Resident Evil 3 Remake: First Playthrough

Despite being a huge fan of the Resident Evil series, I somehow never played through the 3rd installment. For this reason I was very happy to learn the game would get the same remake treatment that Resident Evil 2 did last year. It came about faster than I had anticipated though, and released this past Friday. I just so happened to get paid that same day so I decided it would be my gaming purchase for the month. Quarantine has kept me locked in doors giving me more time to play through these games so I gladly invested in my entertainment future. I should note that back when Resident Evil 6 released I picked up the Anthology edition that contained codes for downloading all of the games on my Playstation 3. However, these were just the PSOne Classic versions, and though I had intended to try and play through it back then, I just never got around to it, and going back to PSOne graphics is tricky. Honestly I think this is the best way for me to experience this part of the series that I originally missed. I can already say that it has bridged some of the gaps in story that I lacked when playing some of the newer iterations.

The introductory sequence starts out in first person perspective, and I thought that was pretty cool. I really loved Resident Evil VII in which the game was pushed into the first person space, and so this was a nice touch. However the game switches to the traditional over the shoulder viewpoint rather quickly. You’ll start out playing as Jill Valentine, who was a member of STARS and introduced in the first game. She was absent from Resident Evil 2 though you can imagine that these events were happening around the same timeline, as she is in her own apartment and the conspiracy board in the background shows that she has started to put together Umbrella’s involvement in the events of the first game. Obviously by the time the events of RE2 transpire, the virus would have spread from the manor/lab to Raccoon City. This also means that the events of RE3 have to be happening around the same time, though Leon and Claire are dealing with things in and around the police station while Jill is out in the larger portion of the city. From here there will be some spoilers, only because I want to share some cool parts of the game along with screenshots, and if you haven’t played this 20 year old game yet, then welcome to the club. Come back after you’ve finished it. Otherwise, enjoy the ride.

It doesn’t take long to be introduced to the main villain, Nemesis. He’s a hulking brute that uses tendrils to grab you and pull you towards him, but later comes in additional flavors. He pops in and out of your playthrough, is impossible to actually kill, and makes life difficult for our protagonist. Soon he’ll pop up with a flamethrower, and later he’ll sport a rocket launcher. He’s a bastard, and every time a cutscene makes you believe that he’s dead, there he is again. Eventually you’ll run into a guy named Carlos who later becomes a playable character, and his organization works for Umbrella, but seems to be ignorant to the fact that his company is responsible for this mess. His commanding officers are dicks, but one does give his own life to save yours, so there’s that. I reached a point where I escaped the city and took over playing as Carlos, who was heading into the RPD building, so perhaps more of the story gaps will be closed between games.

The gameplay loop in generally the same as other Resident Evil games. You’ll find a multitude of herbs, ammunition, and craftable items, along with books, notes and scribbles that give more insight to the lore of the game. Eventually you’ll have a plethora of guns, but never enough ammo. I’ve found this game to be more challenging than its predecessor, but also more challenging than the newer games as well. You really don’t get enough ammo to deal with the amount of enemies, as each take way too many shots to dispose of. Then as you progress through levels some will respawn, so it really is beneficial to simply run past those enemies that you can. You’ll also do a ton of running away from Nemesis, so I suppose that’s the intended loop. Overall the game looks and feels just as good as the last remake, but because the story is something I knew nothing about, it has pulled me in even more. Honestly these past two remakes and RE7 are my favorites of the series to this point. I enjoyed 4 solo, and really liked the co-op features of 5 & 6, but these remakes just feel so much better. Modern conveniences and all. Regardless, I love the series, I’ve loved these remakes and I look forward to where the series goes next with the next proper sequel.

