level of bat-shit weirdness of the first half. Yeah, it was bizarre, but more on a psychedelic trip way - twisting tunnels, impossible perspectives, and a boat ride to the Twilight Zone! There was also a section that was almost a stealth challenge - I had to avoid creatures, but if I got caught, I went back and had to try it again. Most other times when I "died", the game moved me to the next section...or to a totally different section. Who knows? The ending was, like the rest of the game, basically only understandable by whoever thought this up (and maybe not even them!). I'm not unhappy I played it. It didn't take up much of my time and there were "things" I saw in there that I'll not soon forget. Not for everyone, but I do like the weird shit.

4/07 - Zelda. This game unfolds itself in the most amazing ways! It doesn't hit you over the head with anything - you have to pay attention to the clues and do the little things as well as the main story beats. I caught a new horse and am keeping with the GotG theme. This one, a grey mare with a spotted butt, is Drax.

4/08 - Only had a short time to play, so gave one of this month's PlayStation Plus freebies called Drawn to Death a try. The art style is based on all those doodles kids do during class on folders, notebooks, and textbooks. It looks really cool...but underneath, it's just another multiplayer online shooter - Titanfall and Battlefront all over again. Well, at least I didn't pay for it and the tutorial was amusing.

4/09 - Zelda. Highlight - climbing to a shrine at the top of a fantastical cliff overlooking the ocean, then paragliding down to the shrine in the waters below, having to switch off between free falling and gliding so I didn't run out of stamina...and nailing the landing! Oh, and getting a one arrow killshot on a bear that was trying to eat me. During the day I tried a little of Thimbleweed Park. Sadly, this might be another Kickstarter game that I can't stand. The comedy feels forced, too aware of itself. And the voice overs are a dilemma - I'd rather they weren't there. I can't get  into the feel of a retrogame when they are on, but it seems a waste not to use them.

4/10 - Another Kickstarter delivered - Yooka-Laylee - and I figured I should give it a try. I was a fan of (but never played a lot of) the Banjo-Kazooie games from the N64 days. They were fun 3D platformers and the environments were, in some cases, ahead of their time in scale, but part of me never really took them too seriously. I certainly never considered trying to collect all the stuff you had to in the game - collectathons were never my bag. But, when I heard about all the retro-game hype building around Yooka-Laylee (it was being made by the same Rare crew that did the Banjo games), I jumped on board the Kickstarter. Now that I have the game, I'm not sorry I did, but I don't know how much I'll play of this one. First off, the "voices" they used (basically just sounds) are really irritating. Also, I don't know if I care about the "plot", even if it doesn't really matter. I got too sleepy to continue for very long, so I'll have to give it another try later, but currently, it could suffer the same Kickstarter Kurse that all the other ones have.

4/11 - Zelda. I'll admit, I got a little off track tonight. My intention was to do the two shrines I tagged last time, but they turned out to be tough battles that I'm either not equipped for or experienced enough to complete. I then tried out the amiibo support with the real Zelda ones and got a whole bunch of cooking items, a good sword, and a nice bow. Since nothing in this game lasts for very long, getting good weapons is essential. I also wanted to try the combat training shrine again, but it looks like you can't play shrine challenges over again. So, I bounced around Hateno village for awhile. However, I need to get myself in gear and head over to that gate. It's the first location that matches the pictures I have and it will allow me to continue the main story line.

4/12 - Zelda. My plan was to get to that gate tonight, and I almost got there...but then I made a bad decision and a worse jump, ended up in the river, and had to warp back to Kakariko or drown. (Falling into the water is hazardous if you're not near a shore.) I also saw what might have been a shrine underwater, so I'm guessing I'll get the power to get there at some point. When I headed back, I decided to check out another area on the way and got sidetracked trying to catch either a ram or a deer I needed to open a hidden shrine. (I got that clue from a parrot-man playing an accordion - go figure.) It's probably the ram, but even with food on board to make me stealthier, I wasn't able to sneak up on one. I did get to a new shrine (and lost some fairies in the process), but I don't think I have the skills to solve it. So, back to Kakariko for the night.

4/13 - Zelda. Well, I made it to the gate and now I know what these "memory" locations look like - something very similar to FFXIV single-player destination challenges. Not the most comfortable feeling, but they're harmless. Mostly. Interestingly, mineral deposits don't respawn. Too bad because that would have been a good source of income. The monsters don't respawn either, so I guess I shouldn't complain. I got a fancy new tunic for finding that first location, but now I'm not entirely sure where to go next. I guess to find Robbie and open up new zones. Just have to find a tower I can climb without getting killed.

4/14 - Zelda. Found another "memory" location tonight. It was the one that I thought would be easiest when I started - a landscape with two distinct peaks in the background. Turns out I was, originally, way too close. I also missed a detail in the picture that I picked up on when I was closer to the right spot - a ruin atop an island. Now I just need to track down the other ten!

