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!

Battlefront Beta Impressions

2848820-star+wars+battlefront+_4-17_a

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard by now that the multiplayer beta for Star Wars Battlefront is live and kicking. Personally I was very hyped for this game when I first heard about it circa E3. The gameplay looked phenomenal, it’s Star Wars so that’s a major plus, and it’s been a long while since I gave a shit about AAA first person shooters. This one seemed to change up the formula just enough to be interesting. Did it hold up to scrutiny though?

First off, we have to notate that this is a beta. That means you don’t get the full effect of the game because there are a limited number of maps and game modes, you can’t unlock everything that will be available on release, and other features I would have liked to test out weren’t implemented. The other day my buddy who owns a PS4 was telling me that he had been playing it so I went over to his house to check it out. I had never signed up for a beta on PC, and hadn’t even looked into it at that point, but the game looked like a console shooter right off of the bat. I was pleasantly surprised that the game was pretty and ran smoothly on the PS4. I didn’t detect any lag or bugs, though the control scheme was a little different than I was used to (when did Sony decide that it should emulate the Xbox’s default control scheme? I remember the days when L1/R1 were always the default for shooting controls). My major complaint was with the way vehicles and turrets control, in that they were kind of wonky and didn’t feel natural. The other complaint I have is that there wasn’t splitscreen for multiplayer, but it did work just fine on the lone co-op map provided by the beta. It would have been nice to play with my friend rather than taking turns, but under normal circumstances I’d likely just be playing at home with people over the Internet so that’s not too big of a deal. I should note that the split screen performed just as well during the co-op mission, but there aren’t multiple people connected to those sessions, so it made sense.

The systems of the game are nicely done. There’s an overall account level progression where you gain ranks as you play. This unlocks “cards” that you use to make up a “hand.” The cards are special abilities, items, or secondary weapons. Your main weapon is basically always a blaster, though their are everything from hand guns to rifles to machine guns — shooting lasers of course, but similar enough to the contemporary shooter. Side arms include grenades, sniper rifles, jump packs and other specials like a personal shield or an “ion blaster” that charges your normal weapons up so they do more damage to shields and vehicles. One major plus: all of these have cool downs, including the sniper rifle, so no one can camp in a spot with a rifle for very long without revealing themself. It’s also awesome that instead of having a stationary spot for vehicles and other power ups, they are randomly peppered among the battlefield, just waiting for people to pick them up. If you don’t use the vehicle right away or die while holding it, you also lose control of that vehicle. Power ups persist through death. Heroes like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are also played by picking up their respective power ups. It’s a great way to keep people from camping or having an unfair advantage.

The maps that were available provided 3 different game modes. The aforementioned co-op survival map is a wave based ordeal with a friend against increasingly difficult AI. It was limited to a smaller amount of rounds than what will be in the full game, but gives you a taste. The Drop Zone game mode is similar to Headquarters or King of the Hill, where a drop pod lands in a random spot and the two teams fight over control of it. First team to 5 captures wins. Lastly, the Walker Assault game mode is similar to Rush, where each team starts on one side and needs to push towards the other. The Imperials have two AT-AT’s slowly moving towards their base (similar to the battle on Hoth). Rebels need to maintain control of satellite uplinks so their bombers can attack the AT-AT’s, but also have A-Wings that can be used with tow cables to take them down. This mode seems to be heavily skewed towards an Imperial victory, as in most matches they win out, though I have seen the Rebels win one time. The in-game menus show a list of other maps and game modes so it looks like there will be plenty of variety upon release, and being an EA title I’m sure we can expect a shit ton of DLC to empty our wallets.

One complaint I’m seeing around the web is that the maps are too small, and that the game is just Battlefield with a new coat of paint. Both are true to an extent, though it seems to me that the game is more similar to older Battlefront games rather than Battlefield. It’s hard to tell from this small sample size though, and I imagine that there are many more ranks and unlocks that we haven’t seen yet. One of the things I hate about Battlefield games though, is just how big the maps are. Dying and running back to the battle just to die again is tedious with huge maps. I felt that the Walker Assault map was the perfect size. I will agree that the Drop Zone map is a bit small, but with a game mode like that you wouldn’t want it to be too big. It’s still bigger than most Call of Duty maps.