Apex Legends: Season 4 – Assimilation

I’m a bit late to this post, and honestly it’s been sitting in my drafts folder for some time now. Season 4 of Apex Legends kicked off back at the beginning of February. It, like seasons before it, came packed with a new Battle Pass option (containing new skins, animations and artwork), a new Legend enters the fold, and of course the promise of new limited time events. Truth be told, I have had a relationship with this game since it released a little over a year ago, and though I’m not done with it, I’m riding one of those lows right now. It’s still a fantastic game. I love the fact that they have done something new each season. While the first saw an extended time on the same version of the original map, the 2nd season warped that map in new ways. With the 3rd season we saw a whole brand new map, and to fall in line, season 4 has torn the new map up giving it new life. This means an adjustment in your specific game plans, though the broad scope of the game remains the same.

The main new attraction is this big laser drill in the center of the map, while a huge lava filled canyon split the major city in two. Overall it’s still the same map but the new touches are cool and provide variety if you continue to play regularly throughout the years.

The new character Revenant seems really cool in appearance, but I find that his skills are a little underpowered. He’s much like Wattson who is a little limited when it comes to combat I feel as well. They’re more support oriented characters in my estimation, despite maybe having a different title in the game. Whatever the case, Revenant is a little more mobile due to his passive, but his tactical silencing grenade doesn’t feel too hot. His ultimate is also debatable in usefulness, mainly because you have to drop a totem, then press a button to activate the “death protection,” and then have to die within the time limit for it to do anything. If you place it properly and happen to die it’s nice, but it seems too much of a pain in the ass to be worth it. Have you played Revenant with success? Am I just stupid? Comment below.

As I said, I wouldn’t say I’m burned out but I played 324 games last season and I was already on the uptick during season 2. I basically played the shit out of the game prior to seasons, then didn’t play season 1, started getting into it more seriously in season 2 into 3, and then basically didn’t play much at all during the whole first 3rd of the current season. Whatever the case, you can make comparisons between my last season and what has occurred so far in season 4 above, and draw your own conclusions. I have padded that total a bit more recently as in the past week or so I’ve played a couple dozen games, and I am working it back into my rotation a little bit just because I’m playing with friends due to our quarantine situation. My total stats are listed in the last picture for reference, and you can see I’m nearing 800 games played, which is an average of about two games a day for the past year or so. I guess you can say I enjoy the title, despite my couple of breaks. I’ll check back in once the next season starts and see where my interest lies at that time.

The FF7 Remake Demo

We’ve known about the Final Fantasy VII Remake for several years now, but the time has finally come to see more. It has actually been delayed once, and we’ve already seen a few trailers that show off parts of the game, but finally a playable demo has been released. As a huge fan of the original game (it was my first FF game, it was the reason I bought a Playstation back in high school) I knew that I’d be interested in an updated version of the beloved classic. As information trickled down we were unsure if would be a faithful recreation or if things would be changed. It was also said that the game would be “episodic” and though I can see this being okay if they split the game the way they did in the 90’s, by making each disc of the original into a full episode, I still would prefer a whole game all at once. I assume this means that development of future episodes isn’t completed yet, and we still don’t know exactly where this first episode will end, but for now let’s just talk about what happens in the demo.

As you can see above, the game is clearly gorgeous. All of these screens show some of our main and supporting characters and all of them are introduced throughout the play session I had with the demo. To be clear, this isn’t a lengthy demo, but it does allow you to see how cool the game now looks, and also runs through the entire Mako reactor scene that introduces Cloud and the rebel group Avalanche. We also get to see how combat has evolved, and you’ll have to see some of the next screen shots for me to really describe it.

