The Elder Blog: Gaming Update

I was seriously hoping to post updates as I played games on my Xbox One S. But I get so into playing them that I forget to, then I move on to the next game. When I review movies, it’s easier because I watch them, then they’re over. Games go on until I stop playing them.

So I’ll briefly list the games I’ve been playing since the last time I posted on here, and talk about what I thought of them.

Murdered: Soul Suspect. This was definitely an original game. At least to me. You play as a murdered detective solving your own murder. Meaning you play as a ghost. You walk through pretty much everything, with certain limitations. The only enemies in the game are demons, and you have to hide from them. Only way to defeat them is to sneak up behind them and attack. The game has a certain feel about it. Like a cross between The Crow and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. It doesn’t resemble those in any way, just in the feeling. At least in my opinion.

Forza Horizon 3. My XB1S was a FH3 bundle, so it included a digital code for the game, plus the Hot Wheels expansion. The Forza Horizon series is unique. I don’t normally like racing games, but there’s just something about this series. A couple years ago, the first Forza Horizon was a free Games With Gold and I grabbed it just because it was free. Decided to just play it to see what it was about. I loved it immediately. Shortly after, I bought Forza Horizon 2, and then when it was time to buy my Xbox One S, I chose the Forza Horizon 3 bundle (because I really wanted to play it, and because I already owned Minecraft). Now I own the entire trilogy, and I am currently excited about the E3 announcement of Forza Horizon 4 (or as I jokingly called it, 4za Horizon).

Agents of Mayhem. I’ve only played Saints Row IV, so it’s my only reference for how that series is. With that in mind, they took the concepts of that series and made AoM an even better game. It’s both toned down and amped up at the same time. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve played both games.

Mad Max. I’d honestly never seen the Mad Max films until several months ago. I don’t know if this is a controversial statement, but I didn’t like the first one at all. I liked the rest. Fury Road was my favourite. Anyway, not long after I watched them, I came across this game on Xbox Game Pass, and was in fact one of the first games I played from there. I thought it was going to be based on one of the movies, but thankfully it was an original story. Presumably even a reboot, because he has his car again, which was destroyed in the second film and again in the fourth (which they claimed wasn’t a reboot, but how did he get his car back?). In any case, this game was way better than I was expecting.

Shadow of Mordor. The Ultimate Edition was on sale for, like, $15, so I grabbed it. A coworker has been talking about it forever, so I finally got to see what he was going on about. While I admit it’s a good game, I rage quit before long. The individual enemies get stronger each time they kill you, and at the beginning you’re underpowered so die alot. So within a few hours, orcs were one-hit killing me, and ganging up on me. I told my coworker and he said I just needed to strategise. While I normally like strategising in games, this one made me too angry to continue. Maybe someday I’ll start over and try not to die so much. As I said, I can see it’s a great game, it just made me too mad.

Brave. WAIT! DON’T CLICK AWAY!! This game seriously surprised me with how good it was. Loosely based on the film, Merida collects a variety of powers as she goes on an adventure. I said loosely based on the film, but it’s so loosely that it’s practically an original story. It was another free Games With Gold title, which is why I even got it in the first time. The graphics are more than a little dated (they look like PS2 graphics on an Xbox 360 game, played on an Xbox One). Games based on movies tend to not be very good, especially games based on Disney movies. A few months ago they had Cars 2 as a free GwG title, and it sucked so much I didn’t even finish the tutorial. Brave was better than it had any right to be, and I genuinely enjoyed playing it.

Dead Island: Definitive Edition. I’d watched my little brother playing this once and thought it was just a mindless “kill all the zombies” game. Technically it is, but there actually is a story there, as well as a bunch of interesting characters. You can even have companions, and I liked my companion. It’s honestly one of the best zombie games I’ve ever played, probably beaten only by Undead Nightmare.

ReCore: Definitive Edition. This was the very first game I ever picked from Game Pass. My roommate suggested it, saying that he played it and that it’s awesome. He was totally right. It’s an interesting game with unique controls. I was too excited about playing the other game in Game Pass that I only played it a few hours. I should really go back and play it longer.