4/15 - Zelda. Found a shrine and tagged the Lake tower! Always very satisfying to open up a new area on the map. And I see another shrine and tower to work on next time. Progress is being made.

4/16 - Zelda. A little during the day while I was showing my brother the game. Did the shrine I tagged last night. At least I could figure this one out!

4/18 - Zelda. Not a great night. Almost died a few times in a new area and had to reset to saves. But these thing happen.

4/20 - NFS: Rivals and Carmageddon: Max Damage on the new PS4 Pro on the new 4K 65" LED TV. Life is good...even if the games weren't.

4/22 - Battlefield Hardline has a Stoddard in it! But he's a bad cop???

4/23 - I saw a sale for Monstrum and found out I already had it for Steam. So, I downloaded it and gave it a spin. FPS survival horror (I never know if I should use a controller or M/Kbd - went controller) with a rouge-like twist; when you die, you lose your stuff, and reset to a random but similar area on board this deserted ship - but you keep your "notes". The monsters, which I'm guessing are aliens, are very creepy, but the ship has a more primitive FPS game look to it. Not bad, but I don't think I'll push to finish it. I also decided to take a punt on PUBG (ie, PLAYERUNKOWN BATTLEGROUND). It's the newest hot Twitch game that is eating King of the Kill's lunch. And I can see why - better movement, more weapons, more vehicles, along with better and more satisfying bullet hits. Yeah, games like this are fairly vapid (ie, no story), but it's deeper than Cookie Cats Pop.

4/24 - Tonight was the first time I could play What Remains of Edith that's what I did. Somehow I gravitate toward these kinds of games - ones like Gone Home, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Everyone's Gone to the Rapture, etc - walking simulators with some light to very light puzzle solving. In a way, these are the most relaxing games to play as there is virtually no chance of failing. On the other hand, they are, of course, not very challenging. Oh, well. I'm not sure what this game is going for yet. I wouldn't call it a "horror" game, but it seems to be leaving the door open to something very creepy. It also doesn't seem to be going for a "coming of age" vibe, but I can't be sure either. So far, I've taken a child's "spirit journey" (for lack of a better term) where I was a cat, an owl, a shark, and a sea monster. I thought this was a VR game originally and it does act like one, or at least as much as I know what they are like - never tried one personally.

4/25 - Instead of playing, I had to do the mandatory New 4K TV Graphical Demonstration. In other words, we watched Avatar on Blu-Ray. Pocahontas never looked so good!

4/26 - Alien Day! Can this day get any better?? #1 - Forza Horizon 3 announces a Hot Wheels expansion coming out in just a few weeks! #2 - An announcement from former Criterion devs who are (finally!) making a Crash Mode game, due out next month.  #3 - The Call of Duty: WWII trailer just dropped and it looks fucking awesome! CoD started as a WWII game back in the early days of FPS's (along with Medal of Honor), but no one has really made a serious one since the advent of the super-consoles we have now. The in-game scenes in the trailer look like something right out of a Hollywood war movie. I can't wait!!

4/27 - The Prey demo came out today and I tried it out on the new PS4 Pro. If I had it on pre-ordered, I'd be canceling it right about now. Weird story, weird setting, annoying enemies, and too much to look/read/search. I've got other games I'd rather play and I am just not "clicking" with this. Okay, I've only played about 45 minutes, but it's giving off a vibe that's something more like Deus Ex: Human Revolution than Doom or FEAR. Not my Prey. (Guess I should try the old one, eh?)

4/28 - I got the new release today, Little Nightmares, but didn't play it tonight because...we were told that SDG&E was going to possibly cut our power between 11pm and 6am! (Update: It never happened.) Instead, I played some Corpse Party: Blood Drive on the Vita. Part visual novel, part chibi adventure game? Very confusing so far as to how much "gaming" I'll be doing, but playing it at night in the dark is just the right setting. The audio is very creepy with headphones - there was a point where I was sure someone was talking to me while I was lying in bed!

4/29 - Getting back into the Prey demo. Now that I know it won't cut off at the 1 hour mark, I'm taking my time and reading/searching everything. I don't know if it's going to make it any more interesting for me, but it's worth a shot. Tried some more Corpse Party before bed...but it's hard to not fall asleep doing that.

4/30 - No night gaming, but I did try Zelda on the Wii U gamepad...and didn't like it. The screen is too small to make out some of the details. I also don't like playing it on the big TV in living room, but that's because a) we have a big room, and b) my eyes (or should I say "eye") are crappy. So, the Wii U got moved back to my gaming station.

Twitch Highlights...and Lowlights

Imgur gallery of screenshots from Here They Lie : CLICK ME

And here are a few clips of some of the REALLY freaky visuals this game has to offer.