Anyone who has played the original game knows that it was a product of the times. JRPGs of that era mostly relied on ATB meters in order to determine turn order for actions that would take place during the battle. Also seemingly gone are random battles, in that you only fight when you happen upon some enemies as you traverse the level, there aren’t “unseen” enemies that attack you as you wander. I do feel this is a positive change in some aspects because I hated getting swarmed by things as I was trying to get to chests and other secrets. However, this may prove problematic if you encounter a tough fight and would need to level up on these random battles. Since we don’t ever get to a point where we get to see the world map and how that will be handled, its unclear if this was just part of the demo. Whatever the case, combat feels less like the turn based strategy of the former game, and instead feels much more like Final Fantasy XV in that regard. However, in XV you weren’t able to swap between characters, only issue commands, whereas in this title you can control who you want and still issue commands. So the best of both worlds I suppose. There is an difficulty option that also lets you focus on purely giving commands rather than also trying to do the combat yourself, so that’s a great choice for those of you who don’t care to button mash. It is a bit button mashy, but at the same time fairly fluid and responsive. Basic attacks happen when pressing square. You can change stance with triangle. Otherwise spells, abilities and items are all used via a context menu. I loved the combat, but that last boss before blowing up the reactor was a bit of a challenge without more phoenix downs.

Upon completing the reactor scene you are treated to pretty explosions and a zoomed out view of the city before the demo winds down. Clearly this is only the tip of the iceberg but I was hit in the feels immediately. I cannot wait for full release at this point, as I already know it’s going to be a blast. I’m just curious how much more of the original game will make it over and how much of it will change. Time will tell I suppose. You can download the demo for free via the Playstation Store if you’re curious to see for yourself.

State of the Game: What Have I Been Up To?

It’s been a good long time since I pulled out a round up post (over 6 months, as a matter of fact), but given my absence for most of a month, I actually accumulated enough gaming experiences to make one. I was tempted by the holiday sales, and ended up purchasing a few games, including Rage 2, Devil May Cry V, and Risk of Rain 2. Apparently the past year was good for sequels.

Of these, I never played the original Rage but being from iD Software, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it to some extent. I heard mixed reviews over the years but never picked it up. The same goes for the sequel — I’ve read plenty of mixed reviews about it, but getting it for less than half of the original asking price meant that I could take reviews worth a grain of salt. I’ll throw $20 at the wall and see if it sticks, I have a harder time with $60. Gaming time is a luxury at this point in my life as well, so I want to make sure that I’m spending my time wisely, so I’ll drop a couple bucks here and there on some titles that seem like a “sure bet” and most of the time I end up enjoying myself. But dropping $60 on a turd is harder to swallow. Whatever the case, I have found a level of enjoyment out of Rage 2, and that’s good enough for me. On the surface, it’s just Borderlands with a different graphical engine. There’s still the psuedo RPG elements of gaining skills and different gear, but then there’s vehicles and a semi-open world to explore. I say semi because despite having large swaths of landscape to roam around, there really are only so many points of interest and most of them aren’t all that fleshed out. Think of the minutemen settlements in Fallout 4. Sure, you could babysit them all and rescue as many as possible, but in the end it ends up being the same gameplay loop and eventually you’ll get board. There are a ton of places you can find on the map, but in effect most will just reward you with some XP and coin for clearing them out. It also seems that enemies end up respawning so stuff is never really “cleared.” At the end of the day it’s a solid shooter, and it does have some cool things going for it, but it’s also nothing stellar. For me it kind of feels like the latest Wolfenstein, in which they took a likeable engine and then forced it into this co-op mission based looter-shooter that it never really should have been. That’s not saying Rage 2 suffers in the same way Wolfenstein: Youngblood does, but it also doesn’t set itself far enough apart from other games in the genre to really shine.

I do have a prior relationship with the Devil May Cry series. I played the first two thoroughly, but didn’t play the third or fourth installments. I also completed the sort-of-reboot, DMC: Devil May Cry on the PS3, and it was good but didn’t really fit into the ongoing story. Devil May Cry V apparently picks up on this story, and also treats you to a little catch up movie right at the beginning so you sort of know what’s going on. This was appreciated for someone like me who missed some of the games and would have no idea what was going on. You start off playing as Nero, who is clearly not Dante. He has a similar weapon set up, and you do see Dante getting fucked up in a cutscene. Apparently at other points in the game you’ll be able to play as Dante along with another character who has been introduced, V. So far the game is what I would expect from the series, though I don’t remember all of the complicated button presses to get shit done in the earliest games. Things have progressed though, so I suppose this had to happen. From my first impressions, I think the game looks great, it runs smoothly, the action and combat is fun albeit a little taxing at times. I can’t really comment on the story as I’ve only played the first couple of missions, but having finished off the last game I was steadily working on, I think that I’ll be able to get this one done in the near future. Fans of the series will appreciate the graphical upgrades and the fact that it still feels true to its roots. New players might be turned off by some of the complexities but it’s really not that difficult to get going. No one says you have to be a combo master straight out of the gate.