Rise of the Tomb Raider. I’m such a huge fan of the reboot series that I went ahead and bought the deluxe edition. I’d played the first one on 360 a couple years ago, and had played this on 360 as well. Other than the updated graphics, there’s a ton of new stuff in this version. Or maybe it’s just because I bought the deluxe edition. Either way, I can’t wait to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Gone Home: Console Edition. I wish they made more games like this. It’s purely story driven. You learn the story in whatever you find all of the notes around the house. The entire game takes place in the main character’s parent’s house. It’s a relatively small area, but because of that the developers were able to put a ton of details in the game. You can either play the game very slowly and learn every detail of the story, or you can literally reach the end in under a minute. There’s even an achievement for that. I played it with commentary, which actually enhanced the game for me. You got to hear the developers talking about making it, and you can tell they had so much fun doing so. Both because of the commentary, and because of all of the work that clearly went into making it.

Sea of Thieves. As I’m sure is true for everyone, I played this through Game Pass. I actually keep forgetting this isn’t technically a free game like Fortnite. I don’t have any friends who play this game, so I’ve played alone the whole time. I even have a video of me trying to learn the basics of the game and failing, but I found it funny so saved the recording. However, I do love the concept of the game. With games like Black Flag, you captain the ship while AI does all the work. In SoT, actual people have to actually do everything. Since it was just me, I had to weigh anchor, cast the sails, and steer the ship. When someone tries attacking me, I had to let goof the wheel, grab a cannonball, load it into the cannon, fire, and repeat. When they blew a hole in my hull, I had to grab wooden planks, run down to the lower decks, patch the hole, then use the bucket from that video to scoop up the water, run up to the deck, dump the water, then run back down and scoop up more water, repeat. It’s boring and stressful to play alone, but I can imagine how awesome it must be to play with a bunch of friends.

Fable II/III. I’m grouping these two together because they’re closely related to each other. Literally. In Fable III to play the grown up child of your character from Fable II. I absolutely loved both of these games. While I do have my own little nitpicks about them, I choose to ignore those due to how awesome both of these games are. All three Fable games are available on Game Pass (well, Fable Anniversary is, which is a remake of the original game. But it’s still the first game, but I didn’t like it so I’m not including it here).

Sunset Overdrive. This is another interesting game. It feels like a cross between Agents of Mayhem, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and Dead Island. Yes, I realise that’s an odd combination, but this is an odd game. In a very good way.

The Bridge. This was another Game Pass title, and I coincidentally played it the day after watching Loving Vincent. So I of course had Van Gogh in mind as I played this oddly intriguing game.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut. I’d honestly never heard of this series before finding this game on Game Pass. After playing it awhile, I looked it up and found out that it’s actually about five games in the series, the first one being The Great Giana Sisters all the back in 1986 on Atari. It’s not often I find lesser known [to me] series that are that old with recent games that are good. Twisted Dreams is a great game.

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. Another older series with good games released today. Though not as old as Giana Sisters, the first game was released in 2992 on the Game Boy Color. I say older, because even from the beginning it maintained a retro look. Granted, they kind of had to on the GBC, but in every game since they’ve had a retro feel, even having retro gaming music. There’s a ton of collectibles, and you’re always getting upgrade and new items. It’s basically a Metroidvania because you keep having to go back to the previous levels once you get more gear.

For Honor. I originally didn’t think I was going to like this game, after seeing gameplay footage during E3 last year. But it was part of Xbox Free Weekend awhile back and I played it, and to my surprise I ended up loving it. Unfortunately, even with the discount given to Free Weekend titles, I still couldn’t afford it, so I only played it the four days it was free.

Battlefield 1. I also played this one during the Free Weekend long ago, but again couldn’t afford it. But luckily it was on sale recently. I bought the Ultimate Edition for $10 (I love Xbox Gold deals). I love history, and have obsessed over World War II most of my life. But I hadn’t really studies World War I very much, because I thought it was just trench warfare and nothing much happened. This game changed that for me. Not only was it not just fought in the trenches in France, it took place around the world in other countries, even the Middle East. After playing this game I looked up a documentary on WW1 on Netflix (which doesn’t appear to be on there anymore. I was going to link to it but I can’t find it now. But there’s a ton of WW2 titles, which kind of proves my point…everyone focuses on that one), and it taught me even more about the war than I ever knew about….and it was all because of a video game.