Yesterday I downloaded the beta through Origin. Having now experienced the game on both the PS4 and PC, I have to say that I prefer the PC controls. Mouse aiming is so much more precise, turning on a dime works so much easier and though I pride myself as being both a PC and Console gamer, I’m beginning to find that I prefer PC controls most of the time. Outside of controls, the game looked exactly the same, performed just as well, and was a lot of fun.

Overall I enjoy the game, but I don’t see the value in that $60 price tag. Had I infinite disposable funds I would definitely pick it up on day one though. I just imagine there will be a sale between now and the end of the year where it will be more affordable, and by then the community will have leveled out as well (I noticed way too many people that just don’t know how to play a team based FPS during my play time).

I recorded some of my gameplay from the PC beta. Here’s the Drop Zone mode:

And the Walker Assault mode:

Have you played the beta yet? What are you thoughts?

#E32015: Most Anticipated

Somewhere along the lines I got my dates mixed up. I was under the impression that E3 didn’t start until Tuesday or Wednesday, and it actually started on Sunday, briefly. That was Bethesda’s day to throw out information and a myriad of titles. Today, it was all about Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony. Tomorrow is Nintendo, SquareEnix and the PC gala. Tomorrow there should be some information coming out of the PC show that will interest me, but the bulk of the games I was excited to learn more about have already come and gone, so I feel like I can already make this list without hesitation. I made a list just like this last year, and despite highly anticipating those titles, there’s only a portion of them I’ve actually played to this point, there’s some that aren’t out yet, and a couple will be repeated on today’s list. We talked about a number of games we were psyched about on a recent episode of Couch Podtatoes, and now there’s more information packed into these trailers that answered a lot of my questions from the show. I’m not going to rehash that same list because not all of those games were talked about at the Expo just yet, and because these are the games that I’m extremely excited for, right now. With the introduction out of the way, here’s my most anticipated games from #E32015 (in no particular order):

Doom 4

Why I’m excited: We’ve known about Doom 4 for a bit now. The fact that the game would be revealed at E3 this year was no secret, but seeing the game in action was more than I was expecting. Not only does it seem to have steered away from the survival horror of it’s most recent (recent? It’s been ten years!) predecessor, but it picked up the pace, replicating the action sequences I knew and loved as a kid. It’s gory too, but that’s something you’d come to expect from a game famous for chainsawing demons in half and utilizing “big fucking guns.” Now I need to go back and actually finish Doom 3. Like soon.

Fallout 4

Why I’m excited: I was hesitant about Fallout 4. Fallout 3 and Borderlands were the first two games I bought for my PS3 when I picked it up back in 2009. Fallout 3 was already on it’s collectors edition, and man I loved the look of it. I loved the interactive character creation that lead you through your early life into adulthood. I loved the atmosphere. I loved blowing up the town at the beginning of the game, setting off the nuke it was built over and watching from afar, cackling to myself maniacally. I didn’t enjoy the use of the VATS system though, and that feature alone made it to where I didn’t play the game very far. I remember being frustrated that when I chose not to use that system, and went at combat in a purely FPS fashion, it felt like I was just wasting bullets. Slowing down the game to target things just didn’t feel right. Watching this trailer eased some of my worry. You’ll see the player being able to quickly and flawlessly switch between the two modes, and both seem equally effective. I can see where VATS would be useful, but I can see where I wouldn’t want to use it all of the time. However, this does make me feel like I may have been too hard on the 3rd installment, and that I might also want to give New Vegas a whirl. Perhaps I’ll get that in before the release of #4. Time will tell.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Why I’m excited: This is a carry-over entry from last year’s list, but with good reason. My love for the Uncharted series hasn’t waned whatsoever in the past year, and with the announcement that the “Nathan Drake Collection” is coming for PS4 as well, you can get all of the Uncharted goodness in one place, and all up to current-gen standards. Also, there’s actual gameplay footage this time around, and despite the fact that it’s still the same old Uncharted, it looks fucking phenomenal. The only question it didn’t answer is “how is the multiplayer?” but that’s okay, as I’m sure that information is coming. I cannot wait for this title, it’s a console seller.