I also played the original Risk of Rain. I believe I wrote about it here on the blog, but I can’t be assed to look. Whatever the case, the game has made the jump from 2-D side scrolling pixel art, to low-res polygonal 3-D from a third person perspective. Otherwise, it is very much the original game. You start a round on a planet, and you’ll run around shooting the flora and fauna, picking up items and coins as you go. Some crates and shrines will require payment to unlock or gain bonuses. Eventually a boss will spawn and you’ll have to defeat it to move onto the next world. Being a Rogue-Like, certain bits carry on to the next run, but overall you’ll be doing the same things over and over again for a while until you unlock new characters and whatnot. Apparently this one is multiplayer, which is cool but I don’t know anyone with the game so I haven’t tried that out. I assume that would be much more fun, as Rogue-Likes end up getting boring after a time. If you like this style of game you might give it a whirl, but if you aren’t into the genre I’d probably skip this one.

Yet another game series I’ve had a long term relationship with. I have played every iteration of Marvel vs. Capcom, though the one I spent the most time with was number two, in which I played on the PS2 originally, and then again when it was re-released on the PS3. Also on PS3 was the third iteration, but that too was re-released on PS4 as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and I played both versions a bit. Finally, the jump from sprite based to polygon graphics was made for the series, similar to when Street Fighter made the switch with Street Fighter IV. Otherwise, it’s the same sort of game, but I have to say that the story mode was a fantastic romp! There were probably too many cut scenes, but the storyline was interesting, you got to play as most of the characters in the game, and it familiarized you with the controls and systems. The variety of characters is pretty good, but apparently there are other DLC options, which is typical of Capcom fighting games. I don’t think I’ll invest anymore money into it, but I did enjoy what I played and I look forward to the next gathering when I can challenge some friends to battles. I also intend to jump online to play some random opponents but I have no idea if the game has a population online still. I would assume, but you never know. It’s not exactly a new game so I suppose I’ll find out. If you love fighting games, this one is a blast but it’s obviously a personal taste sort of thing. You might like Mortal Kombat better. You might also be wrong.

Released for free for Playstation Plus users last month, Titanfall 2 is a title I already owned, but this gave my friend an opportunity to pick up a copy of the game for free, and the population was bolstered with an influx of new players. We haven’t played it as religiously as some of the other games we’ve played together in the past, but it has been a fun diversion from other things we’ve been spending time on. Like its predecessor, Titanfall 2 boasts a ton of multiplayer modes in which you play as pilots. As you fight you’ll charge up your Titan which you can eventually call down to pilot against the enemy. Where this game differs from the original is in the fact that there is actually a single player campaign and its rather good. I’ve blown through a few chapters but have spent more time with the multiplayer recently. If you’ve played the original I’m happy to report that the gameplay is just as good as you remember. If you enjoy Call of Duty or other competitive shooters, this one is probably better. It’s from Respawn too, so if you like Apex Legends, you’ll see a ton of what made its way into that game with abilities and weapons. Honestly, it’s a great game and getting it for free is worth the download. Sometimes you just gotta jump in your mech and blow shit up, man!

So there you have it. Several games I’ve dipped my toes into as of late. Hoping to finish some of these up soon so I can share some individualized proper thoughts.

