Uncharted 4 Screenshot Dump

Just a short post today, as I wanted to get something else in before the end of the month. I’ve mentioned it several times already, but I’ve been playing Uncharted 4 quite a bit lately, mixed in with a few other larger titles. Uncharted 4 is really a great looking game, Naughty Dog have really made the PS4’s potential shine, though I’m sure they’re basically maxing out what it can do. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful game to behold. The addition of a photo mode in this sequel has given the opportunity to exploit the fact that I can take screenshots on my console as a built in feature. I’m still a little tickled by that, despite the fact that it’s been possible on PC for ages. Still, I wished for the feature on PS3, where  I typically took shitty cell phone pictures of my TV. But I digress.

I wanted to share some of the beauty that is Uncharted 4. There shouldn’t be anything too spoilery in them, but there are a few trophy unlocks and blurry action shots, just for good measure. Have to take the good with the bad, I suppose. Let’s take a look:

Beautiful, no?

Stories: The Path of Destinies

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I love it when a great indie game comes out of nowhere and ends up being fantastic. It’s not every day you discover a game that you hadn’t ever heard of before that moment. You guys know me by now, I try to keep my ear to the street about gaming releases, indie or otherwise — but Stories: The Path of Destinies caught me entirely by surprise. I was browsing the Playstation Store a couple of weeks ago, and was checking out new releases. I ended up looking at pre-orders too, and this title caught my eye. I realized later that it also released on Steam, but I had already pre-ordered on my PS4 at that point, so I awaited it’s release for the console. The night it was playable, I jumped in, thinking to myself that I’d only play for twenty minutes or so and then I’d probably wander off to do something else, as is my typical behavior. But something special happened.

Stories is a game about a Fox. Well, actually it’s about a book. Hmm… it’s also about time travel. You know, it’s kind of hard to describe accurately. But mechanically speaking, it’s an Action RPG. You move with one stick, you attack with one button, you get some other abilities mixed in and can spend skill points to improve your abilities. I would generally and favorably compare it to titles such as The Legend of Zelda. Where it differentiates itself from the standard hack n slash of games like Diablo, is by having a very involved and confusing storyline that makes more sense as you play the game. There are meaningful choices and consequences. You can die, but you can’t die. I can’t say much more or I’ll ruin the story for you. Let’s just say that when it feels like the game is going to end, there’s still much to do.

You start off the game in a flashback of sorts, and you are set by a dying woman to look after her son who has a very powerful book, and from there your adventure begins. From there I really can’t say anymore, because there are too many cool spoilers. The story is very well done, and I really liked how the developers handled sticky situations with meaningful consequences, but nothing that will ruin the experience. The combat is another high point, as it feels very much like the Batman Arkham games, with a combo system and various learned abilities that really let you mix things up. It’s more fun than most ARPG combat by a mile, but it’s also more spread out between other obstacles, treasures, puzzles and of course, story bits. There is light crafting, in that you collect essence and ore, and can use that to upgrade your “hero sword” into other forms. They are all elementally based and have varying effects, along with working as keys for various doors. Don’t worry if you don’t have the right sword for a door in the early parts of the game, you will revisit old areas later on. There are also gems to discover that provide some nice passives. All in all, it feels very juvenile at times, but still handles adult situations very well. I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, and I haven’t even seen all there is to see yet.

I highly recommend this title to anyone who is fond of story-driven action RPGs and meaningful choices. It’s fairly kid appropriate, and inexpensive to boot.

Here’s a screenshot dump from my PS4, which automatically takes screens when you earn trophies. As a result some of them aren’t the greatest pictures, but they will show off a myriad of features of the game that I have mentioned here.

 

The Playstation Experience

My tax return came in yesterday, and there were a few things on my list to buy immediately. First up was a Playstation 4. I’ve wanted the console since it came out. I’ve owned every single Playstation console and I knew this one wouldn’t be an exception, despite the fact that I spent a pretty penny last year on a new gaming PC. I’m simply one of those people who wants both. There are console exclusives that I don’t want to miss out on (Uncharted 4 is coming very soon), there are some games that actually feel better on a console, and though I have a controller on my PC, the PS4’s controller is superior in basically every way. The system does have its limitations of course. I won’t be playing any games on it in anything higher than 1080p or faster than 60 fps. Those are my typical game settings on PC though, so really it’s just an extension of my gaming collection. Having had Playstation Plus for so many years, I actually racked up quite a few free games for the PS4 that I never had the chance to play, many of which were games I had once considered buying via Steam. It’s also nice to be able to play games with a multitude of friends who don’t have gaming PCs, or are people like me who enjoy consoles too. I’ve already made several new friends on PSN, including real life friends and some folks from Twitter. Really, I just wanted to make this post so I could share this video, as it’s been stuck in my head and has been my general mood for about 24 hours:

Hilarious right? Yeah, I thought so too.