No Man’s Sky

Why I’m excited: Another carry-over from last year is No Man’s Sky. I was absolutely psyched to see the extra gameplay we were able to see this time around. It’s clear that the universe that has been procedurally generated by Hello Games’ ridiculous engine is by far the most ambitious video game feat I’ve ever seen. I think Eri hit the nail on the head when she said that this engine alone is going to make the company a shitload of money. We also get to see some space battling, more planetary exploration along with how the worlds are fully destructible. I’m impressed that they managed to cram voxel technology into their game as well. This is probably my most anticipated game out of them all, and it was said that the release date will be announced “soon.” I absolutely need to get a PS4 ASAP.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Why I’m excited: Yet another Playstation exclusive (til it’s eventually ported) that I can’t wait to see more of. This particular trailer didn’t give us anything except for a feel for the world and a taste of what Cloud and Barrett will look like. I’d really like to see what the combat and other in-game aspects will look like, but we’ll have to wait a bit to find out more. I do have to say that I will mirror Talarian’s sentiment, in that I’d prefer that the music, locations, characters and overall story stay in tact, but that they can take the old-school JRPG combat and shove it. I loved the Materia system, but the endless random battles to level up and the “mostly just holding down the Confirm button and letting your party auto-attack its way to victory” needs to go. Spice it up a little. The whole world wants this remake, let it be amazing. FFVII got me into the series as a whole, and will forever be my favorite, despite some of it’s archaic ways.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Why I’m excited: This one came out of left field. The developers for Kill Zone have created a whole new IP. When the trailer starts, I was thinking to myself that it looked like a Turok: Dinosaur Hunter remake, but this was not the case. The backstory is interesting enough, and the gameplay was fast, beautiful, and deadly. Huge Dinosaur robots? Yeah, I need this game in my life.

Star Wars: Battlefront

Why I’m excited: We’ve known about the new Battlefront game for a while now. It’s been on the Origin Launcher for some time, but seeing it in action makes me want it that much more. I’m not super big on Battlefield, and since DICE is making this game, you know there will be some similarities. However, it’s Star Wars and there’s so much awesome packed into this trailer there’s no way a fan of the IP couldn’t be excited for this. I probably won’t buy it day one, because of the shitty launch to Battlefield 4, but I’ll definitely get it at some point.

Street Fighter V

Why I’m excited: Street Fighter V was announced a while back as well, but seeing some more of it in action is never a bad thing. They are doing some stupid shit with “console exclusive characters” but it’s not the first time something like this has happened in a fighting game, and those characters tend to become DLC for other platforms eventually. The characters they showed as being exclusive to PS4 were Birdie and Cammie, two fighters I never really cared for anyway. One way or the other, as a huge fan of the Street Fighter series, I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Why I’m excited: Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are that I’m including this game in this list. But, as I’ve alluded to a couple of times prior to this, I’ve been a fan of Treyarch’s versions of Call of Duty since the first Black Ops, and this one feels like a huge jump for the series. My boycott may have officially ended, as I see multiple features that speak to me. First, in this trailer you’ll see that they finally added co-op to the campaign mode, and removed some of the on-rails aspects, allowing you to customize your kit before heading into battle. Secondly, they added in some of the features that Titanfall has, in that the acrobatics you can perform are very similar now. Third, there’s fucking Zombies mode, and that’s my shit right there. I’m actually really looking forward to this one.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Why I’m excited: Me and Eri pondered if there would be some sort of Mass Effect announcement, but we figured that it wouldn’t have anything to do with Sheppard. From what I can gather in this trailer, which really isn’t much except for a teaser, we were correct in believing that this game is part of that universe, but will be a completely different storyline. Or maybe it’s just a big mashup of their multiplayer from ME3? We won’t know until more information is released, but for now, I think it’s safe to say a new Mass effect is on it’s way, and that’s exciting.

The Walking Dead: Michonne

TWD_Michonne_E3_key_art_650px

Why I’m excited: No trailer here, but this mini-series from Telltale has been announced. It’s a three part game, which will require at least the first episode of The Walking Dead season two, meaning it’s more expansion than full game (think 400 Days from season 1). It’s supposed to cover Michonne’s activity where she goes missing during a story arc from the comics, and since I’m no where near that far along in reading them, I don’t really know what that means exactly. However, Telltale has been good about presenting you the needed information up to that point in the game, so I don’t think it will be an issue. Either way, I love Telltale games and The Walking Dead, so I’m looking forward to this one.

#E32015 #gaming #gametrailers