Just Cause 3. I only played this game because of The Gaming Lemon. Before that video, Just Cause always annoyed me because it’d pop up when I was searching for Just Dance (which I have been playing, but I won’t list because I don’t have much to say about it. But I have been playing 2014, 2017, 2018, and Unlimited for the last two). After that video, I was like, “…you have my attention, game” and rented it from Gamefly. After playing it awhile, I bought Just Cause 3 XL Edition, which is basically the Ultimate Edition with all of the DLC. All of the DLC adds a bunch of awesome things to the game.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands. This is currently one of my favourite games on the Xbox One. I’ve always loved stealth games, and games that allow you to solve problems any way you want. This game does both. You can do literally any mission in any order you want, any way you want. Run in guns blasting, stealth in, etc. It’s one of the few games I 100% completed, I loved it that much.

Alien: Isolation. After the previous Alien game which won’t be named here (but I will link to a video I did involving it), I was afraid to play any Alien games. But not for the reason the studio wanted. I decided to play it after it was listed as one of the scariest games of the year. Sure enough, I only played it once because I ended up getting an anxiety attack. No joke! But I will never talk bad about this game, because it really is a good game.

Far Cry 5. I played Far Cry 3, thought it was okay, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, thought it was awesome, and Far Cry 4, but it gave me motion sickness and I stopped playing. Far Cry 5 looked awesome, so when it was on sale for $40 during the E3 sale, I snagged it. That wasn’t exactly cheap for me, but it was much better than the $60 it normally is. It took me three weeks to beat. One week on each region. I didn’t get 100% on it, but I came very close. It’s one of those kinds of games where you want to do everything. I made a playlist with every video I uploaded from this game (it’s only two videos).

There’s a ton of other games I have been playing, but I didn’t realise how long this post was until just now. I might make a second post in the near future. I want to discuss some of the other games, but this is getting really long, and it’s also very late here. I’ll continue this at a later date.

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Bought an Xbox One S

I’m actually typing this on Edge on the console using the controller, so this willl be short.

I hope to post more frequently now that I have a console I really like. Currently I am playing Murdered: Soul Suspect. It’s a great game and I’ll post about it soon. Only physical copy of agame I have is The Technomancer. I played it a little on PS4 and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to playing it on Xb1S.

Anyway, this took like five minutes to type. I should get a keyboard. All future posts will be from my phone or computer, but this has definitely been an interesting experience.

The Elder Blog: Batman: The Telltale Series

I’m playing Batman: The Telltale Series. When I first heard of it, I was confused how that would even work. Telltale, for those who don’t know, is a game company that takes licensed properties and makes story-based games out of them. They’ve made The Walking Dead: Seasons One, Two, and Three, The Walking Dead: Michonne, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Minecraft: Story Mode, and several others. Those are their main ones, though.

Batman came out recently, and I wasn’t sure how it’d work out. I’m used to Batman games being, like, Arkham Knight and such. Very action oriented. That’s how you do a Batman game! So how would Telltale do one?

The opening sequence was Batman taking down a small group trying to break into the mayor’s office. There’s a ton of quicktime events, and I seriously almost just turned it off. I hate QTEs, as do most gamers I’ve asked about it. But luckily I stuck it out.

After that, I see something I don’t think I’ve seen outside of the Nolan movies; Bruce Wayne interacting with the citizens of Gotham. He is campaigning for Harvey Dent, and after the introduction there’s a fundraising party at Wayne Manor for Dent. At one point, an elderly couple says that even though they have never heard of Dent, they’ll vote for him because Bruce is backing him, because they trust him. I’ve never really thought about how the citizens of Gotham viewed Bruce Wayne before.

I’m much further on now, and I must say, this takes a fully different approach to the Batman game formula, but I thoroughly enjoying this. The game is less action-based and more dialogue-based. That may sound boring, but it’s done very well. For example, at the end of the introduction scene, you have to fight Catwoman. This is obviously at the beginning of the Batman story, because he has no idea who she is. Later on, he meets Selena Kyle while dining with Harvey Dent. The two realise who the other is immediately, because they still have the same injuries from the fight. After a minute, Dent has to get up from the table to make a call, leaving Selena and Bruce to dialogue for several minute. It is more interesting and intense than the fight between the two of them at the beginning of the game.