The setup process for the PS4 was quick and painless. The system walks you through the basic steps of setting up your network and Playstation account info. Once connected to the Internet, it was time to update the system software, and all of this was done in under 30 minutes. However, downloading a shitload of games onto the system at one time took a very long time.

So what about the games, you find yourself asking? Yeah, there were a ton for me to check out. I ended up buying the Call of Duty Black Ops 3 bundle. I know, I’ve had my issues with Call of Duty in the past, but honestly I love Zombies and the multiplayer and the fact that you can co-op your way through the campaign so much that I couldn’t resist buying this game. There are three bundles that basically every retailer has going on right now, and those include either Blops3, Star Wars Battlefront or The Uncharted Nathan Drake Collection. I’ve already played all of the games included in the latter collection, so that bundle will be something I pick up once it goes on a deep sale later on (maybe it will be sold together with Uncharted 4 at some point). That said, I was torn between Black Ops and Battlefront mainly because I know differing amounts of people with the games and wanted to be able to play with more at once. However, I did my research and it turns out that PSN had a sale on Battlefront for 50% off, so that made the choice rather easy. I also managed to pick up a copy of the Bloodborne complete edition (comes packed with the expansion) so that’s one Playstation exclusive off of my to-buy list.

I was no stranger to any of those games, having put in several hours playing a couple at my friend Chris’s house, and watching Sigtric streaming Bloodborne for a few hours. Thankfully due to the use of my PSN account on his system, I still have the progress I had already made on Black Ops. Unfortunately playing split-screen in Battlefront didn’t net me any progress though, so I’m stuck starting from scratch there, but that’s okay. I have yet to dive into Bloodborne, as it was pretty late before it was fully installed on my system.

After hooking up the console, I started by installing Black Ops from the disc, and then patching it. Then, there was the newest map pack plus Nuketown to add on. While that was downloading it was fixing up all of my settings and learning to use all of the menus. Then it was time to buy a couple games from the Playstation store, and also download my laundrylist of Plus titles. I didn’t even download everything, as some of the games were cross-buy and I had already played them on my PS3, or they were games I already owned on PC. There were a couple I wasn’t really interested in either, but I still may try them out at some point. Of the titles I downloaded, here are some thoughts:

Gauntlet – Definitely a very arcade-y hack n slash game. Doesn’t have the depth of today’s ARPGs, but still looks to be fun with friends.
Super Meat Boy – I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while, and it’s definitely a fun but challenging platformer. I beat the first world, but I imagine the challenge gets ridiculous in time.
Xeodrifter – Looks much like an NES Metroidvania. You can visit different planets and have basic platforming skills. Need to dig in further.
Super Time Force Ultra – Has Broforce’s sense of humor, but has such a wonky control scheme and mechanics that I uninstalled it.
Skulls of the Shogun – Very interesting strategy game. A bit juvenile but I enjoy the gameplay.
Velocity 2x – The sequel to Velocity Ultra, this one adds to the formula by allowing you to exit your ship and do some platforming. I really like this game.
Apotheon – A platformer with greek pottery art style. Has some lite RPG elements and is actually really fun.
Towerfall Ascension – I wanted to like this game, as it is reminiscent of many old school console games, but the controls/mechanics suck. Uninstalled.
Don’t Starve – I haven’t played it on the console yet, but I have played the game before. Curious to see how it stacks up to the PC version.
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare – This was a game I didn’t expect to like but enjoyed nonetheless. It’s third person shooting and survival with the characters from that series.
Injustice Gods Among Us – I haven’t played this one yet, but I did try it back when it released at a friend’s house. It’s a decent fighting game.
Resogun – This is basically the best looking Defender-style arcade game I’ve played in years. Fast paced and fun.
Pix the Cat – Feels like Pac-man meets Snake, but does just enough to differentiate itself. It’s pretty enjoyable.
Road Not Taken – Another rogue-like game I was looking forward to trying, but it’s convoluted turn based system sucks. Uninstalled.
Helldivers – Haven’t played it on the PS4 yet, but enjoyed the game well enough on PS3. This was a cross-buy for me, but is also free for Plus members this month so I have friends to play with now.
Olli Olli 2 – I have the original on Steam. Love it. I imagine this will be awesome too, but I haven’t tried it yet.
Nom Nom Galaxy – Eri was talking this one up a while back. I have yet to try it.
Hardware Rivals – This looks like a cool car-combat game, but I still need to play it.
Valiant Hearts The Great War – No idea, and no thoughts. More on this later.
Drive Club – The full game that was meant for Plus members when PS4 released but got delayed. I haven’t tried it but I’ve heard good things.
Mercenary Kings – A sort of Metal Slug clone from what I can tell. Will try soon.
Transistor – I’ve wanted to play this for a good long time, but haven’t just yet. I plan to play it today.
Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition – another Metroidvania, I have heard good things, but haven’t touched it just yet.
Magicka 2 – I never played Magicka. I have played Helldivers (same dev) so I basically know what to expect. No idea if this is as good or better than the original. More on this later.

