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.