There are five episodes in the season (yeah, it’s one of those games), and I’m about halfway through the first episode. I’m excited to see where this goes. Just hope there’s not too many QTEs left.

The Elder Blog: Meet Me At Go!

I was just browsing the Windows 10 app store looking for free games to play, because I’m bored and Stranger Things 2 doesn’t come out for another two days, when I came across Meet Me At Go!, caught my interest.

While usually these posts I do are praising good games, this game was so bad I had to do a post about it. First of all, the music is incredible, but I’ll get to that.

It starts off with seemingly words flashing across the screen. Then a nice-sounding song begins to play and you see two cars driving through an ’80s-style futuristic computer city. Like the opening of Tron: Legacy, except it doesn’t look nearly as good. Finally you get control of the second car…..

……kind of. I pressed everything and the car never moved. Predictably, after several seconds I hit too many obstacles and the game ended. I noticed a Tutorial on the menu and found out that the only controls was moving the controller back and forth. Only this isn’t entirely true, because I found out that you have to click the left mouse button, then move the mouse. Even then, the motions weren’t very wide, and you couldn’t go all the way to the edge of the road. I still hit a lot of obstacles and hardly collected any of the collectibles.

Once the song ended, I was taken back to the main menu. I thought maybe there was a mistake or it was going to let me move on to level two or something. But then I actually read the description of the game in the Store (which I usually don’t do. I stupidly go by screenshots and videos).

Microsoft worked with electro-pop artist M83 to reimagine a song from his latest album, Junk. The result of the collaboration is an 8-bit remix of “Go!”, inspired by frontman Anthony Gonzalez’s love of retro video games. Microsoft worked with a team of indie game designers to bring the remixed “Go!” to life. The resulting music experience takes fans on an unexpected journey through the song as they race through a retro-futuristic cityscape, dodging obstacles and collecting objects in pursuit of their love. The experience draws inspiration from the aesthetic of classic arcade games, along with themes of longing, searching, and racing from the song.

So the game, it turns out, is essentially an advertisement for this album. Which explains why it’s free, and why it’s so short. Also why the music was so good. I’m wasn’t a “fan” of M83, but I have loved this song for years. After finding out they were the ones behind the game, I listened to more of their music on Spotify, and I guess now I am a fan. They have some great music.

This game had one goal, and I guess it accomplished it. Seeing it for what it is, in retrospect I can’t really be too hard on it. It’s not meant to be the next Skyrim, but more of an artistic experiment with gaming and music. I guess from that aspect, the game isn’t that bad.

But still, just listen to the song instead.

The Elder Blog: Life is Strange: Before the Review

I seriously wish I’d have been posting in this series when I played Life is Strange. Maybe someday I’ll go back and do an episode-by-episode review. But I could never capture the emotions that I felt the first time playing it. Most people I’ve asked have played at least the first episode, which is free on every device it’s available on, and they say that that one episode was really good. But they saved the best for the paid content, episodes two through five. I’ll save that for another time, though.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a prequel, following a story that was merely implied at in the original game. This is their chance to flesh out the characters and add even more emotion to the original game in retrospect. They succeeded. Part of me wants to talk in-depth about the story, but at the same time I feel this post should advert the series as a whole and not spoil anything. I am planning on writing the episode-by-episode review of Before the Storm, and soon. There’s planned to be three episodes, two already out and a third yet to be released.

I highly recommend checking both games out.

The Elder Blog: Hue

I’ve been playing Metal Gear Solid V, like I said in my last post, but there hasn’t really been anything of note to write about. Except maybe this, this, and this. But otherwise, it feels like a pretty standard playthrough, at least based on everything I’ve heard of the game before playing it.