So yeah, I’ll probably do a mini-review post on some of these when I get more time in with them. I just wanted to jot down some thoughts for now. That’s all for today. I’m gonna get back to playing some of these games!

My Gaming Space

I’m not sure who started this up as a writing prompt, but I know earlier in the month I saw quite a few people write about their personal gaming spaces, and thought I’d use this to get through the tail end of the month. So here’s what my desk area looks like:

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In this picture you’ll see:

A couple of decent upgrades happened between my initial build and now.  I ended up taking out one of the 500 GB hard drives and replacing it with a 2 TB. The video card was also upgraded a bit from the 750ti to the 770 GTX, which gave a noticeable performance boost. I will probably upgrade this again in the future, especially if I get a new display. I wouldn’t mind trying 2k resolutions. I do enjoy having the ability to swap between my console and computer on the fly, but I really want to get a second monitor for a number of applications, and intend to get on that sometime in the near future.

So there you have it, my humble setup.


There’s no daily run today, as I went on a trip out of town for the weekend to see family. My sister is moving out of state and I wanted to see her one last time before that happened. I have scheduled this post and the last of the month ahead of time, and there’s no way to do that for those dailies. I had originally planned to only do them for the entirety of Blaugust, but I think I might try and keep it going into the future. I like doing it, and so I’m going to continue as long as that stays the case. Expect a new run on Tuesday most likely.

The Terrible 15

Recently some bloggers (myself included) have been sharing lists of games that they felt impacted them in some way, or were simply “the best.” But what about the worst? Sure, there have been many awesome games throughout the years, but there have been just as many terrible ones, and I thought we could expand upon the discussion. I didn’t really set any rules for myself as far as a time limit or particular genre or platform, but I did require that the games listed be ones that I played. Unfortunately, when I was young and couldn’t afford a new game that readily, some of these titles were added via garage sales or swap meets or used game stores (before chains existed), were bought on a whim, and were judged only by the title or cover art. As such, some were horrific flops, and yet I still poured hours into some of them for lack of anything better to do.  Obviously you can’t put an arbitrary number on a list like this, because there are far more than 15 terrible games that have been made over the years, but these are ones I could think of, and I figured 15 was as good a number as any. With all that said, on to the list:

Last Battle (1989 – Sega Genesis)

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This was the second game I ever owned for the Genesis. The system came packed with Altered Beast, and I beat that game the day I got it. I guilted my Dad into taking me back to the store to buy another game the next day, and this is the one I settled on. Man was that a mistake. If I recall correctly, I ended up beating it eventually, but it sat on the shelf for a long time before that day came. This game was ruthlessly difficult… there were no save points, the controls were wonky (as were hit boxes) so half the time your own twitchiness would get you killed. The bosses were ridiculous. Overall the story and gameplay were lacking. And yet, I spent hours trying to beat it. When I finally did, I never played it again, and I sold this game along with my Genesis and all other titles to buy my original Playstation.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 – NES)

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I, like everyone else at the time, was a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles. I had the toys, I had clothes, I had books, sheets, towels, you name it, I was into it. I played the game in the arcade (which has seen ports on more recent consoles), I was all about TMNT. So naturally when I saw this game and I already owned the system, I needed to own it. What a HUGE disappointment. Not only was this not the arcade game I was expecting (That was rectified later with the “sequel” which was more or less the arcade port), it was a poorly executed nightmare. You had a weird overland map and then sidescrolling bits, you could control any of the turtles but only one at a time, and if they died they were “captured” and only available for “rescue” during later portions. Pictured above, is an underwater level where you had to defuse some bombs, and that pink stuff is like electrified plant matter that will kill you right quick. The most frustrating game, I never beat this one, and would never play it again.

