Posts Tagged ‘ps4

10
Oct
18

Achievement Unlocked

Remember, once upon a time, when people played games for however long they wished, then stopped, put them away, sold them, or traded them in as the whim took them, and there was no pressure on the whole thing?

I do… and sometimes I miss it. But more often, I find it hard to get into games that aren’t somehow rewarding my obsessive completionist tendencies. When the Xbox 360 first launched, I stared at the Achievement system with narrowed eyes and open suspicion.

Years later, and I have trouble motivating myself beyond doing the bare minimum in my Switch and PSP games, because I don’t feel there’s any reward in it. There’s no little bar next to my name that says “100%,” “1000/1000,” or with an icon of a gem or a Platinum Trophy.

I end up playing games for longer than I enjoy them, or playing games for no reason other than to add to an arbitrary score or level. My Name Is Mayo is on my PSN ID for this reason, and Madden ’06 and NBA 2k6 lurk somewhere in my Xbox Gamertag as well. We don’t talk about Avatar: The Burning Earth.

But why? What is it about hearing that “Ping!” noise and seeing that I’ve just done something that only 3% of people playing the game bothered to do that makes me feel like its worth doing, even if I long ago stopped enjoying the game I was playing to do it? (I’m looking at you, Last Recode Platinum. Take your Books of Ryu and put them where the sun don’t shine.)

I think it’s a feeling of empowerment combined with the idea that I can point someone else at it and say “See! Look at my shinies! I did something!” When you’ve had most other avenues of accomplishment closed to you, temporarily or permanently, its important to point to something and say “I did this.”

But what’s different about earning the full score in Quantum Break vs 100% completion of Hyrule Warriors? I think it comes back to being able to share it, to contemplate that someone, somewhere, may be impressed with your pitiful accomplishment. No one can tell that I have wasted 300 hours of my life in Hyrule Warriors without having access to my Switch or without me doing obsessive screencaps. To be fair, I’m guilty of that, too. But on the other hand, everyone on PSN can potentially see that I am one of the 0.54% who have 100% finished The Binding of Isaac on PS4. (Yes, I am obsessively proud of that one.)

Speaking of which, if you want to see my PlayStation accomplishments, here they are. Sad, isn’t it?

What about you out there, fellow gamers? Are you for or against the accomplishment-tracking present in most modern games? Why? Do you feel like its enhanced or reduced your enjoyment of those titles with it? Let us know down below!

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17
Jul
18

Gaming Roundup of June

Haven’t done one of these in a bit, so figured I’d gather up the titles I’ve been playing and provide my thoughts on them.

In an earlier post, I mentioned I’ve been on a bit of a visual novel kick of late and my thoughts in general on the subject, so not much to add on those. Went through Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, Code: Realize ~ Guardian of Rebirth, Nonary Games:999, Bad Apple Wars, 7s’Carlet and Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk. Things common to all of them: deep plots, existential crises, tons of reading, and minimal interaction. Of the specific highlights of each, 7s’Carlet and Bad Apple Wars don’t really have anything different to add, though I’ll say that I really enjoyed 7’sCarlet‘s plot and presentation, while I found Bad Apple Wars to be rather boring and didn’t care much about any of the characters.

For the differences, Black Butterfly and Nonary Games have actual gameplay elements; Black Butterfly has a target-shooting minigame which isn’t particularly deep, but at least broke up the static reading, and 999 has what it calls “Escape Sequences” where you’ll be playing something more akin to a standard point and click adventure, looking for clues and solving inventory-based puzzles to move to the next story segment. Code: Realize doesn’t change up the basic choose your own adventure style, but the presentation and characterization, with a steampunk backdrop and bumping elbows with famous literary and mythological characters added a lot to the charm. Ashen Hawk stands out by giving a bit more freedom in the paths you choose, with an actual map that you’ll have to explore and scenes to pursue in an order other than “which male waifu do you want to bother today.” It also is a lot darker and even its happy moments are bittersweet at best. There’s about 12 endings, and only three or four are “happy,” but only on the surface; looking into the context or how the heroine is essentially rejecting reality and delusional makes them almost as depressing as the “real” endings. I liked that.

