Posts Tagged ‘xbox one

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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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

10
Feb
18

Flame Shields and Mugs

Gaming_Cave.jpg

My home has been host to the Switch for a little over a week now, and so I felt it appropriate to give some impressions of the game I’ve been playing the most.

No, Zelda is not it. Yes, I do like Zelda, but it’s not where my soul lives right now.

fire emblem

Fire Emblem Warriors has devoured me. If you’ve played any of the Warriors/Musou games before, the basics remain the same; pick a champion, mash X until a few thousand of your enemies are dead, rinse, repeat. Very grindy. But I like grindfests, so I’m okay with that.

Fire Emblem Warriors does that very well while introducing a few minor adjustments – the “weapon triangle” from the SRPG series makes an appearance, meaning that you can’t always just take your favorite warrior and smash through the whole map; you’ll need a little help from your friends. Assisting with that is the option to order about other units on the map so you can command Lissa to go smash that troublesome Pegasus Knight that you can barely scratch with Rowan while tending to the next three objectives that just popped up on your map.

Fire Emblem Warriors also does have some totally unique features and differences that make it a great game, not just for Warriors fans, but also more generic action-RPG lovers, and even fans of the SRPG originals. The story is surprisingly deep and well done… though I will say it does rely on potentially fatal misunderstandings one too many times (story missions 7-13 are all almost entirely “Oh, they must be the bad guy because X” followed by “I’m sorry, obviously you’re not bad, let’s go talk to Y” whereupon “Y sees you and thinks you kidnapped their friends and so you have to beat them down so we can all be homies” missions.)

The upgrade system for the characters is also a little different, with grids and class changes and raw material grinding. It added something different than just grabbing your character’s ultimate weapon and pressing X until you had the full Gamerscore or the Platinum. The menus for it are a little annoying, with constant “Are you sure?” *confirms* “Okay, I’ll do it!” that you’re going to hear fifty times every time you visit that screen. But it’s a minor quibble.

There’s also History mode, which basically grabs some of the more tactical elements of the mainline Fire Emblem games by dropping you on the map and giving you an array of targets that lead to more traditional Warriors levels, each of which offers goodies for completion and alters the lay of the land on the main History map. Multiple endings for each map (some of which impact the main story mode as well) are a nice addition.

Overall, highly recommend it if you have the system to play it on.

For the second piece, we need to talk about the other game that’s eating my soul, lately.

cuphead

Cuphead.

I don’t have a lot to say on this one. It’s goddamn beautiful. The sound and music are amazing. It legitimately gives you the feeling of being trapped in a 1930s cartoon, complete with scratchy audio and film tears/grain.

It also hates your guts and will punish you every chance it gets. You will see the game over screen dozens – if not hundreds – of times, and that’s before you leave the first world (out of four.) But ultimately, when you do take down a boss or get a better grade on the platforming levels, you will give a barbaric yawp, so insanely pleased with yourself that you feel as though #LifeGoals needs to be altered to include it. Play it. But if you have a low frustration tolerance level, you may want to stay away or invest in extra controllers.

What about you folks out there? Any input on either of these titles? Have something that’s currently consuming your gaming soul? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature




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