But this month, there is a really interesting indie game available for free through PS+ called Hue. I usually don’t care for indie games, not because I don’t think indie games should exist, it’s just that they’re all the same thing. You’ll rarely find a truly original indie game. They tend to go for that retro look and feel and will either be generic side-scroller or top-down.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t automatically dismiss a game because it’s an indie title. I’ll normally give them a chance when they’re available on PS+, but usually my reaction is, “That was neat and maybe a fun time killer, but this offers nothing new” and stop playing after a few hours. I’ll sometimes pick one of them back up when I’m really bored, just to kill some time.

There are a few exceptions, like Thomas Was Alone and FEZ, but truly unique games are few and far between. Hue is one of them.

As I said in a video I made shortly after I started playing, I watched the trailer on the game page in the PlayStation Store, and I immediately wanted to play it. The other titles available for free I added to my library, but Hue was the only one I downloaded. I can’t get enough of this game. When it comes to problem solving, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a game with such unique ways to solve them.

It starts off really easy, with only one colour, but soon it gets, well, stressful. But in a good way. This game is just the right level of challenging. It’s not childishly easy, and not rage-quit-controller-throwing hard. There’s levels that get me annoyed because I can’t solve, but it’s designed in a way that if you just keep trying you’ll eventually figure it out.

If you have PlayStation Plus, I highly recommend grabbing this game this month while it’s free, which it will be until 7 November 2017. But even if you don’t have PlayStation Plus, or you read this after that date, it’s only $15. You’d be playing a great game and supporting a great indie developer.

The Elder Blog: General Update

When I started this series, I fully intended to use it to essentially document my gaming adventures. But I quickly forgot all about it. I’ve been wanting to write more than Casabloga movie reviews in this blog, and it just occurred to me that I could revive this series and use it for it’s intended purpose.

PSN Profile

For starters, I’ve recently earned my first Platinum trophy on PSN. It was for Horizon Zero Dawn. When I started playing that game I immediately fell in love with it. It’s such a perfect game! It has it’s flaws, to be sure, but it’s about as perfect as you can get. I loved the controls, the world, the story, and the characters. All of the elements of the game were great. Not only that, but unlike most open world games, such as Skyrim, the side quests weren’t pointless. In Skyrim and Fallout and other games, you’ll complete countless side quests that really add nothing to the main story (thus SIDE quest). But in Horizon, every side quest, while optional, effect the main story and the world in general. Everyone you help can come and help you during the final battle at the end, and each character has their own part to play. There are no filler characters.

I’ve also just finished inFamous: Second Son. Twice. I did the good path to 100%, then the evil path to 100%. Both were satisfying, though maybe a little less so than the first two entries in the series. But still a great game nonetheless.

InFamous Second Son

That’s just recently. Since June I’ve also played No Man’s Sky, Type:Rider, Driveclub, Prey, Battlefield 1, Final Fantasy XV, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, The Unfinished Swan, Knack, Broforce, Gone Home, Until Dawn, Fallout 4, Just Cause 3, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Titanfall 2, Rainbow Six: Siege, Destiny 2, and as of today Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Most of the above listed games I really would have liked to have written about, had I remembered this series at the time. Maybe someday I’ll do separate posts on them.

While I’ve been talking about PlayStation 4, I actually prefer Xbox. I have an Xbox One, but it’s in storage (long story) and have been using my roommate’s PS4. However, I still get to use my Xbox account because I’ve been playing a few games on Windows 10. Pretty much just Fallout Shelter and Minecraft.

Anyway, now that I remember this series, I fully intend to use it to post about my gaming adventures from now on. If anyone wants to add me, my PSN username is Baikeru24, and my Xbox gamertag is Baikeru.

The Elder Blog: Just Dance

Well, it’s been a little over a year since I’ve posted in this series. Quite a bit has happened in that time. I owned a 3DS for a few months, as well as obtained a Nintendo 64. So now I have an N64, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. And I have a new obsession.

I’d said in my previous post in this series that I’d played Just Dance 2015. That was one I had rented from Gamefly simply to see if I’d like it. I now have:

Just Dance Wii (the original game, a Wii exclusive)

Just Dance 2 (also a Wii exclusive)

Just Dance 3 (for PS3 and Xbox 360)

Just Dance 4 (for PS3 and Xbox 360)

Just Dance 2014 (for PS3 and Xbox 360)

Just Dance 2015 (for PS3 and Xbox 360)

Just Dance 2016 (for PS3 and Xbox 360)

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Basically, I have the entire main series, and two copies of all of them from Just Dance 3 on. I did say I have a new obsession. Maybe a little too obsessed. Also have Just Dance 2017 for Xbox 360 preordered from Amazon.