In more standard fare, I’ve been picking at Yakuza 6, which is certainly fun. If you haven’t played one before, the basic gist is that you play a former Yakuza member, Kazuma Kiryu, who is always getting involved in the actions of his former clan. It’s very much “everytime I think I’m out, they pull me back in.” This time his daughter has been involved in a near-fatal car crash that may be more than it appears, and he’s tasked with solving that mystery, preventing clan wars, and figuring out who the father of his grandson is and how it ties to the rest of the mess. Along the way you’ll find time to dress as a mascot, play a bunch of Sega arcade games – though the UFO catcher sadly seems to be missing – and hit the batting cages and hostess clubs.

I’m mixed on this one. I enjoy it. Just like I have with the seven other games in this series. Maybe I’m getting burned out, or my brain just isn’t in the right mode for this – which is sad, because Yakuza Kiwami 2, Shenmue 1 & 2 HD (which is in many ways Yakuza‘s parent series) and Yakuza 7 are all on the way – but I’m not as invested in Kiryu’s weird world as I have been in the past. I’m really hoping its just a phase, and I’ll get back into the right mindset soon – if only so I can check it off the list before Kiwami 2 hits – but I just don’t know.

I’m also picking at Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, which is another visual novel, but has a lot more gameplay than most; point and click adventure phases where you look for clues to murders, Phoenix Wright style interrogations, and an action shooter cross-examination and evidence presentation game? It’s a blast. I’m not very far, yet, but I like what I’ve seen so far. I just want to cross 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward off the list before I really dig into it.

Lastly, I finally picked up Neir: Automata. Damn, son. Every utterly batshit Platinum Games hack-and-slash mechanic wrapped up in a bizarre mindfuck plot and deep RPG and customization mechanics? Yes, please. More, please. Like Danganronpa, I haven’t gotten a lot of time to spend with 2B and her crew, but everything I’ve seen, I love. Again, just need to clear some room in my backlog so I can tear it apart in the quest for the Platinum.

What about you folks out there? What have you been playing? What do I need to add to my pile? Let us know down below!

27
Mar
18

Gaming Roundup

Gaming_Cave.jpg

Since I’ve been essentially in limbo for a month or so, it has given me time to catch up on my gaming; I would still rather be at work, either in front of these keys or at my desk in my office, but it kept the brain turned on to some degree, at least.

I’m not really feeling a huge in-depth review of everything I’ve played, but a quick speedrun through the hits and misses is in order. So here we go.

Kirby Star Allies (Switch) – It’s Kirby. At this late date, you should know whether you enjoy Kirby games or not. It doesn’t do anything amazingly new and shocking and doesn’t screw up the existing formula. I enjoy it.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch) – Not quite what I was expecting – having heard it billed as an action RPG and bearing some of Star Ocean‘s DNA, I thought battles would be a little more hands-on, rather than staring at little bars and waiting for them to fill before I push a button once in a while – but still enjoyable. It consistently ticks off every checkbox in the “anime-style JRPG cliche” list, but is occasionally self-aware of it at least, is very pretty, and has some seriously deep customization, crafting, and level-up systems in place. Very worthwhile.

The Evil Within 2 (PS4) – I know, I know, it’s old and all. I’ve been picking at it for months, but I finally got to finish it. Found it enjoyable, suitably tense at moments (though it’s not kicking Outlast or Resident Evil 7 out of the “scariest games” slots) and a definite improvement over its predecessor. The main issue I had here was realizing the game isn’t trying to be Resident Evil 4, and playing it that way will get you killed (at least on the higher difficulties.) Playing it like a horror-themed Metal Gear or Splinter Cell, however, made it much more entertaining and enjoyable. At least until the last couple of chapters, where it turns into a shooting gallery for no reason. And the last boss made Ruvik seem well-designed – which he certainly wasn’t, in my opinion. Still, good game and seems to be half-off most places at this point, so give it a poke.

Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS4) – To be fair to it, it is hard to come down from Bayonetta 2, which basically perfected all the things DMC set out to do, but the DMC Collection still feels like a dumpster fire. The controls are clunky – which they kind of were to start with, though I don’t remember having this much trouble with them when I played the collection on PS3 – but at least somewhat forgivable given the age of the games.

What isn’t forgivable, however, are the graphics. I’m not a graphics whore (as something a little later in the list will prove), and normally I can’t even tell what resolution or frame rate something is running in unless it’s obviously broken. But DMC Collection looks like ass. It’s grainy, it stutters, and the resolution or aspect ratio seems to be “off” somehow. What’s odd to me is that I played the PS3 version on the same television and it didn’t seem to have this problem… seriously, what the hell, Capcom? But if you crave the games and don’t have a PS2 or PS3 around to play those versions, it’ll do. Or you can just hop over to Switch and play Bayonetta

Prey (PS4) – It’s BioShock in space. I love it. If you like BioShock, play this. If you didn’t like BioShock, you probably won’t like this. If you somehow didn’t ever play BioShock, you can grab the collection cheap, and Prey is usually around $15 these days, so grab one, try it out, then grab the other. You’re welcome.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT (PS4) – It’s hard to describe these; they’re sort of like strategy fighting games, I guess? I had some fun with the first two back on the PSP, and was pretty excited for this one, but having played it I kinda feel “meh” to it. It’s okay, I guess, but it feels a lot clunkier than its predecessors, the AI is set to ridiculous levels, there’s not really a story mode, and the online community is almost nonexistent or full of elitists, so if you actually do manage to get in a match, you’ll have waited probably five to ten minutes followed by a swift booting or disconnect. Maybe it’ll pick up. I hope so.

Metal Gear Survive (PS4) – Everyone’s ripping on this game, and it’s kind of silly, really. Is the game a great Metal Gear? No. Is it still a very entertaining blend of Dark Souls and Don’t Starve? Yes, it is. At least to me. I really think 95% of the hate this game gets is because of the name on the box, and if it said anything else on there but Metal Gear, it’d be doing just fine. It does take a while to warm up, so if you check it out, at least try to get through all the tutorial/sample missions – to where you can actually start building your base – to get a real idea of how it works and thinks. If you’re not into a slow burn that’s much more interested in mechanics than sensible storytelling, look elsewhere.

Mass Effect: Andromeda (XB1) – I kinda like it. I know that makes me a pariah, but you have to consider that I’m getting to it a year late and after tons of patches. I also didn’t think Mass Effect 2 was the best game ever. I enjoyed Mass Effect, I merely tolerated 2. Didn’t play 3Andromeda, to me, is equally enjoyable as the first game. It’s got problems, but I have fun with it. I do kinda miss the Paragon/Renegade system, though I see what they were trying to do by stripping it; we’ll see if a more nuanced approach bears fruit later in the game (I’m not terribly far, yet; just got the first colony up and running.)

NHL 18 (XB1) – I play sports games rarely. When I do play them, I usually grab a hockey or boxing game about every four years or so. I traded in my NHL 15 for 18, and… kinda wish I hadn’t. I’m sure I’ll warm up to it in time (and if not, I can reclaim 15 for about $5), but it feels like they made some very wonky changes to the controls and the AI. I like the training camp setup, though. We’ll see how I feel after a few more matches.

Deadly Premonition (XB360) – Yes, it’s old. Yes, it’s ugly. Yes, it’s clunky as hell. But it has charm and is more complex than most people give it credit for. It recently became backwards compatible for XB1, so I of course had to instantly locate a copy and hook back up with my buddy Agent Francis York Morgan for  a psychic-coffee fueled trip to Greenvale, which is totally not Twin Peaks and Resident Evil‘s lovechild. I wish they’d reissue the Director’s Cut version for Xbox, or maybe remaster it for PS4/XB1, but I’ll take what I can get.

Quite the list. Messy. Wall of texty. Oh well. Have opinions on any of these titles, or games you’ve been poking at lately that are worth a look? Let us know down below!

Until next time!

KA Spiral no signature




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