Dick Tracy (1990 – NES)

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A similarly made game, Dick Tracy had an overland map and then individual levels where you had to find clues to figure out who committed a particular crime, and then finally chase that guy down and arrest him. I never beat this game either, as it also had a frustrating difficulty curve, and when games don’t have save points it gets old doing all of the early content over and over. The map part of this game was a little more interesting at least, reminiscent of the original GTA, but the side-scrolling platformer part was where the irritations came along. Sad, because this was around the time of the movie with Warren Beatty, and I remember the movie being pretty cool, so the game seemed like a no-brainer. Yuck.

Yo! Noid (1990 – NES)

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It goes without saying that pairing pizza and video games is a solid idea. Gamers don’t want to stop playing games to prepare a meal (and at the time our mom’s were doing it for us anyway), so ordering pizza is a great way to game right up until stuffing your face. However, pairing a marketing tool (The Noid) and a video game seems to fall flat. Particularly when the game is actually designed to be something completely different, and then some sprites are shuffled around and you have a pizza mascot performing in ways that are not congruent with fun, gaming, or being an annoying mascot. This like so many other platformers of the day is testament to why there doesn’t need to be a video game about everything. Just some things.

Kabuki: Quantum Fighter (1991 – NES)

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This is one of those swap meet/garage sale/used game store finds. The name alone is weird enough, and then the story gets even weirder. You’re a guy that is digitized and sent into a computer world… in which you become a Kabuki Warrior, which presumably you were not beforehand. Aside from using your long red hair as a weapon, you also get some gadgets along the way. It’s basically Ninja Gaiden with a shitty storyline and even shittier gameplay. I do recall spending some time with this game, but am not sure if I actually completed it. Not that it really matters, as I this list is full of titles I would gladly watch burn.

Alien Storm (1991 – Sega Genesis)

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Oh games where aliens invade Earth, why are you in such an over abundance? This is another beat-em-up style game, arcadey and all, but with such a generic shitty storyline and mediocre gameplay that I couldn’t be bothered with it beyond an hour or two. It was a rental, and I remember it clearly enough to put it on this list, but not clearly enough to warrant any further commentary.

Ecco the Dolphin (1993 – Sega Genesis)

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The Genesis was still in its hey day when this game released, and this was one of those titles that was critically acclaimed from day one. I remember gaming magazines I subscribed to having huge articles dedicated to this game, and I didn’t get it. I still don’t. Why would I want to play as a dolphin, learn its language and communicate with other sea creatures? Why would I want to go through level upon level of swimming around, as only a dolphin can? I didn’t play this game when it released, it was a few years later, and when I did finally give it a try, I was still mystified. Why this was such a sought after and raved about game is beyond me.

Comix Zone (1995 – Sega Genesis)

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Oh man how I wanted this game when it was being advertised. The next gen consoles had already released but I was still sitting at home with my Genesis (probably playing a Shining Force or Phantasy Star game). I was heavy into comic books at the time, and playing as a dude who gets sucked into a comic book was right up my alley. I didn’t end up playing this game until years later (I can’t remember if it was on virtual console or what), and I don’t know if the time gap messed it up for me, or if it was just a really bad game. I think it’s more of the latter, because I can still go back and play games from that time period and enjoy myself, so this is not something we can consider “timeless.” This game was entirely too hard (and from what I have read, too short) and not at all engaging. All of the typical side-scrolling tropes are there, it’s just dressed up like a comic, and things are drawn here and there by an “artist.” Overall it’s a cool concept that fell flat, for me at least.

Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft (1996 – Playstation)

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I’m a D&D fan. I’ve played more games than I can count that are based on the various rulesets. I’ve played the pen and paper game. I’ve been a DM. I also enjoy fighting games, and so a marriage of the pair sounds great right? Yeah, until you play this game. I never bought this pile of shit, but I did rent it and recall spending a weekend playing it with my neighbor Pete. He and I spent a lot of time gaming together when we were in high school, and we would take turns staying over at each other’s houses playing games that we would acquire though various means. This was a weekend of disappointment. Knowing me, I picked the game and then had to hear about it from him the whole time. So this game had the makings of something cool, like a predecessor to Soul Calibur, but it just fell flat in all ways shapes and forms. Clunky gameplay, a lack of decent combos, and pretty terrible graphics all made for a wonderful time. Go me.