The Choice

Just Desserts

Death by Balrog

Boat Ride of the Mind

Miscellaneous Musings

A Zelda State of Mind - I guess I've been going about it the wrong way. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is not a sprint; it's a hiking adventure along the Appalachian Trail with unlimited time and supplies. I think I'm just beginning to understand that from my experience on the 3rd and what I've heard on my podcasts. I need to explore the areas I've opened, find sidequests to expand my perspectives, pick small local goals for activities, prepare supplies, hone my fighting skills, find more temples, get to know the lay of the land. At first, I'd seen people talking about the storyline being 30 or so hours. But now I'm hearing about gamers being in Hyrule for over 100! There's that much to do and see! BotW is defining a new standard for open world games. If I play through nothing else this year, it has to be this game. I just have to take my time.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Chessasaur's March 2017 Gaming Log

March 2017 Day by Day...well, days I gamed, anyways

3/01 - Horizon. I actually felt like I played the real game tonight and it was a better experience. This was the game that people had been talking about and looking forward to - Aloy, the red haired warrior, fighting it out with mech-imals. Oh, and there are real animals too - I shot a bunny, I'm ashamed to say. The dialog still seems out of place, but the action of the game can get past that. On the downside, however, I've read that this is a 30-50 hour game! It seems very unlikely I'll want to play this one for that long, especially with Zelda and Andromeda coming out THIS SAME MONTH!

3/02 - I spent some of the evening doing something I've meant to do for ages - prep my phone for use by Sarah so she can listen to music or play games on it. We have a concert to go to tomorrow night and I felt, as a responsible parent, I should FINALLY be prepared. When I got to gaming, I just didn't feel like going back to Horizon right now. It's not that I didn't like what I played of it, but I'll be getting Zelda tomorrow and the reviews have been off the charts! I'll have to at least start Breath of the Wild and see what everyone will be talking about on my podcasts very soon. So, I booted up the Wii U to make sure it still worked, dug out the pro-controller so I could charge it, and ran through a little of the remaster of Twilight Princess. It looks fantastic! I'd say it looks even better than the remaster they did for Ico, and this is a similar kind of upgrade - old gen to new. But for now, sleep.

3/03 - Zelda Day!...except I did have a concert to go to, for which I'm NOT complaining. It was a very good show and one of the few things I can share with my daughter. I ignored the clock and actually played the first opening bits (small bits, of course) of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild...and that's the LAST time I'm going to write out the full title! The game looks awesome but it's going to take a little while to get used to the controller (I'm using the Wii U Pro controller) since the buttons are set out differently. I've never really used the Pro before, so I'm hoping the battery life will be up to the challenge of getting through the whole game...which is sort of my goal. At least I'm going to stay with it until the 21st with Mass Effect Andromeda comes out. Then I'll have to decide which game to concentrate on until Persona 5 hits.

3/04 - Due some late FFXIV gaming, I didn't have time to play any console stuff in the evening. But that's okay - we beat the level 40 boss in Palace of the Dead!

3/05 - Got a very late start so decided to dip a toe into Torment: Tides of Numerna...and almost slipped into a coma trying to play it that late! Lots of reading. Multiple choice answer, RPG role-playing. And that was just the character creation section! Sad, but I don't think I can play this sort of game anymore, even if I did back it on Kickstarter. Interestingly, by the time gaming-time rolls around these days, I'm sometimes too tired because we've all be playing Palace of the Dead in FFXIV which is more like an action RPG. Okay, it's not Dark Souls, but it's more action than we usually get in a normal play session.

3/06 - Zelda. I feel like I really started playing BotW tonight. The degree of open-worldness is just starting to sink in and it's a bit overwhelming! Zelda games have typically been fairly linear - you have to do something or have an item to open up something else. Here, you can do whatever objective you want in whatever order you decide. You have equipment that wears out, food you can make to restore health, and the weather on high mountains can kill you if you don't find shelter! Any mountain can be climbed, but you have to have enough stamina to hold on. It really makes you plan your explorations in advance. According to, the main story is about 30 hours. I might have to make Zelda my game to beat in 2017. That would make it only my second Zelda game completed since Link to the Past back on the SNES.

3/08 - Zelda. Got a late start, but still did two more the of the opening shrines. They basically give you your special powers, one at a time. Neat design. The world is filled with little things to find that you don't have to find, but when you do, they are a delight! And bravo to a game that allows you to climb virtually any vertical surface. It must have taken the playtesters an unbelievable number of hours to put this world through its paces. One shrine to go!

3/09 - Zelda. Has there ever been a higher rated game that was sealed off from gamers by it's platform? You either have to already have a Wii U (they don't sell them in stores anymore) or buy a Switch (if you can find one) plus a decent controller (the Pro, which is about $70). So, price to play Zelda on a Switch is roughtly $450 ($300+$60+$70+tax) It's terrible that more gamers won't be able to enjoy Breath of the Wild.

