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.

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