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997 – Playstation)

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Another fighting game related disaster, the Mythologies sub-set of the Mortal Kombat franchise was meant to be a series. Thankfully they didn’t continue on beyond this garbage. Sub-zero, one of the main characters in the fighting games, is now depicted before the tournament and has to go about doing stuff. To be honest I don’t remember the storyline at all. What I do remember is the horrific gameplay. A side scrolling “action” game, it used similar controls to the fighting series, except now you were expected to confront multiple enemies and go through side-scrolling tropes. This didn’t work out so well, and the series was abandoned. But that would stop the series from branching out in other horrible ways.

M.A.X. 2 (1998 – PC)

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During the hey day of computer gaming for me, the late 90s saw a huge amount of RTS games. I’ve already mentioned Starcraft as being my favorite of all time, but there were many others I played, looking for something else that would suffice. This game, was a sequel, and that means a couple of things. One, the original game was successful enough that a sequel was deemed a worthy investment, and two, that there was enough area for improvement on the original that a sequel was also warranted.  I see no indication for either of these though processes. The game had shitty graphics even for the time. Your red blobs vs. my green blobs. The interface (as you can see above) was clunky and took up too much of the screen. I remember there being a level of depth here that maybe I could have appreciated given different circumstances, but I tried this game a few different times and just couldn’t get into it. I think this was a bargain bin purchase, but either way it was not worthy of my time, or yours.

Hard Corps: Uprising (2011 – PS3)

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A Contra or Metal-Slug clone, this side scrolling Shmup is testament to the fact that pretty graphics and a penchant for days gone by does not a good game make. Sure it’s like playing an old school Nintendo game in a new suit, but it’s still the same old shit, and you’re going to suffer through mediocrity. There isn’t really anything redeeming here, so I’m glad this was a free title via PSPlus.

Deadliest Warrior: Legends (2011 – Xbox 360)

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Making a TV show into a video game is almost always a bad idea. In fact, I can’t recall the last time it was done when it was a good idea. Still, I used to watch Deadliest Warrior on Spike, and I thought it was an interesting idea, comparing warriors of various nations and using experimentation to determine who might win in a real battle. However, that seems to translate into a strategy title rather than a fighting game, but the company responsible for this chose to go with the latter. And for the most part, this game had a lot of cool ideas. The combat is quick, in that a couple of solid hits would take out your opponent, instead of having a huge life bar and being able to withstand multiple whacks from a sword. It’s also neat to have ranged and close combat weapons that you can switch between. That’s about where the coolness fades and the irritation sets in. My roommate bought this on his 360 when he still had one, and we spent a couple of hours beating each other up until I started noticing that really every character played the same. And there really wasn’t much point after about 15 minutes. The concepts presented remind me of Bushido Blade, but I could play that game for many hours without getting bored, and that isn’t the case with Deadliest Warrior.

Choplifter HD (2012 – PS3)

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Another Plus freebie, and another game I’m glad that I didn’t pay money for. Seriously, updating games from the past should come with an instruction manual. It should read something like this: Play the old game. Play it until you are sick of it. Actually beat the game. Take note of its strengths. Take note of its weaknesses. Don’t repeat past mistakes. Don’t make the same damn game that has “updated graphics.” Well, the creators of this game didn’t read my manual. And they didn’t really improve upon a classic game, or even make a game that is worth your time. Let’s fly in a straight line and pick up some people, shoot some stuff, and then fly back to another place. I remember a game that did those exact things, but was an instant classic. Desert Storm. Do yourself a favor and play that game instead.

Malicious (2012 – PS3)

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This one seemed like a game I could get behind. It’s basically one boss fight after another, in a similar style to Shadow of the Colossus. But in SotC there is an actual world and you travel between locations to find the bosses to fight, in Malicious you just go from one arena to the next and fight a boss. Each boss you kill nets you new powers that you can use on the next boss. The graphical style is distinctly Japanese, but still high fantasy enough that it appealed to me. Then I played the game. What a joke. Not only was killing the first boss a grind fest, but the mechanics were just awful. Playing against the second boss was all I could stomach before I uninstalled. Thankfully, this was another free Plus game, so no money was spent. I’m also thankful that plus has improved over the years, because I rarely say “oh that game was shitty” anymore.


 

So there you have it. My terrible 15. Feel free to utilize the format and make your own post. Actually, I’ll take this a step further, and challenge a few people to complete their version of this list:

Syp (Bio Break)
J3w3l (Healing the Masses)
Murf (Murf vs. Internet)
Wilhelm (TAGN)