Games Played 2019

I wrote a post at the tail end of 2018 reviewing the games I played and compiling a list of completed titles from throughout the year. Since I’m trying to get back into the full swing of things on the blog here, I thought it being 2020, I should look back on what I did throughout 2019. According to the last post of this type, I had started a fair binge of backlog titles and was completing them left and right. I know that I played less of single player games over the course of 2019, as Playstation did a yearly wrap up with some cool stats to look back on, and I spent the majority of my gaming hours on that platform playing Apex Legends.

If you click on the link in that post, you can check out your own stats. It was interesting to see how I spent my time, how many trophies were earned and how many games I played. What was a little confusing was seeing the sheer amount of hours played though, which I know can’t be accurate. I think it’s just accumulating time based on when the console is turned on, because my girl would watch a lot of streaming services and that would help to account for over 2000 hours of play time. Anyway, given the fact that I know I didn’t play nearly as many games on my PC throughout the year I think it’s safe to say that I completed less, but let’s go through it and see.

January:

In January I had recently moved back to my home town after a nearly 5 year absence. It wasn’t the ideal situation but it was less money out of our pockets and an opportunity to get closer to where we wanted to be in life. I started back at the casino I worked at years ago, and things settled into a new routine. I was able to spend more time with my best friend whom I had left behind for a few years, and as such time was spent at his house playing games, along with playing together online more often. He had purchased a copy of Soul Calibur VI which is a series that we had enjoyed playing together for many iterations. It’s not exactly the type of game you beat though, so it’s just something we played for a time. I also picked up the Civilization VI expansion Rise & Fall, and played through the campaign once again to see the changes. I had purchased a copy of Call of Duty Black Ops 4 for my son for Christmas the month before, and because he wasn’t playing it very much I decided to give it a whirl. I found it underwhelming, as CoD has been for a number of years, but still spent a little time with it during the month. Lastly, I continued to pick up and play new mobile titles, and the one I spent some time with in January was Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem. It stayed in the rotation for a while but I eventually tired of it.

Feburary:

In February, one of my favorite games of all time released a remade edition: Resident Evil 2. I managed to grab a copy as it released and played through both Leon and Claire’s campaigns rather quickly. That was how I spent the majority of the month, but it was also the month when Apex Legends was released, and I started playing that pretty regularly with my best friend and others. At this point I’ve put a ton of hours into it but again it’s not the kind of game you complete. Recently they unlocked the level cap (previously 100) and I have still yet to reach the original cap but with the battle passes released every few months, regular special game modes and new Legends added there’s always a new reason to continue to play.

March:

March saw the release of the final episode of TellTale’s Walking Dead Final Season. As such, I played through that and crossed another game off of the list. I was happy that Skybound Entertainment picked up the game and finished it off, but it sort of marked the end of TellTale’s legacy and I doubt there will be more games like it anytime soon unless someone else picks up the mantle. Through the rest of the month I was struggling with what to play next, running a poll to see what I should play. I eventually settled on picking Destiny 2 back up, and started working my way towards the Forsaken expansion that has been out for a few months at that point.

April:

April was the month of Destiny 2. I picked up where I had left off in the base game, and then started in on the expansions. I completed The Curse of Osiris shortly thereafter. Next up was running through Warmind, and that done was within a couple of weeks. I really didn’t play much of anything else throughout the month.

May:

World War Z came out of nowhere in May. It was a game that was compared to older titles like Left 4 Dead, so I knew it was the kind of gameplay I would enjoy. It has since seen some big patches adding new difficulties and modes and overall it’s a damn fine game. I moved into the Forsaken expansion during the month as well.

June:

When June rolled around, I had pretty much called it quits with Destiny 2. I like this style of game but I can’t be assed to do all of the end game shit. I picked up another mobile game called Warriors of Waterdeep and though it appealed to me for a while I didn’t play it for that long. Dauntless, a game compared to Monster Hunter was released for PS4 for free, so I checked that out, and just like Monster Hunter I didn’t really care for it. However, a game I had been looking forward to for a while released, and I played Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled quite a bit through the summer. It too has had several patches and events and even a battle pass style progression system but all of it was added for free. It’s a great cart racer and ulitmately I feel it’s better than any Mario Kart that’s been released to date.