3/10 - Mar10 Day! But no gaming tonight since we played FFXIV late and tomorrow is SDCC 2017 Returning Registration Badge Sales. Oh joy.

3/16 - Zelda. Opened a new area by climbing a tower. I do wish that weapons didn't break so easily. Can't really fight very many baddies before having to switch weapons. Plenty to find, but still getting used to the "mechanic". The paragliding is really fun!

3/17 - Zelda. Caught my first horse tonight! All I could come up with for a name was "Groot", but I like it. He's (I think it's a "he") a pretty sturdy mount so the moniker fits.

3/18 - Zelda. Sort of got off track trying to climb mountains, but that's easy to do in this game.

3/19 - Zelda. Concentrated on the Kakariko Village. Visited the stores, cooked foods, and caught all the chickens for the guy with a serious cuccos fixation. It's a Zelda thing from way back - the chickens I mean. Noticed a cool blending of styles in this game - some things like flowers and grass are animated when you get close to them, but rocks and walls bare more of a resemblance to textures in something like Ocarina of Time (ie, almost murky). It's comforting in a way to still have that in a new Zelda game.

3/23 - Well, I ended up with Mass Effect Andromeda after all. Big surprise. Actually, I got more interested in it after watching Twitch streams. So, that's what I played tonight. It was about the first 90 minutes and I can see where the reviewer I read was coming from. The writing is more suited to a sci-fi B-movie. It's amusing, but takes you out of the gravity of the situation that started this whole "initiative". It plays well and should make a nice game to play in between Zelda sessions.

3/25 - No night gaming, but we spent a long time in FFXIV finishing a major battle and then went through some Free Company drama. War (and "club mentality") never changes.

3/28 - Zelda. It was nice to get back to playing something outside of FFXIV (which also got played a little tonight). The world for Zelda is HUGE, but it doesn't take a long time to get from one area to another. Weapon degradation is getting bad, but I can start picking up stuff from using the amiibo's I bought. No reason not to. Amazed at how inventive the game is. I was trying to sneak around a large bokoblin and he picked up and threw a smaller bokoblin at me! He did it to do damage to me and to get the bokoblin into the fight quicker. Also had to carry a torch from one side of this village to the other, but I had to wait to the rain to stop before I could begin doing it.

3/30 - All the talk recently about Sniper Elite 4 got me wanting to buy it...which would be foolish since it's still $60 and will certainly drop in price in a few months. Also, I have SE3 which I got super cheap (in a collector's edition, no less) but never played. Sooooo....that's what I did. And I liked it! I think that the Sniper games get stuck in a sort of sim-like perspective - people don't want the tedious part of sniper warfare where you sneak around trying to get just the right shot. Sniper Elite 3 (and even more so in 4, from what I've heard) is like a 3rd person shooter where you can snipe as well as do small arms combat. There's lots of little tricks, like using the sound of a miss firing generator to cover your rifle noise, to make it a bit more interesting than just a cover based shooter. I don't know how long I'll stay with it - might just be tonight - but it's a fun diversion from Zelda and Andromeda (which may stay on the back burner for now until I get through Link's adventure).

3/31 - Ended the month with a game I backed on Kickstarter, Rain World. It's always nice when they actually ship...however, this is another one that I probably won't play much of. Like Dragon Fin Soup, Earthlock, Planescape: Tides of Numerna, Neverending Nightmares, etc, as soon as I start playing, I pretty much realize the game is not for me. Rain World is no different. It's a cool looking platformer (reminds me of Ori and the Blind Forest), but the controls are only okay, the character direction is minimal, and there is no checkpoint system - you die, you restart the level! The slugcats maybe cute, but they're not enough to save the game for me. Well, I tried. I'll have to do a post sometime on stuff I've backed and what the outcomes were.

March 2017 Twitch Highlights...and Lowlights

Killing a sawtooth...with fire! CLICK HERE

Link learning the ropes. CLICK HERE

Miscellaneous Thoughtful Meanderings

March Madness - For someone with too many systems (ie, me), this is a wonderfully, horrible month! Just the three big releases (Horizon, Zelda and Mass Effect) alone is staggering - three open world games in a month's time! If I didn't have a PS4, I wouldn't have to worry about Horizon. If I didn't own a Wii U (or couldn't get a Switch), I wouldn't care about Zelda. Mass Effect Andromeda would have been the only one that would get me if I was just an Xbox One or PC user. There's just not enough time to dig into all these titles! Time to retire and play games all day, right? I mean, who needs food or healthcare? Okay, a big bag of rice, a bottle of ibuprofen, and I should be able to pay the other bills to keep the power on and the Internet connected. What is blood selling for these days, I wonder?

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!