QQ Photo20160903000217

So… Yeah, I may be a little obsessed. But hey! It’s a great workout!

The Elder Blog: Tomb Raider (2013)

I honestly forgot about this blog series of mine. There’s been several games I’ve played between Assassin’s Creed and now (such as LEGO: Jurassic World and Just Dance 2015), and I’d have loved posting about those. Maybe some other time.

Anyway, I’d never been a huge fan of the Tomb Raider series. I’d of course played a couple of the games over the years, but they were largely forgettable for me. I don’t even remember which titles I played. Anniversary maybe? Point is,  was largely bored by it. So two years ago when I heard about the reboot, I rolled my eyes and asked why they even bothered anymore. I thought Lara Croft was a lost cause, because people only liked her for one reason, and it wasn’t her story or gameplay, which is a horrible reason to make games.

Earlier this year, a friend let me borrow Uncharted 3. It was a life changing experience. Maybe I’ll do a post on that one someday, but it was the most intense, cinematic game I’d ever played. So when I was looking at the Gamefly page for Tome Raider, and several reviews compared it to Uncharted, I immediately added it to my Q. I wanted to at least try it.

Within the first TWENTY SECONDS the intensity of the game made me realize that this wasn’t going to be a forgettable game. In the first ten minutes of the game, Lara goes from being on a ship, peacefully, to falling and being impaled on a bar (in her side), being washed onshore and immediately knocked out, waking up hanging upside down and having to free herself. The rest of the opening level has her clutching her still-bleeding side, covered in blood and dirt. The end of the opening level has her standing on a cliff overlooking the island as the title appears (like the beginning of Arkham Asylum, when Batman overlooks the asylum as the title appears).

That’s just the first ten minutes. I remembered from the old games that hardly anything bad ever happened to her. Now here the first thing that happens to her is she gets impaled and bleeds. I told a friend I love what they did to her character and she gasped, to which I said, “…storywise, not the torture”.

I really do love what they did to her character. She’s now a real person. When she makes her first kill, she freaks out because she’d never killed anyone before.

The game has been compared to Uncharted, as I said earlier, and that includes the fact that Lara should have been dead long before you have the ability to control her. She goes through so many things that would kill a normal person (being thrown against a wall from an explosion, explosions engulfing her while she runs…these were during cutscenes, not gameplay). But I guess that’s part of the fun of video games. If it was totally realistic, no one would play it, because then it’d be boring.

Not to mention the continual upgrades to the weapons keeps the gameplay interesting. I always favour archery in gaming, and this is no exception. I was shooting at enemies with my rifle and it was going everywhere, not hitting anything. Then I switched to my bow and got headshot after headshot. So fun.

If you haven’t played this game yet, I highly recommend it. I give it 8/10.

The Elder Blog: Assassin’s Creed

I’m talking about the first game of the series, not the series in general. I currently have it rented from Gamefly. Meant to get Far Cry 4, but they sent me this one instead. Whatever.

Anyway, I originally didn’t like this game because it’s not as advanced as the later games, like Black Flag. I’m used to those controls and everything. I even made a video about how much I didn’t like it. But, as I said in the video, I just figured it was because I was spoiled by the later games.

Well, I’m a little further now, and my views have changed. I am in Acre, Israel (well, present-day Israel), and I just realized that the reason this game seemed so hard for me at first WAS because I was used to the later games, but not in the way I thought. In Black Flag, you could leap into a group of guards and still win. Not so with this game. I just discovered that you have to press R1 to defend. You don’t have to do that in the others. That annoyed me at first.

Until I kept R1 held in and fought five guards. They stand still for a few seconds, then one will attack you, and if you have R1 held in, you will kill them easily. One by one this happened until all but one. The last one surrendered and ran off. That had never happened before.

So this game requires more strategy than the later games. I think I just grew to like this game a little more.