July:

A new style of game started to bust onto the scene last summer. The Auto Chess or Auto Battler genre came into popularity (or at least hit my radar) with DOTA Underlords. I tried it out but due to the fact that I didn’t have any attachment to the characters, it was a lot of Greek to me. One of the Playstation Plus games for July was Detroit: Become Human, which also included a copy of the company’s earlier game, Heavy Rain. I honestly wasn’t even interested, but once I started playing it, I binged it to completion in just a couple of days. I picked up a couple of other console games on sale that month, and though I didn’t play much of the Castlevania Collection, I’m happy to have it. I also grabbed Dragon’s Crown Pro, which was a slightly upgraded version of the PS3 game that I had completed a few years back. I played through it again and still enjoyed it. Lastly, another mobile title from Nintendo hit the Google Play Store, and I checked out Dr. Mario World. It didn’t hold my attention though, as most mobile games tend to do.

August:

The blogging challenge Blaugust popped back up this year, and I once again participated. It seems I spend more time writing opinion pieces and about MTG rather than gaming, but there were some tidbits in there to share. Riot Games decided to get in on the Auto Chess genre and because I am more familiar with/fond of League of Legends, I thought it might actually appeal to me. It turns out that I’m just not into the thought of setting up some options and then watching a game play itself for me, but I will say that I preferred Teamfight Tactics to the DOTA version. Another game I had been looking forward to, Wolfenstein: Youngblood released and I got a copy. I played it for a few hours but never finished it. Unfortunately it wasn’t so much like the prior Wolfenstein games, and ultimately fell short. I think if I had a dedicated co-op partner for the game it would have been more enjoyable, but it is what it is. Lastly, we knew that Borderlands 3 would be releasing in the next month, and a new DLC was released for Borderlands 2. Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary ended up being a short and sweet romp that filled in some of the story gaps between where BL2 ended and where BL3 would pick up.

September:

My will to blog started to trail off come September. Blaugust was a slog last year, and though I was successful in posting all 31 days of August, I was burnt out at the end. The only game I wrote about during the month was Heavy Rain, and I did manage to complete it. I enjoyed it nearly as much as Detroit: Become Human, but it was obviously an older game so there were some quirks that were not as enjoyable.

October:

I discovered that another game made by the same company as Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain (which was released between the two) was in my library (given away with Playstation Plus at another time). I tried out Beyond: Two Souls but found that I didn’t enjoy it at all in comparison to the other games from Quantic Dream. Apex Legends proceeded into Season 3, and that would turn out to be what I would play the most of for the rest of the year. Also, I picked up my copy of Borderlands 3 and also convinced my best friend to get it. We started playing it pretty regularly through the month but have yet to complete the main campaign. We’ll get around to it eventually.

November:

In November I didn’t post about gaming at all. I spent the month celebrating my birthday and I’m pretty sure I was only playing Apex Legends. My gaming started to taper off and as a result so did my blogging. I wrote about football, and then eventually disappeared for a while.

December:

I officially announced my hiatus but it had already been a pretty slow month. I was busy trying to get a new place for my family and ended up doing so. I officially came back from hiatus a few days ago, so I now have more to talk about. I did play Jedi: Fallen Order through the month but I ended up not completing it until January, so that will have to be counted on next year’s list.

Games Completed 2019:

Resident Evil 2
The Walking Dead: Final Season
Destiny 2 base game
Curse of Osiris Expansion
Warmind Expansion
Detroit: Become Human
Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary Expansion
Heavy Rain

As I suspected, my count for games completed is down quite a bit from years prior. Most of this is just DLC expansions that I’m counting as completed. However, it was still a pretty good year for gaming and 2020 has already started off well. We now know that the Final Fantasy VII remake is coming in March, as is the next DOOM title. A Resident Evil 3 remake is also coming, and that’s the only game in the series I haven’t finished so I’m looking forward to that. We’ll check back in come the end of the year and see if I did better.